Back to the Future: Video Media Pitches are the new press release

Bobby Whittingham / January 10, 2017

If you’ve been around the PR industry, you’ve heard over and over that the press release is dead. However, here at The Fearey Group, we still believe the press release can be useful in many situations – although the press release is losing favor as journalists across all industries are inundated day-after-day with press releases that don’t fit their beat or tell a compelling story.

To combat that trend and help our clients stand out from the crowd we’re looking back to get to the future. In this case, our team is focused on a new version of the video news release that we like to call video pitches.

Previously, video news releases (VNR) were produced by organizations for distribution to TV channels. They were organized as a news report and included interviews, b-roll and suggested copy for newscasters to read before and after the story. These VNR’s were a ready to go news package that could be inserted directly into the nightly news and they’re still used today. But we’ve taken the VNR one step further and brought it into a social media world.

With a video pitch, we took the idea of a VRN and created a short and informative video that could be used on a client’s social media channel and also used in media outreach to journalist across all mediums from TV to print. The video pitch production process is often shorter than writing a press release and the positive feedback we’ve received from reporters has proved its potential.

Want to join us on the video pitch bandwagon? Here are five tips to get you started:

1. Theme – Having a consistent theme will allow the producers to quickly develop a series of video pitches. We’d recommend a “listical” focus where you provide the top three to five tips on the subject you want to discuss. This format helps convey clear and concise messages to viewers, gives them a call-to-action and preserves creativity.

2. Storyboard – Just like the message development process for a press release, developing a storyboard for your video pitch before shooting will help outline your needed video assets and interview questions.

3. Simplicity – This is where the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) system comes into play. The ideal length is around a minute and 30 seconds. This presents the information in an efficient format for both reporters and social media audiences. When shooting and editing, basic cuts and title boxes will keep the look crisp and clear.

4. Timeliness – As with any news release or media pitch, a timely pitch that coincides with current events is key to resonance with journalists and social media audiences. Make sure your video pitch is timely and relevant.

5. Brevity – Once you have the video pitch, ensure that your outreach to target journalists is brief, provides and overview of the story idea and includes a call-to-action to watch the video to get an overview of the story. The same goes with your social media copy. Make it short and sweet so the video pitch can speak for itself!

For more guidance, here is an example myself and Aaron Blank, President & CEO, put together a few months ago for our client, Virginia Mason:

Happy video pitching!