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

 

 


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.

Liked this piece?  Click here to tweet it out:  http://ctt.ec/hiR0v

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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How to Increase YouTube Video Views in 3 Easy Steps

December 10, 2014

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

Earlier this month I attended a Digital Hollywood panel devoted to building audiences and awareness on YouTube.

This is a very common topic here in Los Angeles.  With film making, celebrities and the history of Hollywood permeating every corner of the city, we were the first region to truly embrace YouTube for what the platform could be – a way to entertain, educate, delight and shock audiences with amazing visual content.

So if this is a common topic, something Hollywood content creators and the marketers they work with should know inherently, why is it still on the Digital Hollywood agenda?  Because no matter how great your content is, it means nothing if your content is not seen.

Almost the entire panel discussion, fueled by questions from the audience, focused on how to generate views of the variety of videos being uploaded every single day.  There are hundreds of thousands of beautifully shot, high quality videos on YouTube that no one has ever seen. Why is that?  Because the concept of if you place it here, the audience will come is antiquated and completely misleading, even for producers creating content featuring famous celebrities.  The simple truth still stands, there is no such thing as great content, only seen content.

YouTube Image

So how do YouTube video stars get their visibility?  What makes one video go viral, while another video fails?  Just like every other marketing and communications program, video programs need to be supported with paid, earned, owned and shared marketing programming.

In this session, the three top ways to ensure views of your YouTube videos are:

  1. Create relevant content – This may seem obvious but there are still a huge number of marketers creating aspirational content, or content meant to activate new fans, versus content meant to create actual audiences. In reality, content should be made for every touch point in the customer journey, but if you are on a limited budget or time, focus on creating content for the most active of your prospects and customers.  Create content that these existing brand fans will enjoy and share with their friends and reap not only views of evangelism.
  2. Tag your content for search – When it comes to placing your content on YouTube, the description and keywords you use are just as important as the content itself. Utilize titles and descriptions to entice audiences to view your video.  Include relevant keywords and well as real-time keywords, and while you don’t want to use an incorrect headline, writing a compelling, interesting headline will increase views dramatically.
  3. Pay to promote your video – If you spent money to create content, you have to use money to promote it. Videos should be promoted via earned, paid, owned and through partnerships. Smart brands are increasing impact of their content by increasing potential audiences.
    1. Paid promotion: To promote your YouTube videos there are two successful kinds of paid promotion that you can do.  First, consider paid advertising across active social channels and via Google AdWords to help relevant audiences find you via search and social.  Secondly, issue a press release to alert media outlets, bloggers and more that your video or video channels exist.  Include a short summary of the types of content you include and, if possible, frequency of updates, to generate views
    2. Earned outreach: Don’t forget to alert your PR contacts of your new content marketing program.  Media outlets are always looking for visual content to accompany industry pieces; let them know your channel may contain the content relevant to their readers.
    3. Owned channels: You have to tell people about your video; how else will they know your program exists? Promote your new YouTube content on your website, social channels, email signatures and intranets to increase views and shares of your content.
    4. Initiate partnerships: The single fastest way to increase the views of your YouTube videos is to ask likeminded, more famous YouTube personalities to share it for you. Yes, this may require an exchange of money but it works.

Leading marketers know that video is one of the top tools in today’s marketing arsenal. Not only are desktop and mobile video consumption rates through the roof, the medium is so impactful that within seconds it can build, and deepen the relationships between a brand and its customer. But first you have to distribute it.

What other ways are you finding success in promoting video content?  Please let us know in the comments below.


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/

 


Survey says? Reporters want breaking company news and photos!

September 10, 2014

In this analysis of the 2014 Business Wire media survey, Ibrey Woodall, Business Wire’s VP of web services, takes a deeper look at the types of multimedia elements most preferred by today’s reporters.

bizwirepressreleaseprefs

Not only do we cover the 7 types of news reporters want to see in a press release, we discuss what supporting assets work the best. As we move into a more visual, interactive world, text-only press releases are becoming increasingly rare.  Reporters are using images to round out their story and if you are not providing one, your competitor may be.

bizwiremultimedia

Take a few minutes and read this CommPro.biz piece to learn which types of multimedia reporters need and why:  http://www.commpro.biz/public-relations/media-relations/media-favor-photographs-press-releases-2014-business-wire-survey-provides-journalist-feedback-todays-press-release/


The Future of Content Marketing – Interactive Content

September 8, 2014

Are you responsible for your organizations’s communications program? For explaining new company initiatives to media outlets, influencers and other key constituents? Are you looking for new ways to increase your coverage, to build better fans and to increase social conversations about your news?  Then why are you issuing plain text press releases?

Press releases jump start awareness, generate coverage, initiate conversations and more.  Whether your release is text only, or includes images and graphics, you are starting a conversation, the difference is how many impactful conversations you are generating.

bizwiremultimedia

In a recent article for CommPro.biz, Serena Ehrlich, our director of social and evolving media breaks down the latest in content and news distribution, the embeddable asset widget called the Capsule.  This single asset, shared and embedded by media outlets via a single link, provides readers on-demand access to the videos, photos, PDF forms and more they want, all while reading your coverage.

