The Experts Speak: How to Brand Your Startup

August 21, 2015

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media

This past year’s SXSW festival offered audiences enough movies, music and tech to keep busy until – you guessed it – next year’s SXSW. For those in the know, however, that wasn’t the end of the fun. From July 19th to the 22nd there was an additional SXSW event, the SXSW v2v in Las Vegas. This boutique event, aimed to help startups grow, brought together great minds and offered future business moguls an opportunity to learn from and connect with industry leaders.

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One of the topics discussed during the four days in Vegas was how a new company can develop a brand with which audiences will identify. Melodie Tao, Marketing Consultant and Founder of Marketing Melodie, spoke on just that and left the crowd inspired.

Coverage and highlights of the session can be found here.

“How can you establish your brand?” was the first question Melodie posed, and what followed was a series of tips and insider tricks to connect with modern markets. Find out what she had to say and how it might apply to your business.

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Business Wire CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz also spoke about startups prior to the Vegas event at the Austin SXSW. Her fireside chat was insightful and declared that “every business has an audience.” Coverage of the conversation can be found here.


How to Produce Professional Videos at Low Cost and with No Experience

August 17, 2015

By Vilan Trub, Business Wire Marketing

The videos you constantly see online, whether on a branded website, a social media platform, or a news73 percent of all adults outlet, can be replicated at low cost and by someone with no production experience. This revelation is important because if you aren’t currently tapping into the trend of video marketing, you will be soon once you realize how easy it is, and how significant the potential results can be.  How significant?  According to an Animoto Online and Mobile Video Study conducted using 1,000 U.S. consumers, “nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of respondents are more likely to purchase a product or service if they can watch a video explaining it beforehand.”

Camera phoneCamera

Option 1: Low cost:
Cell phones turned into computers overnight and the world has been watching them ever since. With the launch of the latest series of smartphones, camera technology has been exponentially improved giving everyone access to HD (1920 x 1080) quality recording devices.

What exactly is HD?
HD refers to the lines of resolution in an image. Video footage with a higher quantity of resolution lines is deemed high definition because of the greater appearance of detail in the image.

Take advantage of your access to HD recording devices and create beautiful videos – all with the device you have in your hand right now.

DSLR tripodTo maximize the effect of your smart phone camera stay zoomed out to the widest setting and capture your footage in a well-lit environment. Don’t be fooled, even Hollywood admits to the astounding quality of footage captured with  an iPhone.

What will make your footage stand out from other “smart phone” videos is the use of a tripod. Yes, they make tripods for cellphones, pointing to the quality footage that can be captured from the same device that you occasionally use to order dinner.

Option 2:  Medium budget:
Let’s say you plan on regularly producing video projects and you want some versatility in the tool used to create your visuals. A DSLR camera is an affordable way to create professional quality images with an easy to use technology while giving you more control over the depth of field of your images. And at a $400-$500 price point for an entry level camera, it is so affordable and easy to use that Hollywood often takes advantage.DSLR

What is depth of field?: The range of what is in focus in your image compared to what isn’t. When you see an object in the foreground in sharp focus, and everything else is blurry, you have a shallow depth of field. With a DSLR camera you have more options for how you want your image to look.

A DSLR camera will also give you much better color reproduction as a result of the larger sensors (what captures the image) so your images will be vibrant and pop.

Lighting

Option 1:  Low cost:
Light bulbs make light. It’s what you choose to illuminate with that light that will make the difference clamp lightbetween clunky amateurish videos, and professional digital media. By utilizing higher wattage bulbs, such as 150w and 200w, and clamp lights that can be purchased at any local hardware store, you can create a studio right in your office.

How can these lights be used to create a professional image? The term to remember is three-point lighting. This lighting scheme uses two lights to illuminate both sides of the subject. The third light is what really makes the image look professional. The third light, cast over the back of the subject illuminating highlights such as hair and shoulder, creates separation between the subject and the background. This allows the viewer to perceive depth on a two-dimensional medium.

Option 2: Medium budget:
Basic lighting kits are affordable and extremely easy to use, assemble, and store. A light kit is superior to using clamp lights because the light stands are easy to assemble and move around. With clamp lights, creativity is required in identifying objects to which they can be clamped. With a light kit all the tools are available. The height of a light stand can also easily be manipulated, offering many variations of lighting schemes that can be tried out without too much time or effort.

