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.


Tips, tricks and advice for today’s PR, IR and Marketing Professionals

October 19, 2013

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social & Evolving Media

What a week!  There were so many great news pieces, platform changes, tips and more that we had to commit an entire blog to sharing them with you.

Below please find this week’s top stories for public relations, corporate communications, investor relations and marketing communication professionals.

Social Platform + Search Engine Updates

Media + Research

Tips, Tricks and Best Practices

Did you find this list useful?  Did we miss anything?  If so, please share below, we are always looking for compelling information we can share with our audience!


How Much Does It Cost To Write A Press Release *Now*?

June 13, 2013
By Fred Godlash, Marketing Specialist, Business Wire /Los Angeles

Fred Godlash

Fred Godlash, Marketing Specialist

Many visitors reach our blog by searching Google for “How much does it cost to write a press release?” which leads them to a 2007 blog post by former Business Wire VP Monika
Maeckle. In the six years since that post, we have heard from PR professionals that have voiced many concerns not just about the cost of writing a release, but how to justify the relevancy of press releases in the age of social media. We decided to revisit the question, using an analytical approach.

So How Much Does it Cost to Write a Press Release?

According to Maeckle, the 2007 price tag for producing a press release was $5000, including hiring staff, research, and any legal costs associated with regulatory compliance. If we establish a baseline of 100 hours of collective work, utilizing any resources needed to collect data, get advice of counsel, and write the release, this will give an average wage that can be used to find the cost of the 2013 release. Note that every person that commented on the 2007 blog stated that a press release can be produced for much less ,and we agree,  but it’s fair to say that in 2007, an effective press release could have cost up to $5000.

Before making a fair assessment for 2013, we need to talk about the changes for putting a press release out today. The biggest change, in just 6 years, is the focus from pitching to media outlets to making a press release that is written for everybody. In today’s world the press release may be picked up by anyone that will write about your company – not just traditional media outlets, but bloggers, consumer groups, advocacy groups, social media users and more. Today the relevancy of the content to your target audiences is more important than any other criteria hence the adage “Content is King.”  The press release therefore needs to have value to users to get the benefit of people sharing the information.

The SEO benefits traditionally obtained from a press release have also changed significantly. In 2007 SEO professionals distributed press releases for inbound link value and the conversion benefits that existed if a major outlet was to pick up the story. Today, in the wake of Penguin 2.0 and other Google algorithm changes, SEO professionals understand Google’s algorithms value natural language and strong informational content in the release that can be shared with plenty of social signals with built-in value to users. Even for search engines it is clear that sharing is now an important aspect of the release.

The press release has turned from a content delivery system targeting news outlets into a stand-alone news channel for all organizations, made to share content with the world.

Cost of Press Release Chart

So, Seriously, How Much Does it Cost To Write a Press Release?

If the press release produced in 2007 took 100 hours to produce, it is fair to say the 2013 release will take longer through adding multimedia content including video, infographics, and social interaction. Comparing apples to apples, the release would need to include any available resources to make it as competitive as possible today. Hiring staff for keyword optimization, content creation, research, analytics, multimedia, embed codes for tracking, and legal fees for regulatory compliance, it’s fair to say a press release could take an additional 50 hours to produce. Assuming a median rate of $50 per hour, and 150 total hours of collective work, the cost to write a press release today would be $7,500. Once again, obviously it depends on the release but the company is still making a significant investment.

Is it Still Worth it?

We sure think so. In Monica’s 2007 post, she credits the press release as “One of the most effective communication tools on the planet.” In contrast, Tom Foremski wrote in his blog titled Die! Press Release! Die! Die! Die! : “Press releases are nearly useless. They typically start with a tremendous amount of top-spin, they contain pat-on-the-back phrases and meaningless quotes.… This madness has to end. It is wasted time and effort by hundreds of thousands of professionals.”

