Author Archives: Shannon Ramlochan

Content We Love: Serving Audiences & Search Engines Equally Well

ContentWeLove

Click here to view the complete branded microsite

Click here to view the complete branded micro-site

The development of search engine algorithms continues to closely mirror the human process of researching information, making it more difficult than ever for individuals to manipulate results in their favor. For communicators who rely on search as a primary mechanism for reaching audiences, this may sound like heartbreaking news. In reality, it is an opportunity for brands to be more innovative in their content creation and messaging strategy. Brands that can organically surface to the top of page rankings will be deemed more credible and authoritative by consumers searching for related information, and that means creating content that search engines deem to be of high quality.

One of the most challenging aspects of Google’s latest algorithm for communicators is finding a way to target similar messages across multiple markets without violating duplicate content standards. The pressure to create even more original content might feel like impending doom for PR pros who are already strapped for time, but the communications team at Honda has found a brilliant workaround. Using a branded campaign micro-site titled, Honda Stage Launches at REVOLT Studios Delivering Performances and Artists Interviews Across Television, Web and Mobile Platforms for Music Fans,” they’ve delivered an umbrella message that caters to a broad spectrum of markets at once, and is visually stunning. Highlights from this fully-loaded micro-site include:

  • Hi-res photos and videos that bring this story to life, and are ready for sharing on social channels and re-purposing in earned media stories
  • A press release with highlighted bullet points and executive quotes presents different story angles for journalists to cover
  • Related news regarding tour dates and featured artists is available in both English and Spanish, which targets this content to local geographies, dedicated fan bases, and caters to multicultural audiences
  • A share button spurs engagement on social media
  • Related links drive traffic directly back to Honda’s owned properties

Keep in mind that it’s not just on Google that visibility is becoming harder to grasp, it’s happening almost everywhere information is consumed. The media continues to juggle between delivering hard news versus salacious stories that will drive traffic or ratings. Social networks are now favoring sponsored content in their newsfeeds, making it even less of a guarantee that your single tweet will be seen by the mass audience you are hoping to reach unless they happen click directly onto your page. But does this mean you should give up on the media, social networking, or tried and true PR tactics? Of course not!  It just means that PR needs to work harder to deliver messages that are of higher quality, and that story development and distribution tactics need to evolve, as we see in this forward thinking example from the folks at Honda.

ShannonShannon Ramlochan is PR Newswire’s Content Marketing Coordinator. Follow her on Twitter @sramloch.

Content We Love: Simple Visuals Break Down Big Data

ContentWeLove

Click here to view the press release on PRNewswire.com

Click here to view the press release on PRNewswire.com

Digital technology has given marketers more ways to collect and analyze data than ever before and as a result, glossy infographics have exploded as a favorite content type to make sense of the overabundance of information available. But infographics don’t have to be complex in order to share them with your audience; charts and graphs made with standard computer software are still a highly useful visual representation of data that tells your story in a clear and effective way.

A press release by mobile analytics company Mobidia Technology titled, “King Digital Entertainment Continues to Lead Game Publishers in Most Popular and Most Played Mobile Games,” caught my attention as a prime example.  King Digital is home to the popular Candy Crush app that is fueling procrastination everywhere, but other game developers are quickly on the rise as the next big player on the market. To illustrate this point, the release included photos of two simple graphs depicting highest game usage among the top mobile game publishers, which were subsequently republished in earned media and shared on social.

Other noteworthy aspects of this release that showcase a keen understanding of news distribution as a content marketing tool:

  • Interesting data points are appealing to readers and represented in a visually comprehensible
  • Bullet points break down key information for readers scanning the page, and offer different story angles for media
  • A quote from Mobidia’s Vice President of Marketing promotes the company’s thought-leadership
  • A restrained use of links directs readers to a call to action to download the related white paper

By using these tactics, Mobidia Technology generates more opportunities for raising brand awareness, earning media pickup, and generating leads. Kudos on a job well done!

Author Shannon Ramlochan is the Content Marketing Coordinator at PR Newswire.

