Guest Post from NYU’s Don Bates: Stop Avoiding Video for PR Purposes
Every professional communicator wonders where the Internet and related technologies are heading, i.e., what trends are leading to the next big things in “online” communication? Several trends have special interest for PR practitioners, “the cloud” most conspicuously. Another is phone apps.
But one trend that every communicator should be engaging, even as information-only at this juncture, is the growing use online of video, although most PR practitioners seem to be avoiding the subject altogether. At the very least, video should be top-of-mind when you plan client programs, prepare business proposals, and devise strategies and tactics for reaching target audiences.
The biggest reason is we all like it. For example, if we have a choice between video and text when we visit websites, we will look at the video first and the text second (if at all). Advertising professionals understand this. According to recent statistics reported by video blogger and trainer Darren Olander, video will be included in roughly 30 percent of online ads within five years.
When you consider some of video’s key advantages as a communication tool, it becomes clear why PR professionals should begin integrating it more conspicuously in their work:
- Video allows you to inform audiences more immediately and engagingly than text does.
- Video demonstrates that you’re innovative and ahead of the new media curve.
- Video makes websites and events stickier; it attracts more people than text alone and they stay longer to weigh your messages.
- Video is more memorable than text.
- Video permits you to interact more personally with audiences, consumers in particular.
And videos can be live or animated, it doesn’t seem to matter. They have more cachet with viewers than text, regardless of format.
Video is also more naturally viral than text. It gets linked more often, resulting in serendipitous payoffs among important audiences that you may not have considered or could not have otherwise reached with the budget or resources you had to work with. Witness the popularity of YouTube.
According to Dr. Silvia Pfeiffer, CEO of Vquence and former CSIRO research scientist: “A video is 50 times more likely to rank on the first page of Google search results than any other content. It is therefore imperative for every product, brand, and marketing campaign to have a social video element.” Dr. Pfeiffer says information presented as text is recalled by only 8% of viewers, whereas the same information is recalled by a whopping 65% when presented as graphic animation.
Ksenia Oustiougova, Founder and CEO of Lilipip, says, “In the past video marketing wasn’t really a good use of resources for companies because many people didn’t have access to the high speed connections necessary to view streaming video. But these days it’s more common to have a high speed Internet action than not to have it, and there are plenty of public places that offer free high speed Internet connections for people that don’t have it at home.
Although most practitioners are usually better off working with a video professional, the lower cost of digital cameras and related equipment has made it much easier for communicators with the skill, inclination and creativity to make videos on their own, so cost is less and less a barrier to their use.
Philosophically and pragmatically, video is becoming an essential tool for conveying well-crafted PR images and messages in a more engaging, entertaining and effective manner than text. As practitioners, we should use it where we can and include it as an option in our planning and discussions with our clients and employers. In doing so, we express more of our expertise and professionalism; we also take the leadership role in helping them to achieve greater success by giving their internal and external audiences better pictures of who they are, what they do and why they’re deserving of support.
Don Bates, APR, Fellow PRSA, teaches writing in New York University’s graduate public relations program. He also runs writing workshops for corporations and PR agencies, and is a senior counselor with StevensGouldPincus, the national PR management consultants. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 917-913-8940.
Published: January 25, 2012 By: