Author Archives: PRN Bloggers

The 4 Archetypes Your Content Needs to Reflect to be Successful

In his session at Content Marketing World this week, Robert Rose (@robert_rose) noted that marketers aren’t in the business of creating content – they’re in the business of creating belief.

Our audiences, he noted, want to believe the best of the best.  Rose shared the quote (paraphrased) from the Street Car Named Desire character Blanche DeBois: “I want magic.  I tell what ought to be the truth.”  It is our jobs as marketers to move into that realm of belief.

In order to create belief, it’s useful to keep the four archetypes of content creation in mind, as well as their corresponding roles in the communications cycle.

  • Promoter – Focus on audience needs and wants.
  • Preacher – Focus on discovery and answers.
  • Professor – Focus on interest and passion.
  • Poet – Focus on feelings and beliefs.

The most successful campaigns mix the archetypes, enabling the brand to not just grab attention, but to keep it as well.   The content we create needs to perform different functions, from generating broad awareness to cultivating interest, then to inspiring action and finally encouraging evangelism.   In many cases, brands develop voices that take the form of one or two archetypes, ignoring the others, creating gaps in the content that doesn’t support the complete buying journey.  Assessing one’s own content objectively, using the four archtypes as a framework for doing so, is a great way to find the weak spots in the content strategy while also providing a guide for their repair.

Author Michael Isopi is a senior member of PR Newswire’s account management team.  Based in Detroit, he specializes in the automotive marketplace.

Content We Love: A Sense of Place

ContentWeLove

“Content We Love” is a weekly feature written by a team of our content specialists. We’re showcasing some of the great content distributed through our channels, and our content specialists are up for the task: they spend a lot of time with the press releases and other content our customers create, proof reading and formatting it, suggesting targeted distribution strategy and offering content optimization advice. In Content We Love, we’re going to shine the spotlight on the press releases and other messages that stood out to us, and we’ll tell you why. We hope you find the releases enjoyable and the insights gained from discussing them enlightening.

When I think of New York City I envision a jumble of people, lights, cabs & buildings. The energy is high and culture and ideas abound. Anything could happen.

Full disclosure: I have never visited The Big Apple. Shocking, I know, but it’s high on my list; even higher after viewing NewYork.com’s “New York Moment” video series. I found myself mentally mapping out when I can explore this new location.

While my general view of NYC may consist of clichés, the first five videos of the series include all of the components I mentioned mixed with an overwhelming sense of pride. These individuals love the place they call home, each for their own reasons. As someone who is fiercely proud of where I’m from, I respect the message.

Their connections to their surroundings are rooted in their experiences of music, drawing, photography, and sports, and they allow us a brief peak into their slice of the city. We’re suddenly catapulted into the backseat of Mr. Bradford’s cab, watching him simultaneously steer and photograph. Next we’re standing on the sidewalk, our ears filled with the din of Tony Pots-n-Pans’ rhythm. While the Bacon Brothers express their adoration, Mr. Heney recounts baseball legends, and Mr. Colombo encourages us to take another look at the structures rising high.

Once you’ve shared in these experiences the tendency is to share your own, and NewYork.com wants you to do just that. What better way to instantly broadcast it than social media? In an effort to monitor the conversations, life-long New Yorkers, recent transplants and tourists are encouraged to use the hashtags #MyNYMoment & #WeLoveThisCity. I don’t have anything to contribute just yet, but hopefully it won’t be long before I join in on the conversation.

Thank you, NewYork.com, for putting us in a New York state of mind.

Author Alyse Lamparyk is a Customer Content Specialist for PR Newswire. Follow her adventures on http://www.ghanaseewhaticansee.wordpress.com or on twitter @alyselamp.

The Top 10 Reasons to Send a Press Release

Much of the discussion about press releases lately has centered on the role they (may or may not) play in influencing search results, and Google’s new guidelines for links within press releases. Over the weekend, PR Newswire made an important change to our feed, implementing no-follow links in all press releases distributed to third-party web sites. Put more simply, the links in the content we syndicate across thousands of web sites are in compliance with Google’s guidelines.

As we’ve discussed previously, this change doesn’t affect how press releases will be found, read and shared online. They will still be indexed by search engines, and readers will still be able to click on the links you embed in your messages.

With all the focus on links lately, it’s important to not lose sight of all the other reasons to send out a press release. Here are our top 10!

