Maximizing ROI: How to Share Your News Release on Facebook

February 29, 2016

By Jahana E. Martin, Newsroom Supervisor

Whew! The news release you’ve worked on for weeks just hit the wire. Job done, right? Twitter news on PewWell, not if you want to maximize the return on your investment (ROI). A recent study reveals that 46% of social network users share and discuss news on social platforms, with 64% of U.S. adults — 30% of the U.S. population — receiving their news via Facebook.

Facebook makes it easy to share news, but simply posting your release to Facebook versus having an actual strategy will mean the difference between reaching your intended audience and being Facebook roadkill.

So, what steps should you take to maximize your ROI?

Start crafting your post.
The first thing to do after distributing your press release through a newswire service and monitoring it online is to insert the URL to your release into a new Facebook post.

What will make your readers pause in their timeline to read your press release?
Simply put: your headline. Make it good.

After you insert the URL, your article will be visible in the post. Replace the URL with a headline that grabs readers’ attention and makes them want to share it. The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals suggests a good length for a Facebook headline is 90 -120 characters because it is easier to share and can be rapidly scanned as an email subject line.

Here are some tips to tailor your headline for Facebook.

  • Solve a problem.
    • “MEGA Shows How to Triumph in the Digital Revolution“
      “Tips to Triple Your Followers in 10 Days “
  • Pose a question.
    • “What is responsive design and do you really need it?”
    • “Why Do Start Ups Fail?”
  • Create a sense of urgency.
    • “10 Things you must do Today to Save your 401(k) “
    • “Before you go the ATM, Know This”
  • If you’re in a pinch, and don’t have time to craft a new headline, just use your news release subhead.

Many times, the subhead is more specific and could be more useful for your social media audience.

  • Headline: “It’s Time Again For Our Summer Loan Sale-a-Bration”
  • Subhead: “Refinance your mortgage at an unbelievable 2.85%!”

Is your multimedia compelling for social media?bw fb post with image
If you want to change the image that uploaded with the post, now is a good time to add the new image with the “Upload Image” function. Your picture, graphic or video should be engaging and relevant. Links with thumbnails and teasers receive 20% more clicks than links without. Which leads me to my next tip…

Be a Tease.
Your headline made an impression, but viewers must want to read your release, so give them a little teaser.

Here, under your new headline, add the most compelling data right up front to increase activity and shares. This allows you to tailor your content for your targeted Facebook audience and show why your press release is relevant to them.  The reader is now incentivized to click on the link back to the press release and also to share it with others.

Find your audience.
Your content is ready, now it is time to pinpoint your audience. FB targetingFor a fee, take advantage of Facebook’s “Boost Post” feature. First, you need to answer for yourself: Who is your ideal reader and what is your goal?

  • Goal: Enhance your existing audience. Use the “People similar to people who like your page” boost.
  • Goal: Find new supporters. Use the “People you choose through targeting” boost to select the location, age, gender and interests of your target audience.

You can use your Insights (explained below) to select the age, gender, location, relationship and educational status, language and interests of the user you want to reach.

Perfect timing.
This seems obvious: The perfect time to post on Facebook is when your audience is on Facebook. Paying attention to timing pays off. Posting on Facebook between 1 – 4 p.m. can result in the highest average click through rates. So, how do you find out when your audience is on Facebook?

when to use FB

Best times to post for your existing Fans
Once your page has accumulated 30 likes, you are able to use the “View Insights” tool located at the top of your Facebook page.  Click on the “Posts” tab, then the “When your Fans are Online” tab.  You can use this information to pinpoint the days and times your fans are online.

Best days to post in general – what the experts say
According to What are the Best Times to Post on Social Media:

Best day to post:

  • 86% of Facebook posts are published Monday – Friday, with engagement peaking on Thursday and Friday;
  • Engagement rates fall 3.5% below average for posts published Monday – Wednesday

Best time of day to post:

  • In general, the optimal time to post is early afternoon in your target’s time zone.
  • To get the most shares: 1 p.m.
  • To get the most clicks: 3 p.m.