Sound

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Option 1:  Low cost:
For a production, sound is the most important aspect. If the audio is crisp and clear, clean of ambient noise and static, the audience will accept your media as professional grade regardless of what type of camera or camera phone you use. Eyes can fill in the blanks better than your ears, so it’s important for the audience to hear what they need to as if the speaker is in the room. This can be accomplished quite easily and with a low budget.

Wired lavalier microphone: A microphone that clips to the subject’s lapel can be purchased in the $50 dollar range. This microphone is great for capturing the speaker’s voice because it is located so close to the source. This particular microphone is designed to work with mobile devices, however, if you already have a microphone or are purchasing a microphone not designed to work with a mobile device there are solutions. With the addition of an adapter, in the $20 to $30 range, you can easily connect your microphone to a smartphone to use as an audio recording device (use the voice memo app if filming with an iPhone).

Remember that sound and video need to sync. For every time you roll your camera or recording device, film a piece of paper labeled with what take you are recording, then clap your hands together. That clap provides a distinct sound that you can use later to sync your audio and video during the editing process.

Option 2: Medium budget:
If you have any budget at all, it’s always recommended that sound be your first investment. If you can afford it, invest in a wireless lavMic microphone system. Why wireless over a wired microphone? A wireless mic system allows you to record your audio directly into the camera or recording device. There is no need to sync audio and picture when editing and you can immediately view back your footage to test quality of both image and sound. Of course, you should still mark each take with a verbal label (saying take one, take two) so you have an easy way to reference the footage during the editing phase.

Editing

Option 1: Low cost:
Editing video is not as hard as most people think. You choose the footage that you want and discard the rest. The digital revolution has ensured that everyone can be an editor and with great ease. Youtube offers editing capabilities, as well as other free online options. If your video and audio was recorded separately remember to locate the exact second the clap (previously discussed) occurred, as well as the sound of that clap; match the two and you have just synced sound and picture.

editingOption 2: Medium budget:
For basic digital media there is no need for excessive editing software. This is not because of the price but rather the learning curve required to maximize your purchased editing software. If you are willing to put in a little time to master such techniques as color correction and more intricate editing, look into tools like Sony Vegas Movie Studio, or the higher end Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro. A list of other recommended software can be found here.

We know video is one of the fastest growing content tools, and consumption rates are at an all-time high. We also know that video builds relationships between organizations and their customers.  Now you know just how easy it is to make your own!  Have any additional tips related to video creation?  Let us know.

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For more information about the role of video in the news process, we suggest the following articles


Business Wire’s Video Content Is Now Featured On the AP Video Hub

August 17, 2015

Business Wire continues its dedication to the evolving media landscape by announcing a new distribution program with the Associated Press. The new content enhancement will place videos released through the newswire service directly onto AP Video Hub.

AP Video Hub offers media subscribers from around the globe access and usage rights to a wide range of video news footage, including world news, entertainment, sports, lifestyle, breaking news and archive stories. AP Video Hub subscribers include 350 of the world’s largest media companies in 100 countries. Journalists, industry bloggers, and media professionals at all levels use the AP video hub to access news video footage to supplement a story and give their media-hungry audiences what they crave. News release video distributed by Business Wire will now sit alongside breaking news video from around the globe, providing new, broader visibility to this key content.

“From earnings releases to content marketing, more and more public relations and investor relations professionals are enhancing their news announcements with multimedia assets including video,” noted Laura Sturaitis, Business Wire’s executive vice president of media services and product strategy. “With this latest content amplification arrangement, Business Wire continues to lead the industry in the distribution and discoverability of its clients’ news and branded content.”

Thanks to an evolution in technology and human behavior, visual story telling is the growing dominant force in the news industry. Smart technology offers people instant access to multimedia and they’re taking advantage, whether following a story on their phone, tablet, computer or television. According to Pew Research Center, digital news video consumption has been on the rise consistently since 2007 and those most likely to watch that content are the young, educated, and affluent. Exactly how many people are watching digital news video? Over half (52%) of Americans with a bachelor or graduate degree consume the kinds of videos that Business Wire will now be presenting via the AP video hub.

