Turning Your News into Powerful Digital Content

June 28, 2013

Business Wire and NextWorks  sponsored a June 26 panel at the National Press Club in Washington that was all about turning your news into engaging and powerful digital content. Danny Selnick, Vice President for Public Policy and LatinoWire news distribution services for Business Wire, moderated the morning panel of digital content experts:

  • David Henry, Vice President of Content Marketing for NextWorks (@realdavidhenry)
  • Christian Clymer, Deputy Vice President for Public Affairs, PhRMA (@CCatPhRMA)
  • Kieran Fagan, Group Director, WCG (@kieranfagan)

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David spoke first  to the packed room, emphasizing that so much of what the public wants from an online experience has a video component , and that it must be powerful, engaging and short — not more than 90 seconds. He went on to suggest that the opportunity for organizations and companies is to expand the written news release into a visually compelling communications and marketing tool — and distribute it across all platforms, targeting media and bloggers — reaching out to millions of consumers. David went over the elements of telling a great story via video including:

  • Describe the issue or product
  • Demonstrating the product
  • Educate the viewer
  • Offer testimonials
  • Offer up organizational experts (and company/organization CEOs)
  • Offer FAQs

Christian went on to play captivating video that showed the human face of PhRMA and what its members offer the world — research, progress and hope. Effective advocacy video should include what he calls “snack-ables” offering quick, but important bites of content. He also talked about how PhRMA brought production in-house using two Apple computers and an editor — organizations no longer have to spend lots of money on production. Another important take-away that Christian mentioned is to reach the right 1,000 people, not the wrong one million people. Knowing who and how to reach youraudience is critical.

Kieran went on to say that getting visibility for whatever your doing is one thing, but getting people to “act” on the message is what is really important. Keep in mind the 1/9/90 rule — 1% of the online audience creates content, 9% will comment, rate and share content, while 90% watches. So again, it’s important to reach influencers. Keep the end goal in mind.

To read all the tweets coming from the event: click here and select “All Tweets.” To get a copy of the presentations from this panel, please contact Danny Selnick.


Does Including a Photo Get You More Views? Rutgers CMD Wins SNCR Award for Finding Out

November 13, 2012
by Phil Dennison, Senior Marketing Specialist/Business Wire – Cleveland

As we’ve stressed again and again, multimedia drives press release views online — our own measurement data shows it, and so does pretty much everyone else’s. This past Friday, though, the Rutgers University Center for Management Development (CMD) won an award from the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR) for looking into it in an unconventional way: What happens when you distribute the same release twice, once with a photo and once without?

The photo distributed by Rutgers CMD with their second of two identical press releases one week apart.

With the help of SEO-PR, Rutgers CMD wrote and optimized a press release concerning an upcoming promotion, then distributed it via Business Wire at identical times one week apart, first without a photo, then with one. Everything else – headline, content, formatting, and so forth — was identical. The photo was the only difference.

The result? Despite the fact that Google News didn’t index the second release, it got 20% more views and 63% more clicks in 14 days than the first press release got in 21 days. Taking into account search engine penalties for duplicate content, that’s a pretty impressive result.

Even better, according to Eric Greenberg, Managing Director of Executive Education, Rutgers CMD, “This campaign has already generated seven registrations worth $31,500 in incremental revenue for Rutgers CMD, which is 8.75 times more than the $3,600 spent on writing, optimizing and distributing the press releases over Business Wire with and without a photo. So, conducting the study has paid off financially as well as academically.”

To further bring home the importance of press release optimization, after issuing the press release announcing this award, Rutgers CMD got some very impressive search results:

This is not the first such research that Rutgers CMD and SEO-PR have conducted into press release ROI. Greg Jarboe of SEO-PR recently authored a white paper for Business Wire, Linking Press Release Output to Outcomes, that details three separate sets of research on when best to send a press release and whether an active press release campaign has measurable revenue effects. Download it today to find out more.

Congratulations to Rutgers CMD and SEO-PR on their prestigious award, and we hope to bring you more research from them in the future.


How to Make Your Online Video More Visible

June 22, 2012

  by Michel Rubini, International Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/London

The temptation to package your message in a video is difficult to resist. Video is brilliant at making complex concepts easily understandable. Video can engage an audience on an emotional and informative level in a way that text simply can not.  Not to mention that when it comes to press releases, we see that multimedia content, including video, can drive press release views.

Assuming first that you’re sharing quality, engaging content, you still must remember that a video made for offline consumption does not always translate perfectly for online distribution.

Keep it short – Online audiences are not as attentive as offline audiences. Distractions come in many ways when browsing the web. Online video should ideally be under three minutes long. The shorter the better.

