Category Archives: Digital Content

The Evolution of Digital Communications

Communications  Roundtable Brian CohenAs content marketing blossoms into a multi-billion dollar industry, the competition for standing out becomes even more of a struggle. Social media, the 24-hour news cycle, and mobile connectivity have all contributed to our shortened attention spans and frustrations with filtering the noise to find the information that is most relevant to us. So how is digital communications evolving to help organizations get their messages effectively heard by the audiences who want to hear them? Brian Cohen, co-founder of Launch.it sat down with PR Newswire’s SVP of Marketing, Ken Wincko, to discuss opportunities for innovation in PR and marketing.

PR journalism and the evolution of press releases

A recent study sponsored by InPowered and conducted by Nielsen, found that earned media provides more benefit to brands than user generated or branded content. Given the shift towards third party content as more credible and trustworthy, Cohen believes that PR is entering a new era which he refers to as, “PR Journalism.”

According to Cohen, while the authenticity and opportunities related to earned media are clear, journalists are simply unable to cover all the news that is available to them.  Therefore, press releases are becoming the trusted third party stories that reach consumers directly.  “The stories that are being read through news releases are written by great writers who are now comprised of roughly 40 percent ex-journalists,” says Cohen, “now PR folks are talking directly to the same people they were talking to before, just through a more direct medium.”

Content creation and the rise of event marketing  

Cohen believes that the greatest opportunities ahead lie within the events industry, which has grown more innovative and tech-savvy thanks to the accessibility of content on mobile devices. Now, events themselves are only the pique of year-long content marketing campaigns. “Event marketers are taking advantage of the lack of publications in their trade markets that have disappeared,” explains Cohen, “now, we’re seeing the event industry say ‘you know what? We’re going to be the publication.We don’t want it just to be January 3 to January 5, we want the event to be about the concept.’” Mobile devices and the content created around the event act as a guide to lead conference attendees to the information that is the most important to them.

The art of discovery

“I can’t boil the ocean, but I can try to do the best that I can to make sure that content is discovered, found, and shared“ says Cohen, “Google search is one thing, but what we’re actually involved in, in our world where there is so much information, is finding things you didn’t even know you were looking for.” Herein lies the importance of distributing content across a variety of channels, as discoverability essentially lays the groundwork for building trust. Cohen predicts that aiding discoverability is one of the strongest opportunities for innovating new products for integrated communications.

PR pros and marketers are admittedly still adapting to changes in technology and public media consumption behaviors, but one thing is certain: communicators should make driving discovery of content by new audiences a priority in order to build relationships for the brands they represent. Simply put, relying on your own blog, web site or social channels to share your messages can limit the audience for your brand’s content. However, ensuring that your messages reach the audiences that they are intended for, and are found by new prospects, is what will lead to measureable outcomes for your business.

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

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: A ‘Snap’-py Approach to Social Media

ContentWeLove

Though the world of #selfies seems to be dominated by teenagers, they aren’t the only ones turning cameras on themselves. Brands are now incorporating the wildly popular form of content creation to connect with their social audiences, a topic we’ve been tackling in our ongoing event series “How to Keep Your Content Relevant in the Age of the Selfie.”

Grey Panda LastSelfieA recent release by Grey Group  and The World WildLife Fund titled, “ Grey And The World Wildlife Fund Use Snapchat To Raise Awareness Of Endangered  ” debuted a new social media campaign on Snapchat called the #LastSelfie, to raise awareness about the diminishing population of tigers, rhinos, orangutans, pandas and polar bears. The campaign encourages Snapchat users to share images created by the WWF of these animals utilizing the platform’s short lifespan to transmit the real message: these animals are in danger of disappearing. The press release tactics incorporated into this announcement showcase Grey Group and WWF’s thorough understanding of where their desired audience is engaging and the types of content that will be most interesting to them.

