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.
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!
by Sandy Malloy, Senior Information Specialist, Business Wire
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.
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.
by Joseph Miller, EON Product Manager, Business Wire Austin
Business Wire’s distribution and technology products have evolved considerably throughout the years (we’re celebrating our 50th anniversary next year!).
With the advent of Internet distribution and other standards along with prolific creation of digital media such as photos and videos, we’ve been quick to adopt multimedia distribution solutions along with more traditional “text” distribution of our press releases. Today, we distribute hundreds, if not thousands, of releases with attached photos or videos every week.
And while it will likely always be true that journalists do not prefer to be bombarded with attachments, a succinct release with links to relevant multimedia and related resources can be extremely useful in telling your stories. This is especially true as newsrooms continue to evolve and journalists across the world are being asked to do more with less every day.
With that said, let’s get on to the data! Thinking of the impact multimedia has on release performance, we recently examined data from our internal NewsTrak reports across all Business Wire releases year to date. One metric we examined was the Top 500 releases based on “release reads”, an analog to page views, of each release. Of the top 500, a full 23% of our Top 500 releases include multimedia (photos & videos beyond logos), while only 5% of all releases include multimedia.
From this, we can conclude that including multimedia greatly increases your chances of distributing a “hit release.”
Beyond that, we looked at the average number of release reads across all releases. Once we segmented out releases with and without multimedia, we found that the average release with multimedia has received 1.7 times more release reads than those without.
So there you have it. If you want to increase the odds of your press releases outperforming their peers, it’s a great idea to add multimedia.
A successful marketing or PR campaign involves a lot of components, and chief among them is great content. Part of that content is, obviously, text. Searchability guides much of marketing today, and properly written text means better search results.
But another key component is multimedia. Compelling product demonstrations, captivating commercials, videos that go viral . . . any of these might make or break a campaign. We at Business Wire have long been a proponent of including multimedia with a press release. We launched the Smart News Release, the first such product in the industry, in 1997. Over the past few years, we’ve uploaded more than 1,300 videos by our users onto our YouTube channel, among other popular video outlets.
Today we’ve taken yet another step, teaming with leading sales and marketing video producer MEDIAmobz to give our users access to the best in video communications for their news. Read all about the Business Wire/MEDIAmobz team-up, or check out the video below for more information.
Online video is the Internet’s It Girl right now: Viewership of online video is up more than a third, Hulu and its streaming full-length shows are the #2 video site on the web (stealing eyes from TV screens), and it seems like even your grandmother is vlogging on YouTube now.
But with all those tens millions of videos being watched, who’s really watching? That apparently depends on how long your video is.
According to a new study by TubeMogul, people are watching a lot of videos, but they aren’t watching for very long. More than 10% of viewers click away after the first 10 seconds of a video, and after a minute, more than half the audience is gone.
While TubeMogul’s data has a number of caveats and limitations, and they seem to be concerned with the implications for pre- and post-roll advertising, I’m more interested for what it says about PR-related video content — product demos, talking-head interviews, etc.
We always advise our own users to keep their videos short; ideally, less than 5 minutes long. (As you can see from the graph above, fewer than 10% of users will hang around for more than 5 minutes.) Rather than include a lengthy video with your multimedia press release, create a short excerpt, and make the full video available for download or by request. It’s easier to keep viewers for a minute or two, and leave them wanting (and requesting!) more, than to keep them around for three, four, five minutes or longer. And it both builds interaction and encourages social media penetration — users will be more likely to share and recommend shorter videos, and when they come to you for more, it opens up a dialogue between you and consumers, media and other audiences.
So, in short, keep it short! For some great examples of what our own users are doing with video: