The Rise of Predictive Scanning: PR Isn’t Dead, It’s Poised for a Comeback

October 30, 2014

By Neelima Yelamanchili, Business Wire DC

Cutting Through The ClutterHow people want to interact with a brand has changed. For brand and content communicators, timing the message delivery can play a crucial role in enhancing perceptions and encouraging favorable behavior change.

Citing data that audiences are bombarded with 5,000 messages a day, Adele Cehrs, CEO, Epic PR Group, explained that when they are faced with so much information, important details are likely to be missed or simply forgotten. The challenge for the communicator is to break through this information clutter and pinpoint and highlight for their audience what is most important.

- 62% say social media has no influence on buying
– 91% rely on word of mouth for brand recommendations
– Just 2.7% of people are willing to recommend a brand across their social media channels for fear of being negatively associated with a brand

To ensure their message reaches through this clutter, Cehrs recommended today’s communicators focus less on engagement metrics and focus more on timing – specifically when there’s a spike in the conversation around a particular topic or issue. SPIKE is defined as “a sudden, point of interest that kick-starts exposure good or bad.” To increase the impact of the news, Cehrs recommends communicators focus on outreach during the spike, “when the messages will be most important to the audience.”

How can you monitor for a SPIKE? Perhaps a particular topic is trending on social media that relates to your brand or industry. Consider that a spike. Perhaps there is new legislation or some issues-focused topic that is prevalent in the news that relates to your message. Again, use that SPIKE.

And while bad news might be a popular cause of SPIKES, don’t automatically assume that’s a bad thing. If handled tactfully, you can make positive waves for your brand in the wake of a competitor’s missteps.

Other ways to monitor for spikes include:
– Competitor wins
– Contrary opinions, from e.g. bloggers, pundits, etc.
– Previous industry/company issues
– Trends in the news cycle

Using social media
Trying to internally sell the importance of social media to your C-suite or executives who distrust social platforms or believe it can be done successfully for free? First, make them understand that there is no such thing as free social media. It’s unrealistic to dedicate around-the-clock staff to monitor social media. Having a team prepared to monitor for the SPIKE and take necessary real-time marketing actions is a more effective use of resources. This is especially true with social media responses being an immediate avenue to connect with audiences.

Be prepared to strike at the SPIKE– you’re likely to get better results, increase your ROI, and might just earn respect from the C-suite!


When it Comes to Online Newsrooms, Give the Media What They Want

October 27, 2014

By Sarah Drake Boerkircher, Assistant Director, News & Communications, Wake Forest Universitysdboerkircher

At the PRSA 2014 International Conference in Washington, D.C., I participated in the public relations professional development workshop “Content, Social Strategies and Online Newsrooms: Managing Communications in Higher Education.” As a PR professional for a university’s news and communication team, I was eager to hear how journalists were interacting with online newsrooms. These are the takeaways that I found to be most helpful:

So… what do media really want in a newsroom?

  • First and foremost, an online newsroom must be mobile-friendly. If a newsroom isn’t responsive, this will only cause annoyance, causing the reporter to leave your site as soon as possible.
  • Press releases, which are categorized and easy to search.
    • Experts with biographies and up-to-date information.
    • Media contacts that include email addresses, phone numbers, mobile numbers and Twitter handles.
    • Fact sheet(s). Note: a fact sheet is not the university’s history.
    • Images, photo galleries, infographics and videos.
    • In the News” section, which includes the most current university coverage.
    • An archive. Up to five years of information can be included, but must be easy to search. Major university milestones that fall outside of the five-year window can also be included.
  • Finding an answer should be easy. When media visits a university homepage, more than 80 percent are looking for the newsroom. Reporters do not want to spend hours (let alone minutes) searching a university site for an answer, so make the newsroom reporter-friendly by easing the search features and incorporating the content outlined above.
  • Content needs to be searchable. Often public relations professionals use corporate / university speak that is not easily searchable, which prevents a press release or story from gaining traction. Use language that people will most likely use when they conduct a search. This is as simple as calling a spade a spade.
  • Use a story in multiple ways, so impact can be measured. Storytelling is key in public relations, so being able to measure the impact of a story is important. Repurposing content through a blog post, tweet, video, infographic, photo or Instagram post, increases the chances of a story to be shared. Once content is shared, which is often easiest to do so across social media, a story’s reach and spread become measurable.
  • There is always room for improvement. After major or minor changes to a newsroom, do not be afraid to ask media to take a look at your site. Feedback can help to make the newsroom that much more efficient and only help get media the content that they want when they need it.

