The public relations industry shares numerous characteristics with its parent profession journalism. Among them is an understandable obsession with the printed word – historically, a tool fundamental to both disciplines. However, the digital age has redoubled the importance of imagery and video in PR. Arguably, redefining and extending the industry’s remit, and eroding the key role of traditional medias in relation to PR.
PR from newsprint to YouTube
The printing press created journalism as a profession: the pamphlet of old evolved into the newspaper and a commercially viable industry was born. Words became powerful political and commercial commodities.
In turn, the PR industry sought to achieve its objectives through the pedantic scripting of press releases and press-packs of refined, though predictably formulaic copy – note the language of B2B communications and media relations.
Conceivably, the digital revolution has freed PR from the tyranny of the press release – the printed word no longer reigns supreme. Likewise, video is not the medium it was 20 years ago; the Internet has effectively given it a third age. The use of video for B2B and B2C PR is not new; however, its reconstitution for digital platforms has both electrified and confounded businesses in equal measure. Successful adapters include Apple, who use video to engage consumers with their products, through theatrical launches and audiences centered on the personality of Steve Jobs as this video shows…
Why Video? People are culturally hardwired
When a business asks: Why use video? It must consider that we are by nature, instinctively visual, and live in a culture that worships imagery. The habitual use of television and the Internet, has contributed to a societal fragmentation of attention spans, with matching expectations for immediate gratification in terms of knowledge acquisition and understanding, and an association between entertainment and learning.
Why Video? The inherent power of imagery
When confronted with an attractive, colourful, dynamic image, we involuntarily engage with it; its subject, its message, or its brand – we learn something new, a seed is planted. This effect was achieved by the Victorian billboard poster, and the same principle applies to the corporate website today.
Placement of imagery and branding on a website’s home page will result in extended viewer engagement. If a website is text heavy but image light, the majority of viewers will quickly surf away. This is borne out by statistics, which show that LinkedIn and Twitter profiles with images gain more hits, followers and productive results than those without. ‘Seeing is believing’: we regard imagery and video as knowledge in shorthand.
Video in the digital sphere
The digital revolution effectively presented the public relations industry with the opportunity to create a new, multi-faceted publicity model for B2B communications. PR has been recast as a media maker and publisher, liberated from its former dependence on the word-centric print-media.
The digital landscape is vast, and beyond a business’s corporate website and company blogs, social media is the B2B PR tool that has powered the renewed relevance of video. Social media platforms are potentially boundless in terms of video and message dissemination. Moreover, video in B2B public relations for digital platforms and social media engagement is a complex and ever evolving subject with countless considerations. Given its importance, and multi-faceted nature, it is a subject that merits further discussion. Watch this space for more on the uses of video in B2B PR.