The most stationary of all stationery items, scissors hate to be hurried. I learned this as a child. You did too, probably. Don't run with scissors. A clear and simple instruction. Pencils, glue, staples... no problem. For them, like us, it's a finite existence. Time is short so don't dilly dally. But don't run with scissors.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

the time has come to spam journos with video

Am I missing something?

A fully-functioning synapse or two? Or the point, perhaps.

I just read a piece on TheRealPRMoment about research from press release distribution company RealWire, which states "news releases including video content achieve three times more coverage than releases without multimedia content."

It goes on.... "For those releases with editorial or blog coverage, the average number of pieces was 17.1 for the releases with video content. This was almost three times the figure for the sample without video content of 6.2 and four-and-a-half times more than the distribution industry average of 3.8 pieces."

Drawing a comparison with the last such survey, the story tells us "Adam Parker, RealWire’s chief executive, attributed the lack of adoption of video to (among other things) the barriers that existed such as the prohibitive cost of some distribution services."

Bit of a so-far-so-obvious, you may be thinking.

Here's the thing I'm struggling with.

This is the same Adam Parker and the same RealWire behind the (always struck me implausibly-named) "An Inconvenient PR Truth" campaign, which put forward a bill of rights (frankly, I've never known whether to laugh or weep at that, and I still can't make my mind up) regarding the manner in which PR people send information to journalists.

Let me break it down for you.

It's a campaign that proposes 10 so-called rights intended to make PR people treat bloggers and journalists with more respect and, at its heart, stop spamming them with unwanted press releases and other forms of contact.

For the avoidance of any doubt, I dislike the campaign. I wrote about it here.

I've never claimed to be possessed of super-human intelligence, and what I'm now struggling with is that on one hand RealWire/Adam Parker (wearing the Inconvenient Truth hat) have advised me (and the rest of the PR industry) to tread carefully. On the other hand, the one that's promoting distribution services via a news item about a piece of research, I'm now being advised to use video in press releases.

Too many people in PR can recount stories of journalists becoming quite irrationally upset just because there was a jpg or a pdf attached to an email.

Step forward if you're brave enough to start punting video at people.

I'll be the one eating popcorn and watching what happens.


@EmVicW said...

All good points Sean.

Add to them the fact that distribution of an email is essentially broadcasting. Which is not tailorable, which makes the pitches automatically more spammy.

The "have you ever actually *read* my magazine" question is best avoided by not sending out carbon copy info - whether text or video.

Perhaps their findings are a sign of the times that the lower value publications which always used to just copy/paste the press release are now just copy/pasting the video instead.

I can't see that a video is likely to increase the likelihood of coverage in tier one publications. Although I do think it can be useful to illustrate (for example) techy announcements.

Anyway... I expect RealWire has launched a new video distribution service. So rather self interested and unscientific as you say.

@EmVicW said...


End of the day. Paragraph 1 is supposed to say "distribution of a video".

Adam Parker said...

@EmVicW I can see why you might jump to the conclusion that we have just launched a new service but we haven’t. We’ve been allowing the addition of video for over four years and it was because we have a lengthy period of data to analyse that we carried out the exercise.

Thanks for talking about the research. On the consistency issue between this exercise and AIPRT I think perhaps you have mistakenly assumed that videos are distributed as attachments and hence the widespread sending of such large files would be likely to cause great annoyance by clogging up inboxes and using up mobile broadband allowances (which was one of the very things the BoR you refer to mentioned)?

If this were the case then I could understand your confusion and I imagine that someone out there may well have done this.

However our service, and I suspect all other similar competing services, don’t do this . The video is hosted either on a social media site such as YouTube and/or on the service’s own in house video sharing platform and is embedded on the release web page and a link to the video is provided in any outbound emails. Hence no attachment and no using up bandwidth unless you actually want to view the video.

Or perhaps you mean that producing video content for every press release would be the problem rather than the mode of delivery?

If so I agree with you as stated further down the article

“Another reason for the enhanced coverage could be that video content often seems to accompany news releases that are broader in interest and more conversational in nature compared to the majority of corporate announcements. This suggests that it isn’t simply the act of adding a video that potentially leads to improved coverage in many cases, but also the nature of the underlying story itself.”

ie use where it is appropriate and can improve story telling.

Hope that clears up the confusion?

Thanks again

I am Sean Fleming said...


Thank you for taking time to read the piece, and post a comment.

I see your point completely.

All the best.