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Category Archives: Blogging

feb21prwriting

Seven Tips for Good PR Writing

There’s an unfinished conference room in the back of our office where no one ever goes. Table tops lie on their sides with no legs. Deconstructed cubicles stand against the walls, shelves and desktops assorted like giant puzzle pieces. A dry erase marker lies on the ground, never used.

It’s there in the dark that I write.

As public relations professionals, content generation is becoming an ever more important part of our job. Clients need a continuous stream of blog posts, opinion articles, news releases, feature articles and social media posts to connect with their audiences.

I’ve been writing a lot of content recently. For me, writing good content taps a different part of the brain than that required for the conference calls, quick-response emails and meetings that dominate most days. Here are seven things that help me when writing content for PR.

1. Cut the coffee. On writing days I skip the coffee. When undercaffeinated and relaxed, my writing is smoother and more conversational. Back in my reporter days, I tried the whiskey in the bottom drawer trick but that made me a little too relaxed. Save that ‘til after the writing’s done.

2. Ditch your desk. I associate my desk with the flurry of activity that fills most days – the constant emails, phone calls and Twitter checks. By moving to a different location to write such as an arm chair in the lobby, I remove myself from that frenetic mindset and can think more clearly. Ideas flow and words arrive.

3. Lean back. An NBC News article featuring InkHouse’s own Beth Monaghan pointed out that posture makes a huge difference in how you feel and think. I couldn’t agree more. I write far more clearly and quickly when I’m leaning back – while seated on the floor of a dark conference room in the back of the office, say — instead of perched forward on the edge of my seat at a desk. Sure, colleagues will ask about the sketchy character writing in the dark but they’ll get used to it after a while.

4. Peek at photos. I know this sounds weird but looking at photos of beautiful art, the ocean or wildlife just before writing helps me think and write more creatively. The same goes for reading longer, thoughtful articles in The New Yorker, say, or Grantland. Stay away from breaking news, which will make you tense and less able to write well.

5. Exit email. You’ve heard this 1,000 times so I won’t dwell on it. Constant email checks are the bane of good writing.

6. Clear a chunk of time. For me, blocking off a couple hours or even a morning to write blog posts or a contributed article is the most efficient way to lose myself in the story and write it well. If I try to squeeze it in between client calls and emails, it always takes three times as long – if it gets done at all.

7. Make it a conversation. I try and think of every article, release or post I write as a conversation with the person who’s reading it. I write like I would say it. I use short sentences as if I were talking. Thinking of it as a conversation makes what you’re writing – you guessed it – more conversational and easier to read. You’d never say “functionality” and “value proposition” so why would you write them?

Those are things that help me write well. What works for you?

Read more from John McElhenny
contentpost

Moving Beyond Text for PR Success

 

Earlier this week InkHouse participated in a PR News Webinar called Pitching the Media: How to Cut Through The Clutter. Our colleagues on the panel included Tracy Schario, communications officer for the Pew Charitable Trusts, who talked about why it’s essential to be aware of major news events – either to plug into them or to avoid pitching at a time when journalists are otherwise occupied; and Jane Carpenter, head of public relations for online home retailer Wayfair, discussed how to build personal relationships with journalists.

For our part, InkHouse explained why it’s important to move beyond text when pitching, to include things like graphics and film as a way to stand out. Here’s some background: Newsroom cutbacks in 2012 put the industry down 30 percent since its peak in 2000. But media properties from Forbes, to TechCrunch, VentureBeat, the Atlantic Monthly, Harvard Business Review, Huffington Post, and Wired (to name a few) all publish contributed content. This means that news outlets are hungry for journalistic content. And yet, it should not all be text based because 90 percent of the information transmitted to our brains is visual and we process that content 60,000 times faster than text.

Social media trends are reflecting this insight as well. Just look at the surging popularity of Instagram, which hit 100 million users earlier this year, and marked 5 million videos within the first 24 hours of debuting the offering. The good news is there is tremendous opportunity for publishing content. The trick is to make it stand out from the very crowded market.

