Best PR Uses For Video Content

As much as video content has grown in advertising, marketing, and PR, data shows that it continues to expand. WebpageFX predicts that by next year, 90% of online content will be video. PR practitioners have long helped clients amplify video content through social media promotion and earned media coverage, but they may be underusing video as branded content. Video enhances SEO, has the best ROI, keeps consumers engaged longer, and is more shareable than many other content forms.

7 best PR uses for video

A public-facing CEO

As noted in our post on long-form content, a CEO can help influence a corporate image as well as build a personal brand through regular video communications. Video also works well as an internal tool for company announcements or simply to show accessibility, as Intuit CEO Brad Smith does in his “new employee welcome message.” Executives can reach out to shareholders or investors through video, as Nestle shows in this message from a 2017 investor seminar.

A real-time response when the stakes are high

Some CEOs opt for video to control sensitive communications like a public apology. Video communications can work well in time-urgent situations, but a controlled message is just that, and it will be questioned if it doesn’t measure up. That was the case with Equifax CEO Rick Smith’s wooden response to the 2017 data breach. Video can be very revealing, and small things like darting eyes, a robotic tone, or nervous energy can be magnified on-camera. Video is a useful executive tool for getting the facts out quickly, or expressing sincere regret and responsibility in a crisis situation. However, any executive who uses it to try to avoid news media questions in real time will probably find it won’t accomplish that.

A personalized way to attract talent

Internal communications teams use video to convey a corporate culture. Zendesk’s “This is Zendesk” corporate video from 2012 still holds up, because it shows a playful, subtle humor, conveying an egalitarian, socially responsible, and fun environment. The video communicates the corporate culture far better than a statement on a website, so it’s not surprising that it has received 214,000 views. As an alternative, a company can show a “day in the life” of employees or simply interview them one-on-one in a video featurette, like Elite SEM does in its more traditional talking-heads style post.

An expression of corporate values

Perhaps the most powerful aspect of video communications is the ability to draw emotional responses. The 97-year-old co-op Land O’Lakes makes extensive use of video on its website and YouTube page, showing its values of innovation, cooperation, and service in a series spotlighting various business partners. “The Farmers” has racked up 215,000 views since 2016, probably because the content is 100% non-promotional PR. It’s pure storytelling. In 2017, Land O’Lakes took it up a conceptual notch, producing “The Believers” — ten highly produced videos that salute the idea of a life in agriculture in a poetic and celebratory way.

Video can demonstrate and explain

B2B companies in the tech space are particularly adept at creating videos to demonstrate, explain, and announce their offerings. In the 2018 B2B Buyers Survey Report, 77 percent of buyers named “deployment time/ease of use” as the top variable in making a final decision on solution providers. Anything less than a clear and easy demo in a well-produced video could be a deal breaker for buyers deep into their journey. Meanwhile, explainer videos are a terrific way to delight and educate consumers while dispensing with the hard sell. Slack’s explainer uses no words, just colorful visuals to show its software while communicating a distinctive brand voice. As a bonus, explainer and demo videos can also reduce the resources needed for various other corporate functions like onboarding and customer service.

Make case studies more visual

77% of B2B buyers in the evaluation stage say that case studies are the most influential content they see from companies. Verizon’s Oath uses video to take the traditional case study beyond the usual infographic or blog post. In this cmobile advertising case study involving Huawei, the situation is highlighted in an exciting and visually stimulating way that works far harder than bullet points and statistics. The sensory appeal of a well-produced video helps convert sales, since more people finish watching videos than they do reading text articles, and more consumers share video on social media by a wide margin.

Make keynote speeches work harder

An executive thought leader’s keynote speech or remarks at an industry event or conference should always be professionally videotaped. Often a prominent conference will film or livestream the presentation and post them on its website for downloading, like these videos from the 2018 Voice Summit. But typically this kind of video content must be edited fairly drastically before being repurposed for a YouTube channel or its website, and amplified on other social channels as a badge of credibility and authority. A good PR team also knows that a well-produced keynote speech or panel discussion video can be a valuable resume item to earn additional speaking engagements and media interviews.

