Content in releases. A hot topic out of the recent PRSA conference in Atlanta. Once, when you mentioned quality content in a release, you were specifically referring to the level at which the writing stood. Or did not stand. That was, or at least could be, enough sizzle to get some attention. These days however, with the power and prevalence of online outlets and media, quality content means so much more. I am of course talking about multimedia attached, in one form or another, to the modern press release. So were a lot of PR experts at the conference.
They fell into two main groups; those who understood that the only way to provide enough juicy content to get picked up is by filling it full of quality media, and those who agree, but wish they didn’t. Or more aptly, those doing it, and those who know they should be doing it. But the real question is why? So, here are 3 main reasons why everyone should get on board with Quality Content.
1. Shortening the journalists’ lead time
I’ve known some hard working journalists, many who started in front of a typewriter, and who can all agree that writing a feature requires the right collateral. In the days of print alone, that meant some solid sourcing and couple great snaps. In the early days of papers going online, it was merely a more accessible copy of what went onto paper. Now, for most outlets, the online business is a separate, and hungry beast. Nothing is going live until it has sources linked, media linked, and a barrage of top shelf snaps. So, unless you don’t mind your release sitting idle, while a busy journalist (or intern) spend 1% of their time trying to find the right media for it, you need to include your own. Speeding up the wait time to get your, or your client’s news published is second only to actually getting it published. Spend your time curating the right material before you send it, make your contact’s life a little easier, and you may see an immediate up-tick.
2. Short attention spans
I’ll be the first to admit it. While sitting here and writing this I have two mobile phones next to me, a movie playing in the background, LinkedIn and Facebook open and a 3-year-old working very hard to convince me she should stay up just 5 more minutes. I can’t say how many different conversations over various messaging services I have going on at the same time.
We have become phenomenal at multitasking. To the detriment of each individual task. Just because we can do 10 things at once, doesn’t mean we’re doing all 10 with a high level of success. Case in point, my 3-year-old has successfully negotiated a bedtime reprieve. I think this is the fifth win in a row for her. As such, while I scan articles, my attention isn’t drawn to the most newsworthy first, but to the ‘shiniest’. Videos, pictures, presentations, and source links front and centeer. This is why quality content is important. Everyone is busy, and has their focus split in (too) many directions. So, whether it is to get the attention of your contact who will write it up, or to get the attention of the end consumer, rich content has power over scanners with short attention spans.
If someone comes up to you and describes how they saw Bigfoot, you chortle and wander away. If they show you a blurry picture, half of which is their thumb, you spend an extra second before leaving. But if they showed you a clear, still image, a well-lit and framed video, and a veritable directory of other credible eye-witness testimony, your focus is on them. 100%.
High-quality content, media and collateral, reinforces and adds veracity to whatever it is you’re saying. There is an old adage ‘what you say is almost as important as how you say it’. Added, attached, and embedded content is the next level. Do you want the world to know about the amazing charity work your client recently participated in? Add pictures. Add video. Add validity. We work and live in an era where everything is visually documented. Make use of this to capture belief. A great picture of your executive board breaking ground for a new building is great. A linked video, with quotable comments is amazing. Let’s make the brands we represent amazing. Let’s put the visual proof in the pudding of writing.
Bigfoot, aliens, and an honest politician will forever remain in the realm of disbelief without quality content to reinforce the truth of the message. And the brand you represent deserves to sizzle, not be blurred by half a thumb at sunset.