3 Reasons Why Law Firms Should Be Active on Social Media

Research conducted by Good2BSocial finds that a majority of law firms understand importance of social media but are reluctant to engage clients with it. On the other hands, top law firms in the US and UK found direct correlations between social media use and client success. As search and social become the go-to methods of finding and sharing information, law firms are slowly recognizing the business advantages of creating content to locate and engage prospects. At Business Development Institute’s recent “Social Media Marketing Summit for Law Firms,” legal experts and content marketing thought leaders discussed the importance of social media as a tool for law firms to get discovered, build credibility, and ultimately generate business.

“It should be the job of every lawyer to be active and engaging on social media,” says Guy Alvarez, chief engagement officer at Good2BSocial. The nature of the industry is changing and large, well-established law firms are facing serious competition from the smaller firms who are using technology to generate greater awareness for their brands and gain more clients. Additionally, law firms that are active on channels that law students frequently access such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have a competitive advantage in recruiting top-tier talent. As discussed at the summit, here are three reasons why law firms should be active on social media:

Social media is a discovery tool  

According to Leslie Prizant, general counsel for CarePoint Health, “Content is key but searchability and how easy it is to navigate a website is more important.” In today’s digital environment a strong web presence gives brands an air of credibility, a crucial component to the legal industry which is founded on principles of trust. But searchability is contingent upon several factors, including the quality of content a brand creates and how it is disseminated.  Solely relying on owned channels such as the company website, blog, and social media pages to spread awareness limits the reach of messages to existing followers and does not continuously acquire new audiences and influencers. This is where the importance of multi-channel distribution comes in to build credibility and generate greater brand awareness.

“The currency of a law firm is intellectual capital” says Andrew Meranus, regional vice president at PR Newswire, in reference to the importance of content creation and distribution for law firms. Distributing content through a mix of owned, earned, and paid media channels establishes legal expertise and affords brands the opportunity to be heard among new audiences and get noticed by influencers looking for expert sources. Major firms including White & Case and Fenwick West are utilizing wire distribution to promote branded content and drive traffic back to their company websites. Amplification of messages, which must be highly relevant, compelling, timely, and consistent, is what seeds social interactions and drives discoverability for the brand.

Social media is a credibility tool

“We need to be human on social media,” asserts Alvarez, “people hire lawyers not law firms.” Social tools and practices are becoming an important part of criteria that potential clients use when choosing a firm to do business with. Social intelligence tools can help monitor topics of interest and business pain points that are relevant clients and prospects, which helps firms provide the solutions that stay ahead of trends and build their credibility.

Social media is a business acquisition tool 

Hans Haglund chief business development and marketing officer at Blank Rome LLP explains that the connection between your firm’s social media strategy and business development strategy is critical. A business development analysis by Blank Rome LLP shows that efficient use of social media increases lead generation and profitability for law firms, with a lead to conversion rate of around 10 percent. It is important to note that conversions are heavily dependent upon good content that is formatted for consumption on social, is shareable, and drives traffic to company website.

Some best practices for law firms who want to create content and engage on social media include:

  1. Legal messages need to be specifically targeted to relevant audiences. Email blasts and folders with collateral are antiquated marketing methods in the digital age, but powerful content with proper context is effective.
  2. Get rid of legal jargon. Most readers are business people and they need to be able to understand the information you are providing.
  3. Make it easy for your clients and targets to share your content by including social share buttons on blog posts, your web site, and client memos.
  4. Use multimedia and share relevant content. “Visual is an emerging and very important type of content that should be used whenever possible” Alvarez recommends. Instead of a text-heavy blog post, you can create a visual representation of legal processes through infographics. Additionally, Alvarez emphasizes the value of producing videos even if they aren’t of high production quality. For example, videos taken of legal reps speaking at conferences will still be effective because audiences are more interested in the substance of that content rather than the production value.
  5. Breaker larger pieces of content into smaller pieces. There is a use for longer format but it should not be focus on social media.
  6. Include a call to action with each piece of content. Longer form pieces should be a value added piece for lead generation, with full-length PDFs and blog posts available for download in exchange for contact information.
  7. Use keywords people are searching for. If the content is out there, make sure it is available to the people who are actively seeking this information.
  8. Distribute content across multiple channels. Your digital footprint is a major factor in establishing credibility, expertise, and growing your audience.

For more insight on PR and marketing for law firms, click to view the latest blog post “Legal PR and Marketing: A Behind the Scenes Look” on Profnet Connect. 

