Don’t Eclipse Your News During the Lunar New Year – Why Sending News to China During the Spring Festival is a Bad Idea

February 18, 2015

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By Matt Allinson, Media Relations Manager – International Markets

China’s Lunar New Year is nigh (February 19), but the travel frenzy known as Chunyun (a 40-day period surrounding the Spring Festival) is well underway. It is a migration unlike any other, with an estimated 2.8 billion passenger trips undertaken between February 4 and March 15. Millions upon millions of people will be hurrying home to reunite with family and enjoy the holiday. It is said to be the largest annual migration in the world.

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Chunyun travel in progress

With so many people concentrating on getting from one place to another, it stands to reason that not a lot of business gets done in the People’s Republic of China during this time of celebration. It also stands to reason that sending out a news release around the holiday is not a wise move – unless, of course, you’d rather people not see your news.

Shaun Bowers Interfax ChinaI had the opportunity to speak more about this with Shaun Bowers (pictured left), the Managing Director of Interfax News Services in China. He was kind enough to answer some questions I had, as well as some questions that are often put to me.

Q: Can you describe the impact Spring Festival travel has on not only the news distribution business, but all business in China?

A: It (business) almost stops. Family is at the very center of Chinese culture and this is the time of the year that workers all across China return to their home province to visit family. Often, it is the only time they will see their family during the entire year.

Starting in January, factories will stop taking orders because of the holiday and will be rushing to fill orders they have in hand. The distance workers have to travel means journeys can take days, so often workers will start traveling two weeks early … and it’s not uncommon for a factory to close for an entire month. So for most businesses, it is a quiet period … unless you are a food vendor near a train station or a retail clothing store (it is traditional to buy new clothes for the Spring Festival).

Q: A question I have received in the past is: Don’t the Chinese have the most cell phones (per capita) in the world? Wouldn’t they still be absorbing news on their devices during the holiday?

A: Perhaps you should ask them if they sit around the Thanksgiving dinner table and read the news. The Spring Festival is a time for celebration – the whole of China is on holiday and people are focused on fun and seeing old friends.

Q: To which western holiday would you compare the Lunar New Year? Or is there such a comparison?

A: It’s hard to compare … for Europe it would be Christmas, and for the U.S. I would say it’s like Thanksgiving … at Thanksgiving, people will do anything to get home. The U.S. has 330 million people and I’m sure readers can relate to what a nightmare travel can be during Thanksgiving. Now imagine adding another 900 million people, and you get a sense of what it’s like.

Q: What have been your personal observations and experiences with the Lunar New Year? Any crazy travel stories?

A: My wife’s family is from Hong Kong so we don’t have to travel, but it’s quite normal for us to sit down to dinner with 67 immediate family members … some of whom have traveled from all corners of the world. There is a saying in Hong Kong: “Don’t go on holiday as everyone you know will be on holiday, so stay in Hong Kong and enjoy the peace and quiet.”

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According to Shaun, it’s not that people in China don’t read news during the holiday; it’s just not a top priority. Chinese New Year is the one time of year when all workers can return home and, in essence, MUST return home. It is important for them to do so and it is expected that they will return with gifts for the whole family. And in the end, what’s more important: being present with family or reading up on news about listed companies?

Shaun’s advice, and mine, is to hold off on sending any news to China between the 18th and 24th of February.

And I will take this opportunity to remind you that it’s a best practice to always make sure the country to which you’re trying to send news is not on a holiday.  A quick check of timeanddate.com, bankholidays.com, officeholidays.com, or any similar site can save you time, resources and headaches when sending news internationally.

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Applying 8 Modern Day Dating “Rules” to Public Relations

February 14, 2015

By Serena Ehrlich, Director, Social + Evolving Media, Business Wire

https://openclipart.org/detail/192604/heartbleed-patch-needed-by-rejon-192604As Valentine’s Day approaches, we turned our thoughts to how news distribution actually resembles dating. In this piece from today’s PR Daily, Hannah Kelly from Business Wire Paris looks at eight modern dating “rules” and how they apply to news releases.

