A picture’s worth a thousand words – but how much for the caption?

April 24, 2015

By Hannah Kelly, Business Wire Paris

Here at Business Wire, we know that over half of journalists and media professionals are more likely to review a press release that includes multimedia, and that images/photographs are one of the top content types for the online newsroom, but in order to truly launch effective multimedia, we must remember one very important detail – the caption.

When looking for the first time at a news release, readers’ attention immediately goes to the caption, and then the added image. This creates the ideal opportunity for you.  With up to twice as many people reading captions than body copy, captions provide an excellent opportunity to attract the reader’s attention. This short but sweet accompanying paragraph is your key to unlocking the image – it is the who, what, where, when, why and how, all rolled into one short sentence.

Small Town Big Fish Caption

Immediately after reading the caption, the reader will flick back to the image, and view it, usually, from a different perspective. This is more commonly known as the loop, and is essential to engaging the reader. The photo and the caption complement each other, building suspense and satisfying curiosity.

But it is not only that captions define images, captions put images into context. In many instances, the caption and image can result in coverage when an article is not possible. Business Wire captions can be up to 100 words each, more than enough space to create a connection between image and story.

ServiceNow Caption Example

Given the importance of captions, and their role in not only increasing coverage but building connections between your product and your customer, what are the best practices for writing one?

  • Use prepositional phrases, interesting adjectives and action verbs
    The caption should focus on action, and help the article to progress, while providing as much information as possible as to the relevancy of the multimedia to the news you are sharing
  • Use phrases that have been cut out of the main narrative
    This is the ideal time to retrieve phrases that were cut out for length reasons, but that are still pertinent to the text and work well with the release
  • Do not repeat body copy
    For the simple reason that nobody likes déjà vu, whatever they’re reading!
  • Provide information that’s not available by simply looking at the photo
    A reader will look at the caption to learn more, not for reinforcement of already formed ideas. Captions allow you, the brand, to define the image and those captured in it, properly.
  • And, finally, do not use the phrases “above” or “pictured here”.
    These phrases are of little use to reporters who may choose to use your image and caption instead of the entire press release.

Tony Romo Caption

Multimedia is more important than ever within the news creation and sharing process. The caption serves as a reference, increases the impact of the image and adds to the credibility of the piece.  Don’t overlook it, instead take advantage of this space and use it to not only increase coverage of your news, but conversions as well.

Click here to share this tips for creating the perfect caption: http://ctt.ec/86l8j

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Top 5 Things Journalists Look for in a News Release

April 6, 2015

By Vilan Trub, Business Wire

Journalists and media professionals get bombarded daily with emails and news releases. Those same journalists and media professionals also don’t have a lot of time. Make sure that you’re doing everything you can to grab their attention by giving them exactly what they’re looking for. What are they looking for?

Who are you?

Before you write your news release, you have to answer one big question.  What is the name of a great The Who song, the theme song to a CSI spin-off, and the question that every news release must answer?

Who are you?

yay-15034446-digital

News is an industry of trust, so always ask yourself, why should journalists trust me? Treat a press release like a self-endorsement when trying to arrange a blind date. What are your best features and why would you (or your news release) be a perfect match for someone? It’s also good to have a trusted mutual friend, such as a newswire service, to make the introduction to your desired media outlet. Remember, you must woo a journalist with your release.

A key tip is to include a well-written boilerplate  at the bottom of your release. A boilerplate is a mini-bio of your company that lets the reader know exactly what you do.

A Headline Comes First
Before a journalist reads your release, they first see the headline. The headline is like a trailer to a movie, one that is well made will garner the interest of the audience. A bad headline, however, is the last thing that gets read before a journalist moves on to their next email.

A good tip for putting together a strong headline is to remember what the reader is looking for: information. Avoid using click-bait tactics because media pros have developed a keen sense of what to look out for. There are good reads online about the difference between click-bait and a well-made news releases, so make sure to be on the lookout.

CoSchedule Headline Analyzer

There is even an online headline analyzer by CoSchedule to help you craft the perfect headline that hooks the reader in and doesn’t let go.

The Ws
Journalists aren’t looking to read Moby Dick when opening your news release. Today’s reporters are looking for two key 5 Wselements.  They want to know the facts, and they want to know the story behind the facts – the one that tells why the product was made, who it impacts, what that impact was and why it would impact the publication’s core audience.  This is when you turn to your “W”s!

Who, what, where, when, and why is an exercise taught in elementary schools so that students can get a grasp of how to break down a story to its most basic and relevant elements. Use this same exercise when drafting your release because journalists don’t want to go looking for key story elements. By reducing the amount of work needed for a third party to tell your story you will find a much higher likelihood of coverage and engagement with your news.

