[GUIDE] 12 Steps for Integrating Corporate Communications Successfully

September 29, 2015

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

We are thrilled to announce the release of Business Wire’s latest guide: The Convergence of IR and PR: 12 Ways to Create a Stronger Corporate Communications Team.

This guide provides today’s communications professionals the rationales and steps to take to build a more robust corporate communications process, one that meets the needs of today’s audiences while reducing internal costs and redundancies.

The truth is many internal communication teams are working in silos. While internally these teams have separate reporting structures, goals and messaging, externally their customers and key audiences see no divisions within the company as it relates to accessing company information – they are just as likely to read an earnings release as they are to share a white paper or download a coupon.

But if today’s consumers are engaging with companies as a whole entity, why are most organizations still communicating different messages from different departments on different channels? Now is the perfect time to streamline internal processes to not only ensure a singularity in messaging, but to achieve higher message adoption and sharing, all while reducing internal costs and processes.

Recent, rapid technical and human behavioral evolutions have changed how humans consume news. Because the market is now aware of the intricacies that differentiate marketing, public relations, and investor relations, it is important for communications pros to work together to decrease those perceived separations.

And consolidating processes is not that hard! In our latest guide, we outline current communication roles, and how to bring them together to create a new, more effective process.

12 Ways to Create a Stronger Corporate Communications Team: The Convergence of IR and PR delves into how companies can:

  • Understand RegFD disclosure as it pertains to all discussion platforms
  • Cross promote company news and information
  • Share multimedia assets to increase emotional connections with end audiences
  • Centralize social outreach to increase visibility and awareness of one’s company information
  • Measure and monitor outbound and inbound discussions, decreasing the opportunity for negative brand attacks

Download this free Business Wire guide now! http://go.businesswire.com/IRPRConverge

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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.

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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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How Should I Promote My Content: An Infographic for Smart Marketers

September 10, 2015

By Vilan Trub, Business Wire

Great content is only as great as how it’s distributed. If people aren’t seeing your branding and message, they won’t be able to act on it. If people aren’t engaging with your content, they can’t be eased further into the marketing funnel.

The 10 Required Questions of Content Promotion

The 10 Required Questions of Content Promotion

A major goal of a marketing plan, reaching out to the public, is to turn potential leads into clients and customers.  A successful marketing campaign raises visibility, creates brand loyalty, and more resulting in a large ROI. After all is said and done, how do you actually reach your market and effectively engage your audience? 

The first step is identifying the power of content marketing. According to a 2015 poll by Smart Insights, almost 30% of respondents listed content marketing as the most important digital marketing trend for the year. The second most selected answer (big data) received less than half the votes (14.6%). The most popular forms of content marketing are social media content other than blogs (93%), eNewsletters (80%), articles on your website (78%), illustrations/photos (75%), and videos (74%). There are many options for how to reach an audience and companies are trying them all. Are they organized in their efforts? A shocking 56% of the respondents said they do not have a content marketing strategy or plan, even though they are actively utilizing content marketing.

Not having a game plan is very inefficient and can lead to disaster. Imagine a basketball team running onto the court without knowing any plays to execute. LeBron James might be the best player in the world, but even he wouldn’t score too many points if he was playing with a team that didn’t have a strategy. Your content, similarly, might be the most interesting, engaging, and disruptive, but if you don’t have a plan of distribution, you’ll be the only person aware of it.

How do you get as many eyes as possible onto your great content?

Business Wire put together this infographic that illustrates how content marketing travels down a road, and what steps to take to reach your desired audience.

It’s important for communicators to remember that assets are tools and how you use them will determine their effectiveness. If your news features an eye-catching headline, native advertising is a good route. If you have newsworthy content, issuing a news release would amplify your content to journalists and other media professionals. If you have multiple related pieces and multimedia, a news or picture capsule makes for a great interactive asset that captures audiences’ attentions for far longer than passive content.

What are some of the key takeaways from the infographic?

  • If you have newsworthy content – issue a news release
  • If you have comparative data – make an infographic
  • If you have a video – make a vine or GIF for additional social messaging
  • If you have multiple related pieces – issue a news or picture capsule

Content marketing is proving to be more than just a trend. If you utilize this highly effective method for reaching potential clients and customers, for building brand awareness and loyalty, remember to have a game plan. Content and distribution working together will raise visibility of your message and lead to a desired ROI.

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Just in: Hard Data Supports the Effectiveness of Interactive Media vs. Passive Content

August 31, 2015

Nothing ends an argument like data, and the data on interactive media is in.

Image source: Demand Gen Report’s 2014 Content Preferences Survey

Image source: Demand Gen Report’s 2014 Content Preferences Survey

Demand Gen’s 2015 Content Preferences Survey offers a startling look at just how effective interactive media is when compared to passive content such as text-only articles when it comes to consuming information. People are spending more time using multimedia that they can click on and explore. These interactive, gamified assets, such as news and picture capsules, are quickly becoming engagement magnets for the industry, attracting and retaining the interest of potential clients and customers.

