Author Archives: Shannon Ramlochan

The Growing Impact of Visuals on Integrated Communications

Comms RoundtableAccording to Meeker’s 2014 Internet Trends Report, the average article reaches half of its total social referrals within 6.5 hours on Twitter and 9 hours on Facebook. In other words, content grows old quickly, and communicators have only a fleeting moment to make a memorable brand impression on audiences scrolling through an endless stream of information on their newsfeeds. Amy Binder, owner and CEO at RFBinder Partners joined PR Newswire’s Senior Vice President of marketing, Ken Wincko, for an exclusive roundtable discussion on the growing impact of visual communications in integrated campaigns. The conversation explored various case studies and successful tactics that brands should incorporate into their visual storytelling strategies.

Create a steady stream of content

Expertise and time are two of the major challenges that content creators are facing, which can hinder the effectiveness of campaigns. “62% of marketers are building content on a case by case basis,” cites Wincko from a 2014 Forrester report, “but content should create an ongoing relationship.” If content is created on a case by case basis alone, it will only cater to a portion of the complete buyer’s journey.

To navigate these obstacles, communicators can reuse the content they’ve already created and reformat it for different platforms. Sites such as CEO.com are making use of “charticles,” which essentially cut the text of traditional articles in half and replaces it with informative and visually appealing charts and graphs. These charts and graphs can stand on their own on social media, as well as circulated within other types of content such as press releases or email campaigns.

CEO.com Charticle

Take advantage of a trending topic that applies to your brand

Leveraging the popularity of a trending topic is a great way to attract views for your content, but the context of a trending topic has to make sense for the brand to avoid seeming like a forced attempt at getting attention. Binder pinpoints Tide’s recent Game of Thrones themed infographic titled, “A Season of Stains” as a brilliant example of using visuals to spark social media engagement and grab headlines. “The brand leveraged pop culture in an innovative way by taking a trending concept and applying it to their business,” Binder says of the infographic, which was tweeted the day after the television series’ highly anticipated season finale. The context made perfect sense;“memorable stains” highlighted in the infographic such as blood, dirt, and grass that accrue on the battle fields in Game of Thrones are some of the same stains that parents struggle to wash off of their children’s clothing.

Convey your message faster by keeping it simple 

In the precious seconds that brands have to attract the interest of their audience, clear and concise messages are the most effective. “If it’s simple you can scan it and see it at the same time,” Binder explains, “If you want them to grasp the concept as quickly as possible, something has to strike them.” Truvia’s “Keep Calm” meme is an example of very simple-yet-effective visual content. It contains minimal branding, and captures the passions of their target consumers with a short and memorable phrase.

truvia

 

 

 

 

Your influencers are evolving – know who they are

The types of interactions that companies should have with their customers are greatly dependent on what the business is trying to sell, so there is no single approach to communications that will meet the needs of every brand. This is where the power of strong relationships with online influencers such as bloggers, journalists, analysts, and their respective networks has the greatest impact. Brands should listen to their influencers and gain insight on what types of content they are looking for and learn who can share that content in order to earn third party credibility. Binder reminds communicators that a brand’s influencers can change over time, and their feelings towards certain topics can evolve as well. Effective communicators stay up to date on what those perspectives are and respond appropriately.

Do not oversell

Binder notes that often times, ad agencies that are participating in social media tend to lean towards traditional sales pitches that are no longer effective. “In the debate between advertising versus PR, PR will win,” asserts Binder, “people don’t want to be sold to, they want to be engaged. If they sell, it goes against what social media is all about.”

The standards of visuals are raising now that more rich content is being created, which means that brands need to figure out additional ways of amplifying those messages to stand out. The key is to use visuals as a way to capture a story that is unique to the brand in order to leave a positive and long-lasting impression on the audience.

