In our recent CommPro.biz article, Ciaran Ryan interviews two leading photographers who shared their top 4 tips to taking the perfect photo. You can read the entire piece here. Have some tips of your own you would like to share? Add them below in the comments section of this blog.
Earlier today, a coworker swung by my office to alert me that KPCB’s Mary Meeker’s Technology Trend Report of 2014 was finally out.
Christmas, my data loving friends, has arrived early! For those unfamiliar, this report outlines global and United States-specific mobile, internet and technology trends that impact corporate decision making in a wide range of industries.
At first glance, this report is a fascinating look at how mobile, internet, and human behavior trends have all collided in 2014. However, as you read further, you start to see that these trends tell a very interesting story for today’s communicator. Today’s news consumers are moving away from traditional text only news, and consuming more than ever, a blend of text and multimedia to tell a story. While this report has a wide number of very interesting data points, we pulled out the 10 key trends directly relevant to public relations, investor relations, marketing and communications professionals.
1. Customized internet-based learning opportunities continue to grow, allowing people who learn in different ways to find the one that fits for them.
PR IMPLICATIONS: As noted earlier this year, more than 63% of the world’s population are visual learners, making traditional text only press releases cumbersome to digest. Press releases that integrate images and/or video allow the reader to digest in their own way. (What a great way to build fans!)
2. Mobile phones and mobile internet are here to stay, with mobile data traffic increasing a whopping 81 percent! The biggest use of that mobile data is consuming video.
PR IMPLICATION: Mobile video consumption is at an all time high. When your audience reads your news, are you including a video clip? Why not?
3. Mobile ad growth is seen as an almost $30B opportunity while print advertising is over-indexed by 5%.
PR IMPLICATIONS: As news consumption continues to move online, include images and videos with your press releases to increase the potential and decrease the turnaround time of online news coverage.
4. A massive increase in the global messaging ecosystem continues with a strong increase in sharing within smaller groups.
PR IMPLICATIONS: More and more tools are launching to aid communications. This increase in peer-to-peer communication tools makes word of mouth recommendations more important than ever. Provide your fans with short news bites and smaller multimedia clips so they can easily talk about your brand, and these messaging tools will help them share it with others.
5. Multimedia sharing is rising rapidly.
PR IMPLICATIONS: Today’s consumers are not only creating and sharing their own images and video, they watch and share third-party content. Are you providing compelling content they need to effectively engage and share out your multimedia?
6. Social media traffic referrals continue to grow with the sharing cycle for social media articles averaging 6.5 hours on Twitter and 9 hours on Facebook. Buzzfeed continues to receive the honor of content most shared on Facebook, while the BBC holds the top spot on Twitter.
PR IMPLICATIONS: Meeker’s chart (which lists the top 10 content sources on both social networks) is a reflection of what piques the interest of consumers on each platform. This provides a strong media list for you if you are looking to grow engagement on one or the other. In addition, the stories these outlets publish provide valuable insight on the images they use and their writing style. Adapt your press releases accordingly.
7. 2014 is the year of the Internet Trifecta: Critical mass of content + community to give it context + commerce.
PR IMPLICATION: Skip writing vague press releases and start writing for your core audience. As more and more content continues to be upload (1.8B photos uploaded and shared PER DAY globally), the best chance you have to stand out, and drive ROI is to activate core audiences. Include calls to actions, like Click to Tweet, to move people through you sales funnel.
8. 13ZB (that Is Zeta bytes) of content will be created and consumed this year.
PR IMPLICATIONS: To stand out from the noise, you need good writing and compelling assets. Arm your brand fans with your news to increase word of mouth sharing.
9. Re-Imagining User Interfaces (UI): R.I.P. Bad User Interfaces; today’s consumers are much more willing to leave companies for their competitors due to bad web or mobile interfaces.
PR IMPLICATIONS: Company news pages have changed drastically in the last few years. Have you updated yours? Today’s sites include social interfaces, access usable multimedia, and historical information and are readable from any device. Is your company news page keeping pace?
10. Massive increase in video views, long and short form.
PR IMPLICATIONS: Create videos! Not sure where to start? How about a video showcasing a key decision point in the development or launch of your product or initiative? Or ask us! We’ve been distributing multimedia for years.
By providing your news in both a textual and image/video format, you are effectively giving the consumer the choice to read your news in the format they prefer. By meeting their consumption needs, you create a higher likelihood of news sharing, or word of mouth marketing. And nothing is more effective than that!
Want to learn more about how you can adapt your press release process to meet these new technology and behavioral changes? Let’s set up a time to talk.
