Author Archives: Shannon Ramlochan

Content We Love: Why Netflix is a Storytelling Pro



Click here to view the complete press release

Since propagating the binge-watch culture that’s changed the television industry forever, it’s clear that Netflix fans love stories. In their press release titled “Spoiler Alert! Its Ok to Spoil,” Netflix gives the fans what they want by turning an issue that the majority of their audience faces into content that tells a story and engages the viewer emotionally.

Related article: Tactics for telling your story across channels

Related article: Tactics for telling your story across channels

Social circles everywhere are falling apart because of the friends who are prone to (or secretly enjoy) giving away spoilers to popular television series. Netflix used this premise as a focal point for their story and conducted a research study to determine all the ways that people tend to spoil TV and why.

Given that visitors to aren’t usually there to read up on company news, but rather to engage with the product itself, the press release acts a messenger to drive awareness of the research results. Here’s why this release is so effective:

A shareable headline: A simple, enticing title clearly states the issue that this press release is addressing and inspires readers to click

A visually compelling and humorous video: With its purely digital format, cross platform accessibility and bargain price point, no brand is quite as synchronistic with millennials as Netflix. A new study by Havas shows that millennials want branded content as part of the online experience, 6 in 10 millennials reporting that brands play a key role in offering content they can share on social media. The embeddable video infographic delivers the content in the format that this audience prefers.

Since 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, it’s not enough to push out this video on a single channel or even across social media channels and expect it to compete for attention equally against the latest viral videos or emerging artists.  This press release helps drive visibility and discoverability for the video infographic.

A compelling story: The different types of spoiler personalities act almost as characters in this story that the reader can emotionally identify with. Highlighting those in bold bullet points toward the end of the release draws the reader’s eye toward the bottom to answer this very important question: “What type of spoiler am I?”

Ellen Degeneres is clearly a “Coded Spoiler” as seen in this tweet:

A call to action: Readers are driven back to the company’s YouTube channel to watch the video. These actions are important signifiers of quality content in search algorithms.

The release on was even hyperlinked in New York Magazine’s online coverage of the study, proving that journalists are on the lookout for interesting stories via press releases. Much like the Netflix user experience, the company employed storytelling and a cross platform communications approach to make their content more accessible to their audience. Kudos to Netflix on a great story and a great release!

Leave us a comment below and tell us, what type of spoiler are you?

ShannonAuthor Shannon Ramlochan is the Content Marketing Coordinator at PR Newswire. Follow her on Twitter @sramloch

5 Ways to Get a Journalist to Care About Your Pitch

WomanCon 2014

(L-R) Moderator Beth Feldman, Panelists: Vicki Salemi, Liz O’Donnell, Andrea Smith, Joya Dass, Geri Stengel

Given the scale at which content is being produced on traditional and digital media, journalists are more strapped for time and earning media attention is even more of a challenge for PR pros. While standard pitching practices such as researching the journalist, answering the 5 W’s, and being brief are still important, nowadays it takes more than just meeting the standard to stave off the competition and get a journalist to care.

Veteran journalists featured on the “Pitch the Media Live” panel at WomanCon 2014 offered their best media pitching advice based off of positive, memorable experiences they’ve had with publicists who went beyond the standard rules to get their attentions:

Promote a new product or service by tying it to a trend. Most products and services are not the only one of its kind, and it can be difficult to answer the question “what makes this so special?” Andrea Smith, technology journalist formerly of Mashable, notes that the hidden advantage of being one-in-the-crowd is its potential for a story. “An outlet like Mashable is always on the cusp of emerging technology trends,” says Smith, “If you’re noticing a trend within your industry, pitch it as a story that can also shed light on your product, service, or expertise.”

Freelancers often work for more than one publication, surface different story angles that are specific each audience. Panelist Vicki Salemi, who is a freelancer for Forbes, U.S. News & World Report Metro, The New York Post, and Mediabistro, reminds PR pros that freelancers need fresh content for each of the publications they work for. If the reporter covers the same beat for a variety of outlets, splicing your story to match the voice, content types, and audience that each outlet offers can result in more media coverage for your story while building a relationship with that journalist. In fact, clearly stating the specific niche you are trying to reach can convince a journalist pass your pitch along to another reporter who might be an even better fit.

Don’t wait for them to ask: include visuals and quotes with your pitch. Again, journalists are always on a time crunch, therefore back and forth emails are not the ideal way to get your story published. There are two things that a writer will always need from you that they shouldn’t have to wait for:

  • Visuals: Joya Dass, TV anchor for NY1 covering business news, emphasizes the fact that television is a visual medium and any pitch to a television reporter must include photos and video. Beyond television, websites and search engines are also favoring multimedia. However, file attachments can crash a journalists’ often over-flooded inbox. Instead, related links that offer those visuals are a preferred alternative.
  • Quotes: Coordinating schedules for a formal interview is also a dated practice that wastes valuable time unless it’s for a feature story. Pre-approved quotes included in the pitch are easy to pull into a story and can help frame the message into a favorable angle.

