Seek and Ye Shall Find: The News Release

March 25, 2015

By Neil Hershberg, Senior Vice President, Global Media

The primacy of the news release in the editorial ecosystem has once again been reaffirmed.Google adjusted its algorithms last September to include news releases among the authorized news sources used in gathering its “in the news” search results. Google’s decision had escaped notice until Reuters recently spotlighted the silent shift in search strategy: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/11/us-google-news-idUSKBN0M729A20150311

Simply put, news releases may catapult other sources to earn top ranking in searches focusing on specific companies. The impact on corporate issuers, news consumers, and media organizations promises to be profound in many ways.

Sonic Earnings in Google News

Corporate issuers stand to be the major beneficiaries; companies are now able to convey their message in their own words, unfiltered and without interpretation by others. Their official statements will play a larger role in shaping subsequent conversations, based on heightened visibility.

The biggest challenge for the PR industry is to not abuse the privilege. Following rampant efforts to game the system and artificially elevate search standings, Google introduced various initiatives, i.e. “Hummingbird,” to clamp down on the outsized presence of news releases in its search results.

Google’s release rehabilitation decision provides PR and IR professionals with the opportunity for redemption.

News consumers also stand to benefit on multiple levels. Company statements are an authoritative source of information; they remain extremely popular with many audiences, including investors, product enthusiasts, and peer group professionals.

The renewed prominence of the news release provides users with a direct and simple pathway to this invaluable information resource.

“The goal of search is to get users the right answer at any one time as quickly as possible — that may mean returning an article from an established publisher or from a smaller niche publisher or indeed it might be the press release,” a Google spokeswoman told Reuters.

An unintended consequence of Google’s action is the potential diversion of traffic away from sites operated by news organizations. Industry analysts have noted that Google’s “in the news” modules are a major driver of traffic to news sites, which may see some user slippage.

The reality, however, is that most readers are anxious to get a kaleidoscope of opinions and perspectives; they will likely seek out editorial coverage from trusted third-party sources to supplement the core release.

Bottom line: the news release is more vital than ever, at the very center of the discovery process.

Business Wire NX Distribution Technology

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Listen up! Everything PR and Social Media Pros Need To Know About Meerkat

March 9, 2015

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social & Evolving Media, Business Wire

Welcome to Meerkat!

Welcome to Meerkat!

As Business Wire’s director of social and evolving media, I get asked a lot about the future of social tech and which emerging apps are going to impact the social news distribution/consumption flow.  Right now, that tool is most definitely Meerkat.

Meerkat is a very easy to use, point and shoot iOS application that allows users to share live video from their mobile devices.  For today’s marketers, the opportunities provided by Meerkat for program amplification, and real-time news sharing are huge.  Expect to see marketers use it to livestream media and consumer focused events and interviews, showcase product use, create meet and greets with executives, interviews and even provide real-time behind the scene sneak peeks.

Using Meerkat is easy! First you download the app and log in using your Twitter account.  Meerkat will automatically find and link you with Twitter followers who are also using Meerkat, so right from the start you have fans and followers.  Meerkat videos are not available for replay, although you can choose to save your broadcasts for additional content marketing use.basketball meerkat

Meerkat offers two ways to livestream –in real-time or later, at a scheduled time.

To begin a livestream, aim your camera to feature whatever you want to show and start streaming.  The app will then send out a Tweet to your Twitter followers, as well as a mobile alert to Meerkat connections, that you are livestreaming, inviting them to view your video.  Meerkat users can then come and watch either via the Meerkat app or their web browser, with in-app notifications alerting you every time someone new joins in.

How to schedule on meerkatTo schedule a livestream, click the schedule button, type in the time and date of your upcoming livestream and Meerkat will help you promote it by sharing this information via a Tweet sent from your Twitter account.

During your livestreams, you can engage with viewers via comments that are also pushed out on Twitter as a way to increase the visibility and potential engagement of and with your Meerkat livestream

The results of Meerkat livestream announcements on Twitter remind me of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  First, it coincides with Twitter’s recent move to allow users to embed Twitter-hosted videos on any website.  As Twitter focuses on video sharing, don’t be surprised if you see more videos within your Twitter stream. While we cannot confirm it at this time, it would make sense for Twitter to change their news feed algorithms slightly to highlight this new feature.

