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journalism trends offer PR opportunities, multimedia PR pitchingReporters face growing pressure to produce multimedia stories and content that performs well on social media.

That’s useful knowledge and an opportunity for media relations people. PR can capitalize on that pressure by creating pitches that include more ready-to-run multimedia content built for social media.

The survey by PR network PRGN found that:

  • Almost half (49.1 percent) of reporters surveyed are required to provide video, versus 36 percent two years ago.
  • 29 percent are required to provide photography, compared versus 22 percent two years ago.
  • 5 percent must post to Facebook, up from 37.8 percent.
  • 3 percent are required to tweet, up from 35.4 percent;
  • 20 percent utilize LinkedIn, up from 14.4 percent.
  • 6 percent have a blogging requirement, up from 10.8 percent.

Only 57.3 percent of respondents are being asked to provide print content. That’s a 10.3 percentage point decrease from 67.6 percent two years ago.

The increase in number of journalists on Twitter offers better opportunities for media relations specialists in PR to engage with journalists on social media, better understand their needs, and offer multimedia solutions.

Greater Pressure to Fill New Channels

“While business leaders can adapt to a rapidly changing media landscape, there is a great deal of added pressure on media professionals to populate additional channels, states Leeza Hoyt, president of PRGN’s Los Angeles agency The Hoyt Organization Inc.

“By providing reporters with relevant, useful multimedia content, public relations officers not only increase the opportunity of coverage, they reduce the amount of time it takes for a story to be created,” says Serena Ehrlich, director of social and evolving media at Business Wire. “We frequently hear from media outlets that the elements they look for when considering covering a news release include a strong, relevant headline, interesting multimedia asset and a good quote.”

Besides increasing the chances of publication, video and images can help spread a brand’s PR message since many people prefer to receive information through visuals rather than text, Ehrlich says.

A Business Wire white paper offers these suggestions for including visuals and other multimedia elements in press releases.

Add color. Color images are more effective than black and white ones. Color advertisements retain 42 percent more attention than gray scale equivalents.

Combine images and text. Closely intertwining words and images can substantially improve the viewer’s comprehension. Without graphics, an idea may be lost in a sea of words. Without words, a graphic may be too ambiguous. It’s been well-known for decades that people read picture captions more frequently and more carefully than the full article. Including key messages in the caption for the multimedia element often works well in getting across the central idea of an article.

Include audio. Research shows that 30 percent of people learn best by hearing. By including audio in news releases, PR can meet the needs of a significant proportion of the population. For those who learn best through sight, include a text caption on the file that explains its contents and includes the key messages.

Consider hyper-spotted overlays. Overlaying images with hyperlinks, additional images and social media buttons provide an interactive experience that can increase engagement. Any graphic that clearly tells the story essence is usually a big hit.

Bottom Line: More journalists are now required to include multimedia content and post stories on social media. As reporters face greater pressures, PR can help relieve their burden and increase the likelihood of media placements by including video and images in their pitches.

William J. Comcowich founded and served as CEO of CyberAlert LLC, the predecessor of Glean.info. He is currently serving as Interim CEO and member of the Board of Directors. Glean.info provides customized media monitoring, measurement and analytics solutions across all types of traditional and social media.