How to Measure the ROI or Impact of a Press Release in 2014

May 8, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media

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.

Defining ROI: ROI is simply one’s return on investment or the overall cost of the creation and distribution of your press release vs the financial impact of this outreach within the company’s goals.

How Press Releases Align to the Marketing Funnel

How Press Releases Align to the Marketing Funnel

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?

The Path of the Press Release

The Path of the Press Release

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.

visual world

  • 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.

Picture2

Coverage: 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.

Visibility: 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?

Geo-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!

Social Shares: 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.

Inbound Traffic: 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?


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!


BW Miami: PR in 2014: How Social, WOM and More Fit Into Your PR Program

April 21, 2014

By Julia Sotelo, Business Wire Client Services Representative for Florida and Latin America

What was the recurring theme for this event? CHANGE! Human behavior, search, social media, media and coverage have all changed.  As communicators, to stay relevant in the business world we must adapt to these changes. These adaptations were the focus of a luncheon discussion on Thursday, April 10, 2014 in Coral Gables, FL, at the University of Miami’s Newman Alumni Center, hosted by Business Wire. Here, over 85 PR professionals gathered to listen to our very own Director of Social and Evolving Media, Serena Ehrlich (@Serena shared her expert opinion and tips on how to implement these changes head-on in today’s communications landscape.

UM Sebastian with Business Wire Miami Team & Serena Ehrlich#BWChat is also the official hashtag (and heavily promoted) for BW events.  We were very happy to see the clever tweets and pictures shared throughout the event. Make sure to check out our published Storify with all the tweets.

Now for the moment you were waiting for, here are the key facts and tips Serena provided  Miami/South Florida’s leading communicators: Search Has Changed (The Google Zoo: Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird)

  • Effective as of October, only 1-2 copies of your release will show up in search results
  • Google changed search because they were losing market share due to searchers not getting what they wanted
  • NO newswire is immune to this change
  • The only way to increase SEO of news releases now is to include a photo
  • Rejoice! SEO is now off your back.

Social Media Has Changed

  • Every single major social network is showcasing news articles, reputable content and multimedia, perfect for PR
  • Tweets that include a photo or video receive 3 to 4x higher engagement
  • Tweets including multimedia uploaded via Twitter receive 150% more RTs
  • Facebook photos receive 53% more Likes, 104% more comments and 84% more CTRs on links
  • Facebook shares your updates based on the assets your audiences likes best. Meaning if you are not a video person (FYI, 63% of the world are video watchers) then FB will not populate many, if any, videos on your News Feed.
  •  Tip: Post a video, then post a link, and, finally, just post a photo and see which posting gets more engagement
  • LinkedIn is top B2B platform
  • 33% of YouTube searches are news related
  • Pinterest boasts a high CTR

 Media Has Changed

  • The Role of the Press Release
  •  Releases can increase: Awareness, Discovery, Brand Reputation, Message Adoption, Conversations, Inbound Traffic, Intent and Conversions
  • Releases do not: Act as a stand-alone sales tool , replace customer service, be text only, go viral, work in a vacuum and work without support
  • Journalists are held to three core metrics:  inbound traffic, social shares, time on site
  • Tip: Socially share out any coverage you receive to help reach these metrics
  • Tip:  Video is the perfect access to increase time on site
  • Many adults are now getting their news from social media networks

 Multimedia is the #1 way to increase press release ROI

  • Releases with images or videos get 3x more engagement and impressions than plain text news
  • Humans process visuals 60,000x faster than text.
  • 1 minutes of video = 1.8 million words
  • Photographs do not need to be translated

Press release tips!