Take risks in order to get noticed. Dass recalls a time when the publicist of a very small company was so determined to get her attention that the publicist left a press release titled “Why Joya Should Cover This Story,” and an accompanying video with the doorman of her workplace when she entered the building at 3:30 am. Why then? The publicist knew that Dass reviewed which stories were going on the air every morning before broadcast. In spite of was admittedly a peculiar tactic, Dass appreciated the effort this PR pro took to learn her habits, study her market, and make it easy for her to cover the story.

Pitch your expertise as well as industry comrades for future stories. If you were not featured in a story that you wish you had been, contact that journalist and offer to be a resource for the next story on a relevant subject; it can pay off in when the journalist is under a tight deadline and needs an expert quote. With that in mind, journalists are also appreciative and interested if you can connect them with other industry experts – another way to build a positive relationship with a journalist.

PR Newswire’s Media Studio allows communicators to easily incorporate visuals with their content in order to get noticed. Click here to learn more:

ShannonAuthor Shannon Ramlochan is the Content Marketing Coordinator at PR Newswire. Follow her on Twitter @sramloch.

Content We Love: MSL Group Promotes Brand Citizenship Through Brand Journalism


A 17-country survey commissioned by MSL Group reveals that millennials believe the combined forces of corporations and government can “solve the world’s greatest problems.” As brands yearn for attention and loyalty from millennials, the findings of MSL Group’s “Business Citizenship” study signify a potential opportunity for organizations to serve a greater purpose and earn positive praise from this seemingly unattainable demographic.

To shed light to this opportunity, MSL Group employed a news release with multimedia assets, exemplifying what Ad Age refers to as the “modern marketing imperative,” a personalized, content stream approach involving multi-faceted messages via multiple channels to multiple audiences. The organizations who are at the foundational stage of their brand journalism efforts should make note of the following:

Click here to view the complete press release from MSL Group

Click here to view the complete press release from MSL Group

The headline is attention-grabbing, includes keywords and highlights a groundbreaking new discovery and potential opportunity that can be gained from reading this release.

Information is delivered in multiple formats to cater to audience preferences. Even though they are derived from the same story, each piece of content has its own unique utility:

  • The infographic highlights key report findings in a concise, visually enticing, and socially shareable way
  • A YouTube video featuring the company’s Global Practice Director of Corporate and Brand Citizenship establishes the company’s thought leadership and provides sound bites for media to use in their coverage
  • Reporters can find more in-depth conclusions in the long-form research report and pair it with an accompanying visual

A strong story with a variety of narratives increases its earned media potential. Using bold sub-heads and bullet points, the release surfaces at least 4 different stories that a journalist has the option of covering.

This news release does an excellent job of catering to the audience needs – a key tenet of effective brand journalism. Congrats to MSL Group on a fantastic release!

ShannonAuthor Shannon Ramlochan is the Content Marketing Coordinator at PR Newswire. Follow her on Twitter @sramloch

Content We Love: Visual Storytelling in Regulated Industries


Communicators in highly regulated industries such as healthcare must carefully consider the compliance and privacy laws that govern their businesses before experimenting with new content trends. But regardless of these policies, it is still critical for healthcare companies to engage their audiences with visual storytelling given the complex nature of their messages. For public stakeholders such as patients, visual storytelling illustrates abstract concepts and raises greater awareness for healthcare issues.

This subject will be explored in greater detail by leading healthcare and financial brand marketers at the live event “Visually Conveying Your Message in a Highly Regulated Environment,” on Thursday, September 18 in Boston. Use the promo code PRNCOMP at checkout for a complimentary registration:

The American Society of Hematology is using visual storytelling to spark a dialogue around sickle cell disease and draw attention to Sickle Cell Awareness Month this September via a multimedia news release. Communicators in regulated industries should make note of how the ASH framed their content to shed light on the disease and inspire action:

Click here to view the complete Multimedia News Release

Click here to view the complete Multimedia News Release

  • Sickle cell affects the body internally and therefore the physical impact of this disease is not very apparent to those who aren’t affected. Seeing the internal effects of sickle cell disease depicted in a short video and photos helps bring greater understanding of the issue.
  • The text of the release is fleshed out yet focused, written inverted pyramid style and answers the 5 W’s: who, what, when, where, why.
  • The call-to-action is strong and strategically-savvy: reporters and journalists reading this release can simply click on the button to request an interview with a sickle cell disease expert. Earned media is a critical part of educating the public, including policy makers who can support funding for research, about the seriousness of this issue.
  • Related links offer additional information to raise further awareness.

Digital media is changing the nature of the healthcare industry, and communications tactics must evolve with it. The ASH has demonstrated how communicators in regulated industries can use visuals and owned content promotion to further awareness around an important cause.

ShannonAuthor Shannon Ramlochan, Content Marketing Coordinator at PR Newswire. Follow her on Twitter @sramloch.

