Author Archives: Shannon Ramlochan

Keys to Video Success: A Look at 6 PR Daily Video Award Finalists

PR Daily Video AwardsThe growing demand for visuals in B2B marketing is self-explanatory; videos shed light on the humanity, heart, and sincerity of a business in a way that text alone cannot.  These factors are what make visual content favorable among audiences and a vital part of any marketing strategy. PR Daily’s 2013 Video Awards is recognizing the organizations that have showcased an outstanding use of videography to share their messages, and our award-winning production team, MultiVu, is a finalist in 6 different categories.

To help you uncover your organization’s hidden stories, MultiVu’s Senior Producer, Evan Horisk, gives us the inside scoop behind each of the nominated videos and the results they achieved from using visuals to engage their audiences.

Curate existing assets into fresh content

“Otis hired us to put out a multimedia news release celebrating their 160th anniversary. Working with limited resources, they supplied us with content they already had including a press release, still photographs and a long b-roll package they produced in-house. We took the existing assets and spun them into a creative and interesting news story. With a thirty dollar stock music purchase and a day’s worth of editing we were able maximize production values, stretch a small budget and craft a compelling story that engaged audiences. The results far exceeded anyone’s expectations. Analytics show that the video on the MNR continues to be viewed, shared and downloaded by Otis’ audience and employees on a daily basis.”

This video is a finalist in the News Story Video category.

Highlight your CSR initiatives

“Cantor Fitzgerald lost 658 employees in the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. To commemorate the lives that were lost, Cantor Fitzgerald and BGC Partners host an annual charity day with 100% of proceeds going to The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund to assist the families of those employees who perished on 9/11 and has expanded in the years since to provide aid to victims of terrorism, natural disaster, and emergencies. Video of the day’s events showcases the collaboration of BGC and Cantor Fitzgerald staff with their celebrity guests, as they worked together to raise approximately $12 million dollars. BGC and Cantor Fitzgerald featured 3 videos in their MNR produced by the MultiVu team, which resulted in over 40,000 online views and over 6.8 million total TV viewer impressions.”

This video is a finalist in the Use of a Celebrity Personality category.

Ignite social change in your community

“Stonewall Community Foundation is a New York-based non-profit which serves the evolving needs of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community. The organization hosts an annual event, VISION, for their major benefactors, donors and supporters who have gone above and beyond in service to the LGBTQ community. For the 2013 Stonewall Honors event, MultiVu produced a short intro video encapsulating who they are and what they do. The video was played at the start of the event and culminated in a text-to-pledge call to action, which achieved $20,000 in immediate cash donations—the evening’s most successful single fundraising effort, exceeding overall ticket sales and event sponsorships. While designed for the VISION event, specifically, We Engage Our Community Donors contains enough general messaging that it would be a fit for any later and additional Stonewall promotional efforts and campaigns.”

This video is a finalist in the Low-Budget Video category.

Entice potential business prospects

“With such a multifaceted business, clients are often unaware of the full breadth and variety of services MultiVu offers—everything from creative and production to broadcast and distribution. The team at MultiVu decided to produce 3 explainer videos that showcase what we do, and how we do it. The series kicked off with a comprehensive look at the company, which, as the title suggests,has the goal of showing What We Do in a fun and concise way. “What we do” videos, also known as “explainer” videos, are a great way to share a simplified message with your target audience, and demystify services and product offerings. Instead of “telling” our audience how and why to make one, we here at MultiVu decided to create our own “explainer” to illustrate how it works.”

This video is a finalist in both the Animated Video and Company Overview Explainer Video Series categories.

Keep your employees motivated

“Hack-a-thons are a unique part of in the Silicon Valley landscape, but many are sponsored events open to the public. At Turn, the focus is on the internal culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. The company offers its engineering force the opportunity to stretch their creative chops during its annual Hack@Turn competition. Participants are split into teams and for a 24-hour period are challenged to deliver a fully-developed technology or product and then present them to a board of judges. As the video shows, the lighthearted atmosphere produces real results. Ultimately, Hack@Turn fosters camaraderie, creative thinking, efficiency, and competitive spirit—the event amplifies the entrepreneurial mindset amongst employees that pushes them to continue their efforts and innovative thinking year round, which can be seen in Turn’s continued success.”

This video is a finalist in the Event Video category.

