How Snapchat is Disrupting the News Industry

September 24, 2015

By Natasha Artavia, Business Wire

While you may have disregarded Snapchat as a serious contender for news distribution in the ever growing social media Snapchat_Logosphere, you may want to reconsider.

Launched in 2011, Snapchat is a messaging app that allows users to communicate with annotated images and video clips that disappear once viewed. It is the perfect representation of the future of news sharing as it merges text with images, a process that taps into innate human learning ability thus allowing users to instantly understand what the reader is trying to portray.

According to Snapchat’s own internal data, 4 billion (and counting) videos are viewed on the mobile app each day. Think about that for a moment. 4 billion videos are uploaded and shared and viewed on a daily basis between Snapchat’s users. Now, while most of those videos are user generated content, consider the impact this platform has on the news sharing and consumption.


News is travelling at a breakneck speed and becoming more and more socialized now that mobile devices are established threads in our social DNA. How prevalent are smartphones? According to a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center, approximately 64 percent of American adults and 85 percent of young adults own smartphones.

When you factor in app downloads and user engagement on smart phones and other devices, Snapchat’s disruption of the news industry shouldn’t come as a surprise. Media firms are always striving to increase their audience range and Snapchat provides them access to a huge, demanding audience in the 18-34 year old range.

This is where Snapchat’s Discover comes in to play. To date, 15 media outlets (including Mashable, CNN, ESPN and National Geographic, to name a few) have joined in on this new way of distributing news. Easily accessible, Snapchat users tap on the icon of the media outlet they are interested in and view short bursts of breaking news in the form of videos, photographs, interviews, etc. These Snaps present a condensed, media rich platform to share today’s latest breaking news, highlights from the last Sunday’s football game, to clips on how to bake the perfect pizza.

While the Discover channel partners are limited in number, they provide Snapchat’s 100 million daily users with fresh content that they can consume and share. And where Discover allows companies like IGN to craft these catchy, modern news reels, others are creating and using their Snapchat accounts to engage with their audiences and consumers directly.

For marketing purposes, this intimacy between company and consumer can be extremely beneficial. Through exclusive visual content, consumers have the opportunity to see behind-the-scenes of the companies and brands they follow and are loyal to. From the debut of the latest products to mini-interview clips, this social channel is providing business with a new way to approach their brand and gain loyal consumers.

Snapchat’s visual interface is in many ways the future of global news.  It allows organizations to reach wider audiences popeincluding international audiences without the need for translations, as it presents the news in a visuals first format.

Brands using Snapchat to reach audiences must be prepared for their news to disappear as well as to be snapped and shared again.  Of course, this means this type of transparency needs to be handled with extreme care. Even though Snapchat boasts brevity and the 24-hour expiration date of each Snap, users are able to save content via screen captures and through the app itself.

While Snapchat continues to grow, and the demand for more user-friendly news content increases, it will be interesting to see the new ways in which more traditional news outlets create, package and disseminate to the public.

Interested in learning more about the future of visual news?  Download our free guide:  Let’s Get Visual to learn the science behind visual news as well as the steps you need to take to create it yourself.

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[Case Study] Word of Mouth in the Social Media Age: EDEKA

September 22, 2015

Seval Dogan, Marketing Specialist, Business Wire

From word of mouth to electronic word of mouth
Traditionally, word of mouth (henceforth, WOM) was primarily based on face-to-face, interpersonal interaction between a receiver and a communicator.

According to the Cambridge dictionary, WOM is the process of telling people about a particular product or service, usually yay-1463767-digitalbecause it is good and you want to encourage them to try it. This makes WOM one of the most credible and effective forms of advertising, simply because every time a person recommends to his/her peers, friends or colleagues a product or service, he/she puts his/her own credibility and reputation at stake.

Positive WOM, therefore, is one of the most important influences on organizational performance as every happy customer can be turned into one of the most committed brand fans. When activated properly, positive WOM can have a substantial impact on a company’s fortune by generating more brand awareness and by helping to successfully grow the customer database.

However, in today’s digitized world, companies face a new significant challenge. There is a real impact of speed and connectivity on word-of-mouth discussions. Today’s web-based consumer platforms have shaped a new way of sharing personal opinions: the electronic word of mouth (eWOM). Social media revolutionized not only the way individuals interact on a daily basis, but also the way companies create and grow brand awareness and loyalty via WOM. Social networks are a central place for dialogue and exchange, replacing traditional face-to-face discussions. As a result, opinions travel much faster than before, and the public image of a company has become more fragile and sensitive than ever before.

One way of generating positive eWOM is through viral marketing. The remainder of this article deals with a success story of a viral marketing campaign produced for EDEKA, one of the largest supermarket chains in Germany, by the German advertising agency Jung von Matt. While there are several key important elements to the EDEKA case (most of which are discussed below), one of the strongest elements however is that social media has been strategically used to stimulate positive eWOM.

How EDEKA leveraged eWOM for Success:  The Case of EDEKA: ‘Supergeil’ and ‘Kassensymphonie’
EdekaFounded in 1898, EDEKA is one of the largest and most recognizable food retailers in Germany. Aimed at expanding its audience to reach younger buyers by changing the corporate image from a conservative retailer to a more modern one, EDEKA joined forces with Hamburg-based advertising agency Jung von Matt. In 2014 they set up a campaign which deviated greatly from the conventional advertising and marketing standards followed by most German retailers. EDEKA and Jung von Matt produced two successful YouTube-based campaigns  that became worldwide hits, receiving national and international media coverage. EDEKA gained more than 2,000 new YouTube subscribers, over 4,500 additional Facebook Fans, more than 1,700 Twitter mentions and increased engagement on their social media channels (source: Fanpage Karma). The success of their brand campaign even secured the supermarket company its own Edeka 2reality-cooking show (‘Das Erfolgsrezept’) from RTL, a leading national TV channel.

The first spot, labeled with the rather obscene word ‘Supergeil’ (meaning ‘super cool’), launched in 2014 and reached over 14 million YouTube views within a short period of time.

Did it work?
edeka 3The EDEKA campaigns relied on visually rich content and unique storytelling elements to recreate and reposition their brand to appeal to younger demographics. They cleverly turned products and services into relatable stories, and the entertaining nature of the videos engaged users both on an emotional and intellectual level.

Generating Positive eWOM: Key Success factors
Broadly speaking, it is difficult to predict what content will trigger positive eWOM and if it will go viral on social media. Nevertheless, there are certain elements that increase the probability. As Jennifer Aaker, Professor of Marketing at Stanford Graduate School of Business, noted, people remember information when it is weaved into narratives “up to 22 times more than facts alone.”

As the Internet is becoming increasingly image rich, content that includes visuals attract more attention than content without. Videos are especially on the rise as they are highly engaging and allow a multi-sensory experience. Movement, facial expressions and human voices are more believable, more authentic. These factors help to quickly establish a connection to the viewer and generate more awareness.

Word of mouth is one of the most important factors in a modern communication program. Click here to share this information on Twitter:

News Sharing in the Age of Social Platforms

August 24, 2015

Many say that social media started as a college campus phenomenon. People wanted to know where the party was and who was going. Many of those same early adopters now have mortgages, kids, careers and a lot more headaches. They also still have accounts on those same social media platforms. Just as daily interests change for people when they’re ten years removed from frats, sororities and mixers, so has the use for social media.

Pew Internet 2015 news consumption via socia;

Pew Research Center released a study recently and the results will make you think of Facebook and Twitter like you think of Bloomberg News and the Wall Street Journal. As the original social platform user’s interests changed over the years, so has their use of social media. These platforms now serve as a news source, influencing opinions, purchases and professional decisions. What do you see on your wall when you log in?

The exact figures of how people are using Facebook and Twitter can be found in greater detail here.

What does this mean for the future of news distribution? The impact of the digital revolution is being felt daily, and every industry, including corporate communication, is adjusting to how news consumers are getting their fill. The internet is not a new resource, but interactive platforms such as social media are changing where people look for breaking news. People trust people they know, and reading news on the advice of a friend or colleague is transforming how news is distributed and consumed.

When you really think about it, what do you look for when logging into Facebook?

Think Globally and Act Locally with Business Wire’s New Multilingual Twitter Feeds

July 1, 2015

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social + Evolving Media

Business Wire today increased the visibility of its global news content with the launch of 19 new language-based Twitter feeds. This initiative is a continuation of Business Wire’s thinking globally, acting locally efforts aimed at ensuring our client’s news reaches local audiences around the world.

wire pic2

Business Wire’s new language-based Twitter feeds will enhance its already strong social media presence, bringing its Twitter news feed presence to a total of 84 accounts.  The new Twitter handles feature tweets based on news releases distributed in the following languages: Chinese (CN), Chinese (HK), Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish.