10 Things I Learned from #CMWorld 2014 Without Being There

The over-arching theme at Content Marketing World 2014 focused on audience-first messaging and the importance of delivering content in all of the ways that your audience wants to consume it. Case in point: though I was not physically present at Content Marketing World, I felt like an integral part of the event by relying on Twitter to deliver the awesome tips and sound bites that I was afraid of missing out on.

Many of the presenters and attendees at Content Marketing World had already made a favorable impression on me long before the conference. Knowing that they were credible and profound thinkers, I was inspired to follow the hashtag, engage in the conversation, and have my own Content Marketing World experience in a way that was specific to my needs. Through my virtual attendance, here are ten of my favorite things I learned from Content Marketing World 2014 without being there:

This year’s conference will surely be difficult to top next year – like many of you I am still recovering from having my mind blown by Kevin Spacey’s keynote speech thanks to the live stream. To all of those who took the time to tweet, thank you for making Content Marketing World 2014 an incredible learning experience right from the office!

To learn how PR Newswire and UBM Tech Create can help you fuel your content engine, follow the link:

ShannonAuthor Shannon Ramlochan is the Content Marketing Coordinator at PR Newswire. Follow her on Twitter @sramloch.

Content We Love: How Non-Profits Can Use Owned and Paid Media to Spread Awareness


via Safe Kids Worldwide

via Safe Kids Worldwide

In the wake of the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon, a lot of discussion has been centered on how more non-profit organizations can leverage digital communication to increase awareness of social issues. One of the most important parts of a non-profit’s communications strategy is to educate the general public about the importance of their cause with facts and information that will inspire action. Safe Kids Worldwide, a non-profit organization aimed at preventing childhood injury, demonstrates how the power of content  distribution can help spread awareness of a single message to the greatest audience possible in a press release titled, “Can We Change the Culture of Youth Sports?

Safe Kids Worldwide partnered with Johnson & Johnson to shed light on the dangerous behaviors and cultural expectations of child athletes that can result in severe injuries or in the worst case scenarios, death.  The release employs a mix of tactics to grab attention and get the point across effectively:

  • An infographic included in the press release highlights key findings from the survey in a concise and visually engaging way. Content needs to be delivered in all the formats that audiences prefer to consume information. Considering that mommy bloggers are a powerful source of influence on the web, this infographic is a great visual to accompany a potential story.
  • The headline uses a provocative question to capture attentions and a subhead provides supporting detail to hint at the findings of their survey
  • The lead paragraph omits the boilerplate language and instead begins with an alarming stat regarding the number of children who sustain a sports injury every year to immediately grab attention.
  • A call to action linking to the survey and infographic immediately after the first paragraph drives readers to the intended action to learn more about the seriousness of child sports injuries
  • Additional stats are listed separately to surface different story angles
  • Statements from the President and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, Kate Carr and NCAA’s former football coach Jack Crowe, emphasize the importance of the issue and offer journalists a highly credible source to quote in their stories
  • Bullet points and bold text with sports safety tips the eye toward the bottom of the release as well

Stats from the “Changing the Culture of Youth Sports” report as well as the executive quotes from the release were republished in major outlets including CBS News and USA Today. For other non-profit organizations who need help spreading awareness of their messages, Safe Kids Worldwide sets an example of how content can be formatted and shared in different ways to bring much needed attention to a cause. Congratulations to Safe Kids Worldwide on their efforts to prevent child injuries and on the success of their release!

ShannonAuthor Shannon Ramlochan is PR Newswire’s Content Marketing Coordinator.

Mapping Communications Strategies to Resonate with the New Buyer

CU-N-CO 2.1.1 Buyer's Journey

Source: Forrester Research Inc.

One piece of content is not all encompassing for the vast and complex audience that makes up your target consumer base. Each stage of the buyer’s journey is comprised of unique personas and levels of expertise that are in search of information catered to their specific needs. For example, if your products are geared toward B2B customers, the CEO of a company might not find the same value in the introductory information that a junior level staffer might need to advance their skill set. For B2C companies, the gap is even wider if you think about the mix of demographics that your products or services might be relevant to. Would a college student doing laundry for the first time respond the same way to an ad for detergent that was geared towards new parents?

Consider that each persona will also be in search of information relevant to where they are in the buyer’s journey. Most of us rely on peer recommendations and online reviews to give us an honest critique of what to expect in a product or service, but not everyone who is researching information is ready to make a purchase. For the product researchers who might be skeptical or simply curious, your content needs to persuade that potential customer to take the next logical step towards a purchase.

Mapping Comms Strategies to Resonate with New BuyerOur free on-demand webinar Mapping Communications Strategies to Resonate with the New Buyer  delves into how content marketers can plan and create content to meet the specific needs of their target audiences. Presentations by Adam B. Needles, chief strategy officer and principal at Annuitas, and Ken Wincko, senior vice president of marketing at PR Newswire, cover topics including:

  • How to influence behavior through authentic and transparent content
  • The evolution of earned media, and how to harness it
  • The role of distribution as the missing link to any content plan

Follow the link to view the on-demand webinar now: