PR can be powerful. The ability to access media outlets and control the conversation between businesses and the public are inherently more attractive when it’s earned versus paying for it with ads.
There’s nothing better than earning the equivalent of $5 million in national advertising with only spending a fraction of that amount on PR and video. And if done well, you are achieving this by taking the actions of a good corporate citizen or thinking dynamically about potential opportunities.
Now, under the restrictions of COVID-19, PR is more important than ever. Whether companies are announcing remarkably generous programs during this crazy time or if they have important and crucial messages that need to be spread, PR plays a key role in disseminating that information and video can help more than ever.
The only difference now is that we need to be more creative than ever! Times like these sometimes generate the most earth-shattering creativity.
Here are a few ways that video can help you in your efforts. First, let’s discuss the three pieces that make up a successful PR partnership.
The Video Formula For Big Earned PR
First, you need all three players to partner together for big earned media attention with video.
- You need a client who’s willing to consider interesting options. Some companies are middle of the road and don’t want to take any risk whatsoever. So you need a client who will entertain something extraordinary.
- You need a PR company willing to brainstorm with a video agency from the start, who has contacts, can execute a strategy quickly, and is willing to work together from the ground level.
- You need a moment-driven video agency to help you brainstorm incredible opportunities to capture with video. Creative COVID-19 strategies below.
Think “Video First”
Video makes EVERYTHING more attractive to the media. Video drives the news cycle. In many cases it dictates what some outlets will cover or will talk about.
Being a moment-driven video production company means that we are always thinking of how to get our cameras in a position to capture an authentic moment. This is a helpful character trait in PR, documentaries, & brand films that we push ourselves very hard to do.
We recently partnered with Planit to develop a video for a major announcement from St John Properties. Video was the first thing that STJP thought about during the process and it paid off ten fold. We were able to work closely with Planit to plan our coverage and develop assets that would amplify their abilities to get the message out. this would have been impossible if they did not think about video first. You can see the video and the full case study here.
Having video of the moments play out made it possible for everyone from Inside Edition, Fox News, to CNN play the video on TV for their audiences. It also made it more attractive for online news outlets like The Washington Post and Business Insider.
The sooner you can work video into the creative and planning process, the better prepared you can be to cover the event, package the deliverables, and pitch media.
Not to mention, as creative partners who specialize in capturing moments, we can offer suggestions and help navigate great “video first” solutions to have more impactful creatives and ultimately more bang for you buck.
How To Use Video For PR During The Age Of COVID-19
Of course, right now video productions are slowing down or even completely stopped in some parts of the country. As of the time of writing this, it may not even be responsible to be filming even in small groups. But now more than ever, media outlets are strapped for resources. In the midst of this epidemic, their crews are stretched and often unable to cover anything other than immediate public concerns. That doesn’t mean that the information you are pitching is not newsworthy. It is just that they only have a finite amount of crews to cover such events and they prioritize “hard news” first which means that if you’re able to send them video of softer news, they’ll gobble it up.
News outlets are very fluid and need to be flexible in the way they provide coverage, now especially more than ever during this time of COVID-19 crisis. They are stretched thin and are making split second decisions based on the current situation and the government information. Their fluidness can come in the form of when they decide to run certain stories or in how they structure the story based on their audiences. So creating video packages that allow the media to be flexible and providing them with creative decisions is incredibly valuable to them. As former journalists, we have intimate knowledge of working newsrooms and media organizations.
By working with a video team early in the process you can construct a few different deliverables that place control in the hands of the newsroom and greatly improves your chances of getting coverage.
In the case of the St John Properties announcement, we built a media package. We provided a single video that only contained the interviews captured along with the person’s name and important information. This allows news outlets to pick and choose what sound they want to use. We also provided a single video that included all the best moments we captured throughout the evening uncut. Finally we also created a cutaway edit that includes environmental and locator footage that gives media outlets additional video they can use to construct their own story. Editors love this as it gives them creative freedom to construct the best edit possible. This works very well with most outlets and gives them maximum options in how they cover your event.
With a little planning and fore-thought, you can put yourself in a great position to get coverage from media outlets. Our time in the news industry gives us detailed knowledge of how they work and what will help them. It is more important now than ever to help the media get what they need to push out quality content. Give us a call if you want to chat about how we can help.
The Media Cares About Moments
Real moments captured through text are good.
Real moments captured through still images are great.
Real moments captured through video are golden.
This is literally the reason that YouTube is the number two search engine in the world.
The moment is the most important thing when pitching news outlets. In fact, we know from our previous lives as photojournalists, that news outlets are trained to look for moments.
Whether the company is giving away money, such as St John Properties, or services or crucial information, it almost doesn’t matter as much as the reaction that is captured on camera. If you can bottle the reaction and show authentic emotions, then your chances of landing coverage across multiple platforms will greatly improve.
Recently we worked with Sheetz to make an announcement that they were giving one of their biggest fans (an 8 year old boy) $5000 dollars. The moment was intricately planned and organized but the moment of shock and excitement from the boy was real and authentic. That moment was worth its weight in gold. Being able to capture and pitch that moment to media outlets was the reason they were able to get coverage on CBS morning news. The video played a crucial role in getting the attention of media outlets for Sheetz.
Authenticity Cannot Be Faked
Faking authenticity is by definition an impossibility. However, setting up authentic moments to be captured at a future date can very easily still be planned.
But how do you capture authentic moments during COVID-19? Continue reading.
We worked with Planit (again) on a project for a financial services company who helps low-wage workers avoid predatory lending such as high-interest payday loans. The idea was crazy simple. Thinking “video first” we considered what would be the most interesting way to build a campaign around capturing video of making someone’s day.
As workers approached the payday lender, we would head them off at the pass and give them their money no questions asked. Then planit develop a strategic campaign around the video, had the brilliant idea of launching it on national #payitforward day and boom. Brilliantly simple.
Enter COVID-19. No longer does it make sense to send a crew in crowded areas and exchange cash from hand to hand.
Time to get creative to capture this moment.
How about inviting employees of a company to a zoom meeting, presenting them with a money, asking each of them about their situation, and recording it?! That’s a great idea. Or maybe something eles. But there’s a way to do this.
Or what about user-generated content. Check out this brilliant spot that Martin Agency put together for Buffalo Wild Wings using video collected online.
But what if shooting anything new, crowdsourcing videos, or user generated content isn’t an option?
Repurpose Existing Footage
When St. Patrick’s Day is getting shut down in freakin’ Ireland and around the world, you know a company like Guiness needs to address the public and the media with some sort of response. This was a brilliant way to repurpose footage and use some simple voiceover.
In the same spirit, we dug into our massive stock footage library to produce this simple message for last Thanksgiving. We produced this in a day.
The news is changing rapidly and so are the announcements. Maybe there isn’t time to produce something as beautiful as the Guiness spot. A little simplicity and motion may just do the trick.
Motion Graphics, like the one below, are defined as 2d text-based graphics potentially using icons or still images.
GIFS or videos like these can be simple to produce but make your posts so much more attractive and engaging for your audiences boosting your click throughs and conversions.
While motion graphics like the ones above are typically a little more for daily use and speed, animation can be as sophisticated or simple as you wish.
Even though motion graphics are animated as well, we’re making the distinction here based on more of the custom, hand-crafted / drawn qualities involved.
A simple animation like this one doesn’t take very long, maybe a day or two.
This announcement for our client PayActiv however, took about a week to do and is clearly for a more thoughtful distribution strategy.
Let’s Partner Up
If you’re interested in doing some PR and want to brainstorm some ideas, let’s chat. Contact us on this form below.