Author Archives: Shannon Ramlochan

4 Ways Healthcare Communicators Can Educate and Connect with Patients

Featured panelists during the Q&A session at the Future of Healthcare Communications Summit

Featured panelists during the Q&A session at the Future of Healthcare Communications Summit

According to Manhattan Research’s President, Meredith Ressi, 65% of online consumers say that the internet is critical for obtaining medical information. Now that the Affordable Care Act has taken effect, the healthcare market is experiencing an influx of diverse consumers who are increasingly relying on digital and mobile technology to educate themselves. It is up to healthcare communicators then, to evolve their tactics in order to help patients navigate the ACA’s complex policies. Industry thought-leaders featured at the Future of Healthcare Communications Summit, co-presented by Business Development Institute and PR Newswire, offered their perspective on how healthcare communicators can utilize digital platforms to inform and motivate patients to better manage their well-being.

Engage audiences with multimedia to simplify complex ideas

PR Newswire’s Global Director of Emerging Media, Michael Pranikoff, notes that 85% of brands publish content, but only 35% believe they are doing so effectively. The likely issue is that complicated messages are driving audiences away and leading them straight to competitors.  Instead, multimedia content such as videos allow complex ideas to be simplified in a concise format that grabs audience attention and amplifies visibility. Engagement on social channels such as Youtube, Instagram, and Pintrest is primarily driven by images, so communicators who do not employ visual tactics are squandering additional opportunities for their message to be seen.

Furthermore, consumers have become more aware of overt marketing tactics and are not interested in brazen sales pitches. Videos focus more on storytelling than on the brand, which helps build a mutual trust. As Pranikoff says, “If you are not providing visuals, you are not taking control of your messages.”

Communicate clinical innovations through earned media

Patients with special conditions need to know where they can turn to for help. Johns Hopkins Medicine shares their success stories involving biomedical discoveries, patient survival, and highly qualified physicians to establish the organizations credibility as a leader in the health community. According to Dalal Haldeman, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Johns Hopkins Medicine, the brand was recognized by 80.2% of participants in a national survey against the most recognizable consumer brands such as McDonald’s, Google, and Coca-Cola. Brand recognition is immensely important to the patients who are putting their lives into the hands of healthcare providers, and earned media is one of the best ways to build that trust.

Be aware of language and cultural considerations before utilizing a specific communications tool

Consumers are making their own decisions on treatment providers, but different audiences are using different channels to shop for their plans. For example, Makovsky’s Executive Vice President, Gil Bashe, reports that African Americans are most likely to use smartphones to access healthcare information more than any other group. Understanding the demographic usage behind each communication tool can help segment the market and target the messages that are most appropriate for those audiences.

Top support and solutions that online consumers want from pharma

Top support and solutions that online consumers want from pharma

Listen to social conversations and use this information to inform your health programs

The rise of consumerism has created an environment focused on collaboration and engagement in the healthcare industry. A study by Manhattan Research finds that 59% of online consumers are interested in patient support to learn more about their conditions and how to cope. Social conversations provide a context for the types of information that patients are looking for. Using data analysis, healthcare providers can develop more sophisticated programs to connect patients with their communities.

The statutes of the Affordable Care Act are still largely misunderstood by the public, giving healthcare communicators an important opportunity to fill the information gap. But in order to do so effectively, healthcare communicators need to embrace the new age of interaction that is less product-focused and more patient-focused. Digital and mobile technology makes it possible to speak directly to patients in an environment they feel most comfortable in. By utilizing visuals, customizing messages, and listening to social conversations, healthcare communicators can better prepare the public to take increased responsibility for their own health management.

Content We Love: A Press Release That’s Not So Airheaded


Click to view the entire multimedia news release

Click to view the entire multimedia news release

While fame-seeking is hardly a new phenomenon, social media has enabled its users to imitate feelings of stardom by seeing their own faces on a screen and gaining friends, followers, likes, or retweets for sharing their personal stories. Celebrities like Justin Bieber who transcended the digital barrier after gaining popularity on YouTube, have given hope to aspiring stars that they too have a chance in the spotlight.

