Why Multimedia is Required in Today’s Press Releases

April 30, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media

visuals-bw2Earlier today, CommPro published a summary piece highlighting the importance of multimedia within press releases. We discuss this topic at great length with our customers.

The truth is, reporters are no longer interested in writing stories based on text only press release. And for good reason, study after study has shown that whenever images are inserted into the communication, the impact increases.

Still on the fence about adding photos, videos, gifs, images and more to your press releases?  We highly encourage you to read this piece.  Have questions about the creation or distribution of multimedia within the PR process?  Let us know!


Are You Naming Your Multimedia Files Appropriately?

November 29, 2012
by Phil Dennison, Senior Marketing Specialist

Yesterday, I saw a lot of people sharing this article from Inc. magazine’s “Kickass Social Media Strategy” blog: The Perfectly Optimized Press Release. It offers a lot of useful tips — some of them of the same type we’ve been offering on our blog and our website for a while — but there was one in particular I wanted to bring attention to.

3. Take advantage of multimedia attachments.

Press releases with multimedia typically have higher click-through rates. So, if your wire service allows multimedia attachments such as videos or pdf files then be sure to take advantage of this extended functionality. Here’s a little known trick: don’t forget to optimize the filenames and titles of your multimedia attachments to your press release. This will boost the press release’s SEO power. Again, use keywords and phrases that are relevant to the press release only.

This is a tip that can’t be stressed enough, and it doesn’t just refer to photo captions (which should definitely also include your keywords for optimum SEO).

The file names for your online photos, videos and PDFs are indexed by search engines just as the text of your press release is. By naming those files appropriately, using keywords and coordinating with your overall strategy, you increase your opportunity for being found by web users. And having an appropriate photo or video come up in search results, especially since high-ranking multimedia results appear on the first page, carries a great deal of power – it’s content that can be viewed and consumed nearly instantly, attached to your brand and your marketing strategy.

Although most PR and marketing people are pretty savvy about this strategy now, we still occasionally see multimedia files that have descriptive names but not any of the releases keywords; or worse, generic file names like “DSC_200.jpg.” Make sure that every element of your release – text, logos, photos, videos, etc. — is helping to achieve your SEO and marketing strategies.

If you have questions about naming your multimedia files, or how best to distribute your multimedia press release, contact your local Business Wire account executive, or call our Photo Desk at 800.221.2462.


Multimedia Continues to Drive Press Release Views – Now More than Ever!

April 23, 2012
by Sandy Malloy, Senior Information Specialist, Business Wire

Sandy Malloy, Senior Information Specialist

Facebook buys Instagram.  Experian Hitwise reports that Pinterest is now the #3 social site on the Web.  More than ever, the adage “show, don’t tell” applies to communications and communicators.

Adding multimedia to a press release tends to increase the number of online release views.  When I looked at a list of the most-viewed releases of the second half of 2011 to see how many were multimedia-enriched, I found some pretty startling numbers.

Of the top 500 English-language releases, about 75% had one or more photos or videos.  Out of all the English language releases that Business Wire distributes, only 5% include multimedia.   In other words, 5% of all our English language releases accounted for 75% of the 500 most-viewed releases in the last 6 months of last year.

We can’t really say that your release is 75% more likely to be viewed if you include photos or videos, or that it will receive 75% more views.  Nevertheless, it seems pretty clear to me that adding multimedia does help drive release views.

Consider the releases on the most-popular list that ran without multimedia:

  • Google to Acquire Motorola Mobility
  • Announcements from several huge pharmaceutical companies on the results of clinical trials or strategic initiatives
  • Major acquisitions and joint ventures involving public and/or well-known companies
  • One of the major video game manufacturers announcing a price drop

That the Google announcement was hugely popular was no surprise.  News from very large public companies is of inherent interest to the media and markets.  Acqusitions are almost always big news because of investor interest and because they can affect an entire industry.  Video game news, with or without multimedia, tends to be noticed.