Social Sharing

Social Media is Honey – Use It
Every news release is designed to attract readers. In the digital age, social media has become a swap meet where information is traded free of charge. Including social media links to your news release gives people the opportunity to easily distribute your news, the very same news you want covered by journalists. The name of the game is reach so make it easier for people to distribute and redistribute your release.

Multimedia
Cavemen didn’t write paragraphs about the beauty of horses. They made drawings on cave walls that are easy to understand even today! Believe it or not, that was the earliest form of multimedia.

Thanks to technical and mobile device advancements and penetration, humans are creating and consuming multimedia at unheard of rates. When thinking about crafting your press release, you must understand that multimedia supplements are no longer optional. Reporters and consumers use multimedia to create emotional connections and to showcase the real “why” behind your news.

In a 2014 Business Wire study of more than 300 journalists and media professionals, more than half (54%) are more likely to review a press release that includes multimedia than one that does not. The preferred media are photographs, by a staggering 73% of those participating in the survey.

bizwiremultimedia

But even multimedia is changing. With more than 63% of the world being visual and interactive learners, static multimedia is being replaced with interactive assets such as the Business Wire News and Picture Capsules that create engagement opportunities for newsreaders. These capsules are so engaging that the average viewer is now spending between 4-10 minutes per Capsule, just consuming the related content they host. Check out the one Six Flags used to announce one of their famous roller coasters would be running backwards for a limited time.

Batman

Hundreds of news releases are sent out each day, make sure that your next one stands out. Follow these steps to grab the reader and make sure that they’re getting, and sharing your message.


Selfies Are Here To Stay…

March 2, 2015

Guest Contributor: Marie Baker, Vice President,Social Media, Coyne PR

…So says the Coyne State of the Selfie report, which takes a deeper look into the ever-popular selfie (or not so popular depending on whom you’re asking).  The report revealed some seriously unbelievable selfie stats; did you know the first selfie was snapped in 1839 by American pioneer and photographer, Robert Cornelius?  We’re pretty sure if Instagram were around back then this selfie would have made it to the popular page.

Selfies-20150211084019681_1

Fast-forward to 2015 – there are now more than 93 million selfies taken worldwide each day. Are you guilty of a daily selfie?  It’s okay to admit it. Most people are posting their selfies to show off something new, like hair, makeup or clothing. Other reasons for snapping a selfie included sharing family time moments, visiting new places or just hitting the gym to show off your physique.

State of the Selfie shared some interesting information discovered by Harvard University. During a recent study they discovered that human arms have grown half an inch over that last two years. Eighty percent of participants polled said they took a selfie at least one time a day. Harvard is now predicting human arms will become 4 to 5 inches longer by the close of the century.  Keep stretching for that perfect angle people – we may be changing the human anatomy!state_of_selfie_infographic

Whether you’re a selfie lover or dread the thought of posing for the camera, State of the Selfie generated some major buzz within the industry. PRNewser, PRWeek snd others shared their love for State of the Selfie.

Our recommendation? Embrace the selfie!  Take selfies with your cat, your grandma and that awesome burrito bowl you had for lunch. Have no shame in your selfie game, and check out the State of the Selfie Report (if you haven’t already)! www.coynepr.com/selfie-report#


The PR Secret Every Communicator Must Know: A good image amplifies your voice

February 3, 2015

By Agnes Deleuse, Sr. Marketing Specialist, Business Wire – Paris

Fact:  In today’s digital world, a news release should absolutely integrate multimedia.  Be it photo, video or infographic, the world is now hungry for visual communication.

Why?  Study after study shows that articles containing images get more views than articles without visual assets.  In fact, in 2012 Jeff Bullas noted that articles can receive up to 94% more views!  Imagery helps to communicate your message.  It 3xconveys the essence of your news, giving viewers an opportunity to bond emotionally with your brand. Adding a photo to your news release will increase your visibility.  And if the visual is good, you can even expect a greater impact for your brand.  Why? If the image is so interesting that people click and share it on social media, it increases the audience and impact of your news.  In fact, Business Wire’s own internal data shows that news releases that include photos, videos and other multimedia elements get three times the number of the views as news releases without it.  So what role will images play in your communication program in 2015?

Over the years, our appreciation of photography has changed. New tools and platforms, including blogs, smartphones and social networks, have played a key role in this development.  Photos are everywhere and are quickly becoming the new way for consumers to communicate.  Instagram and Pinterest are amongst the top social media outlets, bringing imagery to a new level.  Showing huge usage figures across the globe, Snapchat allows users to share their feelings with images, instead of straight text. Today’s top communicators understand the power of high-quality and visually appealing photos to make their news even more attractive to reporters, analysts and consumer audiences.