By Billy Russell, Customer Service Representative, Business Wire Phoenix
In 2014, as demographics in the workforce shift, so does the marketing and sales cycle. What used to take a handful of “touches” to sell, now takes much more time and effort by both the company and the purchaser.
So why is this change so relevant to PR and why is PR so important to today’s sales and marketing funnel? PR is the most efficient and time-trusted way to generate the enormous number of interactions required to sell your organization, your products or philosophy. After all, you can create and launch a wide range of marketing materials, product videos and social programs on your own platforms, but to get the level of visibility and adoption needed to drive true impact, you need PR to promote them.
Learn more about how PR can impact and assist in moving customers in and through today’s elongated sales funnel at CommPro.biz: http://www.commpro.biz/public-relations/support-pr-driving-sales/
Almost every day, clients ask our teams how to determine the return of investment when it comes to news distribution services. Thanks to better monitoring and tracking services, tracking the true ROI of a press release has never been easier.
Not every press release may be accountable for immediate conversion or sales, but there is no denying its impact in the promotion of the news and content relevant to each organization’s core audiences.
ROI is simply one’s return on investment or the overall cost of the creation and distribution of your press release vs the impact of this outreach within the company’s goals.
Press releases are documents written to activate audiences. These audiences, defined by PR, IR, marketing and management teams, include customers, prospects, stockholders, employees, brand fans, industry experts and other stakeholders.
Smart teams build customer journey maps for each audience that outline the desired outcome for each step of the decision process. Many take it a step further by assigning a dollar value to each customer (referred to as the customer’s lifetime value or LTV). Journey maps help communicators identify content positioning while distribution vehicles and assets maximize each piece of content’s overall impact.
Distributing Your Content
Before determining content and news distribution options, ask yourself these questions:
- What is the goal of the news you are sharing out? Are you alerting media to new products, or showcasing thought leadership with white papers and infographics?
- What is the expected outcome of this news or content?
- What audience can share this news out to drive the highest impact on your goals?
- What audience reactions affect this outcome?
- What assets are you including to increase ROI?
- Increasing awareness with coverage?
- Driving action with inbound traffic?
- Driving advocacy with social sharing?
- What distribution options provide both highly targeted and wide visibility?
- What sharing options do I need to include to increase impact?
- How can I track ROI
How it Works:
Let’s assume the news you are sharing promotes a white paper, video or other piece of content to increase awareness within core audiences and move them into and through your marketing and sales funnel. How would you distribute this content in a holistic manner that drives meaningful action?
Writing Your Release
The first step is to write a well written release. There are many great examples of how to do this, such as this: http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/sample-press-release/. Once written, make sure your release is fully optimized for usage by media as well as for reading by today’s search engines.
Using Your OWN Channels
Every company already has brand fans! Alerting these existing audiences of new content is a terrific way to increase impact. Place your press release and assets within your corporate newsroom, on your blog and across social channels. Distribute the news directly through email mailing lists, including social share buttons to jump start social sharing.
The Power of Paid
While placing your content on your own channels is a no brainer, this tactic alone most likely will not provide the visibility needed to reach your goals. This is the time to consider paid promotion. For years, PR professionals have been leveraging paid channels to increase impact and visibility of all kinds of news. And for good reason. To this day, even now in 2014, commercial newswires provide the best ROI when it comes to news distribution.
To ensure the highest possible return on investment for your press release, take a close look at your news distribution options.
- First, determine what geographic region does your news impact? Where are your decision makers located? Are they in specific parts of the country or world?
- Next, get granular with industry and vertical market reach. Did you write the press release to inform investors, impact IT decision makers, or activate today’s increasingly powerful Hispanic purchasers?
- Then, understand that to drive meaningful impact, today’s press releases and content must include multimedia. With thousands of news, stories distributed each day, and fewer reporters than ever, the inclusion of an asset may be the key differentiator separating your news from that of your competitors.
- Finally, consider promoting your content with paid advertising. One popular way PR pros are increasing the impact of coverage is by placing them within native advertising blocs such as dlvr.it (included in your Business Wire distribution) and Outbrain.
EARNED Media Increases Results Significantly
Even the most interesting stories may never reach interested readers and reporters without outreach. Once your news is live and your content is available, reach out to leading reporters and identified industry influencers to discuss coverage focus that engages their audiences and yours..
Repeated studies show that coverage has a direct impact on moving audiences into marketing and sales funnels.
To increase the success of your outreach efforts, focus your pitch on the impact your content will have on their readers, and do not forget to reference or include multimedia assets. Today’s most successful online stories include supplemental photo essays and statistical videos.
