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The written word is one of the most powerful tools of persuasion we possess. As Joseph Conrad famously wrote, "My task which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word to make you hear, to make you feel - it is, before all, to make you see." But 120 years on, is the written word still the 21st century’s most powerful form of communication?

In our fast-moving digital age, attention spans are at an all-time low, with some studies showing that an average reader now spends less than 15 seconds on a web page or online article. With people no longer consuming information through text, is the future a post-literate one? This may be a reality sooner than you think. According to Cisco, 2017 has seen video account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic.

The new king of content, video has the power to capture a viewer immediately. It creates a lasting impression and tells a visually engaging story that can reach thousands in a matter of minutes. Think of the world’s all-time most successful viral ad campaigns. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was shared more than 1.2 million times on Facebook in a 4-week period. Or my personal favourite, 3’s #DancePonyDance which saw a moonwalking pony become an instant viral hit, racking up over 5.4 million views in only a few weeks. There is no denying that online users are hungry for video content. Rumour has it that Facebook plans to dramatically ramp up their video engagement with new video programmes backed by multi-million dollar budgets.

Even news channels are increasingly focusing on video content to tell their stories. More often than not these days, news that goes viral is video-led – but whether it is really newsworthy is another story. Check out video of Donald Trump ‘getting lost walking to his limo’ which amassed 275.5k shares on Facebook within a day of being published on Washington Journal.

As PR practitioners evolving with the times, it’s crucial that we reconsider how we are packaging clients' content for greater engagement and impact. Embedding video content into press releases can be a highly effective method of communicating key information that might otherwise be buried in a sea of text. A recent PR Newswire study found that the more visual elements a press release contains, the greater the reach, with video press releases averaging 2.8 times more views than text-only releases.

But how do we ensure press release videos reach the right audiences and more importantly gain traction, shares and those sought-after views? 

Illustrate your story
With video, the possibilities of pitching your story are greatly widened with the power of visuals. From communicating key messages through an animated spokesperson, engaging film reels or infographics, choose the visuals that best describe your campaign and bring it to life.

Keep it short
You have limited time to capture the viewer: 2 minutes, 42 seconds to be exact according to average video viewership statistics. Content must be easily digestible, so make sure it’s creative, fun and quirky, or your consumer will move on to something else that is.

Create compelling content 
The art of video making, which is harder than it looks, is tying your information together into an overarching brand story. Rise above the noise with quality content and real stories that can create an emotional connection and a lasting impression. Don’t forget to insert calls to action and embed links where possible – video is a highly action-driven marketing tool.

Be ready to share
Social media users will post and re-post videos more than text-only content. With journalists looking to satisfy their own web engine figures, giving them shareable content that’s ready to go will do just that. Ensure your content is can be easily shared across the key social networks. For social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, videos must be subtitled for greater message pickup and social sharing.

Track your audience
Don’t waste any time getting acquainted with the assembly of online video tools and analytic platforms that are now available. Learning from your audience’s consumer habits and viewing experience will help you create better content, and lead to greater results. Readership is viewership, after all.

As evidenced by Facebook feeds clogged with endless Donald Trump and cat videos, the power of the written word has been overtaken. It’s time to put your budget into video storytelling.

Read more: Express yourself: The art of storytelling

What a glorious summer of sport 2016 has been. We kicked off with the UEFA Champions League, whizzed through the Tour de France, aced Wimbledon (go Andy), swung into The Open and Euro 2016 netted our attention. This August, all eyes are on Rio for the much anticipated Summer Olympics. Around 10,500 athletes from 206 countries are taking part in 17 days of the Olympiad, competing across 306 events.

Across the water, Hong Kong has been having its very own summer sporting movement. Thousands of paddlers and spectators took to water for the Dragon Boat festival, yogis and wellness seekers descended on Central Harbourfront for IRIS yoga festival and in one week Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Multi-Sport Festival, the largest in the world, comes to Asian shores for the very first time.

Set to become one of the biggest fitness events Hong Kong has seen, the Arnold Classic Asia promises a weekend of non-stop sport, fitness and wellbeing. Hong Kongers can expect an action packed weekend of sport activities and competitions, from bodybuilding to jump rope, MMA to table tennis and everything in between. Arnold’s sport crusade started in the U.S 40 years ago and he has now brought his vision of sport and health to 5 continents around the globe, with each location attracting at least 30,000 attendees. The festivals encourage a community of learning and discovery, with kids’ activities, active workshops and opportunities to learn from the pros.

Hong Kongers from young to old are embracing the active life which is evident in the city’s booming health and fitness industry.  Euromonitor Market research reports that the health and wellness industry will continue to see positive growth in coming years with an increased Government focus on promoting importance of staying healthy and fit. This trajectory is good news for the world’s health and wellness brands, many of which have invested in the Hong Kong market with an eye to springboard into China, who in October 2015 issued a national plan for the development of its sports industry. According to China Daily, the industry’s value may exceed USD800.4 billion by 2025.

Whether it be through spending their weekends exploring Hong Kong’s abundant nature trails, joining fitness communities such as Bikini Fit or Cross Fit, or trying out the latest fitness crazes, Hong Kongers are embracing the benefits of a healthy, active living. If the rippling muscles and toned abs of the Arnold Classic Asia competitors descending on Hong Kong this August don’t motivate you to get off your couch we don’t know what will!

Arnold Classic Asia Strongman competitor Santina Phillips pulls SCANIA truck weighing over 8 tons in Kwai Chung