Use Video to Advance PR Efforts

With a library of more than 70 million videos, YouTube’s status as the leading video-sharing platform is indisputable. Companies of all shapes and sizes have turned to the platform to try their hands at “going viral”—that is, creating a video campaign that takes off and is seen by an audience of hundreds, thousands or even millions.

But videos that end up having this immense reach are few and far between. According to data from TubeMogul, less than 1% of all YouTube videos get more than a million views, less than 2% get 100,000-500,000 and less than 3% get 10,000-100,000. In fact, the highest percentage of YouTube videos (30%) get less than 100 views.

But communications executives already know that a video’s viral qualities aren’t created; rather, they are “decided” by a proverbial jury of their peers. Thus, using video as a tool for advancing PR efforts isn’t always a matter of the quantity of viewers, but of the quality of viewers relative to the campaign’s objectives. To approach video campaigns more strategically, then, Joseph Kingsbury, head of Text 100 Global PR’s social media practice in North America, recommends that communications professionals consider these best practices:

â–¶ Understand what you want to achieve. This mirrors the first step of any successful PR campaign: identifying objectives. To do so in the context of video, Kingsbury says, ask yourself the following questions:

• Who are you trying to reach?

• Do you need basic brand visibility?

• Can you spark dialogue around an issue of importance to your company?

• What about thought leadership and influencing influencers?

â–¶ Before you begin generating content, think practically about the video’s narrative. “The common thread among most successful videos is that they leave room for conversation around the content,” Kingsbury says. “Anticipate what the viewer’s reaction will be, and shape your narrative accordingly. The more conversation your video sparks, the more likely other people are to find and share it.”

â–¶ If you are going to take the time to say something once, say it again with video. Most likely, you already have tons of fodder for great online videos; you just don’t know it yet. Take stock of your brand’s online content, and think about what can be repackaged as a video. For example, take an idea presented on your corporate blog, and use it as the subject for a video interview with a senior exec, or some other industry expert.

â–¶ Once you’ve created and uploaded a video, share it with people who you know will find it interesting. Don’t promote your video to everyone under the sun. Social media content—especially online video—is most successful when it spreads organically from user to user in a word-of-mouth manner.

By identifying a small group of people who you know will find the video interesting and sending it to them (and them alone), you increase your chances that they will pass it on to their own followers—and so on.

â–¶ Measure results to establish what’s working—and what’s not. “Anecdotal results alone will not prove success,” Kingsbury says. “Whether it’s simple tracking of views on YouTube or employing sophisticated analytics tools, measuring the impact of your video is essential. Develop a measurement plan ahead of time—it will provide you with the added value of metrics to back your results.”

â–¶ Tie video campaigns back into the overall PR strategy. Online video is not a strategy—it’s one of many tools that can be used to make a strategy more effective.

“Don’t lose sight of the fact that everything you put out there is a reflection of your business. The key takeaway is to be authentic and intentioned in your approach,” Kingsbury says. “By ensuring there is inherent value in what is being done on behalf of the business, you can successfully use video to help build your brand and connect with key audiences.” PRN


Joseph Kingsbury,

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