Here are just three of the tips we shared on how to do this:

1. Make the content journalistic. Social content is about how you think, not what you do. When companies “publish promotional information or tired case studies masquerading as thought leadership, results fall flat,” according to Forrester Research. We agree.

2. Use data to validate your point of view. Whether it is your own proprietary information, a partnership with a third party, or aggregating others’ data, backup your claims with facts.

3. If you are launching a new product, consider pitching a video instead of a just sending a press release.  News sites are often hungry for visual content. That goes for infographics, too. The bottom line is social content brings people to your digital media properties by providing fuel for engaging with the press more regularly; driving coverage in and of itself; and illuminates your perspective, which fuels interest for quotes and coverage. Social content is also great because you can control it – the message and the distribution.

Read more from Tina Cassidy

The In2 Innovation Summit in 10 Quotes

 

Last week I attended The Holmes Report In2 Innovation Summit, the first in what The Holmes Report hopes to be a “global series of events bringing our industry’s great thinkers together to discuss and deliberate and (hopefully) disagree on topics related to insight and innovation.”

 

The inaugural event took place in San Francisco and attendees included mostly agency and in-house PR and marketing professionals. Over the course of two days, keynote speakers and panelists discussed a variety of topics such as the value and risk of data, relevance in an era of noise, what makes for innovative storytelling, the power of content marketing, etc.

 

Two days’ worth of content ultimately boiled down to this: Regardless of the context in which you work – large or small company, agency or in-house, East or West Coast or somewhere in the middle, retail, manufacturing, financial services or any other industry – the success of your job is closely tied to your ability to truly understand your audience; be creative with the content you develop; deliberate about how, when and where to distribute that content; authentic in the relationships you build with customers and influencers; and smart in how you measure the impact of your campaign or program.

 

The Holmes Report has done a great job reporting on the most interesting of panels. I walked away from the summit with the following sound bites firmly lodged in my brain (please note I’m paraphrasing!) .

 

  1. Don’t ‘craft’ a message – tell me what you would tell your spouse when you come home at the end of the day. – Chris Taylor, Mashable
  2. Love thy reporter. If you don’t love journalism, and journalists, you’re in the wrong profession. We have a role in enabling great journalism. – Gabriel Stricker, Twitter
  3. Focus on social business instead of social media. - Dan Moriarty, Hyatt
  4. Be fearless and experiment. – Kim Milosevich, Andreessen Horowitz
  5. As communicators we’re typically not that comfortable in a quantitative world. But our strategic value at the table is enhanced by our comfort with numbers.
  6. We sometimes try too desperately to find value in a tweet.
  7. People should be able to tell the story by the images, even if they can’t read the text. – Brett Wallace, LinkedIn
  8. I haven’t met a founder yet who doesn’t understand the power of PR. – Jodi Olson, Google Ventures
  9. I don’t want to be in the news business, I don’t want to constantly generate content – I’m not interesting enough. Oreo screwed all of us. We’re getting pressured into doing that. – David Matahia, Hyundai

 

To which Tom Foremski, Silicon Valley Watcher, countered…

 

10     Well, every company is a media company, but that doesn’t mean you have to be CNN.

 

Read more from admin
nativeadvertising

Is Native Advertising Right For You?

That buzz around native advertising is now a loud vibration that is difficult to ignore.

Earlier this month, the New York Times became the most significant carrier of native advertising when it officially launched its program to host sponsored content with a six-figure three-month deal with Dell. While sites larger than NYTimes.com (yeah, Buzzfeed, I’m talking about you) and others that are highly respected (Washington Post, Vanity Fair) were already carrying sponsored content, the Times made it seem as if the Rubicon had been crossed.

Then, this week, Forrester analyst Ryan Skinner released a report saying that native advertising is “worth pursuing” — he meant for those writing the checks, of course, but it’s also worth pursuing for those on the receiving end, as well.

