Business Wire Los Angeles: Why 2015 Will Be the Year of PR

December 17, 2014

By Sean Markham, Account Executive, Business Wire Los Angeles

As we wrap up 2014 and head into 2015, the media landscape has changed dramatically. But there remains this constant: news is the top shared content across all channels. How to generate editorial coverage, the role of the press release, social media and WOM in the marketing funnel were just some of the topics covered at a recent breakfast event hosted by Business Wire. Held on Thursday, December 11 at The Olympic Collection Banquet and Conference Center, a diverse group of Los Angeles-area PR professionals gathered to listen to Business Wire’s very own Director of Social and Evolving Media Serena Ehrlich (@Serena) discuss the myriad challenges and opportunities for communications practitioners.

If news and editorial coverage is the most shared content, who creates this content? “You guys do. All of you in this room,” Ehrlich emphasized to the engaged audience.

Infographic provided by MediaLeaders

Among the many important takeaways from this event is the crucial role multimedia plays in standing out in the crowded field of news. Releases with images or video receive 3X more impressions and engagement than their plain text counterparts.

During her comprehensive discussion, Ehrlich also shared insights on several social media tools to use in your PR efforts, including ClickToTweet, TweetReach, the LinkedIn Long-Form Blog Service as well as Google URL builder.

Here is a recap of Ehrlich’s presentation, which will help prepare all PR pros for the year ahead:

Media Has Changed

  • The role of the news release: Today the press release = action document that jumpstarts action within all target audiences
  • News releases align to the marketing and sales funnel and increase: Awareness, Discovery, Brand Reputation, Message Adoption, Conversations, Inbound Traffic, Intent and Conversions
  • Releases should not: Act as a stand-alone sales tool, replace customer service, be text only, work in a vacuum and work without support
  • News doesn’t go viral just by being issued. PR professionals will need to do work (social sharing, etc.) to make news releases go viral.
  • Journalists are held to three core metrics:  inbound traffic, social shares, time on site
    • Tip: Socially share out any coverage you receive to help reach these metrics
    • Tip:  Video is the perfect access to increase time on site
  • Many adults are now getting their news from social media networks

Social Media Has Changed

  • Every single major social network is showcasing news articles, reputable content and multimedia, perfect for PR
  • Tweets that include a photo or video receive 3 to 4x higher engagement
  • Tweets including multimedia uploaded via Twitter receive 150% more RTs
  • Facebook photos receive 53% more Likes, 104% more comments and 84% more CTRs on links
  • Facebook shares your updates based on the assets your audiences likes best. Meaning if you are not a video person (a rarity these days since 63% of the world are visual learners and rely on video for information) then FB will not populate many, if any, videos on your News Feed.
    • Tip: Text which kind of audience follows your fan page. Post a video, then post a link, and, finally, just post a photo and see which posting gets more impressions and engagement
  • LinkedIn is top B2B platform
    • Tip: Use the LinkedIN long form content blog service to increase reach within this platform
  • Millions of videos are watched on YouTube every day; 33% of YouTube searches are news related

Multimedia is the #1 Way to Increase Press Release ROI

  • Almost 65% of the world’s population are visual learners. Text-only press releases no longer work with this highly visual audience.
  • Releases with images or videos get 3x more engagement and impressions than plain text news
  • 1 minutes of video = 1.8 million words
  • Photographs do not need to be translated

Press Release Tips

  • Write for your highly targeted audience
  • Post a blog answering all the questions your release will generate to ensure message adoption
  • Photos and videos are no longer optional when looking for coverage
  • Use Google Tools!
  • Search bar – helps determine key phrases used most by searchers
  • Use URL trackers to track actions taken by readers on your website
  • Drive social sharing with Click to Tweet
  • Hashtags should be specific (use hashtag.org to see volume)

Read more about this event and all Business Wire events by following the #BWChat hashtag.

Like this post?  Click on this link to tweet it out: http://ctt.ec/Iad8e


The Sweet 16: Business Wire’s Most Read, Viewed and Shared Content of 2014

December 16, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Content

Are You Ready for PR in 2015?  

As 2014 winds down, we at Business Wire are taking one last look backwards.  After all, there were some huge changes in 2014 that disrupted the way news content was showcased, distributed and adopted.

As we look towards a PR-friendly new year, we wanted to share the articles, videos and blog posts that your communication colleagues turned to this year so we can help you launch successful communications program in 2015!

How to write a press release:

The real reasons why your press releases need to include images:

Understanding media relations:

The role of measurement in PR

How Business Wire generates success for large and small companies alike [CASE STUDIES]

What are we missing?  What tips or tools do you plan on implementing in 2015?  Let us know in the comment box below.