Note for PR Newswire members only: you can organize your visuals for quick and easy deployment using Media Studio in the Online Member Center. Click here to create a gallery or learn more

ShannonShannon Ramlochan is PR Newswire’s content marketing coordinator. Tweet her your favorite examples of branded visual content @sramloch

Content We Love: A Dynamic Press Release with Global Appeal

ContentWeLove

Click to view the complete multimedia news release

Click to view the complete multimedia news release

Hot on the heels of the World Cup games, this announcement by Dynamic Architecture titled “The Dynamic Football Experience: World’s First Football Entertainment Centre to be Rotating Building” became the most viewed multimedia news release on PRNewswire.com. It’s no surprise that the news earned so much attention; a spinning, soccer-ball shaped building to be constructed in the middle of Rio de Janeiro sounds like a story beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. But this press release does a great job at anticipating the questions a journalist or potential visitor might ask and includes eye-catching visuals, an intriguing story angle, and fifteen translations of the text release to entice soccer enthusiasts around the globe.

Employing visual storytelling gives readers a look into the future of what this over-the-top structure might look like once fully executed. After viewing the videos, you’ll realize how impossible it would be to imagine such an extraordinary concept without accompanying visuals, which is proof of their value to readers and media covering the story.

A tweetable headline with a newsworthy hook immediately supplies journalists with an attention-grabbing story angle as well as a shareable one for readers engaging on social media.

An integrated language toggle converts the English-language text into Portuguese with just the click of a button and fourteen other translations of the text release are provided as PDF documents to tailor the news to interested readers around the world. This is a major advantage for earning worldwide media coverage, as journalists everywhere are strapped for time and will not bother to try to translate a story if they can’t understand it. It also makes this news more searchable for international readers who are looking for information in their native language.

Bold sub-heads highlight important information and break up the text into a more easily consumable format.

Leveraging a timely, highly-social event also helped earn additional visibility for this message by appealing to heightened emotional states of soccer fanatics everywhere.

This multimedia news release is an example of high-quality content that employs a number of press release tactics to attract the greatest amount of attention possible. Kudos to Dynamic Architecture on a stunning release!

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

Content We Love: Visual Storytelling Is the New Black

ContentWeLove

Click here to view the complete press release

Click here to view the complete press release

Did you know that an Emmy award exists for ads? For communicators who are still not convinced by the power visual storytelling, Budweiser is setting the record straight. The beer giant is proving the impact that branded videos are having on the mainstream after earning two Emmy nominations in the “Outstanding Commercial” category for their ads “Puppy Love” and “Hero’s Welcome.” The popularity of these videos skyrocketed after the massive exposure garnered from this year’s Super Bowl. To keep the momentum going, Budweiser announced the huge honor in a press release titled “Budweiser Super Bowl Ads Score Two Emmy Nominations.” It is currently among the most popular press releases viewed on PRNewswire.com.

This announcement serves as an additional content component of Budweiser’s major marketing campaign and leverages the targeting capabilities of press release distribution to seed awareness among new audiences. For example, this release becomes relevant to a number of industries with related interests including beers, wines and spirits, food & beverages, entertainment, television, and awards.

Highlights from the content of this release include:

  • Images that capture the most emotionally compelling moments of the ads attracts reader attention
  • High-quality copy written in the “inverted pyramid” style traditionally employed by journalists, the release leads with the most newsworthy information first, followed by supporting details, and closing with general information. Budweiser has essentially written the story that they want the media to tell.
  • A call-to-action to spark further social engagement around the ad campaign, and triggers increased visibility in search engines.  “Puppy Love’s” adorable canine star became so popular that he even has his own Twitter handle, hyperlinked mid-release.
  • Quotes from  executive leaders humanize the brand and further establishes Budweiser as a leader in creative communications.

Even with the ad campaign’s commercial success, Budweiser employs a multi-channel distribution effort including television, social media, and the wire to keep their story top of mind. Pay close attention marketers, now with the booming popularity of original programming streamed by sites such as Netflix and Hulu which are also earning Emmy nods, who knows if there is a potential opportunity for the branded videos being shared online to have a shot at earning a golden statue. A multi-channel distribution gives your content the additional visibility needed to drive discovery and continued awareness. Wouldn’t you like to be the first to break this barrier?

Congrats to Budweiser on their well-deserved Emmy nominations and on a great release!

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

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.