A couple days after the Forrester report, NYU Journalism Professor Jay Rosen, in an interview with Contently, gave what sounded like a ringing endorsement of native advertising when he said it “is a kind of ad that can compete with the best material out there. That is different from advertorials.”

Rosen is right.  But not every enterprise has Dell’s budget. And not every enterprise needs to. Right now, there are many CEOs, domain experts and professionals who have interesting things to say, whether it’s a point of view about an industry, a solution to a problem, an idea that they want to share or new data that creates insights. If this information, packaged as an ‘article’ or an infographic, a video or a slideshow, can be created in a way that is helpful or even entertaining (without sounding like an advertorial), it can get published, just like real journalism, on legitimate sites such as Forbes, the Harvard Business Review, Fast Co., Wired, and many others, even in certain sections of the New York Times, without having to pay.

Granted, native ads have the benefit of landing prime real estate on a web site, which can help the posts go viral. You can see great examples of that happening here. But one needs only to look at YouTube to know that even mediocre content (have you seen Hallway Swimming?) – can draw an enormous number of clicks, more than double what the native advertising leaderboard winners have gotten, without paying to boost their views.

So, where does that leave us? Brands that historically have been only good at talking about themselves, now are hiring journalists to produce content that – for a price — can live on the website of choice. This is a great gig for many former journalists like me; it’s a refreshing type of advertising for a large corporation with a huge advertising budget to experiment with; and it’s awesome for the Times’s bottom line and potentially its long-suffering shareholders (of which I am one.)

Forrester’s Skinner correctly says that while native advertising is worth pursuing, he doesn’t mean brands should “pour all your advertising dollars into it, ‘go hog wild!’ or any variant on that theme. By ‘worth pursuing’, I would say that it: a) is a very imperfect tactic, b) holds great promise, and c) requires some experience to get right.”

At InkHouse, we’d agree.

Read more from Tina Cassidy
6

4 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Doubt

“Everyone already knows that.” I’ve been hearing this a lot recently. It is almost always the answer to this question: “Would you write an article or blog post about that idea?”

These insightful thinkers – PhDs, industry veterans, book authors, and scientific geniuses – all question the uniqueness of their insights.

These smart people are entrenched in their businesses. They are talking to their customers every day. They’ve seen problems that others do not know about yet, and they’re creating solutions that no one else is thinking about yet. But when the spotlight shifts away from products to ideas, it elicits  a very human response, even among seasoned CEOs: doubt.

When you’re seeking a wide audience, it’s healthy and prudent to question your ideas. Overcoming doubt can be tough. However, in our work at InkHouse, doubt often signals the best ideas. Those who question their ideas most aggressively are often the ones who’ve done the most research and spent the most time thinking about these problems.

Helping clients overcome this kind of doubt is part of a PR person’s job. It’s critical because content has become such a large component of any successful PR program. The opportunity for content has never been greater.

So how should you test the viability of your ideas? Try these litmus tests:

  1. Your passion. Is this a topic that gets you excited, frustrated, angry? Good. That is an important starting place for all good thought leadership. If you agree with everyone else, chances are that you’re not too passionate about the topic. So look for discord.
  2. The press. How are the press covering your topic right now? If it’s getting a lot of coverage, is your perspective different? Is it different enough to stand out? If it’s not, is it related to another popular topic? Does your viewpoint add something critical to that discussion? If you can answer “yes” to any of these, it’s a good topic.
  3. Your authority. Why are you uniquely qualified to have an opinion about your topic? Did you write a book about it? Have you studied it? Do you have proprietary data that gives you unique insight? Have you simply been in your field for a long time and shown that you know how to succeed? Again, a “yes” to any of these is a good sign.
  4. The potential audience. Consider your target audience and the one for your point of view. Are they the same? If the answer is “no” then this is not your topic.

