We let the facts do the talking.

Why PR had better get moving

Video is the medium of now and the future   

When was the last time you read the instruction manual that comes with a new iPhone, laptop or home appliance? And when did you last cook a meal based on a recipe from an actual cookbook? The same goes for myriad other everyday ‘how to’ situations — how to apply flawless eyeliner, how to tie a bow tie, how to sew on a button, how to fold a napkin into a swan shape, and the list goes on.

The point is that the act of reading instructions is dying because it is time-consuming. We’re running against the clock now, constantly trying to squeeze a 36-hour schedule into a 16-hour day before returning to square one the next morning. Who’s got the time?

The only occasion I’ve recently read instructions was while assembling a piece of flat-pack IKEA furniture, because I’m aware that the results can be frankly disastrous otherwise. However, I soon found that IKEA has its own ‘How To’ YouTube channel.

80% of internet use around the globe is dedicated to video content. The fact that ‘how to’ videos are replacing written instructions is a sign of the times and reflects a wider consumer trend. As people have less and less time to spare during their hectic daily lives, they are seeking instant information that engages them because of how quickly and clearly it is delivered. This means that brands are now facing the challenge of capturing their audience’s attention within only three seconds.

Video is the sure-fire way to do this and PR professionals must embrace it as the medium of now and the future. As video continues to grow in popularity and take an increasingly dominant role in digital communication strategies, we need to up our production capabilities and become as comfortable with film as we are with social media captions, infographics and press releases.

5 ways to make your video more engaging

This reflects a wider consumer trend, which is for rapid, clear information that is instantly engaging because it informs and inspires within seconds.

So what are the keys characteristics of videos that capture the audience’s attention? I believe there are 5 to consider:

  1. Putting the customer first: Engaging videos give the audience what it wants to know, whether that is pro tips, step-by-step instructions, inspiring messages or simply beautiful visuals. Everything must stem from one all-important question: How can we help our customers and enhance their lives with our video? This is a simple exercise in empathy and centres on using you customer’s needs as a frame for your content.
  2. Get to the point: Some of the best videos out there are under 20 seconds long. Remember that consumers have little patience for long, rambling information and prefer information that gets to the point in short and manageable bites that don’t waste their valuable time. In the world of video, longer is definitely not better.
  3. Make it memorable: Keeping videos short is not enough to secure an audience. You have three seconds to get them on your side and you may well have lost them by second five if your content is not up to scratch. There are numerous tools you can use to heighten engagement, ranging from personal stories and humour, to quirky visuals and emotive music. Creating an immediate bond with your audience is of paramount importance.
  4. Remember your platform: Successful videos are tailored to the platform they are shared on. For example, quick, straight to the camera bites are ideal for Snapchat, more visually enticing videos are good for Instagram, and longer ‘how to’ films should be saved for YouTube. Avoid a broad-brush approach where you just use the same video across all platforms.
  5. Be real: When you create a video, remember you are talking to an individual person who is likely watching your content by themselves through headphones, perhaps sitting at their desk, on the train or just sitting on the sofa. This is a unique opportunity to communicate person to person, rather than brand to target audience. Use conversational language and satisfy their craving for authenticity.

Ribal Temraz is Senior Account Executive at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations. An independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai and offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. |