Make Text a Friend Not a Foe – Google needs the text to find your video but the traditional uses of text on screen can create poor online user experiences. So what’s the solution?  Christian Heilmann, developer evangelist from Mozilla Popcorn, shared a possible answer at a Newsrewired event.

Chris Heilman Mozilla

Christian Heilman

Heilmann explained that video is a black hole on the web. Google is unable to go through a video like it goes through a text. A good headline and a lengthy description is all we have to make it seen.

So how can we make our video more searchable and more findable? Heilmann’s suggestion is to always separate your content from your presentation. Any text should never be in the images. Any text in a video should be overlaying it. It makes the text easily edited, translated, enhanced or deleted when required. Titles and subtitles and are loved by Google and therefore, as Heilmann puts it, “separation increases search-ability and find-ability . . . search engines have something to bite into.”

The big question now is: how do we do it? Heilmann is a big fan of HTML5 video as an answer to these problems. HTML5 video makes it more accessible on the web by allowing the maker to easily separate text and images. Text is over imposed and can easily be edited and found by search engines. Like music made of many different tracks laid on top of each other, HTML5 video text is placed in a running track. Different kind of texts can be added to different tracks. Broadly speaking, there are 3 different tracks:

  •  Subtitles: translations of the dialogue in the video for when audio is available but not understood. Subtitles are shown over the video.
  • Captions: transcription of the dialogue, sound effects, musical cues and other audio information for when the viewer is deaf/hard of hearing, or the video is muted. Captions are also shown over the video.
  • Chapters: they are used to create navigation within the video. Typically they’re in the form of a list of chapters that the viewer can click on to go to a specific chapter.

A good example of a video using the above feature is shown here:

The overlaying is unscripted in the coding itself. Suddenly, the invisibility cloak is lifted and the video is findable, searchable and flexible . . . all things you will most certainly want when sharing your videos.


It’s All About Marketing and PR Convergence with Our New Smart Marketing Page

May 8, 2012
For professional communicators today, there is a growing understanding that PR and marketing efforts must work in unison to be most effective.  For example, the cost of the keywords that marketing bids on in their advertising outreach can be reduced when PR successfully gets those same keywords embedded and issued/posted/shared in their audience engagement efforts.

With press releases, we know that multimedia enhances click-thru rates and improves audience engagement.  When public relations leverages existing marketing assets, it reinforces brand messaging and helps marketing achieve the multiple touch points needed for audiences to act.  Both marketing and PR ultimately engage many of the same audiences by the very nature of how content is found and shared online.

For PR practitioners, this provides an opportunity to show how they can cost-effectively and measurably complement and boost the overall marketing impact.  As you build your next press release, work with marketing to develop and use common campaign keywords, add SEO-relevant, measurable touch points such as links from press release content deep into the organizations website, include “buy this” buttons and add multimedia visuals and videos, all driving measurable traffic, revenue and engagement tied to shared campaign objectives.

The launch of our new Smart Marketing Page provides a tremendously cost-effective new platform to achieve marketing/PR message unity that is measurable.  It helps PR grab a larger share of the marketing voice by pushing out press release and multimedia content via the powerful Business Wire news network to media and online audiences across the country, deep into your industry and around the web.  It also posts to our EON: Enhanced Online News platform, all designed to provide easy audience engagement and SEO-boosting exposure.

The Smart Marketing Page gives marketers a branded platform that is SEO friendly with assets that are easy to share, allowing for the inclusion of polls, multimedia galleries and custom branding.  It provides both with valuable multimedia tools and measurement metrics to evaluate and adjust campaigns against marketing objectives.

Check out the Business Wire SMP and see for yourself why we’re so excited about this new platform. Then contact your local BW account executive to get started.


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.


Multimedia Still Makes Better Press Releases

October 21, 2010

by Joseph Miller, EON Product Manager, Business Wire Austin

Business Wire’s distribution and technology products have evolved considerably throughout the years (we’re celebrating our 50th anniversary next year!).

With the advent of Internet distribution and other standards along with prolific creation of digital media such as photos and videos, we’ve been quick to adopt multimedia distribution solutions along with more traditional “text” distribution of our press releases.  Today, we distribute hundreds, if not thousands, of releases with attached photos or videos every week.

And while it will likely always be true that journalists do not prefer to be bombarded with attachments, a succinct release with links to relevant multimedia and related resources can be extremely useful in telling your stories.  This is especially true as newsrooms continue to evolve and journalists across the world are being asked to do more with less every day.