How to Increase YouTube Video Views in 3 Easy Steps

December 10, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media, Business Wire

Earlier this month I attended a Digital Hollywood panel devoted to building audiences and awareness on YouTube.

This is a very common topic here in Los Angeles.  With film making, celebrities and the history of Hollywood permeating every corner of the city, we were the first region to truly embrace YouTube for what the platform could be – a way to entertain, educate, delight and shock audiences with amazing visual content.

So if this is a common topic, something Hollywood content creators and the marketers they work with should know inherently, why is it still on the Digital Hollywood agenda?  Because no matter how great your content is, it means nothing if your content is not seen.

Almost the entire panel discussion, fueled by questions from the audience, focused on how to generate views of the variety of videos being uploaded every single day.  There are hundreds of thousands of beautifully shot, high quality videos on YouTube that no one has ever seen. Why is that?  Because the concept of if you place it here, the audience will come is antiquated and completely misleading, even for producers creating content featuring famous celebrities.  The simple truth still stands, there is no such thing as great content, only seen content.

YouTube Image

So how do YouTube video stars get their visibility?  What makes one video go viral, while another video fails?  Just like every other marketing and communications program, video programs need to be supported with paid, earned, owned and shared marketing programming.

In this session, the three top ways to ensure views of your YouTube videos are:

  1. Create relevant content – This may seem obvious but there are still a huge number of marketers creating aspirational content, or content meant to activate new fans, versus content meant to create actual audiences. In reality, content should be made for every touch point in the customer journey, but if you are on a limited budget or time, focus on creating content for the most active of your prospects and customers.  Create content that these existing brand fans will enjoy and share with their friends and reap not only views of evangelism.
  2. Tag your content for search – When it comes to placing your content on YouTube, the description and keywords you use are just as important as the content itself. Utilize titles and descriptions to entice audiences to view your video.  Include relevant keywords and well as real-time keywords, and while you don’t want to use an incorrect headline, writing a compelling, interesting headline will increase views dramatically.
  3. Pay to promote your video – If you spent money to create content, you have to use money to promote it. Videos should be promoted via earned, paid, owned and through partnerships. Smart brands are increasing impact of their content by increasing potential audiences.
    1. Paid promotion: To promote your YouTube videos there are two successful kinds of paid promotion that you can do.  First, consider paid advertising across active social channels and via Google AdWords to help relevant audiences find you via search and social.  Secondly, issue a press release to alert media outlets, bloggers and more that your video or video channels exist.  Include a short summary of the types of content you include and, if possible, frequency of updates, to generate views
    2. Earned outreach: Don’t forget to alert your PR contacts of your new content marketing program.  Media outlets are always looking for visual content to accompany industry pieces; let them know your channel may contain the content relevant to their readers.
    3. Owned channels: You have to tell people about your video; how else will they know your program exists? Promote your new YouTube content on your website, social channels, email signatures and intranets to increase views and shares of your content.
    4. Initiate partnerships: The single fastest way to increase the views of your YouTube videos is to ask likeminded, more famous YouTube personalities to share it for you. Yes, this may require an exchange of money but it works.

Leading marketers know that video is one of the top tools in today’s marketing arsenal. Not only are desktop and mobile video consumption rates through the roof, the medium is so impactful that within seconds it can build, and deepen the relationships between a brand and its customer. But first you have to distribute it.

What other ways are you finding success in promoting video content?  Please let us know in the comments below.


7 things Every PR professional Must Know About Pinterest

December 8, 2014

Everywhere you look everyone is talking about Pinterest. And why not! Not only does the site have huge audience numbers, the engagement and inbound traffic rates are through the roof.  And yet, many PR professionals are unsure of how to maximize this platform to increase visibility, shares and coverage of company news.

Click here to read Alexander Solm’s  7 things about Pinterest you need to know.  We would love to have your thoughts on this piece; do you use Pinterest to promote your news and coverage yet?


5 Tips from Arizona’s Top Journalists on Gaining Local Media Coverage

December 6, 2014

Earlier this year, Business Wire Phoenix hosted an event regarding media relations and local media – how to get the most out of your pitches and how to best strategize your PR efforts to reach out to newspapers, magazines, and other media publications located in your region.

