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 LinkedIn

February 29, 2016

By Jahana Martin, Newsroom Supervisor

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, so chances are you already have a LinkedIn profile and use it to network with colleagues and prospective employers. You probably have read articles that your connections have shared or shared your own industry news.

Its popularity is no surprise when 93% of business-to-business marketers have rated LinkedIn as the top business-to-business social media lead generation source. If you issue news releases, you should use LinkedIn to increase the visibility of your company’s news, increasing the opportunity for internal and external audiences to see and act upon it.

How to Publish News Releases on LinkedIn
The first thing to do is log in.  Then get the URL of the news you want to share, and an image you can use to catch the eye of LinkedIn users.

LI updates

On your LinkedIn page, click “Share an update.”  Copy and paste the URL of your published press release into this box.  LinkedIn will automatically insert the news release headline in the Title field, the beginning of the release text in the Description field and to the left, the first picture associated with your news release.

You could push publish now, but to drive even higher interest in your news, try the following tips.

Instead of simply pasting the URL into the box, craft an introduction or teaser to your news release in this section. Use the title of your news release, or customize the title to be more relevant to this specific online community.

LinkedIn allows 600 characters, so try to incorporate a question or a call to action, and a relevant keyword or two. Some examples include:

  • Why do #PR Pros use Business Wire? Watch and find out. (Business Wire)
  • It’s CPI day! Use the Atlanta Fed’s myCPI tool to find out how you compare to the national average. (Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta)
  • Do you see a lot of recruiter traffic in your LinkedIn inbox? How do you manage your current employment during a LinkedIn job hunt? We’re asking these questions and more on Twitter! (The Coca-Cola Company)

To find relevant keywords that are meaningful to your connections, observe the news for the week, what’s trending, and hot topics on your company (and your competitor’s) blog and online newsroom.    Use the words and phrases your clients and prospects would use when describing your news to increase the impact and potential shares and inbound clicks from your LinkedIn update.

Next, if necessary, revise the description and photo that LinkedIn automatically pulled in from your article URL.

Description:  In this section, you want to revise the text that LinkedIn automatically pulled in to drive even more interest in your news. Some suggestions would be to craft a new lead in or to copy and paste the sentences from your news release that most succinctly tell your story. Be brief, as LinkedIn does limit the amount of text you can add in here.

Picture:  If there is a graphic more suitable for LinkedIn than what was distributed within your press release, you can swap out your multimedia asset by clicking the “x” next to the current graphic and uploading your new image. Your photo should be no larger than 100 MB and you can’t resize it.when-is-the-best-time-to-post-on-social-media-LinkedInWhen to Post on LinkedIn
Because LinkedIn is mainly for professionals, most users post on weekdays during business hours. There are a variety of studies outlining what time is best for news sharing on LinkedIn.  The consensus is weekdays are best:

  • Midweek posting is optimal from 5 – 6 p.m.

or

  • The best times to post are Monday – Friday between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.

or

If 19% of U.S. adults use LinkedIn, and consumers who refer friends spend more and refer business equal to 45% of the money they spent, then it makes sense to have those users sharing your news on LinkedIn.

Follow these small steps to see big impact in the reach and action of your news release within this business oriented news site. Try these steps with your next release and let us know how much more activity you receive!

Click here to share these LinkedIN tips with your Twitter followers: http://ctt.ec/bHcX7


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

 

 


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.

desktop-4

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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“Every Business Has an Audience” is a Key Takeaway from SXW2O

March 17, 2015

By Vilan Trub, Business Wire

The venue was large and had already been entertained by the great Al Roker by the time Jim Weiss (CEO, W2O Group) and Cathy Baron Tamraz (CEO, Business Wire) stepped on stage. They had their hands full with a standing room-only audience and only saying something fundamentally mind blowing would turn it around. Fortunately for the crowd, that’s exactly what happened.

Cathy and Jim at SXW2O event

During the session, Cathy was asked how a newswire service could support a startup or organization that journalists weren’t actively looking for information on. “If you have a business, you have an audience,” she told the crowd. “Safe is not going to win the game.”

More news is being created and consumed now than ever in the history of modern man, she continued, adding that there are trade papers, journalists, online publications and consumers looking for relevant company news every day. You don’t have to be a big name brand to get noticed; you just have to have a good product or piece of news. In a world so cluttered with content, it was refreshing to hear someone say what every successful large and small organization knows to be true. You don’t have to be big to get noticed — you just have to appeal to your core audience.

Apple WatchTo reiterate the point that smaller companies can greatly benefit with a newswire service, Cathy cited her own company’s history. When Business Wire first launched over 50 years ago, they were distributing news for companies like Hewlett-Packard, companies that were being run out of garages. This hasn’t changed much. From startup launches to the introduction of the Apple watch, Business Wire continues to distribute market moving news across a wide range of industries.

Jim Weiss chimed in, adding that startups need to get into the practice of issuing releases. It is important to start building and archiving a digital trail for your company during its earliest stages. The digital revolution also created a wide variety of options for the format of your distributed information.