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

 

Content We Love: 60 Years of PR Stories

ContentWeLove

60th anniversary ARC

Click here to view the complete ARC

Storytelling has existed since humans first walked the earth, but the ways in which stories are conveyed have continuously advanced. Following the birth of wire distribution 60 years ago, technology, media, and the industry have evolved so rapidly that stories can reach global audiences across multiple channels in an instant.  But with this opportunity also comes a new challenge: communicators must make their stories stand out from the millions of others being shared across traditional, digital, social and mobile channels.

Our latest ARC campaign, “PR Newswire Celebrates 60 Years of Storytelling,” features original content from our clients offering best practices, case studies, and astute observations on the current state of media  and tips on how to prepare for the future. Some highlights include:

  • PR today is measureable. As discussed by Zach Burrus of Shift Communications, measuring campaigns is still a challenge for many, but today’s PR practitioners have a wealth of granular data readily available to them through standard platforms such as social media and Google analytics.
  • Middle America is quickly rising as the new home for top PR talent. In the blog post by Rebecca Lunna of Exponent PR,PR pros are creative individuals, and the rising local art scene in the Midwest as well as the presence of Fortune 500 companies scattered across the region speaks to the great potential of Middle America as central hub for innovation
  • The future of PR lies in human interaction. Allyssa Kennedy of Crossroads makes the case that technology has lessened the need for face-to-face communication. However, great PR is focused on building relationships, which cannot be truly genuine unless we move away from screen based interactions.

As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of PR Newswire, our focus remains on the future of communications and how we can continue to support our industry peers in staying ahead of the curve. Click here to view the ARC and read thought leadership pieces from companies including:

  • 5WPR
  • Bellmont PR
  • Crossroads
  • Exponent
  • McCormick Foundation
  • Inkhouse
  • JCPR
  • J Cutler Media Group
  • Shift Communications
  • Steve Cadigan
  • PSNG

The ARC will continue to be updated throughout the remainder of the year with additional success stories and insights from PR Newswire clients. If you are a PR Newswire client interested in sharing your story, please email Caitlin.Carragee@prnewswire.com

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

The Evolution of Digital Communications

Communications  Roundtable Brian CohenAs content marketing blossoms into a multi-billion dollar industry, the competition for standing out becomes even more of a struggle. Social media, the 24-hour news cycle, and mobile connectivity have all contributed to our shortened attention spans and frustrations with filtering the noise to find the information that is most relevant to us. So how is digital communications evolving to help organizations get their messages effectively heard by the audiences who want to hear them? Brian Cohen, co-founder of Launch.it sat down with PR Newswire’s SVP of Marketing, Ken Wincko, to discuss opportunities for innovation in PR and marketing.

PR journalism and the evolution of press releases

A recent study sponsored by InPowered and conducted by Nielsen, found that earned media provides more benefit to brands than user generated or branded content. Given the shift towards third party content as more credible and trustworthy, Cohen believes that PR is entering a new era which he refers to as, “PR Journalism.”

According to Cohen, while the authenticity and opportunities related to earned media are clear, journalists are simply unable to cover all the news that is available to them.  Therefore, press releases are becoming the trusted third party stories that reach consumers directly.  “The stories that are being read through news releases are written by great writers who are now comprised of roughly 40 percent ex-journalists,” says Cohen, “now PR folks are talking directly to the same people they were talking to before, just through a more direct medium.”

Content creation and the rise of event marketing  

Cohen believes that the greatest opportunities ahead lie within the events industry, which has grown more innovative and tech-savvy thanks to the accessibility of content on mobile devices. Now, events themselves are only the pique of year-long content marketing campaigns. “Event marketers are taking advantage of the lack of publications in their trade markets that have disappeared,” explains Cohen, “now, we’re seeing the event industry say ‘you know what? We’re going to be the publication.We don’t want it just to be January 3 to January 5, we want the event to be about the concept.’” Mobile devices and the content created around the event act as a guide to lead conference attendees to the information that is the most important to them.

The art of discovery

“I can’t boil the ocean, but I can try to do the best that I can to make sure that content is discovered, found, and shared“ says Cohen, “Google search is one thing, but what we’re actually involved in, in our world where there is so much information, is finding things you didn’t even know you were looking for.” Herein lies the importance of distributing content across a variety of channels, as discoverability essentially lays the groundwork for building trust. Cohen predicts that aiding discoverability is one of the strongest opportunities for innovating new products for integrated communications.