A good contributed article or blog post rests on a point of view that is relevant enough to be part of the industry discussion, but unique enough to stand out. These ideas must spark interest and discussion. They need to compel your audience to share your content. So be picky, but not too picky. If doubt is the only thing holding you back, it might be time to take a leap of faith. As Hemingway wrote, “As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand.”

Related articles and posts:

 

Read more from Beth Monaghan
awardwinning

An Award-Winning Year at InkHouse

Today our client Skanska USA won The Bulldog Digital/Social Awards gold medal, the highest honor for Best Corporate Blog, judged exclusively by digital- and social-media-savvy working journalists and bloggers. We worked with Skanska to launch “Constructive Thinking” last April to highlight the company’s thought leadership in a multi-media way and have been proud of the results so far.

As our clients know, we take blogging seriously at InkHouse—including our own blog, InkLings—and view it as the foundation for many of our social content and media relations efforts. Our approach is one of the reasons why last year both Bulldog Reporter and PR News named InkHouse a Small Agency of the Year. This year, InkHouse was named a Best Place to Work by the Boston Business Journal and a Top Women-Led Business by the Boston Globe and Commonwealth Institute. In addition to agency awards, InkHouse has earned multiple industry awards on behalf of client work in the past year, including:

  • 2013 Bell Ringer for Raytheon Professional Services Corporate Blog
  • 2013 PR News PR Agency Elite Honorable Mention for Cause/CSR for Raytheon
  • 2013 PR Daily Best Issue/Cause Advocacy Campaign, Honorable Mention for Raytheon CSR, MATHCOUNTS National Competition

 

Read more from Tina Cassidy

Peter Kafka of AllThingsD on Tech, Journalism and Sorting through the Noise

Peter Kafka, senior editor at AllThingsD, has been covering the technology beat since 1997. The NYC-based reporter (whose first job out of college was at the Minnesota Real Estate Journal) has experienced first-hand how online journalism and social media has brought about the 24/7 news cycle – dramatically reshaping journalism in the process. He was kind enough to chat with me about covering technology in 2013.

Q. How has tech journalism changed since you started on the beat in 1997?

A. The tight answer is that the pace is much faster…[Back then] people were covering the news in print magazines. That’s the really obvious change. Now it’s all online, on your phone – the news cycle is nearly 24/7.

Q: There’s so much competition to get the news up fast and be first especially with social media. What do you see as the biggest challenge for journalists today?

A. The challenge is there’s a lot of competition. If you work at the wire services, it’s very important to be first. For everybody else, the question is, “How do you add value for the reader?” Most readers don’t care if you’re first. How do you provide the smart take on the story and present people with the right story? I think a lot about what not to cover for my readers. If I’m telling you something, I want to make sure I think it’s interesting and that you’ll think it’s interesting.

Q. How many stories do you write a day?

A. It ranges from one to four.

Q. How do you decide what to write about?

A. For me, it’s a gut check. Would I click on it? And if I did, would I find it interesting? The main conflict I have with (PR people) is they’re usually trying to represent something to me that they and their clients think is important and the rest of world doesn’t. It doesn’t matter how you dress up the pitch.

Q. How should news organizations balance the need to involve and expand their audiences through likes, shares, etc. with the responsibility to provide important news that matters?

A. You can try to game the system and a lot of people do that. [But] if you find a story that’s interesting and important, readers will take care of passing that along for you. It’s worthwhile for us to make things more shareable on Twitter – but we can’t spend too much time thinking about that.

Q. You’re very active on Twitter – does your social media activity inform your reporting?

A. No. Twitter is a very good way for me to find out what other people are writing about. And it’s great fun…but it’s very easy to overstate the value of it for a news organization. A lot of times I’ll start thinking I accomplished a lot in a day and then I realize I’ve just been tweeting. I’m very unlikely to find a good story on Twitter. I still find stories the old-fashioned way, by calling sources and taking meetings.

