Category Archives: Digital Content

Content We Love: Just in time for the weekend — flying bratwurst!

A virus is typically something to be avoided. Unless you’re mapping out a marketing campaign that includes a video element shared on the World Wide Web. In that scenario, a virus is sought after; one that spreads rapidly by word of mouth and social media.

The viral video is difficult to plan, and even more difficult to contain. But, in order to catch on, it must be seen or it will never be heard. The announcement of a recently launched contest by bratwurst specialist Johnsonville Sausage had our office abuzz. “Have you seen the flying brats?” was no longer an odd question to ask.

It all begins with a few words. In this case the release serves as a call to action for readers to take part and create their own bratwurst-themed content.

 Wondering where to begin?

Let the company’s original music video serve as inspiration. Johnsonville’s Brattender gave an awe-inspiring performance encouraging us to aim for grilling perfection.

If you haven’t heard it enough, multimedia drives engagement. The written word comes first, but adding a visual element (or several) brings it to the next level.

Make it social

When I initially read it I was intrigued by the contest: create a video about upholding the integrity of an unpierced bratwurst and you could win. But where does one start? I’m not a lyricist!

Thankfully the lyrics are written out and shared via Johnsonville’s Facebook page, which they guide the reader to with hyperlinks. Ding, ding!

Thank you to Johnsonville Sausage, LLC for whetting both our taste buds and our ear buds with a content-rich, engagement-packed and buzz-worthy release!

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/bratwurst-anthem-inspires-avid-grillers-and-wannabe-rockstars-alike-215764361.html

Author Alyse Lamparyk is a Customer Content Specialist for PR Newswire. Follow her adventures on http://www.ghanaseewhaticansee.wordpress.com or on twitter at @alyselamp.

mlm ebookHow does your organization incorporate multimedia content into its communications strategy? Respond to the survey PR News and PR Newswire are fielding by July 29, and we’ll send you a free copy of PR Newswire’s new ebook, Unlocking the Power of Multimedia Content for Communication, Conversion and Engagement. Survey link: http://www.prnewsonline.com/multimedia-survey/

5 Key Tactics for Healthcare Communicators Navigating Change

The Affordable Care Act is the most groundbreaking legislation in healthcare since Medicare and Medicaid. Business Development Institute’s upcoming event “The Future of Healthcare Communications Summit” on July 24, 2013 will address concerns regarding the ACA’s numerous provisions and shed light on the many ways that healthcare professionals can benefit from integrating digital, mobile, and social elements into their communication strategies. Keynote speaker Paul Matsen, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Cleveland Clinic, sat down with PR Newswire for a brief interview to discuss his highly anticipated presentation and what is in store for the future of healthcare communications.

Matsen’s presentation entitled, “The Affordable Care Act Challenge: Marketing Strategies for Success” addresses some of the difficulties that healthcare professionals will face once the new legislation has taken effect. These challenges include slow revenue growth, the shift from inpatient to outpatient care, the rising costs to consumers, and rising competitive intensity. Matsen describes 5 fundamental tactics implemented by Cleveland Clinic that have helped healthcare professionals overcome these obstacles and develop successful marketing strategies:

Access

“As coverage expansion goes into place, health systems need to change how they are making themselves open and accessible to their target patient community and their community overall,” Matsen explains. One of the most innovative programs developed by Cleveland Clinic is called “Same-Day Appointments,” which gives patients the option of scheduling a same-day appointment any day of the week before noon.

Alliances

Matsen believes that alliances are “A different way to think about growth without a lot of the constraints and challenges that sometimes exist under full mergers and acquisitions.” Some of Cleveland Clinic’s valued alliances include affiliations with hospitals for Heart & Vascular Institute programs and a national alliance with Community Health Systems – a large, for-profit health system with hospitals around the country.

Targeting

Matsen also emphasizes the importance of “knowing who your core patients are as we move forward with the Affordable Care Act” and why are they important to the growth of an organization.

Engagement

According to Matsen, “As we try to help patients manage health over the long term, we need to be engaged with them over time through communications, and this is where brands are becoming more important than ever in health care.” Engagement includes building a brand through owned media, earned media, and paid media to engage with customers and prospective patients from all over the world.

Branded Patient Experience

Cleveland Clinic has positioned itself as a thought leader in the healthcare industry by undergoing several major cultural transformations. “We had the first chief patient experience officer, we’ve just completed our third annual Patient Experience Summit with more than 800 participants, and we’ve seen a significant increase in both our patient satisfaction but also the engagement of our employees who we refer to as caregivers,” says Matsen. He also believes that building branded patient experience and aligning it with the caregiver experience is essential to driving success.

“People need to move beyond awareness,” Matsen commented, with respect to the future of healthcare communications. “Healthcare organizations need to move beyond just talking at their patients and really finding true engagement with their communities.”

Cleveland Clinic maintains an impressive social media following, with over 500,000 Facebook likes and more than 120,000 Twitter followers. For Cleveland Clinic, community engagement through social media has proven to be a valued resource not just when people are ill, but also for those who wish to maintain their health and want to learn more about the Affordable Care Act. Matsen anticipates that over the next year, digital engagement will continue to grow through mobile technology and become a trusted source of content for patients.

With the Affordable Care Act’s new focus on preventative care and early patient intervention, the need for effective communication between healthcare professionals and patients is critical. Embracing digital, social, and mobile technologies will provide a supportive environment for both patients and healthcare professionals as we all adapt to the historic developments within our healthcare system.

The event is sold out, however due to high interest, we’ll be recapping key points here on Beyond PR.   Watch this space for  a follow-up post on Matsen’s “Marketing Strategies for Success” as well as insights from additional keynote speakers.

Author Shannon Ramlochan  is a member of PR Newswire’s marketing team.

Content We Love: Storytelling – Indy Style

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.

From bedtime stories to blockbuster hits– a good story captivates an audience. Press releases are the vehicle to tell a story and when a daughter’s tale of taking her dad’s music from the charts to the stage crossed my view, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the story and the visuals. Really impressed.

THE STORY: Storytelling is the backbone of sending a press release. While it is important to have the language professional, it is being sent and read by people. Search engines responded appropriately and SEO scores now factor in the readibility of a press release. Does it read like spam? Does it read like a person wrote it? In this case, the human element is alive and well throughout this press release. Remember the phrase, “it’s not what you say but how you say it”?

This is imperative for press releases because they need to deliver information,  but they   must also read well. While there is no magic formula for which words to use, keep the audience in mind. And just like this release about a “little love story about selling dreams and making them come true,” you’ll find your audience hanging on each word.

THE MULTIMEDIA: From the background to the video to the great ad (for a musical about an ad-man, how fitting!), the visual elements jumped from the page and we did more than take notice. The video was played, the graphics were admired, and the background received more compliments for framing the story than I would’ve expected.

While the featured video is not a highly produced feature film, the resounding response loved it because it was personal, and it fits well with the nature of the announcement. The musical was accepted into The New York International Fringe Festival and the video highlights the team’s excitement at this news. This translates loud and clear.

Our statistics show including multimedia assets increase your visibility because people are naturally drawn to images! Including a compelling image on a release is perfect harmony.

Congratulations and thank you to the  Someone To Belong To team. We can’t wait for the tour so we can see the show.

http://www.multivu.com/mnr/61772-someone-to-belong-to-denoon-the-new-york-international-fringe-festival

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.

Content We Love: Buzz Worthy Content

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.

Whole Foods Market University Heights' produce department with and without items dependent on pollinator populations. (PRNewsFoto/Whole Foods Market)

Whole Foods Market University Heights’ produce department with and without items dependent on pollinator populations. (PRNewsFoto/Whole Foods Market)

Action is the ultimate impact of news. Buzzwords of “viral” become the goal that one message, one story will have the strength to not only impact the audience, but cause them to take action.

When I first saw Whole Foods Market’s release showcasing what a grocery store would look like without bees, I was captivated by the image of a grocery store with and without the handiwork of bees.

Our studies show adding a visual increases your visibility and it isn’t because we just like pretty pictures– audiences globally are inherently interested in images. So what better what to showcase up your story!

After the story was released, Huffington Post picked it up, showcased the image front and center and even tweeted about it. This spun retweets, more repostings and even a petition to protect the bees.

From a story with a photo, to message boards and social media globally, this release shows adding an image = buzz.

Big thanks to Whole Foods Market for a BEE-utiful press release.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/this-is-what-your-grocery-store-looks-like-without-bees-211164141.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.

Content We Love: Feeding America’s #MealGap

“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.

There is something magical about a great meal. Meal-time is romanticized with family, dates, TV shows, foodie-friends and more.  Most can agree that food is just… good!

So when I read Feeding America’s release about how many Americans are insecure about where their next meal is coming from, my heart broke. Yet almost instantly, I couldn’t help but feel the sheer power from the Multimedia News Release because of the social media. For telling the story, it was just… good!

Social Media takes the conversation from paper to public forum. The tool social media provides is not simply a teenager sharing their lunch– this social platform has influenced countries, movements, disaster relief, and how companies share news. Therefore, how imperative it is to include social media withIN your release!

  • Twitter: The subheadline has a TWEET button because not only is the message worth sharing, but because the power of social media! Much align Click-To-Tweet, this places a custom tweet in the hands of the audience to share the message. Feeding America’s twitter feed also appears on the Multimedia Release and effectively showcases how it is connecting– even using the #hashtag created for this story!

#MealGap

  • Pinterest: Over images and infographics lies a Pin It button. Pinterest, the image paradise for consumers, not only links backs to the original content (aka: your story), it showcases your messages on a massive platform of individuals who are literally just looking for images. You have the powerful images already? Make those on social channels stop in their scrolling to view your message!
  • Facebook: Further your story by connecting with the audience! Even if this is including a link and/or symbol to simply “like.” This puts the news into the feeds of everyone who “likes” the page.

Conversations are action. Social means conversations. Social = action. Take action (and start the conversation) with social media!

Big thanks to Feeding America for a fantastic release feast — and more seriously, for the good work they do.

http://www.multivu.com/mnr/62036-feeding-america-map-meal-gap-documents-americans-living-at-risk-of-hunger

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.

What Does ‘Off the Record’ Really Mean?

Dear Q&A Team,

I am putting together a presentation for all the journalists in my office. I want to have a friendly discussion about the meaning of “off the record.” Even though I have my own understanding of the term, I would like to learn of its origin, as well as if there are exceptions to when “off the record” information can be published, etc. It would also be great to share some anecdotes with the team.

Clearing the Record

_____________________

Dear Clearing the Record,

That is an interesting topic for a presentation! Here are three ProfNet experts who answer all your questions about the term “off the record”:

The Meaning of “Off the Record”

Donald Mazzella, COO and editorial director of Information Strategies, Inc., explains the origin of the term: “Merriman Smith, the old national UPI correspondent, told me it was a term from the Franklin Roosevelt presidency, where he would bring reporters into his office and tell them stuff and say, ‘Remember, boys, this is off the record.’”

Today, when people say “off the record” to a reporter, they typically mean they don’t want the reporter to attribute the information to them or to use it, says Karen Friedman, former television news reporter of 20 years and author of “Shut Up and Say Something.” Often, says Friedman, people actually do want the information uncovered or reported, “as long as no one knows it came from them.”

Shirley Skeel, a journalist for more than 20 years who reported finance news for papers such as the Daily Mail and The Telegraph in London, explains how this term was similarly understood by journalists in London. “’Off the record’ meant you could not use the information given to you in print,” she said. “However, it might lead you to other sources or a better understanding.”

Establishing the Terms of “Off the Record”

Skeel thinks it is always wise to establish upfront that these are the parameters, as well as explain the meaning of “off the record.”

