3 viral video tips for PR pros: Lessons from AARP and Coca-Cola

By: Brian Pittman
Published: Thursday, Jul. 23, 2015

Did you know that a third of all online activity is spent watching video? Or that YouTube reaches more adults than any cable network, according to Adweek?

Online video represents an incredible opportunity to reach new audiences. What’s more, you don’t have to be a Hollywood insider—or have a Hollywood budget—to capture eyes and imaginations. Here are three easy tips for shooting and sharing videos that engage fans online:

1. Use a tripod to eliminate distracting motion. You’ll notice a huge improvement in video quality just by using a tripod, assures TJ Cooney, multimedia producer at AARP Studios. This instantly makes your footage look more solid and professional.

Cooney espouses a less-is-more mindset when it comes to shooting video. “Less movement is better. Don’t pan, tilt or zoom,” he says. “There’s a place for movement, but don’t try to create cool movements with a camera if you’re not a video professional.”

He instead advises using action in the scene to create motion (e.g., a waiter entering or exiting the shot). You can also use editing software to simulate pan, tilt and zoom movements after the shoot.

Watch the PR University webinar “Create Emmy-quality videos: Win audiences on Instagram, YouTube, Periscope and inside your organization ” to learn how to create and distribute stellar videos.

2. Seek—and shoot—emotional moments. Remember the human element and shoot emotional stories, advises former TV producer and three-time Emmy-award winner Lisa Lubin.

One way to do this is to find a real person affected by your product or service. Film that person and tell their story—not the story of your product or service.

For example, Cooney’s recent YouTube video “Badass Pilot Buys Own Fighter Jet” reached 1 million views this week. In the video, he interviewed retired U.S. Marine test pilot and AARP member Art Nalls, whose passion led him to buy himself a British Harrier Jump Jet.

3. Avoid excessive branding. Most media sites and many blogs won’t post your video if it’s heavily branded. “It’s the same with social media followers,” says Cooney. “They don’t want to see a logo front and center.”

He adds this twist: “Consider leaving your brand or company name out of your script or video entirely.”

Coca-Cola, for example, recently removed labels from its cans in Middle Eastern countries to raise awareness of prejudices and stereotypes in honor of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The accompanying YouTube video titled “Remove Labels This Ramadan” has gotten over 15 million views so far this month.

Brian Pittman is a Ragan Communications consultant and webinar manager for PR Daily’s PR University. TJ Cooney (AARP Studios) and three-time Emmy winner Lisa Lubin shares advanced video production and distribution techniques in the PR University webinar, “Create Emmy-quality videos: Win audiences on Instagram, YouTube, Periscope and inside your organization.”

3 viral video tips for PR pros: Lessons from AARP and Coca-Cola

By: Brian Pittman
Published: Thursday, Jul. 23, 2015

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