Communications Week Recap: The Role of Paid, Earned and Owned in Public Relations

October 24, 2014

By Joe Curro, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire

This past Monday, Business Wire’s New York team was proud to partner with Communications Week 2014 for our State of the Union: Living in Times of Media Disruption breakfast panel.  Attendees joined us at Thomson Reuters’ beautiful conference space overlooking Times Square to hear from an elite panel of communications professionals: Chanel Cathey (Director of Corporate Communications, Viacom), Ben Trounson (Director of North American Communications, Tata Consultancy Services), Jordan Fischler (SVP Technology and Digital Media, Allison+Partners), Nelson Freitas (Chief Strategy Officer, Wunderman), and our moderator, Steve Rubel (Chief Content Strategist, Edelman).

Panelist 1

(Panelists left to right: Chanel Cathey, Nelson Freitas, Jordan Fischler, Steve Rubel, Ben Trounson)

Built as an active and lively conversation between the participants, the event provided insight into a wide range of topics from the balance between owned, earned, and paid media, to navigating the opportunities and pitfalls of real-time communications, to the questions on the horizon that we’ll all be talking about in the coming months.

Here are a few of the insights that were shared:

Rethinking measurement?
The volume of available measurement data is overwhelming.  How do communications teams make good decisions based on the available data?  How do you decide what data is relevant?  The goal of your data collection should not be the quantity of information gathered, and decisions should not be made on numbers in a vacuum.  The data you collect may be the response to a question, but it’s not the end of the conversation.  Talk about your findings, use the data to inform how you interact with your influencers, and keep them engaged and giving their feedback.

Risks of paid content?
There is an eternal danger to relying on paid content – of damaging the trust you’ve established with your consumers – so how do brands make the most of this amplification option?  By always staying active in the communities that are discussing the brand.  Paid content, for all its dangers, allows for a greater degree of control.  The more control you have over your message, the more responsive you can be to anything unexpected.

Managing the flood of content?
Consumers are bombarded by a constant flow of content.  We have access to immeasurably more content than we’ll ever be able to consume.  So how do brands compete for valuable attention?  By being a curator of its own content, a brand can keep conversations on topic.  Engage with your audiences, and commit to creating original content of your own.

Real-time responses?
Perhaps one of the most terrifying prospects to communicators is the real-time fumble.  With great risk comes great reward, right?  But while the successes are some of the industry’s holy grails (Oreo in the dark, Arby’s and the hat, etc.), the failures can make anyone shy away from the very idea.  So what’s the answer?  Trust and an honest voice.  Traditional publications are competing with individual creators for the public’s attention, but your brand can empower its own creators with solid and responsible training, multiple voices participating, and open lines of communication between all parts of the team.

Panelist 2(Panelists left to right: Nelson Freitas, Jordan Fischler, Ben Trounson, Chanel Cathey, Steve Rubel)

As you can see from the above, the answers to the questions on communicators’ minds are increasingly interrelated – useful data leads to relevant content leads to managing your voice leads to learning from an engaged audience.  With the goal of activating and influencing audience behavior, this feedback loop supports an increasing trend towards more innovation and more connection between creators and consumers.

Ease of content creation, enhancements and new tools for targeted distribution are on the rise.  Available reaction times are falling, and smaller teams are being tasked with greater and greater responsibilities.  Each of our amazing panelists touched on solutions for the future.  The ultimate answer, as our Moderator Steve Rubel said, is making “constellations – not just putting stars in the sky, but connecting them.”  When all parts of the communications team are working together toward a clear goal, the combined whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Panelist 3(Moderator, Steve Rubel, Chief Content Strategist, Edelman)

Photo credits: Ingrid Ramos/Triangle Below Canal


The Perfect Recipe for the PR Professional: Data, Multimedia & Engagement

October 21, 2014

By Jennifer Dunn, Senior Account Executive, Business Wire

In today’s world of marketing and PR, one of the topics constantly being discussed is “big data and measurement.” For some, this is an exciting topic; for others it may seem overwhelming because there is so much information to digest. I fall somewhere in between as I believe it’s all in how the information is conveyed to me in regards to whether or not I will find the information stale or enlightening. One could compare this to – what makes news or a press release more engaging – think straight text releases vs. ones with photos or video.

perfect recipe for pr professional

I attended a number of sessions at PRSA International in Washington, D.C., October 12-14th, but have to say, by far, the one that really stuck with me was “Big Data and Analytics for Communications Pros: Why the Math Matters” with Mike Buckley, VP of global business communications at Facebook as the featured speaker. Not only did he provide great insight on how data can be utilized to measure results, but was engaging and honest.

Interesting Points from Buckley’s session:

  • “There is more data created in one day than grains of sand on every beach in the world.”
  • “Use data to understand what is going on. Embrace it.”
  • “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”
  • “Understand the cycle, shorten the cycle, get ahead of the cycle using data.” Math grounded some of Facebook’s major business decisions such as the purchase of Instagram. They received lots of negative press, but they just rode it out and now FCBK and Instagram are two of the fastest-growing mobile apps.
  • “Look at social chatter as part of your analytics.”
  • “Your Facebook algorithm is governed by your actions. Choices have to be made and great content is key.”
  • “Data is not everything. It can be complex. Data will never replace human judgment and interaction.” This was probably the most powerful statement Buckley made during his presentation. He followed it by showing the video of John Berlin, a father whose son passed away January 28, 2012. Berlin had made a plea to Facebook trying to access his son’s “Look Back Video.” The entire crowd was just silent after seeing the video. Buckley said the video went viral and Facebook did reach out to John Berlin providing him access to his late son’s video.