6 Benefits Of Long-Form Content For Brands

In this age of short attention spans, it may seem counter-intuitive to champion long-form content for PR and marketing. But in recent years, data has shown its efficacy. Longer content like books, white papers, podcasts, eBooks, and video can take more time and effort than shorter bites, demanding greater depth and creativity, but it can prove very effective.

6 benefits of long-form PR content

Business books create long-term opportunity

Content like business books can serve as a strong visibility platform and a route to new opportunities like conference speaking gigs and contributor positions. Robert Glazer of Acceleration Partners penned one of the first in-depth books about performance marketing, which led to a national television appearance, podcast guest ops, and keynotes at marketing conferences. And being a best-selling author can’t hurt when pitching bylines or features to the media. Whereas it was once important for a book to be printed and distributed by a traditional publisher, today self-publishing is a perfectly acceptable route. But note that a high-quality book isn’t (overtly) self-promotional; instead it will offer real expertise and subject-matter authority, and visibility that can last for years.

Content shapes a personal brand

Content like blogs and opinion pieces allow a CEO to show depth and personality, which helps build a distinct personal brand. Authoring a weekly blog allows a leader to write in her own voice – which becomes part of the voice of the brand. WordPress founder and current Automattic chief Matthew Mullenweg pens a popular and long-running blog (his blogging predates WordPress by 15+ years) where he covers topics from business (The Importance of Meeting in Person) to fun/personal (What’s in my Bag 2017 Edition). CEOs can let their personalities show. Mullenweg comes off as a highly intelligent but also an emotional and relatable guy. Since we’re on the cusp of 2019, CEOs should also consider the well-documented ascendance of video and go a step further with a video blog. Speaking of showing personality, CEO John Legere of T-Mobile has a weekly YouTube series called “Slow Cooker Sunday” that is, yes, a cooking show. It has helped Legere define his personal brand as smart, accessible, and a little goofy. Consistent production of longer PR content allows control of one’s public image instead of leaving it to sound bites, a LinkedIn summary, or “official” channels like annual reports.

Long-form content bolsters authority

In addition to crafting one’s personal brand, long-form content enhances the credibility of the executive and the company.  Long-form written material allows an executive more scope to display expertise that an occasional news quote or social post cannot. If a full-length business book seems daunting, a leader can author a regularly published educational blog or video blog on his topic of expertise. Two blog posts each week becomes a permanent SEO-friendly knowledge base. It takes time for writing and filming — and a strong, informed point of view. Video publishing platform Wipster’s CEO Rollo Wenlock launched a daring use of video when he began “The Daily WIP” video blog series in 2017 with the intention of making 100 video in 100 days. Wenlock succeeded in making 97 video posts (3-10 minutes) over the next few months, on which he offered various insights into video marketing and publishing. The CEO exudes a smart but down-to-earth persona. Consistency and quality are key when building a reputation as an industry expert or authority.

Packaging a differentiator

The brand-building and authority that longer content confers can can be key elements that differentiate a company from others. Longer content works harder than other forms to help a corporate leader convey a distinct point of view in the service of both personal and company brand-building. Trailblazing Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard outlined his notable business philosophy in his first non-fiction book Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman, the first of a trilogy detailing Patagonia’s one-of-a-kind ethos. It was a strong first step toward separating the company from competitors and winning the loyalty and attachment of customers. But the most practical advantage of long form content is improved search rankings.

Longer content boosts SEO

SEO has to be optimized in almost every aspect of PR content production today, from social posts to case studies. Multiple studies including one by Moz found that Google favors longer blog posts in search rankings, with the top 10 searches coming in all above 2000 words. But this doesn’t mean you should start keyword-stuffing without regard to quality or purpose. Long-form posts of all kinds need to be of significant depth and offer real value to readers; only quality earns the organic traffic and social shares that is the holy grail of content. Don’t forget, video boosts SEO as well. Additionally, good longer content keeps readers on the website longer and strengthens website domain authority.

Long-form helps close the deal

In the B2B realm, when the basic parameters of offerings are equal such as price, specifications, and product quality, the more subjective measures of value can become deciding factors. Long-form PR content can help decision makers on the buyers journey when emotional factors come into play. A buyer searching for cyber-security software who has narrowed down the choices to two or three vendors may be inspired (or have his anxiety mollified) by the CEO’s book, a demo video series, case studies, or white papers – or by their cumulative effect on the company’s reputation. While not the primary factors in B2B decision making, such content can be a factor in elevating a company into the highest consideration set.