Both Jim and Cathy agreed that multimedia was not just beneficial to a news release, but a requirement in modern news consumption programming. Modern communicators like Hasbro, Intel, Cigna and more are leveraging multimedia assets like News and Picture Capsules that allow users to play a game while learning about the brand and product. IntelBy incorporating interactive multimedia within the news story, audiences spend far more time on the news announcement than they would had it just been a simple text release.  Text-only news releases engage readers for seconds, while interactive-based releases are showing engagement results between 4-10 minutes – rates that are unheard of in the current communications and content marketing space.

The next topic covered was the importance of measurement in the communication space.  Measurability is the single greatest tool in identifying how a release is impacting the market and the company goals alike. Advents, such as NUVI, create an ability to not only see where your news release is being picked up but who is engaging with it and how – reading, sharing or advocating. Being able to distinguish the public reaction of your release gives you the opportunity to take control over your campaign like never before.

nuvi report

The lineup at this year’s SXW2O was fantastic, and the reason why is because the speakers were inspiring. There is a great feeling to knowing that you can make an impact especially when the message is coming from people who make an impact every day, like Jim Weiss and Cathy Baron Tamraz. The question now is who are you trying to activate with your news, and how can Business Wire help you distribute it?

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The PR Secret Every Communicator Must Know: A good image amplifies your voice

February 3, 2015

By Agnes Deleuse, Sr. Marketing Specialist, Business Wire – Paris

Fact:  In today’s digital world, a news release should absolutely integrate multimedia.  Be it photo, video or infographic, the world is now hungry for visual communication.

Why?  Study after study shows that articles containing images get more views than articles without visual assets.  In fact, in 2012 Jeff Bullas noted that articles can receive up to 94% more views!  Imagery helps to communicate your message.  It 3xconveys the essence of your news, giving viewers an opportunity to bond emotionally with your brand. Adding a photo to your news release will increase your visibility.  And if the visual is good, you can even expect a greater impact for your brand.  Why? If the image is so interesting that people click and share it on social media, it increases the audience and impact of your news.  In fact, Business Wire’s own internal data shows that news releases that include photos, videos and other multimedia elements get three times the number of the views as news releases without it.  So what role will images play in your communication program in 2015?

Over the years, our appreciation of photography has changed. New tools and platforms, including blogs, smartphones and social networks, have played a key role in this development.  Photos are everywhere and are quickly becoming the new way for consumers to communicate.  Instagram and Pinterest are amongst the top social media outlets, bringing imagery to a new level.  Showing huge usage figures across the globe, Snapchat allows users to share their feelings with images, instead of straight text. Today’s top communicators understand the power of high-quality and visually appealing photos to make their news even more attractive to reporters, analysts and consumer audiences.

Photos should be inspirational and appealing to readers, i.e., potential customers.  Aren’t you bored of seeing head shots of CEOs as depicted fifty years ago?  Times have changed! Forget the dull background with your CEO standing straight in front of the camera.  Frontal head shots are over.  Today, your CEO can be outside, sitting in his/her office or standing in an industry unit, relaxed, surrounded by a colorful background, in semi-profile bringing true dynamism to the image.  Picture format can be horizontal (wide format being very trendy).  Choose unexpected perspectives and control the lighting to ensure the focus is in the right place.  The photo should capture the person behind the portrait.  The photo should trigger an emotional connection with the viewer, directly shaping their view of the CEO and the organization they lead.

Solidworks

The same applies for products and commercial imagery.  Inanimate objects can be eye-catching too depending on the angle and the arrangement. Presenting a new product does not need to be formal and in a safe tone.  Elevate your product by re-picturing it.  Trends in 2015 are focusing on creating big, dynamic images on small screens.  Use these images to showcase your organization’s big vision.  Remember that the look and feel of your images conveys meaning in and around your brand messages.

We know today that 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text2.  Getting the right image can be the key to conveying your message in a few seconds. Engaging, effective and meaningful visual communications help consolidate your customers’ perceptions of your business, while simultaneously helping to reinforce your brand’s identity.

So, the next time you send a news release, add imagery that people will remember and want to share.

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Read on for additional information on the role and impact of multimedia in today’s news release process:

1/ Source: jeffbullas.com/2012/05/28/6-powerful-reasons-whyyou-should-include-images-in-your-marketing-infographic
2/ Source: webmarketinggroup.co.uk/Blog/why-every-seo-strategy-needs-infographics-1764.aspx

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The future of PR: Adding Interactive Assets to Press Releases

December 5, 2014

Last month, Serena Ehrlich, Business Wire’s director of social and evolving media, authored a piece outlining the importance of increasing user engagement for increasing the effectiveness of press releases, and how to accomplish that. As more and more content continues to flood the internet, marketers who take a different approach to employing assets are seeing a much higher overall return on investment when it comes to interest in their press releases.

In 2015, look for PR professionals and reporters alike to begin using interactive assets to round out coverage. With more than 65% of the world professing to be kinetic learners, text only press releases and flat images no longer keep the reader’s attention.

To learn more about the rising increase of interactive assets in press releases, how to do it and why, click here:  http://www.commpro.biz/public-relations/time-get-serious-creating-effective-press-releases/

 


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