Although internet marketers and video content producers often work with PR people, they rarely collaborate on creating video news releases or VNRs. The reason is obvious: The cost of creating, optimizing, and distributing a video news release or VNR is relatively higher than a press release without multimedia, and the benefits are generally unknown. That’s why you may want to pass this case study along to the public relations professionals who work with your organization. They may or may not be impressed that Laura Sturaitis, the Executive Vice President of Media Services and Product Strategy at Business Wire, and I presented this success story today during the professional development workshop on “Best Practices for Demonstrating ROI in PR Messaging” at the PRSA 2013 International Conference in Philadelphia.
However, most PR people will be intrigued that Pat Hall, the CEO of Get City Dealz, and I just won the inaugural U.S. Search Award for the “Best Use of PR in a Search Campaign” for this case study during last week’s Pubcon Las Vegas 2013. And they’re very likely to be fascinated that Holly Firfer, an Emmy nominated correspondent and anchor for CNN, who was the MC for the U.S. Search Awards, said, “This entry was very highly rated by judges who felt that it was a very worthy winner of this category and wanted to reward this solid campaign with impressive metrics and accurate attribution.”
Testing Three Different Kinds Of Press Release
So, what’s the backstory? Back in February 2013, SEO-PR, my content marketing agency, Get City Dealz, a technology company in New Orleans that specializes in assisting merchants in promoting their businesses on its deal platform, and Business Wire, the global leader in press release distribution, conducted a test to find out if including a video or photo in a press release generated better results than a press release which didn’t include multimedia.
Get City Dealz created three similar press releases. Each one featured a different local merchant that offered a daily deal or local bargain in New Orleans on the recently launched Get City Dealz platform. Each of the press releases was distributed via Business Wire at 6:30 a.m. on successive Saturday mornings in February.
The first release for Jazzy Nola, a French Quarter boutique, went out on Feb. 2. It included a video entitled, “Get City Deals & Jazzy Nola Team Up to Bring New Orleans Great Deals!”
The second release for Orleans Grapevine, a restaurant in the French Quarter, went out on Feb. 9. It included a photo of one of the Cajun Creole restaurant’s menu items and specials: a Shrimp Remoulade served in a beautifully hand carved Conch Shell from Belize.
The third release for Glam 504, a boutique shop, went out on Feb. 23. Although Glam 504 focuses on unique jewellery and clothing that has New Orleans flair, the release didn’t include any multimedia.
The target audiences for all three press releases were more than 1 million tourists and 5,000 media members who were converging on New Orleans for two major events — the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras.
The Results: Press Release With Video Attracts 55.4% More Views
By April 1, 2013, the first release with a video had 5,059 release views and 230 link clicks, according to Business Wire’s NewsTrak Reports. The video, which was uploaded to YouTube, also had 69 views. The second release with a photo had 3,406 release views and 181 link clicks. The third release with no multimedia had 3,255 release views and 169 link clicks.
So, the video news release had 55.4% more release views and 36.1% more link clicks – and the release with a photo had 4.6% more release views and 7.1% more link clicks – than the release with no multimedia. Together, the three releases had 11,720 release views and 580 link clicks to landing pages on the Get City Dealz site.
My agency also used the Google Analytics URL Builder to tag the links in the three releases. This enabled the team to see that visitors from press releases visited an average of 3.12 pages per visit and spent an average of 2 minutes and 16 seconds for the duration of a visit. It also enabled the team to see that 72% of the visits from the releases were new, compared the site average of 42%.
GetCityDealz.com also saw an 85% increase in referral traffic in February over January. This came from websites like Yahoo! Finance and Reuters, which carried the releases, as well as social media like Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest. GetCityDealz.com also saw a 407% increase in organic search traffic in February over January. It’s also worth noting that the number of unique visitors to GetCityDealz.com on weekends doubled in February over January.
When I was in New Orleans in April, I heard a couple of stories that added some anecdotal evidence to these “impressive metrics.”
First, the Get City Dealz VNR for Jazzy Nola featured some unique wine tumblers made in a distinctly New Orleans style with a gold fleur de lis imprinted on the tumbler. The release helped sell out of the order of wine tumblers, which were great for tourists and visitors wandering the French Quarter during the Super Bowl or on the Mardi Gras parade route.
Second, the video news release also mentioned that Jazzy Nola was promoting their Roger Goodell voodoo dolls on Get City Dealz. Fashioned with “G-O-O-D-E-L-L” beads and a heart that has a black pin and fleur de lis through it, they were hand made by Laura Blackburn. At the press conference on the Saturday before the Big Game, the media asked Goodell about the voodoo dolls and he joked that he’d just read about them that morning. Oh, the Roger Goodell voodoo dolls also sold out in a matter of days.
So, whether your PR people are trying to reach the public or the press, adding a video to a press release can help them reach their goal. And, VNRs are something that you can collaborate with them to create.