Look to these videos as a source of inspiration for the stories your organization hasn’t told yet. They are an important opportunity for you to communicate your business’ core values in a way that emotionally connects with your audience.

Are you interested in learning more about MultiVu’s creative services? Visit http://www.prnewswire.com/multivu/ to learn more.

Content We Love: A Socially and Environmentally Friendly Release

ContentWeLove

Click to view the entire press release from So Delicious Dairy Free

Click to view the entire press release from So Delicious Dairy Free

Earth Day is celebrated on April 22nd each year and in honor of the occasion, So Delicious Dairy Free announced their groundbreaking new social media campaign in a press release titled  “World’s Shortest Grant Application – 140 Characters – Rewards Best Sustainability Ideas for Earth Day.” Environmental activists have a rare opportunity to pitch their ideas for making a world a better place in 140 characters or less using #140Difference. An astute use of new school press release tactics that focus on audience engagement earns this announcement a spot as this week’s Content We Love.

An attention-grabbing headline identifies a problem and solves it. The thought of writing out a 20-30 page grant proposal is without a doubt overwhelming, and it may even deter some from pursuing projects that could change the world. This eye-catching headline crisply summarizes the brand’s radical initiative in a perfectly tweetable length to pique the reader’s interest and engage them immediately.

Visuals that captivate the audience

Visuals establish an emotional connection with the audience by shedding light on the humanity and heart of an organization in a way that text alone simply cannot. So Delicious includes both photos and a video in their release in lieu of lengthy text, generating greater social interaction and audience reach for their message.

A hashtag that seeds social interaction

The embedded video poses a powerful question, “What Can 140 Characters Do?” Social media has reinvented activism as seen in the uprisings of Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street. What started as virtual social interactions now have a profound impact on our personal lives, and So Delicious cleverly incorporates this idea to promote their CSR efforts, drive the conversation around their content, while changing the world for the better.

Humanize the brand with a quote from thought leadership

So Delicious includes a quote from their Advocacy Marketing Manager, Brittany Horn, which borrows from the principles of engaging on social media to create a more transparent business and open dialogue between the brand and consumer.

So Delicious demonstrates a true understanding of how to find and engage audiences with content that they will care about. Kudos on a job well done!

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

3 Tips for Employing Compelling Visuals in Your Storytelling Strategy

Employing Visual Content for Compelling Storytelling DC

Speakers from these brands will be featured at PR Newswire’s “Employing Visual Content for Compelling Storytelling” event in Washington, D.C. on April 22

In today’s digital age, we are all viewing, sharing, or creating multimedia content on a daily basis to fulfill a variety of educational and emotional needs. Given the enormous presence of visuals in our personal lives, the importance of organizations producing this type of content to garner higher visibility, spark interaction, generate leads, and build loyalty among target audiences is unquestionable, but still a challenge for many. Marketing and communications experts from leading organizations will be tackling this subject at PR Newswire’s “Employing Visual Content for Compelling Storytelling” forum tomorrow in Washington, D.C., but offered a few words of advice before the event on how visual content developers can strengthen their efforts.

Balance creativity with your business strategy

Peter LaMotte, senior vice president and digital communications chair at Levick, describes the balance between creativity and business strategy as two separate but supportive halves of every visual content strategy. “We tend to focus a lot on the creativity aspect,” he says, “but if there is no connection to the business strategy or marketing strategy, it’s going to fall flat.”

Some marketers make the mistake of creating content that is culturally popular but not necessarily suited for their clients or business goals, which can be confusing for the demographic they are trying to reach. “If your content becomes viral and highly shareable in a group that can have no influence on your business, then you’ve wasted a lot of time, money and effort,” asserts LaMotte, “however, if a fraction of that size of individuals are engaged yet its dead in the right of who you want to reach, then it can be worth every penny spent.”

Balance your efforts by aiming for high levels of engagement with all of your content using a call-to-action. It can be as simple as an implied way of thinking to build awareness of certain campaigns, or directing viewers to a website, form, or social media page. Engagement is what will get your audience to pay attention to your messages.

