LCI Blog: Digital PR – Five tips for better coverage

july `11Hi, this is Eric Steckel, LCI’s new Digital/Video Media Strategist. After running, my own business, Bars+Tone, for 11 years, I’ve just joined the LCI staff to help clients realize how best to use digital and video strategies to generate content, drive traffic and build buzz. Here are 5 easy-to-implement strategies that can help you build your brand.

If digital media tactics are not part of your PR toolbox, what are you waiting for? For whatever reason, while marketing and public relations continue to encroach on one another’s turf, digital media is one turf war in which the marketers currently have a strong upper hand. That’s the bad news. The good news is that it’s not too late.

At a recent San Francisco Public Relations Round Table event, Sally Falkow, a social media strategist and publisher of Proactive Report, provided some very telling evidence, courtesy of PR Newswire:

jul 22While articles containing relevant images have 94% more total views than those without, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Press releases with text and video receive 4.3 times as many views, and releases with text, relevant images, video and downloadable files receive 9.7 times as many views. That is an astounding difference, especially when you compare it to reality – just 39% of PR professionals claim to use images and visuals with their releases while 54% reported that they didn’t have the resources.

Clearly, there’s opportunity, and room for improvement. Falkow went on to explain that journalists increasingly rely on outside content. On a recent walk through downtown Oakland, I passed a recognizable local TV reporter taping his “to camera” segment on his own, with no cameraman. He was the cameraman. In an era where budgetary cutbacks within traditional media mean that journalists are now a one-person operation, agencies can make their job easier by providing good stories with relevant and engaging visuals.

Here are five tips to increasing your digital media capabilities:

  1. Make it part of your DNA. Digital media should not be a tactic that gets tacked on as a “nice to have.” As the evidence bears, it’s a “must have.” Train your team so that they know the tools and the tactics. Make sure that your clients understand the value of the investment from the very beginning. Make it a crucial part of your strategy on both sides of the agency-client equation.
  2. Have a dedicated social creative newsroom. This is crucial to building relationships. It needs to run like real newsroom, with creative editors and a real contact available to the journalists and bloggers. Make it simple for them to find all of your content, especially digital and social media, by creating a video and image gallery.
  3. Always provide relevant, original content. Newsrooms are telling reporters that they will not run stories without visual content, so you stand to make their life easier by providing it in your story. However, don’t simply attach a stock image. Create something new, like an infographic or a photo. Use stock material to create an image that is unique and relevant to your story.july 33
  4. If images are good, video is better. Look for opportunities to weave more video content into your PR channels such as social media. If you don’t have strong video capabilities in-house, you have options – learn the basics and do it yourself; or bring in a digital media producer.
  5. Think outside the box and take advantage of new technology. Digital media isn’t confined to video alone. Just as video went from cutting edge to “expected” in the past decade, there are other new, interactive technologies emerging that will become the norm. For example, an interactive 3D model of a consumer electronics device would provide journalists and bloggers an engaging piece of content to run with their online story.

As traditional media evolves, so do the tools the PR profession bring to bear. Digital media tactics represent a fantastic opportunity to expand your strategic capabilities. Make them an integral part of your campaign, not an afterthought.

Questions or comments? Please comment below or send an email to me at [email protected].

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6 Comments

  1. David Landis Reply

    Eric – welcome to the LCI team. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, I guess video and content rich media is worth a million words? Thanks for the tips. Cheers, David

  2. Hilary Reply

    Eric, welcome on board! I’m astounded to hear that only 39% of PR professionals claim to use images and visuals with their releases. This is a great blog post and I’m looking forward to working with you. Best, Hilary

  3. Sean Dowdall Reply

    Great insights! Relevance is the key to getting attention and having people keep paying attention. Sean

  4. Gretchen Krueger Reply

    Eric,
    So glad to have you on the LCI team. Thank you for sharing your tips and insight. There is so much opportunity to increase visibility through video. I am excited about the many possibilities for our current and future clients.
    Best,
    Gretchen

  5. Samantha Reply

    Eric, welcome to the team! I had no idea that videos impacted engagement so heavily. Providing videos in press releases seems like the way of the future. Thanks for the tips!
    Best, Samantha

  6. Donna Reply

    Thanks for writing an engaging post. I couldn’t agree more…visuals TELL the story often more than words do!

    Donna