Readership is viewership these days, as video is now getting into press releases. Jiyan Wei, Interactive Product Manager for Vocus (the company that owns the popular news wire service PRWeb), shares with us the advantages of embedding video and doing Video SEO for an online news release. Listen below to the audio of our interview, and read the full article.
Audio interview contents
- Background Vocus/PR Web
- Advantages of having embedded video in a news release.
- The limitations currently with online video in news releases, and how they're being handled.
- Video SEO Tips for online news releases. (Including client example.)
- The future of online video in news releases.
Advantages of video in a news release
According to a report by the Online Publishers Association, over 52% of viewers exposed to an online video ad then took some form of action (click on a link, visit a website, etc.) – a considerably higher figure than ads and web pages without video.
"Video has a very direct effect on what people do once they read your news. Video can be very action-oriented and action-driven, and it can have an impact far beyond what a text-only news release can offer." Says Wei.
PRWeb and video: The economic advantage
PRWeb's "Media Visibility" package includes the embedded video feature for $360 per release, a more economical approach than other major news wire services featuring online video. "With a traditional wire service, including video can go up to $3,000-plus." Says Wei. "The Media Visibility package also includes guaranteed delivery to the top U.S. Newspapers, plus USA Today. The package also includes national coverage, traditional wire distribution, and more analytics functions for full report generation."
PRWeb also has a "Featured Videos" section on its site, which simply showcases all the press releases that have a video embedded in them. Wei says this was purposely created because of growing interest by news gatherers for video content. "We actually get a lot of requests from bloggers and journalists that just want to see releases just with video." He says.
How to setup your video in your PRWeb release
Rather than requiring the customer to host the video on their own server, PR Web simply links to your video already appearing on the most popular free video-sharing sites, such as YouTube and Google Video and Yahoo! Video. "We allow the customers to simply host their video on these sites rather than us hosting it, and they just put in a little snippet of code, called the embed code... we actually just host the video that's being shown on a social media site; we allow them to stream the video from there into the body of the news release." Says Wei.
The requirement here is that a PRWeb customer needs to first set up an account with one of the partner video-sharing sites, and also abide by the editorial constraints of that 3rd party site. This "piggy-backing" solution does provide a more economical means of featuring video, but these economics do pose some limitations. The viewing quality will be typical of a video sharing site's low bandwidth level meant for user-generated video rather than professionally-generated video; and there are no sharing features of the video from within the press release itself, which you could do on the original video sharing website.
RSS and Video in a news release
PRWeb distributes news releases through their RSS feed and their syndication partners, such as Yahoo! and Topix. Through XML technology, the feed is delivered through the text and the hyperlinks. But that leaves out some of the multimedia elements, including video. "When you're talking about RSS, it's a bit different because we're delivering the headline, a brief summary of the story, and then a hyperlink back to the PR Web hosted version," explains Wei. So people can always click the link in the RSS feed and see the full release on PRWeb with the full hosted content, including the video.
"Online is two models. One model is, let's get the content out there and create all these different versions of that content out there. Now when you do that, to a certain extent you actually convolute the quality of the original press release. The PRWeb Model is much more about trying to direct people back to the original hosted version on PRWeb.com, because that's the version that our customers have control over, so that's out we do it with RSS."
Video SEO success - the Malibu Boats campaign
The key strategy behind a successful news release is making it go "viral" - i.e., getting others to widely distribute it for you. Wei shared the example of one of PRWeb's customers, Malibu boats, and how just a single person on their staff was able to do a full-scale and highly successful PR Campaign with the PRWeb platform.
According to Wei, Malibu Boats' PR Director did all these steps herself:
- Create a home-made style video of 3-minutes lengths, and upload it directly to YouTube.
- Went out and took pictures of the boat when they were out on the lake, and uploaded those pictures to Flickr.
- Drafted the press release with their other marketing collateral.
- Uploaded the press release and put links in the press release to the flickr images.
- mbedded the video that she had put on YouTube into that press release, and attached all sorts of images and other types of materials.
"So what she actually did with the press release is she made it a hub for all the different types of content around the campaign. "Instead of an isolated piece of content out there, it became a hub with hyperlinks - like spokes attached to these different social media sites, and the results were staggering." Says Wei. "If someone came from YouTube, they would know that they could learn more by going to the news release. And if they're in the News release, they can go to the YouTube page [from there]. Same thing with Flickr and their website, and so forth. Look at this as an opportunity to view a news release as sort of a gateway to other types of content you have out there - including your video and image content - and you'll see some amazing results."
Video tip: fun equals success
"A lot of our customers who have success, they have fun with [the video]." Says Wei. "This is their opportunity to entertain and educate. That seems to be what works best with video online."
Video tip: what NOT to put in a news release
Aside from the obvious one being standard television commercials repurposed for the Web, Wei says that the least responsive is the boring corporate video. "People's attention spans are short. They want to be entertained. Even if you're a B2B company, no matter what company you are, you can still present your brand in an entertaining manner, and a short, succinct manner. You don't have to get out all your distinct message points. You can just create something fun... Its about first getting your audience's attention."
Predicting the future of online video and news releases
Wei predicts that the next stage of video will be more interactivity and image recognition within the press release itself. Wei understands that interactivity within embedded video is already a feature being offered by some video publishing platforms for advertisers, and PR Web wants to be at the forefront of that capability for the news wire industry.
"As that technology continues to develop and people start acting directly with the videos and within the videos, us news wires are going to have to take that into account on how that's going to impact the reader's own experience with the news release as a whole, and counsel our own customers to understand that. We're going to have to understand how that works with our technology, and counsel our customers on the best practices with video." He says. "We're actually not too far away where a person could click on any point in a video with an offer of what is being featured at that point in the video with any call to action and a clickable link" (learn more, purchase, etc.).
I asked Jiyan if PR web have its own in-house solution and white label for its video player, rather than relying on a video sharing site which comes with its own limitations. "I think the route you eventually want to go down is to host the media and technology yourself. That gives you a broader range of abilities and options for what you can do." He replied.
Final Video SEO tips for news releases
As someone who's optimized a number of press releases through news wire services, including PRWeb, here's a few tips I've found successful with optimizing these releases with video:
- Include the keyword "video" next to the targeted topical/branded keywords you have. Put this in the text links, such as "Watch video of..." An action verb, followed by "video," and then followed by the target subject, is the ideal keyword combination.
- Keep the video short, within 1-2 minutes.
- Have the video link to a landing page with a longer version. (If you can't embed the link, put it right next to, or underneath, the video.) That landing page can also be a hub for all the other items in your campaign - more video clips, a photo sharing account, video sharing and social media/networking sites, and a next-step call-to-action form.
Vocus/PRWEB is sponsoring the Institute for Public Relations 6th Annual Summit on Measurement for public relations and communications professionals. The summit will be held from October 15-17 at the Sheraton Harborside Hotel in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Special Thanks to: Bob Sandidge of Creative Core for producing the audiocast.