Wasted Effort? According to research presented in a white paper by Business Wire’s Laura Sturaitis and SEO-PR’s Greg Jarboe, a study conducted by SEO-PR in 2011 analyzed a series of press release campaigns by Rutgers Center for Management Development. In the study, the links within press releases were embedded with Google tracking codes and the press releases were sent out over Business Wire’s distribution network. Business Wire’s NewsTrak reports were used for tracking link clicks, and Google Analytics for tracking conversions.

The results were staggering. According to the research, “10 press releases in the campaign had generated a total of 570 visits and 44 leads, Google Analytics reported that tagged links had generated 1,139 visits and had a goal conversion rate of 6.76% (77 leads). Two sources had generated an additional 569 visits and 33 leads.” Those leads resulted in measurable revenue that far exceeded the cost of writing and distributing the releases. One may as well ask, “How much does it cost not to write a press release?”

At the end of the day if your company decides to spend $7,500 or $750 on a soup-to-nuts press release the results may vary but one thing has not changed – it is still about getting your message out to properly targeted audiences, measuring results and adjusting strategies.


Are You Naming Your Multimedia Files Appropriately?

November 29, 2012
by Phil Dennison, Senior Marketing Specialist

Yesterday, I saw a lot of people sharing this article from Inc. magazine’s “Kickass Social Media Strategy” blog: The Perfectly Optimized Press Release. It offers a lot of useful tips — some of them of the same type we’ve been offering on our blog and our website for a while — but there was one in particular I wanted to bring attention to.

3. Take advantage of multimedia attachments.

Press releases with multimedia typically have higher click-through rates. So, if your wire service allows multimedia attachments such as videos or pdf files then be sure to take advantage of this extended functionality. Here’s a little known trick: don’t forget to optimize the filenames and titles of your multimedia attachments to your press release. This will boost the press release’s SEO power. Again, use keywords and phrases that are relevant to the press release only.

This is a tip that can’t be stressed enough, and it doesn’t just refer to photo captions (which should definitely also include your keywords for optimum SEO).

The file names for your online photos, videos and PDFs are indexed by search engines just as the text of your press release is. By naming those files appropriately, using keywords and coordinating with your overall strategy, you increase your opportunity for being found by web users. And having an appropriate photo or video come up in search results, especially since high-ranking multimedia results appear on the first page, carries a great deal of power – it’s content that can be viewed and consumed nearly instantly, attached to your brand and your marketing strategy.

Although most PR and marketing people are pretty savvy about this strategy now, we still occasionally see multimedia files that have descriptive names but not any of the releases keywords; or worse, generic file names like “DSC_200.jpg.” Make sure that every element of your release – text, logos, photos, videos, etc. — is helping to achieve your SEO and marketing strategies.

If you have questions about naming your multimedia files, or how best to distribute your multimedia press release, contact your local Business Wire account executive, or call our Photo Desk at 800.221.2462.


Multimedia Continues to Drive Press Release Views – Now More than Ever!

April 23, 2012
by Sandy Malloy, Senior Information Specialist, Business Wire

Sandy Malloy, Senior Information Specialist

Facebook buys Instagram.  Experian Hitwise reports that Pinterest is now the #3 social site on the Web.  More than ever, the adage “show, don’t tell” applies to communications and communicators.

Adding multimedia to a press release tends to increase the number of online release views.  When I looked at a list of the most-viewed releases of the second half of 2011 to see how many were multimedia-enriched, I found some pretty startling numbers.

Of the top 500 English-language releases, about 75% had one or more photos or videos.  Out of all the English language releases that Business Wire distributes, only 5% include multimedia.   In other words, 5% of all our English language releases accounted for 75% of the 500 most-viewed releases in the last 6 months of last year.

We can’t really say that your release is 75% more likely to be viewed if you include photos or videos, or that it will receive 75% more views.  Nevertheless, it seems pretty clear to me that adding multimedia does help drive release views.

Consider the releases on the most-popular list that ran without multimedia:

  • Google to Acquire Motorola Mobility
  • Announcements from several huge pharmaceutical companies on the results of clinical trials or strategic initiatives
  • Major acquisitions and joint ventures involving public and/or well-known companies
  • One of the major video game manufacturers announcing a price drop

That the Google announcement was hugely popular was no surprise.  News from very large public companies is of inherent interest to the media and markets.  Acqusitions are almost always big news because of investor interest and because they can affect an entire industry.  Video game news, with or without multimedia, tends to be noticed.

Meanwhile, the variety of photos and videos that ran with the Top 500 releases was wide-ranging.  Some examples:

  • A river cleanup
  • A photo of sauces and condiments
  • Photos of existing DRAM technology and an innovative variation
  • Photos of the principals of 2 merging companies
  • A benchmarking study (graphic)
  • Pictures and/or video of contest winners
  • Ringing of the Opening Bell at the NYSE

What is clear to me from this list is that the potential for finding visuals to accompany–or to tell–a story is vast.

A release can be very technical but illustrated with a photo that its equally technical audience will appreciate.  The media do appreciate photos of people, and not just for personnel announcements.  (If those people are celebrities, so much the better, but it’s not a requirement.  Newspapers and business journals love to use photos of locals.)   Charts and graphs can be compelling.  Finally, there are some stories that seem to beg for photos or videos.  Among these are any releases announcing eye-catching new products; corporate social responsibility releases (show the river that’s being cleaned up, the electric car charging stations, the participants in the 10K run);and releases announcing corporate milestones.

Besides the potential bump in viewership,  using multimedia in conjunction with a good story can increase the chances a story will be used by broadcast media.  Broadcast monitoring service and Business Wire partner Critical Mention reported in one of their newsletters that the Yelp’s IPO announcement resulted in 395 hits on U.S. television stations; and these are over-the-air broadcasts, not postings on broadcast websites.  The story was a big one, of course, but the accompanying images were really colorful and exciting.  As Critical Mention described it, the release (what Business Wire calls a Smart News Release) was “loaded with newsy images and video.”

Besides the benefits of attracting attention to your release and giving journalists more reason to cover your news, there is at least one other benefit to using multimedia:  Your news can live longer.  I have seen many instances of photos being used months or even years after they originally ran.  An especially good photo of people or companies in the news can be used more than once, as in this example of Business Wire’s CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz shown with Warren Buffett in a 9/30/11 photo illustrating a 2/6/12 story.

Granted, being affiliated with Warren Buffett is an advantage when it comes to gaining attention.  But even companies that don’t have this advantage can still give their stories greater appeal, and “legs”, by supplementing them with multimedia.


80% of Press Release Headlines Too Long for Google, According to New Study

February 14, 2012

by Amy Yen, Marketing Specialist, Business Wire Dallas

Are you optimizing your press release headlines? For the second straight year, our friends at Schwartz MSL Research Group have put together a study on the SEO of press release headlines using data from Business Wire releases. As we’ve previously noted, Google only displays roughly 65 characters in their search results and therefore releases with headlines 70 characters or under are best optimized for SEO.

For this year’s study, Schwartz looked at the headlines of more than 16,000 Business Wire press releases from 2011. Of those, only 19.5% of all releases had headlines with 65 characters or fewer and just 23.7% were at 70 characters or fewer. This suggests that the great majority of press releases do not have headlines fully optimized for search.

The average headline length is 123 characters, which is the same as last year’s results. The study also looked at buzzword usage and completed a geographic headline face-off to determine which cities hosted the SEO-savviest press release headline writers. You can download the full report here.

Check out more press release optimization tips here. You can also read up on why your press releases might not make it into Google News.


PR Peeps Poll: More than Half Say Twitter More Effective as Broadcast Tool Today than A Year Ago

November 8, 2011

by Monika Maeckle, Vice President New Media

In the wake of 250 million tweets per day, professional communicators continue to embrace Twitter with 55 % of those polled citing it as “more effective” than it was a year ago for messaging, a recent PR Peeps Poll found.