Social Media Pew

via Pew Research Journalism Project

Airheads Candy is now capitalizing on this peculiar phenomenon by promoting their social media video contest which offers fans a chance to be featured in their new ad campaign. Pew research shows that channels like YouTube and Twitter are the most popular among younger age groups, which fully aligns with the audience that Airheads hopes to capture. The multimedia press release titled, “#Airheadsneeded: Brand Searches for Airheaded Commercial Star” employs a mix of humorous storytelling, clever social elements, and colorful imagery to earn a spot as this week’s Content We Love.

Multimedia components are indispensable to a press release if you intend to raise awareness amongst the greatest audience possible. By including both videos and photos, Airheads reaches audiences on channels that text alone cannot such as YouTube, Vine, and Instagram, which are purely driven by visual content. Additionally, the brand is highlighting all video contest submissions in a dedicated Tumblr page that are truly hilarious, memorable, and more importantly, shareable.

The headline commands attention from readers with an interesting news hook in fewer than 140 characters and includes a hashtag, with a subhead providing more context. Who hasn’t daydreamed at least once about what it would feel like to be famous? Airheads is highly aware of whom they are targeting and encouraging social interaction, which heavily influences the results we see on search engines.

A specific call to action after the lead paragraph drives readers to your objective regardless of whether they read the entire release. Considering this is a social media contest, Airheads wisely includes a click-to-tweet button in their call-to-action to further promote the campaign.

Quotes from a brand leader communicate a new opportunity that the audience can gain. In this case, the quote from Associate Brand Manager, Jen Redmond is telling readers that if you’re already creating funny videos on your own time every day, why not get famous for it?

An interesting and engaging story that takes the focus off the brand is key to persuading the audience to take your desired action. Despite being the first major advertising campaign that Airheads has ever launched, the brand draws attention away from itself and puts the spotlight on sweet-toothed fans instead.

Even though Airheads have been a longtime staple in candy aisles across America, this press release re-establishes the brand’s cultural relevancy to a new generation of candy-loving, digital-savvy consumers and is bound to generate greater awareness from employing a few simple writing tactics. Kudos to Airheads on a crafting a very smart press release!

Nowadays it seems like everyone is taking selfies, causing a major shift in content creation over the last several years. How can your brand compete and stand out to get your message seen?

Register now to join Michael Pranikoff at PR Newswire’s Lunch and Learn series “How to Keep Your Content Relevant in the Age of the Selfie” in Atlanta, GA on March 4th: 

Content We Love: Anticipating Audience Needs


While the country struggles to keep warm during this year’s brutal winter, retail stores have been left suffering out in the cold. Reports continue to surface that the retail sector is experiencing steep declines in sales partially due to the harsh weather conditions. Not surprisingly, a press release titled “RetailNext Releases 2013 Full Holiday Retail Performance Data” is among the top three most emailed releases on the PR Newswire website. Even though this announcement was made weeks ago on January 10th, the importance of this story during difficult economic times continues to drive visibility for RetailNext, and the brand deftly positioned itself as a source of analytics and insight relating to brick-and-mortar retail.   For these reasons, RetailNext’s story is the subject of this week’s Content We Love.


Click the image to view the full press release

RETAILNEXT HOLIDAY SHOPPING 2013Visually stimulating infographic sparks engagement

The fact that this release is one of PR Newswire’s most emailed stories signifies that readers are actively engaged with this content. The featured infographic which offers a closer look at RetailNext’s holiday shopping insights adds a shareable component to the story that keeps readers interested.

Longer form press releases are journalism enablement

In today’s 140 character limit world, much of the conversation regarding the length of great content says to keep it short and sweet. However, there is a lot to be said about the value of a longer form press release. Journalists who are limited in time and resources look to press releases as a source of inspiration for interesting stories. In this case, the article is essentially already written, which drives media coverage for RetailNext.

Bullet points and bold text anticipate audience interests  

RetailNext uses bold text to highlight the pivotal holiday shopping periods of the year and breaks down performance data even further with bullet points. This format allows readers who are scanning the page to quickly grab the information that is most pertinent to them.

This press release is a great example of tailoring content to meet the audience needs while driving awareness of brand messages. Kudos to the RetailNext PR team on a job well done!

