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


Brevity Is The Soul Of Viewership

April 8, 2009

Online video is the Internet’s It Girl right now: Viewership of online video is up more than a third, Hulu and its streaming full-length shows are the #2 video site on the web (stealing eyes from TV screens), and it seems like even your grandmother is vlogging on YouTube now.

But with all those tens millions of videos being watched, who’s really watching?  That apparently depends on how long your video is.

According to a new study by TubeMogul, people are watching a lot of videos, but they aren’t watching for very long.  More than 10% of viewers click away after the first 10 seconds of a video, and after a minute, more than half the audience is gone.

Audience Attention Span (Source: TubeMogul)

(Source: TubeMogul)

While TubeMogul’s data has a number of caveats and limitations, and they seem to be concerned with the implications for pre- and post-roll advertising, I’m more interested for what it says about PR-related video content — product demos, talking-head interviews, etc.

We always advise our own users to keep their videos short; ideally, less than 5 minutes long.  (As you can see from the graph above, fewer than 10% of users will hang around for more than 5 minutes.)  Rather than include a lengthy video with your multimedia press release, create a short excerpt, and make the full video available for download or by request.  It’s easier to keep viewers for a minute or two, and leave them wanting (and requesting!) more, than to keep them around for three, four, five minutes or longer.  And it both builds interaction and encourages social media penetration — users will be more likely to share and recommend shorter videos, and when they come to you for more, it opens up a dialogue between you and consumers, media and other audiences.

So, in short, keep it short!  For some great examples of what our own users are doing with video:

Business Wire on YouTube


Reminder: BW Webinar Friday on Video and Corporate Communication with Digital Citizen Media

January 22, 2009

dcm_logo_process_s1With the increasing popularity of online video, we asked our friends at Digital Citizen Media to join us in a talk about using video for corporate communication purposes and our new partnership.

Recently, Business Wire teamed with Digital Citizen Media, a leading digital media production and content management company, to offer professional video tools, in particular the Video Annual Report (VAR), to our members. Members can also use Digital Citizen to create, produce and manage video content to use in Business Wire Smart News Releases, Corporate Profiles and other forms of corporate communication.

Join Digital Citizen Media’s Tim Carey in a discussion about using the Video Annual Report and trends and best practices for using video for corporate communication.

Registration is required for this free webinar:
“Using Video for Corporate Communications feature the Video Annual Report with Digital Citizen Media”
Friday, January 23 beginning at 1 p.m. EST
Register today at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/870845332

For a full schedule of all of our upcoming webinars and events, check out http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/business-wire-events


Web Friendly Press Releases Get More Google Juice

November 3, 2008
Jennifer Saragosa with the Google Juice King, Warren Buffett

Jennifer Saragosa with the Google Juice King, Warren Buffett

Getting your press release found, seen and shared is always a challenge, and now that press releases are increasingly utilized to generate “Google juice” — organic search engine results–tips are flying about how to make your press releases more web friendly.

Here at Business Wire, where 1,000+ press releases each work day move through the chute, we suggest these simple rules: have something to say, write well, and make sure your press release is web friendly.

How to make your press release web friendly?

Business Wire’s own Jen Saragosa, a frequent speaker on our webinar series and a senior account manager in our Boston office, penned a timely article for Grant Marketing recently in which she suggests tips tips for getting more Google juice for your press releases.

Drink up Jen’s wisdom here.


Web 2.0 Acronyms Gone Wild: Some Will Stick, More Will Fade

July 14, 2008

JUST as we’re mastering an explanation of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and its importance to press releases for our clients, an email is forwarded, touting the virtues of DAO, digital asset optimization, as one of the niftiest twists in the Web 2.0 evolution.

In breathless text and two–count ‘em!–videos, DAO is championed as the key strategy for achieving “effective visibility across multiple platforms” for press release videos, graphics and otherAcronyms Gone Wild digital assets.

So does DAO make SEO seem DOA?  Just ask your BW AE for the DL on EON and SNR and find out ASAP!

If you’re getting indigestion from this overdose of alphabet soup, you’re not alone.  Even those of us who make a living trying to keep up are getting nauseous.   Seems like at least once a month, Web 2.0 pontificators invent a new acronym to hang their hats on.    Uh…didn’t we just go through this with the SMPR?