You don’t have to schedule your days and nights around Facebook. Simply schedule your posts at the optimal time for your target audience and watch the results.

Using Facebook to reach your target audience with relevant, shareable content at the right time is an easy, effective way to get more out of your press release.  A user that promotes your brand by sharing your post can spend 13% more than the average customer, and 84% of consumers trust earned media.

You can’t afford not to have a tactical approach when you share your news release on Facebook. So, what’s your strategy?

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Maximizing ROI: How to Share Your News Release on Twitter

February 29, 2016

By Jahana E. Martin, Newsroom Supervisor, Atlanta

A survey recently found that nearly six of 10 Twitter users use the social networking site to keep up with breaking news. The use of Twitter as a news source increased from 55% to 67% for users under 36, and from 47% to 59% for users over 35.

Are you tweeting your press release? If not, you are missing a great opportunity to expand your reach and brand. After all, your Twitter followers are following you because they want to learn more about your business.  This is the perfect audience to activate by sharing your news.

If you are tweeting your press release, then consider the following questions: Are you tweeting at the right time? Are you including multimedia in your tweet to increase visibility and shares? How did you craft the Twitter version of your news release headline? Did you use hashtags? How many? How did you choose your hashtags? If you haven’t asked yourself these questions, then now is a good time to start working on your strategy to use Twitter to amplify your next press release.

Here are four ideas to get you started.

  1. Your News Release Headline: Make it Twitter-Friendly

Your press release headline may be amazing for the newswire, but chances are you will need to make some modifications for it to rock on Twitter.

Write several tweets
Twitter is a real time, news distribution service. You will need to share your news many times to ensure broadest reach.  News releases and subsequent news coverage should be shared as many as 15 times or more to activate your entire audience.

Make your news release tweet interesting
This is a fantastic opportunity to speak directly to your company’s end user. Use your Twitter headline to highlight key points directly of interest to each of your various audiences.

Make it shareable.
Help your followers retweet easier and faster by leaving them enough space to promote your brand.

Twitter allows you 140 characters, but you want people to share your tweet. Consider crafting 96 character tweets to be able to include links (22 characters, regardless of length of link) and multimedia (also 22 characters)

Testing. Testing.
You have an idea about the length, but now what about choosing that headline? Sometimes it can take a little practice and you may have to do some testing.

Buffer outlines the A/B experiment where you write and tweet two different headlines at least one hour apart. Then you compare the data and responses and choose which headline performed best.

Optimize.
Some keywords garner more attention than others, and you should use popular keywords that are relevant to your news. If you want to do a bit of competitive analysis and Twitter research, check out what keywords your competitors or industry influencers are using by taking a peek at their Twitter feed. Is there a recurring keyword that you see appearing in retweets? Try it.

There are many resources available to help you find the most popular words to use in your Tweets and headlines. You can find extensive analytics to boost your SEO and a good place to start is Twitter.

 Call to action:  Just ask.
Assert yourself and ask for what you want. cta tweet

  • ASK for a download. Promoted Tweets in timelines that explicitly ask people to
    download material accompanied by a link increase URL clicks by an average of 13
    percent.*
  • ASK for a retweet. Promoted Tweets in timelines with an ask to retweet increased Retweets by an average of 311 percent.*
  • ASK for a follow. Promoted Tweets in timelines that asked for a follow increased follows by an average of 258 percent.*
  • ASK for a reply. Promoted Tweets in timelines that highlight an ask to reply increased replies by an average of 334 percent.*
    *Tweet tips: Most effective calls to action on Twitter

2. What time is good for you?
There are a myriad of studies analyzing the best times to post on social media. First, you must identify your demographic so you can choose the best time to reach it. You can be as broad or as specific as necessary. For example:b2btwitter.JPG

  • Are you reaching businesses or consumers?
  • What is the age of your audience?
  • Are they parents? Are they teenagers?
  • Where do they live – what time zone?
  • Do they work a 9-5? Do they commute to work?
  • What is their average income?

