Monday, March 10, 2008

The Video Press Release

As the humble Press Release evolves over time, from the traditional format through to the recently-developed Social Media Press Release (previously covered here), you can't help wonder what it will become in time. In addition to these thoughts, I was recently asked by a client "will the next evolution of the Press Release be a Video Press Release distributed online?"

My answer was a resounding "No" initially, followed by "...but video will be key in getting the message across".

Now there is no doubt that video within a blog or webpage provides a lot of information and conveys more than just text or images alone. However, just using video is not necessarily the right approach . Not every company has the ability to produce good quality video nor a spokesperson who is good in front of a camera.

Good examples of video combined with other media, when embedded within a press release placed on a site, are more frequently found online now. In fact the popularity for doing this is growing as more companies try it & get positive feedback and as broadband tips over the 50% mark in most developed countries.

Video, when used as one of a combination of media, has the following benefits in a Press Release:

1. It can be used to get a lot of data over quickly, using the mutually beneficial combination of visual and audio cues

2. When combined with words (copy) and accompanying diagrams for supporting information, this message becomes even clearer (The content can explain terms and spell complex words that audio or video may not be best at)

3. It can provide a 'human' face to your company and message (note: you do not have to use your Head of Marketing or PR Manager for this)

However, always consider that video may not be the right medium to use:
1. All of your audience may not be able to view it.
e.g. Not everyone has sufficient bandwidth (you may have mobile users) and don't forget accessibility issues caused by placing content just in a video clip
2. People may still want to print & read content offline
3. You may not have the time or budget for every piece
Producing video for all Press Releases can be an expensive and time-consuming overhead. Consider what budget you have for this, test to see what works and prioritise who (and what) you are going to cover.
4. You are not necessarily producing a streaming news channel. A Press Release is definitely a news-worthy piece of content, but spoken to camera in a ‘matter-of-fact way’ could well make it more like a news report.

Consider the extra benefit that a video clip could add:
  • A case study/testimonial
  • Instructional / educational information
  • A supporting clip to provide context or detail

However, if it is pertinent, cost-effective and useful, you could always try putting video in your Press Release, you won't necessarily have set a precident. Just remember to measure the impact it has.

Try the following as an example of where this is going....

Pitzer College Press Release about its YouTube course:

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