Videos distributed by Business Wire now receive global visibility via AP Video Hub

Videos distributed by Business Wire receive global media audiences via AP Video Hub

Why should communicators include video in their news releases?

  1. Media outlets want it.  Every day, media outlets from around the world turn to AP Video Hub to find multimedia content to round out their news stories.  Companies that include video in their news now receive additional visibility of their story simply based on their multimedia components
  2. Creating professional digital video is easier than ever. Even Hollywood is taking notice! According to Casey Newton, Silicon Valley editor at The Verge, “one of the best films at Sundance was shot using an iPhone 5S.” A smart phone is easy to use and can be used to create video that is both impressive and professional looking.
  3. Videos are highly engaging content that work as an educational tool, explaining and reinforcing your news release and message points. Consumers want it – with more than 63% of the world learning from visual and interactive media, the fastest way to increase adoption of your news is to use video.
  4. Video allows you to create visual consistency for your brand, one that will be remembered by audiences and potential clients and consumers
  5. Videos are easily sharable across social and other digital platforms

Want to learn more about Business Wire’s multimedia distribution services? Drop us a line today.

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[DOWNLOAD NOW] Business Wire Launches Let’s Get Visual: Multimedia and the News Release

July 9, 2015

Earlier today, CommPro.biz published a piece outlining the new Business Wire multimedia report Let’s Get Visual: Multimedia and the News Release. This guide offers comm pros best practices for releasing company news that will connect with modern audiences in the digital and mobile age. While the importance of a news release is timeless, the communication landscape is changing and PR and IR teams need to take advantage. Find out how.

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Click here to read this piece and click here to share this information with your Twitter followers: http://ctt.ec/f4c3X

Have a comment or a tip of your own?  We would love to hear your thoughts!  Just leave a message in the comment section below.

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[SURVEY] Best Practices for Promoting Crowdfunding Campaigns

April 17, 2015

By Vilan Trub, Business Wire

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Many people are interested in launching crowdfunding campaigns to bridge their idea to reality but aren’t certain how to execute such a campaign successfully. To help answer this question, we created a survey about the best steps PR professionals can take to develop and execute a successful crowdfunding campaign.

Take our 2 minute survey now:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/6NGB5DZ

This survey will be open until April 24th and then we will share the resulting best practices for successful crowdfunding promotion.

Tell your friends about this survey: http://ctt.ec/j9XES

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“Every Business Has an Audience” is a Key Takeaway from SXW2O

March 17, 2015

By Vilan Trub, Business Wire

The venue was large and had already been entertained by the great Al Roker by the time Jim Weiss (CEO, W2O Group) and Cathy Baron Tamraz (CEO, Business Wire) stepped on stage. They had their hands full with a standing room-only audience and only saying something fundamentally mind blowing would turn it around. Fortunately for the crowd, that’s exactly what happened.

Cathy and Jim at SXW2O event

During the session, Cathy was asked how a newswire service could support a startup or organization that journalists weren’t actively looking for information on. “If you have a business, you have an audience,” she told the crowd. “Safe is not going to win the game.”

More news is being created and consumed now than ever in the history of modern man, she continued, adding that there are trade papers, journalists, online publications and consumers looking for relevant company news every day. You don’t have to be a big name brand to get noticed; you just have to have a good product or piece of news. In a world so cluttered with content, it was refreshing to hear someone say what every successful large and small organization knows to be true. You don’t have to be big to get noticed — you just have to appeal to your core audience.

Apple WatchTo reiterate the point that smaller companies can greatly benefit with a newswire service, Cathy cited her own company’s history. When Business Wire first launched over 50 years ago, they were distributing news for companies like Hewlett-Packard, companies that were being run out of garages. This hasn’t changed much. From startup launches to the introduction of the Apple watch, Business Wire continues to distribute market moving news across a wide range of industries.

Jim Weiss chimed in, adding that startups need to get into the practice of issuing releases. It is important to start building and archiving a digital trail for your company during its earliest stages. The digital revolution also created a wide variety of options for the format of your distributed information.

