How can PR pros use new short-form methods and video to create campaigns?

Creating and sharing videos on social channels can easily bring a story to life.

Michael Kelly, consumer comms manager, American Licorice Co.
michael.kelly@amerlic.com
One of the monumental shifts in the mobile revolution we're living in has been the democratization of video production. Since the invention of moving images in the late 19th century, video has proven a powerful and effective medium to influence public attitudes and opinions.

However, up until a few years ago, creating video worthy of publishing to the masses required expensive, specialized equipment, and talent to plan, shoot, and edit.

Forward-looking brands and communications pros now have the opportunity to use a new breed of mobile video apps such as Vine and Instagram, which are leveling the playing field for those with smaller budgets to incorporate video into campaigns tailored for the social era of media.

The type of short, snackable content generated through these apps is only limited by your creativity and storytelling ability, not your budget. The fact that tools such as Vine and Instagram Video are free means anyone with a smartphone or tablet and a creative idea can create a video tailor-made for generating word-of-mouth conversations on the social and mobile Web.

When it comes to consuming video in Facebook or Twitter feeds, the public prefers video that is timely, relevant, and visually engaging over polished production quality.

Communications pros who have been willing to dive in and experiment have found this type of video to be one of the best ways to serve up fresh, original content that consumers deem worthy of sharing.

When planning communications strategies, it's worth thinking through what role these videos can play, whether it is to start a conversation, introduce a hashtag, or promote a product or service. You will find it among the most powerful tools in your arsenal to turbocharge social campaigns.

Elizabeth Raflowitz, multimedia and social media producer, Regan Communications
eraflowitz@regancomm.com
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video can be worth 10,000 or more.

Clients can enhance their message and strengthen their connection to customers through video. A fan that has passion for a company will be interested in behind-the-scenes access such as a tour of the office, employees cheering on their favorite sports team, or footage from an event. 

Using video to highlight office culture or publicize events can be a great way to start, but posts must be interesting. Sometimes the best posts are during or after an event.

You can also use video to promote giveaways or products by offering a secret discount code at the end of the video or a teaser for an upcoming promotion or sale.

Having action in video is a must. If your client is an apparel company, show the products in use. If your client is a restaurant, feature the chef cooking, drinks being poured, and the overall dining experience. Instead of posting what a food or drink special is, create a video of the item being made. For nonprofits, a video of a fundraising event or families who have been helped makes the cause more real.

“Let's make a viral video” should not be the reason to make a video. If something is good and funny, people will want to share it. Trying too hard can often ruin an idea – and do not copy videos you have seen.

If you are sharing something for your fans, be sure not to make the video too internally focused so that people cannot relate. However, do not make a video so broad that it is bland.

Jostein Svendsen, CEO and cofounder, WeVideo
jostein@wevideo.com
As professional storytellers, PR practitioners can use video to tell stories more effectively, engage current and potential customers, increase brand recognition, and improve conversions online.

Videos, especially brand-created content, have become a key part of the communications puzzle. Consumers need more than in-depth articles and text-heavy websites. Creating and sharing videos on social channels or corporate websites can easily bring a story to life in a more engaging way.

Typically, it has been very expensive to produce high-quality videos. In addition, traditional video production no longer meets client requirements. The latest trend involves Web-based video creation tools, which are low cost, easy to use, and enable collaboration across teams, locations, and between the client and vendors.

Companies are now allowing customers, partners, and vendors to help in the creation process, enabling users to create mashups and testimonials. Viewers like unscripted videos of real people and consumers are the most credible actors a client could have.

While highly produced videos will always be a part of a compelling video strategy, companies should also think about how to leverage the power of mobile to capture simple videos that can be quickly shared via social networks. Customers and partners can also help drive content creation, which also increases engagement.

Finally, authenticity goes a long way with video. Be open and honest. Even better, get your customers to tell your story for you.

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