Embracing content creation is a non-negotiable for a PR agency in the current day. Owned content is a valuable resource keeping brands relevant and in the public eye. Adding to editorial; the value of content spans across social media as well – a key platform for reaching target audiences

In a world where people are reading less and double-tapping more – the conversation around content has never been more poignant.

Where once in a public relations pitch having a hi-res image was complementary to the story, now, in many cases, the image or the video can be the story.

Publicists working in the industry over the past ten years may sympathise with the fact that we have progressed from crafting pitches to pictures; it is now a space where engaging content could secure you the story, not the story itself.

Our role when working with the media remains unchanged, but we have a new visual platform to augment the storyline pitch. It continues to be a publicist’s role to effectually service a journalist, to provide them with content they need for an effective story. But for many a journalist – particularly those working on digital mastheads, the delivery has changed. Their success is often measured in clicks more than print sales, video views and virality more than print circulation. And we need to be aware of that and adapt to stay relevant and necessary, both to our clients and the media.

There are less staffed photographers at newspapers than ever before, so we need to be prepared by having content on hand should a masthead camera be unavailable. If possible, pick key media targets and allocate different content to each; perhaps a picture to one and a video to the other, exclusively. The rules haven’t changed that much!

In a world of online news in an extremely digital world, it is not only the journalist that craves a great image, but the reader. An individual’s attention span has never been shorter. If we can see that the burger at the latest new venue looks delicious, why do we need to read about it?

And building on that, if two burger bars open on the same day and both publicists pitch to a journalist, one with a great video of a burger being built with house-made ingredients, and the other with a paragraph about its house-made ingredients, which one is more like likely to be published?

The ever-evolving Facebook algorithm is a reflection of what is popular with readers. A post with a video will do better than a static image, and a post with an image will do better than a text post. And a post with too much text will do the worst of all.

According to an article by Forbes, video marketing is one of the best tactics to increase brand exposure, sales, lead generation and engagement, as more consumers are interacting with videos today than ever before. With video posts having 135% greater organic reach than photo posts and generating 1200% more shares than text and images combined, video marketing has well and truly established itself as the way forward.

It is for this reason that Hatching Communications has crowned content as king. For its power to cut through the 24-hour news cycle and the busy inbox of a journalist, and also because a new video or exciting image can become ‘the news.’

The remit of many PR agencies, including that of Hatching Communications, has extended beyond traditional public relations to cover the much undiscovered world of social media and building the content it needs to keep people clicking and scrolling. It is in this space where brands have the opportunity to reach new audiences and increase awareness for a fraction of the cost of print advertising.

By adding content creation to the services we offer, we achieve greater control of the message, how the story is told and on what medium a story is shared. Our photographers and videographers create, our publicists pitch and our digital superstars (often also our publicists) post and manoeuvre across Facebook, Instagram and other social media channels; boosting and optimising not only to reach more people, but to reach the people most likely to be moved and influenced by the brand itself.

Engaging visual content can persuade even the most savvy of consumers. Publicists are placed in the best position to understand what engaging content is for the particular target. Once you have a thorough understanding of the target and their needs – the job is half done. Do they want to hear from a peer consumer about the burger? Or the chef? Or is it a critic that will encourage them to visit?

It is us that makes that decision and then designs the content to match and enhance, and therefore, induce key audiences to act in the way we need to meet client goals.

It is this approach that is shaping the future of the public relations industry.

 

This blog post was written by Sonia Rendigs and Jessica Williams of Hatching Communications in Melbourne, Australia,  a sister member of the PR World Network. To find out more about Hatching Communications click here.

Lou Hammond Group is a proud founder of the PR World Network, an international organization of independent agencies created to offer worldwide PR and marketing from 22 global agencies in more than 50 countries.