Create easy access to your content

One of the ways that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety helps make cars and highways safer is by producing high quality visuals such as slow-motion footage of crash tests that are compelling for the media and supplies them with the elements they need to tell their story. According to the organization’s Senior Vice President of Communications, Russ Rader, not making your visual content readily accessible for the media is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

“It’s often a challenge for the media to get the content that they want and need to tell their story,” Rader says, “when we send out releases, we include all of the visual material in easy-to-access links so media can download hi-res images and video. I often hear from reporters that they have to contact PR people to get what they need and then the response comes way too late for them to use what was sent.” Through syndication, your content can reach a wider audience, generate awareness, and earns timely media for your organization.

Determine what metrics matter the most for your brand

“The web allows a variety of ways to measure the impact of content. Downloads, page views, branded search trends, and social sentiment analysis are just a few,” says Ryan Smedstad, director of creative services at Penske Truck Leasing, “but, there’s not one single method for measurement. Ultimately, you have to decide what metrics matter most for your brand.”

LaMotte’s advice is to measure your content based on the KPI’s and calls-to-action of your organization’s larger marketing strategy. “For a campaign that has a very clear CTA, it makes it very easy to see what the impact of that content is. For content that is more about brand awareness or issue, then it’s going to require a smarter strategy around measurement,” he explains, “at the end of day, it’s about those KPI’s that you have already established in the marketing strategy or in the onset of a campaign that you have to stick with because that’s what is going drive creating the content to begin with and that’s how you have to measure the content in the end.”

If you are in the Washington, D.C. area and would like to attend the event, there’s still time! Follow the link to register for “Employing Visual Content for Compelling story” now: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/employing-visual-content-for-compelling-storytelling-dc-registration-10071302537

5 Best Practices for a Visual Content Marketing Strategy

visual content marketing summit

Today’s consumer is engaging with primarily visual content across a variety of devices and social channels on a daily basis. Due to this shift from text-based to image-based communications, it is proven that multimedia content experiences a greater amount of exposure and longer shelf-life among audiences, making visual storytelling more imperative for brands than ever before. Business Development Institute and PR Newswire recently co-hosted the “Visual Content Marketing and Communications Summit” which offered valuable best practices for how organizations can harness images, videos, and platforms to provide content that allows them to build, engage, and leverage their audiences.

Find the balance between content your audience is interested in while mapping to your business objectives.

“Your content must grab your audience’s attention and offer them a clear path to your brand,” says PR Newswire’s Chief Executive Officer, Ninan Chacko, “there is always an opportunity to link to more in-depth content, so don’t worry about getting the ‘war and peace’ version into the first teaser.” A coordinated approach such as an editorial calendar can ensure that your organization is sending out a steady stream of fresh content that does not overwhelm the audience with information. For example, a video can be curated into an infographic, which can be shared in a blog post, and distributed via press release and social media. Using a mix of content and distribution channels will ensure that your message reaches the greatest potential audience that returns the leads to help you meet your business goals.

Surprise and delight your audience with images that represent your brand

General Electric’s Global Manager of Digital Marketing, Katrina Craigwell, notes that driving interest among the next generation of shareholders is a top priority within her company’s content strategy.  As an innovator in science and technology, GE targeted enthusiasts with similar interests by sharing a video of a short science experiment on Twitter’s Vine app using the hashtag #6secondscience. The response around this post was so powerful that the company was able to launch a full blown #6secondscience social media campaign that creates and curates user-generated Vines capturing the miracles of science. Its element of surprise is what drove visibility and engagement for the GE brand.

Curalate’s SVP of Brand Strategy, Deb Berman, advises content creators that even if your business isn’t selling a tangible product or service, think about your business goals, who you’re trying to reach, and what they would care about. From there, push yourself to derive images, even if they are abstract, that speak to your brand voice and also surprise and delight audiences.

Capitalize on SEO and business intelligence opportunities by observing social media interactions

Over 1 billion images are shared across all social media channels daily, presenting a major opportunity for brands to learn what their fans are interested in. Trending hashtags and content tagging on image driven platforms like Pinterest and Instagram is an important indicator of how consumers are searching for and categorizing similar products, which you can use to your advantage in marketing campaigns that drive SEO. Compare the images that are most popular against the ones that are not and make note of the slight nuances that audiences seem to appreciate. “You don’t necessarily need to know why, you just need to know what is performing better and make sure it is shared,” Berman states frankly. Additionally, leveraging user generated content is a cost effective approach to marketing that directly engages your brand ambassadors.

curalate

via Deb Berman, SVP Brand Strategy, Curalate

Establish a brand experience that is identifiable without your logo

“A logo shows ownership – but everyone has a logo. What are you doing to differentiate yourself beyond the logo?” says Jessica Lauria, director of brand communications at Chobani. Content that is branding heavy overpowers your message and makes it less shareable to a wide audience. Also, if you’re sharing content on owned social channels, then people already know it’s coming from you. Use that opportunity to elevate the conversation and show people what they don’t know about your product or service without overt branding.