Business Wire’s new language specific feeds can be found at the following URLs:

Have questions about our new multilingual Twitter feeds, or want to learn more about Business Wire?  Let us know.

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How Has Digital Changed Communication

June 25, 2015

The internet changed almost everything. Most facets of life are now either shaped or directly dictated by the internet, especially the way we communicate. How has the internet changed communication? Cathy Baron Tamraz, CEO of Business Wire, answers that question with one word: multimedia.

“My prediction is that multimedia will be a part of every single news release,” Cathy said to Tim Bahr, CEO of Nextworks, during a conversation on the future of business news communications. The conversation, taking place during this past SXSW, touched upon the Smart News Release (SNR), a news release enhancement first launched by Business Wire in 1995. The ability for a commercial newswire to embed graphics into a news release and transmit it to news media outlets via the SNR was the first marriage of multimedia with text. It wasn’t just a news release with an image or video, it was an entirely new and unique asset for media recipients. What are the benefits of this marriage?

A recent study by Microsoft finds that human attention spans have dropped to 8 seconds. That means by the time you’re reading this sentence, you’re probably ready for some visual stimulation. Today’s constant stream of multimedia might be a cause for society’s diminishing focus, but it can also serve as the cure. A picture has long been touted as being worth a thousand words, making video exponentially more valuable. By including a video with a news release, you are intriguing the audience on multiple senses. According to Northern Michigan University’s Academic & Career Advisement Center, approximately 30% of people are auditory learners. By incorporating video with audio into your news release, you are reaching a larger audience than by just including images alone.

The importance of video to public relations is not a surprise. Tamraz elaborated on her comments about multimedia explaining that, “people think visually.” Videos provide the public with news in an easy to consume and engaging format.

It’s been twenty years since the launch of the Smart News Release. How have communications assets evolved in the age of Web 2.0?

PR pros are always looking for ways to amplify a news release – a tool that raises visibility of a company, and encourages engagement of the news within key audiences. And, as Tamraz says in the video, assets such as News Capsules provide that very boost to any news release. A News Capsule is a tool that allows a brand to tell a story using interactive multimedia. It’s the gamification of the news release and it boasts an average reader engagement time of 6:12 minutes. That number really jumps out at you when you compare it with the 20 to 30 seconds it takes to read a text-only news release.

Why are capsules so effective in increasing the impact of a news release? Tamraz describes this multimedia asset as the “crossover between news, corporate communications, and marketing.” Advances in internet connectivity continue to blur lines for every industry, whether it is multimedia, communication, or distribution. By offering information in a way that can be learned both visually and kinesthetically, the News Capsule is a tool that blurs the lines between varied forms of communication. This makes it an ideal asset for amplifying a company message on a multitude of platforms.

The future of public relations and audience activation is interactive content. For Meghan Gross, president of Gem Strategic Goulston StorrsCommunications, a picture capsule was the best way to tell a year’s worth of stories. She recommended using a picture capsule to a professional services client of hers as a way to reach their core audience. In this case, the client wanted to showcase the importance of climate change by bringing attention back to all the great content they created that year. The News Capsule allowed Gem to create one single asset that hosted all of the client’s created content, allowing them to present their entire story in one outreach. Of course, once a capsule goes out, as Cathy Baron Tamraz says, it “travels.” Capsules are sharable and embeddable allowing users to embed it in stories, social channels, websites and more.

The internet proved to not be a trend and neither will mobile platforms. The digital revolution succeeded and we now find ourselves in the digital age. And now, every aspect of life revolves in some way around the era we live in, just like during the Industrial Age that preceded it. How are you adapting your communication practices for the growing needs of today’s digital, visual society?

To learn more about digital influence on news distribution read the following articles:

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Snacking On News … Will It Fill Your Brain?

June 23, 2015

Simona Bio

By Simona Colletta, International Media Relations Specialist – Paris

The internet helps people understand new things like the best way to clean a bicycle chain, proper snooker techniques, and how to change a car’s head lamp. But, according to a recent Pew Research Center study, the internet is not helping people comprehend the news. The study found that only 42 percent of people were able to answer basic questions about the news.

How could this be? Why are people so uninformed about the news when they have so many options to get the news? Maybe it’s precisely because they have all of those options. People are no longer digging into news stories and completely digesting them; instead, they are merely snacking on the news. According to the study, 59 percent of the time people do not read past the headlines on internet stories. The snacking is light, it seems.


