Tips for Incorporating Multimedia Content


Chicago’s PRSA Young Professionals Network hosts panel on multimedia content.

Last week, I attended a panel presentation put on by Chicago’s PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) Young Professionals Network. The panel’s title, “Storytelling through Multimedia Content,” immediately caught my attention. Whether you’re agency or in-house, all public relations and communications professionals share the expectation to deliver fresh and relevant multimedia content to engage consumers in new ways. To get diverse perspective on the matter, PRSA consulted four Chicago professionals: Sarah Gitersonke, executive producer at AKA Media Inc.; Prash Sabharwal, digital manager at Golin; Lisa Trafficanta, vice president at Res Publica Group; and Geoffrey Frankel, senior vice president at Edelman.

The following is a brief roundup of my panel takeaways, including some classic communication strategy reminders as well as pre-production and post-production tips. I encourage you to use this list to spark conversations and considerations around the use of multimedia content in your communication strategies.

Classic Reminders

  • Idea first, tactic second
  • Start by considering who your audience is, where they are and why they should care
  • Follow the rule of quality over quantity to make a stronger impact
  • Key priorities are to tap into emotion, personalize the message and offer up a clear action
  • If an idea does not read genuine or authentic to you, guide your client to re-position messaging

Pre-production Tips

  • Harness the power of a video for fostering an emotional connection between consumer and brand. The sensory experience of a video is more memorable than traditional text. However, you walk a fine line with promotion. Brands must be inserted in a subtle and authentic way to avoid turning off audiences.
  • Forget the traditional memo for pivotal announcements. Internal communicators can leverage a webcast or live video stream to connect your C-suite with the arms and legs of the organization.
  • Identify a spokesperson that genuinely enjoys your brand. Gitersonke shared a great example with the Skittles press conference featuring Marshawn Lynch. Or jump to the opposite end of the spectrum with an unlikely pairing for a more humorous spin.
  • Remember that what someone else says about your brand is much more important than what you say.
  • Explore ways to capitalize on production days to get the biggest bang for your buck. In addition to getting the interview, film a how-to video or b-roll that can contribute to a content library.
  • Looking to get ahead of the curve? Augmented reality is the new and shiny tactic that has people brainstorming new opportunities. I’m not recommending that you run out and build an app, but the panelists encouraged starting to think about more immersive media experiences.
  • Factor in a temperature check by planning to produce a minimum viable product that can be shared with a focus group.

Post-production Tips

  • Include promotion dollars in your budget to ensure you get eyes. Just posting a video to YouTube doesn’t guarantee viewership or engagement.
  • Consider ways to coordinate content across channels. Frankel referenced those moments you go home and think a particular topic is everywhere. That is the sign of a well-orchestrated PR plan.
  • Empower your community to spread your story. Sabharwal provided an interesting example that stems from his work with McDonalds. They were cooking up different ways to share the all-day breakfast news and ultimately decided to reach out to customers before media. The company partnered with Twitter to find folks who have asked/demanded all-day breakfast over the years. For a select few, McDonalds replied directly with the happy news and a media kit to help further spread the word.

Do any of the above nuggets of advice spur a question or comment? Please feel free to share your thoughts below. And finally, this blog post is dedicated to the nice lady that dug through her purse to loan me an extra pen at the panel. I hate being that guy…


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