Build a narrative around your images that will be memorable to your audience  

According to Matt Peters, founder and creative director at Pandemic Labs, “Visuals make an impact. Visuals with stories make memories.” Therefore, if the story comes first, not all of the visual content you create has to be of the highest production value in order for it to resonate. For example, the Ritz Carlton used Instagram to tell the story of a stuffed giraffe that got lost on a family vacation, which strayed from the usual hi-res images of luxury getaways that audiences might normally associate with their brand, but told a memorable story that others would want to share.

“By using multimedia, you’re creating the best content in context experience” states Chacko, “think about how you want to visualize as you are creating your message.” Employing visuals in your content marketing strategy feeds your audience with the content that they crave on a daily basis and cements your brand’s longevity in an increasingly competitive market.

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

 

 

Upcoming Webinar: Powering B2B Content Marketing Campaigns Through Multimedia

webinar banner

Due to the wealth of information available online, consumers have taken the buying cycle into their own hands by researching prospective vendors and seeking peer recommendations before making a purchase decision. Content such as white papers, case studies, and blog posts provide critical education around an organization’s solutions, but can be limited in terms of social reach and standing out among competitors. Therefore, communicators must consider more cutting edge alternatives in order to have their messages effectively heard.

The ability of videos to capture and retain viewer interest, fuel engagement across all social channels, and simplify complex messages make them an unparalleled method of connecting with audiences.  Their presence in an organization’s communications strategy makes all the difference in a gain or loss of business, and including multimedia is no longer an option.

Powering B2B

Tomorrow we will be hosting a webinar titled “Powering B2B Marketing Campaigns Through Multimedia” moderated by PR Newswire’s Product Manager of Online Services, Erika Kash and featuring B2B Marketing experts Rachel Foster, CEO at Fresh Perspective Copywriting, and Scott Armstrong, Parter at Brainrider.

“Nowadays there’s so many different tools made available to us that a budget shouldn’t limit you from using video because it helps drive engagement,” says Kash in response to the notion that multimedia puts a strain on marketing and PR resources, “you can put together simple sound bites using everyday tools like cell phones and laptops and increase visibility for your message. The key is to create a story from the content you already have.”

The panel will discuss how to think beyond the brochure and use multimedia content to engage leads and convert them into customers.

Click here to register now.

6 Tips for Transforming Your Boring PDF Files into Compelling Videos

Multimedia BudgetBusinesses that invest significant time and money to produce static content like PDFs, brochures, and product materials are often unable to measure the yield of their efforts because these formats fail to tell a complete story. On the other hand, multimedia such as videos are proven to significantly increase exposure and audience engagement with brand messages. Research by PR Newswire shows that companies who are incorporating multimedia into their communication strategies experience almost ten times more visibility than those who don’t. Despite the apparent benefits, an additional survey amongst PR and marketing professionals finds that a lack of resources is cited as the top reason that companies are not utilizing visual elements. Given today’s noisy digital media environment, attention spans are shrinking and the importance of utilizing video to tell a story can no longer be ignored. Therefore, if you are going to be successful in your communication efforts you MUST find the time, budget and experience to produce video in 2014. “If you’re sitting on some highly produced print communications and you’ve noticed that your investment isn’t being read by a large enough audience, then you need to think about converting your messaging into visuals,” says MultiVu’s Executive Producer, Larry Cardarelli, “It needs to be something that speaks to your audience and influencers in an engaging, and meaningful way.” Those lengthy PDFs and brochures can be reshaped into concise, attention-grabbing videos that simplify complex messages and attract prospective buyers.