Q. We’ve seen some high profile journalists move to Yahoo in recent weeks. What do you think of Yahoo’s ability to compete as a serious news organization?

A. They could if they wanted to. They have the resources, so we’ll see. It doesn’t seem like it’s in their domain to do that.

Previous posts in our journalist Q&A series include:

Read more from Lisa van der Pool
november072013post

Syndicating for Success: The Secret to Getting People to Read Your Blog

Imagine this: You have finally overcome the ominous blinking cursor and have poured your heart and soul into the most fantastic blog post that the world has ever seen. Shakespeare? He has nothing on you. Bill Gates? Who is that guy? This is the post that will turn the tide. It’ll sell products and get you that promotion you’ve always wanted. You sit back, breathe a sigh of relief, hit the publish button and wait for the glory to stream in.

However, nobody reads your masterpiece.

This problem is all too common among organizations that are just starting to get their content calendar up and running. We’ve all heard the benefits an engaging blog might bring. A well-written post may not be the revelatory experience highlighted above, but it can help to drive your thought leadership platform, improve your relationships with stakeholders and even obtain valuable leads. Sculpting the idea and writing the piece are often the hardest parts, so if you’ve gotten that far already, good for you, you’re almost there. Next comes one of the most pivotal parts, syndicating the post.

Putting up a new blog post on social channels such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook is an obvious way to get more eyeballs, but there are actually syndication methods that go beyond that. There are entire sites and communities that are dedicated to syndicating quality blog posts across various industries and vertical markets. Often these sites will be receptive to simply taking your RSS feed, enabling you to spend more time focused on actually drafting and publishing your content.

In order to be successful with your blog’s syndication, there are a few key things to keep in mind:

  • Track your success: It’s tempting to set up your blogs for automatic syndication and just forget about them. However, it’s far more beneficial to actually track your successes. While most syndication sites don’t have built-in analytics, many do at least have view counters. These counters allow you to see which posts are most widely read and which syndication sites produce the greatest return on investment. From there, you can focus your efforts on working with the sites and drafting the posts that give you the best results.
  • Befriend the syndication administrator: Most syndication sites have delays from a few hours to even a couple days, so sometimes you have to grease the wheels a bit to get a crucial blog post syndicated as quickly as possible. In these moments, it helps to have a friend on the inside. Be sure to occasionally check-in with the admin behind the syndication operation you’re working with to develop a mutually beneficial relationship. Aside from helping with the menial tasks of getting the correct byline on a post, it can also help you out when you need it most.
  • Stay relevant: There are more syndication sites than you could ever possibly need, so it’s important to pick ones that play into your blogs strengths. When choosing a site, be sure to not only research its potential reach, but also how it fits into your message. Syndicating to every single site isn’t necessarily the best idea, so pick and choose the top five that you would like to initially focus on and move ahead from there.
  • Automate when possible: If you’re keeping up with your blog posts as you should – posting at least once a week – it can be cumbersome to upload them to manual syndication sites all the time. While these sites shouldn’t be overlooked, opt for syndication options that feed directly into your site’s RSS feed when possible. Distributing syndicated content is certainly important, but it should take a back seat to actually creating it when possible.

Syndication isn’t the secret to a good blog, but it can propel an already great one to success. If your company is already putting human capital into an aggressive editorial calendar, help make the most of it by getting that content in front of as many people as actually possible.

 

Read more from Alex Ingram
holidays

Harnessing the Holidays

After Halloween, expect your inbox to begin its annual inundation of holiday marketing and promotional sales encouraging you to try new Thanksgiving recipes or to start your Christmas shopping early. While most of us still consider the holidays to be a wonderful time of year, new mediums for advertisement, online tracking and real-time bidding can make them feel overwhelming in our digital world. Not to mention tough times mean more aggressive promotion. The Government shutdown, among other economic factors, is leading top sellers to predict only a modest increase in sales from last year, and according to Ad Age, Experian Marketing Services noted that 49% of marketers plan to launch holiday campaigns before Halloween to mitigate the financial impact.

