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[Webinar Recap] Here are the Top 2017 Social Media Trends to Watch by Black PR Wire and Business Wire Part II

By Vilan Trub, Business Wire

The following is Part II of Business Wire's article providing insight into the top social media trends for 2017. Access Part I to learn what insight Lashanda Henry, SistaSense and Dr. Erica Taylor Southerland, Ph.D. had to offer.    

Be Authentic. Alfred Edmond Jr., Senior VP/Executive Editor-at-Large of Black Enterprise

The key takeaway from Alfred’s presentation was “don’t play yourself.” We live in an era where there are more tools available than ever to build our own brand, but it’s important to be mindful that communicating with audiences is self-representation. Build a brand that represents you, the authentic you. Don’t waste your time creating an image online that does not reflect who you are offline and could possibly alienate your intended audience.   

Every status update is a window into how audiences will see you. Brands need to protect their credibility.  Every organization has issues and every social media manager needs to know these issues and public perceptions before creating their social program.  They should think and verify before tweeting/retweeting, posting, reacting or aligning with a hashtag. Every update should align with the organization’s voice and brand.

Edmond Jr. also discussed best practices of live-video streaming. Live-streaming events, providing exclusive behind the scene’s sneak peeks is one of the best ways to draw in an audience. Use live video to bring your viewers into places where they can’t access themselves. This discussion lead into the concept of “celebrity.” Each industry has their own “celebrities” or “influencer.” Consider exclusive interviews with these thought leaders as a way to co-opt their audiences to promote your message. This is another great use of live-streaming to connect with your audience.

Tip:  Don’t Forget Email Lists

As social media evolves and transitions into a more pay-for-play role, email lists will become more important. On social media platforms, the audience you accrue is owned by the platform and they will charge you to reach them. The only audience you own is the one you can reach on your own, such as an email list. The strongest marketing programs are ones that use all the resources available to a company – include email amplification in your programs to ensure you reach and activate your most loyal fans with your news and information.

Don’t Sleep on LinkedIn

When looking to drive sales via social channels, Edmond Jr. pleaded with viewers not to forget the power and reach of LinkedIn.  LinkedIn offers access to high income decision makers, those with access to budgets. While Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great for reaching audiences, LinkedIn offers a far more unique, targeted reach. People expect to be pitched on LinkedIn, making them the perfect prospects. A great way to get acquainted with the content on LinkedIn is to check out their marketing pages blog.LinkedIn.com and LinkedIntoBusiness.com.

 

Drive Social Advocacy Stephanie Tavares-Rance, Director of Digital Marketing, PR and Social Media at Boston Market

Stephanie’s tips centered on three key goals: share, educate and motivate.

Content should tell a story, deliver information and solve a problem for the audience that’s being targeted. Don’t waste your time reiterating issues that potential clients might have without offering plausible solutions. This work doesn’t motivate them to act on your brand as a beneficial partner, a key component for increasing social advocacy.

Stephanie also offered some tips when crafting content for social platform distribution:

  • Know your platforms. Develop content and copy with a mobile-first point of view. Have a clear understanding of image dimensions required and maximum character count.
  • Vary your content. Content should change with each platform to best suit the platform’s capabilities. Image dimensions, character count, and understanding unique audiences to each platform will help tailor craft your messaging.
  • Use CTAs. Calls to action should move audiences to go beyond the view to action. Getting audiences to consume your content is the first step. Get them moving down the sales funnel by encouraging they take further, proactive steps in learning more about your brand or product.
  • No words needed. Video content should be able to tell a story without sound. Social platforms are often mobile platforms and engaged with on the go. Create video content that tells a story visually because you don’t know when audiences will or won’t be listening to audio, if they find themselves in public spaces.
  • Be interesting. Posts should engage the reader to share, comment and provide their own stories. Posts should be conversation starters, opening two-way dialogue.

 

Melissa Kimble, Founder of #blkcreatives and Senior Social Media Manager at Ebony

Melissa kicked off her portion of the webinar by posing several intriguing questions:

  1. Are you resting on utilizing social media as the “face” of your business or are you using it as a tool to leverage your business?  
  2. Are you utilizing social media to create noise or to create necessary relationships? How can you create a more well-rounded brand offline?

Strategy starts with intention and the goal is to utilize social media platforms to maximize the visibility and impact of brand communications. With all of the noise that social media creates, people are hungry for more substantial, real life experiences. They are authentic and tangible and they crave likeminded content. These experiences include in-person events, face-to-face meetings or even phone calls and allow social media to supplement what the brand is creating offline.   

Melissa explained that social media is a game that changes but brands need to keep doing what makes sense for their business and bottom line. The best way to approach social media, she suggested, was by staying focused on managing a few platforms well.

Creating a successful social media program starts with a deep understanding of your organization, your goals, your positive traits and your flaws.  Understanding who you are, and who you want to be is the first step in building an online branding program that connects with intended audiences and ultimately drives to your business goals.  Once you know what your organization stands for, you can select your platforms, create your brand voice and the content you need to translate your organization into a tangible brand online, and off.

Interested in learning more about using social media to amplify your news and content? Email us now!

This webinar is available for replay here:  http://bit.ly/2lAeZRQ and you can view the event Storify here: https://storify.com/serena/business-wire-and-black-pr-wire-2017-social-media-

[Webinar Recap] Here are the Top 2017 Social Media Trends to Watch by Black PR Wire and Business Wire Part I

By Vilan Trub, Business Wire

There was a time when CBS, NBC and ABC dominated people’s attention, but in today’s world we find ourselves glued to the constantly updated timelines of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other unique and highly engaging platforms. For an organization, these platforms pose an immense opportunity to reach potential clients and customers to maintain an open line of communication, and amplify brand awareness. However, these digital platforms are rapidly changing and keeping up is difficult.

Many questions arise when determining how to maximize impact when sharing on the most popular social platforms. Business Wire’s director of global media relations, Raschanda Hall, had the opportunity to co-moderate a conversation with today’s leading communicators on what the current trends are in social media. The webinar, hosted by Bernadette A. Morris, president/CEO of Black PR Wire, offers listeners insight into the best practices for utilizing social media as a communications tool.

 

Increasing Video Impact with MORE by Lashanda Henry, SistaSense

Lashanda introduced listeners to the MORE strategy. An acronym, MORE stands for Master Originality Reach Engagement. MORE needs to be applied to brand storytelling by creating videos that present authentic messaging. Videos are today’s key piece of social content. Not only do they drive deeper connections with viewers, social networks are emphasizing video content, giving it broader reach than any other type of update.  

“You can’t go wrong by constantly showing your content on social media,” Lashanda emphasized. 

There are multiple kinds of videos organizations can produce today to meet their goals. These include live streaming video, video conferencing and video podcasting. Which one is the right one for you?

Although incredibly popular, live streaming isn’t always applicable. It’s a great tool to use when on location at a conference, during an interview, or other situation where the audience can’t physically be present at the scheduled time of the event. Other situations might call for pre-recorded video, such as a video podcast, that is relevant at any time the viewer chooses to watch the footage. Organizations must look at their end goal first, then decide which video type will achieve it.   

Lashanda’s tips for creating videos that drive sales and revenue:

  • Create a publishing schedule. This is key for budgeting purposes, but will also help you connect your videos to your sales goals
  • Video length will vary from 60 seconds to 60 minutes, depending on content and platform.
  • Being professional doesn’t’ cost a lot.  Don’t prop your phone against a book! Use a tripod and other equipment to create production value for your videos
  • Stop including “inbox me” or paypal links in your video. Create easy short links that send people directly to your own sales page (not your homepage).
  • Include customer photos for testimonials. Visual storytelling allows viewers to connect with the story, deepening loyalty and ultimately driving more sales

 

Social Media Takeaways for Non-Profits with Dr. Erica Taylor Southerland, Ph.D.

Dr. Southerland provided social media tips and trends that can benefit organizations in the non-profit sector such as best practices for social media management on a small budget. The easiest tip to implement is to have a social media plan. Know what kind of content you want to be putting out and have a schedule so that content is created and published regularly. Scheduling content for automatic posting on platforms such as Facebook creates the opportunity to plan ahead and develop initiatives for the future.    

Another great tip provided by Erica was to leverage your partnerships to increase the visibility of your content. Share content with other similar organizations and social media influencers who are talking about the same issues. Build reciprocal content sharing relationships with likeminded organizations to increase the overall impact of your messaging.  Within the social world there is a community element that should be taken advantage of to maximize outreach efforts.

Top non-profit social media trends

  • Building your reputation:  Utilizing executive blogs, such as posts on platforms like Medium, gets your voice out as a sharable asset.   
  • Finding passionate audiences Hashtag activism is a great tool to tap into and engage large audiences.
  • Use humor. Smartly. Use humor but maintain cultural awareness and authenticity. Use facts and supplement those facts with a relevant joke.
  • Use data to create a smart “clap back.” Today’s top social commentary is filled with brands utilizing the “clap back” to make their point. As with all communication though, brands need to be careful of the potential “clap back.” There are a lot of opposing opinions and alienating potential clients or customers is counterproductive. The goal should always be what’s best for your organization, the bottom line.
  • Go big. Crowdsourcing and social fundraising are great ways to get potential and current donors excited. 

 

Check back next week for Part II featuring insights from Alfred Edmond Jr., Senior VP/Executive Editor-at-Large of Black, Stephanie Tavares-Rance, Director of Digital Marketing, PR and Social Media at Boston Market Enterprise, and Melissa Kimble, Founder of #blkcreatives and Senior Social Media Manager at Ebony 

Everything PR Pros Need to Know About Influencer Marketing Part II

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

 

The following is Part II of Business Wire's article providing a closer look at influencer marketing and how it can help you amplify your message. This section covers working with influencers, measuring your success, and maintaining the best communications for your brand. Access Part I to learn about why influencer marketing is important and how to identify the appropriate influencers for your message.   

 

Working with influencers:  Now what?

Once you have identified your influencers and established communications, it is time to determine if you want to work together. 

 

First, you must build out your own program. What is your goal, what do you want influencers to do, how long do you want this program to last, what are the results you expect? Determine how you plan on compensating your influencers – can you afford to pay them? Do you have product that may be of interest, or can you provide significant visibility to their work. Once you know your goal and the influencers you need to achieve it, it is time to start the outreach.

 

Read the influencers’ websites in advance to see if they provide an overview of their influencer programming. This will tell you if they want to be paid, the type of reach they have and more.  You may want to ask for a screen shot of their analytics to confirm their reach and activity claims. Next, craft and send a short outreach note asking if they are interested in new partners and what their programs consist of, their reach and average results and how they prefer to be compensated. Do not expect influencers to write for free.

 

Once the influencer has agreed to be a part of your influencer program, it is time to write and sign a contract. Do not forget this step! Contracts are very important because they outline the goal of the program, the length, the content expectations, content points that must be included in the output, the use of disclosure language such as #spon or #ad, distribution platforms, launch and completion dates, how the program will be measured and, of course, payment terms. How long do you want the content to live? Who has the rights to pull it down? You will want to make sure that your contract includes explicit language in case your influencer does not fulfill their side of the bargain, goes rogue or partners with a competitor while working with you.

 

Amplifying the influencers’ work

The last thing you must do when launching an influencer program is to design your content amplification support system. When you have outside parties creating content on your behalf, you must take your own steps to amplify this content even further.  Create blog posts that point to the content, consider amplification via newswire services, use social channels to increase views and of course, don’t forget about contextual ad networks that can place your influencer content in ad blocks around the web.

 

Influencer content is exactly the kind of information an organization should promote. Don’t forget this final step!

 

Measuring the success of your influencer program

As we noted earlier, it is key to establish the goals of your influencer program well before you launch. This ensures you are able to establish and track the success of your program.  Key questions to ask at the end of the program include:

 

  • Were deadlines met?
  • Were contract guidelines met?
  • Were FTC #spon/#ad disclosure guidelines met?
  • How high was the quality of content the influencer created?
  • What was the amount and quality of brand mentions/discussions?
  • What was the amount and quality of inbound traffic?
  • What was the amount and quality of leads?
  • What was the amount and quality of conversions?
  • How did this content make the audience feel about your content?

 

You may need to use technology to track these metrics. Work with your analytics team to create conversion pixels, UTM codes and more tracking links to ensure you capture as much data as possible within your programs.

 

But don’t just measure the success of your program. Monitor your influencer partners as well. Has their brand voice changed recently? Are they working with competitors? Are they using their platforms in an unexpected manner? Even if you use influencers for a short-term program, you are co-opting their brand. You must monitor all outputs to ensure they stay consistent to ensure the strongest connection possible between the influencer, their audience and your organization.

 

Costs associated with influencer marketing

As we noted earlier, paying for influencer marketing programming can be done with money, goods, visibility and access.  To ensure there is no confusion, always use a contract to ensure both parties are held to the same clear standards.

 

The 2016 Linqia Influencer study shows that in 2017, costs for influencer programs have increased, averaging $50,000-$100,000 per influencer. The bigger your goal, the bigger your budget will need to be. If you cannot afford this kind of pricing, consider offering other options to your influencer such as:

 

  • Free product
  • Exposure via cross promotion
  • Compensation per post or content piece (flat rate)
  • CPE: Compensation per engagement (likes, shares, comments) per piece
  • CPC: Compensation per click by the consumer (link clicks)
  • CPA: Compensation per acquisition

 

There are many ways to compensate a blogger or influencer – and the choice you make will depend heavily on both your goals and the influencers you choose to work with.

 

Righting the ship: When influencers go rogue

Let’s face it. Even the best planned programming can go rogue. So what do you do when your influencer acts out in a manner that you didn’t expect? Can you do anything?

 

The answer is yes. Refer to your contract! If your partner isn’t meeting their end of the bargain, make sure you cover this in your contract. You want to spell out penalties for both parties when the contract isn’t met, including withholding of final payment or the deletion of created content.  This is especially key in created content and in the use of FTC disclosures.

 

And if the influencer goes rogue and you determine that the content is no longer aligned with your brand, ask them to pull it down. Sometimes it is better to walk away vs. allowing your brand to be dragged down by a 3rd party.

 

Influencer marketing is a great way to increase the alignment between your brand and your targeted audiences, but it can come with pitfalls. Take a smart, organized approach to identifying, outreaching and aligning with relevant audiences to reduce potential issues and increase the opportunities of achieving your goal.

 

Want to learn more ways to increase the visibility of your organization’s content? These articles are great! Or email us with questions!

PR Measurement: How to Track Inbound Traffic from a Press Release

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

 

What good is a news release if you can’t track the results?

 

Hyperlinks in news releases are extremely important as they lead readers to your website to find additional information about your organization, product or service directly from your news release. Tracking this inbound traffic is a great way to see if your website content is aligning with your news content, ensuring you are meeting your business goals. 

 

While Business Wire’s NewsTrak reports tell you how many times a tracked link is clicked, you can get much more useful information if you append your hyperlinks with a URL builder (sometimes called a UTM link).

 

What are URL builders?

Provided by your analytics program, URL builders or UTM links are lines of text you add to the end of a URL that allow the program to track the inbound traffic activity you are generating. 

 

URL builders allow you to connect the dots between your reader and your website, tracking the impact of your communications program directly on your business goals. 

 

When should you use a URL builder?

Don’t limit your data gathering to just your news releases. Create extensions for blog posts, social updates, advertising and other marketing collateral to keep your program’s activities separated. You can create new URL builders for every release and identify traffic by platform (one builder for all news releases vs. blog posts) or topic (one builder for all earnings vs. products).  Email marketing services like Pardot allow you to track actions within distributed emails as well as landing pages, providing even more data you can use to tweak or update your program.

 

How to create a URL builder in under 5 minutes:

If your company has a team that oversees analytics, email them and ask for a URL builder you can add to the end of any URL.  If you manage the analytics yourself, here are the instructions for creating a Google Analytics URL builder.

 

Click here to open the URL builder creation page: https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/

 

  1. Enter the complete URL of the link you’d like to track (required)
  2. Enter the Campaign Source (required, e.g. “BusinessWire”)
  3. Enter the Campaign Medium (required, e.g. “PR”)
  4. Enter the Campaign Term (usually to identify keywords or topics, e.g. “earnings,” “product”)
  5. Enter the Campaign Content (usually for tracking versions or tests, e.g. “newsrelease”)
  6. Enter the Campaign Name – this can be any name you want (e.g. “Q3,” “PR” “IR”)
  7. Click “Submit”
  8. Now you have an expanded URL that contains all the analytics tracking data.
  9. Hyperlink this expanded URL within the Business Wire news release
  10. Work with your analytics team to create a weekly report to send you the data these URLs are gathering so you can use this to correct your landing pages, conversion concepts and more

 

What are the limitations to a URL Builder?