With that said, let’s get on to the data!  Thinking of the impact multimedia has on release performance, we recently examined data from our internal NewsTrak reports across all Business Wire releases year to date.  One metric we examined was the Top 500 releases based on “release reads”, an analog to page views, of each release.  Of the top 500, a full 23% of our Top 500 releases include multimedia (photos & videos beyond logos), while only 5% of all releases include multimedia.

From this, we can conclude that including multimedia greatly increases your chances of distributing a “hit release.”

Beyond that, we looked at the average number of release reads across all releases.  Once we segmented out releases with and without multimedia, we found that the average release with multimedia has received 1.7 times more release reads than those without.

So there you have it.  If you want to increase the odds of your press releases outperforming their peers, it’s a great idea to add multimedia.


Adding Video to Maximize Your Reach and Exposure

July 6, 2010

- by Claudia Perez-Bonilla, Client Services Representative, Business Wire/Florida

On June 22nd, Business Wire Florida media luncheon attendees were able to partake in a lively discussion with video experts and marketing, PR and corporate communications professionals on the benefits of adding video to press releases to gain visibility and exposure.

Florida Media Luncheon Panelists

L-R: Rick Christie, Doug Perry, Pilar Portela, Rachel Toole

Hosted by JM Family Enterprises Inc., and moderated by Business Wire Media Relations Supervisor Pilar Portela, the panelists were:

  • Rick Christie, Breaking News Editor, The Palm Beach Post
  • Doug Perry, Executive Producer for Digital Content, WPBF-TV
  • Rachel Toole, Sales & Marketing Manager, MEDIAmobz

With the topic more timely than ever — video press releases having a 300% message retention rate and 500% more views than text-only releases — our panelists discussed video trends, tips on how to get started using video and how to make the best use of your FLIP camera.

Trends show an upswing in the use of video not only for traditional press releases, but also to promote:

  • Upcoming events
  • Testimonials
  • New Product Launches
  • Company Profiles

Rick Christie of The Palm Beach Post noted the “3 must-haves” for a successful video campaign.  The clip must be:

  1. Interesting
  2. Relevant
  3. Important

He also advises to go to a media point’s Facebook/YouTube page or follow them on Twitter to get an idea of the type of video they prefer and are most likely to use.

When asked for tips on creating video, all the panelists agreed:

  • Target an audience/know your demographics.
  • The video must have a message/tell a story.
  • Keep it brief (2 minutes is optimal).
  • Keep it real.
  • Don’t make it purely product based advertising.

MEDIAmobz Sales & Marketing Manager Rachel Toole added further to the discussion by noting that using video is:

  • Cost Effective:  the footage/material can be repurposed.
  • Improves SEO:  video is more prevalent in search engine results (i.e.  Google).
  • Good for increasing your ROI.
  • Visually engaging.

Doug Perry of WPBF-TV shared how their newsroom is a “Next Generation” newsroom. As part of a Hearst Television Inc. initiative, news reporters were outfitted with Blackberrys that can shoot video, and laptops that can live stream.  Doug advised that when including video for media usage:

  1. Content is critical.
  2. Give users a reason to click on the URL.  Don’t simply state “click here.”
  3. When shooting video, zoom with your feet.  Get close to the action.
Janice Essick and Mark Sell

Florida Regional Manager Janice Essick with FLIP camera raffle winner Mark Sell

During the media luncheon, an Ultra FLIP Video camera was raffled off. One lucky audience member, Mark Sell of the Miami agency Wragg & Casas, won the camera. Mark is already using his FLIP for client interviews.  In regard to tips for using the popular FLIP, our experts recommend:

  • When filming, be as close to the subject as possible.
  • Do not use high contrast.
  • Remember to also post on your company’s Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts.

For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/business-wire-events.

Follow Business Wire events on Twitter! Hash tag #bwevents


Once Again, the Press Release

May 4, 2010

- by Phil Dennison, Senior Marketing Specialist

Todd Defren of PR Squared tweets about a blog entry at The Practitioner by Steve McAbee of Wunderkind Public Relations, called “Social Media: Breathing New Life Into the Press Release.”  McAbee discusses ways to use the traditional press release in conjunction with social media, by using links to attract online readers to your company’s social media newsroom on your website, as well as to content on Flickr, YouTube and other sites.  This is a notion that we’ve been pushing for years  – since launching our own site in 1995, we’ve always tried to stay ahead of technology and urge our users to do the same. We describe press releases as search engine optimized platforms for connecting with your audiences, including the media; not having appropriate links to content just won’t work.  Whether you use Todd’s SMPR template or continue to write your releases the traditional way, appropriate multimedia and link content is a must.

(Steve does briefly praise Google’s use of using a wire release to link back to their own newsroom, but in the contest of their recent earnings notice-and-access release, which Neil Hershberg discussed here yesterday.)

