The Rise of Predictive Scanning: PR Isn’t Dead, It’s Poised for a Comeback

October 30, 2014

By Neelima Yelamanchili, Business Wire DC

Cutting Through The ClutterHow people want to interact with a brand has changed. For brand and content communicators, timing the message delivery can play a crucial role in enhancing perceptions and encouraging favorable behavior change.

Citing data that audiences are bombarded with 5,000 messages a day, Adele Cehrs, CEO, Epic PR Group, explained that when they are faced with so much information, important details are likely to be missed or simply forgotten. The challenge for the communicator is to break through this information clutter and pinpoint and highlight for their audience what is most important.

- 62% say social media has no influence on buying
– 91% rely on word of mouth for brand recommendations
– Just 2.7% of people are willing to recommend a brand across their social media channels for fear of being negatively associated with a brand

To ensure their message reaches through this clutter, Cehrs recommended today’s communicators focus less on engagement metrics and focus more on timing – specifically when there’s a spike in the conversation around a particular topic or issue. SPIKE is defined as “a sudden, point of interest that kick-starts exposure good or bad.” To increase the impact of the news, Cehrs recommends communicators focus on outreach during the spike, “when the messages will be most important to the audience.”

How can you monitor for a SPIKE? Perhaps a particular topic is trending on social media that relates to your brand or industry. Consider that a spike. Perhaps there is new legislation or some issues-focused topic that is prevalent in the news that relates to your message. Again, use that SPIKE.

And while bad news might be a popular cause of SPIKES, don’t automatically assume that’s a bad thing. If handled tactfully, you can make positive waves for your brand in the wake of a competitor’s missteps.

Other ways to monitor for spikes include:
– Competitor wins
– Contrary opinions, from e.g. bloggers, pundits, etc.
– Previous industry/company issues
– Trends in the news cycle

Using social media
Trying to internally sell the importance of social media to your C-suite or executives who distrust social platforms or believe it can be done successfully for free? First, make them understand that there is no such thing as free social media. It’s unrealistic to dedicate around-the-clock staff to monitor social media. Having a team prepared to monitor for the SPIKE and take necessary real-time marketing actions is a more effective use of resources. This is especially true with social media responses being an immediate avenue to connect with audiences.

Be prepared to strike at the SPIKE– you’re likely to get better results, increase your ROI, and might just earn respect from the C-suite!


Communications Week Recap: The Role of Paid, Earned and Owned in Public Relations

October 24, 2014

By Joe Curro, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire

This past Monday, Business Wire’s New York team was proud to partner with Communications Week 2014 for our State of the Union: Living in Times of Media Disruption breakfast panel.  Attendees joined us at Thomson Reuters’ beautiful conference space overlooking Times Square to hear from an elite panel of communications professionals: Chanel Cathey (Director of Corporate Communications, Viacom), Ben Trounson (Director of North American Communications, Tata Consultancy Services), Jordan Fischler (SVP Technology and Digital Media, Allison+Partners), Nelson Freitas (Chief Strategy Officer, Wunderman), and our moderator, Steve Rubel (Chief Content Strategist, Edelman).

Panelist 1

(Panelists left to right: Chanel Cathey, Nelson Freitas, Jordan Fischler, Steve Rubel, Ben Trounson)

Built as an active and lively conversation between the participants, the event provided insight into a wide range of topics from the balance between owned, earned, and paid media, to navigating the opportunities and pitfalls of real-time communications, to the questions on the horizon that we’ll all be talking about in the coming months.

Here are a few of the insights that were shared:

Rethinking measurement?
The volume of available measurement data is overwhelming.  How do communications teams make good decisions based on the available data?  How do you decide what data is relevant?  The goal of your data collection should not be the quantity of information gathered, and decisions should not be made on numbers in a vacuum.  The data you collect may be the response to a question, but it’s not the end of the conversation.  Talk about your findings, use the data to inform how you interact with your influencers, and keep them engaged and giving their feedback.

Risks of paid content?
There is an eternal danger to relying on paid content – of damaging the trust you’ve established with your consumers – so how do brands make the most of this amplification option?  By always staying active in the communities that are discussing the brand.  Paid content, for all its dangers, allows for a greater degree of control.  The more control you have over your message, the more responsive you can be to anything unexpected.

Managing the flood of content?
Consumers are bombarded by a constant flow of content.  We have access to immeasurably more content than we’ll ever be able to consume.  So how do brands compete for valuable attention?  By being a curator of its own content, a brand can keep conversations on topic.  Engage with your audiences, and commit to creating original content of your own.

Real-time responses?
Perhaps one of the most terrifying prospects to communicators is the real-time fumble.  With great risk comes great reward, right?  But while the successes are some of the industry’s holy grails (Oreo in the dark, Arby’s and the hat, etc.), the failures can make anyone shy away from the very idea.  So what’s the answer?  Trust and an honest voice.  Traditional publications are competing with individual creators for the public’s attention, but your brand can empower its own creators with solid and responsible training, multiple voices participating, and open lines of communication between all parts of the team.