PR pros and marketers are admittedly still adapting to changes in technology and public media consumption behaviors, but one thing is certain: communicators should make driving discovery of content by new audiences a priority in order to build relationships for the brands they represent. Simply put, relying on your own blog, web site or social channels to share your messages can limit the audience for your brand’s content. However, ensuring that your messages reach the audiences that they are intended for, and are found by new prospects, is what will lead to measureable outcomes for your business.

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

Content We Love: Harley Davidson Gears Up for Father’s Day

ContentWeLove

Many people look to their social media newsfeeds as a source for current events, useful lifestyle tips, or amusement, but the thousands of daily visitors to PRNewswire.com  might also agree that perusing the latest press releases is another great way to find interesting and entertaining news. PR pros are naturally creative people and more of them are seeing the value of press releases as stories themselves. Instead of snooze-worthy, dry language, press release writers are utilizing their creative juices to write interesting, informative, and sometimes flat out hysterical stories.

One such story I came across is from a press release by Harley Davidson titled, “Survey Of U.S. Dads Reveals: 32 Percent Forgotten On Father’s Day; 53 Percent Would Return Gifts; And One Even Received A Santa Necktie.” From top to bottom, I came across a handful of new school tactics in this text-only release which immediately convinced me to highlight this piece as the subject of “Content We Love.”

  • A striking headline with interesting stats and a humorous story angle is inviting to read.
  • A timely, seasonal news hook that ties into Father’s Day is a clever way for Harley Davidson to join the conversation. While flowers, balloons, and jewelry are typical choices for making mom happy on Mother’s Day, gift options for dad are far less obvious.
  • Bullet points and bold text break down survey results and highlight key information in an easy-to-read format. Depending on the outlet, these can also serve as different story angles the writer might want to take.
  • Writing that is enjoyable to read. I sat at my desk audibly laughing at the survey responses asking dads about their worst Father’s Day gift experiences. One of my favorites: “a painted rock.” The point is, even though press releases are company generated news and a representation of your brand, they shouldn’t be boring! Every piece of content your company produces should intend to engage your audience and show them that you are the solution to their problem. Data, images, and humor are all ways to accomplish this.
  • Information that is helpful to the audience. This press release caters to the sons and daughters in search of great gift ideas for their dads, as well as the dads who are hoping to upgrade from a disappointment. Harley Davidson puts the focus of the conversation around satisfying the needs of their audience instead of their own brands and products.

Even though I loved the story angle and writing of this release, an accompanying infographic of the survey results or photo of a major gift fail could have elevated it even further for social sharing and media pick up.  Target sites like Motorcycle-USA.com and Motorcycle.com  covered this story and used Harley Davidson’s logo to add a visually stimulating element to the piece. Regardless of this missing component, Harley Davidson did a great job writing this release and making Father’s Day a happy occasion again!

ShannonAuthor Shannon Ramlochan is the Content Marketing Coordinator at PR Newswire. 

MultiVu Earns 6 Honorable Mentions from PR Daily’s 2013 Video Awards

A recent study by market research firm, GlobalWebIndex, indicates that more than a quarter of internet users are regularly watching branded videos across all age and gender demographics.  Based on these findings, the message is clear: no matter who your target audience is, videos have an unprecedented ability against any other forms of content to capture attention and connect with people on an emotional level.

Today, PR Daily announced the winners of their 2013 Video Awards, and PR Newswire’s multimedia production team, MultiVu, earned honorable mentions in six categories including:

  • Best Animated Video
  • Best Company Overview Video
  • Best Event Video
  • Best Low-Budget Video
  • Best News Story Video
  • Best Use of a Celebrity or Personality

View all of the video entries by clicking here

The broad scope of categories that MultiVu has earned recognition in serves as testament to all the imaginative and brilliant ways that your organization can use video to tell your story. The fact that audiences are interacting with brands and primarily visual content daily on social media shows that there is a clear interest in understanding what makes your company great. Use videos to seize that opportunity, and let people know how you are impacting your community, your industry, or the world.

To learn more about telling your story with multimedia, visit http://www.prnewswire.com/multivu/

ShannonShannon Ramlochan is PR Newswire’s Content Marketing Coordinator.