Photos should be inspirational and appealing to readers, i.e., potential customers.  Aren’t you bored of seeing head shots of CEOs as depicted fifty years ago?  Times have changed! Forget the dull background with your CEO standing straight in front of the camera.  Frontal head shots are over.  Today, your CEO can be outside, sitting in his/her office or standing in an industry unit, relaxed, surrounded by a colorful background, in semi-profile bringing true dynamism to the image.  Picture format can be horizontal (wide format being very trendy).  Choose unexpected perspectives and control the lighting to ensure the focus is in the right place.  The photo should capture the person behind the portrait.  The photo should trigger an emotional connection with the viewer, directly shaping their view of the CEO and the organization they lead.

Solidworks

The same applies for products and commercial imagery.  Inanimate objects can be eye-catching too depending on the angle and the arrangement. Presenting a new product does not need to be formal and in a safe tone.  Elevate your product by re-picturing it.  Trends in 2015 are focusing on creating big, dynamic images on small screens.  Use these images to showcase your organization’s big vision.  Remember that the look and feel of your images conveys meaning in and around your brand messages.

We know today that 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text2.  Getting the right image can be the key to conveying your message in a few seconds. Engaging, effective and meaningful visual communications help consolidate your customers’ perceptions of your business, while simultaneously helping to reinforce your brand’s identity.

So, the next time you send a news release, add imagery that people will remember and want to share.

Liked this piece?  Click here to tweet it out:  http://ctt.ec/hiR0v

Read on for additional information on the role and impact of multimedia in today’s news release process:

1/ Source: jeffbullas.com/2012/05/28/6-powerful-reasons-whyyou-should-include-images-in-your-marketing-infographic
2/ Source: webmarketinggroup.co.uk/Blog/why-every-seo-strategy-needs-infographics-1764.aspx

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Business Wire Shares 4 Tips for Taking Better Photos

July 23, 2014

4 tips for taking better photosWith more than 8.3 billion photos uploaded and shared every day, more and more PR pros are learning how to take fantastic, but also useful, photos.

In our recent CommPro.biz article, Ciaran Ryan interviews two leading photographers who shared their top 4 tips to taking the perfect photo.  You can read the entire piece here.  Have some tips of your own you would like to share?  Add them below in the comments section of this blog.


On-Line Newsroom Webinar asks “Does Yours Convert?”

March 24, 2014

2014 is the year of accessible information; have you updated your online newsroom yet?

We are very excited to announce that our own Vice President of Web Communications, Ibrey Woodall , is joining  Bulldog Reporter’s new “Master Class” webinar titled “Amazing New Power Techniques for Boosting Credibility, Influence and Traffic.” The webinar will focus on ways today’s PR and IR pros can maximize media pickup, online visibility and SEO power ,as well as generate social media buzz, all by simply refreshing their online newsroom.

Newsroom Sample

Sample of a Business Wire Newsroom (Courtesy of Silicon Labs)

In this webinar you will learn how to quickly and easily boost media mentions, improve media relations and dramatically increase your online reach to key stakeholder groups just by providing journalists and the public the information they want and need, immediately across any device.

This PR University webinar workshop will outline the essential social-media integrated features that the best online newsrooms and corporate sites share … and show you exactly what you need to do now to bring your online presence up to speed so you can boost your communications value and maximize digital ROI for PR efforts.

Newsroom Sample 2

Another Business Wire Hosted Newsroom Sample (Courtesy of Medica )

The webinar will take place on Thursday April 3rd at 1pm ET and cost $299 per registrant. To register for the event or to find out more information visit: http://bit.ly/1nyPfmw and please retweet news of this by clicking this link: https://twitter.com/BusinessWire/status/445648733536284673


Involving Reddit in your PR campaign

December 18, 2013
by Paul J.F. Bowman, Senior Editor

Reddit.com, the self-styled “front page of the internet,” is a social bookmarking site currently ranked #80 in the world and #31 in the United States in terms of traffic. The site is a diverse and vibrant global community.Reddit

To get a simple sense of Reddit, visit /r/awww or /r/cute. “/r/” dictates a “subreddit,” a section of Reddit devoted to a specific topic. Two popular subreddits are /r/IAmA (I am a…) and /r/AMA (ask me anything). Admittedly, /r/IAmA and /r/AMA are very similar; Reddit describes their main difference as the number of subscribers (AMA currently has around 53,000 readers while IAmA has over 4 million).