  • Write for your highly targeted audience
  • Post a blog answering all the questions your release will generate to ensure message adoption
  • Photos and videos are no longer optional when looking for coverage
  • Use Google Tools!
  • Search bar – helps determine key phrases used most by searchers
  • Use URL trackers to track actions taken by readers on your website
  • Drive social sharing with Click to Tweet
  • Hashtags should be specific (use hashtag.org to see volume)

Whether you’re a communications, marketing or PR novice or seasoned professional, keeping up with the latest news and trends is a must. Business Wire works hard to share relevant information and keep clients informed. To keep up to date on all the changes that affect your press release ROI, sign up to read our the Business Wire Newsroom and read the BusinessWired Blog. Like this post?  Click on this link to tweet it out: http://ctt.ec/Ib6Og


Increasing Tweets of Your Press Release: ClickToTweet 101

February 17, 2014

By Julie Nastri, Business Wire

It is common knowledge in the media industry that there’s a science behind effective use of Twitter.  From organically growing quality followers, to devising a salient tweet, or selecting the appropriate tool to manage Twitter presence, almost every decision one makes is based on data. While it’s true that keeping abreast of the dynamic Twittersphere can sometimes be daunting, there are free Twitter tools, such as  ClickToTweet, that eliminate some of the drudgery from bolstering Twitter presence and publicizing content.

In a nutshell
ClickToTweet can be accessed through its website or by downloading a browser plug-in. Users visit the site, create a custom tweet, and the site generates an embeddable link which users then share by including it in press releases or blog copy. When a reader clicks on the ClickToTweet link, they are taken to a pre-populated Twitter status update and prompted to tweet it. Voila! ClickToTweet ramps up tweetability without requiring much effort from either side. By prepopulating the tweet, ClickToTweet decreases the barrier to entry, making sharing quick and easy.

Step-by-step
Creating a ClickToTweet link is as easy as sending one out. Access ClickToTweet by visiting www.clicktotweet.com. The first thing visitors to the site will see is the following 3-step guide:

Although these steps are pretty clear, there are a few important points for both newbies and seasoned tweeters to keep in mind.

Make the most of your content.
Let’s say the content you’d like to share is a press release about an upcoming conference presentation. You’ve already created a compelling press release announcing the event and relaying the specifics.  Now, it’s time to decide what you’d like to ask your audience to “click to tweet.”  When crafting your tweet, think of it much like a (tasteful) one liner. Concise, yet catchy. This is your chance to pique public interest in your topic and to lead interested parties back to your press release, promoting the event and your company or brand. And, if you’re on top of your game and your news is compelling and relevant to them, they’ll also tweet your ClickToTweet link, thereby calling their followers to check out—and possibly share—your content. This kicks off an entire sharing cycle, with each influencer driving their  followers into and through your marketing and sales funnel.

Not sure what to feature in your tweet? First determine who your audience is – the average press release contains elements relevant to each buyer persona. Distributing tweets customized by readers is a great way to kick off social sharing. In addition, consider the potential highlights of your press release. Is there a new product being released that’s been getting a lot of buzz? Is a major personnel announcement expected? Is the company rebranding? These are details you can feature to hook followers. Multiple ClickToTweet links may be included in a press release, allowing readers to share each compelling bullet point, but be careful not to overdo it. Although two or three are ok, remember that just one ClickToTweet link has the potential to start a promising chain reaction, if well formulated. Think quality.

Draft the ClickToTweet link

  • Try to come up with something more compelling than the press release headline. This will ensure the best success (retweets and link clicks) of your tweet.
  • Include a link to the release itself, as well as any relevant hashtags.
  • Remember that Twitter has a 140-character limit. Maximize your Twitter real estate by using a URL shortener like bitly.com to shorten the link to your blog or press release.  (ClickToTweet will automatically shorten links, but this can get messy if the URL and tweet are close to 140 characters before you even begin.)
  • Leave room (20-30 characters) for retweeters to add their own comments.
  • Mention your twitter handle so that you can track your retweets. However, avoid beginning your tweet with the @ symbol, as it will limit visibility.
  • When embedding the ClickToTweet link in your press release, be strategic. Make it stand out, but keep it near relevant content. You can change the anchor text so that its message is something other than “ClickToTweet”… but coming up with something better may prove to be more challenging than expected.

Enjoy the perks.
After drafting and embedding your link in your final press release, blog post, or email, sit back and leave the rest of the work up to your audience. Watch as the retweets keep your Twitter feed active and use the analytic tools on the ClickToTweet website to track and map click activity. Remember:  Content can only be so effective without successful, strategic integration with the right combo of social media presence and tools.