Not all of your inbound traffic is going to come in to your website from your appended link. Some websites hosting your Business Wire news release will strip that appended data out. Also, some consumers still enjoy typing a company name into the search bar vs. clicking a link. It is best to view this data as a snapshot of all the traffic you are driving in, not a reflection of all the traffic and activity you have initiated.

 

Reading your URL Builder Data

Every time someone clicks on your appended hyperlink, you can now track their actions across your website, such as:

 

  • Is your landing page working? Many times news releases drive traffic to home pages without realizing the home page is not showcasing the information needed to convert the visitor to a customer. How long are visitors staying on your landing page and within your website? Are they leaving your page in under 30 seconds? Or are they going deeper? Make the changes needed to convert your inbound traffic.
  • Who are you reaching and activating? Are you reaching new audiences with your news releases, or are you decreasing the consideration time it takes for someone to buy your product?
  • Where is your audience? Are you activating the right markets? Are they on their smartphones or on a desktop?
  • What actions are they taking? Are your news release readers downloading your promoted content?  Are they subscribing to your marketing channels?
  • Which news release topics are driving the most inbound activity?

 

Few departments generate as many discussions as your PR team. Capitalize on these discussions and the traffic they generate by tracking the activities your news has on your website. With URL builders, you can see if you are driving in the right traffic and if your audience is taking the actions you want. This will provide you the hard data needed to increase the ROI of future marketing efforts such as landing page revisions, keyword research needs and more.

 

Click here to learn more about Google Analytics’ URL builder or email us today to set up a meeting to discuss this further.

 

 

 

Everything PR Pros Need to Know About Influencer Marketing Part I

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

 

There are about 1,209,803,094,832 articles on the web today related to influencer marketing and how it will revolutionize PR and marketing in 2017.  Knowing how important it is for an organization to activate key audiences, we at Business Wire wanted to provide a closer look at influencer marketing, why it is so important and how it works.

 

Why? What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is the identification of, and outreach to particular individuals because of their existing reach within a particular market or demographic audience segment with the hopes they will share your content, or create their own, to educate their audiences about your business or product line.

 

This is exactly what PR pros do every day! Every day they identify publications and writers that their audiences trust, and reach out with the hopes of securing media coverage.  The difference between an influencer pitch and a media pitch is usually found in the output and the financial incentives influencers require to share your content with their audiences.

 

Influencers offer companies new lines of communication. They provide the opportunity to reach smaller, highly targeted groups with authentic and trusted content designed to drive action or meet a specified goal. Most influencer programs in 2017 are paid programs, with access to content and goods as secondary payment options.

 

Why would a company initiate an influencer marketing program?

Every two years, Nielsen releases its Trust in Advertising Study. Over and over, the results show that consumers place high trust (66%) in editorial/expert content. But when that content is shared by a friend or someone they know? The trust in that content jumps to 83%. Imagine consumers trusting your company’s information at a rate of 83%! That is huge!

 

Influencers work hard to build their audiences, to create friendly relationships with their readers. Their goal is to create content pieces that their audience not only will read or watch, but that will activate their readers to take an action – to share the content, to click the link, to buy the product.  If you are looking to reach a particular audience, it makes sense to work with someone who is already a trusted source to your end audience.

 

What are the rules surrounding influencer programs?

The most important rule in influencer programming is related to disclosure. The Federal Trade Commission is responsible for truth in advertising. In 2009 the FTC issued guidance on influencer programming – requiring influencers who were compensated for posts to make it clear to readers that they were working with the brand as a paid or compensated spokesperson.  These are guidelines not laws, but are considered a key part of truthful, transparent influencer engagement. This information should be provided in the body of blogs, as a footnote in videos, a spoken sentence in audio content and via social updates utilizing the hashtags #spon or #ad plus the name of the sponsoring organization. 

 

What kind of influencer programs are there?

There are many times an organization can use influencer marketing. It can be to support a new product launch, or to extend the visibility and reach of an existing product.  You can leverage influencers to share out your created content, or to create their own content based on your specifications.  Influencers also do a great job of reporting and extending the life and impact of events. But influencers can do more than just share a product release – they can be invaluable in a crisis, providing another avenue for you to reach end audiences when misconceptions or mistakes are dominating news headlines.

 

What are the features of a good influencer?

A good influencer is one that has a strong reach within your target audience. Influencers are not meant to be used broadly – they are meant to activate small segments of your overall audience.  A good influencer will be someone who actively participates in your target audience sphere, online and offline.  Another hallmark of a good influencer is someone who creates content that activates others. You want to find influencers who encourage action, not one that simply promises visibility. 

 

Another thing to consider is the influencer’s own brand voice. You may want to find influencers that align with your existing brand voice and values, or you may choose influencers with a completely different type of style if looking to reach completely new audiences.

 

Influencers can be famous. Or not. If you have a large budget, you may want to consider partnering with a celebrity or a mass influencer (someone will more than 1 million followers). But this is not a requirement for a good influencer program.  Many companies have found strong success in activating influencers with smaller audiences. Their followers may be more passionate and more likely to act upon the shared content as they feel more connected with the influencer.

 

Influencers can also be reporters and writers! They may be industry professionals such as the head of your industry association. Employees are wonderful influencers and can be activated with little out of pocket costs with a strong employee engagement program. Company partners and customers can also help share out important content pieces and news with a simple ask.  When launching an influencer program, it is key to identify internal and external industry experts.

 

How do you find your influencer?

84% of marketers identify influencers manually and most marketers agree identifying the right influencer is the hardest part of the entire program. 

 

To get started, first identify who is currently sharing your company news out across their social channels, publications or blogs.  Are they employees? Journalists? Analysts? Partners or brand fans? Who is currently advocating for your company? 

 

Next, look to see who is advocating for your competitors and your overall industry. Who has the largest voice, one that most aligns with your own organization’s tone and goal?

 

Then, it is time to turn to your tools.  News release distribution services like Business Wire provide organizations with a complete list of who socially shared out their news releases. This is an influencer list! Simply go through it and see who you want to add to your list. Social monitoring services like NUVI identify who is tweeting out support for your business and industry. Don’t forget that media databases like Agility PR now include influencers who want to work with brands as part of their service.

 

You can outreach to influencers via email (usually found on their website on the contact page) or via their social channels to initiate the discussion.

 

Check in next Tuesday, March 7th at 8am for Part II of this piece, offering additional insight into "Influencer Marketing" and what to do once you've identified your relevant influencers. 

 

How to Write News Release Headlines Reporters Love

By Raschanda Hall, Director of Global Media Relations, and Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media, Business Wire

Every year, the teams at Business Wire look at changes in the industry that impact news release distribution and usage. We review the technical changes and the behavioral changes that directly affect the visibility and consumption of information. Once we gather this information, we make tactical suggestions that PR professionals can use to increase the success of their work. Still the most frequently asked question we receive is:  What makes a good news release headline and how long should it be? 

The key to writing a good news release headline is to be both compelling and informative. Do not just say what the project is, explain the importance to your end audience. Don’t just tell reporters you’re opening an office in a new city, highlight the effects of the move on the neighborhood, your overall business, and the industry. This is what piques their interest, the implications of their news on their readership.

While headline writing isn’t an exact science, a common formula includes the use of a number or trigger word + adjective + keyword + promise.  Trigger words can be question words like what, how or why?  They can also be persuasion words like imagine, if, and new. 

Whether you choose to use this formula or not, you want to make sure the most compelling word, or phrase, in your news release is also in the headline.  This is why, when it comes to news releases, you write your headline after you write your news release. This will ensure that you include important keywords or data in your headline because they are relevant to your news.

The Key to Selecting Keywords

Keywords are the words and phrases frequently used by your colleagues, industry peers, customers and reporters to describe specific products or services. Once you write your news release, go through and underline the words and phrases you included that are popular right now in your industry.  Pick the keywords that help explain the real impact of your news to your readers. Don’t focus on keywords that are irrelevant to your overall story goal. 

