Video podcasts, the impact of spokespeople, and more

PR specialists are beginning to realize that podcasts are a key option in their online and new-media efforts. How effective are video podcasts in consumer outreach?

Video podcasts
How effective are video podcasts in consumer outreach?

PR specialists are beginning to realize that podcasts are a key option in their online and new-media efforts.

“Video podcasts fit easily into any campaign because they reach an audience opting for specific content,” says Rise Birnbaum, CEO and founder of Zcomm. “The average Internet user downloads an additional 3.5 videos per unique visit and there's nothing better than a series of valuable tips to view at one's leisure.”

With 46 million people downloading and watching videos weekly, she adds, video podcasts are an excellent visual tool to reach a mass targeted audience.

“Video podcasts pave a way for you to tailor messages and feature engaging images that connect with specific audiences to draw them in,” Birnbaum notes.

“Keep it short,” she advises. “Videos shouldn't be more than two to three minutes long, especially if it's general subject matter, unless they involve a celebrity.”

Spokespeople

My company's new EVP is well known. How can we assess the value of using her as a key spokesperson?

“One of the soundest ways to gauge whether a company spokesperson is effectively performing that role is to analyze all news stories mentioning the company,” says Carol Holden, director of operations for the media measurement division at BurrellesLuce.

The analysis should assess things like what portion of stories mentions the spokesperson, how prominent those mentions are, and the editorial tone of the stories in which the spokesperson is mentioned, she adds.

Holden stresses the importance of examining measurement data consistently over time.

“Establish a chronological baseline and use the numbers from that period as a reference point in assessing subsequent results,” she explains. “If later results decline at any point, the PR team should reevaluate the manner in which the spokesperson is being presented.”

Celebrities

How much time is realistic to expect from a celebrity?

“You're more likely to secure a positive response from a celebrity if you ask for the least amount of their time that will still meet your PR needs,” notes Rita Tateel, president of The Celebrity Source.

Briefing sessions should be one hour at the most. Personal appearances should run 90 minutes to two hours.

“Don't expect more than four hours for an [SMT],” Tateel says. “And a day rate usually means four to six hours of work.”

Don't have a celebrity arrive earlier than needed or make him or her wait too long, she adds. Stars who feel like their time is being wasted may be less cooperative.

Tateel concludes that the bigger the star, the more money he or she will cost, and the less time you will get from them. “Therefore, your PR objectives might be better met by someone who is up-and-coming or down-and-going,” she advises.

Send your questions to: toolbox@prweek.com. Please contact Beth Krietsch if you are interested in contributing to PR Toolbox or to suggest ideas for future columns.

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