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.


Multimedia Upgrades on BusinessWire.com: New Layout, Navigation, and Video Options

February 15, 2008

After discussing our overall website redesign in an earlier post, in this post we’ll focus on our new multimedia features on BusinessWire.com.

If you work in PR, Advertising, Marketing, or any kind of function that has to do with communicating with audiences, you’ve probably noticed already how important online multimedia has become in organizations’ new communications mix. At Business Wire we’ve had front row seats to see how a lot of companies started changing their online multimedia strategies in recent years. As a result we’ve been continuously updating our own offerings to best assist professional communicators and make sure we help them reach the audiences they look for in the best possible ways.

As part of our efforts, earlier this week we announced three new features that make multimedia a lot more visible on our site, allow our various user groups to easily find the kind of multimedia they need, and improve the user experience, sharing options, and measurement around video.

New Multimedia Gallery on the Press Release Page:

The first change we announced is placing the entire multimedia gallery on the press release page. While traditionally in our industry multimedia was often considered a separate part of the press release — placed in specific sections of websites where users needed to navigate to especially — we at Business Wire have shown the first two multimedia assets on the press release page itself, and then linked those to the full multimedia gallery. However, experience has taught us that internet users are busy and overburdened with information. Unless users absolutely need something, they often won’t go out of their way to look for it. Also, when forced to navigate several levels deep on a website, some users may drop out in the process. Therefore we decided to bring multimedia directly to the user and make sure all the multimedia associated with a press release is immediately visible to all, without having to navigate away from the press release page.

New press release page layout with full multimedia gallery

The screenshot above shows how our full multimedia gallery is now an inseparable part of our clients’ press releases. Whether a release goes out with just one or two multimedia assets, or with a full set of photos, videos, audio files, logos, or pdfs, all those assets from now on are immediately visible to anyone looking at our client’s release, from the first moment they land on the page. This leads to much greater exposure to each asset, that ultimately can increase media and blogger pick-up.

New Web2.0-style navigation:

Showing all multimedia was just the first step though: as many of our clients know, Business Wire serves multiple constituents. We serve journalists, who often need high quality multimedia to download and repurpose for their stories. We have increasing usage by bloggers, who want to embed multimedia on their blogs and link to other sites; we have end-users who simply want to see an image or play a video without saving any files; and then there are also analysts, traders, industry executives, and so on.

Our goal at Business Wire is to be able to serve all of these audiences in the right way so they are able to quickly and easily find what they’re looking for. So in order to give our users all the variants they need: hi resolution, low resolution, thumbnail, etc. or various video and audio variants, while minimizing the amount of navigation layers on our site, we’ve introduced new web2.0-style navigation menus for multimedia.

So now, when a user hovers on the thumbnail of a multimedia asset, they get all the options in a new menu that opens right there and then, whatever it is they’re looking for. Journalists can easily access high resolution downloadable multimedia files, bloggers can quickly find embeddable and linkable media, and end-users enjoy immediate viewing options. And the best part is that all these options are now only one click away from any press release, improving the user experience, helping drive more traffic to our clients’ multimedia, and once again, increasing the likelihood of gaining more pick-up.

New hover menus on Business Wire's multimedia thumbnails

New Video Player:

Finally, let’s focus on video: for several years Business Wire has been publishing videos using popular download formats such as Quicktime, Windows Media, and Real Media in several file sizes for users who needed to save and repurpose full files. We’ve also made all videos available on sharing sites such as YouTube, MySpace Video, Google Video, and Blip.tv, which is a great consumer-facing benefit, but is still a separate part of our site, and therefore provides a different kind of usage environment, and no unified measurement. So we decided to introduce our own branded video player that quickly and easily plays content from our site to end-users, can be embedded by bloggers on their own sites, and provides our clients with additional measurement in the reports we generate. And of course, we continue to make all videos available on leading video sharing sites. So now any user can easily play content distributed via Business Wire in the destination and format of their choosing, whether it is on YouTube or on BusinessWire.com, and whether by playing directly or downloading for other purposes. And the data from our own video player and downloadable files is easily shown in the measurement reports we provide clients.

So for example, here is where users can find all of Business Wire’s multimedia for a specific press release on our own site.

And here’s is how a You Tube embed would look like from the Business Wire Channel:


 

And finally, here is an example blog showing how the Business Wire embedded player would look like on another blog:

Example blog post with Business Wire Video

With a full multimedia gallery on the press release page, new web2.0 navigation menus offering 1-click access to all multimedia, and our new branded video player, we’re putting multimedia in the forefront so our clients can take full advantage of these benefits. We encourage you to check out the new features, and as always, feel free to let us know what you think. If you have questions on the best ways to utilize multimedia for your next release, don’t hesitate to drop us a line or call your local Business Wire representative.


Adding Video to Press Releases Can Triple Your Hits

January 31, 2008

Business Wire’s own Thomas Becktold, Senior VP of Marketing, waxes philosophical in a vlog with Doug Simon of DS Simon Vlog Views. Doug is President & CEO of D S Simon Productions, a video production and distribution company.

In the 3:33 vlog, Tom notes that press releases with video or multimedia often deliver TRIPLE the hits of those without. Hmmmm…seems good things come in threes.


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