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!


Editor’s Corner: Putting Faces with Names: Getting The Most Out Of Personnel Announcements

January 7, 2014

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.

Natalie

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!


Media Consumption in 2013: The Risks of Ignoring Mobile

November 18, 2013

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:

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

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.


New Social Tool Alert: Pinterest Launches Article Pins for Publishers

October 2, 2013

Ask any travel fan, bride-to-be, home cook or mom what social network they spend the most time on and you might be surprised to find it is not Twitter, Facebook or YouTube, but rather the image-based discovery site, Pinterest.

What is Pinterest?  Considered an aspirational social network, Pinterest is a website that allows users to upload and share a wide range of web-hosted images, sorted by categories or boards.  Users “pin” images they find on the web to “boards,” which the user has organized by theme.  For users and publishers alike, this is a highly utilized social network, with a heavy emphasis on content discovery and sharing.  What makes Pinterest so successful is that the pinned images include links back to hosting websites, allowing interested parties to click through to the original website for additional action.

This week, Pinterest revamped how they present pinned articles.  Previously, one could pin an article, and the image would appear but the pin would be missing necessary information to make the pin relevant and compelling for search and discovery.  But no longer!  This week, Pinterest released its new article pinning service.  Now, when a user pins an article, additional information such as the headline, author, story description and article link appears. This is highly beneficial for both the pinner and the reader.  For the reader, this provides clearer context of the pin, and for the pinner, it is a perfect way to bookmark a great read.

ImageImage courtesy of Pinterest

Pinning articles was a natural next step for Pinterest.  With more than 5M articles pinned every day, this new feature provides a better experience for those interested in pinning news as well as those discovering them.  And it is a boon for publishers as well. As YieldBot notes from its recent publisher referral traffic survey, Pinterest (85%) dramatically outweighs Facebook (8.3%), Twitter (0.5%), Tumblr (0.1%) and more for desktop inbound referral traffic.  Imagine if you could increase the inbound traffic from your social shares by 80% simply by using a new platform!

So how should public relations professionals implement Pinterest’s latest tool?  First, download the new pin tool and add it to your company website’s existing social sharing buttons. This will allow site visitors to pin your news releases, images, articles and content to their own boards, kicking off viral sharing.

Next?  Make sure your website images are tagged properly to help you be found within Pinterest’s own search engine.  This, too, is easy, it just requires a slight adjustment to your image tags.

From here, the rest is about context.  Pinterest is an image-based social network so of course, you must have image-based content.  Then ask yourself, who is this image relevant to?  Technologists?  Scientists?  Brides?  Cowboys? Search Pinterest and determine the level of interest by its members for your type of news or product and pay attention to the terms being used by your audience.  Every brand has brand fans, and every brand has a fan on Pinterest.  The trick for reaching and being found by these fans is in images you share, the name of your boards and the caption you create.  Consider creating highly niche boards to reach highly specific audiences, and more general boards when featuring industry specific industries.  Looking for other ideas on how to maximize your Pinterest presence?  We love this piece by Gini Dietrich, “16 ways to use Pinterest for PR.”

So where is Pinterest going next?  While it is still too soon to know, this new service will allow Pinterest to track article uploads and reads to build out its own internal user “interest graph” data set providing additional customization and monetization options down the road.

What do you think about this new Pinterest feature? Do you plan on implementing it on your sites? If you are using it now, what do you think? We would love to hear how you are using this tool to increase the overall awareness of, and click through traffic to, your company, products or news.


NextWorks CEO Tim Bahr on Content Capsules and the Growth of Content Marketing

September 10, 2013

Tim Bahr is CEO of NextWorks, which recently launched the Content Capsule interactive content marketing platform. Business Wire and NextWorks have partnered to create the Business Wire News Capsule and Picture Capsule, two new products that will turn press releases into self-contained, integrated content marketing tools. Business Wire and NextWorks are demonstrating the Content Capsule platform at Content Marketing World in Cleveland, September 10 through 12.

Tim Bahr

Tim Bahr, CEO, NextWorks

Tim answered some questions for us about the growth of content marketing and how these new products help marketers achieve their goals.

Why do you think marketers are showing such strong interest in content marketing?

