The use of video in the communications world is exploding. As attention spans decrease and brands vie for the mindshare of their audiences, the power of video becomes ever more apparent. Video conveys a message effectively and tends to stick with the viewer, which is why organizations are adopting it for communications across the board. Internally, video can be used for training and collaboration. With customers, it can be useful for how-to pieces and demonstrations. For the media and investors, it can provide more transparency than text-based communication and enhance engagement. As the use of video continues to grow, communicators are looking to leverage this powerful medium in their work. Let’s examine why, and take a look at how they can best make use of it.
WHY USE VIDEO IN A PRESS RELEASE?
First, let’s examine why teams might want to use video in a press release. Data tells us that visual content wins the day. Content with compelling images garners 94% more views than content without. Further, 59% of executives agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic, they’re more likely to choose the video option. Hubspot reports an even higher number for a general audience, citing that when both video and text are available, 72% of people would rather use video to learn about a product or service.
Another reason video is popular is that it gets more attention on social media. For example, Facebook posts with visuals average 53% more likes. And, 92% of mobile video viewers share videos with others. This increases an organization’s reach even further.
Furthermore, it’s now easier than ever to incorporate video in campaigns. With smartphones and simple video production applications, producing a video isn’t as laborious as it once was.
Given this data, it’s safe to say that in a sea of press releases, incorporating video into yours can help it stand out.
WHY IS VIDEO MORE POWERFUL?
Videos can also bring ideas to life. For example, if a company has an earnings report and wants to walk through some key information, it’s sometimes much easier to convey the key points through visuals than in a written document.
THE ADVANTAGES OF INCLUDING AN EMBEDDED VIDEO IN A PRESS RELEASE
Given the compelling nature of video, it’s no wonder many brands are including it in their communications efforts. But what about using video in PR initiatives? For example, what are the advantages of including an embedded video in a press release? Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when they read it in text. So, by including video in your releases, you not only increase the chances for engagement, but you also increase the chances that your audiences remember what they read.
Statistics show that video can drive more action than text, so when companies embed video in a press release, they see more activity.
WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS TO USE VIDEO IN A PRESS RELEASE?
You’ve decided to include video in your next press release. What are some of the best ways to leverage it?
- Interviews: Including a brief interview with your CEO or another executive can be an effective way to make use of video. Executive quotes are notoriously dry and seldom used by journalists. However, a video of an executive talking might be livelier. Even if reporters prefer doing their own interviews, they may grab a quote from a video, if you make it easy for them. Include a video file to embed with an article to increase the likelihood it’ll be used.
- Instructional/how-to: Showing a brief demo of a product or explaining how it’s used can sometimes help viewers understand it better than text can.
- Customer testimonials: Organizations often use customer quotes in a traditional press release. However, including a customer testimonial via video can be even more powerful. Allowing the customer to tell the story adds credibility that appeals to the media, investors and other customers.
- Company profile: A profile of your company can serve as a boilerplate might in a traditional press release, explaining what you do and how you do it better than anyone else. For example, Apple produced a company progress report on green technology that it shared with various audiences to support how this approach supports its values of innovation and style.
- A video clip teasing a live event: Including a brief clip that previews a live event taking place after the press release goes out can be an effective way to draw more attendees.
- Product launch: Embedding a video in a press release launching a new product packs more punch than a text-only version.
HOW INVESTOR RELATIONS TEAMS CAN LEVERAGE VIDEO
As organizations continue to search for the best ways to communicate with their many audiences, investor relations presents a particular opportunity.
Beyond the traditional earnings releases, incorporating video can provide a “human” touch that goes further than merely presenting the financial data. It gives shareholders and the media a chance to connect, especially during earnings season, on a different level. Of course, as mentioned previously, messages can be conveyed more clearly in video versus text.
Seeing executives via video also builds trust. Whether it’s been a strong quarter—or a not-so-strong quarter—seeing the CEO’s eyes and hearing his or her voice via video can enhance trust versus reading about the results in a text-only earnings release.
WHAT ARE SOME BEST PRACTICES WHEN USING VIDEO IN PRESS RELEASES?