Panelist 2(Panelists left to right: Nelson Freitas, Jordan Fischler, Ben Trounson, Chanel Cathey, Steve Rubel)

As you can see from the above, the answers to the questions on communicators’ minds are increasingly interrelated – useful data leads to relevant content leads to managing your voice leads to learning from an engaged audience.  With the goal of activating and influencing audience behavior, this feedback loop supports an increasing trend towards more innovation and more connection between creators and consumers.

Ease of content creation, enhancements and new tools for targeted distribution are on the rise.  Available reaction times are falling, and smaller teams are being tasked with greater and greater responsibilities.  Each of our amazing panelists touched on solutions for the future.  The ultimate answer, as our Moderator Steve Rubel said, is making “constellations – not just putting stars in the sky, but connecting them.”  When all parts of the communications team are working together toward a clear goal, the combined whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Panelist 3(Moderator, Steve Rubel, Chief Content Strategist, Edelman)

Photo credits: Ingrid Ramos/Triangle Below Canal


Top Takeaways from Content Marketing World 2014? Creation, Marketing, Amplification

September 29, 2014

By Katie Kennedy, Business Wire Cleveland

CMI worldLast week we had the opportunity to attend Content Marketing World, hosted by Joe Pulizzi and the Content Marketing Institute. CMI  brought over 2,600 marketing professionals from around the world to Cleveland, Ohio, to discuss a topic near and dear to Business Wire’s clients: content – how to create it, how to market it and how to amplify it.  After having the time to absorb and reflect on the sessions and review my many, many pages of notes, I wanted to share a few of top takeaways from the event:

Andrew Davis, Author, Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships:  
Davis kicked off the show with an engaging keynote, “Inspired Content: How Brilliant Storytellers Create a Sudden Urge to Act,” urging marketers to rethink the marketing funnel and focus on what he calls “moments of inspiration.”

“Valuable content increases the demand for the products and services you sell,” said Davis. “If you want to own the consumer journey, create moments of inspiration. MOI leads to ROI.”

Julie Fleischer, Director, Data + Content + Media, Kraft Foods:
The theme of Fleischer’s keynote, “The ROI of Content: How Kraft Learned the True Value of Its Content and Rebuilt Its Marketing Around It,” can be summed up in three words: relentlessly pursue worthiness.

“Efficiency must be baked in. Content and data should be inexplicably linked,” said Fleischer. Kraft’s strategy focuses on maximizing the uses for any given piece of content and only producing content that they feel is worthy of the budget.

“If you won’t spend money to distribute it, then don’t do it!” Fleischer added.

Steve Rotter, Global VP of Digital Marketing Solutions, Brightcove:
Rotter shared  several very compelling statistics to stress the growing importance of using videos in your content marketing strategy in his session, “How to Drive Engagement in a World of Content Overload.”

The use of video is growing faster than any other type of content marketing because:

  • Video reduces page bounce by 12%
  • Video landing pages increase conversion rate by 75%
  • Consumers are 88% more likely to buy after watching a video product review

Rotter also reminded the audience that 70% of the time content is your first sales call. Stellar content can start the sales process before you pick up the phone or continue the conversation with prospects you’ve already touched.  So why is it that up to 70% of B2B content never gets used?

Mark Schaefer, Author, Return on Influence & The Tao of Twitter:
“We build relationships with brands just as we do with people,” said Schaefer in his session outlining “10 Reasons Twitter is Content Marketing’s Best Friend.”

To make the most of Twitter as part of your content marketing strategy, you need to be in the social media mindset and create meaningful content, make targeted connections and provide authentic helpfulness. Contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way that provides value. “Everyone can tell when you’re just trying to sell something,” said Schaefer.

  • Twitter is an ignition point. Twitter offers the fastest way to build an audience of relevant followers for your content and smart interaction on Twitter will lead people to your content.
  • Twitter is a source of content. We already know news breaks on Twitter, but it also provides a steady stream of content ideas and access to the web’s best teachers.
  • Tweets are powerful social proof on the internet. Using Twitter to build a relevant audience can ignite your content and produce rewards in the form of social validation and SEO benefits.

Beyond Storytelling

CMW embraced its overall theme and not only taught us how to harness emotion to tell a great story with content, but also focused on strategy and how content marketing can be successfully integrated into our organizations.  For more highlights and event recaps from CMW attendees:


CMW 2014 Recap: Andrew Davis on “How Brilliant Storytellers Create a Sudden Urge to Act”

September 26, 2014

By Katie Kennedy, Business Wire Cleveland

In his opening remarks, “How Brilliant Storytellers Create a Sudden Urge to Act,” Andrew Davis  kicked off day one of Content Andrew DavisMarketing World with an engaging keynote urging marketers to rethink the marketing funnel and focus on what he calls “moments of inspiration” or MOI.