What really made this session such a success, was the combination of Buckley’s presentation style and the use of engaging visuals/audio. Not once did I find myself disengaged from the discussion. I, along with the rest of the audience, was captivated throughout the entire session. Buckley successfully took a topic that can at times be dry and not exciting to some, and simplified it by relating to his audience, showing how they can make “big data” part of your everyday communications cycle.

This session really proved the importance of embracing data and including social analytics as part of that data and measurement. Further, it showed the impact multimedia can have on increasing overall engagement and word-of-mouth marketing.


Case Study: Press Releases Increase Awareness, Sales of Lakemaid Beer

October 16, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media

Earlier this month, Business Wire launched the first in a series of case studies showcasing how clients are utilizing press releases to increase awareness, message permeation and, ultimately, sales.

In this CommPro piece, we speak with Pocket Hercules to find out how one press release, video and image resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in media coverage, views and ultimately, sales for Lakemaid Beer.  This program is one that many PR professionals can duplicate to support a wide range of products, services and more.

Click here to read the entire article and then ask yourself, how are you utilizing traditional PR tools to support your organization?


Case Study: Utilizing Press Releases to Reach Canadian Media and Consumers

October 14, 2014

Earlier this month, Business Wire spoke with HOOPP, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan about their use of press releases.  In this CommPro podcast, Martin Biefer, the Director of Public Affairs at HOOPP to discuss HOOPP’s press release success story and his opinions on how to rise above the news clutter.

In just 8 minutes, learn how a single press release caught the attention of an entire country.  Click here to read the article http://www.commpro.biz/public-relations/media-relations/wire/ or watch the video below.


State of the Union: Living in Times of Media Disruption, a complimentary breakfast conference on October 20th

October 10, 2014

By Joe Curro, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire New York

Join Business Wire and New York communications leaders for a panel discussion on Monday, October 20th at 8:30 am. Disruption is the new normal for today’s communicators, with changes in technology and consumption and patterns rewriting the rules of engagement on a daily basis.

Business Wire has embraced these changes since 1961, staying at the crest of the wave, and keeping an eye out for the best way to communicate our clients’ news to the public.

Please join us for a complimentary conference and breakfast on Monday, October 20, 2014 at 8:30 AM ET for our ‘State of the Union — PR and the Media’ panel discussion in New York City. Topics to be discussed include key issues impacting communications professionals – from an overview of the current state of the media to best practices for creating a successful PR program in 2015 and beyond.

Event Highlights:

  • Current State of the Media Industry
  • Integration of Public Relations, Investor Relations, Marketing & Advertising
  • Content Creation, Delivery and Distribution Platforms
  • Dynamic between Communications Professionals, Media and the Public
  • Development, Distribution, Consumption and Engagement of Information
  • Listening, Measuring and Responding to PR Campaigns
  • What’s Next and Changing Strategies

This event is being presented as a part of Communications Week, a cross-industry celebration of the public relations, communications and media industries. The inaugural week will consist of inspirational, informational and social events for those interested in PR, communications and media held at various locations around New York City and online.  For more information about Communications Week, please visit www.CommunicationsWeek.org.

Speakers:


Ben Trounson
Director of North American Communications, Tata Consultancy Services
Twitter: @btrounson @TCS_News

Chanel Cathey
Manager, Corporate Communications, Viacom
Twitter: @chanelcathey @Viacom

Eoin Ryan
Senior Vice President, Investor Relations & Corporate Communications, AOL, Inc.
Twitter: @EPJR @AOL_Inc

Jordan Fischler
Senior Vice President, Technology and Digital Media, Allison+Partners
Twitter: @fish4jordan @allisonpr

Nelson Freitas
Chief Strategy Officer, Wunderman
Twitter: @nycnelson @Wunderman

Moderator:

Steve Rubel
Chief Content Strategist, Edelman
Twitter: @steverubel @EdelmanPR

Space is limited, so please register as soon as possible. We look forward to seeing you!

State of the Union: Living in Times of Media Disruption
Monday, October 20, 2014
8:30 – 11:00 am ET
Admission: Complimentary

Registration & Breakfast
8:30 – 9:00 am ET

Panel will begin at 9:00 am ET

Three Times Square Conference Center
3 Times Square, 30th Floor
(Between 42nd & 43rd Street)
New York, NY 10036

Advance registration and Photo ID is required for entrance to the event. 

If you have any questions prior to the event, please contact:
Joe Curro, 212.752.9600 ext. 1323
joe.curro@businesswire.com

Register for event


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