Neil Patel’s study distinguishes peak times between Business-to-Business (B2B) and
Business-to-Consumer (B2C):

  • B2B: Weekdays provide 14% more engagement than weekends.
  • B2C: Engagements and Click-through Rates (CTRs) are highest on weekends and Wednesdays.

In general, Patel says the best time of the day to tweet is 5 p.m. The peak times for CTRs are 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. SurePayroll  highlights the best, peak and worst times to tweet:

  • Best times to tweet:   Mondays – Thursdays from 1-3 p.m.
  • Peak times to tweet:   Mondays – Thursdays from 9 a.m – 3 p.m.
  • Worst times to tweet: Every day after 8 p.m. and Fridays after 3 p.m.

Their advice? Schedule tweets for lunchtime when audiences have time to consume your news.

Considering these factors will help you choose the best time to reach your followers and potential followers.

3. Use Your [Multimedia] Assets
3 times as muchMultimedia in tweets have been shown to increase engagement rates by 3-4x over messages without multimedia. Include multimedia in every tweet to increase reach, actions and overall ROI.

To do this, after you compose your tweet, click Add Photo. Your thumbnail image or filename will appear as an attachment. This is a real chance to maximize on the opportunity to include an image because you can add up to four pictures.

To add video, follow the same steps and then select the 30-second clip you want to emphasize in your tweet.

Ideas for good Twitter images
Hootsuite gives great examples of Twitter images that get shared. Here is a short summary of their tips:

  • Use text/graphic combination. Your words are limited in your Tweet, but you can include more text within your picture. You may gain an extra few seconds of additional engagement because readers may stop to actually read the text within your image.
  • BizWireTV Gif 4Use gifs. Although gifs will not play automatically on Twitter, people are still curious about the video, which earns you a few extra seconds from your audience.
  • Use video. Twitter now allows you to upload videos with your Tweets. Select the 30 seconds you want to feature, and let the reader watch your news.
  • Use images that work. Humorous memes, food and cute animals are popular. Twitter users love to share news that delights them. Surprise them by using humor to get your point across.
  • Follow your followers. If there are images that your followers consistently share, you should get onboard. Post the types of images that your followers like to share.

Your best photos
Keep in mind Twitter’s photo specifications:

File size:  Photos can be up to 5MB; animated GIFs can be up to 3MB (Your file will be automatically scaled for display in your expanded Tweet and user gallery.)
File type:  GIFs, JPEGs and PNGs are accepted; BMPs and TIFFs are not.

Tip: To achieve even greater visibility, you can make your image tweetable. There is a good set of instructions here.

4. Hashtags: Do Your Research
Why should you add hashtags to your Tweets?

Think of a hashtag like a label or filter for your topic. The goal is for as many people as possible who are interested in that topic to see your tweet and hopefully share your news. Reporters frequently use hashtags to view the entire discussion on a particular topic, a great way to see what consumer sentiment is before crafting coverage pieces. To exponentially expand the reach of your communication, you should be using hashtags with almost every tweet.

US trendsThere are plenty of tools you can use to research, analyze and manage hashtags, but the easiest way to see what’s popular is free! Start with Twitter and look at “Trends” and “Moments.”  Those topics are insanely popular at the moment, so if you see something that is relevant to your news, use the hashtag to expand your reach.

If trending hashtags are not relevant, is your news about a particular theme? If so, add them in to allow reporters and interested parties to not only see your news, but understand the larger impact and context.

Are you:

  • Presenting at a tradeshow or conference? They probably have their own hashtag, find it and add it to your news to ensure broadest reach. #CES2016 #BWCHAT #MWC16
  • Targeting holiday consumers? Try #BacktoSchool #Halloween #TrickorTreat #Thanksgiving2015
  • Discussing current events? #Benghazi #ACA #GOPdebate

Congratulations!
By following the above steps, you are increasing the visibility and impact of your news release. You are now armed with tools to increase your ROI by posting your news release on Twitter.   Do you have any tips for increased engagement on Twitter? Share them in the comments below, we would love to hear them!

