For some time now video has been emerging as the way to communicate. We are seeing more video capabilities on our cell phones and more of our friends posting viral and “home” videos on Facebook. This week - whether you love it or hate it – chances are someone you know posted Toyota's Swagger Wagon music video to their facebook page or tweeted it. Whether it's a big or small production, video in PR and marketing can be highly effective.

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of working with two clients that are using video in very different ways. VisibleGains is providing marketers with a platform for deploying and measuring video that will allow viewers to decide their own viewing path. PayItGreen created a moving and award-winning video that shows how consumers can reduce paper bills to create a positive impact on the environment.

The two initiatives got me thinking about how we are just starting to utilize the power of video in the PR world. Quite often it is the time, budget, know-how or buy-in that stops us from using video regularly. However, with the availability of easy-to-use video devices like Flip video camcorders, it is getting easier to create and quickly turnaround genuine and engaging content. Here are a few ways we can use video to augment what we’re already doing for clients:

• Press Releases: While news wires have been offering Multimedia press releases that feature video for sometime, it is not something clients often tap into. However, with an executive that’s willing to tell a story, a complementary video can be developed and added to a press release pretty easily. Video is valuable because it cuts through the text and is a great way to tell a story about your newest product, an exciting customer, or really anything that’s newsworthy.

Although this video was professionally developed, here’s an example PayItGreen’s Multimedia press release that included video click here or watch the video below:

• Case studies: Written customer case studies are great validation pieces that resonate with the media and serve as a helpful sales tool – consider the impact a video case study would make. In today’s work environment where resources are stretched, a video case study can deliver messages quicker and in a more interactive format.  For example, the VisibleGains platform allows the viewer to interact and choose their own viewing path. To make the video even more genuine and effective, our clients could feature a customer in the video, allowing the customer to share their success story and ROI in their own words.

• Press Kits: Generally, the PR industry has moved away from traditional press kit folders filled with pages of press releases and company information. We’re now loading the essentials onto flash drives that are easy to carry around and save paper. However, I think the press kits of the future will soon incorporate a company backgrounder, featuring a video of the CEO, or include executive bios told by the executives themselves. This format would truly differentiate one press kit from another and create a connection between the viewer and the client’s brand.

While we have certainly tested some of these video practices with our clients, we have a ways to go in thinking about when and how to leverage video. The written word is invaluable, but PR practitioners and our clients must embrace video to effectively communicate with their audience.

Contributed by Kyla Kenney. Follow her @kylakenney.