11 Things Marketers Should Know from the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit

October 8, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media

Last month hundreds of marketers, communicators and social media experts met in Baltimore for the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit to discuss the latest trends in all aspects of marketing and best practices for increasing engagement, sales and ROI.

In this piece, we will look at the top 11 marketing predictions for 2015, including the rise of the social CMO, a movement away from real-time marketing to right time marketing and the increased importance of the online newsroom.

  1. The rise of the CSMO (chief social media officer): Social media has evolved from short form messaging communication tool to a program that directly affects every part of a business.  As the real-time customer engagement platform, data generated can directly impact the future of one’s organization.  This role will be a hybrid between creative and analysis.  Those social media teams focusing only on outbound communications, ignoring the data available will not succeed.
  1. Multimedia is here to stay: More and more studies are showing that multimedia is now considered a mandatory element when looking to increase the response rate of any communications program. In addition, we will see a huge increase in mobile video investment as mobile device penetration continues to skyrocket
  1. Paying to engage with your social audiences: As Facebook, Twitter and other platforms mature, their business models are moving quickly into revenue generation and profit.  Look for these platforms to continue to roll out paid opportunities such as geographic and demographic targeting to increase the ability for a brand to reach their brand fans.
  1. A refocus from real-time marketing to right time marketing: Thanks to the meme that the Oreo Superbowl ad was created on the spot and thus is real-time marketing (completely false by the way, the ad was created months in advance), there became a push in 2014 for brands to jump into real time marketing.  Instead thinking about “real-time” organizations in 2015 will move towards “right-time” which involves the use of data to determine how and when to distribute each piece of created content – from social updates to press releases – to maximize the result.
  1. The rise online newsroom: As it becomes harder to get media’s attention, more and more organizations are building branded newsrooms – or including within their existing newsroom a section for brand-created content.  This content allows brands to tell their story, utilizing their own voice.  However it is important to remember that the only good branded content is seen branded content, many of these organizations are not only setting budgets aside to build these newsrooms and create this content, they are putting budget aside to distribute the content as well via press releases, coverage amplification services and more.
  1. A breakdown of internal siloes: As more and more data is becomes available through various marketing channels, it is imperative that marketing work with more and more internal teams to improve processes, define customer expectations, provide stronger customer service, increase sales, build corporate reputation and more.
  1. A better understanding of the ROI of a communications program: Marketers are moving away from “last click” attribution to multi-touch point attribution, allows brands to track customers through their entire journey ensuring that every touch point along the way is credited.
  1. A big shift from content creation to content distribution: As content marketing becomes a staple for most marketing programs, more and more marketers are turning to paid tools including press releases and amplification tools to ensure their created content is seen content. After all, there is no reason to pay for content to be created, if you aren’t paying for it to be distributed.
  1. The growing importance of social customer service as more than 50% of customer service interactions begin on the computer, well before the customer has engaged the brand.
  1. Look to smart devices and wearables to change news consumption from tweets to bursts. How can you increase the impact of your news as you decrease the amount of space needed to tell it!
  1. Sharing corporate sustainability responsibility news will continue to increase in 2015 as more and more consumers are choosing to align with brands and organizations that reflect their own beliefs. Organizations of all sizes from Nike to Honest Teas have connected with customers and build entire brands by focusing and staying true to their CSR message.

This year’s speakers shared so many wonderful thoughts but it was these 11 that resonated with me the most.  Which of these surprises you?  Which does not?


The Future of Content Marketing – Interactive Content

September 8, 2014

Are you responsible for your organizations’s communications program? For explaining new company initiatives to media outlets, influencers and other key constituents? Are you looking for new ways to increase your coverage, to build better fans and to increase social conversations about your news?  Then why are you issuing plain text press releases?

Press releases jump start awareness, generate coverage, initiate conversations and more.  Whether your release is text only, or includes images and graphics, you are starting a conversation, the difference is how many impactful conversations you are generating.

bizwiremultimedia

In a recent article for CommPro.biz, Serena Ehrlich, our director of social and evolving media breaks down the latest in content and news distribution, the embeddable asset widget called the Capsule.  This single asset, shared and embedded by media outlets via a single link, provides readers on-demand access to the videos, photos, PDF forms and more they want, all while reading your coverage.

Learn how easy it is to utilize this product today:  http://www.commpro.biz/public-relations/hyperspotted-content-embeddable-widgets-meet-future-content-distribution/


Why Multimedia is Required in Today’s Press Releases

April 30, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media

visuals-bw2Earlier today, CommPro published a summary piece highlighting the importance of multimedia within press releases. We discuss this topic at great length with our customers.

The truth is, reporters are no longer interested in writing stories based on text only press release. And for good reason, study after study has shown that whenever images are inserted into the communication, the impact increases.

Still on the fence about adding photos, videos, gifs, images and more to your press releases?  We highly encourage you to read this piece.  Have questions about the creation or distribution of multimedia within the PR process?  Let us know!


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.


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.


BW Fun Fact: Business Wire Has Been Adding Multimedia to Press Releases for More Than a Decade

March 14, 2011

In 1997, Business Wire introduced the Smart News Release (SNR), which allowed users to embed photos, audio, video and other multimedia into press releases. Not only does multimedia help a press release stand out to reporters or readers, but it also increases the reach of a release in search engines. Although often overlooked, Google Images receives a huge amount of search traffic and can actually drive readers back to your release. Our research has found that releases with multimedia receive 1.7 times more reads than those without.

Back when we first introduced SNRs, clients would often provide us with hard-copy photos, which were then scanned by Business Wire editors to be made available in high resolution to media and web viewers. Today, we distribute hundreds of releases with multimedia every week.

Check out what some of our experienced editors have to say about how best to submit multimedia and best practices for writing photo captions.


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.


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