Confirming Your Keywords Have Impact

Once you have selected the keywords or key phrases from your news release that showcase why this is news, you may want to use a keyword tester to see how popular that word is with your audience. Google Trends is a free service that Google offers to show writers, content creators, marketers and PR pros what information people are looking for within Google search. By going to Google.com/Trends, you can type in and search the words and phrases in your news release to see which term or terms may be most useful to reach and activate your audiences.

How to use Google Trends:

  1. Go to Google.com/trends
  2. Set the location to match your country
  3. Set the timeline to match the last 7 days (for blog posts, try 30 days)
  4. Identify the keywords in your news release that ladder up to your headline goals
  5. Type in each of your keywords or phrases
  6. Write down which keywords or phrases have the highest search terms
  7. Add the most popular words to your headline
  8. Review your headline to ensure maximum readability
  9. Distribute your news release
  10. Monitor results and make modifications as needed for your next release

Once you have identified your most searched keywords or phrases, craft several different headlines and use a headline tester to confirm your new headline is both interesting and relevant. Here are three free, online headline testers for your files:

How long should your headline be?

While shorter headlines are preferred, it is important that your headline provide key information to your reader. Depending on keywords, your headline may be short, or it may be longer than usual.  The URL string of the Business Wire version of your news release will showcase the first 5-8 words of your announcement so make sure your most impactful words are included here.

Keep in mind, ideal headline character counts can vary by platform and news partner.

  • Many editorial systems show the first 55 characters of your news release headline.
  • Search engines showcase the first 70 characters of your headline.
  • Social channels tend to pull in the entire headline (along with your Business Wire news release summary)
  • Don’t forget about mobile devices. Keeping your headline to 40 characters may be tough, but some think that is the ideal headline length for mobile readers. 

This means you have between 8-15 words in your headline to entice your readers into opening your release. 

Tip! Let Your Coverage Be Your Guide!

One way to see if your news release headlines are working is to see how reporters revise them in their coverage pieces or how consumers translate your news in their social updates. Did they use your language or your angle? What did they change? Why? Taking the time to review your past coverage pieces is a fantastic way to guide you to crafting a better release next time.

Once you have your news release headline, don’t forget to include the other required news release elements!  Include hyperlinks to provide reporters with instant access to back up materials, add a photo, infographic or video that visually tells your story to activate visual learners and include social prompts in your news release to allow fans to advocate on your behalf.

And once your release has crossed Business Wire, monitor your NewsTrak report (clicking on the Compare to Recent button) to see how your revised headline compares to past releases.  You will also want to monitor social media channels via your NUVI report to see if your newly revised headline message resonates with individuals.

Have questions about using keyword research for crafting news release headlines? Let us know! We would love to set up a time to review your news releases and show you the small changes you can make to drive larger results. Email us at serena.ehrlich@businesswire.com to get started.

Why Newswires? The Past, Present & Future of Trusted News

By Gregg Castano, President, Business Wire

Newswires have a long tradition of fulfilling an industry need for the dissemination of market moving information to a wide range of news organizations and other stakeholders. Trends and technical advancements have influenced how news is both distributed and consumed.

The stability, credibility and widespread usage of newswire distribution networks are a primary reason why communications professionals view them as the backbone of the news dissemination process.

With over 50 years of industry leadership, Business Wire has established irrefutable trust from within the news market and has proven its thorough understanding of the needs of the digital age by creating a technologically sophisticated, patented distribution network. This trust and innovation have made Business Wire the launching pad for turning company news releases into credible breaking news.

TRUSTED SOURCE

The credibility and tradition of trust earned from journalists and other downstream consumers of Business Wire content enables companies of all sizes to confidently submit press releases for distribution across the wire. Within its 22 local newsrooms around the world, Business Wire employs experienced and knowledgeable editorial teams who review this content to confirm legitimacy and accuracy. This process of vetting news content is a key feature of Business Wire’s value proposition and results in the unquestioned reliance on our service by leading journalists and investors who act upon the breaking news we deliver.

Business Wire has spent over 50 years building symbiotic relationships with media, investors and consumers by regularly delivering factually reliable and timely corporate news content.

REACH

A comprehensive global distribution system and the hard-earned trust of media and investors results in Business Wire being able to provide broad reach and visibility to its members. In addition to direct distribution of releases to the news systems and mobile apps of publications large and small on a global scale, corporate announcements are disseminated across a platform in which all relevant potential audiences have access to the information. Pushed to media and investors, and SEO friendly on the web, virtually anyone can easily find Business Wire content and move on it, from reporter to consumer, from investor to blogger. Further, all information is distributed in full text, ensuring full disclosure of all the information an issuer wishes to convey. It is also simultaneously transmitted to all end users over a private, encrypted network that guarantees that it is visible and not trapped by spam filters.

Business Wire has partnerships with 60 national and international news agencies facilitating reach to more than 89,000 media outlets in 162 countries. Industry professionals recognize our benefits as exemplified by the 92,000+ journalists who subscribe to our PressPass service, offering convenient and customized news feeds. We also offer more than 1,676 delivery options in more than 50 local languages that reach specified geographic markets and offer a choice of nearly 200 industry trade categories at no additional charge.

VISIBILITY

Every day companies spend significant dollars creating a broad array of content designed to establish credibility among, and deliver key messaging to, their constituencies. In each case, the success of these programs is tied directly to their visibility.

The more promotion content receives, the more likely it is that the target audience will see and act upon it. Rather than simply promoting the content via owned channels or social advertising and platforms, which can limit visibility, utilizing a newswire can enhance visibility, coverage and engagement and drive the traffic needed to make the program achieve its objectives.

With Business Wire distribution, news is disseminated across major global platforms including AP, AFP, Bloomberg, ThomsonReuters and Yahoo! Finance, with dual-platform posting to BusinessWire.com and EnhancedOnlineNews.com. Your press release also includes interactive hyperlinks and social sharing links to help drive engagement and content sharing, improving performance in search. The goal is to create the kind of visibility that will lead to user activity and engagement.

INNOVATION with BizWireTV

Business Wire created video programming aimed at showcasing not only the importance and impact press releases still hold, but the growing need for their use as a legitimate form of messaging in the wild-west age of internet platforms. Each news release that crosses our wire triggers activity across the web, views, shares, social engagement, mentions and more specifically, sentiment. This data serves as the solution to how Business Wire will revolutionize the industry. The video programming that serves as the solution, BizWireTV, takes the traditional press release and evolves how the message held within reaches audiences around the world. 

In partnership with Al Roker Entertainment, Business Wire’s BizWireTV spotlights stories on disruptive startups and technologies, entrepreneurs and funding announcements, hot business trends and companies to watch. A core component of the video programming is news-related data analysis powered by Business Wire’s NewsTrak reports and NUVI social media tracking. Business Wire has access to a lot of information. We know how often each release is read, how images and videos perform and how the social media universe is reacting to, commenting on and sharing news stories. Using that information as our guide, we turn rich stories and deep data that we have access to into video news show tailored for digital platforms. This data and social engagement metrics help identify trending stories. Video footage is then incorporated to help share stories in an innovative way.  The goal is to deliver it all with a true news spirit that leaves the viewer feeling smarter, better informed about upcoming economic or industry developments and ready to share it with others interested in staying informed.

With over 5,600,000 video views on BusinessWire.com, 1,400,000 views on Facebook and Twitter, 1,000,000 views of news releases announcing new episodes, and 26,000 social media mentions reaching over 25MM followers, BizWireTV has gone far and above all expectations of popularity.

SECURITY

Business Wire’s patented, simultaneous NX worldwide network ensures that news is distributed to every outlet at the same time and in a highly secure manner. In fact, security is Business Wire’s number one priority. As such, Business Wire is currently the only newswire service to have received the Service Organization Control [SOC] 2 Type II attestation engagement report, providing independent validation that the company’s internal security controls are in accordance with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ applicable Trust Services Principles and Criteria.

LONGEVITY

One sure way to maintain visibility is to also ensure longevity.

The online archiving of news releases by newswires ensure that news can easily be discovered by interested parties by searching company names, ticker symbols or key phrases. Such archiving of information guarantees that news is visible and available for reference long after its initial release. Business Wire’s distribution includes full-text posting to thousands of websites and financial databases, such as Factiva and Lexis-Nexis, which archive news over a long period of time, increasing the discoverability of issuers’ news to researchers.

