Author Archives: Shannon Ramlochan

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. 

Content We Love: You Can’t Touch This

ContentWeLove

The staggering rate at which technology continues to advance leads many of us wonder just how much of our daily lives can be controlled or influenced by a gadget.  Well, as evidenced by the recent press release titled,“Kohler’s Touchless Toilet Technology Marks a New Era in Toilet Flushing,” the possibilities are boundless. The amount of media attention that this announcement is generating throughout the tech community signifies the value of using press releases to communicate a great story, strike a chord with readers, and generate measureable ROI for marketers. While we usually highlight press releases on this blog containing visual elements, ironically this one stood out for its ability to grab reader’s attentions without it. For these reasons, Kohler’s magical touchless toilet is the subject of this week’s Content We Love.

Great stories stick with your audience and inspire them to act. In this case, it is an opportunity for Kohler to generate more sales for their groundbreaking new product. While automatic toilets already exist in public restrooms, this is the first time that they’ve become available for private use in all homes. It’s cutting-edge, futuristic, and clean, a narrative which is simply irresistible to our tech-savvy and health conscious culture.

Use compelling stats and figures to support your claim and be persuasive. Kohler conducted a study which finds that 51 percent of people are paranoid about germs in the bathroom. In a genius effort to drive that point further, they put the focus on just moms and children which increases that figure to 65 percent. A clear problem among a significant population has been established, and Kohler uses this release as an opportunity to raise awareness of a simple solution.

Provide readers with information that will improve their lives. An excerpt of a quote from Brian Hedlund, marketing manager of Kohler toilets and bidets says, “Homeowners are of course worried about the hygiene and health of their family members, and the toilet trip lever is an obvious area of hygienic concern. Touchless takes that concern out of the equation, utilizing new technology to provide a touchless way to control the flush.”Not only does this quote from an executive leader humanize the brand, it also states the point of view from an audience perspective and not the brand’s. When you use distribution to spread awareness of this message, it makes the intention of the message to be about helping more people, not selling more products. This slight nuance in the way your content is presented greatly impacts whether the audience will care about what you have to say or simply tune it out as another advertisement.

Kohler earned media pickup on major websites such as Yahoo!, Gizmodo, and Engadget, each of which links back to their press release and underscores that journalists still look to news releases as a source of ledes. Furthermore, Kohler benefits from the additional traffic that flows back to their company website after readers click on the links in their press release to find out more information.

This press release showcases the fundamentals of a great PR story: one that the audience strongly relates to which fulfills a demand or need and spurs interaction. Congratulations to Kohler on a job well done!

ShannonAuthor Shannon Ramlochan is PR Newswire’s Content Marketing Coordinator and was forbidden from making any bathroom puns. 

Content We Love: A Lesson in Education Reform and Press Release Writing

ContentWeLove

Click here to view the entire press release

Click here to view the entire press release

As public relations evolves from a segmented business practice into an integral tactic of marketing and sales strategies, press releases have advanced as a tool to support these new relationships. In a recent announcement titled, “BBVA Compass economists say U.S. should adopt national curriculum in education overhaul,” economic research company BBVA Compass aptly demonstrates what a modern day press release that gets results should look like; one that is written and formatted in a way that creates several opportunities for the audience to engage and interact with their content in order to drive ongoing visibility for their message and establish trust with the organization.

A hard hitting headline and lead instantly presents the story angle and demands attention. Education reform continues to be a hotly debated topic in the United States, and BBVA seizes the opportunity to share their expertise. They have immediately provided a strong story angle for journalists to cover and earn media attention for their cause.

Visuals explain a complex issue in an understandable and emotionally engaging way. In the embedded YouTube video, BBVA Compass economist, Kim Fraser, exercises her thought-leadership on the issue while bringing sincerity and humanity to the message.  Its hi-res quality makes it readily available for broadcast media pick up, while allowing the message to extend to all social media channels where audiences are engaging mostly with visual content.

A call to action in first paragraph quickly leads to reader towards the intended goal of the message, which is to showcase the findings of a study that sheds light on the current challenges of the public education system while establishing BBVA as a trusted source of economic research.

Finally, the release provides an additional opportunity for engagement by inviting interested audiences to a web conference and Q&A session, further driving the discoverability of BBVA Compass in search results and credibility of the organization among the public.

BBVA Compass showcases the dynamic capabilities of a press release to spread awareness of a message in all relevant spaces, fostering a direct and emotional connection to the audience, and building trust with the public. Congratulations to BBVA Compass on an excellent release!

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

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