How do the numbers stack up?

stat

When asked, 88% of respondents stated that interactive content is effective in creating differentiation between brands, while only 55% believed that passive content is effective in creating differentiation.

To read the full highlights of the study and statistics between interactive and passive content, click here.

How can this survey help communicators? By knowing what form of assets  have the greatest impact on modern audiences, communications pros are able to take advantage, create more impactful content and more effectively reach and convert their target market. This data takes the guesswork out of trying to figure out what works best and what approach to take in managing dialogue between brand and public.

Understanding the importance of multimedia as a prime tool for communicators, Business Wire recently launched a white paper designed to help communicators take advantage of these highly successful content pieces. The paper details the science and other aspects behind the influence such an asset can have on the success of your news release. Click here to read this piece and click here to share this information with your Twitter followers: http://ctt.ec/f4c3X


How to Produce Professional Videos at Low Cost and with No Experience

August 17, 2015

By Vilan Trub, Business Wire Marketing

The videos you constantly see online, whether on a branded website, a social media platform, or a news73 percent of all adults outlet, can be replicated at low cost and by someone with no production experience. This revelation is important because if you aren’t currently tapping into the trend of video marketing, you will be soon once you realize how easy it is, and how significant the potential results can be.  How significant?  According to an Animoto Online and Mobile Video Study conducted using 1,000 U.S. consumers, “nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of respondents are more likely to purchase a product or service if they can watch a video explaining it beforehand.”

Camera phoneCamera

Option 1: Low cost:
Cell phones turned into computers overnight and the world has been watching them ever since. With the launch of the latest series of smartphones, camera technology has been exponentially improved giving everyone access to HD (1920 x 1080) quality recording devices.

What exactly is HD?
HD refers to the lines of resolution in an image. Video footage with a higher quantity of resolution lines is deemed high definition because of the greater appearance of detail in the image.

Take advantage of your access to HD recording devices and create beautiful videos – all with the device you have in your hand right now.

DSLR tripodTo maximize the effect of your smart phone camera stay zoomed out to the widest setting and capture your footage in a well-lit environment. Don’t be fooled, even Hollywood admits to the astounding quality of footage captured with  an iPhone.

What will make your footage stand out from other “smart phone” videos is the use of a tripod. Yes, they make tripods for cellphones, pointing to the quality footage that can be captured from the same device that you occasionally use to order dinner.

Option 2:  Medium budget:
Let’s say you plan on regularly producing video projects and you want some versatility in the tool used to create your visuals. A DSLR camera is an affordable way to create professional quality images with an easy to use technology while giving you more control over the depth of field of your images. And at a $400-$500 price point for an entry level camera, it is so affordable and easy to use that Hollywood often takes advantage.DSLR

What is depth of field?: The range of what is in focus in your image compared to what isn’t. When you see an object in the foreground in sharp focus, and everything else is blurry, you have a shallow depth of field. With a DSLR camera you have more options for how you want your image to look.

A DSLR camera will also give you much better color reproduction as a result of the larger sensors (what captures the image) so your images will be vibrant and pop.

Lighting

Option 1:  Low cost:
Light bulbs make light. It’s what you choose to illuminate with that light that will make the difference clamp lightbetween clunky amateurish videos, and professional digital media. By utilizing higher wattage bulbs, such as 150w and 200w, and clamp lights that can be purchased at any local hardware store, you can create a studio right in your office.

How can these lights be used to create a professional image? The term to remember is three-point lighting. This lighting scheme uses two lights to illuminate both sides of the subject. The third light is what really makes the image look professional. The third light, cast over the back of the subject illuminating highlights such as hair and shoulder, creates separation between the subject and the background. This allows the viewer to perceive depth on a two-dimensional medium.

Option 2: Medium budget:
Basic lighting kits are affordable and extremely easy to use, assemble, and store. A light kit is superior to using clamp lights because the light stands are easy to assemble and move around. With clamp lights, creativity is required in identifying objects to which they can be clamped. With a light kit all the tools are available. The height of a light stand can also easily be manipulated, offering many variations of lighting schemes that can be tried out without too much time or effort.

Sound

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Option 1:  Low cost:
For a production, sound is the most important aspect. If the audio is crisp and clear, clean of ambient noise and static, the audience will accept your media as professional grade regardless of what type of camera or camera phone you use. Eyes can fill in the blanks better than your ears, so it’s important for the audience to hear what they need to as if the speaker is in the room. This can be accomplished quite easily and with a low budget.

Wired lavalier microphone: A microphone that clips to the subject’s lapel can be purchased in the $50 dollar range. This microphone is great for capturing the speaker’s voice because it is located so close to the source. This particular microphone is designed to work with mobile devices, however, if you already have a microphone or are purchasing a microphone not designed to work with a mobile device there are solutions. With the addition of an adapter, in the $20 to $30 range, you can easily connect your microphone to a smartphone to use as an audio recording device (use the voice memo app if filming with an iPhone).

Remember that sound and video need to sync. For every time you roll your camera or recording device, film a piece of paper labeled with what take you are recording, then clap your hands together. That clap provides a distinct sound that you can use later to sync your audio and video during the editing process.

Option 2: Medium budget:
If you have any budget at all, it’s always recommended that sound be your first investment. If you can afford it, invest in a wireless lavMic microphone system. Why wireless over a wired microphone? A wireless mic system allows you to record your audio directly into the camera or recording device. There is no need to sync audio and picture when editing and you can immediately view back your footage to test quality of both image and sound. Of course, you should still mark each take with a verbal label (saying take one, take two) so you have an easy way to reference the footage during the editing phase.

Editing

Option 1: Low cost:
Editing video is not as hard as most people think. You choose the footage that you want and discard the rest. The digital revolution has ensured that everyone can be an editor and with great ease. Youtube offers editing capabilities, as well as other free online options. If your video and audio was recorded separately remember to locate the exact second the clap (previously discussed) occurred, as well as the sound of that clap; match the two and you have just synced sound and picture.

editingOption 2: Medium budget:
For basic digital media there is no need for excessive editing software. This is not because of the price but rather the learning curve required to maximize your purchased editing software. If you are willing to put in a little time to master such techniques as color correction and more intricate editing, look into tools like Sony Vegas Movie Studio, or the higher end Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro. A list of other recommended software can be found here.

We know video is one of the fastest growing content tools, and consumption rates are at an all-time high. We also know that video builds relationships between organizations and their customers.  Now you know just how easy it is to make your own!  Have any additional tips related to video creation?  Let us know.

Share this news on Twitter, just click here:  http://ctt.ec/U80qw

For more information about the role of video in the news process, we suggest the following articles


Business Wire’s Video Content Is Now Featured On the AP Video Hub

August 17, 2015

Business Wire continues its dedication to the evolving media landscape by announcing a new distribution program with the Associated Press. The new content enhancement will place videos released through the newswire service directly onto AP Video Hub.

AP Video Hub offers media subscribers from around the globe access and usage rights to a wide range of video news footage, including world news, entertainment, sports, lifestyle, breaking news and archive stories. AP Video Hub subscribers include 350 of the world’s largest media companies in 100 countries. Journalists, industry bloggers, and media professionals at all levels use the AP video hub to access news video footage to supplement a story and give their media-hungry audiences what they crave. News release video distributed by Business Wire will now sit alongside breaking news video from around the globe, providing new, broader visibility to this key content.

“From earnings releases to content marketing, more and more public relations and investor relations professionals are enhancing their news announcements with multimedia assets including video,” noted Laura Sturaitis, Business Wire’s executive vice president of media services and product strategy. “With this latest content amplification arrangement, Business Wire continues to lead the industry in the distribution and discoverability of its clients’ news and branded content.”

Thanks to an evolution in technology and human behavior, visual story telling is the growing dominant force in the news industry. Smart technology offers people instant access to multimedia and they’re taking advantage, whether following a story on their phone, tablet, computer or television. According to Pew Research Center, digital news video consumption has been on the rise consistently since 2007 and those most likely to watch that content are the young, educated, and affluent. Exactly how many people are watching digital news video? Over half (52%) of Americans with a bachelor or graduate degree consume the kinds of videos that Business Wire will now be presenting via the AP video hub.

Videos distributed by Business Wire now receive global visibility via AP Video Hub

Videos distributed by Business Wire receive global media audiences via AP Video Hub

Why should communicators include video in their news releases?

  1. Media outlets want it.  Every day, media outlets from around the world turn to AP Video Hub to find multimedia content to round out their news stories.  Companies that include video in their news now receive additional visibility of their story simply based on their multimedia components
  2. Creating professional digital video is easier than ever. Even Hollywood is taking notice! According to Casey Newton, Silicon Valley editor at The Verge, “one of the best films at Sundance was shot using an iPhone 5S.” A smart phone is easy to use and can be used to create video that is both impressive and professional looking.
  3. Videos are highly engaging content that work as an educational tool, explaining and reinforcing your news release and message points. Consumers want it – with more than 63% of the world learning from visual and interactive media, the fastest way to increase adoption of your news is to use video.
  4. Video allows you to create visual consistency for your brand, one that will be remembered by audiences and potential clients and consumers
  5. Videos are easily sharable across social and other digital platforms

Want to learn more about Business Wire’s multimedia distribution services? Drop us a line today.

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[DOWNLOAD NOW] Business Wire Launches Let’s Get Visual: Multimedia and the News Release

July 9, 2015

Earlier today, CommPro.biz published a piece outlining the new Business Wire multimedia report Let’s Get Visual: Multimedia and the News Release. This guide offers comm pros best practices for releasing company news that will connect with modern audiences in the digital and mobile age. While the importance of a news release is timeless, the communication landscape is changing and PR and IR teams need to take advantage. Find out how.

2015 WP_Cover Graphic_Lets Get Visual

Click here to read this piece and click here to share this information with your Twitter followers: http://ctt.ec/f4c3X

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