DISCLOSURE

As a result of Regulation Fair Disclosure, it is key for today’s public companies to simultaneously disseminate their market moving news to as wide of an audience as possible. It is important to allow analysts, reporters and interested consumers to find company news, and act upon it, as quickly as possible, with no unfair advantage given to any one party.

Business Wire’s simultaneous disclosure network, included in every US geographic wire circuit distribution, simultaneously reaches all key disclosure media including the Associated Press, Bloomberg, Dow Jones, Reuters, Investor’s Business Daily, Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, as well as full-text posting to financial databases, such as Factiva and Lexis-Nexis.

A newswire is a trusted method to meet Regulation Fair Disclosure, which ensures all interested parties have access to your news and financial data at the same time. While the SEC has amended its guidance on disclosure to include social channels under certain circumstances, in reality, social channels were not designed or positioned to be disclosure vehicles. Twitter, Facebook and other services modify the visibility of all content to maximize their own advertising revenues. As such, the vast majority of public issuers utilize newswires to ensure broad and simultaneous reach to the investing public.

PUBLIC DEMAND

News consumption is at an all-time high and recent studies show that potential purchasers are spending more time online researching products and services before ever contacting the company directly. Using a newswire helps ensure that news is easily found in the research phase of the buying cycle. The existing interest from potential purchasers coupled with the high visibility provided by a newswire distribution, positions information to both be seen and acted upon in a timely and efficient manner. The news is available in full text as the issuer intended, providing an additional layer of certainty that the consumer has access to full, unfiltered information.

According to a media survey conducted by Business Wire in 2016, 53% of the responding journalists use a newswire service daily. Newswires are a vital utility in the news industry and as a result of Business Wire’s veracity and innovative practices, media professionals routinely rely upon our service.

Business Wire has spent over 5 decades deeply rooted in the news industry and recognizes that a new age has arrived. It is with optimism and enthusiasm that we embrace this new digital age and we look forward to building on our foundation of innovation in order to continue to provide the media, the investment community and the public with a comprehensive, transparent and irreplaceable mechanism for distributing vital corporate news.

About the Author

Gregg Castano was named President in December 2009. In this role, Castano remains responsible for the company’s global growth strategy into new international and vertical markets, and expands his involvement in the company’s marketing and communications efforts on the operational level. He serves on the company’s executive committee and works closely with CEO and Chairman Cathy Baron Tamraz on strategic planning and global branding.

Castano has played a key role in the company’s U.S. and international expansion. During the past decade, Castano lead Business Wire’s efforts as it opened offices in London, Brussels, Frankfurt, Paris, Tokyo, Sydney and Toronto, while establishing a network of reciprocal sales offices throughout Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.

Start Off the New Year with the Top Trends in PR, Search & Social Media

The MediaLeaders Team didn’t wait too long before putting together a trends report for the New Year. With 2017 being projected as the year of news content visibility, the goal for any communicator will be generating the most impact through the use of PR tools and solutions. MediaLeaders compiled the information found within the article based on a breakout session at the Digital Marketing Conference in Los Angeles hosted by Serena Ehrlich, Business Wire’s director of social and evolving media.

Read the full article on MediaLeaders

What do the trends look like? The infographic below offers a visual roadmap of how to amplify your news and achieve your goals in the New Year. 

Business Wire’s Top Ten Tips from the 2016 Media Blueprint Survey

Business Wire’s 2016 Media Blueprint Survey puts a magnifying glass to the work habits and preferences of today’s leading journalists and reporters. Knowing how to best reach and engage the media is a vital tool in a communicator’s arsenal, and Business Wire’s media survey offers the data needed to amplify branded news.

The following are the top ten tips found within the Media Blueprint Survey and if you’re looking for editorial coverage, there’s no better place to look.  

  1. 79% of surveyed media expect a PR practitioner to know their beat. 

No journalist wants to be just another contact on a long media list. The first step to better media outreach is to only contact journalists and reporters whose beat matches the news being forwarded.

  1. 53% of surveyed media use newswire services daily; 39% use it weekly or monthly.

Reporters rely on newswires because the news is vetted before distribution. Wire services are also a great resource for reporters as it provides usable content, copy can be pulled straight from the release.

  1. 91% of surveyed media prefer to receive news via an email alert linked to the press release.  65% of reporters look for supporting facts in a press release.

Include hyperlinks to all related information in a news release and one-click access to content features.

  1. 63% of surveyed media state that early in the week (Monday or Tuesday) is the best day to receive pitches.

Issuing news when the media is most likely to engage with it is a best practice for achieving editorial coverage.

  1. 61% of surveyed media prefer to receive pitches in the morning.

Like most consumers, reporters prefer to have as much news at their fingertips first thing in the morning.

  1. 33% of surveyed media rank photographs as most important supplement to a press release.

Photographs were the #1 release supplement and it tells us that multimedia is no longer an optional asset, it’s expected.

  1. 75% of surveyed media use an organization’s online newsroom for research.

The online newsroom, along with Google and an organization’s main website, are the top 3 destinations for research by media. It is vital that content within the online newsroom is updated frequently. Not only does this provide fresh material for reporters, but also helps with search engine optimization.

  1. 81% of surveyed media expect to access press releases in an organization’s online newsroom.

Press releases continue to be the most desired content type within an online newsroom year over year. Verified news is more important than ever to today’s media, with HTML being the preferred format over PDF for press releases.

  1. 54% of surveyed media expect a minimum of 1-5 years of historical press releases in an organization’s online newsroom.

Although the average amount of press releases that surveyed media expect to see is 1-5 years of releases, more than 30% of surveyed media still want to be able to access the entire historical archive of press releases. Make sure that all “milestone” releases are available within the online newsroom. Milestone releases recorded major happenings within the company or organization such as mergers, acquisitions, a new CEO, a new product, and more.

  1. 60% of surveyed media expect to search news by type and/or date in an organization’s online newsroom.  

Reporters are on deadline. They need to search, filter and access desired information quickly. Make it possible for reporters to get as detailed as possible in their search queries.

Bonus tip!

58% of reporters create more than 6 articles a week. This tells us that reporters are busy! Give them complete news releases – ones with facts, multimedia, and one-click access – so they can cover your story fast and accurately.  

Download the survey!

Received Editorial Coverage? Here’s How to Amplify It

Your news received editorial attention and coverage giving you reason to celebrate. Although you should celebrate the identifiable ROI, the amplification of your news, generating interest amongst potential clients and customers… remember not to cheer for victory too soon. This is the digital age and there is still more work to be done if you want to maximize the impact of your PR campaign. The real impact of editorial coverage is directly related to its visibility, and what you want to do is increase the visibility even more. That is true amplification of your news.

 

In the newly released Social Media Amplification Guide, Business Wire outlines the role of editorial coverage in the customer-consideration and purchase journey, and presents a series of strategies and tactics designed to increase the visibility of news stories across social channels.

 

Why is editorial coverage important?

 

Nielsen’s 2015 Trust in Advertising study revealed that consumers trust editorial coverage (66%) and this trust was increased greatly when this same content was shared by a friend or family member (83%).

 

Combine this data with the results of the 2016 Business Wire Media Survey in which reporters noted that inbound traffic was a key success metric for their editors (a metric communicators can help meet by broadly sharing their secured coverage across their owned networks) and it becomes easy for today’s public relations practitioners to understand why editorial coverage is so important and why they must create a social media news amplification program to promote this content.

 

Business Wire’s free social amplification guide outlines:

 

  • Best practices in crafting updates that meet each platform’s user aspirations.
  • Best time to share and encouraging coworkers to participate in the share process. 
  • Features valuable insights into Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Reddit.

 

Download your copy of Business Wire’s free Social Sharing guide

 

Know a fellow communicator who would benefit from this guide? Click here to share it with your Twitter followers now.

What Business Wire and Agility PR Solutions Partnering Means for Comm Pros

With the announcement that industry giants Business Wire and Agility PR Solutions are partnering comes the question of what benefits will clients and partners see regarding the amplification of their news. Business Wire clients have specific needs that are wide ranging. Currently, they have access to a wide set of communications tools, and now that toolset expands even more. This new partnership offers clients a seamless and cost-effective solution to integrate media outreach and multi-outlet monitoring into their communications campaigns.

