According to a survey of PR professionals recently conducted by PR News and PR Newswire, the use of visuals in public relations campaigns is poised for an increase: the overwhelming majority (76%) of people surveyed plan to use more visual storytelling elements in their communications in 2014.
An even larger majority of communications pros (79%) noted that video is underutilized in PR messaging. However, the survey also revealed that PR has increasing control over the budget for the creation of multimedia content.
“It’s interesting that the budgets are now evenly split between PR and marketing,” Kevin West, PR Newswire/Multivu senior vice president of multimedia, said in the report published by PR News. “The fact is encouraging because there’s always been this perception that marketing always had control of budgets, so it presents an opportunity for PR people.”
Despite the relatively scant use of video in PR messaging, those surveyed noted that video content is effective at driving engagement in social channels, beating out infographics and articles. Photos – which are much more commonly used in PR messaging – were the most engaging multimedia element.
According to the survey results, the primary barrier to creating more video isn’t budget – it’s resources, followed by time. Developing the ability to create video (and other visuals) on the fly is a real challenge for most organizations, especially given the rapidly evolving communications landscape, which places ever-higher premiums on visual content – especially video.
“The role that the communicators can now play, with respect to visual storytelling, is explaining in detail the future possibilities of social capabilities and content creation and adding content to all of these new forms of storytelling, whether it’s Vine or Instagram,” West said in an in-depth article about the survey findings he penned for PR News titled “Lack of Resources is Cited as a Barrier to Multimedia Storytelling.”
Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of the e-books Unlocking Social Media for PR and the newly-published New School Press Release Tactics. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.