Click here to read Hannah’s 8 rules of dating and how they apply to PR in 2015:  http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/Applying_8_modern_dating_rules_to_PR_18105.aspx


Clickbait vs. News Releases: How the News Release Perseveres in a Clickbait World

February 12, 2015

By Hannah Kelly, Editor, Business Wire Paris

Clickbait is the term used to describe web content that uses sensationalist headlines in order to generate click-throughs, and often goes hand-in-hand with a lack of quality or accuracy. Clickbait manipulates the “curiosity gap,” enticing readers with an “unpredictable” story through an intriguing title that does not match the resulting story.

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It’s become a topical subject of late, with Ben Smith, Buzzfeed’s Editor-in-Chief announcing in November that “Buzzfeed Doesn’t Do Clickbait”, and the creation of The Onion’s satirical website, clickhole.com, almost a year ago. Readers are becoming increasingly exasperated by misleading titles and anticlimactic articles, and a backlash movement has been created. This lead to events such as Facebook declaring that it was taking measures to remove clickbait from the platform and the creation of the ingenious Twitter account @SavedYouAClick, which currently has over 187,000 followers.

So it seems the internet’s largest content creators have decided: clickbait is over.

But if this is true, why do news releases still work? Why is it, in this world of short attention spans and long titles, the news release still catches the attention of media, consumers, analysts, decision makers and more?

Simple. It’s trustworthy.

  • A news release headline will always tell you exactly what you’re about to read. Be it “Company’s Earnings up by 7%” or “Company Nominates Person as New Vice-President,” there are no surprises. The essential information is presented straight away, and the article will contain a more detailed explanation.
  • A news release will include contacts. Want to query something? Find out more information? Discuss an event? At Business Wire, the inclusion of a valid contact (verified by our team) is non-negotiable. This allows the reader, whether they are an analyst or a future customer, direct access to the right person within the company.
  • It provides additional context and content. In past years, PR professionals would have to plea to media outlets to include a link back to their company’s website. However, this is rapidly changing.  More often we now see reporters linking back to a client’s news release within their articles.  This new step allows the readers to read the factual news from the company, while they present their view within their article.
  • Arguably the most important aspect of all – publisher credibility. News releases are the origination point for any story. Reporters utilize this as source data, the raw data they need to tell a story.

So the news release lives on, victorious in its integrity and straightforwardness – and Business Wire can help you to be a part of the reputable news release collective.  Because after all, honesty is the best policy.

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Three Reasons Why PR Professionals Rely On Newswires

February 9, 2015

By Billy Russell, Business Wire Phoenix

Corporate communications have never been more important.  In an internet era where a wealth of knowledge is available at anyone’s fingertips, consumers now have an unprecedented ability to see an entire corporate history unfold before them.  Whether a company is publicly traded or private, it is crucial to a company’s current and longterm success that they communicate initiatives, product rollouts and personnel announcements to the public.  A press release is the tried-and-true surefire method of encapsulating an important, newsworthy event with a cohesive narrative. Once it is written, what happens next?

With so many options available, the task of actually releasing the press release can be daunting.  There are many methods for press release distribution including email blasts and direct pitching to established or discovered contacts at media publications, but for the broadest audience reach possible for your company’s content and breaking news, a commercial newswire like Business Wire is the most effective tool at your disposal.

Why PR Professional Rely on Newswires:

1.  Newswires Increase Visibility – The problem with promoting your news via email is that yay-9159998-digitalultimately it limits the potential impact of your news to only those you already know. A newswire, on the other hand, distributes news to thousands of contacts at one time, via the method they choose to receive news – electronically.  These outlets include major news services like the Associated Press, Dow Jones, Bloomberg, Reuters, international news points like JiJi Press and Agence France Press, online services like Yahoo! and key financial communities like J.P. Morgan H&Q.

Outside of the newswire’s proprietary list of media and journalists, many news aggregators utilize newswire feeds to provide relevant content for its desired reading audience.  This means company news can now be discovered and acted upon by thousands of investors and consumers—instantly and on demand.

2.  Newswires Provide Legitimacy – A news release distributed electronically by a newswire will be posted on multiple sites and media sources as opposed to just one company website’s news section, or social channel.   Every media outlet receiving a newswire feed understands that this content has already yay-8022260-digitalpassed through strict publishing guidelines to ensure accuracy and legitimacy.  The efficacy of using a newswire to distribute company news announcements is to live on the web as an official piece of breaking news, to not simply be a single-source announcement.