Content We Love: CVS Caremark Stomps Out Cigarettes & Sparks a National Conversation

Click to view the entire multimedia news release

Click to view the entire multimedia news release

CVS Caremark recently dominated headlines when they announced a stunning decision to ban the sale of cigarettes in their stores. The bold move sparked a nationwide discussion on the role of pharmacies in providing healthcare to their customers and set a new standard for the industry. Now let’s be honest, a large corporation forgoing $2 billion dollars in profit for the sake of public health was bound to generate headlines. But what made this announcement so exceptional was CVS Caremark’s use of multimedia to frame their key messages, fuel social discussion, and deliver everything that journalists needed to cover the story.

In a article entitled, CVS Brilliantly Encouraged People to Share Its Tobacco Story, author Carmine Gallo says, “Brands that successfully get their message across make it easy for people to share the story across social media platforms.”  For these reasons and more, CVS Caremark’s news release is the subject of this week’s Content We Love.

Rich media fuels social buzz & message amplification

A snapshot of CVS trending on Twitter

A snapshot of CVS as the top trending topic on Twitter

The multimedia news release was a cornerstone of the campaign that enabled CVS Caremark to provide media, bloggers and the public with a variety of rich visuals including hi-res videos of CEO Larry Merlo’s official statement, b-roll footage of CVS stores, photos of the company’s corporate leaders, and infographics with the stats to support their decision.

“Blogs need pictures. People on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram want pictures, too.” Gallo stated in his article. “CVS provided this multimedia news release with videos clips and downloadable, high-resolution infographics and photographs to support the stories.”

These additional elements promptly addressed questions from the public head-on, allowing journalists the freedom to thoroughly develop every angle of this story and audiences to share the news on social channels with ease.

Distribution of content drives media coverage 

Media covering the story made direct use of the multimedia elements CVS Caremark supplied in their press release. The included B-roll footage was featured in breaking news stories by top broadcast media outlets such as CNN

and CBS News. The video statement from the CEO was directly embedded or redisplayed in online stories from high-traffic outlets like the New York Daily News and Bloomberg BusinessWeek. A simple Google search shows that these are just a few out of the hundreds of media outlets to pick up this story.

By distributing visual assets, CVS benefitted from:

  • Quality earned media
  • High engagement on social media channels
  • Top ranking on search engines

One of the most critical aspects of a brand attempting to establish credibility with the public is acknowledgement from fellow thought-leaders within the industry. CVS Caremark’s announcement drew applause from health advocate organizations like the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, and the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association, who each released statements to thank the company for their groundbreaking decision.  But perhaps the highest honor a brand can receive is praise from both the President and First Lady. President Barack Obama released a statement saying that the new policy “will have a profoundly positive impact on the health of our country,” and First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted her support. With such a warm reception by the public, CVS was able to successfully reposition the brand as a trustworthy authority in healthcare.

According to Gallo, “Communication doesn’t have to be complicated. People are talking about CVS because the brand made it easy for them to do so.” CVS Caremark “put on a case study of how to get news spread”  and demonstrated  a thorough understanding of today’s new media environment- one that is multifaceted and driven by compelling stories told through rich visuals. Congratulations to CVS Caremark on the success of their outstanding campaign.

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

7 Ways to Leverage the Power of Social Influencers

Influencer Marketing Forum 2

While digital communication has afforded brands more opportunities to reach their audiences, consumers have developed a heightened awareness of traditional marketing tactics and look to their peers as a trusted source of information. Brands are now harnessing the power of those influencers for a return on investment that goes beyond retweets and Facebook likes. PR Newswire and Business Development Institute recently co-hosted the Influencer Marketing Forum featuring senior-level marketing and communications leaders who have successfully boosted sales by engaging their social influencers. Here are some of the valuable strategies they offered to help other organizations target and tap into their network:

Leverage the power of other brands that are thought-leaders in your desired market

Alberto Canal, Vice President of Verizon Communications Inc., hoped to establish his company’s brand as a technology innovator beyond cell phone devices. To accomplish this, Verizon teamed with the MIT Enterprise Forum and Mashable to host offline meet up sessions with start-up tech companies. Engaging with these notable brands and initiating personal interaction with other influencers enhanced Verizon’s efforts and increased their value as a part of the tech community.

