The Considerations and Future of Video Content in Digital PR

It’s fun to classify things as “the future.” Cronuts are the inevitable future of both donuts andcroissants; autonomous vehicles are the future of driving; the same two teams playing yet again is the future of the NBA finals. And, if you can believe it, there was a time when video was the future of all manner of things: the internet, advertising, journalism and more—though that time has long past.

Video is now one of the most common methods of storytelling available to us. Regardless of industry, message type or level of professionalism, people today are inundated by the medium. And despite that, video still has a future worth looking forward to; one that holds special lessons for marketers, videographers and digital PR practitioners.

To learn more about that future, I spoke with 4media group’s executive producer Jim O’Reilly, who has more than 18 years’ experience in video production, and nearly 20 years of experience in broadcast news.

Don’t Miss the Forest for the Trees 

Our conversation began with a piece of sage advice: “Don’t miss the forest for the trees,” O’Reilly told me. “Sometimes, people get so focused on what’s scripted that they miss the shot right in front of them. And while you need a plan, you should use it as a guideline, because magic can happen when you’re behind the camera.”

This piece of advice, in some sense, represents both the future and the present state of video in the country.

The pervasiveness of the medium is extraordinary, and it begs the question: Are we more likely to miss the forest, or does everyone think everything that befalls them is essentially the entire forest? Snapchat and Instagram stories are video logs of lives lived, and YouTube has 300 hours of video uploaded every minute.

This isn’t to say that there’s not value in careful storyboarding, scripting and the creation of an overall plan for a piece of video content–because there absolutely is.  The answer, according to O’Reilly, lies in that happy medium.  “We believe in a good script, an outline, and a plan,” he said. “But if you can be open-minded in shooting, you may get something great.”

Video is here to stay, and everyone from digital PR practitioners to regular social media users need to take O’Reilly’s advice. You’ll be sad if you miss the bigger picture, and at the same time, it’ll quit being interesting once its all we know.

Does the Ease of Producing Video Devalue the Pros? 

O’Reilly noted that in some way, to understand where video is going, we have to look at where it’s been.

“I loved the flip camera, because it was one of the first things that opened people up to video,” O’Reilly said. “So now it’s available so widely on cell phones, that people everywhere are seeing the power and the value in video.”

But as is often the case when a technology becomes widely available, there’s a cautionary tale to be had, especially for people in PR and marketing. Just because you can make a video easily, does not necessarily mean you should make that video the easy way.

‘The easy way’ is the operative phrase here.

“Our job is to remind people that while they can make a video, those of us in PR need to make a video the right way, because we’re representing an entire brand—and so the pervasiveness of video, coupled with doing it the right way, is making it an even more exciting medium,” O’Reilly said.

Just as the debate over citizen journalism has raged in the past few years, so too may the debate regarding ‘citizen videographers’ eventually be ignited. But the value in a professional is nearly impossible to overstate, because the creation of amazing content has to take into account more than just operating the camera.

Post-production, editing, and the creation of broadcast-style packages is important in digital PR and in at-large broadcast PR and marketing. Don’t take the easy way out if you want the way in to newsrooms across the country.

The Livestream Boom and the Piggyback Package   

One of the first things O’Reilly mentioned when discussing the future of video was the value of livestreaming.

“Livestreaming is booming,” O’Reilly said. “It’s a great tool for companies to communicate with employees around the world, and it’s a powerful way to get a message out.” But the benefits of livestreaming extend even beyond internal communications, because a well-produced livestream can live indefinitely online.

Digital PR Livestreaming

“I like to offer clients what I call a livestream starter kit, or the piggyback package,” O’Reilly said. “Piggyback a livestream off an existing tactic like a satellite media tour. If you’re already in a studio, and you already have the cameras and the talent, why wouldn’t you want to add value?”

O’Reilly said the piggyback package just makes sense.  The livestream element gives savvy brands all sorts of options, by giving them a video that people can engage with on social media, which can be shared with ease, will garner views over a longer period of time, and keep costs minimal while gaining a huge reach.

The Future Is Bright

Video has a future worth looking forward to.  The payoff in producing great video is making it a more powerful element for digital PR and marketing with each passing day, and the potential advances in the medium are exciting as well.

Remember that when you want excellent video, ask a professional. But when you’re just having fun, shooting for social media, or otherwise living life, always beware the dancing bear.  And if you’re looking for a rare value, try piggybacking a livestream off your next SMT.

Want to talk more about options for video production and packages? Reach out, we’d be happy to help.