And click here to share this blog post with your Twitter followers: http://ctt.ec/KZ2w5

 

 


Corporate strategy, content and philanthropy top discussions at the World Business Forum

December 2, 2015

By Zach Wallens, Specialist, Global Disclosure & Financial Reporting Services

Whether you’re an account executive at a boutique PR firm or a senior investor relations officer (IRO) for a Fortune 500 company, storytelling is likely among your most fundamental job functions. All companies, regardless of their industry, have long communicated stories to customers, investors, internal stakeholders and media. As we adopt various digital technologies, the platforms on which these narratives are consumed continues to change. To thrive in this evolving environment, we can often learn from those who are truly innovators –business leaders, entertainers or, sometimes, people whose profession falls somewhere in between.Panel-7-Herminia-IbarraEarlier this month I had the opportunity to attend the World Business Forum in New York, where, for two days, thousands of executives from around the globe gathered to absorb knowledge from some of the world’s most renowned innovators. With a lineup of speakers that included Herminia Ibarram the Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Learning, and Professor of Organizational Behavior at INSEAD, Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s Vice President, Global Marketing Solutions, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and award-winning actor Kevin Spacey, the conference certainly provided the audience with thought-provoking business ideas, stories and laughs. The theme of this year’s conference was storytelling – specifically, how and why companies should disseminate their unique, compelling stories.

The event hosted by World of Business Ideas (WOBI), and its speakers lectured about wide-ranging topics, and some, in particular, are of definite interest to Business Wire clients. Here are the top business trends and strategies discussed during the conference:

  1. Brands must communicate their stories using several platforms and multimedia is no longer optional

Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. news releases. blogs, email campaigns. In today’s business world, nearly all PR and marketing professionals are familiar with these storytelling channels. However, there is a distinct difference between distributing content via various platforms, and having high audience engagement. According to Facebook’s Carolyn Everson, successful brands don’t just tell their stories, they show them to consumers.Panel-9-Carolyn-Everson“Billions of photos are shared and uploaded, now we’re seeing an explosion of video. Eight billion video views a day on Facebook alone. Every time we estimate video growth, we under estimate it,” Everson said. “Brands love to tell their stories through sight, sound and motion.”

Because mobile devices and apps are such an integral part of consumers’ lives and purchasing decisions, companies must also consider how they can integrate these platforms with their core products, Everson said, noting that Facebook now adheres to a “mobile first” philosophy.

Kevin Spacey echoed many of Everson’s points, particularly her message about businesses needing to convey their stories using new platforms. He also stated producing the best content is still the most important.Panel-13-Kevin-Spacey

“What is it that really elevates these companies to be able to hover above the competition? I tell you, it is the story they are able to communicate, and when we tell better stories, our businesses have a better chance to provide a memorable experience and achieve success,” said Spacey, an Academy Award winner and star of Netflix’s first original show, House of Cards.

“The good news is,” Spacey continued, “with the emergence of new tools and new technology, I think there has actually never been a better moment to make vivid stories that stand out from the crowd.

“The storytellers who thrive are the ones who understand how to use these platforms to elevate their stories.”

Storytelling and content creation were two of the major topics throughout the conference, but other presenters, each from a different industry, spoke more about developing a corporate culture, collaboration and philanthropy.

  1. To build a successful, innovative company, it’s imperative that executives invest in their employees and promote a collaborative work environment.

Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna, stated that for organizations to achieve sustainable success, companies must invest in their employees, through salary raises, wellness programs and affordable health benefits.Panel-11-Mark-BertoliniAccording to Bertolini, human capital is a company’s scarcest resource, and the ability to maintain engaged, front-line employees is vital to success within any industry. This sentiment was reiterated by Walter Isaacson, who has written biographies of Steve Jobs, Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein. Jobs, Isaacson said, once told him that the team at Apple was the most important product he ever built.

