Media Training Worldwide

What elements do you need to include in a video social media press release?

BY TJ Walker

Quite often I will do 90 minute live action video webinars for pr executives on how to use video for PR. At the end of these sessions I will invariably get a question like this:

“TJ, thanks for all the info on cameras, editing, promotion, and leveraging, but what are the actual elements that go into a social media video press release?”

It’s as if they haven’t heard anything I said in the last 90 minutes. Again, for the record, I think you should have just one “element” in your video social media press release: 1. You talking. That’s it. That’s all. You don’t need sound effects, graphics, fast cut editing, mood lighting/music, or multiple voiceovers. Just you talking.

And when you are talking, you can simply state the facts of the case or issue you are discussing and then add your particular insights, perspectives and opinions. That’s really all there is to it.

Many people are still stuck in a 1970’s era mentality where you have to send out a video news release that is tightly edited to 90 seconds and looks just like a finished news story that airs on the local Eye Witness News. You could do this, but why would you want to. It takes too much time and typically isn’t worth the effort.

To use an analogy from another medium, you could turn any simple text press release into a magazine with slick paper, gorgeous photos, glued binding and lots of ads, but why would you want to? There is a place in the world for fancy magazines and there is a place for simple, quick, fast text press releases. Unless you are in the magazine publishing business you will grow frustrated and broke trying to publish a magazine anytime you want to get an idea out (come to think of it, even if you are in the magazine industry you will grown broke and frustrated trying to publish magazines).

Simple videos are better than complex ones. Your viewers will hear directly from you about your ideas and bigger media outlets will get a faster sense of whether they want to interview you. By adding all of the elements of a traditional video news release from a broadcast you just clutter things up and waste more time and money.

Of course you could still do a traditional video news release if your target is the small to medium market broadcast news station that still takes Video News Releases (VNRs), but that is wildly expensive and not the focus of this book.

You or other members of your PR team are likely to be tempted to dress up your simple talking head videos with graphics, special effects and other gizmos imported from a PowerPoint culture. Why? Because you can. Too many people go into any presentation, live or via video, with the idea that it has to be a boring, long, tedious data dump so we might as well dress it up with PowerPoint slides, “builds,” “dissolves,” and other worthless special effects. Do yourself and everyone else a big favor: please ignore the advice to dress up your videos.

Stick to one thing: delivering your ideas on your subject in as interesting, memorable and focused manner as possible by talking directly into the camera. 

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