Carefully Crafted on June 01

A PR Pro’s Guide to Getting Started with Video

I’m in Miami speaking at PR News Digital Conference & Video Workshop. My session is focused on helping those of us who don’t come from a digital/video background understand when and how to shoot, produce and incorporate it into our communication strategies.

Why are we, as PR people, focusing on video? Isn’t that a marketing tactic? Or a digital tactic? Well, as the lines continue to blur between communication disciplines, PR people need to be well versed in video, as well. (After all, sometimes it’s our job to be a “know it all” … in the nicest way possible, of course.) While you may not be tasked with creating or producing videos yourself, you do need to know how to talk intelligently about video content opportunities and make informed recommendations to your clients.

Still need convincing? Let the data guide you: 60% of viewers are more likely to buy something after watching a product video. Plus, companies have seen a 65% increase in click-throughs when emails use the word “video” in their subject line. And, more than half of marketing professionals worldwide name video the type of content with the best ROI.

Ready to take on video? Here are some insights from my presentation to help you get started.

Getting Started: Video Strategy

Who’s been in a meeting when someone declares the need for a viral video. It’s like nails on a chalkboard, right?! And, it’s probably not the smartest strategy.

The good news is, if you’ve ever mapped out a PR or social media strategy, you’re well positioned to take on video too. Many of the foundational elements are the same.

As with any PR plan, establish your focus area first. What are you trying to accomplish with this video? What does video success look like for your company/client? To achieve success, what audiences should see the video?

Once you determine those foundational items, dive into the specifics:

  • What content will resonate with the target audience?
  • What tone will stay true to the brand, while also resonating with the desired audience? For example, a video targeting millennials will look and sound very different than one targeting parents. Similarly, a video designed to drive sales will be very different than one designed to educate.
  • What are your overarching key messages? How do they translate to video? Pro tip: Keep in mind that messages for video need to be formatted a little different than what most of us are used to. Think in sound bites, not written words.
  • How will you maximize the value of the video? Do you have an existing audience to share it with? How will you disseminate the content to make sure you can justify the resource investment?
  • Can you tell a well-paced story in a short amount of time? As you’ve seen with your other PR tactics, we’re constantly fighting for people’s attention. How will this video catch and keep someone’s attention? And what does the pacing look like? What needs to move faster? Where can a slower approach enhance your storytelling?

5 Tips for Working with Videographers

With a video recorder on every phone, it’s tempting to think we’re all videographers. And, sometimes it does make sense to shoot and edit your own video. But, other situations may cause for outsourcing the work to a video partner. Be realistic. Do you have the time, tools, skills, etc. to create a compelling video on your own? Or, do you need to pull in someone with a little more experience/expertise to help guide you?

If you do decide to pull in a videographer, what can you do to create a strong relationship with this new partner? In preparation for my PR News talk, I interviewed Dan Farkas, a videographer friend of mine to get some first-hand insights. A few tips based on that conversation:

  • Set expectations ahead of time. Communicate early and communicate often, so both you and your videographer are on the same page from the beginning. Don’t make any assumptions. Instead, develop a detailed creative brief outlining your expectations – the format you’re looking for, the story you want to tell, etc. – as well as project details, including deadlines. Also, send links to other brand videos that you like for inspiration.
  • Understand the process. Relating this back to PR, think about writing an article or strategic plan. Typically, you’re going to spend a large chunk of time on research, planning and prep. Then you’ll write the first draft, and the rest of the time is spent editing and revising. That translates to video too. Investing in upfront planning is a smart use of resources – and will save you time and money down the road. Also, keep in mind: If you don’t have the right raw footage, you can spend hours editing and “revising” and still not end up with the content you’re looking for, so make sure you allocate enough time to capture all the footage you may need.
  • Provide logistics. This may not seem as important as other elements, but detailing the logistics of your space can go a long way in creating a successful relationship with your videographer, particularly when it comes to parking/travel and the site location. First, parking and travel times. Is parking available close to the venue? If not, is there a drop off point for unloading? How far will the videographer need to carry their equipment? If it’ll take the video person an extra 15-20 minutes to unload/move equipment, they need to know ahead of time. Similarly, know the room or shooting location. Which spots have the best lighting, acoustics, etc.? Are power outlets available? Again, provide any and all detail that could be helpful. Even the seemingly small stuff can make a huge difference.
  • Trust your videographer’s expertise. Ever had a client try to tell you how to do your job? It’s the worst, right? A client hires you for your expertise. How often do we say that we wish clients would just get out of our way and let us do our jobs? Same goes for videographers. Trust that your videographer knows more about what works or what doesn’t than you do. Let them do their job.
  • Get it in writing. Last but not least, make sure you have a contract in place. This helps to set expectations in the beginning and avoid misunderstandings. Would you ever start working on a new client/project – or with a new vendor – without a contract in place? Likely not. (And if you do, please stop!) Same applies here.

My presentation also included a few tips and tools for creating DIY video. Stay tuned for more later this week!


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