By Paul Brent

What is B-roll? It is an edited package of video that shows your company and/or your product and is offered to media for use as part of its reporting. The term is a holdover from the days of film when there was both an A and a B roll. Interviews were normally on the A reel and visuals were on the B reel as a story went to air. Over time the term has come to mean a source of supplemental video content.  

Last week one of our clients, Skyreader Media Inc. led by its marketing team leader, Andrew Jackson from Knowmads Inc., launched an innovative new children’s eBook app on the iPad called Draw Along Pip. market2world produced a PR campaign that included a video package report about Pip the Penguin and its author/creator Leslie McGuirk with three B-roll segments.

The B-roll was used extensively by CTV’s Canada AM in a five minute interview with Skyreader’s CEO Kevin Gillis and Leslie McGuirk.

CTV’s producers started their interview segment using Skyreader’s B-Roll of a parent and children using the app in a very natural way. They also used another Skyreader-supplied B-Roll segment for three in-show promotions about the upcoming interview segment.

The B-roll helped CTV show its TV audience what the app is all about. Increasingly, all media platforms (including online newspapers) are looking for video that allows them to offer their audiences additional value. In Skyreader’s case, CTV also posted the video interview segment as one of their Top Picks of the Day.

Our B-roll content also found its way on to the Skyreader Media YouTube Channel.

These video clips show an assortment of screen shots and the full story about the app and the company, plus other content Skyreader Media has developed.

It’s noteworthy that adding video to text content makes that content 53 more times likely to be on the first page of a search. 55% of people who view a video also visit the company’s website and 24% make a purchase as a result of watching.  

Some quick advice about creating effective B-roll as part of your PR effort:

  • As with any statement to media, provide truthful and trustworthy video that accurately reflects the company and its products

  • Provide natural sound (the relevant sound i.e. people talking, equipment operating), after all video is about pictures AND sound. Silence is not golden with B-roll!

  • Don’t make individual shots too short, or too long (aim for six or seven seconds per shot, which producers may cut in half)   

  • Make your B-roll easily accessible via YouTube on your own channel so all your videos are in one place, but be prepared to deliver digital video files directly to media outlets if that is the way they want it

  • There is no guarantee the B-roll will be used, but in the case of Skyreader Media it was not only used in the interview segment but as part of promo for that segment as well

(Paul Brent is Senior Communications Strategist with market2world communications inc. the public relations and product marketing agency for global innovators.)