In an Edelman PR blog a year ago, Arun Mahtani wrote about how video has emerged as a profoundly important tool for public relations professionals. “In public relations, we’ve always put storytelling front and center. It’s been key to winning media coverage for our clients.”
“In the world of YouTube,” he continued, “it’s real stories about real people that reign supreme. The site is flooded with users documenting their lives and thoughts. Brands and companies have leveraged this trend… In this new reality, our talents as public relations professionals are in demand. We just need to understand how video has changed. And be bolder about our abilities.”
It used to be that video was something someone else produced for the purpose of promotion, usually to advertise a product. PR practitioners would only flirt with video production, occasionally working on public service announcements for nonprofits, or sometimes producing a video news release. Today, according to a number of sources, using video in blogs, on websites, and on YouTube channels boosts search engine optimization (SEO) so much so that a client is 50 times more likely to appear on page one of a Google search.
What does this mean for public relations professionals? It means we all better get more comfortable and knowledgeable about video production, and learn basic scripting, lighting, shooting, and editing.
The good news is it has become relatively easy to produce good video; in fact. some of my students’ PSA projects are shot with an Iphone and edited in Imovie, and come out looking nearly professional. Video, desktop publishing, photography and other tools have become such a part of PR that we’re thinking about developing an advance course in public relations tools, building on the fundamental tools class we require of Hofstra’s PR majors.
“Authenticity is another factor that plays to our skill-set,” wrote Mahtani. “Like journalists, we are experts in showing people the way the world is, rather than constructing an alternate reality.” Which means we all better get good at using video to tell our stories. Your thoughts?