As PR experts, we need to navigate the holidays strategically to keep content marketing alive in the business space. The following tactics can enhance content promotion and engagement to catch and maintain our target audience’s attention in the hectic, but exciting next few months:

  1. Increase social during off-hours: An Outbrain survey that reviewed how Americans consumed holiday-related content during the 2012 holiday season indicates people are active online more late at night and during the weekends than they are during the rest of the year. In fact, late night consumption between the hours of 12 a.m. and 4 a.m. increased by 136% around the holidays. This rise in online traffic outside the typical high-volume hours provides more opportunity to engage audiences through social media platforms and syndication sites. Even if you maintain a normal sleep cycle and go to bed before midnight, make sure you schedule a few tweets and Facebook posts promoting the new company blog post during those late night hours to capture that audience’s attention and direct it where you want it.
  2. Make content mobile friendly: The same survey revealed that more people access sites from mobile devices around the holidays and smart phones saw 251% more content consumption than the rest of the year. Understandably people are busier than normal planning parties and finishing gift shopping on-the-go. Therefore, it’s crucial the content you are promoting is mobile friendly or can be accessed through a company app. Anything that saves time and makes accessing content easier for your audience will improve the traffic rate and increase the amount of time visitors are on your site.
  3. Make lists: We all love to-do lists and will definitely be making them to survive the holidays, but lists are also extremely effective for presenting content and engaging readers. This past month, BuzzFeed’s top trending articles have been various creative ideas for Halloween costumes presented in their list format (26 Hilariously Clever Halloween Costumes). Audiences want to partake in the holiday spirit and will be looking to read themed content. Think outside the box with your business to create holiday lists that incorporate your branding and get strategic messaging across in a fun and festive way.
  4. Use videos: Videos are also a great tool during the holidays and those that employ humor, in particular, can be a strong driver of audience engagement and sharing. I wrote a post about how brands can use Instagram and Vine videos to showcase new products, a major announcement or other company news, and during the holidays, these video tools will be better at breaking through the congested online marketing environment to get attention. Norton, the anti-virus software developer, made a great holiday video during the 2012 season that used humor and incorporated the brand’s message into the holiday theme. Check out the video below and start planning for the holiday season!

 

 

Read more from Rachael Tucker

Three reasons your company needs to blog

Blogging. Gone are the days it’s only meant for travelers or sharing recipes. Whether your company is in email security, construction, fashion or IT service management you should be be blogging. A company blog is meant to share your point of view, spread your thought leadership and be a resource to your industry. In fact, according to research from HubSpot, companies who have an active blog get 55 percent more website traffic and 70 percent more leads than those who don’t. It’s a great way to share content via social media – branching out to another medium. But, most importantly, your blog should serve as the backbone to your content bureau. Here are three best practices for starting and continuously posting to your company blog:

1)      Setting up your blog: Usually in life, and work, getting started is the hardest part. When it comes to blogging, that’s the easiest part. The hardest part about blogging is keeping it up and writing. WordPress is a great blogging platform with several plugin options and the ability to customize the blog to be “on-brand” with your company. Add different authors, linking back to their LinkedIn or Twitter profiles, so the blog posts come from specific experts on different topics. Lastly, make sure the blog is visible on your company’s homepage – preferably with an image so it is eye catching.

2)      Content is king: Create a content calendar. Plan out your content to coincide with relevant editorial calendar opportunities. By doing this, you already have a relevant piece of content and thought leadership to share with a reporter. The content calendar is also meant to keep you honest and on track with posting. Some companies organize the content calendar so that every day of the week has a specific topic or theme – Wednesday could be a Q&A, Friday could be a weekly roundup of industry news, etc. When you’re first starting the blog, it is important to blog every day, Monday through Friday for the first month. Once you have a solid content bank and have established your presence, it is fine to cut back to posting twice or three times a week.