Of 161 public relations professionals who responded to our survey, 88, or 55%, found Twitter “more effective” as a communications/broadcast messaging tool than it was 12 months ago;  65, or 40%, found it “less effective.”

Twitter as a search tool seemed less improved in the past 12 months.  Almost half of communicators labeled it “about the same” in its effectiveness for search compared to last year, while a third (33%) said it was “more effective.”

Interestingly,  communicators are 3.5 times as likely to use Twitter primarily for messaging as they do for search–125, or 78% vs. 36, or 22%.  Details below.

Compared to a year ago, how effective is Twitter as a communications/broadcast messaging tool for you?

More effective     88, or 65%
Less effective       6, or 4%

Same                       65, or 41%

More effective     53, or 33%
Less effective      34, or 21%
Same                        74,   or 46%

As messaging tool     125, or 78%
As search tool                 36, or 22%

How else do communicators utilize Twitter?  Survey comments included PR professionals lauding the real time info network’s myriad abilities, including:  “creating connections with target audiences,” “efficient information gathering,” “as a pitch tool” and “shameless self promotion!”

We’ve executed several PR Peeps polls on Twitter, if you’re interested:  What’s your company’s favorite tool for social media outreach?, and Do you tweet the links to your press releases?

To those who participated, thank you for responding to our PR Peeps Poll.   If you’re not already, why not follow us on Twitter?  We are @businesswire.

161 respondents via Twitter, email and Business Wire webinar polls. Poll conducted conducted September – October 2011.


PRSAIcon 2011 Recap: Eight Key Takeaways, From Storytelling to Link Tracking

October 19, 2011

by Amy Yen, Marketing Specialist, Business Wire Los Angeles

Business Wire at PRSAIcon 2011This week, Business Wire was once again a proud sponsor and exhibitor at the 2011 PRSA International Conference, aka #PRSAIcon. Our conference team had a great time meeting so many of our amazing clients in person and learning the latest about the always changing PR industry. We tweeted updates on our @businesswire feed throughout the conference of interesting lessons from many of the keynotes and sessions. Here are eight key takeaways:

  1. PR is about storytelling. It was only appropriate in Orlando, home to the most magical place on earth, that the unofficial theme of the conference was storytelling. Opening keynote speaker Soledad O’Brien of CNN talked about storytelling being more than a statistic. You have to find the character behind the statistic & tell the story with their passion. The closing keynote speaker, Joe Rohde from Disney, talked about compelling stories coming from the interruptions in expected patterns. “We don’t have time for things we think we already know.”
  2. Video and visuals make for compelling storytelling. YouTube is the number two search engine in the world behind Google. Video makes for great content and is not as expensive as it’s perceived to be. (After all, every phone is a camera.) It’s also a good idea to get your executives on video talking about your brand . . . it helps qualify them as spokespeople for journalists.
  3. Customer service is the new black. Like it or not, part of PR is now customer service. In fact, thanks to social media, PR people are often the first to hear about the problems. There is still a level of awe right now if you just reply when your customers try to talk to you.
  4. Media training is not just a C-suite sport anymore. Keynote speaker Chris Brogan talked about how everyone is on some kind of media these days, so everyone should be trained. Soledad O’Brien discussed media training from a journalist’s perspective, saying passion and emotion can’t be trained. Ultimately, what people relate to is the authenticity and passion behind the messaging points.
  5. You can’t ignore Google+. Chris Brogan pointed out that you have to care about Google+, if only because it’s the only social network currently being indexed on the top two search engines in the world. Every PR professional should at least be conversational about it. Additionally, Google+ profiles can help with personal online presence since it ranks so highly on Google. Optimize your title and introduction and include links to all your other sites and networks, as those appear in your search results.
  6. Empower your employees on social media. If you’re terrified to give control to others in your organization, you will not be successful in social media. Train them and have a social media policy so you can be. Your policy should be short and understandable without legal assistance and should be in every new hire’s packet when they start.
  7. If it can be searched for, it can be optimized. Keyword optimize your blog posts, landing pages, press releases, online newsrooms, multimedia and social content. In press releases, optimize in the headline and subhead, include links and a call-to-action. For photos and other multimedia, optimize the file name of the file you are uploading, include alt text and captions.
  8. We are all fighting for budgets. PR should get credit for the leads it generates. Set goals before your campaign so you can track conversions with tools like Google Analytics. Track traffic with tools like Google URL builder, which tags your URLs so you know where your link clicks are coming from (press release versus AdWords versus Facebook ads, etc).