SHARING Your Coverage
Nothing moves audiences in and through the marketing funnel better than recommendations, referrals or shares of smart, interesting news by friends and family. Not only should you share out coverage you receive, you should make it easy for your audiences to share your information as well. Include calls to actions directly within your press release (see here for an example) to simplify sharing by content readers.
MEASURING Your Success
There are several ways to measure the success of this kind of PR program. One of the easiest things you can do is look at the metrics reports created by each distribution platform. Most press release measurement metrics, such as the ones below, focus on overall views and generated actions.
The first and oldest metric of PR has been the amount of coverage your news and content generated, the placement (and its impact on core audiences), length of article, assets included, message permeation and more.
The second step in measuring the impact of the press release is wide awareness of news. How broadly was the news shared, who shared it and which audiences impacted the marketing funnel the most–was it editorial coverage? Influencer shares of that coverage? Did employee sharing increase word-of-mouth marketing? Did the multimedia assets you included increase impact?
Another terrific metric available to PR professionals is the ability to see what regions, locally and globally, the news resonated within. This data can be acted upon immediately by continuing the discussion with paid advertising or a concentrated sales effort, allowing sales teams to strike while the conversational iron is hot!
When tracking social impact, first look at the number of influencers talking about your news, and the number of overall news shares. Social sharing analysis should also look at message adoption and associated hashtags usage.
Measuring inbound traffic is easy! Simply add a URL Builder or extension to any URL within your press release that drives traffic back to your website (create this as a hyperlink). Then, once someone clicks those links, you can track their actions within your website. Of course, not all media outlets will include hyperlinks to your website, so it is key to note that this will only be a snapshot of the traffic driven in. It is key to look at all increases in followers, or inbound traffic that occurs during the news cycle to get a more accurate look at the traffic you generated.
Owned Channel Registrations
Include links to join your other owned channels including following social channels or signing up for a newsletter. This enables interested parties to take the first step in creating a relationship with your organization.
As you can see from the above, there is a very real place for the press release, and press release distribution platforms in today’s news and content distribution services. Now, with a few easy additions, communication professionals can highlight their significance quickly and easily.
So what do you think? Do you agree with this program? Is this something you could and would implement?
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!
By Dara Khan, Business Wire Editor
When you submit a personnel announcement to Business Wire, our editors are the first eyes on your staffing news. Our talented and experienced newsroom team reviews hundreds of news items per week, and we have developed a pretty good sense of what elements make them successful. Here’s one editor’s take on putting together a winning press release for announcing hires, promotions, or other staffing changes in your organization.
The best piece of advice I can give is to include multimedia with your press release.
When you meet people for the first time, you remember them by both their names and faces. This is true in press releases as well; by including a photo of the person, you make it easy for reporters, analysts and others to put face to the name. We editors know from experience that releases with a photo—whether of a new executive hire or a retiring founder—instantly capture readers’ attention, and our research has shown that releases with photos or other multimedia generate five to ten times more pickup than those without them. That is just from adding a photo or video to your news release!
However, there are other ways to increase your press release’s visibility.Broader distribution of press releases allows for reporters and other brand fans to find and share your news. But why not consider adding a targeted specialty circuit to increase visibility within highly specific target markets? If you’ve made a prominent minority hire, consider the Asian-American Media, African-American Media or LatinoWire circuits, which all heavily target media in markets that can be difficult to reach through broader channels. If your release is about someone who has made significant contributions through nonprofit and charity work, consider the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) circuit. If you’re running a cutting-edge startup and just added a big name to your team, congrats! Now is the perfect time to take advantage of BW’s new partnership with VentureBeat. Each of these distributions reaches a highly targeted list of reporters and media outlets, all viewing and sharing these kinds of announcements on a daily basis.
At the end of the day, the foundation of a good personnel announcement is a concise and well-written press release. This may seem like a very basic tip, but it is surprising how often we see releases that are unnecessarily long, overly wordy, or lack quotations from or about the personnel in question. That last part is especially important. Why? Because including quotes is another great way to capture the human element—and the attention of readers. These quotes are so frequently sought after that Business Wire’s system actually automatically generates highlighted pull quotes from those sections! These pull quotes appear on the businesswire.com version for your release (as well as via our PressPass media news service), so be sure to use that to your advantage by making them shine.
Lastly, do not hesitate to call your local Business Wire newsroom or account executive to discuss more ways to get the most out of your personnel announcements. One thing that sets BW apart is the degree of hands-on, personalized service from our 24 local news bureaus. As the only commercial newswire with this many editorial offices, Business Wire has editors and a sales team who are always ready to help you send your press release out to the biggest possible audience. We always look forward to hearing from you!
By Simon Ogus, Media Relations Specialist
The sight is so common now; it doesn’t even register with us anymore.