Now that we’ve established how effective the use of video in a press release can be, what are some of the best practices
Know your video basics
While creating a professional-looking video can be expensive, it’s worth it. There are also alternatives such as using your smartphone. Be aware of the pros and cons of each method. While one may work well in one scenario, it may not be a fit for another.
Experts recommend using an embed code for the video versus including a link. This means that viewers won’t have to click away from the press release to view the video.
Using a service like YouTube (owned by Google) or Vimeo means you won’t have to host bulky video files on your server. Doing this helps the file to load faster and helps boost SEO (search engine optimization). It also generates previews when the video is shared on social media. And, it works across all devices.
Make the video engaging
If you’re going to invest the time and budget to include videos in your PR efforts, you want to make it count. Avoid using boring videos. Make your videos engaging. For example, traditional “corporate” videos may not be the best to include. Consider fresher alternatives.
Also, avoid overcomplicating the story. If you make your video too long or convoluted, this can cause you to lose your audience, which leads to the next point.
Keep the video shorter – and link to a longer version
How long should a video be? The answer is – as long as it needs to be, but probably shorter is better. One to two minutes is the suggested maximum length. If desired, you can produce two versions – a shorter one with a link to an extended version. On that page, you can include additional resources such as photos, background materials and even a call-to-action form. As a guideline, one page of text is equivalent to about 60 seconds of video.
Know your SEO tips for video
Including video in your press release increases the likelihood that it will be shared on social media. To optimize the SEO value of a video, consider factors such as the title and the thumbnails. The title should be appealing to your audience, enticing them to click to watch the video. There are no absolutes regarding how long or short the title should be. Avoid using all caps and titles that are considered to be clickbait, meaning deceptive or shocking. This applies to thumbnails, as well. Select compelling thumbnail images, avoiding clickbait stills.
Always include a text-based alternative
As mentioned above, not everyone wants to watch a video – or in some cases, not everyone is able to watch.
This is why it’s important to always include a text-based alternative to the video. This could be a transcription of the video or a standalone text-based accompaniment.
Research indicates marketers who incorporate video increase revenue 49% faster than those who don’t.
While calculating the ROI of video isn’t an exact science, here are some of the better ways to measure it:
- Watch time: To measure reach and retention, watch time is more effective than measuring views or play rate. If you can see how long viewers are watching your video, you may be able to determine how many are seeing your call-to-action— and then beyond that, you can track to see how effective it is. Another essential piece of information watch time provides is insight into at what point viewers lose interest. This can help you in future video production.
- Social media shares: To measure engagement, the number of social media shares is a good gauge. Keep in mind how much promotion you’ve put behind the video content when using this metric. For example, if you’ve used paid social media, that needs to be factored in when comparing the views of one video versus another that you used no paid social to promote.
- Backlinks: Backlinks, which are incoming hyperlinks from one web page to another website, can provide some insight into how successful the video is. Because video is shareable, people are often more likely to link to it. This can help you determine how the video is contributing to your SEO.
More backlinks to your videos lead to higher rankings in Google and, more importantly, YouTube, meaning more views and more exposure.
- Clickthrough rate (CTR): “Depending on the goals of your campaign, CTR is perhaps one of the most important metrics to monitor,” says MarketingProfs. “Strong CTR will be driven in large part by the efficacy of your video’s callto- action (CTA), so keeping a close eye on the former will allow you to judge how and when to make improvements to the latter.”
INTEGRATING LIVE STREAMING
The ability to integrate live streaming so that viewers can access it from the press release itself is one of the latest innovations in the public relations industry.
Incorporating a live event such as a press conference, product launch or demonstration into a press release allows viewers to witness the event without clicking away from the release.
This development brings video within a press release into the next echelon of the business world, opening doors to the way communicators leverage this important tool.
THE FUTURE OF ONLINE VIDEO IN NEWS RELEASES
Because the technology to create videos is much more accessible now, expect this trend to continue to grow.
It’s no longer as complicated or as expensive to produce high quality video. Working with the right equipment or with a skilled videographer who brings along his or her own equipment, it’s easily within reach to shoot a video that draws your audiences in to your next press release.