Top 10 Reasons to Send Out a News Release

10. Archive. News releases get saved, stored, archived and become a kind of official record on where you’ve been, what you’ve done and what happened when. The archive may vary in length – on Yahoo Finance, press releases are archived for six months, while Lexis/Nexis has PR Newswire releases dating back to 1980. If you have a MediaRoom or some other type of online newsroom, your archive updates every time you send out an announcement. It’s like a Facebook timeline for companies and organizations, but it’s been around so much longer.

9. Expertise. The news release can help you establish yourself and your organization as a and expert source or authority about topics that are central to your business. Many of our clients use press releases to offer their official responses or reactions to marketplace developments, commenting on legislative developments and other news events. Other clients use press releases to promote thought leadership content, such as surveys, infographics and white papers. With the proper news release distribution, including search, social and syndication, your content becomes co-mingled with other content on the topic and your organization becomes a participant in the conversation.

8. Mobile. This is an increasingly important part of every organization’s communications because mobile is assuming a larger and larger role in how we all access news and information. According to the 2013 Internet Trends Report issued by Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers, mobile internet usage has been growing by 1.5x each year, and will continue on that trajectory. Mobile readership of news releases is keeping pace with this growth – PR Newswire’s mobile site, m.prnewswire.com, has logged an increase of almost 100% over the prior year.

PR public relations press release twitter social media

Press releases shared on Twitter – click to see the live stream!

7. Social. A quick search on Twitter illustrates the popularity of press releases – PR Newswire content is tweeted multiple times per minute. As a result, the news release is an effective anchor from which to create more awareness and to reach new audiences for your messaging. Use the news release as the landing page and issue a few days’ worth of tweets or status updates. You can drive traffic to your release and at the same time use the release to provide a depth of information beyond the short-format social media message.

6. Multimedia. It’s been pretty well documented how much more attentionyou get when you use imagery and video messaging. News releases with multimedia are viewed more than those without. You can also turn that around and say

best press release format tips multimedia news release

Press releases that offer readers a variety of multimedia options (e.g. video, images, downloads) generate almost 10 times more views than plain-text messages.

multimedia assets with news releases are viewed more than those without. Whether you use a full, branded Multimedia News Release or simply add a multimedia asset to your document, the news release becomes a vehicle for the distribution of the images and video clips and provides the context for the visuals.

5. Targeting. News release distribution is generally perceived of as a blast/send sort of method. In fact, PR Newswire distribution is actually pretty finely targeted based upon a combination of tagging, taxonomies and filters that are in common use. This usually happens in one of two ways. News organizations and journalists arrange feeds that are based upon their coverage interests or individual media users access the releases through platforms that allow them to filter based on their needs. The results? Broad reach, even to narrow niches.

4. Placement. The syndication of news releases by the commercial news release distribution services has given companies and organizations the opportunity to be publishers, to have their content placed on both widely trafficked news sites as well as long-tail specialty sites. And by using these syndication networks the content is published in its entirety and as it was originally written. At PR Newswire the online network includes more than 9,000 sites worldwide. That dwarfs the size of many other types of online syndication services and at a much lower price point.

3. Discovery. The acuity of search engines and the tribal nature of many social platforms have made it easier than ever for individuals to do granular research and find specific information. It’s no wonder, then, that the volume traffic that comes to news releases on PR Newswire’s web site based upon appearing in search results (on Google and other search engines) is consistently significant. Seeding search engines and social networks with press releases is one more way to make your brand and message more easily discovered.

2. Authority. For your company or organization you are THE SOURCE. You’ve got the inside information, you’ve got the scoops and you’ve got the last word – but only if you use it. And the news release is the vehicle to do that, conveying your organization’s point of view, unedited, clearly and credibly to your constituents.

1. Pick-up. Let’s not forget that news releases still go to journalists, and journalists read them. PR Newswire for Journalists, a private news site for credentialed media and bloggers, has more than 30,000 active users on average each month. In addition to PRNJ, journalists can access press releases right in their newsroom systems, their inboxes and in many cases they set up one type of custom feed or another to make sure they see the releases that are relevant to them. So when you send out a news release you could get coverage. You could be in a newspaper with tens of thousands of readers, a TV station with hundreds of thousands of viewers or on a news Web site with millions of visitors. Earned media carries powerful exposure and credibility, and press releases still provide important entrée to newsrooms worldwide.