“Still, as all reporters far prefer information ‘on the record,’ it can be a tricky thing to know if and when you should suggest that this is an ‘off the record’ or ‘for attribution only’ conversation,” she says. “This situation usually arises naturally, as a source will show their reluctance to speak, and the reporter might entice them to speak either ‘not for attribution’ or ‘off the record’ and explain what each means. If this issue does not come up until late in the conversation, I think a journalist should allow the entire conversation to be whatever the source insists upon.”

“But, if you are not going to honor ‘off the record’, you need to make that clear to someone before they start spilling information,” says Friedman.

Ways to Post “Off the Record” Information

When Friedman was in a situation where a source said “off the record,” she would not use their name, but it would typically lead her to find information or sources that would confirm, deny or discuss the information. Though she warns that you consider the original source of the information.

“There are trustworthy sources who will tip you off to a lead, which enables you to pursue the story and break information. But there are other people in the community who may not be close to a situation and use the term (‘off the record’) because they’ve heard it thrown around,” explains Friedman. “It is still up to the reporter to check out every lead, whether it’s on or off the record, to get second and third sources and to make sure the information is confirmed.”

As far as telling the sources you pursue about the original source, Friedman says it depends on the situation: “If Joe Smith shared information ‘off the record’ with me, I would never disclose him as my source to anyone. However, if Joe Smith told me something ‘off the record’ and specifically said, ‘Contact so and so and tell him I sent you,’ then I would do that.”

After getting information from another source, Mazzella goes with the second source for attribution. But as a matter of courtesy and to maintain relationships, he always goes back to the first source and says he has the information from another source, and asks if they want to go on the record. His recommendation is to always keep relationships going.

“Not for Attribution”

Besides “off the record,” there is another important term to understand — “not for attribution.”

Skeel defines it as meaning that you can use the source’s information directly in your copy, “but you have to identify that this person cannot be named, and, preferably, why not.”

As with “off the record,” you have to establish the terms of “not for attribution” prior to having a discussion with the source, advises Skeel. “A journalist should work out with their source exactly which information falls in which category.”

In a situation where a source forgets to ask to be “off the record” but remembers later on after revealing information, you have two choices, suggests Mazzella. If you are dealing with a politician and he/she makes this mistake, “you can burn him/her or get an IOU.”

Mazzella continues, “On a beat, unless the story is too good or too important to ignore, you give the source the benefit. For people who are less press savvy, I always try to err on the side of letting them off the hook. Every situation is different, but we’re all in for the long haul — especially on a beat.”

Consequences of Sharing “Off the Record” Information

Skeel describes the possible repercussions for sharing “off the record” information:

  • Loss of a source, maybe even many sources if word gets around.
  • Loss of reputation among his or her peers, if they learn about this.
  • Depending on the editor and publication, there is a chance the journalist might even lose their job. (That would be an extreme case, but it is undoubtedly a serious breach of journalistic ethics.)
  • Even worse, the person quoted could be seriously damaged. They might lose their job, their reputation, etc.

“In a lighter story, it may only result in a personal grudge by the source — but the breach of ethics is still serious,” says Skeel.

Friedman agrees with Skeel, saying, “The bottom line is you have to protect your sources or they will no longer be your sources. They may also tell others that you are not trustworthy and then others will not share information with you either.”

“Off the Record” Anecdotes

Here is Skeel’s anecdote from when she was a cub reporter:

“I remember being at a party where someone I met, who knew I was a journalist, told me a great story. When I said I’d like to publish it, they quaked and insisted this was all ‘off the record.’ In my book at the time, information was only ‘off the record’ if you agreed on that ground in advance. Some journalists will simply ‘burn’ their sources and run with such a story, but I am pleased to say that I did not. Despite his promises to let me run the story when the time was right, he never came through. I think any reading of ‘off the record’ should be combined with your personal moral values. Rules are not a moral shield.”