Meanwhile, the variety of photos and videos that ran with the Top 500 releases was wide-ranging.  Some examples:

  • A river cleanup
  • A photo of sauces and condiments
  • Photos of existing DRAM technology and an innovative variation
  • Photos of the principals of 2 merging companies
  • A benchmarking study (graphic)
  • Pictures and/or video of contest winners
  • Ringing of the Opening Bell at the NYSE

What is clear to me from this list is that the potential for finding visuals to accompany–or to tell–a story is vast.

A release can be very technical but illustrated with a photo that its equally technical audience will appreciate.  The media do appreciate photos of people, and not just for personnel announcements.  (If those people are celebrities, so much the better, but it’s not a requirement.  Newspapers and business journals love to use photos of locals.)   Charts and graphs can be compelling.  Finally, there are some stories that seem to beg for photos or videos.  Among these are any releases announcing eye-catching new products; corporate social responsibility releases (show the river that’s being cleaned up, the electric car charging stations, the participants in the 10K run);and releases announcing corporate milestones.

Besides the potential bump in viewership,  using multimedia in conjunction with a good story can increase the chances a story will be used by broadcast media.  Broadcast monitoring service and Business Wire partner Critical Mention reported in one of their newsletters that the Yelp’s IPO announcement resulted in 395 hits on U.S. television stations; and these are over-the-air broadcasts, not postings on broadcast websites.  The story was a big one, of course, but the accompanying images were really colorful and exciting.  As Critical Mention described it, the release (what Business Wire calls a Smart News Release) was “loaded with newsy images and video.”

Besides the benefits of attracting attention to your release and giving journalists more reason to cover your news, there is at least one other benefit to using multimedia:  Your news can live longer.  I have seen many instances of photos being used months or even years after they originally ran.  An especially good photo of people or companies in the news can be used more than once, as in this example of Business Wire’s CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz shown with Warren Buffett in a 9/30/11 photo illustrating a 2/6/12 story.

Granted, being affiliated with Warren Buffett is an advantage when it comes to gaining attention.  But even companies that don’t have this advantage can still give their stories greater appeal, and “legs”, by supplementing them with multimedia.


BW Fun Fact: Business Wire Has Been Adding Multimedia to Press Releases for More Than a Decade

March 14, 2011

In 1997, Business Wire introduced the Smart News Release (SNR), which allowed users to embed photos, audio, video and other multimedia into press releases. Not only does multimedia help a press release stand out to reporters or readers, but it also increases the reach of a release in search engines. Although often overlooked, Google Images receives a huge amount of search traffic and can actually drive readers back to your release. Our research has found that releases with multimedia receive 1.7 times more reads than those without.

Back when we first introduced SNRs, clients would often provide us with hard-copy photos, which were then scanned by Business Wire editors to be made available in high resolution to media and web viewers. Today, we distribute hundreds of releases with multimedia every week.

Check out what some of our experienced editors have to say about how best to submit multimedia and best practices for writing photo captions.


Multimedia Still Makes Better Press Releases

October 21, 2010

by Joseph Miller, EON Product Manager, Business Wire Austin

Business Wire’s distribution and technology products have evolved considerably throughout the years (we’re celebrating our 50th anniversary next year!).

With the advent of Internet distribution and other standards along with prolific creation of digital media such as photos and videos, we’ve been quick to adopt multimedia distribution solutions along with more traditional “text” distribution of our press releases.  Today, we distribute hundreds, if not thousands, of releases with attached photos or videos every week.

And while it will likely always be true that journalists do not prefer to be bombarded with attachments, a succinct release with links to relevant multimedia and related resources can be extremely useful in telling your stories.  This is especially true as newsrooms continue to evolve and journalists across the world are being asked to do more with less every day.

With that said, let’s get on to the data!  Thinking of the impact multimedia has on release performance, we recently examined data from our internal NewsTrak reports across all Business Wire releases year to date.  One metric we examined was the Top 500 releases based on “release reads”, an analog to page views, of each release.  Of the top 500, a full 23% of our Top 500 releases include multimedia (photos & videos beyond logos), while only 5% of all releases include multimedia.