So next time you draft a press release, spend a few extra minutes contemplating the variety of channels on which it will be seen. There’s far more to press release visibility than search engines. It’s the distribution of the message to various audience that ultimately powers real discovery.

Content We Love: Just in time for the weekend — flying bratwurst!

A virus is typically something to be avoided. Unless you’re mapping out a marketing campaign that includes a video element shared on the World Wide Web. In that scenario, a virus is sought after; one that spreads rapidly by word of mouth and social media.

The viral video is difficult to plan, and even more difficult to contain. But, in order to catch on, it must be seen or it will never be heard. The announcement of a recently launched contest by bratwurst specialist Johnsonville Sausage had our office abuzz. “Have you seen the flying brats?” was no longer an odd question to ask.

It all begins with a few words. In this case the release serves as a call to action for readers to take part and create their own bratwurst-themed content.

 Wondering where to begin?

Let the company’s original music video serve as inspiration. Johnsonville’s Brattender gave an awe-inspiring performance encouraging us to aim for grilling perfection.

If you haven’t heard it enough, multimedia drives engagement. The written word comes first, but adding a visual element (or several) brings it to the next level.

Make it social

When I initially read it I was intrigued by the contest: create a video about upholding the integrity of an unpierced bratwurst and you could win. But where does one start? I’m not a lyricist!

Thankfully the lyrics are written out and shared via Johnsonville’s Facebook page, which they guide the reader to with hyperlinks. Ding, ding!

Thank you to Johnsonville Sausage, LLC for whetting both our taste buds and our ear buds with a content-rich, engagement-packed and buzz-worthy release!

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/bratwurst-anthem-inspires-avid-grillers-and-wannabe-rockstars-alike-215764361.html

Author Alyse Lamparyk is a Customer Content Specialist for PR Newswire. Follow her adventures on http://www.ghanaseewhaticansee.wordpress.com or on twitter at @alyselamp.

mlm ebookHow does your organization incorporate multimedia content into its communications strategy? Respond to the survey PR News and PR Newswire are fielding by July 29, and we’ll send you a free copy of PR Newswire’s new ebook, Unlocking the Power of Multimedia Content for Communication, Conversion and Engagement. Survey link: http://www.prnewsonline.com/multimedia-survey/

12 Tips for Keeping Control in Front of the Media

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When confronted by a barrage of microphones and probing questions you won’t always have “Just watch me” moments. You’re human. You even make mistakes. It’s understandable: cameras and confusion can make media scrums and press conferences intimidating.

It’s important to engage with media. Dealing with media can be an opportunity to showcase recent achievements, share information with key publics, promote your brand or to showcase leadership.

As communicators, it’s our job to coach the spokesperson to handle all types of media inquiries, one of the most important being the press conference or media scrum. So, where do you start?