In addition to Twitter’s own emphasis on video, Meerkat also taps into innate human behavior in two ways.  First, when one sees an announcement of a livestream from a friend or connection, it creates a desire to click to see what is being shared. Secondly, with today’s consumers adopting visual communications, this is a perfect marriage between social media and video production, allowing them to watch the video live, as it is being made.  Meerkat itself built in a point system to reward users for watching other videos, showcasing top viewers via a leaderboard.  The gamified, viral nature of the tool, combined with the ease-of use, makes this a marketers dream – and just in time for SXSW.

With no costs associated with the service, and its ability to alert your followers of current and upcoming broadcasts, there is no reason marketing and communication pros should not be testing this tool to support a wide range of event, business, product and consumer-focused marketing program. Are using Meerkat yet?

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[RECAP] LeWeb 2014: Silicon Valley in Paris

January 23, 2015

By Simona Colletta, Media Relations Specialist – Paris

Launched in 2004 to deepen the connection between big companies, startups, visionaries, and leaders in technology, LeWeb is Europe’s greatest internet conference and, in just ten years, has become a must-attend event worldwide. Business Wire was proud to be the official news distributor of LeWeb 2014 which had 3500 visitors, 300 journalists and 70 bloggers all from 80 different countries attend this year’s conference.

LeWeb 2014

The conference is seen as a passport for corporate success. Every year LeWeb organizes a startup competition, with winners of the past editions having earned between 500.000 and 1 million euros during the year following the event.  This year there was something new about the startup competition: a pre-competition was organized in four European cities (Paris, Barcelona, Berlin and Stockholm) with the winner in each city chosen to participate in the Paris final competition. This year’s winner was Jukedeck, which automatically creates cheap, free-access, unlimited music. Its CEO Ed Rex astonished the audience by rapping his pitch in front of the judging panel.

An apple a day… does it keep the e-doctor away?

This edition of LeWeb was dedicated to the theme of Digital Health. Fred Wilson, a famous American investor (Twitter, Soundcloud, Foursquare, etc.), predicted that in 2015, successful and innovating companies will appear in the health sector. The potential impact of digital help could revolutionize the industry for medical staff and patients alike; therefore investments in this sector keep growing exponentially. As LeWeb conference called it – Digital Health would be “the reinvention of Healthcare.”

Doctor Daniel Kraft, a Harvard-trained physician-scientist, inventor, entrepreneur and innovator (with over 20 years of experience in clinical practice, biomedical research and healthcare innovation), delivered one of the most significant speeches of this year’s conference.  Doctor Kraft gave an interesting perspective of tomorrow’s patient, who he says will be equipped with sensors in order to follow and measure his/her health day by day. He said, “With connected health, you will become your own health’s boss”.  Kraft believes the individual will be more responsible and autonomous, and he/she will share information with his/her doctor, just as he/she now shares pictures or music on social networks. Business actors such as Apple, outside of this sector until now, will start to conquer the territory with, for example, the Healthkit, now available on iPhones.

Nicolas Huchet

Nicolas Huchet and BionicoHand

While there were many attention-grabbing speeches and products and projects, one stood out in particular. Bionicohand is a French project that aims to make accessible “the construction of a prosthetic upper limb at a low cost, due to standardized parts and open sources, easy to repair and therefore accessible to people with limited financial resources. This project wants to open new opportunities for emerging countries that do not have access to such equipment.”

Bionico’s CEO, Nicolas Huchet, presented the project. Nicolas’s arm was amputated when he was 18 and he was equipped with a myoelectric prosthesis, which allowed him to open and close a pincer. This was a good first step toward autonomy, but today there are many high-tech solutions that allow for the opportunity to better simulate human hands in motion. The problem is that high-tech prostheses can cost up to €65.000 and they are not covered by French social security. So Nicolas decided to build his own prosthesis using 3D printing technology (with the help of a local Fablab). That is how Bionicohand was born in 2013. Its mission is to give the same opportunity to others, who can download the plans for free.

Stay connected

LeWeb is a great occasion for co-working and networking. It gives companies the opportunity to be known in this “cruel” technology world and, at the same time, gives the private individual the opportunity to learn about technology and tech trends, even if they are a new to the techspace.

With all of this amazing information being shared at LeWeb, Isn’t it a good reason for visiting Paris next winter?

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How do Millennials Consume News (and Why You Need to Care)

January 13, 2015

By Molly Pappas, Media Relations, Business Wire

Millennials-Heart-UGC-InfographicMillennials (ages 18 – 34) comprise the largest demographic in the United States. So, it comes as no surprise that this generation also spends most of their days (18 hours each day!) consuming media and provides the loudest voices to be heard within social media platforms, according to recent research by social-influence marketing platform, Crowdtap.