With the strategic partnership of Agility PR Solutions and Business Wire, customers can:

  • Identify Influencers: Search the AgilityTM media database of almost 800,000 verified contacts in over 200 countries and create and save custom lists. Additional information, including how journalists like to be pitched and what they cover, will help Business Wire clients strategically target the press and follow up on news stories crossing the wire.
  • Amplify Messages: Augment Business Wire’s services with personalized outreach to key influencers, with Agility’s integrated email sending and engagement tracking tools. Quickly identify contacts for follow up by seeing who opened or clicked on emails.
  • Monitor Coverage: Business Wire’s new relationship with Agility PR Solutions provides a breadth of self-service and full service media monitoring capabilities. Track trending topics, customer sentiment, share of voice, competitors and social media activity.
  • Measure Impact: Clients can evaluate the success of communications efforts with integrated reporting capabilities and gain actionable insights into the effectiveness of their communication efforts with pre-made or custom reports.

The reasons behind the new partnership, and its goals, are simple: to provide communications professionals with enhanced distribution, monitoring and media analytics capabilities. Additionally, a critical component of this new relationship is both Business Wire’s and Agility PR Solutions’ commitment to providing exceptional customer support and service. Communications tools are most effective when used to their maximum potential. Both Business Wire and Agility PR Solutions make it a priority to assist clients and partners in understanding each tool and how these tools can best be implemented into a communications campaign.

The new strategic relationship between Business Wire and Agility PR Solutions is effective immediately and is designed to help customers as they build and create their communications strategies in 2017 and beyond. 

[PODCAST] Optimizing Press Release Headlines for Search from Business Wire

Business Wire’s Serena Ehrlich dropped by the Arketi Group to join in on an episode of their podcast series, one they self-describe as This American Life for the B2B marketing set.

Serena, Business Wire’s director of social and evolving media, gave some strong tips on how to craft better headlines and increase the impact (visibility, accessibility and engagement) of a press release.

The headline is often the audience’s first contact with an organization’s content, and could very easily be the last if the reader isn’t engaged enough to keep reading. A good headline offers enough information to let the reader know the basis of the underlying story and the impact of that story on their life. A headline shouldn’t be a mystery, it should lead the reader down a path they want to go down, a path resulting in key findings, data and facts. A successful headline is also a searchable headline, containing trending keywords that reporters and news consumers use when seeking out a story.  

The podcast covers key aspects to crafting a strong headline, as well as several other tips from Business Wire including:

  • Why headlines are important
  • When to write the headline
  • Subheadline do’s and don’ts 
  • Using Google Trends
  • Importance of using click-to-tweet and hyperlinks

Ask yourself, do your news release headlines hurt or help drive media coverage? If your headline isn't optimized for search, then your release may be buried among a sea of forgotten news releases. 

Listen to the full podcast now: Episode 9

Don’t Leave Journalists Wondering: “How Do I Pronounce That”

By Vilan (vē-län) Trub, Marketing Content Lead

As we find ourselves looking to generate positive news coverage in the rapidly evolving digital era, we learn more about its defining features. Companies are transforming how we see the world, how we consume, learn and socialize. For a creative brand seeking media coverage, it’s important to distribute interesting news along with engaging multimedia. Although helpful advice, this is a tip that gets suggested often enough to no longer be considered an insider tip. To really tip the scales and leave a memorable mark on the media and news consuming audiences, we need to look closer at how brands can better acquaint themselves with journalists and reporters. Today’s companies exude creativity in all of their decisions, first and foremost with their corporate names. A great way for companies to familiarize their target market with their brand is to announce their name clearly, in a memorable way. Don’t leave journalists and reporters asking, “How do I pronounce that?” Tell them with a pronunciation key!    

Business Wire’s BizWireTV is a video news show that spotlights the top trending and most interesting stories crossing the wire each week. Our editorial production team takes great pride in presenting the brands behind those stories as accurately as possible and that starts with the correct pronunciation of their names. Great research is done into the companies behind the releases that serve as the backbone for each episode. BizWireTV, like every news media program, would benefit if brands included a pronunciation key with their releases. It would prevent the media from making an error they wouldn’t want to, and make sure that the brand behind the story is presented accurately.

How it works:

Using a pronunciation key, spell out your brand name using characters that will allow the reader to understand how each letter and section should be pronounced. For example, Bacchus, the Greek God of Wine, would be written out as: (ba-kəs). The reader will have a clearer understanding of how each vowel is pronounced and how the word should be said when spoken aloud. By encouraging the reader, and providing an opportunity to learn how to properly pronounce your company name, you work to create a memorable impression of your brand.

As for where to include the correct pronunciation of your company name, that can depend on several factors. If you’re a startup, a new brand looking to make a strong impression, it might make sense to include the pronunciation along with the first mention of the company in the release. If you’re a publically listed company, including a pronunciation along with your ticker will bring added attention to both. A neutral location within the release is the boilerplate. Readers look to this section to learn more about the company and their goals.

A tool for whenever necessary:

Using the same pronunciation-key, you can provide pronunciation accurate spellings of people’s names and locations pertinent to your company announcement. When issuing a news release always ask yourself, what questions will journalists and reporters be asking? Sure, they’ll be asking about the content of your announcement, details and data points. The one question you don’t want to leave them wondering is how to correctly pronounce a bit of information when presenting your story on air. 

Multimedia & Visualization: Key insights from an expert session

By Seval Dogan, Business Wire & Christian Salow, altii GmbH

This article touches upon the issue of visualization on the internet. It provides some key insights drawn from an expert session, which was jointly organized by Business Wire Germany (www.businesswire.com) and altii (www.altii.de). The session was held at the Communication Congress 2016, one of the most popular events for the PR industry in the German-speaking countries.

Radical technological developments such as the internet and social media enable us to create and distribute visual content in a much easier way than ever before. Pictures, videos and interactive visualization have become increasingly important. In fact, the internet without visual content is hard to imagine today. Undoubtedly, the rise of social media platforms had an impact on visualization. Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube and many other sites have become platforms where multimedia posts dominate over text. Compelling visual assets and creative illustrations stimulate the interest of the audience and make a story much more engaging. As a response to the significance of visualization, online platforms such as ThingLink, Glogster, PictoChart, Flixel, HSTRY and others emerged, enabling users to create interactive content and bring visuals to life.

This has triggered a new phase of competition where visual content is used as a stimulus for brand awareness and as a means to generate potential customers - it is through social media and modern communication platforms that companies often reach their target groups in the digital age. But with the appearance of new tools, new rules of communication apply. As a result of this, marketers are increasingly paying attention to the needs of the users by looking at what is being said on social media platforms and what the trending topics on the internet are, before they distribute their visual content. On the other hand, internet users are increasingly becoming picky, especially when it comes to what to read, to listen, or to watch, and where to do so. This implies that if you want your visual content to make an impact, it has to be implemented within the right context. Therefore, a clear understanding of target groups is very important in order to find the right channel and to be properly perceived by the audience. Just as important is making the link between image and message perfectly congruent. The same applies to videos - good videos need to be well-prepared. All these inevitably raise the question: How can the attention of consumers be obtained and maintained in the digital age?

In our expert session, we analyzed how the interest of users can be triggered and what role attractiveness plays when it comes to videos. One of the key ideas discussed was that, overall, using the ‘right’ image generates more clicks, and this is especially the case with images that evoke emotions. Shock, anger, fear, disgust etc. can be as powerful of emotions as joy, happiness, hope, and so on, on the internet. However, this does not mean that emotionally-triggering visual content is the only way to go viral. For instance, some visual content (e.g. videos) regarded as ‘unattractive’ can be more long-lasting in popular internet rankings than more ‘attractive’ ones.

This prompted our session to discuss the significance of virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR). The new media devices are likely to change not only the meaning of visualization but also the use of interactive media on the web. VR and AR tools create a whole new customer experience and interactive multimedia might be soon challenged by these communication tools. With these new tools, content can be displayed in new visual ways which can be very impressive for the consumer. They do not only trigger the senses, they can literally absorb them. The user is fully immersed in the new reality created by those technologies, giving the feeling to the user of being physically present in another environment. The three-dimensional environment depicted by the VR and AR tools provide a highly interactive and life-like experience where the user can move around. An employee of Google once said: "In a room with people, some of which carry Google Glass and some not, in no time there are two separate groups apart where there is no physical distance. The no-Glass in the one corner and the Glass people in the other!” (Perhaps this could be a reason why Google did not let the Glass project grow from the development stage). Microsoft is also working on a similar project, the HoloLense project. Such technological developments keep us excited about the future applications and acceptance of virtual media, as well as about their impact on the meaning of visualization in the age of digitization.