Essentially, both IAmA and AMA are crowdsourced interviews; any Reddit user (“Redditors”) can ask questions of the person/organization submitting themselves for an interview. It’s easily comparable to an online press conference. For example, a well-known skateboarder recently posted an IAmA/AMA:  “Geoff Rowley – Professional Skateboarder. Co-owner of Flip Skateboards and Founder of Civilware Service Corporation.”

As questions were submitted, Rowley chose those he would answer while ignoring questions deemed irrelevant, information sensitive, difficult to answer in time allotted, too personal, etc. By simply answering questions, Rowley was able to promote his skateboarding company, his outdoor supply company as well as an appearance on a video Web series. Redditors asked questions varying from skateboards and shoes to hunting and running a company.

For your next public relations campaign, you might consider a similar IAmA/AMA appearance. The trickiest part is to make sure that you do not violate one of the primary rules: “Obvious nonsense or advertising will be removed – this is up to the discretion of the moderators.” Reddit also asks that you phrase your post in terms of “something uncommon that plays a central role in your life” (ex: “IAmA founder of a non-profit dog grooming organization. AMA!”) or “a truly interesting and unique event” (ex: “I invited the Los Angeles Lakers to my fundraiser and 20 of them attended! AMA!”). Many PR campaign topics fit into these categories; it should be easy to find something unique to focus the post around.

Many notable people have submitted themselves for AMAs; Barack Obama and Bill Gates are among the most successful and publicized. Redditors may also submit requests for people they would like to see participate in an AMA. Actors, authors, comedians, inventors, musicians and scientists are common IAmAs/AMAs.

All of the information to begin an IAmA/AMA is at www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/wiki/. Here are the basic steps after you’ve created a Reddit account:

  1. Decide which community is best for your post.
    Assuming that you’re looking for the most exposure, IAmA is the best place to post. The major downside of the large IAmA audience is that your scheduled time may be overshadowed by a well-known celebrity. Make sure to check the “Upcoming AMAs” schedule in the right margin to find the least-populated timeslot.
  2. Choose a way to prove your identity.
    Options for proof include a work ID, business card, paystub or contract (make sure any sensitive information is blocked out). Posting a note regarding the IAmA/AMA on an official website and/or Twitter account is both allowed and encouraged. The mention should dictate which Reddit username will be used and a link to the AMA once it has been posted to the website.
  3. Request a spot on the “Upcoming AMAs” calendar.
    This is purely a request to the moderators to have the AMA added to their official calendar. Schedule for the daytime of your expected geographic audience. Add the title of your AMA, date/time requested, the description of the person/organization, the username that will be used and the proof gathered from step 2.
  4. Fill out the thread and submit.
    The title should grab people’s attention with the most interesting/intriguing part of the IAmA/AMA. Use the information entered in the Upcoming AMAs request from the previous step.
    Example title: “I am the founder and editor of the first website dedicated exclusively to fire ants, fireanthill.com. AMA!”
    In the next field, write a short biography. Keep in mind that the more relevant information that is provided, the more the Reddit community will be able to engage and ask questions. At the bottom of this field is where you place the verification/proof of identity mentioned in step 2.
    Example text: “I’ve worked as editor of other publications such as LIFE, People and Cat Fancy. Before I started fireanthill.com, the fire ant websites only included research but did not aggregate the many fascinating aspects of fire ants. I’ve been interested in fire ants for 20 years, AMA! Here is a photo of me at home: [LINK], a link to my bio on the website: [LINK], and me in front of a giant fire ant hill: [LINK]”
  5. Make sure the posting worked by visiting reddit.com/r/IAmA/new.
  6. Publicize the link of your IAmA/AMA to websites and social media accounts with the time questions will be answered.
  7. Answer the questions asked of you with genuine interest and passion.
    Many Reddit users can sense when something is purely for publicity. Do not repeatedly focus your answers on the campaign. Genuine responses will garner genuine interest in your company. The majority of self-promotion should be placed in the text of step 4. If the response is lackluster, the post can still be an interesting addition to an “About Us” or “Biography” page.

There have been a number of controversies surrounding the website. Like any other public Internet forum or social media, Redditors can frustrate and antagonize people posting on IAmA or AMA. Woody Harrelson is the most disparaged AMA as he was only willing to answer questions about Rampart, the movie he was promoting at the time. Morgan Freeman (posting under username “OblivionMovie”) had a similar downfall; Redditors deemed his short and canned responses as a PR agency paraphrasing or posting for him rather than Freeman himself.

Remember, there is no guarantee of a successful IAmA/AMA post. However, the more you interact on Reddit (specifically the AMA and IAmA pages), the more you’ll have an understanding of the site and which posts draw people in. This wide-ranging and interesting worldwide community is a great tool for promotion but recognizing what drives its visitors will be key to your success on the site.


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