Just this week, a blog post at Video Insider introduced a grand new acronym for our collection:  the iGRP,  Internet Gross Rating Point.   Blogger Todd Sacerdoti introduces a new method of measuring online video viewership. 

Will iGRP catch on?   How about DAO?  Only time will tell.  In the meantime, confusion reigns as we sift through the jargon.

Staking out a new acronym doesn’t automatically imbue its letters with meaning.  Well, maybe if you’re Steven Colbert.   Colbert, star of the Colbert Report, shown most weeknights on Comedy Central, champions truthiness, the modern notion that just because you say or believe something, that makes it true.

The rest of us have to let our acronyms play out.    Sometimes they stick and assume real meaning.   More often, they fade into the rear view mirror.

Business Wire has been doing digital asset optimization since 1998 when we introduced our Smart News Release (we even earned an acronym:  SNR).   To see how we optimize digital assets, check out our news with multimedia.  And for a free education in text optimization, watch our archived webcasts on how to be an SEO hero.


Free Webinars by Business Wire Specialists Offer How-To Press Release Tips

July 8, 2008
Free press release tips available through Business Wire webinars

Free press release tips are available through Business Wire

Interested in press release tips from those who handle thousands of press releases every single workday–a collection of how-to nuggets on optimizing press releases for search and simple lessons on the social web?

Then join us for Business Wire’s free webinar series, attended by thousands of communicators.   New media specialists Malcolm Atherton, Monika Maeckle, Michael Toner, and Maria Van Wambeke will share their collective wisdom in three online events this month.

The free webinars focus on using new and social media tools to turn press releases into cost effective and interactive marketing tools. To learn how to Be An SEO Hero, find your way if you’re Lost in MySpace, or figure out why Your Text Needs a Partner, register for one of these free webinars.

To view archived webinars, check out the Business Wire resource page.


The Knot Makes Case for Hybrid Media At Business Wire Event

June 26, 2008

More than 150 professional communicators gathered at the 3 West Club in Manhattan earlier this week for Business Wire’s panel discussion, “A Social Media Conversation: How PR, IR & Marketing Professionals Can Engage and Participate in the Social Web.”

Peter Himler, President of Publicity Club of New York and founder of Flatiron Communications moderated the panel which included Melissa Bauer, Senior PR Manager of The Knot, Ryan Block, Editor-in-Chief, Engadget, Josh Cohen, Senior Business Product Manager for Google News, Peter Hershberg, Managing Partner, Reprise Media, Rob Key, CEO & Founder, Converseon, and Jim Nail, Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer, TNS/Cymfony.  PRNewswer did a nice recap and you can also listen to the webcast.

The Knot\'s Interactive Press Releases Deliver Hits and Views

The Knot’s case study in utilizing many of the new tools and strategies discussed seemed to strike a chord with attendees. Bauer’s slidedeck demonstrated in detail how the company uses ALL types of media–from Facebook, video-on-demand and interactive press releases to traditional media pitches and hard copy national and local magazines.

Let’s hear it for hybrid media.


Business Wire’s Free Webinars Offer How-To Tips for Press Releases

May 22, 2008

Seems folks just can’t get enough of Business Wire’s monthly webinars. As the social media vanguard embraces Twitter and pushes blogging into the mainstream, I remind myself and new media colleagues that a multitude of the clueless STILL seek basic understanding of the “new rules” for press releases.

Our clients and other issuers of press releases are busy people, with intense competition for their time and attention. Press releases are a small-but-important part of their universe. It’s no wonder, then, that a large percentage of corporate communicators need remedial help in understanding the new tools, technologies and best practices for today’s press release.Be an SEO Hero at one of Business Wire\'s June webinars

As always, we’re here to help. We don’t pretend to be objective since press releases are the very core of our business. We do, however, promise enlightenment and free learning during our weekly webinar sessions, which cover everything from how to optimize your press release for search to a step-by-step lesson on how-to Digg your press releases–and if you even should.

This FREE education is easy-to-access and awaiting your registration. Here’s the schedule:

Wednesday, June 4: Your text needs a partner: Using Multimedia to Drive Press Release Results

Tuesday, June 10: Be an SEO Hero–Optimize Your Press Release for Search

Wednesday, June 18: EON: Enhanced Online News

Friday, June 27, Lost in MySpace?

We hope you’ll join us.


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