While the Pew Research Center Study doesn’t identify study participants by geographic location, I live in France and was recently alerted to an Odoxa survey done for Trooclick, a French start-up company that developed an opinion-driven search engine which uses a natural language processing technology to gather news and opinions online. The survey reveals some interesting data on how the French view today’s news landscape.

85 percent of French people believe that they have more information available

Between ongoing chains of information, online news sites, search engines, and social networks, the French feel more informed than they did ten years ago. A whopping 85 percent of them believe they have more information on the news. This finding is shared widely across the population, regardless of age, social class, or income level.

Graph 1

The French do not feel more informed

If the French have won in terms of quantity of information available to them on the internet, they certainly don’t feel they have won in terms of quality. Although 77 percent consider the available information on current events is becoming more varied, only a minority believes that information is becoming more useful.

It must be noted that the internet offers so much in terms of information, but that information is often scattered, poorly organized and frequently redundant. The result? Of every 10 articles read, less than half are read in full (4.5 exactly). A tiny minority of French (8 percent) read every article in full.

Graph 2

Nearly 7 out of 10 French are interested in a free online service that would deliver them a summary of every point of view on a news event

The logical conclusion to the results of the survey (and encouraging for Business Wire and Trooclick) is that 66 percent of French people would be interested in a free online service that would deliver to them a summary of all current events. The youngest were the most interested: 8 out of 10 would be keen on this kind of online service.

Snacking on the news is not bad in and of itself, but we should be attentive, as we are in our kitchen, to the quality and reliability of what we snack upon. In this massive jungle of media and information, a reader can now count on interactive tools that help him/her to select the best “product” and follow his/her fields of interest.

Have a bite!

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The Reality of Virtual Reality? It’s Getting Real

May 20, 2015

Matt Allinson Bio Pic By Matt Allinson – Media Relations Manager, International Markets

Before a session on using immersive 3D devices for experiential storytelling began at the International Symposium On Online Journalism (ISOJ) in Austin a few weeks ago, symposium organizer Rosental Alves proclaimed that this would be the session most remembered in ten years. After the session ended, I was pretty certain his prediction will be right.

Virtual reality (VR), long promised but never totally delivered, seems to be on the cusp of completely taking over our lives. Want to look around a home before you rent/buy without ever setting foot in it? Go ahead:

Want to stand next to Paul McCartney’s piano during a concert and look upon him or out at the crowd? There’s an app for that. Want to walk around the edge of the Space Needle without making your stomach jump through your throat? You will be able to do that soon as well.

The session on virtual reality featured a panel of three academic/industry professionals and was moderated by Robert Hernadez (aka @webjournalist), a “hackademic” at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Hernandez explained that the main reason the VR adoption rate is at an all time high is because the technology to use it is finally widely available. “There are more mobile devices in the world than toothbrushes,” Hernandez quipped.  Because VR technology can now be used via tablets and phones, and because of Oculus Rift’s meteoric rise, the audience is finally ready, he said. And it seems the journalist community is also ready.

In April, The New York Times Magazine commissioned an artist to create a 150-foot-tall black and white image of a 20-year-old Azerbaijani immigrant onto the sidewalk in front of Manhattan’s Flatiron Building and filmed the enterprise for a VR experience called “Walking New York.”

Walking New York

Walking New York

The Des Moines Register recently created a virtual experience that allowed viewers to explore a sixth-generation Iowa farm in the midst of substantial change. And Nonny de la Peña, a fellow at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and the founder of the VR company Emblematic Group (and a speaker at the ISOJ session), shared some immersive journalism projects she has been working on including “Project Syria” and “One Dark Night.” The former puts the viewer in the Aleppo district of Syria where they bear witness to a rocket strike and the aftermath. The latter puts the viewer on the scene of the killing of Trayvon Martin. Both are VR-powered reenactments designed to give the audience a sense of actually “being there” and allowing them to experience the moments that alter lives and make headlines.

While the journalism industry continues to experiment with and embrace VR technology, it’s safe to say the video game and real estate industries are already deeply in love with it. It’s also safe to say that many other industries will be following suit in the not-too-distant future. The possibilities for the PR and advertising industries seem limitless. VR technology is probably a natural fit for the tourism industry. And what if you were able to virtually wander around an old antique store in the middle of nowhere and find that unique and perfect gift? Retailers of all shapes and sizes should be looking closely at what is on the horizon.

Whatever the future holds, now is the time for leaders of companies and industry to begin considering the possibilities. The opportunity to innovate has never been better … and that’s the simple reality.

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