Where Do You Find Data For PR Storytelling?

Last week’s post covered the trend of data-driven storytelling in PR.

But where does the data come from? For many of our clients we field quarterly surveys designed to generate relevant news or insights. But there are lots of other options for PR pros to source relevant data, and many are inexpensive and fairly easy to find.

Data to power PR storytelling

Social listening sets the stage

Social monitoring and listening not only give us a heads up on customer service issues or negative PR, but they can illuminate industry trends and customer behavior. A PR campaign can include a general theme or direction found in social media data or patterns, or the social data can inform a content calendar. Social listening is also a great method for coming up with fresh ideas that will resonate with a specific target audience.
Surveys are the data gift that keep giving

Polls and surveys are time-honored PR tools for developing campaigns, fine-tuning messaging, and generating earned media and content. The survey possibilities are endless, but here are our favorites.

Omnibus surveys

They’re beloved among PRs because they’re quick and affordable. Unlike custom marketing surveys, they’re administered on behalf of multiple organizations, thus spreading the cost over many sponsors. A good omnibus is a solid way to inform thought leadership content or to grab relevant data to attract media interest. They can also be used like flash polls after a news event. If you’re a cybersecurity firm, a 1000-person survey conducted after a public security breach may show behavior change, persistent sloppy password habits or new attitudes about smart home devices. Whatever the outcome, it’s likely to yield fascinating material for content. Media love poll-results story pitches, especially when accompanied by visuals like infographics. See our earlier post for more on how to make surveys work for PR.

Quality data may already exist

Even a small company may have thousands of marketing contacts collected from CRM, website visits, and social followers. Social platforms like Hootsuite or a marketing one like Hubspot can collect, visualize, and collate data analytics on subscriber demographics, email engagement, website activity, and social engagement. If you do customer satisfaction surveys, you can throw in a question to support a specific storyline or uncover customer concerns useful for PR programming.

Public-domain research is high-quality and often free

A PR pro can find in-depth research online from many government and non-profit sources, all in the public domain.,, U.S. Census Bureau, and other public agencies routinely produce data analyses and statistics collected over many decades. You can cherry-pick studies from different sources, combine and cross-reference to yield an original piece of secondary research – and a story. For a mattress company, we converted NIH data on how many hours people sleep every night into a branded national index of “most sleep-deprived cities.” Our out-of-pocket cost was $200 for the statistical software that made the calculations.

When all else fails, try a straw poll

They’re unscientific, but they’re cheap and easy. If you’re stuck for byline or blog ideas, you can always ask a handful of peers, customers, or sales reps for feedback on their biggest needs, concerns, or frustrations. The most cost-efficient are online tools like SurveyMonkey and Fieldboom for DIY polling. There are even smartphone apps like Poll Everywhere to facilitate more informal online polls with onsite participants at conferences and panels.

Formal third-party research builds thought leadersip

The high-end method is a partnership with an industry analyst or research firm to create a piece of branded research as a corporate communications centerpiece. We helped a credit-union client with a financial literacy platform team with a trade group to develop a national financial literacy study, white paper, and speaking tour. It’s an expensive proposition, but it can anchor a PR campaign and build credibility over years.

How Data-Driven Storytelling Drives PR


For many B2B technology brands, data is not only a business asset, but a PR tool. No one should underestimate the power of data for storytelling. What we call a “data bureau” – the ongoing release of fresh and relevant information as part of a B2B program – can generate strong media interest in the absence of hard news. The data is often derived inexpensively from behavior surveys or flash polls, or it may already exist within the company’s own research unit.

Yet it can yield real insights for inclusion in a thought leadership program for key executives or a brand PR campaign. Sometimes it’s just another way to add a new dimension to an existing storyline.

Whatever the case, B2B businesses are in an excellent position to use data-driven storytelling as part of a PR strategy. Here are some compelling reasons why tech PRs should embrace the trend.