Distributing your news through a newswire allows you to reach out to the media as a whole (newspapers, magazines, TV and radio), thus inaugurating a company’s name as an official, recognized brand that has a placement in news around the country and in the web.

3.  Trusted Name Recognition – There is nothing more trusted than a familiar name.  Some names become synonymous with products—heck, some corporate names become verbs.  A trusted source is one with a name that is familiar, a name that has become familiar due to reputation and a history of legitimacy.

The media relies on newswires for reputable, vetted company news content.  With an established database of contacts and a unique delivery platform, a newswire can easily deliver a company press release to a media outlet. With thousands of news releases being shared every day, newswires ensure yay-15034446-digitalthat journalists and editors are provided with the content that they need in order to do their jobs.  To make their lives even easier, journalists can use keywords to make sure they receive only the news they are most interested in, by subject and region.

Company news releases are no longer considered to be just a media pitch requesting coverage.  Today’s news releases are viewed as the key source of originating data with more and more media outlets linking to the release to provide readers access to the raw data provided within the press release.

There is an entire world of options to consider when it comes to amplifying your company’s news.  Amplifying your content with newswire distributions ensures you have left no stone unturned in your quest to increase coverage, engagement and sales.

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The PR Secret Every Communicator Must Know: A good image amplifies your voice

February 3, 2015

By Agnes Deleuse, Sr. Marketing Specialist, Business Wire – Paris

Fact:  In today’s digital world, a news release should absolutely integrate multimedia.  Be it photo, video or infographic, the world is now hungry for visual communication.

Why?  Study after study shows that articles containing images get more views than articles without visual assets.  In fact, in 2012 Jeff Bullas noted that articles can receive up to 94% more views!  Imagery helps to communicate your message.  It 3xconveys the essence of your news, giving viewers an opportunity to bond emotionally with your brand. Adding a photo to your news release will increase your visibility.  And if the visual is good, you can even expect a greater impact for your brand.  Why? If the image is so interesting that people click and share it on social media, it increases the audience and impact of your news.  In fact, Business Wire’s own internal data shows that news releases that include photos, videos and other multimedia elements get three times the number of the views as news releases without it.  So what role will images play in your communication program in 2015?

Over the years, our appreciation of photography has changed. New tools and platforms, including blogs, smartphones and social networks, have played a key role in this development.  Photos are everywhere and are quickly becoming the new way for consumers to communicate.  Instagram and Pinterest are amongst the top social media outlets, bringing imagery to a new level.  Showing huge usage figures across the globe, Snapchat allows users to share their feelings with images, instead of straight text. Today’s top communicators understand the power of high-quality and visually appealing photos to make their news even more attractive to reporters, analysts and consumer audiences.

Photos should be inspirational and appealing to readers, i.e., potential customers.  Aren’t you bored of seeing head shots of CEOs as depicted fifty years ago?  Times have changed! Forget the dull background with your CEO standing straight in front of the camera.  Frontal head shots are over.  Today, your CEO can be outside, sitting in his/her office or standing in an industry unit, relaxed, surrounded by a colorful background, in semi-profile bringing true dynamism to the image.  Picture format can be horizontal (wide format being very trendy).  Choose unexpected perspectives and control the lighting to ensure the focus is in the right place.  The photo should capture the person behind the portrait.  The photo should trigger an emotional connection with the viewer, directly shaping their view of the CEO and the organization they lead.

Solidworks

The same applies for products and commercial imagery.  Inanimate objects can be eye-catching too depending on the angle and the arrangement. Presenting a new product does not need to be formal and in a safe tone.  Elevate your product by re-picturing it.  Trends in 2015 are focusing on creating big, dynamic images on small screens.  Use these images to showcase your organization’s big vision.  Remember that the look and feel of your images conveys meaning in and around your brand messages.

We know today that 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text2.  Getting the right image can be the key to conveying your message in a few seconds. Engaging, effective and meaningful visual communications help consolidate your customers’ perceptions of your business, while simultaneously helping to reinforce your brand’s identity.

So, the next time you send a news release, add imagery that people will remember and want to share.