A whopping seventy-one percent of Crowdtap survey participants listed social media as a top priority in their lives, engaging in it daily.

What’s more, 60 percent of these same Millennials depend on social media to keep up-to-date on current global and local news.  But what publications do they read?  This  audience prefers to consume news and world affairs content created by those they perceive to be their peers – flocking to platforms such as BuzzFeed and Huffington Post instead of traditional news outlets such as The New York Times.

The information gathered from user-generated content sites and sources is trusted 40 percent more than information gathered from other types of sources.

The remaining 33 percent of Millennials still cite more traditional media sources – print, radio and television – as a way they consume media. However, studies show that user-generated content shape this generation’s lives much more than any other form of media, and they remain the only generation where digital media exceeds traditional.

Millennials spend the majority of their weekly media time using digital devices (especially smartphones), and 43 percent access the internet via their phones more than through their computer. Three out of four Millennials own a smart phone and use social media as a source for current affairs, apart from networking. They tend to rely heavily on HuffPost, Yahoo-ABC, CNN and BuzzFeed (all media that Business Wire reaches on a daily basis!)

So why should you care? Well, according to research by InkHouse and GMI, while the press release is the most trusted source of company-driven news, nearly half of Americans simply don’t trust any source of company-produced news. So while releases are still a very important PR tool, it appears that you can expect better bang for your buck by getting media to directly cover the story.

inkhouse_ig_press_release_sectionAccording to the same survey, TV and online news should be your top targets for earned media placement. Traditional media placement still carries the most weight in terms of reach and influence, but studies suggest an integrated media program (online news, broadcast and social media) is the best way to go.

And yes, Millennials are social-media obsessed, but they are realistically aware how much information can be modified and edited, and are thus returning to trusted newspapers and sources of news for information.

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PR Debate: Google vs. Facebook: Which Platform Should You Really Care About?

December 22, 2014

By Hannah Kelly, Business Wire Paris

The changing face of the news coverage and visibility scene

It’s the hottest debate in 2014: SEO for discovery or social sharing for impact?

2014 started off innocently enough.  First Google Hummingbird made major changes regarding news release visibility.  Then midway through the year Facebook launched FB Newswire, to increase the visibility of news.  Suddenly it was clear.  Facebook and Google were directly competing to see which service was more effective at surfacing a story and driving action because of it.
google vs facebook
Fact:  Both Google and Facebook are hungry for your news.

Recently, Parse.ly investigated data from around 8 billion page views of approximately 200 news sites with the results that 38% of referrals were generated by Google and 26% by Facebook.  While this statistic may not help Google overtake Facebook in the race to win the visibility war, it does providing an interesting opportunity for communicators.  If your published news piece can generate visibility on both Google and Facebook, you can generate more than 50% of your inbound traffic with (relatively) little effort.

However, the type of news that is sought after by these sites is slowly shifting. In both cases, Google and Facebook first relied on algorithms to determine which news to surface.  Unfortunately, this caused a plethora of misleading articles by less trustworthy “media outlets” to rise to the top.   These algorithms were adjusted greatly on both platforms this summer when Google and Facebook users revealed that they crave “real news” vs. click bait.

In an effort to continually refine results, these algorithms are continuously updated to reward authenticity and engagement. Google’s most recent changes to  Google Penguin, Penguin 3.0, on October 17, 2014, focused solely on overcoming link schemes that manipulate the ranking of a webpage (and the news story hosted there).

So what does this mean for your news?
As more and more refinement is done to ensure only high quality news is surfaced when searched on Google or on social networks, there are a few things today’s communicators can do to make sure their news is not only seen, but shared.

  1. Be descriptive in your headline

The more descriptive the title of your article, the more likely people are to read it, visit your page, and thereby increase your page ranking. News releases are known for their relatively long ‘uninteresting’ titles – but now the tables have turned. Readers know exactly what to expect from your release, which comes as a great relief after having spent significant time browsing through articles only to discover that they are not quite what was promised with the first click.

  1. Write a concise, accurate article

Now that your title has drawn readers in, the idea is to hold their interest. Long rambling paragraphs will not do this. Keep your information as succinct and on point as possible – engage the audience through a direct approach. To give you an idea, the ideal length for a news release is no longer than an A4 page.

  1. Contact information

This is crucial. If the reader has any further questions, they will want to contact you. The worst possible thing to happen at this stage is to struggle to find any method of contact. Include your Twitter, your Facebook, your Google+ – all and any possible ways of getting in contact. Not only does this ease contact between your company and the reader, but it also allows your news to be shared back with direct links.