Powerful visual assets paired with minimal text

Organizations are becoming attuned to the fact that attention spans are shrinking and communication is shifting from a text-based to image-based approach. The WWF forfeits lengthy text in favor of three visual assets including video, which amplifies their message exponentially. They have allowed their message to reach not just Snapchat, but Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and all other social platforms where their target demographic is engaging with primarily visual content.

A perceptive and targeted approach to social engagement

The WWF covers largely uncharted social territory by targeting their selfie campaign to Snapchat. The mobile app has become a hit among a younger demographic due to the user’s ability to send photos and videos to peers that disappear forever within seconds of being viewed. WWF is tactfully mirroring this idea to raise awareness of endangered animals to a new generation of activists. It is a targeted approach to social engagement that demonstrates a true understanding of this platform and the kinds of messages that will resonate with its users.

Now that social media has solidified its place as a necessary part of communicating for brands and consumers alike, the audiences on these channels have evolved. Using social media platforms with purpose instead of a scattered approach targets your message to the people most important to it and indicates  the types of content that you should be creating for that audience. Congrats to Grey Group and the WWF on their social-savvy communications efforts!

Author Alyse Lamparyk is a Customer Content Specialist for PR Newswire. Follow her on twitter @alyselamp.

6 Tips for Transforming Your Boring PDF Files into Compelling Videos

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Entertain
  • Educate
  • Engage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Telling Your High-Science Healthcare Story to Consumers

Future of Health Summit Logo

Video has often been a tool to help simplify a complicated message, and a way to add comments of credible, third-party thought leaders on a specific topic. In the healthcare space, this is common practice. For years, pharmaceutical and biotech companies have been using interview-style soundbites to simplify and support their message. While this is still common, we’ve also seen an increase in companies using production styles like kinetic topography, animation and illustration to also support their campaigns and announcements. Over the past year, Multivu has produced and distributed these types of videos for healthcare programs, such as:

  • FDA approvals and commercial launches
  • Life-cycle announcements
  • Disease awareness campaigns
  • Data publications
  • Live presentations/roundtables

A recent video used as part of an FDA approval announcement of an oncology treatment is a good example.  While it’s typical to add video to support an FDA approval, this example was interesting because the video was unbranded and focused more on explaining the disease state and tumor type rather than the treatment option. Often times, the content that is distributed by the pharmaceutical company is found online via search and editorial websites. The video made it possible for those potential patients and caregivers reading about the newly approved drug to have a better understanding of the disease itself. The video itself utilized whiteboard animation (or, video scribing), which was particularly engaging for a lay audience.

Many might think that a video about a complex and high-science disease state would not be as impactful as the traditional “talking head” video featuring a key opinion leader (KOL) or Chief Medical Officer (CMO), but what we found was the video did very well in terms of views and engagement. This confirms our thought that both the media and online news seekers are looking for what we refer to as “explainer videos.” This type of content, if produced correctly, provides insightful information in a very digestible format.

For more about this, I welcome you to attend our very own Michael Pranikoff’s presentation at the upcoming Future of Healthcare Communications Summit on February 25th  presented by Business Development Institute.

Follow the link to register now: http://www.cvent.com/d/l4ql1w

George HeadshotAuthor George DeTorres (@georgedetorres) is the Divisional Vice President at MultiVu. 

3 Steps to Conquering the Challenges of Mergers and Acquisitions

Richard Funess of Finn Partners

Emerging technology has reinvented the way PR professionals approach visual storytelling, analytics, and events. Considering the rapid evolution of today’s media, Richard Funess, Senior Managing Partner at Finn Partners believes that “PR professionals have become more important to the corporate soul.”  lil tweet

Mr. Funess recently joined PR Newswire, the Business Development Institute, and an exclusive group of senior-level PR authorities for a Communications Roundtable discussion. The conversation focused on the impact of technology on mergers and acquisitions and how to overcome the challenges of a business in transition.