Dawn Gilberton, Patrick O’Grady, and Kiva Couchon, on a panel moderated by Amy La Sala, provided five important tips to getting the most out of your media outreach efforts:

  • Know your local media
  • Use the 24-7 news cycle to your advantage
  • Press releases are still valuable as long as the release includes the right information
  • “Digital is driving everything”
  • Now is a great time to be in PR if you’re utilizing different media platforms

Read this piece by Victoria Green (MRT, Los Angeles) and Billy Russell (CSR, Phoenix) fully detailing tips on how to gain coverage from your local media: http://www.commpro.biz/public-relations/media-relations/5-tips-arizonas-top-journalists-gaining-media-coverage/


The future of PR: Adding Interactive Assets to Press Releases

December 5, 2014

Last month, Serena Ehrlich, Business Wire’s director of social and evolving media, authored a piece outlining the importance of increasing user engagement for increasing the effectiveness of press releases, and how to accomplish that. As more and more content continues to flood the internet, marketers who take a different approach to employing assets are seeing a much higher overall return on investment when it comes to interest in their press releases.

In 2015, look for PR professionals and reporters alike to begin using interactive assets to round out coverage. With more than 65% of the world professing to be kinetic learners, text only press releases and flat images no longer keep the reader’s attention.

To learn more about the rising increase of interactive assets in press releases, how to do it and why, click here:  http://www.commpro.biz/public-relations/time-get-serious-creating-effective-press-releases/

 


With press release editing, catch erors befor they hapen

December 1, 2014

By Luke O’Neill, Editor, Business Wire Boston

We’ve heard it many times here at Business Wire: We catch a typo in a press release, let the client know, then the voice on the other end of the phone stalls, then sighs, “You don’t know how many people have looked at this thing, and that wasn’t caught.”

yay-6559046-digital

That exasperation can be and should be avoided – especially before the release hits the wire and Web. Mistakes, alas, are inevitable, but it’s important to guard against them before they happen. After sending out a press release, the focus should be on promoting your news, not fixing it.

The editing process of any document can be cluttered at times with too many cooks in the kitchen, too many rewrites, and tracked changes simply can be confounding. Plus, don’t edit just for the sake of editing. Sometimes the writer has it right.

At newspapers or websites, editors generally read stories three times and three different ways – have you tried these yet?

  1. Breeze through it initially to get a sense of the story – it’s helpful to literally sit on your hands during this process so you’re not tempted to edit.
  2. The heavy lifting: Rewrite, rework and restructure the story as necessary.
  3. Fine-tune: Polish the prose and clean up typos.

The step between 1 and 2 can be tricky – you need to know how the story needs to be reworked, but that usually comes with practice and experience. This blog, however, is more focused on step 3 – finding those minute mistakes before they become major mistakes.

Eradicating Errors

So how do you sidestep slip ups while editing press releases? Most editors anticipate problems before they occur, know where things could go wrong before they do, ask where things could go wrong and think of the consequences of their editing actions. Yet sometimes it just comes down to having an eagle eye.

yay-3433113-digitalAlso, be mindful that the absence of one lone letter or the transposition of a couple letters changes the meaning of a word, and spellcheck won’t necessarily pick it up.

For example, heath vs. health: A heath is one thing, and health is something different. United vs. untied – these two words clearly have very different meanings. Other common press release examples include: manager vs. manger, complimentary vs. complementary, premiere vs. premier, chief vs. chef and through vs. though.

And be sure to check your spellcheck carefully; don’t just breeze through it because the document may be teeming with tech or biotech words. Often, Spellcheck will flag a word it does not recognize, yet the word is spelled correctly. Then later in the document, Spellcheck will flag a similarly spelled word, but it’s off by one letter. If an editor is on Spellcheck “Ignore All” autopilot, then the misspelled word will fly under the radar.

These spelling discrepancies are especially problematic in business press releases with mismatching company and product names.

‘Confident paranoia’

Many press releases simply could use a healthy dose of preventative medicine – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

yay-1578342-digitalIn my local newsroom, we track the time spent on each correction issued by our clients. In my office, we average about 12 client corrections a month. During high-volume times, that correction total can spike. The corrections can be costly to our clients and counterproductive for everyone.

Some press release corrections are more significant and easily avoidable than others. Some common culprits include: incorrect event dates in releases; incorrect media contact information, especially phone numbers; incorrect titles for people; incorrect press release submitted; and not getting the proper approvals from all the companies involved in the release. But perhaps the most frequent offender is a broken or incorrect embedded hyperlink.

At Business Wire Boston, we preach the idea of “confident paranoia.” Be confident in your editing abilities, but, like a good carpenter, measure twice and cut once.

Luke O’Neill, formerly a newspaper reporter and copy editor, is a senior editor at Business Wire Boston. He has nearly 15 years of communications experience and a master’s degree in journalism.


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