* Basic links are free and unlimited, but tracking and stats are not provided. Users are also allowed a limited number of free, trackable links, but after that, they must either pay to upgrade, or delete old links to make room for new links (and therefore lose all their tracking information and stats).


How to Increase your PR Horse Power for the Lunar New Year

January 31, 2014

Turn your press release into a charging warhorse

By Joanne Ngo and Alex Howard, Business Wire

January 31, 2014 is the first day of the Lunar New Year, the most celebrated holiday in China, Vietnam and other parts of Asia. It is a celebration honoring new life. It is a highly anticipated holiday full of firecrackers, dragon dances, temple visits, lucky red envelopes and family gatherings.

One of the ways the horse serves human beings is to give people a ride to their destination. Therefore, the horse is not only a symbol of travel, but also a sign of speedy success.

One of the ways the horse serves human beings is to give people a ride to their destination. Therefore, the horse is not only a symbol of travel, but also a sign of speedy success.

This year is the year of the horse. The horse is one of the favorite animals in the Chinese zodiac, and is closely linked to people’s lives because of its ability to quickly transport people and things. In China, the Red Hare was the celebrated warhorse of Lü Bu, the ancient Chinese general and warlord. According to legend, the Red Hare had a reputation of being the horse that could travel hundreds of miles a day, climb mountains as if they were flat land, cross rivers and much more. As we at Business Wire prepared for the Lunar New Year, it occurred to us that the mystical Red Hare is much like today’s modern press release. The horse, for example, is a symbol of:

  • Strength: Like the horse, a press release is a pack animal, capable of carrying loads of information to your audience.
  • Efficiency: Similar to how a horse helps you work more efficiently, your press release when distributed via Business Wire, helps you efficiently deliver a message packed with content that your readers and media want to read, report on and share.
  • Speed: Comparable to a galloping horse, news shared via Business Wire travels around the globe, quickly, easily and effortlessly.

Our thoughts of Lü Bu’s many military victories got us thinking of Lü Bu atop his magnificent steed, charging into battle. As in war, where one would never send a horse out to battle without armor, the same goes for your press release. To protect your brand, product and message, outfit your press release properly – utilize clear, relevant writing, multimedia, social media calls to action, and hyperlinks. A warhorse cannot fight an army without armor, and neither can your news.

Train your Release Prior to Battle: Make it Clear and Relevant

One of the most important ways to prepare your news to battle today’s content clutter is to make sure your release is clear and relevant. A well written, highly targeted press release sparks conversation and interaction and guides journalists and other interested readers to your news. Today, this is more important than ever thanks to Google’s recent algorithm changes. Google no longer places emphasis on individual keywords placed in copy, but instead helps users find your news via natural search phrases.

Outfit Your Release for Battle

Once you have a beautifully crafted, relevant story, you need to arm it for battle. In 2011, Skyword’s research discovered that news articles with images received 94% more views than news articles without imagery. In 2013 the award winning study conducted by SEO-PR and Business Wire, the press release that included video had 55% more views than the one without it. In 2014, multimedia is a required element to any article or story. Visuals quickly capture the attention of today’s fast-paced, mobile-crazy audience. They also help illustrate a very technical or lengthy press release, support new product launches and paint a clear vivid picture of your story. This imagery will help your press release defeat the clutter and reach your target audiences faster and more effectively.

The Charge

In war, the battle cry can unify the corps and intimidate your opponents, so give you news the final advantage with a battle cry. One of the best ways to increase the impact of your press release is to initiate social sharing. Including a sharing call to action, such as including a Click to Tweet, allows readers and brand fans to tweet your news, your battle cry.

After the fighting is over, the warrior leads the Red Hare home. Just as the warrior leads his horse home, so must you lead your readers. Include relevant, natural links within your press release to help interested parties continue their journey to learn more about your business. For best usage of your links, limit them to an average of one link per 100 words.

Winning the Battle, Winning the War

Just as the Red Hare served the warrior in times of need, so will your press release serve you. When crafted properly, and outfitted with its armor of multimedia, this piece of content will cut through the clutter and deliver your news, your company story to all corners of the world.

 


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!


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