Author Archives: Shannon Ramlochan

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

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.