Are you interested in this topic? Take a look at the following presentation slides, or share your thoughts with us.

To learn more about best practices for using visuals in your own communications content, download and read our guidance report, Let’s Get Visual: Multimedia and the Press Release.

The Media Blueprint is Out: Results from the Business Wire 2016 Media Survey

This week, Business Wire released the Media Blueprint, a collection of key findings from Business Wire’s annual media survey. The results of the survey shed light on how leading journalists and reporters view today’s communications, creating a blueprint for the journey news takes from source to audience.

Communicators have a vested interested in the current trends of how journalists seek out, identify, and publish news. This survey offers an in depth look at the branded news industry from the very perspective that Comm Pros need. It details everything from how journalists and reporters look for stories to how they prefer to be reached, from the best day of week and time to method (email, phone, etc).

The data was released to coincide with the start of the PRSA International Conference, where thousands of attendees will connect with more than 150 industry experts from all career levels, sectors, work environments and industries for three days of practical insight and networking.

A glimpse at the findings

In an interesting reversal from last year’s survey, this year 50% of respondents, the majority, perceive The New York Times “traditional” style of media as being the future of news media, while the BuzzFeed “interactive” model came in second. When analyzing the data further it was revealed that the BuzzFeed model does lead among the Generation X demographic, however, the emerging journalists in the Millennial age bracket lean towards Reddit.    

Respondents were asked questions on a wide range of topics including:

  • Integrating more interactive multimedia online
  • Press release elements most beneficial to reporters
  • The role of long form and short form news produced by platforms such as BuzzFeed and The New York Times
  • Reporters’ increased usage of video

Key questions were asked regarding journalist’s use of newswires. Journalists that use a newswire do so daily (54%) with nearly a quarter using one several times a day (24%).

Online Newsrooms

While pitching the media and issuing a news release constitutes outbound media relations, it is just as important to have an inbound resource, an online newsroom and investor site. Our questions to the media regarding their engagement with online newsrooms will help companies and organizations determine if their website is properly organized and fully utilized to meet the needs of journalists and reporters. Our findings relay the blueprint for constructing a newsroom that the media wants and expects.

One expectation is that over 50% of media surveyed want between a minimum of 1-5 years of historical press releases available within the online newsroom, while almost 30% want the organization's entire archive.

As technology continues to evolve and push the digital age further, the question of how journalists seek out the news they present for public consumption has never been more important. The industry’s redeveloping identity, traditional models of news delivery and encroaching new platforms create a wide variety of communications’ tools and outlets for brands to consider when issuing a news release.

Download the free 2016 Business Wire Media Survey

The report and analysis are from a Business Wire survey of more than 600 members of the media from more than 40 countries - our largest study yet.

 

 

 

 

[EXCLUSIVE WEBINAR] The Year of News Visibility: Introducing Reddit

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

When it comes to moving people in to and through your organization’s marketing funnel, one of the biggest tools in your toolkit is the news content you create. Why? News is always hot. News has impact. News drives engagement. Everybody loves news.

News within Search and Social

Google places news coverage at the top of search and news is the top content-type shared on social media channels every day. Pew Internet continues to release studies showcasing how many U.S. adults are using social channels as news sources and Nielsen studies confirm that that editorial coverage, when shared across social media, can increase consumer trust in your news by as much as 83%.

Your news has impact when it is seen. So when the Business Wire team had the chance to meet with Mark Luckie, Reddit’s head of media and journalism at the recent Online News Association (ONA 16) conference, we jumped!  And we have seen Reddit shares drive millions of viewers into individual news releases triggering deep engagement within highly targeted subreddits (topic-specific discussion-based groups). And after a few minutes with Mark, it became obvious you need to meet him as well. 

What is Reddit?

Reddit is a massive, global website built to drive discussions within topic-based communities such as news, public relations, knitting, pasta, and of course cats. Organizations that properly engage in highly relevant Reddit communities see an increase in the visibility of their information, are able to identify and build brand fans and receive immediate feedback on their news and programming.  But engagement is not as easy as submitting a link. You have to find a community, join it and build your presence. 

In our October 20th webinar, Mark will speak exclusively to our clients to teach them how to identify relevant Reddit communities, engage with key audiences, conduct Ask Me Anythings and how to identify and submit the content their communities wants to see.

Date:     Thursday, October 20, 2016

Time:     12 PM ET/ 9 AM PT

Register here:   http://go.businesswire.com/increase-message-impact-with-reddit

Studies continue to show that there is no better time to promote your news content so why not learn how today’s pros are using Reddit? Register today to determine just how integral this site can be in your news visibility program.

Top 10 Reasons to Reach the US Hispanic Market

By Pilar Portela, US Media Relations Manager

Every year during Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) we recognize the contributions made and the presence of Hispanics in the U.S. However, your PR and marketing efforts should not be focused around this one month celebration but instead should continue year round. Here are 10 reasons why:

  1. Fifty percent of the U.S. population growth from 2010 to 2015 came from Hispanics and now stands at 57 million, making it the nation’s second fastest growing group. The U.S. Census expects this key demographic to more than double within the next two generations.
  2. In 2015, Hispanics controlled $1.3 trillion in buying power and it’s expected to reach $1.7 trillion in 2020.
  3. Average household income was $42,396 in 2014 up from $40,946 in 2009.
  4. Increased voting power: a record 27.3 million Latinos are eligible to vote in 2016, up from 23.3 million in 2012.
  5. Latinos are powered by millennials; Hispanics are the youngest of the major racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. The median age for Hispanics is 28 years old.
  6. Millennials make up almost half (44%) of the Hispanic electorate in 2016.
  7. Latinos make up the largest group of immigrants in most states. Mexico is the biggest source of immigrants in 33 states.
  8. A majority of Hispanic adults (55%) say they are Catholic.
  9. Latinos who speak English proficiently is increasing. In 2013, 68% of Latinos ages 5 and up spoke English proficiently up from 59% in 2000.
  10. There is a Latina Power Shift.  Latinas are outpacing Latino males in education, career development, and are the primary household decision makers. Eighty-six percent of Latinas are the primary shoppers in their households and 74% of Latinas who graduated high school between the years 2012 and 2014 are now enrolled in college.

With their buying power expected to reach $1.7 trillion in 2020, how are you reaching U.S. Hispanics? One of the easiest ways to reach this influential group is by sharing your news via a service like LatinoWire. This news service translates and distributes your news in both English and Spanish to all relevant on- and off-line news and industry specific publications ensuring discovery and action by your key Latino audiences.

Click here to see the organizations—both large and small—who are already marketing successfully to this important audience.

Want to try LatinoWire for your next Hispanic audience release or have questions about LatinoWire distribution? Let us know; we would love to answer any questions you have.

To read and access the full Nielsen, Pew Research Center, and Advertising Age reports that were mentioned in this article go to:

Why Clean Communication is a “Must” in Press Releases

Guest article written by Alex Ivanovs, lead managing editor at Colorlib --

an evergreen resource for aspiring and growing developers and web designers.

You have just wrapped up launching your business, or perhaps you’re launching a new feature for an existing product, and it’s time for getting some exposure.

What’s your best option?

Press releases can be incredibly valuable assets for promoting your news, and with the help of a newswire service your press releases will help to expose your business to a wide audience of potential customers, and journalists who are eager to write about groundbreaking news.

That last bit offers a particular clue for how to better reach your target audience: “groundbreaking news.”

Good press releases are focused around news announcements that are intriguing, newsworthy, and don’t sound like the average sales letter. Journalists aren’t interested in yet another sales pitch. The theme of the press release is a vital component for getting maximum exposure, but another such component is the content itself. Press releases with an overly utilized sales jargon just don’t seem to generate the same results as PR that have been thoughtfully crafted to be informative and appealing.

The first fundamental thing to understand about good press releases is their format, so here’s a breakdown of what a professional, solid, press release would look like when built on step by step basis.