From this, we can conclude that including multimedia greatly increases your chances of distributing a “hit release.”

Beyond that, we looked at the average number of release reads across all releases.  Once we segmented out releases with and without multimedia, we found that the average release with multimedia has received 1.7 times more release reads than those without.

So there you have it.  If you want to increase the odds of your press releases outperforming their peers, it’s a great idea to add multimedia.


28th Annual NAHJ Multimedia Convention and Career Expo in Denver: El Grito Across the Rockies

July 22, 2010

by Pilar Portela, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/Florida

Business Wire’s West Coast Media Relations Specialists, Eric Thomas and Pilar Portela, were in attendance at this year’s 28th Annual National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) Multimedia Convention and Career Expo in Denver, June 23-26. More than 700 journalism professionals, a majority Latino, gathered across the Rockies to meet and hear from their peers.

Eric Thomas; Mariela Dabbah, author of "The Latino Advantage"; Rebecca Aguilar, founder, Wise Latinas Linked; Pilar Portela

This year’s title was “NAHJ En Denver: El Grito Across the Rockies.” For those of you that are unaware, the Spanish-language word “grito” means “shout” in English.

According to the association, it’s an apt title because there are distinct messages – gritos – it wanted to reverberate in all directions from the conference in Denver. The first message NAHJ wanted to make clear was that although 2008 and 2009 exacted a toll on groups such as NAHJ, their organization is still strong. Secondly, NAHJ remains committed to providing members with the training they need to thrive in spite of these tough economic times. NAHJ has long considered itself the voice for Latino journalists and for the kind of fair, accurate, balanced, nuanced and informed coverage that the industry needs.  At this moment, as an organization, NAHJ believes this role continues to be relevant and they will not falter in their stance as that voice citing events in Arizona that reaffirm this point.

The convention programming included media training sessions on topics such as Mining Your Beat, Multimedia Photojournalism and Web Publishing. There were also workshops on Convention Do’s and Don’ts, Twitter 101 and Marketing Yourself in a Multimedia World, just to name a few. As the voices behind Business Wire’s Twitter account @BWLatinoWire, Eric and Pilar tweeted some of their convention experiences.

Michele Salcedo and Eric Thomas

Michel Salcedo, Editor, The Associated Press; Eric Thomas, Business Wire

One of the most anticipated events of the convention was The Newsmaker Luncheon on Friday afternoon.  This panel of distinguished immigration experts grappled with how public opinion shapes the immigration debate.  Panelists approached the issue of immigration from their respective fields of study, giving each one a slightly different viewpoint.  Nelson Castillo, an immigration attorney, said the political will to accomplish comprehensive immigration reform within one year is not there.  Steven Camarota, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies, likened the immigration debate to the title of a book about abortion, a “Clash of Absolutes.”  Camarota said talking about immigration is difficult because it is an issue that strikes at people’s core beliefs.  Paul Voakes, dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Colorado at Boulder, called immigration a third-rail issue.  Voakes, who studies how media cover immigration, said part of the problem, is that people don’t like talking about immigration.  He said that in the mainstream media, immigration receives relatively little coverage until close to election time.  However, in talk-show media, hosts blend news with opinion, distorting the issue, Voakes said.

Unfortunately, NAHJ’s message was overshadowed by rumors of the organization’s financial woes and dwindling membership. The 1,300 member organization dependent on monies made from the convention has seen a rapid decline in registrations for the annual event.  In 2006, 1800 people came together in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  This year the number teetered just over 700.  Moving forward NAHJ officials said the organization’s future includes a commitment to training and continuing annual conventions but not depending on them as “cash cows.”

Manny Garcia and Pilar Portela

Manny Garcia, Executive Editor, El Nuevo Herald; Pilar Portela, Business Wire

Next year’s 29th Annual NAHJ convention will be held in Orlando, FL. For more information on NAHJ visit the association’s website at www.nahj.org.