News releases, especially those distributed by a commercial newswire such as Business Wire can help your distribution reach, and engage and activate audiences on both Google and Facebook platforms. Every news release jumpstarts a range of actions from coverage to sharing, each that directly impacts visibility within both Google and Facebook.  Business Wire’s wide distribution circuits, unique journalist lists and most of all, our “share” tools allow you to publish and share your articles within seconds. With over 50 years in the industry, we can help you tailor your distribution effectively, thus greatly increasing your traffic growth.


Business Wire Los Angeles: Why 2015 Will Be the Year of PR

December 17, 2014

By Sean Markham, Account Executive, Business Wire Los Angeles

As we wrap up 2014 and head into 2015, the media landscape has changed dramatically. But there remains this constant: news is the top shared content across all channels. How to generate editorial coverage, the role of the press release, social media and WOM in the marketing funnel were just some of the topics covered at a recent breakfast event hosted by Business Wire. Held on Thursday, December 11 at The Olympic Collection Banquet and Conference Center, a diverse group of Los Angeles-area PR professionals gathered to listen to Business Wire’s very own Director of Social and Evolving Media Serena Ehrlich (@Serena) discuss the myriad challenges and opportunities for communications practitioners.

If news and editorial coverage is the most shared content, who creates this content? “You guys do. All of you in this room,” Ehrlich emphasized to the engaged audience.

Infographic provided by MediaLeaders

Among the many important takeaways from this event is the crucial role multimedia plays in standing out in the crowded field of news. Releases with images or video receive 3X more impressions and engagement than their plain text counterparts.

During her comprehensive discussion, Ehrlich also shared insights on several social media tools to use in your PR efforts, including ClickToTweet, TweetReach, the LinkedIn Long-Form Blog Service as well as Google URL builder.

Here is a recap of Ehrlich’s presentation, which will help prepare all PR pros for the year ahead:

Media Has Changed

  • The role of the news release: Today the press release = action document that jumpstarts action within all target audiences
  • News releases align to the marketing and sales funnel and increase: Awareness, Discovery, Brand Reputation, Message Adoption, Conversations, Inbound Traffic, Intent and Conversions
  • Releases should not: Act as a stand-alone sales tool, replace customer service, be text only, work in a vacuum and work without support
  • News doesn’t go viral just by being issued. PR professionals will need to do work (social sharing, etc.) to make news releases go viral.
  • Journalists are held to three core metrics:  inbound traffic, social shares, time on site
    • Tip: Socially share out any coverage you receive to help reach these metrics
    • Tip:  Video is the perfect access to increase time on site
  • Many adults are now getting their news from social media networks

Social Media Has Changed

  • Every single major social network is showcasing news articles, reputable content and multimedia, perfect for PR
  • Tweets that include a photo or video receive 3 to 4x higher engagement
  • Tweets including multimedia uploaded via Twitter receive 150% more RTs
  • Facebook photos receive 53% more Likes, 104% more comments and 84% more CTRs on links
  • Facebook shares your updates based on the assets your audiences likes best. Meaning if you are not a video person (a rarity these days since 63% of the world are visual learners and rely on video for information) then FB will not populate many, if any, videos on your News Feed.
    • Tip: Text which kind of audience follows your fan page. Post a video, then post a link, and, finally, just post a photo and see which posting gets more impressions and engagement
  • LinkedIn is top B2B platform
    • Tip: Use the LinkedIN long form content blog service to increase reach within this platform
  • Millions of videos are watched on YouTube every day; 33% of YouTube searches are news related

Multimedia is the #1 Way to Increase Press Release ROI

  • Almost 65% of the world’s population are visual learners. Text-only press releases no longer work with this highly visual audience.
  • Releases with images or videos get 3x more engagement and impressions than plain text news
  • 1 minutes of video = 1.8 million words
  • Photographs do not need to be translated

Press Release Tips

  • Write for your highly targeted audience
  • Post a blog answering all the questions your release will generate to ensure message adoption
  • Photos and videos are no longer optional when looking for coverage
  • Use Google Tools!
  • Search bar – helps determine key phrases used most by searchers
  • Use URL trackers to track actions taken by readers on your website
  • Drive social sharing with Click to Tweet
  • Hashtags should be specific (use hashtag.org to see volume)

Read more about this event and all Business Wire events by following the #BWChat hashtag.

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