Learn how easy it is to utilize this product today:  http://www.commpro.biz/public-relations/hyperspotted-content-embeddable-widgets-meet-future-content-distribution/


10 Public Relations Insights from Mary Meeker’s 2014 Technology Trends Report

May 29, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media

Earlier today, a coworker swung by my office to alert me that KPCB’s Mary Meeker’s Technology Trend Report of 2014 was finally out.

Christmas, my data loving friends, has arrived early! For those unfamiliar, this report outlines global and United States-specific mobile, internet and technology trends that impact corporate decision making in a wide range of industries.

At first glance, this report is a fascinating look at how mobile, internet, and human behavior trends have all collided in 2014.  However, as you read further, you start to see that these trends tell a very interesting story for today’s communicator.  Today’s news consumers are moving away from traditional text only news, and consuming more than ever, a blend of text and multimedia to tell a story. While this report has a wide number of very interesting data points, we pulled out the 10 key trends directly relevant to public relations, investor relations, marketing and communications professionals.

1.  Customized internet-based learning opportunities continue to grow, allowing people who learn in different ways to find the one that fits for them.

PR IMPLICATIONS:  As noted earlier this year, more than 63% of the world’s population are visual learners, making traditional text only press releases cumbersome to digest. Press releases that integrate images and/or video allow the reader to digest in their own way.  (What a great way to build fans!)

2.  Mobile phones and mobile internet are here to stay, with mobile data traffic increasing a whopping 81 percent!  The biggest use of that mobile data is consuming video. 

PR IMPLICATION:  Mobile video consumption is at an all time high.  When your audience reads your news, are you including a video clip?  Why not?

3.   Mobile ad growth is seen as an almost $30B opportunity while print advertising is over-indexed by 5%. 

PR IMPLICATIONS:  As news consumption continues to move online, include images and videos with your press releases to increase the potential and decrease the turnaround time of online news coverage.

4. A massive increase in the global messaging ecosystem continues with a strong increase in sharing within smaller groups.

PR IMPLICATIONS:  More and more tools are launching to aid communications. This increase in peer-to-peer communication tools makes word of mouth recommendations more important than ever.  Provide your fans with short  news bites and smaller multimedia clips so they can easily talk about your brand, and these messaging tools will help them share it with others.

5.  Multimedia sharing is rising rapidly.

PR IMPLICATIONS:  Today’s consumers are not only creating and sharing their own images and video, they watch and share third-party content.  Are you providing compelling content they need to effectively engage and share out your multimedia?

6.  Social media traffic referrals continue to grow with the sharing cycle for social media articles averaging 6.5 hours on Twitter and 9 hours on Facebook.  Buzzfeed continues to receive the honor of content most shared on Facebook, while the BBC holds the top spot on Twitter. 

PR IMPLICATIONS:  Meeker’s chart (which lists the top 10 content sources on both social networks) is a reflection of what piques the interest of consumers on each platform.  This provides a strong media list for you if you are looking to grow engagement on one or the other.  In addition, the stories these outlets publish provide valuable insight on the images they use and their writing style. Adapt your press releases accordingly.

7.  2014 is the year of the Internet Trifecta:  Critical mass of content + community to give it context + commerce.

PR IMPLICATION:  Skip writing vague press releases and start writing for your core audience. As more and more content continues to be upload (1.8B photos uploaded and shared PER DAY globally), the best chance you have to stand out, and drive ROI is to activate core audiences.  Include calls to actions, like Click to Tweet, to move people through you sales funnel.

8.  13ZB (that Is Zeta bytes) of content will be created and consumed this year.

PR IMPLICATIONS:  To stand out from the noise, you need good writing and compelling assets. Arm your brand fans with your news to increase word of mouth sharing.

9.  Re-Imagining User Interfaces (UI):  R.I.P. Bad User Interfaces; today’s consumers are much more willing to leave companies for their competitors due to bad web or mobile interfaces.

PR IMPLICATIONS:  Company news pages have changed drastically in the last few years. Have you updated yours?  Today’s sites include social interfaces, access usable multimedia, and historical information and are readable from any device. Is your company news page keeping pace?

10.  Massive increase in video views, long and short form. 

PR IMPLICATIONS:  Create videos!  Not sure where to start?  How about a video showcasing a key decision point in the development or launch of your product or initiative? Or ask us! We’ve been distributing multimedia for years.

By providing your news in both a textual and image/video format, you are effectively giving the consumer the choice to read your news in the format they prefer.  By meeting their consumption needs, you create a higher likelihood of news sharing, or word of mouth marketing.  And nothing is more effective than that!

Want to learn more about how you can adapt your press release process to meet these new technology and behavioral changes?  Let’s set up a time to talk.


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