5 reasons to embrace data-driven PR

Data-driven pitches win points with journalists

Journalists look for pitches that are backed up by data in the form of charts, graphs, tables, or interactive infographics. It offers a clear story map and lends credibility to the pitch. In the last few years, as the news industry has been in flux, data-driven journalism has become the standard, as journalists forage for interesting data to either find a new story or support a current one. “Data-driven journalism is the future. Journalists need to be data-savvy,” said Tim Berners-Lee, founder of the World Wide WebSince there are now fewer journalists hustling to cover more beats and sift through more pitches, a tech PR team can win media relations points by offering readily packaged data-driven stories. Even better, media contacts will come to welcome and expect more relevant data-driven stories about your company over time — which amounts to a fruitful media partnership.

Data-driven stories support truth in media

“Good data journalism helps to combat information asymmetry,” said Tom Fries, Bertelsmann FoundationSince PR and journalists (as well as publishers and social platforms) are on the front lines of the war against false news, they value data-based storytelling. Although survey data can be poorly executed or even misleading, statistics add immediate credence to media stories. Once again, a B2B PR team can help journalists by supplying a consistent stream of reliable, compelling data-driven story premises.

Data-driven PR drives marketing engagement

data-driven PR in Tech B2B
Infographic from a 2017 article in MarTech Advisor

The overall PR/marketing trend is toward more content, and specifically more visual content. Given the documented power of visuals in the attention economy, it makes sense that data tables and infographics get shared and clicked more than plain text stories. Infographics also offer SEO opportunities for both the news outlet and the sponsor. Social sharing of graphics generates targeted referral traffic and earns links from niche-relevant websites. In other words, data-driven storytelling produces leads.

Data makes great thought leadership

B2B tech enterprise firms have a natural advantage in harvesting data for storytelling. For example, a marketing intelligence platform has built-in tools for generating incisive data-driven stories. An enterprise cyber-security firm should routinely conduct research surveys into business leaders’ security priorities and concerns – their packaged results not only inform the company’s R&D, but also can populate the company’s data bureau of thought leadership, with each media placement underscoring its expertise. The data-driven stories can be repurposed into various white papers, blog posts, and webinars, thus elevating the brand’s reputation as an industry authority.

In lockstep with the business and PR trends

In an increasing personalized marketing arena, data-driven PR stories can help create relevant content for highly targeted prospects. The well-documented trend toward individualized marketing using the ABM model demands more tailored content. Certainly marketing data analysis can help identify the targets. On the other end, rich visual content driven by data can help convert the lead. A PR team can design research surveys designed to generate content that appeals to high-value customers or partners. For example, if a new marketing software wants to attract more upwardly mobile marketing managers, it may design a survey on how millennials feel about location-based ads.

A good tech PR team should be asking what narratives are compelling, and what kind of data is needed to support it. They may even be sitting on existing data research that simply hasn’t been mined for relevant story ideas. Your next winning concept may be in a research study or consumer survey spreadsheet, and all you need to do it find it.

5 Ways PR Beats Paid Advertising

PR, advertising, and marketing should be working together as well-oiled gears in a powerful machine that propels a brand toward success. While it shouldn’t be a contest, it’s worth noting that in some instances, public relations can yield a greater return on investment. Especially in the B2B tech sector, PR programs are essential to gaining competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace.

PR can shine in B2B tech

PR confers third-party endorsement

Many B2B companies engage in lengthy sales cycles where customers make a large commitment of capital – and faith. Ads alone may not inspire the confidence a customer needs to make an important decision. Customers who read or hear about an amazing enterprise software company in analyst reports, recommendations from third-party influencers, white papers, executive bylines, and in tech news outlets have gain a degree of trust that an ad campaign can’t provide.


For smaller firms, PR can reduce marketing spend

If you’re a scrappy startup or an early stage tech company, you may not have the capital for massive advertising budgets. By supplementing advertising with a PR campaign, a brand can earn visibility that attracts leads. Ads pop up and disappear, while blog posts, news articles, and white papers stay searchable for months ie even years. The longer life span of PR content and the snowball effect of earned media and can lead to great ROI for smaller B2B companies.

