Using Video for PR
I recently attended a PRII workshop on creating video content for the web given by the lovely folks over in Agtel. I have been slightly obsessed with all things video ever since. As my colleagues will confirm, I am channelling Stephen Spielberg at every opportunity – though I’ll be honest – the finish products need a little fine tuning!
Video is massively popular and it’s not going anywhere, last month YouTube announced that it had reached over a billion users per month for the first time. Video can be a powerful tool in PR, from launching a product (check out Flipboard 2.0 through the video tour) to promoting an event (the Dublin Web Summit has a full page video when you click on the website which gives you a real insight into the conference – and Bono!) and even responding to a crisis (Domino’s CEO apology was one of the first and best examples of this). Videos are an easy way to communicate directly with your customers and can give companies and organisations personality.
So we asked the creative director at Agtel, Diarmaid Mac Mathuna for a few tips on how to make a compelling video
- What makes a good online video?
The best online videos tell a story that grabs people’s attention – and they tend to be short too. They generally have an impressive opening, an interesting middle bit that keeps people watching and a strong call to action at the end.
- What’s the ideal length for an online video?
Shorter is usually better when it comes to videos – we usually recommend somewhere between one to three minutes depending on the target audience and the results our clients are aiming to achieve
- What locations work well for filming?
That’s a tricky one because it really does depend on the subject matter – when you’re doing interviews noisy locations near busy roads are generally bad, but then again if your video is all about road safety it makes sense to film there. Filming in boardrooms is tricky because they’ve big windows and the air conditioning doesn’t always have an off switch – but it’s possible to make it work and I’ve filmed in more boardrooms than I care to remember
- What are the key trends in video at the moment?
It’s all about animated infographics these days – we’ve even had to hire a motion graphics designer to keep up with demand. These kinds of videos work really well to communicate sometimes complex messages in a colourful, entertaining and informative way – and people love sharing them on social media too
- What are your favourite brands using video at the moment?
There are so many great examples of video these days that it’s hard to pick out one particular video or brand. One of my favourite animated infographic videos has to be The Girl Effect and the Apple ads work really well on TV and on the web – especially the most recent ones. The Apple ads aren’t that complicated but they show off their products in a really creative way with great visual, on-screen text and upbeat music
- What’s the difference between a video I shoot on my iPhone and something Agtel makes for me?
Smartphone cameras are really good but they’re no match yet for full blown High Definition cameras with the right lenses and lighting setups! But it’s really the experience and creativity of our Directors and Camera People behind the camera that makes the biggest difference. The videos we create for clients are also different because we (1) focus on the results our clients want to achieve, then (2) we create impressive videos with beautiful shots and (3) when they’re online we deliver big audiences through digital campaigns. So the video itself is only part of the whole communications package that we put together for clients and their PR teams, and the standard of videos online is going up and up
- What are the main reasons for your clients to request a video being made?
Marketing is the biggest driver we’re seeing in Ireland these days with businesses using video to drive sales, while with our European clients online video is a core part of international communications campaigns aimed at people across the EU.
- What do you think of the growing popularity of video short apps like Vine and would you have any tips for people making amateur videos using a smartphone?
It’s great that there are more and more ways for people to share video because it’s such a powerful way to communicate. Smartphones are great for making videos but it breaks my heart to see people holding the phone vertically – they should be holding them horizontally so that the video will look right on a wide screen TV! And it’s important to hold the phone as steady as you can too and move it around smoothly so that the footage will be easier to edit. After that don’t forget to back up your videos!
- Any funny production stories?
Now you’re putting me on the spot! Let’s just say my memoirs will be fascinating reading 🙂