Despite the disastrous demise of newspapers, PR pros can still achieve stellar media placements by offering multimedia content.
Infographics, audio clips, photos and especially videos grab and hold attention and tell stories that people tend to remember. Understanding this, reporters and editors like to serve multimedia content to their audiences. Multimedia content also helps busy reporters and editors quickly understand media pitches and content, increasing chances of obtaining media coverage.
Multimedia – No Longer Optional
“Multimedia has essentially become table stakes for effective storytelling,” says Rob Bratskeir, an executive vice principal at 360PR+, in The Future of Media Relations Report from Ragan Communications and NewsDirect. “To see how fundamental the shift has been, put yourself in the shoes of the reader or viewer—of the very people we need to influence. As consumers of media, what makes us stop and stay as we scan headlines, scroll through our feeds and otherwise engage with content? Increasingly, our first reaction is to visual, video or sometimes audio cues.”
Today, virtually every print publication utilizes video content on its web site. As print readership declines, viewership of web content grows. As an example, the number of digital subscribers to the New York Times increased from 799,000 in Q1 2014 to 3.43 million in Q4 2019, according to Letter.ly. In 2019, the average weekday circulation of print edition of The New York Times was 443,000 copies, a significant drop from over 959,000 a decade earlier, according the Statistica. Each daily edition of NYTimes.com is loaded with video content.
As a result, it’s essential for PR pros to think about how their story both looks and sounds. Some PR pros even create a media asset first, and then let the asset dictate the distribution channels.
To spice up otherwise long, dense content, PR pros now create short videos that highlight various findings. They also repackage content into bite-size multimedia chunks.
Compact messages are essential for reaching audiences. For instance, the best TikTok videos are usually 15 to 30 seconds.
Writing skills will remain essential. Videos still need scripts. Also, SEO needs proper text descriptions.
Agreement on the Value of Multimedia for PR
Plenty of other professionals in the PR and journalism sphere agree that multimedia content delivers valuable benefits to media relations. PR often reuses marketing assets, but those are designed to sell products and services, not to pitch to journalists, says Serena Ehrilich, director of product marketing at Business Wire.
“The time has come for PR communicators to start creating their own visual content that appeals specifically to reporters and readers,” Ehrilich writes. “Visuals designed specifically for earned media provide reporters with a story-focused supplement that increases readership – a benefit to you and the reporter alike.” A majority of consumers also prefer video content. Television news, with its emphasis on video, remains the primary news source in the US.
Ehrilich offers these recommendations:
- Develop different visuals that resonate with specific audiences to encourage them to share them on social media, a key to PR success.
- Test and refine content as you go. Use your social channels and pitches as your tests. Try differing messages and multimedia types to see which resonates most with each audience.
- Create visuals that relay the message you intend to communicate. To find the ideal angle and visual, formulate a creative brief and invite key participants to help brainstorm ideas.
- Find someone to create the content. That’s probably easier than you think. You could tap a coworker interested in practicing their visual creative toolset, a freelancer, an agency or DIY tools. A wide range of options are available for any budget.
Bottom Line: Multimedia content represents the future of media relations. Videos, photos, infographics, and audio clips help PR pros win the attention of journalists and audiences to promote corporate and brand messages.
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, media measurement and analytics solutions across all types of traditional and social media.