Isaacson further discussed the lessons he gained writing about the world’s most celebrated innovators, and he centered on the necessity for leaders to encourage collaboration among employees. “Innovation relies on collaboration,” he said. “It takes teams of people, rubbing up against each other, to make true imagination into real innovation.”Panel-12-Walter-Isaacson (1)Several of the speakers, including Richard Branson, said that successful business leaders hire employees who are better than themselves. The Virgin Group founder also wasn’t shy about his hatred of ties, his belief that employees’ dressing comfortably spurs creativity, and that Virgin’s corporate culture is an important part of its achievements.

“All a company is, is a group of people,” Branson said. “What sets Virgin Atlantic off against British Airways is the people on the plane, it’s their attitude. So we try to find leaders from other companies who genuinely love people.”

  1. To meet climate change and global development goals, the business community must get more involved.

Branson and Everson each spoke extensively about the philanthropic endeavors of Virgin and Facebook, respectively. The business community, Branson said, has made significant progress in its aim to curtail climate change and develop impoverished countries, but much more is still required.Panel-10-Sir-Richard-Bronson“If business people can join with politicians and social workers and adopt programs, and we’ll have enormous fun overcoming those problems, I really do think we can overcome most of the problems of this world so that our children and grandchildren can have as wonderful life as we’ve all had,” he said.

Everson cited Facebook’s internet.org, an initiative to provide internet access to the more than four billion people without it. Solving this problem, she said, would advance education, healthcare and business in developing nations.

“We believe connectivity is also a human right,” Everson said. “Because we can’t leave four billion people behind as we all continue to have access to information at our fingertips.”

You can see why Business Wire was thrilled to be a media sponsor for this event. These business tips and strategies were the main takeaways from the World Business Forum. Most interesting was that even with speakers from highly different industries and backgrounds, many shared similar opinions regarding the importance of storytelling and of embracing new content platforms. This advice holds especially true for PR and IR professionals, who must regularly communicate their companies’ stories, in press releases, videos and/or social posts. Brands are constantly telling stories to a wide array of audiences, and as the event’s speakers stressed, multimedia distributed over multiple platforms is essential for an effective communications strategy.

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Note:  Scribed images courtesy of @LudicCreatives. To learn more about visual scribing, rich pictures and infographics, visit their website at www.ludiccreatives.com.


Learn the Newswire’s Role in Making Your News with this Visual Journey

November 4, 2015

What role exactly does a newswire play in the journey of your news? An announcement makes an expedition before going public and influencing potential clients and consumers. That expedition involves many pit stops, including the addition of multimedia and determining the proper circuits to best reach interested parties.

Business Wire created a video to demonstrate the exact journey your news takes before becoming news.

You can view that video here and learn about each step in detail by reading Serena Ehrlich’s breakdown of How a News Release Becomes a News Story.

Serena Ehrlich is the Director of Social and Evolving Media at Business Wire and was one of the authors of Let’s Get Visual: Multimedia and the News Release, a free white paper identifying the science and trends behind multimedia’s impact on the success of news releases. Download this paper now: Let’s Get Visual!


A Behind the Scenes Look at How Newswires Distribute News Releases

October 26, 2015

Sometimes the best way to learn how something works is by watching it in action. Business Wire wants people to know exactly how news is made and have captured the process in an exciting new video.


What starts off as an announcement goes through a process of editing and enhancement before entering a hub. Think of it as a digital metro station that leads to stops around the world where your information travels to journalists, bloggers, reporters, and other media professionals and publications.

Key takeaways from the video about the news making process:

  • A news release should go through several drafts to ensure maximum readability and accuracy
  • Know (and write for) your target audience
  • Include multimedia such as photographs, graphics, and if possible, videos to increase release views
  • Measure the results to gauge impact of your news

In order to make the news it’s important to know how news is made. Learn the exact steps and make sure to maximize the impact of your next announcement.