Pick your social channels with a purpose 

Stats on social moms via Sharon Vinderine

Stats on social moms via Sharon Vinderine

According to Sharon Vinderine, founder and CEO of Parent Tested, Parent Approved Media, over 90% of the time spent online is by moms who rely on social media more than email as a means of communication. However, each social channel is valued for a different reason. Vinderine has observed that Twitter is used to view breaking news, Facebook to connect with friends and family, and Pinterest as a source of creative inspiration. Marketers need to understand their audience intentions on each these channels in order to customize the messages that connect and engage.

Establish a blog

Hosting a blog is key to reaching niche markets because it is viewed as an educational resource that builds credibility.  Sprout It CEO, Matt Armstead, sought the help of six influential bloggers within the home and garden industry to develop engaging content that promoted his company’s new iPad app and “backyard takeover” Instagram contest. The move helped Sprout It generate awareness among thousands of contest participants and firmly establish the brand within the home and gardening space on a conservative budget. It also earned Sprout It a spot on the list of 10 Best Influencer Marketing Campaigns of 2013.

Create visually stimulating content

Tap Influence’s Head of Business Development, Jennifer Swartley, believes that

Photos drive the most engagement on social channels.

Photos drive the most engagement on social channels.

in the age of constant connection, a brand’s social hub is “always on” and must be able to stand out against an overflowing stream of social chatter. According to Swartley, eye-catching images are the types of compelling content that “cuts through on every platform” and provides something of value for audiences to connect with emotionally. A recent survey conducted by PR Newswire supports this notion, proving that photos indeed drive the most engagement on social channels.

Mine your influencers and follow the people they follow

Social engagement is what drives discoverability of a brand’s messages. Therefore, brands need to seek out not just single influencers, but entire communities of people who are participants in the conversation. AARP was able to find a voice amongst an older generation of social media users by listening to conversations and targeting the same people that their identified influencers follow.  As Tammy Gordon, AARP’s Vice President of Social Communications says, “You want the people they care about to be delivering your messages.”

The 5 types of social influencers according to Neil Beam

The 5 types of social influencers according to Neil Beam

Know who your advocates are

Neil Beam, research and measurement council chair at WOMMA, identified five categories of social influencers: advocate, ambassador, celebrity, professional occupational, and citizen. According to Beam, advocates are the most powerful voice among all five categories because they are uncompensated and independent thinkers who bring the most financial return to the brands they support. By identifying advocates, brands are able to gain a number of valuable insights  such as competitive intelligence, locating target audiences , and diagnosing campaign strengths and weaknesses.

Drive new discovery through distribution 

Social media is undoubtedly a valuable tool for engaging with communities that share a common interest, enabling brands to gain visibility and traction among new audiences. To reach fresh audiences and continually introduce organization’s messages to new audiences, brands must put some thought – and some effort – behind the distribution of content they produce.  Reaching beyond your brand’s existing followers is crucial to both acquiring new audiences and driving ongoing discovery of the brand’s content.

Distribution can mean a variety of things, from developing a presence within a

A snapshot PR Newswire's press releases shared on Twitter within 3 minutes

A snapshot PR Newswire’s press releases shared on Twitter within 3 minutes

connected industry community to distributing granular content across a network of web sites.  Re-thinking your PR approach is important too – your audiences, as well as the bloggers and journalists who cover your space – are voraciously consuming and sharing content. Want proof? Take a look at the live feed of tweets about press releases issued via PR Newswire! Distribution beyond social channels will ultimately drive more visibility for your messages everywhere, including those same social channels.  When thinking about reaching audiences, remember that content distribution is additive, channeling more attention to your brand’s owned content.

For more thinking on how content distribution drives ongoing discovery and visibility for brands, click to download our free ebook Driving Content Discovery: How to Generate Ongoing Visibility for Your Content.

Content We Love: A “Crazy Good” Press Release

PopTarts Release

Click the image to view the entire multimedia news release

In this week’s Content We Love, freestyle skiers Torin Yater-Wallace and Maggie Voisin head to Sochi to compete in the first ever Olympic freeskiing competition. In honor of their incredible journeys, Pop-Tarts are featuring the medal contenders on limited edition boxes of their beloved breakfast pastry. Did I also mention that the latest additions to Team USA are teenagers?  Their remarkable stories weaved together by a variety of rich visual and social elements make this an unusual example of a press release that is all about storytelling.

