Managing Risk, Maximizing Results Part 1: Video Meets Social Media

The 1979 one-hit wonder from the British group "The Buggles" may claim that "video killed the radio star," but the medium's reputation fares better in the modern communications age. Video has made huge strides in enabling PR's online efforts to reach more audiences, to impact consumer habits, to interact with customers on a personal level and to bring their brands to life. But along with these pros comes a smorgasbord of challenges: * Allowing the general public to comment freely through videos they post online (courtesy of sites such as YouTube and MySpace) opens doors for denigrating messages that damage corporate reputations; * Videos posted on corporate Web sites can monopolize bandwidth, both enraging the IT department and increasing the likelihood that the site will crash; and * If the tone of the video isn't consistent with the corporate culture and brand identity, consumers will take note. Granted, this truncated laundry list of challenges and sand traps is intimidating, but communicators must embrace the online video craze as more than a trendy add-on; rather, it's becoming a necessary component of any PR portfolio. Video can take a more traditional media relations approach on corporate Web sites and in online newsrooms, or it can be incorporated into the Wild West of social networking and consumer-generated media platforms.

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