Email pitches are dead. Long live video pitches.

For the first time last week, I pitched a great story to a number of reporters using personalized video pitches. Rather than mass copying and pasting a body of text over and over again, I just custom recorded 30-second videos using the free Chrome plugin tool, ViewedIt (developed by the team at Vidyard — where I work). This super-simple screen-capturing wonder lets me record snappy, personalized videos where I’m able to speak directly to a reporter using my webcam. Talk about relationship building; videos are the next best thing to being there in real life.

Here’s how easy it is:

  • Click and open the little green circle in the top right-hand corner of your Chrome extension.
  • Hit RECORD.
  • Speak into the camera as if you were having a conversation. Shift between screens, or point out areas of interest on webpages or documents.
  • When you’re done, hit STOP.
  • Send your email with the video embedded. Type less, record more.

The results were impressive.

I recorded and embedded one of these videos into every pitch I sent. Yes, I still had reporters agree to my standard embargo before I gave them detailed information, however, using short videos as part of my email pitching strategy was faster because I didn’t have to worry about typos or grammar.

I may have discovered a PR person’s secret weapon.

Not only were the reporters I pitched excited by this type of email, P.J. Bednarski at MediaPost, even wrote about it!

I opened an email the other day and got scared out of my wits. Someone started speaking to me.
On the bottom left, framed in circle, was a video of a woman touting ViewedIt Enterprise, by which business people like her can reach clients, in a more personalized way, and with a way more pinpointed message. It’s being announced today.
She gave me a pre-recorded video “Howdy” that segued right into her pitch. Since she knew the email was coming to me, she was able to address me by name.

Over the course of two days, I connected with more than 45 reporters to pitch my story. Considering many reporters receive hundreds of emails a day, the results were impressive. The emails that included a ViewedIt video drove much higher engagement, I’d estimate more than 50% than usual. And every time a reporter clicked and watched one of my videos, I received an email notification that let me know how much of the video they watched.

More than half of the reporters I pitched actually opened my videos. Most viewed between 80% — 100% of the clip. Even when I pitched smaller publications, I could tell if an editor forwarded the email through to others on their team because the instant alerts let me know in real time of those multiple viewings.

Suddenly, it felt like an email was naked unless it had a video.

I’ll definitely be using ViewedIt in all of my future PR pitching, and can see how teams in sales, customer service, or internal comms would also find the functionally valuable too. We all love face-to-face communications, and video gets us closer to that moment.

Give ViewedIt a try as part of your PR pitching strategy too. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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