With the dramatic increase in media consumption and multitasking in this digital age, people want their information as quickly as possible and aren’t always interested in reading long, text-only stories, no matter how well written. Would Twitter be necessary if we all had long attention spans? Would there be eight Harry Potter movies if everyone had the time to read the books? How do you grab, and keep, a reader’s attention?
Liven things up. Almost everything we read online is enhanced by links and information presented in various media formats. At C. Blohm & Associates we do our best to replicate this experience with our news releases. The goal is to make them a “one-stop-shop” for media, bloggers and other interested parties to quickly access all the information they need. For several years, we’ve been providing our clients with “multimedia news releases”(a.k.a., social media releases). Here are some releases we’ve done for Lightspeed Systems and Shmoop that incorporate video, downloadable PDFs of the releases, images, links to background information, and social-sharing features.
Here are some ideas for incorporating more media elements into your online releases:
- Videos – Feature an executive or customer affiliated with the story, do a product demonstration, create an animated illustration to explain an issue, or capture product and service testimonials from a user or customer.
- Sound – If video isn’t an option and text just doesn’t quite convey the story, audio clips and podcasts can add the enthusiasm and immediacy of a human voice.
- Pictures and slideshows – Show readers what you are talking about in your release. Many people are visual learners, and complex information and ideas sometimes are better conveyed through images.
- Links – Probably the easiest way to augment your release is by providing links to other relevant stories, research, videos, presentations, and more.
- Screencasts – These are an effective way to demonstrate your Web-based product or service. Screencasts are videos composed of screenshots that can include text or voiceover to walk viewers through your offering and show how it works.
- Maps – If geographic information is an important part of your story, include an annotated interactive map to help readers visualize the terrain you’re describing.
This format is applicable to any industry. By offering multimedia news releases, you can provide readers with more diverse content and showcase your company’s expertise, presenting it as modern, agile, and adapting to the changing communications landscape. Would you buy technology from a company that seems unwilling or unable to use today’s digital media tools?
Add some zest to your release by including tools that allow readers to easily share the news via social networking sites. Web pages typically include a section with small icons of social networking sites, as seen at the bottom of this post, for example. Why not encourage readers to share news they find of interest with others?
Consider this Discovery Education announcement that I recently mentioned in a blog post. The video was streamed live for the announcement and was accompanied by this release. The beauty of this approach is that you can include multimedia resources even if you don’t have a large budget. There are plenty of free resources available that can bring your release to life. With YouTube, SlideShare, Flickr and similar content-sharing sites, you can embed, share and link to content with ease. They are good places to get started.
As you can see, there are plenty of options to consider. Do you use multimedia news releases? If so, tell us about it!