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Read on for additional information on the role and impact of multimedia in today’s news release process:

1/ Source: jeffbullas.com/2012/05/28/6-powerful-reasons-whyyou-should-include-images-in-your-marketing-infographic
2/ Source: webmarketinggroup.co.uk/Blog/why-every-seo-strategy-needs-infographics-1764.aspx

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How to Increase YouTube Video Views in 3 Easy Steps

December 10, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media, Business Wire

Earlier this month I attended a Digital Hollywood panel devoted to building audiences and awareness on YouTube.

This is a very common topic here in Los Angeles.  With film making, celebrities and the history of Hollywood permeating every corner of the city, we were the first region to truly embrace YouTube for what the platform could be – a way to entertain, educate, delight and shock audiences with amazing visual content.

So if this is a common topic, something Hollywood content creators and the marketers they work with should know inherently, why is it still on the Digital Hollywood agenda?  Because no matter how great your content is, it means nothing if your content is not seen.

Almost the entire panel discussion, fueled by questions from the audience, focused on how to generate views of the variety of videos being uploaded every single day.  There are hundreds of thousands of beautifully shot, high quality videos on YouTube that no one has ever seen. Why is that?  Because the concept of if you place it here, the audience will come is antiquated and completely misleading, even for producers creating content featuring famous celebrities.  The simple truth still stands, there is no such thing as great content, only seen content.

YouTube Image

So how do YouTube video stars get their visibility?  What makes one video go viral, while another video fails?  Just like every other marketing and communications program, video programs need to be supported with paid, earned, owned and shared marketing programming.

In this session, the three top ways to ensure views of your YouTube videos are:

  1. Create relevant content – This may seem obvious but there are still a huge number of marketers creating aspirational content, or content meant to activate new fans, versus content meant to create actual audiences. In reality, content should be made for every touch point in the customer journey, but if you are on a limited budget or time, focus on creating content for the most active of your prospects and customers.  Create content that these existing brand fans will enjoy and share with their friends and reap not only views of evangelism.
  2. Tag your content for search – When it comes to placing your content on YouTube, the description and keywords you use are just as important as the content itself. Utilize titles and descriptions to entice audiences to view your video.  Include relevant keywords and well as real-time keywords, and while you don’t want to use an incorrect headline, writing a compelling, interesting headline will increase views dramatically.
  3. Pay to promote your video – If you spent money to create content, you have to use money to promote it. Videos should be promoted via earned, paid, owned and through partnerships. Smart brands are increasing impact of their content by increasing potential audiences.
    1. Paid promotion: To promote your YouTube videos there are two successful kinds of paid promotion that you can do.  First, consider paid advertising across active social channels and via Google AdWords to help relevant audiences find you via search and social.  Secondly, issue a press release to alert media outlets, bloggers and more that your video or video channels exist.  Include a short summary of the types of content you include and, if possible, frequency of updates, to generate views
    2. Earned outreach: Don’t forget to alert your PR contacts of your new content marketing program.  Media outlets are always looking for visual content to accompany industry pieces; let them know your channel may contain the content relevant to their readers.
    3. Owned channels: You have to tell people about your video; how else will they know your program exists? Promote your new YouTube content on your website, social channels, email signatures and intranets to increase views and shares of your content.
    4. Initiate partnerships: The single fastest way to increase the views of your YouTube videos is to ask likeminded, more famous YouTube personalities to share it for you. Yes, this may require an exchange of money but it works.

Leading marketers know that video is one of the top tools in today’s marketing arsenal. Not only are desktop and mobile video consumption rates through the roof, the medium is so impactful that within seconds it can build, and deepen the relationships between a brand and its customer. But first you have to distribute it.

What other ways are you finding success in promoting video content?  Please let us know in the comments below.


7 things Every PR professional Must Know About Pinterest

December 8, 2014

Everywhere you look everyone is talking about Pinterest. And why not! Not only does the site have huge audience numbers, the engagement and inbound traffic rates are through the roof.  And yet, many PR professionals are unsure of how to maximize this platform to increase visibility, shares and coverage of company news.

Click here to read Alexander Solm’s  7 things about Pinterest you need to know.  We would love to have your thoughts on this piece; do you use Pinterest to promote your news and coverage yet?


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