What is a moment of inspiration? I’ll spare you the reenactment of his meatloaf example – which was hilarious –but in short, a moment of inspiration or MOI can be as simple thought which triggers a series of activities that at any point could lead you to a point of purchase.

So, rather than a traditional marketing funnel in which consumers start at awareness, go into a research phase and then take the action the marketer wants, Davis sees the consumer journey as a path defined as:

  1. a moment of inspiration
  2. a trigger
  3. an initial consideration set
  4. active evaluation
  5. moment of purchase

“Valuable content increases the demand for the products and services you sell,” said Davis. “If you want to own the consumer journey, create moments of inspiration.”

Davis sees this as the single biggest opportunity for content marketing and shared his secrets for creating these moments of inspiration via valuable content that inspires people to buy the ideas, products or services.

Four steps for creating content that inspires MOI:

  1. Build suspense
  2. Foster aspiration
  3. Dive empathy
  4. Harness emotion

To read more about Davis’ presentation, including additional tactics, we recommend reading this event summary:  http://bit.ly/BWatCMI2014

To learn how “MOI leads to ROI”  follow Davis on Twitter @TLPDrew or visit his website: http://www.akadrewdavis.com/


Survey says? Reporters want breaking company news and photos!

September 10, 2014

In this analysis of the 2014 Business Wire media survey, Ibrey Woodall, Business Wire’s VP of web services, takes a deeper look at the types of multimedia elements most preferred by today’s reporters.

bizwirepressreleaseprefs

Not only do we cover the 7 types of news reporters want to see in a press release, we discuss what supporting assets work the best. As we move into a more visual, interactive world, text-only press releases are becoming increasingly rare.  Reporters are using images to round out their story and if you are not providing one, your competitor may be.

bizwiremultimedia

Take a few minutes and read this CommPro.biz piece to learn which types of multimedia reporters need and why:  http://www.commpro.biz/public-relations/media-relations/media-favor-photographs-press-releases-2014-business-wire-survey-provides-journalist-feedback-todays-press-release/


The Future of Content Marketing – Interactive Content

September 8, 2014

Are you responsible for your organizations’s communications program? For explaining new company initiatives to media outlets, influencers and other key constituents? Are you looking for new ways to increase your coverage, to build better fans and to increase social conversations about your news?  Then why are you issuing plain text press releases?

Press releases jump start awareness, generate coverage, initiate conversations and more.  Whether your release is text only, or includes images and graphics, you are starting a conversation, the difference is how many impactful conversations you are generating.

bizwiremultimedia

In a recent article for CommPro.biz, Serena Ehrlich, our director of social and evolving media breaks down the latest in content and news distribution, the embeddable asset widget called the Capsule.  This single asset, shared and embedded by media outlets via a single link, provides readers on-demand access to the videos, photos, PDF forms and more they want, all while reading your coverage.

Learn how easy it is to utilize this product today:  http://www.commpro.biz/public-relations/hyperspotted-content-embeddable-widgets-meet-future-content-distribution/


Frankie Flack Explains Why Newsrooms are Using Press Releases More Than Ever

July 17, 2014

By Neil Hershberg, Sr. Vice President, Global Media, Business Wire

Not only are press releases alive and well but, according to an industry insider, their role in today’s editorial ecosystem is more important than ever. They have emerged as the “exclusive information source” for many corporate developments, most of which fail to generate independent coverage.

Frankie Flack, a pseudonym for a New York-based public relations professional, authored a column for “Talking Biz News” explaining the shifting dynamics of financial news coverage in a challenging media environment. “Talking Biz News” is a popular web site that enables business journalists to track the latest media trends, developments, and personnel moves.

You can read the article here: http://talkingbiznews.com/2/frankie-flack-why-my-press-releases-are-the-new-newswire

According to Flack, a confluence of factors have contributed to the press release’s resurgent popularity, and its de facto dominance as a primary news source.

Newsroom cutbacks have sharply curtailed the resources dedicated to breaking news other than major announcements, in Flack’s view.

Beat reporters are committed to churning out “thumb-sucker” stories focusing on Big Ideas, as opposed to the nuts-and-bolts stories that news organizations were noted for in the past.

Even the larger market-moving news services have become dependent on news releases to provide context to their headlines, often in the absence of insights from analysts and academics who were relied on for perspective in the past. According to Flack, press releases enable issuers to “control the narrative.”

Flack also cites the ubiquity of press releases on the web, pointing to such popular sites as Yahoo! where releases far out number wire stories.

The middling stories that represented the bulk of a news service’s daily output have all but disappeared, Flack notes, making press releases the “exclusive information source” for most corporate events. In the absence of coverage of record, press releases have become the default archive that investors, journalists, consumers, and others will rely on in the future.

Clearly, press releases are more vital than ever, playing an ever more robust role in determining the daily news agenda, and influencing user consumption.


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