Join us for our upcoming webinar to learn more about using multimedia content to engage leads and convert them into customers

Click the image to view our on-demand webinar on using multimedia content to engage leads and convert them into customers

Successful luxury real estate broker and reality TV star, Ryan Serhant, transformed his 36-page company brochure into a stunning short-form video with help from MultiVu’s team of experienced producers and editors. Take a look at the final result:

Even without a large budget, self-made videos can still be an effective way to tell your story. Major outlets like CNN and The Chicago Tribune regularly feature videos taken from ordinary devices such as cell phones and laptops in their news coverage. The MultiVu team suggests the following tips to help you turn your static content into creative and interactive videos:

Understand the audience. “Hold a creative session with your key people and ask something like, ‘What images come to mind when you think about our product or service?’” advises Cardarelli, “from there– the creative juices naturally begin to flow.” Decide who you want to reach and think about what is going to be the most interesting to them. What will make them “feel the most feelings?” The three E’s of a successful video are:

  • Entertain
  • Educate
  • Engage

Create sound bites and b-roll footage. Prepare interview questions and feature a variety of spokespeople who will appeal to different audiences. For the location of the interviews, think about where you will get the best lighting, the best sound, and avoid a background that might distract viewers from listening to your key messages. Additionally, decide what scenic shots will tell your story best. For instance, the example above features shots of the Serhant team at work in the office as well as stock footage of a bustling New York City where the company is headquartered.

Choose the sound bites that tell your story best without the corporate jargon. Remember, audiences don’t care what you do; they care why you do it. It only takes a few seconds for a viewer to decide if they will watch a video in its entirety or not, so make every second count. Be wary of speaking with too many filler words; sentences ridden with “uhs,” “ums,” and “likes” come across as nervous or obtuse and diminish the value of your message. Though you can refine a sound bite for clarity with skillful editing, it is not the best option if you are limited in time and resources.

Pair your sound bites with the best visuals to emphasize statistics or key selling points. The beauty of video content is having the ability to highlight spoken words with short written text or pictures simultaneously on-screen. For perspective, six pages of a booklet can be effectively compressed into one scene of a video. Keep in mind that the ideal video length is no longer than 90 seconds.

Challenge yourself throughout the editing process to ensure your video tells a cohesive story. Now that you’ve chosen the best components to tell your story, you want to make sure those pieces flow well together. Keep an eye out for details such as unnatural vocal inflections throughout a sound bite or unflattering camera angles. You might also want to include music that establishes a positive vibe and maintains upbeat energy; it affects the viewers’ mood.

Include a call to action at the end of the video. Do not waste a valuable opportunity to generate leads and ROI. Consider reallocating the resources you’d have spent on lengthy PDFs or glossy brochures into a more effective video format. Audiences will appreciate it, and your message will be amplified exponentially.

Click here to view our free on-demand webinar for more ideas on powering your content marketing campaigns with multimedia. 

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

5 PR Tactics for Internal Communications

Internal Collaboration
With the proliferation of social media channels, employees have become 24/7 brand ambassadors for their companies and the lines between internal and external communications are continuously blurring. Therefore, employers have as much of a responsibility to engage and inspire their internal staff as they do with external audiences.

The tactics discussed at Business Development Institute’s Internal Communications and Collaboration Leadership Forum closely mirrored the new school PR and marketing tactics that organizations are employing to drive action from their consumers. After all, employees are simultaneously consuming the information they produce and should therefore believe in the same brand promises they make to the public. The following tactics illustrate how you can improve your employee experience using similar tactics used to engage external audiences

Create useful content

Treat the initiatives happening around your company as important breaking news. Editorial content such as blog posts and articles help amplify positive growth around the company and keep teams across the organization informed about the overall mission and business strategy.

Senior leaders as chief communicators

According to a survey conducted by Brilliant Ink, 80% of employees feel more engaged when they receive inspiring communications from senior leaders. Quotes from executive leadership establish trust and humanizes the brand from both an employee and consumer standpoint.

Utilize multimedia 

Video messages and teleconferencing are other ways to humanize the organization by bringing communications to a personal level and are far more engaging than a text only email. Below is a video used by AIG that motivated their employees to “bring on tomorrow.”

Use internal social media with purpose

The social channels used by consumers such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn meet different needs of their audiences, and enterprise social channels are no different. Your internal communication channels need a thoughtful strategy behind them to keep people engaged and understand the value of communicating on that space. Ultimately it is best to minimize the number of places that people have to go for communications.