Smart marketers realize that consumers are not interested in ads and promotional material; especially when they are online or on mobile devices.  A .01% click-through rate on display ads pretty much tells that story. Online and mobile consumers, who are in a buying mode, are most often seeking information to help them make a buying decision.  Marketers now recognize this as a huge opportunity to provide valuable and relevant information on their products and services that can help people buy their products.  That’s exactly why content marketing is the top priority for most marketers today, and why many believe it will be the most important area of marketing in the future.

What do you think of the trend toward content marketing?

I think the move toward content marketing is a very significant advance in marketing and the entire business/customer relationship.   We are finally starting to recognize the intelligence of our audiences.  We can’t just talk at them anymore with promotional messages that they have not requested and have no interest in.  They can just simply turn those messages off.

To successfully deliver a message to an audience in the digital world, where the user controls the receipt of messages, the message must be informative, relevant and provide value.  That outcome of this new means of communicating will be greater engagement and stronger customer relationships.

What do you think is key to successfully delivering content to an audience?

First, you should know what the audience wants.  Today’s social media analytics can give you those insights.  Then you need a distribution platform that can deliver content to the audience wherever and whenever that want to receive it in an engaging and interactive manner.  Finally, you must be able to monitor all interactions with the content so you have metrics that can help you continually update and alter content to meet the specific needs of your audience and ensure you remain timely and relevant.

How does the Content Capsule platform deliver this type of audience engagement and measurement?

The capsule platform is an interactive canvas that allows marketers to tell complete stories with videos, images, presentations, links and transactions in one self-contained, branded and highly sharable unit.  An audience can be taken on a journey from assessment through engagement to conversion without ever leaving a company’s content.  Capsules allow marketers to easily launch content campaigns across owned, earned, shared and paid media on all devices.  And, because every piece of content within a capsule is monitored and measured, a marketer can respond in real time to audience interactions and update content while a capsule is in distribution.  When content is updated, capsules embedded and shared across the digital ecosystem all update.  This creates an opportunity for ongoing programming of relevant content to multiple audiences across all platforms.

If you’re at Content Marketing World, stop by booth #4 in the exhibit hall to meet Tim and learn more about Content Capsules.


Event recap: Boston’s Most Influential Online Journalists & Bloggers

May 16, 2013
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:

Moderator –

Shane O’Neill, Assistant Managing Editor of CIO.com (@smoneill)

Panelists

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)

L-R: Angela Nelson, Jamie Wallace, Shane O’Neill, Paul Roberts, Galen Moore, Tiffany Campbell

L-R: Angela Nelson, Jamie Wallace, Shane O’Neill, Paul Roberts, Galen Moore, Tiffany Campbell


Check out the links below for some Storify compilations of tweets from attendees and panelists!

On the evolution of online media:

  1. ‘iPhone has changed my life as a reporter’- @tiffanycampbell on benefits of new tech #BWCHAT
  2. Getting so much feedback via blogs and Twitter is double-edged sword because of + & – comments, must be prepared says@suddenlyjamie #bwchat
  3. #bwchat panelists honest about balancing metrics w/delivering content that should be reported & engaging with audience. Refreshing.
  4. RT @metiscomm: Monitoring #socialmedia is like having #kids – you have to add 5-10 minutes to everything you do: @GalenMoore#BWchat
  5. Nice to hear that cultivating relationships is still important in PR…and that tweet pitching is not really valued #bwchat
  6. Paul Roberts/The Security Ledger: “Stories that do the best are the ones that have real news.” #bwchat
  7. Its an antiquated conception that print gets more views than online, plus it has a longer shelf life @bostonangela of @BostonDotCom#bwchat
  8. Online stories get more eyeballs and have longer shelf vs print says@BostonAngela #bwchat

On the tactics of coverage:

  1. RT @jensaragosa: Visuals are key-send me your photos, your videos and we’ll get them on our site says @BostonAngela #BWChat
  2. Online newsrooms v. important MT @V2comms@GalenMoore“…please remember this – put your press release on your website”#BWChat
    MetisComm
  3. If you don’t put up something with a striking visual, it might as well be invisible- @suddenlyjamie #BWchat
  4. RT @bkguilfoy: “My email has 99 problems but your attached image aint one” #bwchat
  5. Prep story for instant repurposing via visual/social/online mediums & your story will be gold to the media @suddenlyjamie #bwchat