  1. Prepare a list of tough questions: You should have a pretty good handle on who your audience is.  Prepare a list of questions you anticipate them asking. Dig deep and don’t assume they won’t ask. It’s better to be ready for anything, so you never have to say “no comment”.
  2. Anticipate audience reactions:  What if some of the questions you’re being asked garner unexpected responses or follow-up questions? Answer the questions on your list from all angles, just in case someone reacts adversely to something you say. Know how to rephrase your responses and be sure to stay on message.
  3. List information not for release: In some sensitive situations, just as important as the key messages are details that are off limits. For example, if the circumstances surrounding the conference are grave, personal information of those involved should not be released. Know what’s off limits before you step up to the microphone.
  4. Distribute material:  You may keep things on track during the conference by having supplementary information readily available to attendees. Factsheets, photos, contacts lists, agenda, maps, company and product information – have these items available in a press kit. This will help journalists covering the story to keep facts straight (timelines, technology specifics) and stay consistent in messaging. It may also cut down on questions and make sure your event runs on time.
  5. Listen:  Now it’s time for the Q&A. This is like the interview portion, so remember to listen to the question. Even though you’ve anticipated a lot of these questions, it’s important to make sure you understand exactly what’s being asked. This will allow you to better answer the question the first time, without having to repeat yourself. Seek first to understand.
  6. Pause: You’ll be answering many questions. It’s perfectly acceptable to take a pause before answering. Make sure you heard the whole question; make clarifications; think about your answer; and respond. If the question has multiple parts, break it up by repeating the part of the question you’re answering. Just take it one step at a time. Pauses are never as long as they seem. So take your time.
  7. Answer the question: Don’t waste time beating around the bush. Listen to the question. Understand what it is that’s being asked. And answer that question. Keep it as clear and simple as possible. Brevity is sometimes the best way. You’re leading the session, so set the standard for clarity right off the bat.
  8. Lead with the facts. You won’t be able to divulge everything at a press conference. Be honest about what you know and what you’re working to find out more about. “No comment” is not an acceptable response. But admitting you don’t have all the information yet is more “transparent” than giving journalists the freeze-out.
  9. Stay on message: It may happen that an attendee at a conference for one event is there to try to inquire into other aspects of your business. Be prepared to get back to journalists with answers to unrelated questions at another time. “Today our focus is _________, but I’d be happy to get in touch with you afterward to answer your questions about __________.” And, sometimes the best way to answer a question is to reiterate a key message.
  10. Stop Talking: They asked. You answered. That’s all you have to do, so stop talking. Make your point and move on. There’s no need to ramble on or jump around to different topics. If someone repeats the question, answer with your key messages and take the next one. Keep things moving.
  11. Watch yourself: In all likelihood, the event was taped. Use the video to coach the spokesperson. What went well? What went poorly? Was their body language appropriate? How was the pace? What could have been handled better? Did the audience identify with the spokesperson? It’s important to conduct a little bit of a self-audit because you might need to consider a new spokesperson.
  12. Learn and correct: Every press conference is a learning experience. Use it to make improvements where you can, in everything from how the event was run to the invitees list and from the venue to the spokesperson chosen. Learn from successes and mistakes to move forward. 

Great preparation can also be the best defense.   That’s why a fundamental aspect of a good media relations program is keeping tabs on what is being published and said about your brand and industry, and to respond quickly when needed.  MediaVantage combines potent media monitoring, measurement and workflow tools to empower your organization to be in control of the brand.

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The 5 Building Blocks of a Media Relations Strategy

So, you think you know media relations. You’ve handled the tough questions, established some good relationships with key journalists and you know most of the how-tos.

But what lies beyond these tactics?

It’s the strategy. Increasingly we, as communicators, are being asked to demonstrate value and prove our worth. Having sound strategies in place is one of the sure-fire ways to do just that.

Here are some helpful tips to build a media relations strategy from the ground up:

1.     GOALS

You can’t achieve success if you don’t know what success looks like. Take some control and outline exactly what it is you’re trying to accomplish.

Your media relations goals should be directly tied to your business and communications goals. Are you trying to achieve success in a certain market? Or trying to promote a new product or service? Link your media relations goals directly to that. And make them measurable.

Maybe you need to inform your stakeholders? Educate them? Or influence them? Be specific when planning your goals and objectives. It might seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many communicators don’t take the time to outline their goals before jumping in. The key is aligning your goals to the overarching business goals.

2.       WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO?

A good PR practitioner will tell you that it’s worth determining who your audiences are. Every single one. Segmentation is vital. It’s not enough to say “news media.” You better know which publications, and which journalists you want to talk to.

If you divide your audiences accordingly, it makes it easier to determine how much influence they have on your business or in your market. And, you’ll be better able to tailor messaging that really speaks to each audience.

3.       WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?

Overall, your company will have some general messaging to align the business. And, for each campaign, you’ll need to create specific messaging to support your goals and objectives.

If you understand what your audiences need and want from you, you should be able to anticipate what kinds of information you’ll share. For your strategy, stick to three key messages that support your media relations goals. You should be able to fall back on these three if you’re ever in doubt.

4.       WHAT ARE YOU DOING and HOW ARE YOU GETTING THERE?

Tactics are the nitty gritty details of what exactly you’ll be doing to tackle your goals. Will you issue media advisories, host press conferences or get exposure for your key spokespeople during community events? What are you going to do?

How are you planning to achieve these tactics? Is it to build new relationships or nurture existing ones? It’s important to note how you’ll execute. And when? Attach some timelines and a budget to these tactics.

5.       MEASURE

Was one of your goals to increase media coverage from financial media by 20% more than last year? How will you know you achieved that? Make sure that you’ve budgeted for measurement. It’s an ongoing process and it’s the only way you’ll be able to determine success.