Friedman also shared an anecdote from her days as a reporter:

“Back in the ‘80s when I worked in Milwaukee, there were rumors surfacing about drug use in baseball. The assistant news director knew I was friendly with a few players and their wives and asked me if I could find out what was going on. Some of these people shared confidential information with me but made it clear they did not want their names associated with the story. As a reporter, I knew it was a great story as well as how to get it. As a professional and a friend, I didn’t want to betray anyone’s trust ruin relationships or damage my own credibility. So I refused to cover it or share what I knew with my newsroom. I simply told my superiors that it could be a story worth pursuing but they would have to assign someone else. I never shared what I was told or where the information came from. When the story broke, my sources who had provided some direction were never mentioned, because the reporter who ended up covering the story didn’t know them. He got information from different sources on his own.”

Mazzella’s advice to remember: “The press is the watchdog and we need to do the best job of getting information to the public.”

I hope your presentation turns into a great discussion among your team. Good luck!

- The Q&A Team

Written by Polina Opelbaum, editor of ProfNet, a service that helps journalists connect with expert sources.  The Q&A Team is published biweekly on ProfNet Connect, a free social networking site for communicators. To read more from Polina, check out her blog on ProfNet Connect.

Every other week, The Q&A Team answers questions from ProfNet readers with advice from our large network of experts. Has there been a question burning in your mind lately, something you’ve been wondering that none of your colleagues can answer? Please send it to polina.opelbaum@prnewswire.com

Media Moves and News for June

http://prnbloggers.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/agility-logo.png?w=127&h=125&h=125

MEDIAware, PR Newswire’s Audience Research Department newsletter, features recent media news and job changes in the industry. Here is a sampling of this month’s edition:

Politico (http://www.politico.com) has lost Political Reporter Jonathan Martin to The New York Times. Martin has been with Politico since its debut, just 6 short years ago. During his time with the political news outlet, he covered major stories such as the accusation of sexual harassment against then Republican presidential candidate Hermon Cain. The announcement comes as a major acquisition for The Times, where he will serve as National Political Correspondent, a position held by legendary greats such as R. W. Apple. It is unclear how the change will affect Politico as Martin was considered one of its major strengths, but with a plethora of young talent his departure will surely lead to the birth of a new political reporting giant at the paper.

ESPN (http://espn.go.com/ and https://twitter.com/espn) is currently in the process of cutting about 300-400 employees or between 5-10% of its staff. This is the first time since 2009, where 100 staff members were laid off, that the network has made such a massive reduction to its workforce. ESPN stated that they were making changes across the board in order to manage costs effectively and improve continued growth.

In a memo to The Rolling Stone’s Editorial Team Publisher Jann Wenner announced the promotion of his son Gus Wenner to Editor, taking charge of the magazine’s website. The twenty-two year old Brown graduate spent time interning with the magazine during his undergraduate years, and was officially hired just a short time ago. Though many outsiders have responded negatively to the announcement, in a statement to the International Business Times a former Stone’s staffer stated accusations of nepotism towards Gus Wenner may not be well deserved. According to the anonymous source “he’s a good kid who came in with a lot of great ideas, he shadowed [chief digital officer] David Kang at the website for a while, and he was pretty deep in it.” Although his rise may be unconventional, Gus Wenner seems to be the most promising heir to the family owned magazine. For more information — http://www.ibtimes.com/rolling-stoned-gus-wenner-janns-son-ridiculed-nepotism-twitter-it-deserved-1273599

Baton Rouge’s The Advocate (http://theadvocate.com) is expanding its coverage and content of New Orleans and has added a few top former employees of The Times-Picayune to its staff. New Editor Peter Kovacs (pkovacs@theadvocate.com) has hired George Russell (grussell@theadvocate.com) as Managing Editor/Investigations, Martha Carr (mcarr@theadvocate.com) as the New Orleans Bureau Chief,   and Claire Napier-Galafaro (cgalafaro@theadvocate.com) and Andrew Vanacore (avanacore@theadvocate.com) as Reporters all covering New Orleans. With Carr in place as Bureau Chief Sara Pagones (spagones@theadvocate.com) is now the Bureau Chief of St. Tammany. Pagones, Carr and Russell were part of The Times-Picayune’s staff that won Pulitzer Prizes for their Hurricane Katrina coverage.

