Video didn’t kill the Press Release – it saved it

 November 15, 2011

Once the idea of the press release itself was both new and sexy, the days of newspapers and magazines printing their own news was now under threat as businesses and the newly formed agencies realized that they could submit stories directly to them.

They were sent by post or hand/courier delivered or dictated over the telephone – the latter being another breakthrough, the idea that you could type something in the morning and have it arrive in the afternoon. This idea then went even further with the invention of the fax machine which allowed whole documents to be sent almost immediately and in one piece with no mistranslations or mistakes.

Of course, faxes were only good for text. If you had any diagrams, pictures or photographs then they would either have to be omitted or sent separately. The post had a brief resurgence here.  The Internet came along in the 90s which allowed instantaneous releases to be posted along with pictures that could be downloaded straight away, many thought this was the pinnacle of the press release but this was before the age of Smartphones and YouTube.

Now everything is recorded, we live in an age where every major news event is recorded from multiple angles by multiple users and is uploaded simultaneously by hundreds of users.  As of February 2011, YouTube had 490m unique users a month who view 92 billion pages each month. 2.9 billion hours are viewed each month, over 325,000 years of footage. These stats don’t included embedded videos on other sites or videos watched on mobile devices!  YouTube is also the second most popular search engine on the Internet after Google so it is imperative for any press release writer to embrace the rise of video and incorporate or replace the traditional press release with moving pictures. Every reasonable smart-phone has video recording capability today or practitioners can buy dedicated cameras such as the Flip Video for cheap prices.

A video press release follows the same format as a regular written one. There should be a bold opening statement to attract the attention of the viewer – a headline; then there should be some exposition about the release, preferably with enthusiasm and energy. Facts and figures can be incorporated onto the screen with the annotations feature or stills can be inserted easily as if you were creating a PowerPoint presentation. The finale of the video press release should be a summary of the main messages, no more than three, and a call to action. Either a link to follow to a website or social media site, a number to call or an email address to contact.

In 2011, more users were accessing the Internet and watching video on mobiles and tablets than desktops so the more interactive material you can generate and make available, the more chances of having your video press release seen, shared and acted upon. More and more Press Release distribution sites are acting as hosts and aggregators for video press releases so take advantage of the technology and movement before it becomes the norm.

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