Silicon Valley Marcom Professionals on Using Multimedia in Marketing & Lead Generation

June 3, 2010

On Tuesday May 11th, Business Wire Silicon Valley partnered with MEDIAmobz and VisibleGains for a special morning event at the TechMart Networking Meeting Center geared toward marketing and communications professionals looking for innovative ways to engage and convert leads. More than 100 PR and IR professionals attended the panel, which was moderatored by Joel Tesch, Regional Vice President, Northern California and Pacific Northwest, Business Wire. Other panelists included:

  • Linda Crowe, Marketing Consultant, Former Group Manager, Media & Production, Sun Microsystems
  • Dos Dosanjh, WW Customer Solutions Manager, Marketing, Cisco Digital Media Creative Services, Cisco
  • Jay Durgan, Head of Business Development, MEDIAMobz
  • Cliff Pollan, Co-Founder & CEO, VisibleGains
  • Mark Rotblat, VP, Business Development, Tube Mogul

MEDIAMobz was on hand & created a terrific video recap for the event:


Topics discussed included:

  • Specific examples of how companies have integrated video into their marketing, public relations and social media programs and the “before and after” results of those efforts.
  • Tips and tricks on creating simple, but engaging video for lead generation (and mistakes to avoid).
  • Practical advice for optimizing video and press releases for search.
  • How video provides added context to enhance press releases & the effectiveness of your message.

Having trouble accessing the video? Check out the post on the MEDIAMobz blog.

Local Business Wire offices host dozens of events each year on PR, IR, SEO & media topics.  Check out the Business Wire Events page to find upcoming events in your area.

Follow Business Wire events on Twitter! Hash tag #bwevents


Adding Multimedia to Your Press Release: Press Release Tips from the All Things Press Release Podcast

August 14, 2009

The All Things Press Release podcast continues with press release tips suggested and presented by Business Wire’s highly trained newsroom editors.

Business Wire employs more than 200 editors worldwide.  Each editor receives an average three months’  training before “flying solo” in prepping and processing the 1000+ press releases that flood our news queue each work day.

From Paris and Frankfurt to New York, Phoenix and L.A., our newsroom crew is on the front lines of the press release process–so who better to ask for press release tips?

Cindy Cantu, an editor in our San Antonio office, offers today’s Press Release Tip:  Adding Multimedia to Your Press Release.

Like what you hear?  Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

Have ideas for a future podcast?  Please let us know.  Email blog_group@businesswire.com or connect with us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/businesswire


“Three Screen Trifecta” Calls for Smart Multimedia Press Releases

February 20, 2009

Ed Dandridge, Chief Communications Officer at Nielsen, talks about the “three-screen trifecta” today, and the ramifications for press releases and marketing and communications pros:

What does that actually mean? Instead of press releases it means “smart releases” that integrate video, data and thought leadership commentary for distribution across multiple platforms — TV, radio, print, blogs, social networking, client newsletters and internal email.

We’re glad Nielsen noticed — we’ve thought so ever since we created the multimedia-rich Smart News Release back in 1998!  And since the super-consumer Baby Boomers are actively engaging in social content now, it’s more important than ever to go beyond the traditional text press release.


Multimedia Upgrades on BusinessWire.com: New Layout, Navigation, and Video Options

February 15, 2008

After discussing our overall website redesign in an earlier post, in this post we’ll focus on our new multimedia features on BusinessWire.com.

If you work in PR, Advertising, Marketing, or any kind of function that has to do with communicating with audiences, you’ve probably noticed already how important online multimedia has become in organizations’ new communications mix. At Business Wire we’ve had front row seats to see how a lot of companies started changing their online multimedia strategies in recent years. As a result we’ve been continuously updating our own offerings to best assist professional communicators and make sure we help them reach the audiences they look for in the best possible ways.

As part of our efforts, earlier this week we announced three new features that make multimedia a lot more visible on our site, allow our various user groups to easily find the kind of multimedia they need, and improve the user experience, sharing options, and measurement around video.

