7 Leading CEOs Discuss the Future of Company Communications [Free Webinar]

February 26, 2015

The strategic communication landscape is evolving at an ever-increasing pace.  We’ve seen the move from plain text releases to an era of activation through rich, multimedia storytelling.  Now, more than ever, growing your skill set is critical to keep up with the changing demands of clients and the media. It’s a “learn or get left behind” world.

On March 3 at 1:00 PM Eastern Time, seven of the nation’s leading communication CEOs will come together to discuss the changes and innovations changing the way organizations communicate with media, analysts and consumers.

CommPro CEO Leadership Discussion

On March 3, join 7 of the nation’s leading CEOs for an discussion on the future of communications.

Hosted by Cathy Baron Tamraz, Chairwoman and CEO of Business Wire, this conversation will provide attendees of all levels with best practices that will directly impact communications programming for 2015 and beyond.  Discussion topics will include:

  • Where the PR/Communication industry is headed
  • Instilling and showcasing a spirit of innovation in the workplace
  • The role of collaboration in the creative environment
  • How to create a sense of purpose in your organization
  • The value of mentorship and training
  • Mastering the work-life balance

Participants include…

Register for this free webinar now:  https://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/10/7387

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The secrets behind press conferences, product reveals and trade show marketing

February 24, 2015

By Raschanda Hall, Director of Global Media Relations, Business Wire

Trade shows are all about product reveals, updates and, engaging media.  And by engagement I mean, “come ye media and tell the world of the things you have learned today.”  All meant to guide consumers into the conversion funnel, from awareness to action, faster and farther.  The Chicago Auto Show is no different.

Chicago Auto ShowMany exhibiting auto manufacturers will host exciting and sometimes theatrical and humorous press conferences geared toward glamming up the reveals and editorial coverage.

A successful press conference and product reveal is virtually a Hollywood production, and with sticker prices nearing $500,000, what you’ll hear from the communicators responsible for pulling off these events is that you have to nail the basics.

Birthing an automobile:
Preparation and planning are fundamental tenets of public relations. As the dust settles on one show, exhibitors are looking ahead at ideas for next year. According to Curt McAllister, Midwest public relations manager for Toyota Motor Sales, USA, “This is a little bit of Hollywood. Typically a press conference reveal [the birth of an automobile as he called it] may last all of 20-25 minutes and will probably range between half a million to a million dollars to produce. It’s the closest thing we get to Hollywood here in the auto industry. A lot of preparation is involved.  There is constant communication with our media to let them know we are going to do something big in that city so that they can save a spot on their schedules, and we can ensure a really good attendance.”

Authentic messages and messengers:
“Focus on what’s changed, what’s new, and why you did it,” says Andy Love, the head of car product marketing for Chrysler Group.  “Explain things in an easy-to-understand way.  If you have a new safety feature, help the audience relate with a story.  Explain how things matter and fulfill a need.  If it’s a high-end technology show, how it is easy to use and how it applies to their lives.”

Wendy Orthman is the Manager of the Midwest Region for Chrysler Group Communications.  She works with Chrysler

2015 Dodge Viper GTC

2015 Dodge Viper GTC

executives to get them ready to present on the big stage by first having them present at smaller shows.  “We want our executives at these shows. You want to make sure the speakers you choose have a high enough title that they attract the media. Their quotes bring authenticity and have significance and weight.  The sweet spot is when you have someone with title that can speak with knowledge and be impactful to the media.”

James Zahn, the pop culture and lifestyle blogger better known as The Rock Father, has seen his fair share of press conferences. “Excitement and Enthusiasm. It’s all about the two E’s. Don’t make us [journalists and bloggers] feel like you’re giving us the company line.  If a speaker sounds passionate about the business or product, that makes it more fun for us.”

Show up differently:

SpongeBob Inspired Toyotal Sienna

SpongeBob Inspired Toyotal Sienna

There is a lot of competition for news at these tradeshows and many of your competitors are also holding press conferences. You want to think of how you can show up differently.  Nissan of North America flipped the order of their press conference reveals. “A lot of other guys, they would do a slow build up and reveal the vehicle at the end. We do the opposite,” says Joe Gallant, Manager of Shows & Exhibits at Nissan.  “We keep the speeches short and we reveal the vehicle almost right away.”

The showbiz side of your product reveal means nothing if it doesn’t further your message. “There are very extravagant and flamboyant ways to pull a drape off a car. But don’t get over your budget, and be realistic. Make sure the message and the product is at the heart of it.  If you get so caught up in the smoke and mirrors you’re going to lose your audience,” warns McAllister.

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The PR Secret Every Communicator Must Know: A good image amplifies your voice

February 3, 2015

By Agnes Deleuse, Sr. Marketing Specialist, Business Wire – Paris

Fact:  In today’s digital world, a news release should absolutely integrate multimedia.  Be it photo, video or infographic, the world is now hungry for visual communication.