Foreign Affairs magazine (http://www.foreignaffairs.com) is growing in numbers on the web with over a million visitors a month. They even have a fun new app titled “Foreign Affairs on TV”. This app takes users on a spin behind the government affairs on TV shows that include “Game of Thrones” and “Downton Abbey” after each week’s episode.

Los Angeles Times (http://www.latimes.com) Reporter Kenneth Weiss (http://www.twitter.com/KennethWeiss) and Photographer Rick Loomis were recipients of the 2012 Scripps Howard Foundation Award for Environmental Reporting. A $10,000 check and the Edward J Meeman award was presented to Weiss and Loomis for their five-part series on preserving the planet’s ecosystem called “Beyond 7 Billion.”http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/population/

The Chicago Sun-Times (http://www.suntimes.com) has decided to lay off its entire photography staff, a total of 28 full-time staffers, effective immediately. The paper plans to use freelance photographers and reporters to shoot photos and video as they shift their focus to meeting the demands of online video and multimedia.

CQ Roll Call (http://www.rollcall.com) has bought out five employees in a cost-cutting move at the company. Those that took the buyout include Weekly Editor John Bicknell, Politics Editor Lauren Whittington, Executive News Editor Randy Wynn, Senior Editor Robert Healy and Leadership Editor Melinda Nahmias.

The New York Daily News (http://www.nydailynews.com) staff listing underwent a significant change at the beginning of May.  Around 15 employees of the Daily News were let go. This is the largest number of layoffs since November 2011 when Editor-in-Chief Colin Myler took over. The paper is undergoing a reconstruction focusing on making the paper more digital.

UK native Deborah Turness has proven to be a great influence for all women in the broadcasting journalism industry. Nearly a decade ago she first shattered the glass ceiling in the UK, becoming the first Editor of a network television news division when she was appointed Editor of ITV News. Fast forward just a few years, and she is done it yet again, this time in the US. Just a few weeks ago, it was confirmed that beginning in August Turness will be the new NBC News (http://www.nbcnews.com). President. She is the first female to be named president of a network news operation in the US.

Popular HLN Morning Anchor Robin Meade is also a country music singer. She recently sang the National Anthem prior to the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. on Memorial Day weekend. Meade has been involved in NASCAR events in the past as she also performed at Daytona last year. Meade’s new album “Count on Me” is out this month.

Digital Editor for The Post-Crescent (http://www.postcrescent.com), Joel Christopher (jchristopher@postcrescent.com), has been named Digital Editor for Gannett Wisconsin Media. He will continue at The Post-Crescent, in addition, he will be responsible for digital strategy, implementation, training and practices at the following publications: Green Bay Press-Gazette, Wausau Daily Herald, Oshkosh Northwestern, Sheboygan Press, Fond du Lac Reporter, Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter, Stevens Point Journal, Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune and Marshfield News-Herald.

Edible Milwaukee is a new quarterly magazine highlighting local and sustainable food. It centers on the manufacturing, distributing and consumption of food in Milwaukee and the Midwest. Jen Ede is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of this publication. You may follow the magazine on Twitter at https://twitter.com/EdibleMKE or go to http://ediblemilwaukee.com for additional information.

You can view the whole June issue of MEDIAware here: http://www.prnewswire.com/knowledge-center/mediaware/

And all of the Regional Updates here: http://www.prnewswire.com/knowledge-center/mediaware/June2013UpdatesByRegion.html

You can also follow all of the latest media moves and news from PR Newswire’s Audience Research Department on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/PRNmedia

How to Create a Winning Blogger Pitch Every Time

Every other week, The Q&A Team answers questions from ProfNet readers with advice from our large network of experts. Has there been a question burning in your mind lately, something you’ve been wondering that none of your colleagues can answer? Please send it to polina.opelbaum@prnewswire.com

Dear Q&A Team,

I am a PR professional interested in learning how to pitch mommy bloggers. How can I find the right mommy blogs to work with? What should – and shouldn’t – I do when pitching?  What are the benefits of getting my product or news covered on a mommy blog?