According to Mr. Funess, the most successful mergers and acquisitions occur within mid-sized firms whose revenues do not exceed $1 billion dollars. Smaller mergers can be a smoother adjustment for both employees and business development, but there are some inevitable challenges along the way. “The ability to create teams is the toughest part of acquisitions,” says Mr. Funess, “We are interested in the culture of the company we acquire. If they don’t see it in the same way, it is a tough part of a successful acquisition.” Several solutions were offered throughout the discussion to manage the impact of M&As on businesses:

1.       Assess the leadership integration and strength profile across organizations

Mr. Funess advises business leaders to have direct communication with key players of the rebranded organization. Discuss what makes them feel comfortable as employees and how their roles can be expanded. Additionally, arrange one-on-one meetings between employees of the same ranking to gauge what they can learn from each other and how to develop core messages together. Create an understanding that everyone is a vital part of the success of a new company culture.

2.       Bring in talent with skills you don’t have or who can improve the things you don’t do well

“Young people employed at Finn are opportunities to learn new technologies and work with employees to learn emerging parts of the business,” says Mr. Funess. Utilize the influx of advanced technical skills and creativity to bring in more opportunities for business growth.

3.       Build the brand reputation through media stories

Media stories are a legitimate source for communicating the company culture to stakeholders and the public. Mr. Funess strongly recommends participating in industry awards programs to help build the brand reputation. For example, Finn Partners was recently honored by the Holmes Report as the “Best Mid-Sized Agency to Work For,” which serves as a testament to their company values.

Internal and external communications should be repositioned to reflect the new company culture, which validates the role of PR as part of the “corporate soul.” Despite its obvious challenges, mergers and acquisitions are a valuable opportunity for organizations to connect with employees, re-evaluate their strengths, and apply newly acquired capabilities toward improvement.

Author Shannon Ramlochan is a proud Brooklyn native, a pop culture enthusiast, and a member of PR Newswire’s marketing team.

Content We Love: Bee’s Knees

ContentWeLove

“Content We Love” is a weekly feature written by a team of our content specialists. We’re showcasing some of the great content distributed through our channels, and our content specialists are up for the task: they spend a lot of time with the press releases and other content our customers create, proof reading and formatting it, suggesting targeted distribution strategy and offering content optimization advice. In Content We Love, we’re going to shine the spotlight on the press releases and other messages that stood out to us, and we’ll tell you why. We hope you find the releases enjoyable and the insights gained from discussing them enlightening.

jimbeam

New products are great reasons for a press release. So when Jim Beam issued a release about a new whiskey in a socially responsible (and humorous) way, I couldn’t help but fall in love!

The whiskey is infused with real honey and in light of the bee plight, the news is focusing on the bees instead.

“As passionate honey lovers and bee advocates, Jim Beam Honey has hired legendary “Seinfeld” attorney, Jackie Chiles, to “sue” honey’s other biggest fan – the bears. That’s right – it’s time for bears to cease and desist from their rampant honey theft.”

A new product may not warrant humor or even creativity– but what I love about Jim Beam’s release is it created more than just buzz with their approach.

While I love multimedia and its ability to transform a press release (not to mention increase visibility), pairing the images/videos of “SUE THE BEARS!” next to a release not only showcasing a new product definitely captures interest. If you have multimedia, it is always in your best interest to include it.

Combining social media with a message is proving to bee great for a release– search engines are prioritizing news with social media to be higher in results fields. What does this mean for a company? Utilize the social media network! #SueTheBears worked its way over Twitter and people took notice. The campaign donated money to help protect the bees for every tweet sent — which is yet another way to embrace the power of social media! (Yay!)

The story is truly the bee’s knees with focusing on how it was written. With the search engine analytics requesting content to be human, it is in the best interest of every article, release and posting to not be computer-generated jargon but be written for and by people.

A big thank you to Jim Beam for the bee-autiful release that is truly the bee’s knees in our book.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/jim-beam-honey-on-a-mission-to-save-bees-from-a-serious-issue-by-suing-bears-220178941.html

Author Emily Nelson is a Customer Content Specialist for PR Newswire. Follow her adventures on www.bellesandawhistle.wordpress.com or on twitter www.twitter.com/emilyannnelson.