On how the job has changed:

  1. #bwchat @galenmoore “voicemail is where things go to die.” Ha – so true!! Even for PR people.
  2. Pitching diff now than 20 yrs ago? #bwchat panelists say no, but impt to now add pictures so journos can make packages for social channels
  3. Pitching press is still about relationships, knowing publication, good content. But need to present it for visual and social media#BWCHAT
  4. Yes! MT @amyshanler#bwchat reporters/pr pros are all real people. Let’s not lose sight of that when focusing on our work, or our numbers.

Our full house had nothing but praise for the panelists and discussion.

  1. Fabulous panel MT @GalenMoore: Tx @BostonAngela,@paulfroberts@tiffanycampbell,@suddenlyjamie, & @smoneill for a lively panel #bwchat
  2. Morning well spent at #BWCHAT with area media, good Q&A, content. Thanks BusinessWire
  3. At BusinessWire “Meet the Media” pgm in Waltham. Full house. Awesome panelists. Love learning! #bwchat

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.


Business Wire Phoenix and Keith Yaskin Show How to Tell Your Story with Video

March 7, 2013
by Billy Russell, Client Services Representative, Business Wire/Phoenix

At Business Wire’s February 27 workshop, “How to Dynamically Tell Your Company’s Story With Video,” Keith Yaskin, who moderated the event, had an opportunity to provide his own insight into the creative process of crafting a video to tell a company’s story.

Three teams were each assigned to produce a video for a specific company Keith had outlined, and were asked how they would tell their story and what visuals would be highlighted. Two teams were given the task of creating a video for a mining company in order to boost its image to gain public support for a land swap.  One team was given a small, local dentist’s office who specialized in kids’ dentistry.  Both industries may have a difficult time portraying a positive image for different reasons:  Mining companies can receive public backlash for environmental reasons, and a dentist’s office is a classic phobia for many people.  So, how to tackle these issues?

According to Keith, there is absolutely no ONE right way to tell a story.  There may be ten, twenty, a hundred different ways to tell a story, all of which can be equally effective.  The two teams provided with the task of the mining company had different ideas, ranging from who to interview, to where to shoot the interview.  Should it be outside on a sunny day?  Who would be interviewed?  The town’s mayor?  An environmentalist professional?  Everyone had their own ideas, none of them wrong, but all greatly different in achieving the goals.

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Event photos by Billy Russell, Business Wire

Keith then shared a video he had personally produced for a mining company in the same situation. His was shot almost entirely within the mine, about 70% of it being with the workers and interviewing them, and 30% within the town.  He explained to the workshop attendees that he wanted to highlight the hard work that the employees handle within the mine in order to boost the company’s public image.  When it comes to interviews, he told us, he much preferred working with non-actors in order to get a more naturalistic demeanor from them.  With actors, he said, sometimes they come off TOO good, too polished and confident.  He told the groups that he preferred the reactions and statements of everyday people as their conversations come across more warmly.

The second team was asked to create a video for a pediatric dentist’s office to portray the professional positively and warmly; themes were discussed on what would be covered and who would be interviewed.  Some ideas were to interview the child coming to visit and asking how they liked coming to the dentist’s office, making sure to get great, big smiles on camera to highlight his/her happiness with the visit and the professional work on their teeth.  Other members of the team thought it would be a good idea to spend some time talking about the equipment used, to show how state-of-the-art their techniques for dentistry are, to ease potential clients’ minds about what to expect.

After the discussion, Keith shared another video he had produced to demonstrate how he handled the same task.  He allowed the dentist to speak freely about how he comforts his clients coming in for checkups and building rapport with them.  Keith noted one of his techniques to filming is to, after an interview is conducted, have the dentist continue to wear his microphone and to shoot video of him going about his business so that he can get some off-the-cuff moments and the children visiting his office that looks and feel entirely real and unrehearsed.

The workshop closed with a Q&A session where our attendees had a chance to clarify any questions that they had about the creative process and how to work within reasonable budgetary restrictions.


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