The internet changed almost everything. Most facets of life are now either shaped or directly dictated by the internet, especially the way we communicate. How has the internet changed communication? Cathy Baron Tamraz, CEO of Business Wire, answers that question with one word: multimedia.
“My prediction is that multimedia will be a part of every single news release,” Cathy said to Tim Bahr, CEO of Nextworks, during a conversation on the future of business news communications. The conversation, taking place during this past SXSW, touched upon the Smart News Release (SNR), a news release enhancement first launched by Business Wire in 1995. The ability for a commercial newswire to embed graphics into a news release and transmit it to news media outlets via the SNR was the first marriage of multimedia with text. It wasn’t just a news release with an image or video, it was an entirely new and unique asset for media recipients. What are the benefits of this marriage?
A recent study by Microsoft finds that human attention spans have dropped to 8 seconds. That means by the time you’re reading this sentence, you’re probably ready for some visual stimulation. Today’s constant stream of multimedia might be a cause for society’s diminishing focus, but it can also serve as the cure. A picture has long been touted as being worth a thousand words, making video exponentially more valuable. By including a video with a news release, you are intriguing the audience on multiple senses. According to Northern Michigan University’s Academic & Career Advisement Center, approximately 30% of people are auditory learners. By incorporating video with audio into your news release, you are reaching a larger audience than by just including images alone.
The importance of video to public relations is not a surprise. Tamraz elaborated on her comments about multimedia explaining that, “people think visually.” Videos provide the public with news in an easy to consume and engaging format.
It’s been twenty years since the launch of the Smart News Release. How have communications assets evolved in the age of Web 2.0?
PR pros are always looking for ways to amplify a news release – a tool that raises visibility of a company, and encourages engagement of the news within key audiences. And, as Tamraz says in the video, assets such as News Capsules provide that very boost to any news release. A News Capsule is a tool that allows a brand to tell a story using interactive multimedia. It’s the gamification of the news release and it boasts an average reader engagement time of 6:12 minutes. That number really jumps out at you when you compare it with the 20 to 30 seconds it takes to read a text-only news release.
Why are capsules so effective in increasing the impact of a news release? Tamraz describes this multimedia asset as the “crossover between news, corporate communications, and marketing.” Advances in internet connectivity continue to blur lines for every industry, whether it is multimedia, communication, or distribution. By offering information in a way that can be learned both visually and kinesthetically, the News Capsule is a tool that blurs the lines between varied forms of communication. This makes it an ideal asset for amplifying a company message on a multitude of platforms.
The future of public relations and audience activation is interactive content. For Meghan Gross, president of Gem Strategic Communications, a picture capsule was the best way to tell a year’s worth of stories. She recommended using a picture capsule to a professional services client of hers as a way to reach their core audience. In this case, the client wanted to showcase the importance of climate change by bringing attention back to all the great content they created that year. The News Capsule allowed Gem to create one single asset that hosted all of the client’s created content, allowing them to present their entire story in one outreach. Of course, once a capsule goes out, as Cathy Baron Tamraz says, it “travels.” Capsules are sharable and embeddable allowing users to embed it in stories, social channels, websites and more.
The internet proved to not be a trend and neither will mobile platforms. The digital revolution succeeded and we now find ourselves in the digital age. And now, every aspect of life revolves in some way around the era we live in, just like during the Industrial Age that preceded it. How are you adapting your communication practices for the growing needs of today’s digital, visual society?
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