The Science (and More) Behind Multimedia’s Impact on the News Audiences

October 23, 2015

How much faster does the human eye process visual information (an image, video, etc.) compared to text? Does that play a role in wh3 times as muchy multimedia news releases attain higher visibility than their text-only counterparts? Absolutely it does, but there are other factors as well, additional scientific data as well as trends in technology and communication.

Learn about the various factors behind multimedia’s massive impact on news release visibility and audience engagement by reading the popular guide: Let’s Get Visual: Multimedia and the News Release

This guidance report details the changes within the communication landscape that have created this opportunity for today’s organizations and answers the following questions:

  • How does the brain process multimedia?
  • How does multimedia influence technology development and design?
  • What is the role of multimedia in today’s mobile environment?
  • What is the role of imagery in news creation and consumption?

Click here to download this guide today: Let’s Get Visual: Multimedia and the News Release


How to Write an Earnings Release For All Audiences

October 7, 2015

By Natasha Artavia, Business Wire

With another earnings season to soon commence, there’s no better time to review a few editorial practices that will provide your investors, the media, and your company with a successful, interactive earnings release.

Headline
Let’s start with the basics. Your headline is an essential element of your earnings release, as on databases, RSS feeds and social channels it’s often the first, or only content visible to analysts and investors. Keep your headline short and to the point. Journalists and the investor community will be actively searching for your announcement, and a succinct, search-optimized headline is crucial to their locating your release.

Revolution Lighting Technologies Earnings subhead

Sub-headline

Your sub-headlines should emphasize your company’s most important financial figures and business position from the previous quarter or fiscal year. These could include: dividend announcements, sales growth, share increases, financial results from a major product launch, YOY and/or quarterly growth. Using bullet points to format your sub-headlines can make your layout more visually appealing, but don’t go overboard. Treat your sub-headlines as premium real estate that provides your audience with the important highlights of the quarter. Compelling sub-headlines will encourage your audience to continue reading below the fold.

Body
While there is a plethora of financial information that must be disclosed to your investors and the media, this data shouldn’t overwhelm the reader with blocks of text. Here are a few ways you can provide your audiences with a more reader-friendly earnings announcement.

  • Use bullet points to break up the numbers

The use of bullet points in a financial news release will draw the readers’ attention to the significant facts and figures. Plus, bullet points provide clean divisions between separate sections within your text, while also doubling as quick “numbers at a glance” references for the media.

  • Tables can help illustrate your news by providing readers with a visual breakdown of the information you have included in the release

Just because you have provided full financial tables in your earnings announcement, this doesn’t mean you can’t insert imagery within the body of your news release. These tables should be smaller and can provide comparisons to prior years or quarters, or highlight certain aspects of financial growth. Think of these tables as additional resources the media can use to develop their story.

  • Earnings InfographicIncrease message adoption with multimedia

Providing a visual element with your earnings release will not only increase media pickup, but will augment a predominantly text announcement. Consider adding an infographic that shows readers the growth your company experienced this past quarter or fiscal year.

  • Don’t forget your hyperlinks

It’s extremely important to add hyperlinks or URLs for the media and investor community. If you are directing your audience to the Investor Relations section of your website or the earnings webcast, don’t tell them where to go…show them. Provide them with the registration link that will take them directly to the event. If you have a report or are providing your company’s earnings as a download, include the URL that forwards readers to these resources. Hyperlinks are an excellent tool to increase engagement with your audience. Links add additional texture and depth to your release, giving the reader a better experience.

Best_Practices_for_Enhancing_Earnings_Release_WP_1However you decide to format your earnings release, we hope you find these suggestions to be useful. You can also download Business Wire’s Best Practices for Enhancing Earnings Releases whitepaper here.

And remember, at Business Wire, our editors, client services representatives and account executives understand how stressful the earnings period can be. From submitting your order to confirming distribution timing and formatting, we’re here to help make this process as smooth and efficient as possible. Feel free to reach out to your local newsroom before submitting your next earnings release. We can work with you on the best way to submit your release and the best time to disseminate the announcement.

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