B2B decision-makers rely on research

And that research comes from PR content. Both profitability and reputation ride on the decisions of B2B buyers. In 2017, Forbes reported: “Most B2B buyers say they rely heavily on white papers (82%), webinars (78%), and case studies (73%) to make purchasing decisions. Close behind are e-books (67%), infographics (66%), and blog posts (66%).” In a 2018 study by TrustRadius, 75% of respondents said they used info from third-party sources (analyst reports, independent media news, and consultants) to make their decisions. Business buyers prefer hard, unbiased data over sales pitches and marketing collateral. When it comes to differentiating yourself from the pack, these PR can surpass advertising.

PR offers more bang for the content buck

In many ways B2B PR is a more efficient engine of promotion. The life span and versatility of PR content allows it to do more work with less effort. For example, a research study conducted by the PR team can be used and reused in many different formats, like white papers, blog posts, and earned media coverage. An executive’s participation in a trade show panel can yield video, media coverage, blog posts, and social media engagement. Plus, earned and owned content can boost SEO over the long haul, driving more leads in your direction.

PR offers credibility

Credibility begets trust. In today’s growing atmosphere of skepticism, trust is a priceless commodity. The fundamental power of PR bears repeating: impartial third-party endorsements outshine the tooting of one’s own advertorial horn. Sound marketing and advertising can be a good start in building credibility, but a well-conceived PR plan builds the type of reputational value that lasts. And solid reputation management creates a litany of benefits. A good reputation is social currency that can diminish the effects of a crisis event, assist in attracting the finest talent, and inspire the team.

MDG Advertising reported that 70 percent of internet users want to learn about products through content versus traditional advertisements. People don’t want the hard sell. Plus, advertising is usually a one-way communication. In this era of two-way communications, public relations is a better tool for engagement with stakeholders. If you’re in it for the long haul, it is unwise to neglect the PR part of the equation. If your marketing, advertising, and PR teams are collaborating in accordance with the brand’s business goals, your company is setting itself up for sustained growth.

An SEO Content Refresher For PR

It is more important than ever to integrate a rich content marketing program — one that focuses on search engine optimization — into public relations campaigns for companies and brands that want to grow. But as the strategy becomes more and more prevalent, the rules are changing, and communications pros need to constantly refresh themselves on what’s new, what’s still true, and what’s coming down the pipeline. Here are some recommendations to consider.

Remember the “Golden Rule.” SEO writing is becoming more of a science, but it’s still writing, and the golden rule of good writing is always about the reader. The golden rule of website optimization is to think about “the user first — NOT the search engine,” according to SEO copywriting guidelines from Vector Media Group.

Consider ROI, not just keyword rankings. Since its emergence and expansion over the past 10 or so years, SEO has focused on keyword rankings as a means of measuring how well your site is doing. Today some marketers are calling for more of a focus on return on investment and hard metrics, instead of page rankings, and the sophistication of today’s web technology makes pulling these kinds of metrics a snap. For example, a product placement in a major, top tier publication might win a company thousands of clicks, but no conversions, while a much smaller, niche blog might yield more actual leads because of its hugely engaged audience. Knowing which one is which helps focus precious resources and maximize results.

Design for the mobile user. The trend toward viewing pages on mobile devices only grew in 2014 into 2015. Smart phone  screens are getting larger and larger, further ingraining our habit of viewing sites on mobile, rather than at our desks. Most publishing platforms today include basic mobile optimization, making it easy to accomplish, but it’s still good to keep in mind during the content creation stage and make sure your site pages are optimized not just for SEO, but for mobile.

Write for the “long tail.” While web pages are typically optimized for up to three keywords, other key phrases can be included thoughout the copy to pick up on “long-tail variations,” which are the types of phrases users enter into search engines, according to our friends at Vector. For example, “affordable art” might be a main keyword, but people are more likely to search phrases such as, “the best place to buy affordable art,” as well other closely related terms.

Connect content creation to distribution. This piece of advice comes via Forrester analyst Ryan Skinner, who argues that the emphasis on high quality content as a content marketing strategy often leaves marketers with great content that nobody sees. Ramping up distribution, Skinner says, “improves content’s quality, as the feedback cycle accelerates.” He also pays homage to the now-famous quote from Buzzfeed’s Jonathan Perelman: “Content is king, distribution is queen, and she wears the pants.”

But high quality, original content still applies. All that said, high quality, fresh content still earns its keep in an SEO, mobile-ready world. Useful, well-written, relevant content is more likely to get read and shared than content that sacrifices quality.