A Blog About Something Important to PR That Is Not ChatGPT

Given everything that's been happening within PR thus far in 2023, I was curious about what the PR prognosticators foresaw for this year when they gazed through their crystal ball at the end of 2022.  So I did a Google search about it over the weekend. Guess what? Not a peep about ChatGPT. Amazing how it wasn’t even on the radar 6 months ago but is now the industry’s cause célèbre.

Personally, it’s already beginning to irritate me, kind of like back in the ‘80’s when “Billie Jean” was played in constant rotation on the radio seemingly every third song.  Awesome tune that eventually came to feel like the onset of water torture everytime you heard the opening bass chords.

So let’s change the subject to something that was accurately predicted and continues to grow as an important phenomenon in the PR world. I found it in an article written by Allison Carter for PR Daily, entitled PR Daily’s Top 6 Trends for 2023, which was posted on their website on December 19, 2022. 

Down at Number 4 was this one item that is near and dear to my heart: Short-form video becomes more vital. Allison made the very valid point that short-form video was becoming an increasingly key part of any communications strategy”. Allison, I couldn’t agree more. Maybe we should talk.

The item focused on how “visual story telling” especially resonates with YouTube-raised Gen Z-ers and that even Millennials and Boomers prefer it in extreme short-form, as in 1 minute or less.

Why do I care so much about this? Well, when I was cooking up my idea for News Direct way back in 2017-18, it had already become clear to me that the world of “news” dissemination was going to eventually migrate strongly in the direction of multimedia in place of, or at least prominently alongside, the written word.

One of the founding principles of the platform was to allow for the dissemination of digital formats, particularly video, downstream as independent, standalone pieces of content, rather than being embedded as links in news releases, to the same destinations as traditional newswires have been sending those news releases for seven decades. The world was changing, and I saw the need to adapt.

At News Direct, we’re now beginning to see the impact of that strategy on our business as well as on the engagement that our users’ content is receiving via online search. As our volume of “standalone” video has dramatically increased, so, too has our domain authority, which has gone through the roof in less than 9 months.

We’ve learned that Google algorithms strongly favor video content over text, so it’s no surprise that this content receives lots of SEO love in the search engines. What did sneak up on us was the fact that all this video content is having a residual effect on the non-multimedia stuff, meaning text-based news releases, being distributed across News Direct. The newsdirect.com domain itself has become very prominent and increasingly enhances the engagement of everything that is sent over the network.

We also have a sponsored content product called Idea Marketplace, and it, too, has seen dramatic benefits from being tied to the newsdirect.com domain. That product has taken off as a result.

Hurray for us, but more importantly, News Direct is providing this video content a means to be “pushed” out to where audiences are already congregating online, whereas before, the only methods to gain “eyeballs” were to place these assets on social media channels and corporate web sites. These are decidedly “pull” strategies, and by nature, limiting in terms of the scale of attention they can muster.

So, for those PR pros who subscribe to this premise, which by now you’d think would be a sizable portion of the overall universe, this is your opportunity to expand your scope and reap the rewards that a video-hungry target audience can deliver to your brand message.

The additional good news is that such video doesn’t have to be expensive to produce. The production value is up to the creator and should be somewhat aligned with the perception, or vibe, that is attempting to be created. You can do slick if that’s your thing, but gritty can also work in certain circumstances. Whatever your preference, there are ample tools available today, including the iPhone 14, that can do the trick without spending thousands on camera crews, venues and equipment.

In the end, it’s all about the message and today, there is no more effective format in which to deliver those messages than through short-form video. Best of all, now there’s a way to get that message broadly seen and heard.