What's involved with producing video for the Internet, podcasts, and other new media outlets?
The process and standards for producing video for new media are very much the same as for broadcast and internal communications, explains Brian Tane of Tane Digital Video.
"As bandwidth increases and compression architectures such as Flash and Windows Media continue to develop by handling fast-motion cuts, transitions, and graphics within smaller file sizes, the need to shoot static, close-up shots is becoming less important," he says.
Tane notes that while the public may not mind the low-res quality of YouTube videos, quality should matter for professional agencies producing video for themselves and clients.
"Maintaining the highest-quality image from the shoot through compression is especially important for new media, as the video may be recompressed throughout it's distribution journey from your desktop to the Web [as YouTube does], to mobile devices and beyond," he adds.
It's an interesting time now where you have both the high and low ends of the video spectrum taking off. While there are millions of people enjoying low-res videos on YouTube, there are just as many people interested in the highest-quality images in high definition. "Aiming for the best-quality image and standards before beginning a video project leaves both options open when it's time to distribute," Tane adds.
How do you use communications proactively during crises?
"Staying on top of current events is a must for any PR pro," says Shonali Burke, senior director of media and communications for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). "[You must be able to] communicate accurately and aggressively with your key audiences - and those that might be affected."
Make sure your monitoring services and systems are in place, she advises. Ensure that your contact lists are updated. Do you have a system in place for reaching out to internal and external experts? Predict upcoming scenarios and related communications tools and tactics. Involve management in your communication strategies. Keep internal communications strong. And most importantly, be accessible.
"In just the past two weeks, the ASPCA has issued four media advisories related to the [pet-food] recall," says Burke. "We're working with experts around the US, helping pet parents deal, in real terms, with a very personal crisis."
How can podcasting serve as a strong communications tool?
"Podcasting offers a direct-to-consumer interaction that is initiated by the consumer," according to Jeff Wurtz of News Broadcast Network. "It is an underutilized broadcast tool."
Wurtz first suggests engaging the end user. "Don't just repurpose your b-roll package or radio news release," he notes. "Develop useful and relative information."
This is also an opportunity to enhance your brand image. "Someone has actually taken the time to search for information and play your material, so you need to reward them with truly useful information," Wurtz says, adding that every opportunity should be explored to promote the podcast.
"Put the URL in your ads, add terms to your corporate search engine marketing efforts, optimize the XML feed, and promote it through traditional PR tactics," he says. "Develop an editorial calendar and production schedule to ensure regular updates. People who subscribe to the podcast will expect that."