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Why brands are becoming publishers

10th January 2013

As we all become more connected online, there has been an explosion in brands circumnavigating media channels to publish their own content direct to consumers.  In my view, this is a direct result of the fundamental shift from video being owned and distributed by network broadcasters, to becoming an almost universally accessible format.  It’s a direct result of technology reducing production costs and making distribution easier through sites such as Vimeo, YouTube and of course, via social networks. Facebook has recently claimed the crown after YouTube as the second most popular video site. These trends mean that publishing content has been completely democratised making it possible for organisations and brands to use video to create direct dialogue with consumers, building a community around regular production.  With video, brands can tell a story about their product or service in a way that shows a real human behind the logo, bringing to life the personality of an organisation.  These trends are bought to life by the hard facts – online video is the fastest growing format this year with nearly 55 per cent growth as compared to TV, as witnessed by the hugely successful Olympic coverage on the BBC iPlayer securing a record breaking 55 million viewers, as opposed to the 51.9 million who watched on TV.   Return on investment? I often hear a concern from clients over how to evaluate success from investment in video, and whether it translates into direct return for a brand.  The good news is that this question is becoming easier and easier to answer. Video is a whopping 41 per cent more likely to rank at the top of search and, when tagged and linked in the right way, is the most powerful way of improving SEO. It isn’t only clients that can benefit from video. We’re also seeing the benefit of investment in video to our own bottom-line.  Having launched our own in house production unit last year, video now makes up over 20 per cent of business and is expanding quickly. Quality and cost Fundamental to the success of video for brands and PR agencies is never compromising on quality. The good news is that high production does not necessitate high cost. Developments in technology means editing suites and cameras can still deliver quality but on a relatively lower budget.  Far from corporate video defaulting to a talking head in an office, our output increasingly is produced to look like network documentaries or MTV videos.  What’s also interesting is the dynamic between producing high quality content, but also integrating this with user generated content.  This is still one of the most important forms of video particularly for news and capturing real time response. As well as being cheaper to produce and distribute, video can be used in multiple ways to return even greater value to a brand.  By working towards the earned, owned and paid for model, we can repurpose all video content through a traditional PR push, through to paid for marketing, or via owned internal or external platforms.  The Future There is no doubt in my mind that video will become even more important to how we communicate, making it fundamental to the future of the PR.  And if I had to predict one trend in the next year, it would probably be interactive video that allows viewers to control the outcome of a film.  Written by Irene Kyme, Teamspirit PR

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