Communicate the value or benefit of an employee’s labor

PR and marketing professionals are ultimately trying to communicate why their product or service is important to consumers. Employees need to feel the same sense of importance when it comes to their work. Research by AIG reports that 70% or more of strategic and change programs fail without effective manager communications. Connecting the dots between daily work and the overall company strategy is vital to maintaining productivity and helping an employee understand where they fit in.

It is widely understood that there is a direct and positive relationship between employee engagement and overall company growth; organizations that invest in creating a more unified work environment experience more productivity and financial growth than those that do not. Plan your internal communications strategies with the same attention and care as you do externally in order to drive inspiration and action from employees.

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

Content We Love: Amplifying Owned Content

ContentWeLove

Click here to download to free ebook "Read It, Watch It, or Tweet It – How Americans Read and Share News"

Click here to download to free ebook “Read It, Watch It, or Tweet It – How Americans Read and Share News”

Today’s buying journey is heavily dependent on discoverability, peer or influencer recommendations, and trust. Attempting to promote the content you’ve worked hard to create by relying solely on owned channels such as your company website or social media accounts can prevent those messages from being discovered beyond the audiences you’ve already acquired.

Think about the people who need your help but are unaware that you are the solution to their problem — how will they find you? Having your message resurface on other trusted industry websites via search engines or mentioned by the media (either in an article, or a tweet) can make all the difference between a gain and loss of audience, prospects and ultimately ROI. Therefore, if your brand has invested resources into creating content, putting some muscle behind the promotion of those messages is imperative.

Today’s featured content from Inkhouse is near and dear to our hearts, in terms of both subject and format.  The firm used a press release titled, “In TV We (Still) Trust: 73 Percent of Americans Cite Television as Their Preferred and Most Trusted News Source – Topping Online, Print and Social Media” to share the findings of a survey they conducted with GMI Research on Americans’ news consumption habits.

This subject remains a hot button issue as the digital age continues to evolve traditional news formats and redefine what is newsworthy, and Inkhouse capitalised fully on the opportunity to make this information discoverable to the journalists, bloggers and other influentials interested in the topic, using creative content distribution  to amplify owned content.

INKHOUSE INFOGRAPHICAccording to the survey, Americans are consuming news in a variety of different ways but rely on certain channels more than others. Press releases are cited as the most trusted source of company generated news, more than blog posts or articles by the CEO and advertisements.

Audiences are particularly wary of being fed corporate propaganda, but press releases – which are on-record statements and disclosures –  are viewed as credible sources of news and information by public audiences.

Obviously, we’re interested in the subject matter and love the fact that press releases were found to be viewed so favorably by the public.  Content aside, however, the message shines for a number of other reasons:

  • An intriguing headline that includes a stat commands the reader’s attention and is almost perfectly tweet-able;
  • An infographic is included as a visual asset to fuel engagement and social sharing.  It beautifully illustrates the main findings of the survey in a concise format to help the reader process this information quickly;
  • A quote from Beth Monaghan, co-founder and principal of InkHouse promotes the company’s thought leadership and brings a human element to the brand message;
  • Tight bullet points neatly summarize other key findings from the survey for the readers who are quickly scanning the page for information most pertinent to them
  • Finally, a call-to-action that drives traffic back to the company website,  generating ROI.

This press release is a brilliant example of utilizing distribution in a creative way that reflects the convergence of marketing and PR. Kudos to Inkhouse on an A+ press release!

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

 

Content We Love: News Writing in a News Release

ContentWeLove

One of my fondest childhood memories is visiting the Museum of Natural History and looking up in awe at the massive replicas of dinosaur skeletons. Tyrannosaurus Rex was always my favorite. To me, its enormous jaws and ferociousness as depicted in popular culture were symbols of its strength and supremacy above all other beings. After reading the press release “Perot Museum Paleontologists Discover Pygmy Tyrannosaur That Roamed Ancient Arctic Lands of Alaska,” those feelings of wonder and amazement came rushing back to me.