New Multimedia Gallery on the Press Release Page:

The first change we announced is placing the entire multimedia gallery on the press release page. While traditionally in our industry multimedia was often considered a separate part of the press release — placed in specific sections of websites where users needed to navigate to especially — we at Business Wire have shown the first two multimedia assets on the press release page itself, and then linked those to the full multimedia gallery. However, experience has taught us that internet users are busy and overburdened with information. Unless users absolutely need something, they often won’t go out of their way to look for it. Also, when forced to navigate several levels deep on a website, some users may drop out in the process. Therefore we decided to bring multimedia directly to the user and make sure all the multimedia associated with a press release is immediately visible to all, without having to navigate away from the press release page.

New press release page layout with full multimedia gallery

The screenshot above shows how our full multimedia gallery is now an inseparable part of our clients’ press releases. Whether a release goes out with just one or two multimedia assets, or with a full set of photos, videos, audio files, logos, or pdfs, all those assets from now on are immediately visible to anyone looking at our client’s release, from the first moment they land on the page. This leads to much greater exposure to each asset, that ultimately can increase media and blogger pick-up.

New Web2.0-style navigation:

Showing all multimedia was just the first step though: as many of our clients know, Business Wire serves multiple constituents. We serve journalists, who often need high quality multimedia to download and repurpose for their stories. We have increasing usage by bloggers, who want to embed multimedia on their blogs and link to other sites; we have end-users who simply want to see an image or play a video without saving any files; and then there are also analysts, traders, industry executives, and so on.

Our goal at Business Wire is to be able to serve all of these audiences in the right way so they are able to quickly and easily find what they’re looking for. So in order to give our users all the variants they need: hi resolution, low resolution, thumbnail, etc. or various video and audio variants, while minimizing the amount of navigation layers on our site, we’ve introduced new web2.0-style navigation menus for multimedia.

So now, when a user hovers on the thumbnail of a multimedia asset, they get all the options in a new menu that opens right there and then, whatever it is they’re looking for. Journalists can easily access high resolution downloadable multimedia files, bloggers can quickly find embeddable and linkable media, and end-users enjoy immediate viewing options. And the best part is that all these options are now only one click away from any press release, improving the user experience, helping drive more traffic to our clients’ multimedia, and once again, increasing the likelihood of gaining more pick-up.

New hover menus on Business Wire's multimedia thumbnails

New Video Player:

Finally, let’s focus on video: for several years Business Wire has been publishing videos using popular download formats such as Quicktime, Windows Media, and Real Media in several file sizes for users who needed to save and repurpose full files. We’ve also made all videos available on sharing sites such as YouTube, MySpace Video, Google Video, and Blip.tv, which is a great consumer-facing benefit, but is still a separate part of our site, and therefore provides a different kind of usage environment, and no unified measurement. So we decided to introduce our own branded video player that quickly and easily plays content from our site to end-users, can be embedded by bloggers on their own sites, and provides our clients with additional measurement in the reports we generate. And of course, we continue to make all videos available on leading video sharing sites. So now any user can easily play content distributed via Business Wire in the destination and format of their choosing, whether it is on YouTube or on BusinessWire.com, and whether by playing directly or downloading for other purposes. And the data from our own video player and downloadable files is easily shown in the measurement reports we provide clients.

So for example, here is where users can find all of Business Wire’s multimedia for a specific press release on our own site.

And here’s is how a You Tube embed would look like from the Business Wire Channel:


 

And finally, here is an example blog showing how the Business Wire embedded player would look like on another blog:

Example blog post with Business Wire Video

With a full multimedia gallery on the press release page, new web2.0 navigation menus offering 1-click access to all multimedia, and our new branded video player, we’re putting multimedia in the forefront so our clients can take full advantage of these benefits. We encourage you to check out the new features, and as always, feel free to let us know what you think. If you have questions on the best ways to utilize multimedia for your next release, don’t hesitate to drop us a line or call your local Business Wire representative.


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