Public relations involves two-way communication. There must be a “sender” of a message and a “receiver” of a message in order for communication to take place – but then you must factor in “understanding” of the message received. Just think about all of the times you were half-listening to a news announcer speak and never really paying attention to what they were saying! Or think about being in a foreign country and hearing someone talk in another language you cannot understand. No communication is taking place – but a lot of talking is going on! In the news media world, we have been reliant on the written word as well as the spoken word. With the advent of computer technology, the way we consume news has completely changed.
Newspapers are not the main communications vehicle any longer now that the Internet and improvements in broadband/fiber optics have allowed for greater bandwidth access for consumers. It’s no longer all about reading to obtain news and information, either. In February 2011, there were 139.2 million unique online video viewers in the U.S. who spent an average of nearly 4 and a half hours watching video on computers at work and at home. Not surprisingly, YouTube was the leading online brand for video.* Why is video so hot right now? Why don’t people want to read their news and information? Why hasn’t radio trumped video as a news medium of choice? Personally, I believe with all the technology out there, we’re missing the ‘personal’ connection with humans -- and video is filling that void. Nothing is more personal and more human as video. As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.”
Video has become an integral part of the Internet experience for users. Gone are the days when even the shortest clip would take forever to load; streaming video can now be accessed and watched almost instantaneously. According to Don Reisinger at The Digital Network, 83.5 % of U.S. Internet users – over 171 million people – watched video in January 2011 alone.* Think about the financial and marketing implications of these numbers for online advertisers who embed their ads into videos (although some people see such ads as an annoyance)! People who post videos on a YouTube channel actually have a name. They are called “vloggers” instead of “bloggers” – and they use video as their communications medium instead of the written word. Radio and TV stations are using vlogging to interact with their listeners and viewers. So why has online video become so popular with Internet users?
A picture may speak a thousand words, but a video is worth at least a thousand pictures. Video is uniquely placed to give the most accurate reflection of events. Sights, sounds and action can all be shared in an easily accessible fashion. With smartphones and mobile devices so now ubiquitous, video can be used to document users’ lives, from everyday experiences to once in a lifetime events. The natural next step is to upload these videos online and share them with friends, family, and the world.** Another reason video is so hot right now is because it’s so quick, easy and convenient. People are already sitting at their computers or using their smartphones and iPads. The ability to catch up with TV episodes at one’s leisure or interact socially using the Internet or social media to post about or read during a TV show or afterwards is also part of the experience and the allure. ***
You can step up digital communications for your business using a YouTube page to “mirror” the branded look of your website homepages or other online communications channels. This consistency can make it easier for visitors to get more information online from you. A good example of this is the Mayo Clinic’s YouTube page which hosts more than 1,200 videos and gets nearly 4 million video views. Visitors can click through to learn more about medical services, connect with other social channels and even schedule appointments.
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*The PR Pro’s Guide to YouTube http://mashable.com/author/jamie-carracher/
**http://blog.musikpitch.com/ March 9, 2011
***http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1008361 April 27, 2011