Why?  Study after study shows that articles containing images get more views than articles without visual assets.  In fact, in 2012 Jeff Bullas noted that articles can receive up to 94% more views!  Imagery helps to communicate your message.  It 3xconveys the essence of your news, giving viewers an opportunity to bond emotionally with your brand. Adding a photo to your news release will increase your visibility.  And if the visual is good, you can even expect a greater impact for your brand.  Why? If the image is so interesting that people click and share it on social media, it increases the audience and impact of your news.  In fact, Business Wire’s own internal data shows that news releases that include photos, videos and other multimedia elements get three times the number of the views as news releases without it.  So what role will images play in your communication program in 2015?

Over the years, our appreciation of photography has changed. New tools and platforms, including blogs, smartphones and social networks, have played a key role in this development.  Photos are everywhere and are quickly becoming the new way for consumers to communicate.  Instagram and Pinterest are amongst the top social media outlets, bringing imagery to a new level.  Showing huge usage figures across the globe, Snapchat allows users to share their feelings with images, instead of straight text. Today’s top communicators understand the power of high-quality and visually appealing photos to make their news even more attractive to reporters, analysts and consumer audiences.

Photos should be inspirational and appealing to readers, i.e., potential customers.  Aren’t you bored of seeing head shots of CEOs as depicted fifty years ago?  Times have changed! Forget the dull background with your CEO standing straight in front of the camera.  Frontal head shots are over.  Today, your CEO can be outside, sitting in his/her office or standing in an industry unit, relaxed, surrounded by a colorful background, in semi-profile bringing true dynamism to the image.  Picture format can be horizontal (wide format being very trendy).  Choose unexpected perspectives and control the lighting to ensure the focus is in the right place.  The photo should capture the person behind the portrait.  The photo should trigger an emotional connection with the viewer, directly shaping their view of the CEO and the organization they lead.

Solidworks

The same applies for products and commercial imagery.  Inanimate objects can be eye-catching too depending on the angle and the arrangement. Presenting a new product does not need to be formal and in a safe tone.  Elevate your product by re-picturing it.  Trends in 2015 are focusing on creating big, dynamic images on small screens.  Use these images to showcase your organization’s big vision.  Remember that the look and feel of your images conveys meaning in and around your brand messages.

We know today that 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text2.  Getting the right image can be the key to conveying your message in a few seconds. Engaging, effective and meaningful visual communications help consolidate your customers’ perceptions of your business, while simultaneously helping to reinforce your brand’s identity.

So, the next time you send a news release, add imagery that people will remember and want to share.

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Read on for additional information on the role and impact of multimedia in today’s news release process:

1/ Source: jeffbullas.com/2012/05/28/6-powerful-reasons-whyyou-should-include-images-in-your-marketing-infographic
2/ Source: webmarketinggroup.co.uk/Blog/why-every-seo-strategy-needs-infographics-1764.aspx

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The No. 1 PR Resolution for 2015: Measuring Your Results

January 2, 2015

By Meghann Johnson, Regional Manager, Business Wire Chicago

As 2014 winds down, the question on top of everyone’s mind is “what can I do differently in 2015?” From tackling new projects to finishing the old, New Year’s resolutions allow us to refocus, reset and rethink our approach, hopefully inspiring some positive change along the way.

rulerSo, as PR professionals, what should be our biggest resolution in 2015? Very simply: make measurement the No. 1 priority! Below Business Wire outlines six measurement resolutions that EVERY communicator should adopt, and stick to, throughout the new year.

Set objectives…and be OK with missing them: The idea of setting specific, measurable objectives can strike fear in the hearts of even the most seasoned PR professionals. As communicators, our programs can often be difficult to track, especially when considering the dramatic impact that WOM (word of mouth), social media and digital has had on our industry. But without setting benchmarks and working toward them, PR practitioners can be left with only a handful of data points, or worse yet, find themselves scrambling at year-end to account for their progress. Even by falling short of your intended objectives, continuously measuring throughout the year will provide chances to adjust your programs and offer insightful ways to improve in the following year.

Break down the silos: Savvy PR professionals tie their communication program metrics to their company’s own key performance indicators (KPIs). This approach is important as it aligns PR with developing direct, benchmarked results for the company. For example, if your organization is running a corporate initiative that’s intended to: 1) drive sales 2) raise brand awareness 3) position corporate spokespeople, it’s best to understand what your organization’s objectives are first and then showcase how PR drives towards them. One way to align with corporate KPIs is to compile the anticipated takeaways from a PR announcement and then rate each article/placement on a scale (1, 2, 3) of how well the piece reflected these three key takeaways. Note: This type of system works best when initiated across all PR efforts for consistency.

under-the-influence-consumer-trust-in-advertisingThink beyond the “pickup”: There’s no denying that editorial coverage is a highly sought after component of every PR program. But, with 84% of audiences making decisions based on WOM, building brand awareness and activating the right audiences can be just as beneficial as landing that coveted Wall Street Journal placement. Additionally, audiences are seeking content in new places, whether that be a company’s own social channels or website; therefore, it’s important to connect with your web teams or online community managers before, during and after an announcement or campaign launch in order to measure how traffic and views have been influenced by your efforts.

