PR Debate: Google vs. Facebook: Which Platform Should You Really Care About?

December 22, 2014

By Hannah Kelly, Business Wire Paris

The changing face of the news coverage and visibility scene

It’s the hottest debate in 2014: SEO for discovery or social sharing for impact?

2014 started off innocently enough.  First Google Hummingbird made major changes regarding news release visibility.  Then midway through the year Facebook launched FB Newswire, to increase the visibility of news.  Suddenly it was clear.  Facebook and Google were directly competing to see which service was more effective at surfacing a story and driving action because of it.
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Fact:  Both Google and Facebook are hungry for your news.

Recently, Parse.ly investigated data from around 8 billion page views of approximately 200 news sites with the results that 38% of referrals were generated by Google and 26% by Facebook.  While this statistic may not help Google overtake Facebook in the race to win the visibility war, it does providing an interesting opportunity for communicators.  If your published news piece can generate visibility on both Google and Facebook, you can generate more than 50% of your inbound traffic with (relatively) little effort.

However, the type of news that is sought after by these sites is slowly shifting. In both cases, Google and Facebook first relied on algorithms to determine which news to surface.  Unfortunately, this caused a plethora of misleading articles by less trustworthy “media outlets” to rise to the top.   These algorithms were adjusted greatly on both platforms this summer when Google and Facebook users revealed that they crave “real news” vs. click bait.

In an effort to continually refine results, these algorithms are continuously updated to reward authenticity and engagement. Google’s most recent changes to  Google Penguin, Penguin 3.0, on October 17, 2014, focused solely on overcoming link schemes that manipulate the ranking of a webpage (and the news story hosted there).

So what does this mean for your news?
As more and more refinement is done to ensure only high quality news is surfaced when searched on Google or on social networks, there are a few things today’s communicators can do to make sure their news is not only seen, but shared.

  1. Be descriptive in your headline

The more descriptive the title of your article, the more likely people are to read it, visit your page, and thereby increase your page ranking. News releases are known for their relatively long ‘uninteresting’ titles – but now the tables have turned. Readers know exactly what to expect from your release, which comes as a great relief after having spent significant time browsing through articles only to discover that they are not quite what was promised with the first click.

  1. Write a concise, accurate article

Now that your title has drawn readers in, the idea is to hold their interest. Long rambling paragraphs will not do this. Keep your information as succinct and on point as possible – engage the audience through a direct approach. To give you an idea, the ideal length for a news release is no longer than an A4 page.

  1. Contact information

This is crucial. If the reader has any further questions, they will want to contact you. The worst possible thing to happen at this stage is to struggle to find any method of contact. Include your Twitter, your Facebook, your Google+ – all and any possible ways of getting in contact. Not only does this ease contact between your company and the reader, but it also allows your news to be shared back with direct links.

News releases, especially those distributed by a commercial newswire such as Business Wire can help your distribution reach, and engage and activate audiences on both Google and Facebook platforms. Every news release jumpstarts a range of actions from coverage to sharing, each that directly impacts visibility within both Google and Facebook.  Business Wire’s wide distribution circuits, unique journalist lists and most of all, our “share” tools allow you to publish and share your articles within seconds. With over 50 years in the industry, we can help you tailor your distribution effectively, thus greatly increasing your traffic growth.


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.


With press release editing, catch erors befor they hapen

December 1, 2014

By Luke O’Neill, Editor, Business Wire Boston

We’ve heard it many times here at Business Wire: We catch a typo in a press release, let the client know, then the voice on the other end of the phone stalls, then sighs, “You don’t know how many people have looked at this thing, and that wasn’t caught.”

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That exasperation can be and should be avoided – especially before the release hits the wire and Web. Mistakes, alas, are inevitable, but it’s important to guard against them before they happen. After sending out a press release, the focus should be on promoting your news, not fixing it.

The editing process of any document can be cluttered at times with too many cooks in the kitchen, too many rewrites, and tracked changes simply can be confounding. Plus, don’t edit just for the sake of editing. Sometimes the writer has it right.

At newspapers or websites, editors generally read stories three times and three different ways – have you tried these yet?

  1. Breeze through it initially to get a sense of the story – it’s helpful to literally sit on your hands during this process so you’re not tempted to edit.
  2. The heavy lifting: Rewrite, rework and restructure the story as necessary.
  3. Fine-tune: Polish the prose and clean up typos.

The step between 1 and 2 can be tricky – you need to know how the story needs to be reworked, but that usually comes with practice and experience. This blog, however, is more focused on step 3 – finding those minute mistakes before they become major mistakes.