  • Headline -- What is the main point of your news? What is your announcement?
  • Intro -- Go all out. Answer as many questions as possible before stepping into the next parts of the release.
  • Sources -- What are your sources of information, if any? Don’t make others question your confidence.
  • Key Components -- What makes your announcement significant? What makes it different?
  • Quotes -- Make any important remarks, provide input or any further advice.
  • Ending -- Keep the ending short and sweet, reiterating the importance of the announcement to the reader.

Gina Gulberti from LaunchMetrics suggests that another way to improve the quality of press releases for the modern age is to implement the use of visual graphics, including visualized information to better describe the announcement that you’re making. Such visual graphics can be built using traditional infographic tools, or if you have an in-house designer you could assign them the task of building PR graphics.

Clear communication

If we understand PR as the stepping stone for seizing the attention of journalists and industry-specific bloggers, it’s helpful to understand how journalists function and why clear communication is a vital element for getting your press release picked up as a story for media publication.

The following guidelines can be applied to the process of writing your press release so that it is easier to understand and digest for journalists:

  • Write for busy people -- journalists are by no means sitting at their desks without stories to write, or pitches to consider. Make your pitches short, concise, and straight to the point. Sometimes it helps to add a comment such as, “Please ask for more information if interested.” at the end of your pitch, so in the event of a journalist being intrigued by your story, they’ll happily reach back out to you with more questions.
  • Explain your use of jargon -- the journalist at hand might be an expert at your business category, but who says that their readers are. Assume complete lack of knowledge about your field, and use language that reflects ease of understanding.
  • Write for the reader -- a journalist isn’t interested in purchasing your product, they’re merely trying to find a good story to publish, with that in mind; compose your press releases for the readers / viewers, people who could eventually become your new customers.

It goes without saying that applying these small and concise tips is going to make life easier for yourself and the journalists who’re reading your pitches, so much so that it might be the breaking point for getting your voice heard. In a saturated market, it helps to stand out by portraying understanding and expertise over clear communication and how it helps to create a smooth communication experience.

 

The Multi-Channel Approach Every Marketer Needs to Know

By Shirley Leung, Brand Marketing Specialist at Business Wire

Over the past few decades, the media landscape has been a rollercoaster of changes, evolution and revolution. Advances in technology, growth of the internet and adaption to new digital practices have changed how we communicate and how we collect information and gather news. So here are three musts for every marketer to master the multi-channel approach:

1. Mobile-Friendly

We’re in the digital era, not implementing a fully responsive website is just technology faux pas. Media consumers are increasingly ditching stagnant desktops and laptops in favor of mobile, so not only is this where your audience wants to see your content but also expects you to provide that content in an adaptable format. A mobile-friendly website has many major advantages: clear navigation, easy-to-read text, faster download speeds, improved user experience and can recognize what kind of device is being used. If you’re not optimized for mobile, you’re missing an opportunity to reach potential customers and clients.

A recent comScore report states there was an overall 57% increase of mobile users while the news sector saw an audience growth of 66% on mobile. With these numbers to keep in mind, mobile is a force to be reckoned with.

Even Google has made changes to its search algorithm that favors mobile-responsive web designs so don’t penalize yourself or your business! Not only will Google be less likely to display your site in the search results, but having a responsive site also helps with mobile SEO, search traffic and organic reach.

Not sure if your website is mobile-friendly? Test your site URL using Google’s Mobile Friendly Test.

Learn how Business Wire can amplify your news with GMSM features.

2. Social Media

Regardless of whether your brand is taking on the “digital-first” approach, social media is one of the biggest weapons in in any marketer’s arsenal. Many marketers struggle to seamlessly blend social and traditional marketing practices because they see one or the other as a sole strategy and not both as a tactic. By using this integrated approach, your brand is maximizing impact and putting every single marketing dollar to use which ultimately increases ROI.

This naturally leads to a multi-channel approach where social is most commonly used to extend the message from direct mail, television commercials, print and other forms of traditional marketing to be continued online. While traditional marketing reaches the masses, social will allow you to actively target (and retarget) your audience in real-time and also at a lower cost than traditional! By using both of these methods simultaneously, your brand is bound to reach more prospects and achieve higher conversion rates.

Learn more about integrated marketing as covered on Tempo, Business Wire’s home for white papers, trend reports, videos, articles, tips and tools.

3. Apps

The development of a branded mobile app usually comes later within a marketing strategy. This includes advertising or branded content delivered to smartphones, tablets and other devices. So where does it exactly fit?

A mobile app isn’t a “one size fits all” strategy but should work alongside your current strategy. Find your niche and run with it! By defining your target audience, you will be able craft content for your app and hold on to the app market space with other big name brands but not necessarily compete with them. Know who your ideal clients are and deliver content that’s unique and useful to their needs.

Recognizing the growing audience in digital and mobile news, Business Wire’s digital news series, BizWireTV, brings the best of both worlds. Designed to showcase the hottest news stories published over Business Wire’s distribution network, episodes can be watched on-demand, any time, while on-the-go.

Learn more about the new BizWireTV app.

Make your move!

Implementing a multi-channel approach is a game-changer. Today’s consumer uses several different channels and devices to communicate. By using a multi-channel approach with consistent messaging, a single user is able to pick up several touch points in between channels and devices from reading a news release to seeing your presence on social media. Now give your customers the multi-channel experience they won’t be able to resist!

 

Top 5 Things Journalists Look for in a News Release

By Vilan Trub, Marketing

Journalists and media professionals get bombarded daily with emails and news releases. Those same journalists and media professionals also don’t have a lot of time. Make sure that you’re doing everything you can to grab their attention by giving them exactly what they’re looking for. What are they looking for?

Who are you?

Before you write your news release, you have to answer one big question: Who are you?

News is an industry of trust, so always ask yourself, why should journalists trust me? Treat a press release like a self-endorsement when trying to arrange a blind date. What are your best features and why would you (or your news release) be a perfect match for someone? It’s also good to have a trusted mutual friend, such as a newswire service, to make the introduction to your desired media outlet. Remember, you must woo a journalist with your release.

A key tip is to include a well-written boilerplate at the bottom of your release. A boilerplate is a mini-bio of your company that lets the reader know exactly what you do.

A Headline Comes First

Before a journalist reads your release, they first see the headline. The headline is like a trailer to a movie, one that is well made will garner the interest of the audience. A bad headline, however, is the last thing that gets read before a journalist moves on to their next email.

A good tip for putting together a strong headline is to remember what the reader is looking for: information. Avoid using click-bait tactics because media pros have developed a keen sense of what to look out for. There are good reads online about the difference between click-bait and a well-made news releases, so make sure to be on the lookout.

There is even an online headline analyzer by CoSchedule to help you craft the perfect headline that hooks the reader in and doesn’t let go.

The Ws
Journalists aren’t looking to read Moby Dick when opening your news release. Today’s reporters are looking for two key elements.  They want to know the facts, and they want to know the story behind the facts – the one that tells why the product was made, who it impacts, what that impact was and why it would impact the publication’s core audience.  This is when you turn to your “W”s!

Who, what, where, when, and why is an exercise taught in elementary schools so that students can get a grasp of how to break down a story to its most basic and relevant elements. Use this same exercise when drafting your release because journalists don’t want to go looking for key story elements. By reducing the amount of work needed for a third party to tell your story you will find a much higher likelihood of coverage and engagement with your news.

Social Media is Honey – Use It

Every news release is designed to attract readers. In the digital age, social media has become a swap meet where information is traded free of charge. Including social media links to your news release gives people the opportunity to easily distribute your news, the very same news you want covered by journalists. The name of the game is reach so make it easier for people to distribute and redistribute your release.

Multimedia

Cavemen didn’t write paragraphs about the beauty of horses. They made drawings on cave walls that are easy to understand even today! Believe it or not, that was the earliest form of multimedia.

Thanks to technical and mobile device advancements and penetration, humans are creating and consuming multimedia at unheard of rates. When thinking about crafting your press release, you must understand that multimedia supplements are no longer optional. Reporters and consumers use multimedia to create emotional connections and to showcase the real “why” behind your news.

But even multimedia is changing. With more than 63% of the world being visual and interactive learners, static multimedia is being replaced with interactive assets that create engagement opportunities for newsreaders.

Hundreds of news releases are sent out each day, make sure that your next one stands out. Follow these steps to grab the reader and make sure that they’re getting, and sharing your message.

 

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