You see someone with a few minutes to kill, whether it be waiting for a bus or an appointment, and inevitably the smartphone comes out and the individual is immediately engaged with the apps and web that are so easily accessible.
This is media consumption in 2013 and there is no going back.
With web networks continually getting stronger and Wi-Fi becoming more readily available in public places, the public’s mobile consumption will continue on the meteoric rise that it’s on right now. Consider this graph below from Business Insider detailing the U.S. Consumer Media Consumption Share of Voice:
The graph above shows consumption for all forms of major media. Television and print media are steadily declining with their users often simultaneously engaged with some second screen device, especially during valuable commercial time. Meanwhile, mobile use is steadily rising.
There are many reasons for this trend, but first and foremost is that when you are on the go, mobile has no competitors. It’s convenient, provides immediate gratification, and there isn’t as much opportunity for distraction as there is when you are watching television, reading a newspaper/magazine or even sitting down with your laptop at home or at a coffee shop.
There is considerable data to suggest that these trends will not only continue but continue in a dramatic fashion. Consider these facts in a recent Business Insider report on mobile media consumption.
- Consumers are spending as much time on mobile as they are in the traditional online category (which includes all activity on desktops and laptops).
- Mobile was the only media type to grow in total U.S. consumer minutes spent per day from 2010 to 2012.
- In the course of 2013, tablet shipments have grown 83% while PC shipments dropped 13%.
- Mobile video is already big, but it’s poised to become even bigger. Consumers are watching at almost unheard of rates. They’re also sticking to their mobile devices for longer periods of time while watching. This gives marketers more time and opportunity to place ads within streaming video content.
- The 219 million mobile-only users now make up close to 20% of Facebook’s total user base and Pinterest’s U.S. mobile-only user base grew 28% reaching 18.3 million in June 2013. Facebook in particular has made significant progress monetizing this growing audience: mobile advertisements now represent 41% of its ad revenue.
- Search is also becoming increasingly mobile. Tablets and smartphones now account for 26% of all local search traffic.
Business Insider’s reference to the development of mobile websites is particularly significant and shows that this trend is for real. As developers continue to make mobile websites quicker and more efficient, consumer usage of mobile search and mobile brand interaction will continue to grow.
Early versions of mobile websites were less user-friendly, but the newer interfaces are improving so rapidly that it is becoming less and less of an issue.
What does this mean going forward for today’s brands and organizations? It means that any information disseminated through the web needs to be easily accessed and consumed from a tablet or smartphone. Organizations can do this by first creating a fast, mobile-friendly website utilizing responsive design. This will ensure easier access to your content whether it is read on the desktop, smartphone or tablet.
The second step is serving up content directly of interest to mobile users. Mobile phones are lean-in devices, people do not pick them up without wanting to take an action. Use your Google Analytics to help you determine what content you should present first on your mobile website. For most brands it is contact information, including a phone number, then links to internal sections of the website including the About Us and newsroom.
Today’s mobile newsrooms and press releases also require mobile-ready formatting. Images, videos, press releases and PR contacts should be easy to both find and read on each device. Multimedia, a huge component of driving action on mobile and desktops alike, should render quickly on mobile phones, and any delays in rendering the image should be fixed quickly. Lastly, make sure your newswire vendor distributes your news in both standard and mobile-ready formats.
With many companies investing in user-friendly mobile layouts, and consumers’ mobile devices replacing desktops, the organizations that don’t make mobile websites and content priority will start to fall behind the pack. Mobile is the present and the future and businesses will need to acknowledge and adapt to this reality going forward.
by Molly Pappas, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/Boston
Last week, Business Wire/Boston hosted a media panel breakfast event with some of the leading online journalists and bloggers in the area to discuss the latest trends in online media. Among the topics discussed were the evolution of online media, tactics of coverage and how an online journalist’s job has changed.
Our media discussion revolved around six of the area’s established names in online media:
Paul Roberts, Editor-in-Chief/Founder of The Security Ledger (@paulfroberts)
Tiffany Campbell, Managing Editor of Digital at WBUR.org (@tiffanycampbell)
Galen Moore, Web Editor at Boston Business Journal (@galenmoore)
Angela Nelson, News Editor of Boston.com (@bostonangela)
Jamie Wallace, Editor-in-Chief of Fans of Being a Mom blog (@suddenlyjamie)
Check out the links below for some Storify compilations of tweets from attendees and panelists!
Our full house had nothing but praise for the panelists and discussion.
Thank you to our amazing moderator and panelists for a great, informative discussion!
For upcoming local Business Wire events or our award-winning webinar series, visit our events page or follow Business Wire events on Twitter, hashtag #bwchat.