3)      Sharing is everything: It’s not enough to create content and just let it sit on the blog. You need to share it via social media and pitch it to relevant editorial opportunities. Tweeting, posting to Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit and sharing it to platforms such as Scoop.it instantly spreads the chances of people seeing and sharing your posts – helping to drive traffic back to your website. Encourage your personal network of colleagues to share the blog posts as well. This not only helps increase the blog’s impressions, but it also highlights your colleagues as thought leaders and serves as a resource for your industry. In addition, no one likes someone who talks only about themselves. Take the time to comment on other, relevant blogs sharing your opinion and insight.

These three blogging tips will not only get your company started, but it will help keep you on the right path creating content. It’s one thing to say you have a blog, and it’s a whole other thing to say you have an “active” blog.

Read more from Danielle Laurion
diy

The New Commercial – Why PR Should DIY

Instagram’s new video feature, launched last month, has already started flooding social media channels and online publications. Most of the pre-launch hype focused on Instagram’s comparison to Vine and how it would impact the popular video platform, but the key takeaway from the rapid success of both video applications is how quickly and aggressively the do-it-yourself video is transforming the media environment.

More than half of the top 100 brands are using Instagram videos to define and promote their brand personality, gain a larger social following and transform an advertisement into likable media. Instead of hitting the skip button, followers are tapping twice on artistic or humorous brand videos to express their approval. The trend toward DIY videos is not surprising as 90% of the information transmitted to our brains is visual, which Beth Monaghan noted in a recent post, and we process that content 60,000 times faster than text. Videos provide the visual medium to attract widespread attention and the message is reinforced with audio and text components. It is becoming such a popular communication tool that Cisco predicts video will account for two-thirds of the world’s mobile data traffic by 2017.

With the impending dominance of video, PR professionals should explore successful case studies and best practices to implement in future campaigns and strategies. The end goal in PR is “earned media” and videos are really effective tools to achieve it. Moreover, what distinguishes PR professionals from advertisers is that we place “free” content across media channels rather than paid creative campaigns. With DIY videos, we can now combine the creative campaign with PR tactics to generate more media opportunities. Whether it’s using a video for a pitch or pushing creative company videos through social media channels, videos will garner attention in ways that traditional methods cannot.

Here are five reasons for businesses to use Instagram video:

1.)    Establish your brand’s personality: Lululemon posted an Instagram video with more than 23,000 likes with the caption “Every mat has a story to tell. #justmymat.” The video characterizes the playful, fun and sporty character of the brand while also appealing to customers’ unique fitness choices. In PR, it’s important to help client’s establish their voice and define their brand. Video provides a great outlet to show others how your announcements, product and employees represent your brand’s image.

2.)    Create an engaging pitch: A captivating video that showcases a new product or story may go further than the traditional pitch. Martini is a group dating application created by a Harvard graduate student that brings together different groups of friends. Using the Vine video would substantiate a pitch by showing how it does this and why it’s unique.

3.)    Promote an event or a company launch: MTV recently announced nominees for the Video Music Awards on its Vine and Instagram accounts. Using video for a company launch or a big event is great way to tease or preview an announcement to get your target audience excited in a way that a standard press release may not.

4.)    Product announcement: Similar to a launch, showcasing a new product through a video can illustrate the product’s capabilities or just make a statement that intrigues followers or reporters enough to check it out. Taco Bell created an Instagram video that promotes the company’s new “Doritos Locos Tacos” by spelling it out with fire. Caution is recommended when using fire for a video, but the video is attention-grabbing and appropriate for the spicy product.

5.)    Develop videos as an effective social media tool: GE regularly shares videos that range from basic office tips to showcasing the company’s engineering capabilities. Videos that have engaging content and are promoted across social channels, on the company website and on online forums and news aggregators will drive website traffic and increase social followers.

Videos are on the rise so get creative and DIY. We did!

Read more from Rachael Tucker