Having a media relations strategy in place is just good business practice. You may have mastered the art of media relations. But, at the end of the day, even if you can answer tough questions on the spot, it won’t matter unless you’re tying those media relations tactics to your business strategy.

Another fundamental aspect of a good media relations program is keeping tabs on what is being published and said about your brand and industry, and to respond quickly when needed.  MediaVantage combines potent media monitoring, measurement and workflow tools to empower your organization to be in control of the brand

Is Translating Global Press Releases Really Necessary?

“Why is translating a press release so important?”

That is one of the most common questions I get from clients.   My answer is usually “Вы хотите, чтобы кто-то читал?”

If you didn’t understand that, then it perfectly illustrates my point.  If you did, then you know that it’s not just important to write good copy, but you need someone to be able to read it.

Ask yourself this question – how often do you open emails from people you don’t know, in a language you don’t understand very well?  The answer is usually “not often”.  If you’re a communications professional writing a traditional news release, the goal of that release is to get a journalist to read, understand, and write about your product or service.   Which release do you think would be opened – the one in English, or the one in the native language of the recipient?   Right – it’s the one in native language.

Newsroom realities require translation

Journalists are notoriously short on time.  Living on a deadline is difficult work, and with only a fraction of an hour able to spend on each article, having a news release in a format where copy, paste and edit can be easily done is a real timesaver.  It also increases the chance that the release will actually be used in that story.   It takes a long time to read a release in a language not your own – even if you have some fluency – understand the nuances present, and mentally translate in your head how to best convey the message in your article. Face it – most journalists don’t have that kind of time, and the finger hits <<delete>>.

Reaching audiences directly, in-language

There’s another important reason why translation is important if you’re distributing your press release ia PR Newswire – because we syndicate press releases online, all over the world,  audiences have direct access to the news.   However, most of the web sites syndicating our global content require translations – because they publish in the language of their audience – and you’ll need to do the same.   Search engines also sort content by language, so in order for your message to be found by searchers across the globe, you’ll need to ensure translated versions of your press release area available.

Translation services vs. DIY tools

So, you’ve decided to translate your news release and any related documentation, and you start looking at options.  Translation service?  That can be pricey and time-consuming, and where do you find a good one?  DIY translation tool?  Oh boy…

Let’s start with the translation service.  There are a lot of services out there to choose from, and finding the one that is just right for you can be a time consuming business.  Testing, sampling, and giving constructive feedback can take weeks or months.  There are also a lot of substandard translators and translation services out there.  My best advice is to get recommendations from someone you trust, and arrange to run some tests.  Have your local offices review the translations and provide a report back to you.  Beware of the low-cost services – those usually cut corners by hiring substandard translators and not editing.  Good translators are not cheap, but they are an investment in your company, time and message clarity.

Some companies, looking to trim some $$ from their communication budget, embrace the peril to be avoided at all cost – the machine translation.  You’ve all seen the funny photos with the mis-translations.  Those were done by one of many translation tools that are available on the Internet.   Imagine what your news release or marketing documentation just became after you run it through one of these services.  Worse than that, imagine what those who received it are doing as they read it.  You just gave them their laugh for the day.  The worst case scenario is a real PR nightmare – the accidental publication of offensive or vulgar content under your brand’s banner.

There are a number of fee-based tools creating translations based on complex algorithms, but in our experience, they just can’t replace a human when it comes to choosing words or phrases that best match the source document.  Even if you run the copy through a translation tool and then have a human edit it, in the end, you really don’t save either time or money.  Editing fees can be higher than per-word translation charges because they’re usually time-based.  It can take as long to do a translation from scratch as it takes to fix a severely flawed machine translation.

Because of the high translation volume and budget of PR Newswire, we’re solicited by just about everyone in the translation industry for our business.  Our number one requirement is NO software based translations!   We haven’t seen a program yet that will pass our high translation quality testing, and we’re not willing to risk our clients’ news on something that is not a high-quality product.

Are you willing to take that risk yourself?  We hope not!

PR Newswire offers advice and resources to help you get your global PR program off the ground, including free white papers like this one, about understanding the media landscape in Brazil.   You can also browse more information or contact us for more details.

Author Colleen Pizarev is PR Newswire’s VP of strategic communication, and has years of global public relations and media experience.