D S Simon: PR pros missing out on digital earned media opportunities

More than three-quarters of journalists surveyed by the firm say they use video created externally.

NEW YORK: Communicators are missing out on significant opportunities to earn media with their content in the digital space, according to digital video comms firm D S Simon Productions latest Media Influencers Report.

The report, which surveyed 300 journalists, found that 76% of producers and journalists affiliated with digital outlets of television and radio stations, newspapers, magazines, media sites, and bloggers reported using outside produced video. Additionally, 74% of them will post or link to the entire video.

But because 46% of journalists accept brand integration, the report explained that many of the campaigns that communicators are showcasing still have an overwhelming reliance on brand integration with a minimal earned digital component.

"While brand integration still has an important role, communicators are missing out on a tremendous opportunity to earn media in the digital space," Doug Simon, D S Simon Productions’ president and CEO told PRWeek.

He added that earning digital media is a more credible and authentic way for PR pros to communicate with key audiences, as opposed to brand integration.

The good news for comms pros is that, according to the findings, earning media will be easier going forward.

More than a third of journalists surveyed said they anticipate that there will be "much more" video usage next year, signaling that opportunities for PR pros to earn media in the digital arena have yet to peak.

"One year from now, journalists expect even more video content from PR pros to be used, so that is positive for the future," Simon said.

However, PR pros must ensure the videos they send to reporters have proper disclosure. Without it, the chances of the video being used are significantly reduced and the brand involved may face legal issues, the study said.

Less than half of the digital media respondents felt they often or always received content with the proper disclosure. However, 69% of those surveyed said proper disclosure would make them more likely to consider using externally produced video.

Further, communicators need to steer clear of misleading journalists with the content they send over.

Only one in ten surveyed felt they are never misled by PR pros, with the majority stating they are "often" or "sometimes" duped.

Along with using social networking sites to build relationships and create dialogues with brands’ consumers, PR pros should be aware that 84% of participants said they use the sites to find leads on the brands they cover. The most popular sites journalists rely on for story ideas are Facebook and Twitter, followed by LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram. 

In addition, social networking sites can be used to pitch stories to journalists, with 54% stating they have taken on stories that way.

In order for communicators to successfully pitch in this manner, however, they must first build relationships with media, or partner with an organization that can communicate with journalists effectively via social channels, the report recommended.

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