Be the journalists’ publicist: When thinking about your PR efforts, remember, media measure too! Journalists are rated on the number of views to their article and time on site, so if your organization gets covered, be sure to promote the news…and then promote it again. Ultimately, the more traffic your team can generate by sharing the piece, the more likely a journalist is to write on you again. Think of it as recycling content and reusing it to your benefit.

Reporter Metrics

 

Let data be your guide: At the recent PR News Measurement Conference in November, David Rockland, Managing Director of Global Research at Ketchum, said about PR, “We are a data rich industry, but analytics poor.”

While there are countless ways to measure PR functions, the hardest part is to contextualize the metrics to make them make sense. One question we often receive at Business Wire pertains to our own NewsTrak reports. For example, what is the significance of press release views or link clicks? Truly, this metric can vary in significance depending on the goal of your program. Did you issue a release to garner media coverage? If so, how many journalists covered it? Or, were you trying to gain visibility and followers to your twitter feed by adding a hyperlink in your release? If yes, check how many people clicked on that link (provided within Business Wire’s report) to see if there is a correlation to the release and an uptick in followers. These seemingly arbitrary numbers can offer far greater insight if there are clear objectives established beforehand or if the PR team is gathering information across various channels.

Use the right tools: There are countless free and paid tools available to help with any measurement program so be sure to use them! Google Analytics is a great place to start. More and more companies use this platform the measure their efforts across Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned (PESO) channels. One simple way to effectively measure press release impact is to add a Google URL tracker to any hyperlinks within the text, which will subsequently track every time someone clicks on the link. Similarly, your team can monitor which information/link generated the most click-thrus and then promote that same info across other channels.

What’s your number one PR resolution in 2015? Share it via the BusinessWired blog or tweet us directly @BusinessWire. And as always, you can contact us directly to learn more about any of these topics.

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PR Debate: Google vs. Facebook: Which Platform Should You Really Care About?

December 22, 2014

By Hannah Kelly, Business Wire Paris

The changing face of the news coverage and visibility scene

It’s the hottest debate in 2014: SEO for discovery or social sharing for impact?

2014 started off innocently enough.  First Google Hummingbird made major changes regarding news release visibility.  Then midway through the year Facebook launched FB Newswire, to increase the visibility of news.  Suddenly it was clear.  Facebook and Google were directly competing to see which service was more effective at surfacing a story and driving action because of it.
google vs facebook
Fact:  Both Google and Facebook are hungry for your news.

Recently, Parse.ly investigated data from around 8 billion page views of approximately 200 news sites with the results that 38% of referrals were generated by Google and 26% by Facebook.  While this statistic may not help Google overtake Facebook in the race to win the visibility war, it does providing an interesting opportunity for communicators.  If your published news piece can generate visibility on both Google and Facebook, you can generate more than 50% of your inbound traffic with (relatively) little effort.

However, the type of news that is sought after by these sites is slowly shifting. In both cases, Google and Facebook first relied on algorithms to determine which news to surface.  Unfortunately, this caused a plethora of misleading articles by less trustworthy “media outlets” to rise to the top.   These algorithms were adjusted greatly on both platforms this summer when Google and Facebook users revealed that they crave “real news” vs. click bait.

In an effort to continually refine results, these algorithms are continuously updated to reward authenticity and engagement. Google’s most recent changes to  Google Penguin, Penguin 3.0, on October 17, 2014, focused solely on overcoming link schemes that manipulate the ranking of a webpage (and the news story hosted there).

So what does this mean for your news?
As more and more refinement is done to ensure only high quality news is surfaced when searched on Google or on social networks, there are a few things today’s communicators can do to make sure their news is not only seen, but shared.

  1. Be descriptive in your headline

The more descriptive the title of your article, the more likely people are to read it, visit your page, and thereby increase your page ranking. News releases are known for their relatively long ‘uninteresting’ titles – but now the tables have turned. Readers know exactly what to expect from your release, which comes as a great relief after having spent significant time browsing through articles only to discover that they are not quite what was promised with the first click.

  1. Write a concise, accurate article

Now that your title has drawn readers in, the idea is to hold their interest. Long rambling paragraphs will not do this. Keep your information as succinct and on point as possible – engage the audience through a direct approach. To give you an idea, the ideal length for a news release is no longer than an A4 page.

  1. Contact information

This is crucial. If the reader has any further questions, they will want to contact you. The worst possible thing to happen at this stage is to struggle to find any method of contact. Include your Twitter, your Facebook, your Google+ – all and any possible ways of getting in contact. Not only does this ease contact between your company and the reader, but it also allows your news to be shared back with direct links.

News releases, especially those distributed by a commercial newswire such as Business Wire can help your distribution reach, and engage and activate audiences on both Google and Facebook platforms. Every news release jumpstarts a range of actions from coverage to sharing, each that directly impacts visibility within both Google and Facebook.  Business Wire’s wide distribution circuits, unique journalist lists and most of all, our “share” tools allow you to publish and share your articles within seconds. With over 50 years in the industry, we can help you tailor your distribution effectively, thus greatly increasing your traffic growth.


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.

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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.


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