Brand Journalism and Video: The New Norm in PR

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For years the world of PR consisted of media pitches and press releases – working to secure placements for clients in the fast-paced world of news. As technology has grown, so have our opportunities to share stories for clients.

Social media has changed the way we work. Beyond creating social content and working with influencers, today self-produced video (both recorded and live) is king. It’s the new norm in how we, as the general public, absorb information and form opinions. 

While reporters still have a strong part to play – nothing beats third-party validation – the media’s resources are shrinking, especially in TV newsrooms. As a former reporter, I was often handed a camera to shoot and then edit my stories. Our staff was slim and a lot of stories worth telling were left on the assignment editors floor.

So how do you go about creating compelling video that will make an impact?  Try some of these tips:

1 – Create a Video Production Brief

What is it your client wants to achieve? Who is the target audience? What is the tone and message for the video? Is there a budget available? These are just a few of the critical items to ask yourself before you begin any video project. It will help guide the process by ensuring you are executing on a strategic vision.

2 – Develop a Shot Sheet

Go in with a plan. What kind of shots do you need/want?  Who do you need to interview? What questions should you ask them to prompt the best responses?  Have an idea of the flow of your video and create an outline for the shots you need to get when you are on location. It is best to shoot in sequential order so that it will make your life easier when it comes time to editing.

3 – Pay Attention to Detail

Ensuring your video has good audio and is not shaky is key. Using a tripod and mic are essential to providing quality content and can easily be found online. Whether you are filming with a professional grade camera or an iPhone, below are some additional tricks of the trade for any video shoot:

-Avoid windows for interview. The subject will appear silhouetted. This is not witness protection and you don’t need to hide their identity (in most cases).

-Use the rule of thirds when framing your interview subjects. It gives context to the scene, creates balance in the frame and is a great tool for story-telling.

-Always pay attention to the background.

-Don’t cross the line of action. Filming subjects should happen within a 180-degree half circle. If you cross the line of action, the subjects switch sides and it creates confusion for the viewer.

 

4 – Craft the Story Before Editing

People make decisions based on their heads and their hearts, so as you seek to get an emotional reaction from your audience, you need to tell a compelling story. Log the strongest soundbites that are the most impactful. Keep them short and concise – around 10 seconds. Include natural sound when possible (such a child’s laughter or a car racing by). It will help draw the viewer in. Make sure the soundbites flow and a story unfolds with a clear beginning, middle and end.

5 – Continuity Is Key

Take the time to edit and ensure a clean final product. Trim the fat off your video clips to ensure the best action is being used. Avoid jump cuts by making sure your video clips are lined up and there are no random frames popping up in between. Lastly, vary your shots. Get on the ground and shoot upward at the subject, take wide shots and close-ups, grab still shots, pan your camera across the room slowly. This will help keep the viewer engaged and create a visually stimulated story.

To talk with Inspire about creating a video to help tell your story, contact Katie Sabatino at Katie@inspireprgroup.com.