There's a right way and a wrong way to go about video news releases.
It's especially important to get video news releases (VNRs) right the first time because if everything goes according to plan, news stations will use your VNR footage in their on-air reporting. The slightest misstep in your approach can lead to disaster – i.e. a total media blackout of your company's latest video PR efforts.
Good VNRs conform to a handful of best practices. Although these practices won't guarantee prime time media coverage, they'll make it more likely that your VNRs will be used to generate compelling news stories.
- Focus on newsworthiness. In certain media circles, VNRs are looked down upon as propaganda devices. Over the years, some businesses have taken a blatantly promotional tone in VNRs instead of recognizing their value as a nuanced tool for supplying useful story content to the media. News stations can smell a pretender a mile away so before you do anything else, make sure there is a legitimate news story at the heart of your VNR.
- Forget about effects. Unique formatting and special effects will sentence your VNR to a quick death. For news outlets, the real value of a VNR is in raw footage they can easily edit into a news story. Save the fancy stuff for your home videos; keep your VNR at 5-7 minutes of clean and simple footage, and make sure it follows a coherent script.
- Organize your satellite feed. Your production company should handle all of the technical aspects of delivering your VNRs to stations. But if you're really interested in how it works, here's the short version: VNRs are delivered via C-band satellite time on a scheduled release day(s). The production company receives the feed specifications when they purchase satellite time. Your only direct responsibility is to make sure the release date is timed appropriately and that satellite time has been purchased on C-band satellites (the ones most stations use).
- Actively pitch. On the day your VNR is released, your PR team should send out media alerts and pull the trigger on PR pitches to targeted stations. Timing is everything, so don't do it the day before your VNR and definitely don't do it the day after.
- Tracking. You can track the effectiveness of your VNR by Sigma encoding it before it reaches the satellite feed. Sigma encoding, combined with other video tracking tools, gives you the resources you need to monitor usage and estimate the number of people who watched your VNR. That's useful information you can use to tweak your approach in future VNR campaigns.