Eradicating Errors

So how do you sidestep slip ups while editing press releases? Most editors anticipate problems before they occur, know where things could go wrong before they do, ask where things could go wrong and think of the consequences of their editing actions. Yet sometimes it just comes down to having an eagle eye.

yay-3433113-digitalAlso, be mindful that the absence of one lone letter or the transposition of a couple letters changes the meaning of a word, and spellcheck won’t necessarily pick it up.

For example, heath vs. health: A heath is one thing, and health is something different. United vs. untied – these two words clearly have very different meanings. Other common press release examples include: manager vs. manger, complimentary vs. complementary, premiere vs. premier, chief vs. chef and through vs. though.

And be sure to check your spellcheck carefully; don’t just breeze through it because the document may be teeming with tech or biotech words. Often, Spellcheck will flag a word it does not recognize, yet the word is spelled correctly. Then later in the document, Spellcheck will flag a similarly spelled word, but it’s off by one letter. If an editor is on Spellcheck “Ignore All” autopilot, then the misspelled word will fly under the radar.

These spelling discrepancies are especially problematic in business press releases with mismatching company and product names.

‘Confident paranoia’

Many press releases simply could use a healthy dose of preventative medicine – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

yay-1578342-digitalIn my local newsroom, we track the time spent on each correction issued by our clients. In my office, we average about 12 client corrections a month. During high-volume times, that correction total can spike. The corrections can be costly to our clients and counterproductive for everyone.

Some press release corrections are more significant and easily avoidable than others. Some common culprits include: incorrect event dates in releases; incorrect media contact information, especially phone numbers; incorrect titles for people; incorrect press release submitted; and not getting the proper approvals from all the companies involved in the release. But perhaps the most frequent offender is a broken or incorrect embedded hyperlink.

At Business Wire Boston, we preach the idea of “confident paranoia.” Be confident in your editing abilities, but, like a good carpenter, measure twice and cut once.

Luke O’Neill, formerly a newspaper reporter and copy editor, is a senior editor at Business Wire Boston. He has nearly 15 years of communications experience and a master’s degree in journalism.


How PR Pros Create News Content That Generates Action

November 28, 2014

“Think like a movie producer”

Every day, PR professionals utilize storytelling to engage key audiences. In this piece, Phil Dennison, senior marketing specialist at Business Wire, discusses the ways PR professionals can strengthen their storytelling prowess by thinking like a movie producer.

These tips include:

  • Build suspense and create anxiety
  • Foster aspirations
  • Drive empathy
  • Harness emotion

Learn more about implementing creative thinking by reading the entire piece here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20140924163737-475352-think-like-a-movie-producer-create-content-that-spurs-inspiration?trk=prof-post


How PR Pros Reach the White House and Other Political Groups

November 24, 2014

This year’s PRSA Annual conference included an excellent discussion on the various tools organizations use to engage with The Hill.  In this piece, Danny Selnick, SVP of Public Policy and LatinoWire, outlines that discussion as well as the latest research on the communication habits of congressional offices and their staffers.  Click here to learn more about how these target audiences get news, who they rely on, the role of social media, and how Business Wire’s Public Policy circuits reach and impact this group every day.

 


Understanding the Role of Latinos in the U.S. Economy

November 14, 2014

As Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close, we wanted to share this piece written by Pilar Portela, Business Wire’s media relations expert.  In this article, Pilar looks at the dynamics within the Latino culture that drive the U.S. economy.  With $1.2 trillion annual buying power, many companies are expanding their PR and marketing programs to include Hispanic audiences.  Are you?  If you are looking to launch a PR program for this key demographic, let us know. We have a wide range of resources and information that may be useful to you.

In the meantime, we highly recommend you read this piece to see exactly how powerful this demographic is and what steps organizations are taking to reach them.


PR Professionals Rejoice! Business Wire and ITDatabase Launch TechCalendar

November 12, 2014

Earlier today Business Wire and ITDatabase announced the launch of TechCalendar, the industry’s most comprehensive, searchable, directory of tech events, speaking opportunities and awards.

TechCalendar takes the tens of thousands of consumer and enterprise focused tech industry events, awards and speaking opportunities and places them into one easy to search database. This single database provides PR professionals the ability to easily search, find and act upon highly relevant promotional opportunities.

Updated continuously, TechCalendar features a number of options for tech companies to track events important to their brand including:
  • Easy event and award discovery by keyword, topic or organizer
  • One-click “following” of all relevant events and awards, as well as show organizers
  • Calendar creation and integration opportunities
  • A variety of sharing and exporting tools for easy data integration

Click here to sign up for your free trial today.

 


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