Both Jim and Cathy agreed that multimedia was not just beneficial to a news release, but a requirement in modern news consumption programming. Modern communicators like Hasbro, Intel, Cigna and more are leveraging multimedia assets like News and Picture Capsules that allow users to play a game while learning about the brand and product. IntelBy incorporating interactive multimedia within the news story, audiences spend far more time on the news announcement than they would had it just been a simple text release.  Text-only news releases engage readers for seconds, while interactive-based releases are showing engagement results between 4-10 minutes – rates that are unheard of in the current communications and content marketing space.

The next topic covered was the importance of measurement in the communication space.  Measurability is the single greatest tool in identifying how a release is impacting the market and the company goals alike. Advents, such as NUVI, create an ability to not only see where your news release is being picked up but who is engaging with it and how – reading, sharing or advocating. Being able to distinguish the public reaction of your release gives you the opportunity to take control over your campaign like never before.

nuvi report

The lineup at this year’s SXW2O was fantastic, and the reason why is because the speakers were inspiring. There is a great feeling to knowing that you can make an impact especially when the message is coming from people who make an impact every day, like Jim Weiss and Cathy Baron Tamraz. The question now is who are you trying to activate with your news, and how can Business Wire help you distribute it?

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Listen up! Everything PR and Social Media Pros Need To Know About Meerkat

March 9, 2015

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

Welcome to Meerkat!

Welcome to Meerkat!

As Business Wire’s director of social and evolving media, I get asked a lot about the future of social tech and which emerging apps are going to impact the social news distribution/consumption flow.  Right now, that tool is most definitely Meerkat.

Meerkat is a very easy to use, point and shoot iOS application that allows users to share live video from their mobile devices.  For today’s marketers, the opportunities provided by Meerkat for program amplification, and real-time news sharing are huge.  Expect to see marketers use it to livestream media and consumer focused events and interviews, showcase product use, create meet and greets with executives, interviews and even provide real-time behind the scene sneak peeks.

Using Meerkat is easy! First you download the app and log in using your Twitter account.  Meerkat will automatically find and link you with Twitter followers who are also using Meerkat, so right from the start you have fans and followers.  Meerkat videos are not available for replay, although you can choose to save your broadcasts for additional content marketing use.basketball meerkat

Meerkat offers two ways to livestream –in real-time or later, at a scheduled time.

To begin a livestream, aim your camera to feature whatever you want to show and start streaming.  The app will then send out a Tweet to your Twitter followers, as well as a mobile alert to Meerkat connections, that you are livestreaming, inviting them to view your video.  Meerkat users can then come and watch either via the Meerkat app or their web browser, with in-app notifications alerting you every time someone new joins in.

How to schedule on meerkatTo schedule a livestream, click the schedule button, type in the time and date of your upcoming livestream and Meerkat will help you promote it by sharing this information via a Tweet sent from your Twitter account.

During your livestreams, you can engage with viewers via comments that are also pushed out on Twitter as a way to increase the visibility and potential engagement of and with your Meerkat livestream

The results of Meerkat livestream announcements on Twitter remind me of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  First, it coincides with Twitter’s recent move to allow users to embed Twitter-hosted videos on any website.  As Twitter focuses on video sharing, don’t be surprised if you see more videos within your Twitter stream. While we cannot confirm it at this time, it would make sense for Twitter to change their news feed algorithms slightly to highlight this new feature.

In addition to Twitter’s own emphasis on video, Meerkat also taps into innate human behavior in two ways.  First, when one sees an announcement of a livestream from a friend or connection, it creates a desire to click to see what is being shared. Secondly, with today’s consumers adopting visual communications, this is a perfect marriage between social media and video production, allowing them to watch the video live, as it is being made.  Meerkat itself built in a point system to reward users for watching other videos, showcasing top viewers via a leaderboard.  The gamified, viral nature of the tool, combined with the ease-of use, makes this a marketers dream – and just in time for SXSW.

With no costs associated with the service, and its ability to alert your followers of current and upcoming broadcasts, there is no reason marketing and communication pros should not be testing this tool to support a wide range of event, business, product and consumer-focused marketing program. Are using Meerkat yet?

Like this discussion? Share our tips about Meerkat with your friends on Twitter by simply clicking this link: http://ctt.ec/rw1C3

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