I do have to take issue with one thing, though:  Steve also links to a piece at Fast Company by Wendy Marx, “B2B PR: New Uses for Press Releases.”  In that article, Marx notes that “The social media release came of age in 2006 when wire services like PR newswire didn’t include multimedia components in releases.”  While I’m not going to defend the competition, Business Wire has had multimedia components in press releases for more than a decade now.

We launched our multimedia Smart News Release back in 1997, with photos and video available right from the get-go. At first, they were linked to from a thumbnail or link within the release. Today, they’re embedded in the release, with multiple resolutions and bandwidths available with a single click; and in many cases, they display at the downstream sites, too.  We made both hyperlinks and embedded logos available by 2001.

We believe in making the tools available to our users to have implement the best PR strategy possible. It’s nice to see our notions of using the press release as a pathway to other content taking root in the PR community.


Business Wire and MEDIAmobz Team Up To Help Clients Bring Video To Their News

February 24, 2010

A successful marketing or PR campaign involves a lot of components, and chief among them is great content.  Part of that content is, obviously, text.  Searchability guides much of marketing today, and properly written text means better search results.

But another key component is multimedia.  Compelling product demonstrations, captivating commercials, videos that go viral . . . any of these might make or break a campaign.  We at Business Wire have long been a proponent of including multimedia with a press release.  We launched the Smart News Release, the first such product in the industry, in 1997.  Over the past few years, we’ve uploaded more than 1,300 videos by our users onto our YouTube channel, among other popular video outlets.

Today we’ve taken yet another step, teaming with leading sales and marketing video producer MEDIAmobz to give our users access to the best in video communications for their news.  Read all about the Business Wire/MEDIAmobz team-up, or check out the video below for more information.


Editor’s Corner – January Edition

January 7, 2010

With 30 bureaus around the world and more newsrooms than all of our competitors combined, Business Wire is proud to provide local expertise and superior service, backed by the most accurate editors in the world. In Editor’s Corner, we ask some of our best to chime in on how to get the most out of your press release, based on their years of experience in the industry.

BW LA Senior Editor Roger Johnson

Years ago, teaching English composition at the University of Arkansas, I gave a half-joking, half-serious commandment to my students the first day of class: don’t bore me.

I didn’t mean that a tiger had to leap out at me in every sentence, or that each paragraph should end with someone hanging from a cliff. I meant that their prose should be vigorous –clear and concise, filled with specific detail.

In my past 13 years as an editor at Business Wire, I’ve discovered that readers of your news releases want the same thing. They’re not looking for pouncing tigers – just clear, concise, detailed information that keeps them reading. And keeps them using your releases — in their newspaper, television broadcast, blog or online database.

We all know “the rules” by now: omit needless words, clearly attribute speakers in quotes, use nouns and strong verbs, etc. (Pick up a style guide for a refresher course. From the fussy Elements of Style to the practical and sturdy AP Stylebook, there’s a million of ‘em out there.)

Writing a tight, detailed release definitely will get your news noticed. But an even better way to attract media attention is to include a multimedia element with your release — something you can do by ordering a Smart News Release (SNR).

Press releases about new hires or promotions will definitely attract more eyes if you include photos. Open up any newspaper’s business section, which is filled with executive headshots, and you’ll see how valuable these are to editors – and thus to your company.

That old adage about “a picture being worth a thousand words” endures because it’s true. Many times I’ve worked on an SNR one day and then seen the same image in the pages of USA Today or the Los Angeles Times the next morning. And I’ve seen videos SNRs I’ve worked on in the morning on that evening’s local news broadcast.

Some things to keep in mind when you send in a photo as part of your SNR:

  • Send it in .jpg format. (Other graphics files like .tif, .gif, .bmp, and .png are usable, too.)
  • Send images of at least 2400 pixels on the longest side. (Although we can run any size as an SNR, print media won’t use smaller images.)
  • Always include a caption with your photo.

Some things to keep in mind when sending us video files:

  • Send original digitized files (MPG, MP4, AVI, WMV and MOV files, for example) rather than files already converted to a streaming format.
  • Make the video for a window of at least 320×240 pixels (a 4:3 aspect ratio).
  • The frame rate should be at least 15 fps (frames per second) or higher.
  • Most web viewers say they prefer videos of five minutes or less.

Along with photos and videos, you can supplement your news releases with Excel spreadsheets and charts; PowerPoint slide shows; PDF documents; Word documents; or Flash animations.

Finally, include your company logo with your photo or video. This will help brand your company news and help complete your multimedia package.

-Roger Johnson, Senior Editor, Business Wire Los Angeles


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