Paleontologists from the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas have discovered a new genus and species of a tyrannosaur that once roamed the ancient Arctic lands of Northern Alaska.  Formally named Nanuqsaurus hoglundi, the animal is a pygmy tyrannosaur, whose first name is in honor of the Inupiat people whose traditional territory includes the land where these bones were found.  The second name is in honor of Dallas entrepreneur and philanthropist Forrest Hoglund, whose extraordinary leadership helped raise $185 million to build the new Perot Museum, which opened in late 2012.  ILLUSTRATION BY KAREN CARR.  (PRNewsFoto/Perot Museum of Nature and Science)

Paleontologists from the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas have discovered a new genus and species of a tyrannosaur that once roamed the ancient Arctic lands of Northern Alaska. ILLUSTRATION BY KAREN CARR. (PRNewsFoto/Perot Museum of Nature and Science)

This announcement is not just a press release, it’s a story, and utilizing a distribution network to share that story places it in front of hundreds or even thousands of people who can emotionally connect with it.

Though one of the press release tactics discussed on Beyond PR highlights the efficiency of short form press releases, The Perot Museum of Science and Nature uses a longer format to tell a complete story enhanced by captivating illustrations. Their smart integration of compelling news writing with the clout of news release distribution  makes this message the subject of this week’s Content We Love.

PR pros should make note of the following characteristics of this release:

  • Visuals:  Including an artist’s rendering of what the new discovery might have looked like as a visual asset allows this story to truly resonate with audiences.
  • Long-form content makes it easy for journalists to cover this story because it’s essentially already written for them. The press release includes the origins of the name Nanuqsaurus hoglundi as well as how the discovery was made. The story earned media pick up from outlets including Fox News and NBC News, both of which republished the image from the press release on their websites.
  • Providing associated content:  The announcement promotes a scientific paper right under the lead paragraph that most people outside of the profession would not have access to. Plugging the manuscript toward the top of the release and a restrained use of links establishes a focused call-to-action for readers.
  • Promoting the content. Finally, sharing this message on a platform that is well established as a source for reliable news information also locks down the museum’s own credibility as scientific leaders and builds overall visibility.

This press release from the Perot Museum of Science and Nature shows that if you want to earn attention from news media, you can use a press release to write it yourself and share a story that readers will remember.  Congrats on a job well done!

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

Content We Love: GoBankingRates.com Goes Off Without a Pitch

ContentWeLove

Click to view the entire press release from GoBankingRates.com

Click to view the entire press release from GoBankingRates.com

The digital age has enabled content creators to become content distributors in their own right by engaging on social platforms. But in the mix of today’s owned, earned, and paid media environment, social channels can be limiting in their ability to reach beyond their followers and garner attention from new audiences. Over the holidays, GoBankingRates.com issued a press release to share the findings of a study they conducted on leading retailers titled “Stores with the Best and Worst Return Policies.” The release- which the company told us they did not pitch in advance- generated excellent media coverage on major outlets such as Good Morning America and ABC News.

Click to view the video of GoBankingRates.com featured on Good Morning America

Click to view the video of GoBankingRates.com featured on Good Morning America

The brand used a PR-savvy combination of engaging, informative content with the power of press releases to raise awareness of their message and build credibility, and the results they experienced are a testament to the fact that press releases are still highly regarded sources of information for both journalists and consumers.  For these reasons, GoBankingRates.com’s story is the subject of this week’s Content We Love.

In addition to a strong story and excellent timing, several notable elements of this press release made it optimal for earning media coverage:

  • Visual assets stop the eye and grab the reader’s attention against a sea of text. Most press releases don’t contain a visual element, which allows this company to differentiate their message against competitors and increase visibility.
  • The copy is stripped of corporate jargon and supplies readers with just the facts. In just 46 characters, the direct and to-the-point headline provides readers with a complete context of what the story is about and encourages them to read on and share on social channels.
  • Bullet points break down the results in an easily digestible format.
  • A call to action links to a blog post that drives traffic back to the company website.
Assets from the GoBankingRates.com press release are republished in a Fox News article

Assets from the GoBankingRates.com press release are republished in a Fox News article

GoBankingRates.com shared a story so valuable to their audience that all it needed was distribution to propel it forward. As evidenced by their impressive media coverage, even though distribution comes in a variety of formats today, journalists still look to press releases as a source of trustworthy information and creative story ideas. But it’s not about what a single platform can do for your message; it’s about how integrating distribution in all its forms to promote truly interesting content can drive an ongoing conversation and maximizes visibility for your brand. The exposure that GoBankingRates.com generated through original media coverage firmly positioned the company as a thought-leader in personal finance. Kudos to GoBankingRates.com on a job well done!

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