At the conference, we also announced our new partnership with Critical Mention, which will provide clients with access to Critical Mention’s real-time television and radio monitoring platform. As an introductory promotion, Business Wire clients who subscribe with Critical Mention for 2012 will receive the remainder of 2011 at no charge.

We’d also like to congratulate Elizabeth Rowland at Strat-igence, who was the winner of our iPad Giveaway. And thanks again to PRSA, the speakers and all the attendees for a great conference!


PR Peeps Poll: Press Release Views are Most Valued Press Release Metric

June 21, 2011

by Monika Maeckle, Vice President, New Media

Seeing is believing, apparently, when it comes to press release metrics.   According to our most recent PR Peeps Poll, communications professionals believe press release views are the most valued metric in judging a press release.

Of 179 polled, almost 53% (94)  cited release views as most important.   Hyperlink clicks rated second in importance with 16% of the vote (29).  Traffic driven garnered 12% of the votes cast (21) while times shared took 11% (19) and headline impressions 9% (16).

 With all the talk of the importance of social media sharing and engagement, we were slightly surprised by the findings.  Counting press release views is an older concept and online marketers continue to explore the intersections of  visibility and influence.   We figure influence must start somewhere–like having your carefully crafted messages being seen in the first place.Here’s the details:

Which press release metric do you most value?

  • 94, or 52%      Release views
  • 29, or 16%      Hyperlink clicks
  • 21, or 12%      Traffic driven
  • 19, or 11%       Times shared
  • 16, or  9%        Headline impressions

To those who participated, thank you for voting.  How about helping us out with our next PR Peeps Poll on minding your mobile manners:  What’s your digital etiquette pet peeve?  Please let us know and thank you.

 179 respondents via Twitter, email and Business Wire webinar polls. Poll conducted  conducted May –  June 10 2011.

PR Peeps Poll: Two-thirds say Press Releases Play Significant Role in Branding

May 25, 2011

 

by Monika Maeckle, Vice President, New Media

As branding and SEO continue their convergence, two-thirds of those responding to a recent PR Peeps poll said that press releases play a “significant role” in their branding efforts.

Out of 228 polled, 66% categorized the role press releases play in their branding efforts as “significant.”  Twenty-five percent said press releases play a “minor” role in branding efforts, while 9% said they don’t use press releases in branding efforts.

PR Peeps Poll:  How do press releases fit into your branding efforts?

“Press releases are part of an overall strategy for my company and customers,” noted one PR pro in the comments section of the survey.   “Brand positioning plays and should play a major role not only in press releases, but also in any piece of info or PR writing [that comes] out of the organization,” said another respondent.

Judging from these results, one could argue that press releases belong in the marketing department–in addition to communications, of course.

Here’s the findings:

    • 150, or 66%    Press Releases play a significant role
    • 57,  or 25%     Press releases play a minor role
    • 21, or 9%          Don’t use press relases for branding

To all those who participated, thank you very much!  How about helping us out with our next PR Peeps Poll:  Which press release metric do you most value?

228 respondents via Twitter, email and Business Wire webinar polls. Poll conducted  conducted April – May 2011.


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