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.


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.


Local Coverage Can Transcend the Community it Serves

May 11, 2012

by Molly Pappas, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire Boston

Last Thursday, over 100 PR and communications professionals attended Business Wire Boston’s media panel breakfast event focused on the ever-changing media landscape.  Panelists from the Boston Business Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Boston Herald, Patch.com and Mass High Tech discussed how news is changing in a digital environment, ways publications measure success and the differing views on paywalls.

Panelists included Frank Quaratiello, Boston Herald’s business editor, George Donnelly, executive editor at Boston Business Journal, Mass High Tech’s newest associate editor, Don Seiffert, associate regional editor of Patch.com, Abby Jordan, and Leigh Montgomery, Christian Science Monitor’s librarian.  Business Wire’s own Sanford Paek, Group Vice President of Eastern U.S. and Canada, served as moderator.

L-R: Sanford Paek, Frank Quaratiello, George Donnelly, Abby Jordan, Leigh Montgomery, Don Seiffert

Here are some of the highlights from the discussion:

News changing in a digital environment:

  • Digital formatting has changed the way in which the media address their audience.  In terms of storytelling, the visual experience online can be interesting.  Donnelly says the Boston Business Journal runs two to three slideshows a week.
  • The Boston Herald has played around with its homepage and moved the video player there, and has since seen a dramatic increase on time spent on the site.  Videos bring in about 180,000 views.
  • Digital environments have brought about a different world of immediacy to Jordan and her Patch.com team.  They do not wait for an end-of-the-day deadline like print publications; instead, they are continually updating their sites, usually five to seven times a day.  “The site is not just for people to consume, but to interact with,” says Jordan.  For example, people can upload their own events on the site for display.
  • “We need to put aside old media/new media; it’s just media,” says Montgomery.  In 2009, the Christian Science Monitor was the first international publication to drop its daily print and move to a Web daily only.  They still adhere to a publishing schedule, but she says they have more flexibility to publish throughout the day online (usually 30 stories per day).
  • Seiffert has found that the length of stories and deadlines are affected by the digital environment.  “There are losses to the digital age.  You lose the ability to report longer, more well-crafted stories,” he says.

Measuring success:

  • Patch.com is unique in that it does not have a print subscription number to base its success on.  “We are the new kids on the block.  We measure success on the number of unique visitors on the site, the number of comments on a story, how our readers interact with the site,” Jordan says.
  • For Quaratiello and the Boston Herald, circulation of print product is an obvious measure of success.  But it’s also about the visitors online, who are building a community and using the Herald as a “meeting place” of sorts.  The Herald has helped create a forum, engaging the paper and its readers.
  • As an online publication, the Christian Science Monitor can draw on a lot of online usage data, such as quizzes, to monitor success.  The core, however, is solution seeking, Montgomery says.  When a story is being discussed and you hear and see it in conversation, that is considered a measure of success.
  • While the Boston Business Journal has really embraced analytics, they try not to allow it to be the sole decision maker on the news they cover and publish.  “We want to give people as much as we can in an interesting way,” says Donnelly.
  • For Seiffert, there is a constant struggle between balancing context and ‘hits.’  “We measure success on Tweets, join/follows on Facebook, the most read and most emailed articles.  But there is a danger of losing the personal connection,” he says.

Paid content vs. free:

  • “Readers aren’t tired of free news, the newspapers are tired of giving out free news,” says Seiffert.
  • “I do not think paid online subscriptions will be successful.  It’s just not going to pay the bills,” says Quaratiello.  Donnelly, however, disagrees.  He sees the tide turning in the other direction, and believes that it’s necessary. “Newspapers are realizing that readers need to subsidize revenue.  Newspapers are dispersing news worth paying for.  Valuable news shouldn’t be free,” he argues.
  • Patch.com has not looked at a paywall.  They use metrics to get advertisers, thus bring in revenue.
  • Because of the Christian Science Monitor’s multiplatform model (Internet first and paid print subscriptions), Montgomery believes the publication will be self-sustaining by 2017 because of the revenue they bring in.

The panelists ended the event with a few quick pointers on how they like to be pitched:

  • Seiffert always likes to talk to someone directly.  However, if that isn’t possible, provide links or pointers to other primary sources he can contact.
  • “When we get information, our day begins.  It’s frustrating and annoying when someone sends in a release at 5, then leaves and we can’t get them on the phone,” Quaratiello says.
  • Both Jordan and Donnelly are happy to accept photos, but he advises that they be no more than 1 megabyte.  Editors and reporters are weary of opening photo attachments because they can cause computers to freeze or shut down.

For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit our events page or follow Business Wire events on Twitter, hashtag #bwchat.


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.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 39,436 other followers

%d bloggers like this: