Video is quickly emerging as one of the most important weapons in a PR pro's arsenal. The dynamic nature of the medium and its ability to engage audiences on both a visual and aural level opens up a world of possibilities that text-based PR campaigns simply cannot compete with.
Understanding the importance of video content
In years gone by, videos required exorbitant budgets for production as well as broadcasting costs. Digital spaces offer a plethora of platforms where organisations big and small can distribute their videos completely free of charge.
YouTube, of course, is the granddaddy of web-based video. Every minute, 300 hours of footage is uploaded to the video sharing website, which means that almost 50 years of video is published every single day.
As the amount of content on YouTube grows, so too does the size of the audience engaging with it. The platform has more than a billion users, and the number of hours of content these people are watching has increased 50 per cent in the past year.
Why do consumers love video?
As media monitoring tools can demonstrate, many consumers prefer to watch video rather than waste precious minutes unravelling lengthy text-based articles. In fact, research from online media creation app Animoto found the ratio of those who watch video to people who read articles is four to one.
Why? Essentially, it boils down to ease of communication. Video enables organisations to convey the core ideas of their product or service in a succinct, informative and entertaining way. If a picture is worth a thousand words, and videos are filmed at 24 frames per second, then every second of video offers 24,000 words. While this might be a slight exaggeration, the benefits of the dynamic format cannot be ignored.
In addition to these practical advantages, video is also more capable of evoking human emotions such as happiness compassion and nostalgia. Internet Explorer nailed the latter with their 'Child of the 90s' video in 2014, as seen below:
Brad Jefferson, CEO of Animoto pointed out the importance of video from a marketing and communications perspective.
"Today, there are more than 7 billion videos watched every day on Facebook and YouTube. Historically, in order to create and distribute high-quality video to your customers it was cost-prohibitive for all but the largest brands," said Mr Jefferson.
"However, today's tools and platforms ensure that small and medium businesses can reach their audiences where they hang out online. This represents one of the biggest marketing opportunities for small businesses in a long time."
Who should be using video content?
As Entrepreneur Magazine pointed out, every sector can benefit from including video in their marketing scope. If your organisation sells physical assets, a simple demonstration of a product in operation, perhaps paired with a voice-over to discuss how it works, are two simple ingredients for cooking up an effective video.
Service-based organisations, on the other hand, may need to get a little more creative. Media analytics may help you identify the exact style that resonates with your target demographic, but how-to's and story-based videos are often a great starting point. Airbnb pulled this off wonderfully with its introductory clip in 2011:
Why should organisations use video?
The sheer size of platforms such as YouTube, combined with higher rates of consumer engagement, means that organisations across every industry should widen their PR efforts to include video.
While brand visibility may be a PR pro's ultimate goal, it's worth keeping in mind that it's not the only aim. As Forbes explained, video offers something that is very difficult to achieve in text or images: The chance to tell your brand's story.
Video enables you to connect with viewers in an authentic way, without forcing your products and services down audiences' throats. When twinned with PR measurement services, this can help foster a genuine relationship that closes the gap between consumer and organisation. Dove executed this concept perfectly in their much-celebrated marketing video below:
The video has drummed up more than 66 million views since going live in 2013 and undoubtedly did wonders for Dove's visibility. However, the video contains no direct promotions or calls to action whatsoever, with the company's brand only appearing in the closing moments of the clip. What's the key takeaway here? When it comes to videos, connecting with audiences on a personal level is more effective than producing overly promotional content.
Consumer consumption habits are continuing to evolve hand in hand with technology. Savvy marketers and communication professionals who are able to stay ahead of these trends will be able to better engage their target markets and ultimately increase their brands' visibility.