A sign of a great press release is one that strikes an emotional chord with its readers. When reading this release, I felt in awe of how much these athletes have accomplished at such a young age. Eighteen-year old Torin remains the youngest Winter X-Games medalist in history, and fifteen-year old Maggie is the youngest U.S Winter Olympic hopeful since 1972. While these fascinating stories will surely resonate within a younger demographic of aspiring athletes, the inspiration one can gain from their passion and dedication transcends generational boundaries and creates an interesting reader experience for a broad audience of all ages.

Featured video footage of Torin catching big air on the slopes makes it hard to believe that he isn’t a seasoned veteran of the sport. But that all changes in the following scene as he names his (several) teen idol crushes. Using a multimedia element to capture Torin’s incredible talent and youthful charm adds another level of engagement to this release.

Incorporating suggested tweets and links to other popular social channels make it easy for readers to share this content and drive social conversations in the direction that Pop Tarts is hoping for. On Instagram, the Pop Tarts team has developed a great deal of entertaining content that shows a true understanding of their audience interests and aligns their efforts to appeal to a younger Olympic fan base.

PopTarts suggested tweets

The variety of storytelling elements incorporated within this release showcase a prime example of distributing content that caters to the audience’s interests and leaves a long-lasting and memorable impression. I look forward to cheering on Torin and Maggie in the upcoming games. Kudos to the Pop Tarts team on their great PR efforts!

Webinar Recap: Measuring the Effectiveness of Sponsorship and Event Initiatives

Measuring the Success of Sponsorship and Event Initiatives

During major televised events, audiences are not only anticipating the main spectacle but also the marketing efforts surrounding it. Access to millions of viewers and a highly engaged social audience means the stakes are higher than ever for advertisers to execute a successful campaign. PR Newswire and co-hosted the webinar “Measuring the Effectiveness of Sponsorship and Event Initiatives” which discussed some of the emerging trends in advertising that were seen throughout Sunday’s big game. While some brands chose to invest millions into television advertising, others attempted to capitalize on real-time marketing through social media. The webinar’s expert panelists weighed in on which of these efforts were the most successful as well as future strategies for creating content that will achieve a desirable return on investment.

Pre-event marketing

Brands that did not invest in game day advertising saw an opportunity to capitalize on its newsworthiness before the big event. Newcastle Brown Ale received tremendous exposure when their “No Bollocks” ad featuring Anna Kendrick became a viral hit. Jack Neff, editor-at-large for Advertising Age, has seen an increasing number of brands relying on this tactic and believes that the strategy’s effectiveness is due to a heightened awareness among consumers of the marketing efforts leading up to the game.

Ads acknowledging consumer awareness of brand messaging

Newcastle Brown Ale earned additional publicity from their decision to turn traditional marketing on its head and take a blatant, more honest approach to advertising. According to Consumer Products Executive, Zara Ingilizian, this type of advertising is a new way of building authenticity for the brand because it shows respect for the consumer’s knowledge of marketing tactics.

Telling a story across multiple ads

Brands like Bud Light and Wonderful Pistachio went against the typical short-form commercial by showcasing ads that filled multiple spots during the broadcast. According to Neff, while these types of ads cost substantially more money, they are successful in attracting a desirable ROI because they build audience suspense and benefit from a longer exposure time.

Producing videos in real-time

PR Newswire’s Global Director of Emerging Media, Michael Pranikoff, took note of the brands stepping up their content efforts by engaging on social media throughout the game and producing videos in real time. Tide cleverly used six-second Vine videos as a real-time response to the major ads being broadcasted live. Pranikoff believes that Tide benefitted from Vine’s ability to automatically play in the viewer’s newsfeed instead of directing audiences to a separate page. The brand showcased tremendous preparedness and took advantage of a unique opportunity to make an impression on a large audience for a product that might not be at top of mind during a sporting event.

Including hashtags in television ads

According to Ingilizian, hashtags were mentioned in about 60% of the total game day ads this year, a major spike from just 10% in 2013. Ingilizian believes that using this tactic will continue to be favored among consumers and drive real-time discussion on Twitter.

Though audiences look forward to witnessing extravagant marketing efforts on game day, Neff cites a study by research firm Communicus which found that 80% of the ads do not produce a change in purchase intent. To guarantee a desirable ROI, the panelists offered some advice on producing content with maximum rewards:

-          Determine the purpose of your brand and whether your target audience will be present in the conversation. Sometimes it may not even make sense for your brand to participate in every flagship event.

