Turning Old School PR Tactics into Engaging Digital Marketing Tools

Tim BahrBy Tim Bahr, CEO NextWorks

Back in the day, TV news was king, and public relations professionals relied heavily on Satellite Media Tours (SMTs) and TV Public Service Announcements (PSAs). Those tactics did a great job of delivering brand stories and messages to millions of local and national TV news viewers. They also added the implied third party endorsement of the brand’s message from broadcast stations.

Well the times have changed. Local market TV news is still important, but it has become just a small piece of the highly fragmented media landscape. SMTs are still relevant, but many feel they are limited to small-market TV news audiences that are not as attractive as they once were. TV PSAs remain a strong tool, but earned placements are much harder to come by today, and significant budgets for paid TV time are now necessary to deliver results.

So do these tactics still have value? Yes, they do. In fact, they can be even more valuable than ever when they are expanded beyond broadcast TV audiences and used as marketing tools across all digital channels. Brands are packaging SMT interviews and PSAs with associated content and placing entire interactive experiences wherever their audiences seek information online.

New distribution platforms like the Content Capsule, for example, allow PR professionals to leverage spends on SMTs and PSAs into highly engaging website experiences that deliver multimedia stories comprised of videos, images, documents and transactions. Capsules can be embedded, monitored and simultaneously updated across all digital channels. They are fully responsive and provide a complete desktop and mobile solution.

This Content Capsule for fuel additive maker Motor Medic was created using video from an SMT. The client packaged interviews and highlights from the TV satellite tour into a multimedia presentation that included product information, images and a link to purchase information. The complete Content Capsule was then embedded on the client’s earned, owned, social and paid online channels, including placement of the entire interactive story on automotive influencer blogs. Influencer activation like this, which combines an earned and paid media strategy, adds hundreds of thousands of views to SMT content.

By packaging video from an SMT with product information into a highly sharable digital unit, the client was able to extend reach far beyond the 23 TV stations booked for the satellite tour to highly targeted digital audiences.

The same is happening with TV PSAs. In this example, the Voices of Meningitis educational campaign placed a PSA in a Content Capsule that served as the campaign microsite. The Content Capsule contained all the relevant campaign information that the client wanted viewers to have ready access to when seeing the PSA. It also included the campaign’s call to action with a direct link to order educational resources. A call to action in a digital format is more immediate and effective than asking viewers and listeners to remember a phone number or website on television or radio.

The entire Content Capsule was then placed across multiple channels including the National Association of School Nurses website, which delivered the multimedia education package directly to a key target audience of school nurses.

There are numerous other examples of how brands and their agencies are extending the reach of traditional PR tactics like SMTs and PSAs. This integrated strategy actually takes advantage of the fragmented media landscape and creates innovative ways to deliver engaging content, while also generating greater ROI from traditional tactics.

About the Author: Tim Bahr is CEO at NextWorks. He has been an industry leader and innovator in video marketing for 25 years. He founded MultiVu, where he launched the Multimedia News Release format. Prior to MultiVu, he founded the Orbis Broadcast Group, which was a global leader in healthcare video production and distribution. With his latest venture, NextWorks, Tim is combining agile video production with new content distribution platforms to help brands visually engage multiple audiences across all digital platforms.