If you work in the public relations sector, you’ve noticed that things have changed. The rise of social media and the instant content sharing that came with it has changed the way we all communicate. Of these shifts, none is more marked than the uptick in video content used by agencies to spread messages. Whether video is already a part of your strategy or is something you’re looking to explore in the new year, here are five tips to help you succeed.
1. Strong storytelling is the key to success
Behind every strong brand is a concise narrative that has been crafted over years of careful decision making. Today more than ever, authenticity and transparency are key factors in consumer and B2B decision making, particularly with the millennial cohort.
Video is a powerful tool for storytelling for a number of reasons. While a press release can reveal all the facts, statistics and key messages you need to get across for your client, it often doesn’t tell the whole story. Video is the perfect tool when your mission is to show what your client is doing for the community. If they are contributing in a powerful way and making real change as part of their corporate responsibility, show it.
In this example, Bauer asked us to create a video highlighting their First Shift program. The goal of the initiative was to help 1 million kids start playing hockey in the next 10 years. To do that, they offered discounted equipment and registration fees and educated families about the sport. The video features excited kids trying on hockey equipment for the first time and inspiring speeches from industry professionals like former NHL star Mark Messier. The reactions of both the parents and the kids to this initiative shows just how impactful it was.
2. Share your message with the world
Social media is all about sharing. As a public relations specialist, part of your challenge is to get your client’s content in front of the right eyes. But once you’ve done that, a lot of the sharing comes from third parties. People who’ve been exposed to your content directly begin sharing with their Facebook friends, retweeting or re-gramming, extending your reach organically. Video well exceeds any other form of content when it comes to social sharing.
A properly planned video strategy can super-charge your social sharing. Launches and activations are the perfect kind of content for social sharing. Let’s say you put on an event to launch a new product for your client. To really make an impact, consider using an influencer at your event. Their social media power will give you an extra edge when it comes to getting your content in front of the right people.
When St. Louis’ Bar and Grill asked us to help them launch a new flavour of wing, we went to our long-time friend, competitive eater and social influencer Furious Pete. We hosted a wing eating competition at St. Louis’ that Pete promoted on his social channels. Hundreds of fans of both Pete and chicken wings came out. We documented the whole event and packaged it into a high energy recap video. With the help of Pete’s channels, the video saw over 800 thousand views, over a million minutes watched and tens of thousands of engagements.
3. Plant Your Seeds
To have a success campaign, you not only need a lot of eyes on it, you need the right kind of eyes. To do that, you need to invest time seeding your content in the right places. There are three major ways to do this: paid, earned and owned.
Paid seeding is the most traditional form. Here, you invest money to earn eyeballs (most likely social channels). Over the past few years, it’s become easier to narrowly focus your target by selecting age range, location, gender and other attributes about your ideal audience. This is effective and delivers results quickly, but should just be part of your seeding efforts.
Earned seeding means putting your content out and relying on your followers and fans to engage with it and then share it with their network of people. To help get traction, people need to find your content. Spend time and make them aware of your content. Figure out who your content is relevant to, and then find the places they are most likely to see it. This can be particular Facebook pages, niche blogs or aggregated Instagram accounts. Just like traditional PR outreach, you have to reach out the right places to share your story.
The key to earning engagement is ensuring content is both good and relevant. We created a piece of branded content for Autodesk about graphic designer and artist Ken Lashley. In the video, he mentions a cover he did for digital art magazine ImagineFX. The magazine, which has over 137 thousand followers on Facebook, instantly shared it on their page. This took our exposure to another level.
Owned seeding means you put your content out on channels that you control or partner with. Do you contribute to a relevant Instagram channel? That’s a great way to get your content in front of the right eyes. The public relations sector has tons of aggregated channels that you can become a part of and have the opportunity to share your content through. Find one that aligns with your core focus and ask if they need contributors. If the content is relevant, it is beneficial to both sides.
4. Cater Your Content
When sharing all of your great content on social networks, be mindful of what you share and where. You need to optimize your content for each platform in a unique way.
On Instagram, get the screen real estate by uploading your content in a 1:1 or square aspect ratio. Before Instagram, filmmakers would scoff at the thought of this aspect ratio, but now it’s industry standard for social and mobile content. Not only does this format look better on phone screens, it also takes up more physical space on a feed.
On Facebook, it’s important that your content can be played silently without losing value. This is because as you scroll a Facebook feed, videos begin playing automatically on silent. If the user is interested and clicks the video, then your sound turns on. The best way to ensure your content still attracts eyes without sound is to embed it with subtitles. The easiest way to do this is to upload your content directly to Facebook, as opposed to sharing a Youtube or Vimeo link, and add in a subtitle document. This way, the subtitles can be turned off by the viewer once they’ve enabled sound.
Uploading directly to Facebook is also wise because Facebook’s algorithm favours its own content, so you’re more likely to appear in your followers’ feeds.
When we set out to create a social campaign for a client, we always keep unique platform optimization in mind. On top of aspect ratio and silent playability, we also take into consideration ideal run times for each channel. This example from a project we completed for Autodesk is an ideal format for Instagram.
5. Sizzle Your Results
You’ve worked long and hard to deliver amazing results for your campaign, now it’s time to show your client how much you did for them. The best way to do this? You guessed it: with video. Visual illustrations are a powerful way to show statistics. Get creative with the way you express your impact. Using screenshots of comments, likes and social impressions is a great way to get started. Want to go further? Infographics and kinetic typography mixed with upbeat and inspiring music is sure to make your clients take note of what you and your team accomplished.
We’ve done dozens of internal campaigns for both directly brands and their agencies of record. These can range from summaries of specific campaigns, a year in review or even submissions for awards like the Cannes Golden Lion. The best way to show off what a good job you’ve done for a client is through video.