1. Video produces an emotional connection
However much we like to think of ourselves as rational, calm, thinking machines, human beings are fundamentally emotional. The things we experience that unlock an emotional response tend to be the things we remember the most. For a PR campaign to work, it needs that emotional connection, or engagement, with the viewer. Online video is a powerful tool to make that connection. At its best, video is direct, impactful, and persuasive, and elicits a powerful emotional response, like you may well get by watching this… OK, so it turns out it’s an elaborate clothing ad, not an art project as many first thought. But as I write, 72 million people have seen it, and counting. Videos with a strong emotional element are much more likely to make a splash online than those without.
2. Online video tells stories – quickly
What is a story? I’d define it as a central character, on an emotional journey. The best storytellers make it easy for us to connect with that central character, and empathise with them on their journey. You’ll find that ‘character on a journey’ idea in literature, art, music, and in the best PR campaigns, like this one, from Save The Children.
The total duration is a just over a minute – hardly long. But that minute is built up of clips that last about a second. For me, some of those blink-of-an-eye clips are a complete story in themselves. In a world where there’s huge competition for our time, video is one of the quickest ways to get a message across. Just look at the popularity of Vine – a social network built on films with a running time of 6 seconds.
3. Online video is shareable
When I was a kid, sharing a video meant taking a VHS cassette round to a friend’s house to watch Ghostbusters. Now, what feels like all the video ever shot is accessible to me at any time, through the phone in my pocket. The sharing of video is happening more and more as our mobile devices morph from being a portable email inbox to a powerful, connected computer. Watching video online is now an everyday activity. YouTube says more than 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube – that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth, and 50% more than in 2013. There are lots of stats to show people are more likely to buy online goods when they’ve seen a video of them first. So a good quality online video is vital for business, and I would argue that means it’s vital for a PR campaign. Here’s a great online video that was shared with me just before the Olympics, and still has a long tail of feelgood.
Mike Ramsden is Head of Broadcast for PLMR, where he creates online videos for PR campaigns.
He conceived, filmed and edited a series of online videos for the The Bingo Association’s Boost Bingo campaign, which led to the duty on bingo clubs being halved. He was a TV reporter for BBC News for more than a decade, shooting and editing his own reports.