-          Build anticipation and the branding aspect beforehand to gain additional impressions. While there is a lot of attention and engagement during the big event, it is harder to stand out amongst a clutter of high-tech ads competing for the same attention.

-          Stay true to your brand. While being creative is important, sometimes theatrics can overshadow what the brand is actually about

-          Calculate your ROI based on the entire campaign and not just the 30-second ad. Ads should be part of a holistic effort to promote your brand message.

For more on measuring the effectiveness of event sponsorships, follow the link to view the on-demand presentation:

Content We Love: Writing Content from an Audience Perspective

In this week’s Content We Love, SocialRadar is launching a new mobile app that takes social networking offline and into the real world. By combining geo-location data with the user’s social networks, the app aims to rid its customers of the social anxieties that come with feeling alone in a crowded room (or feeling bored in an empty one). The press release for this announcement, titled “SocialRadar’s App for iPhone Gives You Real-time Information About the People Around You,”  is reflective of the company’s desire to help their audience. It is formatted with reader’s needs in mind, and showcases a great example of how to generate quality earned media by writing content from an audience perspective.lil tweet

  • The release begins with a headline that prioritizes social interaction. In less than 100 characters, it tells a complete story of what the reader can gain from this product, followed by a sub-head providing more information on where the app is available for download.
  • Right after the lead paragraph, a call-to-action to download the app is placed near the top of the release, prompting readers to try it out immediately and driving traffic right back to their site.
  • Sentences highlighted in bold add an extra visual component within the body of the release and delve into the types of real-life scenarios where a customer could avoid a potentially awkward confrontation by relying on this handy app.
The Wall Street Journal does a 1-minute video review of SocialRadar

The Wall Street Journal demonstrates SocialRadar in a 1-minute video review

  • Embedding a YouTube video increases the brand’s discoverability on search engine rankings and adds another level of engagement between the reader and the release. The video itself is great too; a light-hearted, shareable product demo without scripted voiceovers that truly allows the product to “speak for itself.”
SocialRadar earns coverage in the Washington Post

SocialRadar earns coverage in the Washington Post

This release generated top-quality earned media for the company, including

several interviews with the CEO and even a video product demo by the Wall Street Journal. This type of earned media is key for positioning the SocialRadar brand as a thought-leader in the tech industry, as well as a top competitor in the race for the next big mobile app.

Congrats to the SocialRadar team on crafting a spectacular release!  If you’d like more examples for crafting press releases that will be found, discovered and shared, take a look at our free ebooks, Driving Content Discovery and  New School Press Release Tactics

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

Content We Love: A Press Release That Scores a Winning Touchdown

ContentWeLoveWith the Big Game looming on the horizon, millions of fans around the country are gearing up for a weekend of chants, cheers, and – apparently – chicken wings. The National Chicken Council capitalized on a golden opportunity to announce the findings of their annual Wing Report by issuing a press release. Not only is this release a pristine example of fantastic timing – it also incorporates a number of other strategic PR tactics that makes this announcement a noteworthy piece of content.

A tweet-able, eye-catching headline

In just 58 characters, the National Chicken Council grabs the reader’s attention by including an interesting stat in the headline. Numerical data communicates credibility to audiences, and the headline’s attention-grabbing and to-the-point message makes it ideal for sharing on social channels. The stat garnered press coverage from several high-profile outlets including Bloomberg, the Huffington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, and was tweeted by prominent social influencers.

Los Angeles Times Chicken Wings

Juicy, bite-sized bullet points

Not only did the National Chicken Council highlight figures about the season’s

The announcement reaches a broad fan base on the Fox Sports website

The announcement reaches a broad fan base on the Fox Sports website

last-standing finalists, but expanded the list to include all eight teams that made it to the playoffs divisional round. It’s a cunning tactic for appealing to a broad range of passionate fans and stealing attention from readers who might be quickly scanning the page.

Anchor text with a call to action

Finally, the release wisely embeds links from relevant natural phrases that motivates readers to take an additional action. The National Chicken Council benefits from qualified traffic leading back to their site when their content is posted on other web pages.

Coverage on the Huffington Post links back to the National Chicken Council's website

Coverage on the Huffington Post links back to the National Chicken Council’s website

Kudos to the National Chicken Council on delivering  content that is both newsworthy and PR-savvy.

3 Ways Press Release Measurement Can Inform Your Message Strategy

Press Release Reporting

PR Newswire’s “State of Multimedia Use in PR” survey found that 56.4% of communications professionals claim to not have the reporting tools necessary to understand the success of their multimedia efforts, with many relying on ad hoc reporting to convey their results with stakeholders. Despite this perceived lack of resources, 76% of those surveyed planned to increase their multimedia efforts in 2014.

Fortunately for PR pros, press release vendors often provide comprehensive reporting that measures the success of a press release and its multimedia components. If you use a wire service and haven’t taken the time to really look at the numbers in your reports, resolve to do so now! You can derive valuable insights from these reports, such as audience engagement levels, social media impressions, and identification of potential influencers. Given today’s fierce competition for audience attention, press release reporting is an indispensable tool for demonstrating ROI and finding new opportunities to improve your message strategy.

Here are three ways you can take action on the numbers you see in PR Newswire’s Visibility Reports to improve the effectiveness of future campaigns:

Use your engagement score to determine what content is favorable among target audiences

Denise Perez, PR Newswire’s manager of global press release reporting.

One of the unique metrics featured in press release reporting is an engagement score, which measures the level of interaction that readers have with a press release and its contents. Denise Perez, PR Newswire’s manager of global reporting, describes the process PR Newswire uses to derive an engagement score:

“The Engagement Index score derives from the comparison of engagement statistics for a given release with those other releases issued by PR Newswire within the same industry or industries.  Specifically, PR Newswire tallies the number of times readers save, print, email, share or blog about a message and compare this number to the number of times these actions have been recorded for other news releases in similar industries.  Visibility Reports then generates an engagement “score” for that release based on the number comparison.  The scale for index scores is set from 0-100, with 50 always being the industry average. “Visibility” scores (i.e., measuring views to the release) and Engagement scores (i.e., measuring interaction with the release) generated in this way can be considered as an industry benchmark comparison for that particular release.”

Genuine engagement with content such as click-throughs, retweets, and downloads reveal the types of content your audience is interested in. Engagement is also weighed heavily in search engine algorithms, which influence the discoverability of your content.

Refer to release comparison trends to inform your editorial calendar

While the engagement index determines what content is working for your audience, evaluating release comparison trends can help you better determine what does and doesn’t work. View activity trends for your content over various periods of time to understand how long your news was a topic of interest. This information can help inform a timelier editorial calendar built with content that your audience wants to interact with.  You can also quickly ascertain which messages developed stronger traction overall with your audiences, as well as the comparative duds.  Analyze each group, looking for common elements.  Incorporate what you’ve learned from evaluating your more successful messages to improve your future content.

Identify social influencers with detailed social media reporting

Another benefit of press release reporting is the ability to monitor social media conversations. The analytics provided can help you obtain a better understanding of how your message has resonated on social channels. Some of the stats measured include:

  • How many tweets and retweets your release has garnered
  • A full display of the Twitter channels where your release was shared
  • Klout scores of the individuals who tweeted your news
  • Follower counts and total impressions of your tweet

The ability to recognize the industry thought-leaders sharing your news is a major advantage to your message strategy. Targeted influencers are a direct route to additional audiences for your content, which can help generate more leads and drive traffic to your website. If these influencers are also members of the media, consider building this relationship by pitching your stories directly to them. Refer to a media contact database, such as Agility, in conjunction with your press release report to identify what outlet that leader works for, the topics they typically cover, and preferred method of contact. Genuine recognition from these social influencers will help position your brand as an industry authority as well.

As reported in our survey, communications professionals are increasingly recognizing the power of a good multimedia strategy but admit to lacking the resources necessary to measure their results.  Press release reports are a convenient and easy-to-use solution, enabling users to quantify areas of success as well as areas for improvement. Use it to pinpoint the messages resonating with viewers, find new audiences, and build relationships with media influencers.  As audience attention becomes more selective, the analytics provided within your press release reports will be a crucial asset for staying ahead of the competition.

Have you measured your press release results lately? Log in to the Online Member Center to view your Visibility Reports and further develop your message strategy.