Signed,

Pitch Perfect

Dear Pitch Perfect,

You’ve come to the right place! Here are five ProfNet experts who share their advice and the lessons they learned about pitching mommy bloggers:

Finding the Right Mommy Blogger

Wendy Hirschhorn, CEO of Wendy’s Bloggers, has reviewed over a thousand mommy blogger websites. The mommy bloggers she adds to her powerful network need to meet her professional standards. That includes the ability to write cohesive reviews; generate sufficient traffic to their sites; and use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr and other social sites to promote their product reviews and giveaways.

Some other things Hirschhorn looks for when deciding to work with a mommy blogger include: 1) looking at the site to make sure it’s well-designed and easy to navigate; 2) checking to see the blogger blogs regularly, which means every day or close to it; 3) reading the bio to get a sense of the mommy blogger.

Last but not least, “I try to elicit feedback from them about preferences on companies they’d like to connect with, what their experience has been blogging about different categories, e.g., frozen food, restaurants, CDs, clothing, etc., to see what works and what doesn’t,” says Hirschhorn.

Karma Martell, president of KarmaCom Inc., had different criteria for the last mommy blogger she pitched on a new brand launch. She explains, “I picked her because although she wrote for a national-regional audience mommy blog, she lived in and was the perfect client demographic for the brand. I found this out from her Twitter profile.”

Martell warns that not all mommy bloggers are created equal. “They have many different foci. You really need to get a feel for the portal or their individual columns. Just because they are a mommy blogger does not mean they are writing or tweeting about raising kids primarily,” she says.

Finding the Right PR Professional

“I appreciate it when PR professionals take the time to read a few of my posts on each blog before pitching an idea,” says Dana Hinders, blogger for Smart Mom Picks and Modern Baby. “I receive a lot of pitches that are interesting, but not well-suited for either blog.”

Hinders adds: “Providing images with a pitch is very helpful, especially if the images are something eye-catching. We share a lot of posts on social media, and images tend to encourage people to click on the links. If I know I have good images to use, I’m much more likely to cover a product.”

If a post is about a specific product, it is important to provide Hinders with price information and a description of where to buy the item.

Jamie Lee, blogger for The Denver Housewife, also has certain things she looks for before responding to a pitch. Lee says, “I look to make sure they have my name right, if it’s a product that will fit my family, and if the opportunity is worth my time.”

Successfully Pitching the Mommy Blogger

Kate Connors, account executive at Media & Communications Strategies, Inc., says she has successfully pitched mommy bloggers on behalf of her client, Touro University Worldwide. She attributes her success to two things: 1) finding out the blogger’s niche and making sure the information being offered actually benefits their readers, and 2) making sure to have an expert who can offer to comment or write a piece.

Connors explains how she applied these recommendations when she pitched bloggers on behalf of Touro: “The university has taken an active role in supporting military families in light of the recent cuts in tuition assistance programs. There is a huge blogosphere of military moms who write daily about their struggles, both financially and emotionally. I reached out to each of them offering a release about the importance of Military Spouses Day and what kind of assistance Touro was offering.”   In addition, Touro has a Marriage & Family Therapy Department, so after the Sandy Hook shooting and the Boston Marathon bombing, Connors contacted mommy bloggers offering assistance from these professors on how to talk to children after a disaster. “Some bloggers wrote back asking for quotes, others for pieces,” said Connors.

What Not to Do When Pitching

Hinders says: “One thing I really dislike is when a PR professional sends several copies of the same email a day or two apart. I try to respond to pitches fairly quickly, but it does take a few days for me to get caught up if I put out a ProfNet request that gets a lot of responses. Sorting through duplicate pitches just creates more work for me.”

Her favorite PR professionals, says Hinders, are the ones who go above and beyond when it comes to communication.

In addition, for Smart Mom Picks, Hinders tries to shy away from covering products that are very expensive or not widely available in the U.S.

Lee doesn’t generally respond to PR professionals offering her one coupon for something, a discount code, or just nothing in return. “Writing the blog posts, reviewing the product, and editing the pictures all take time and I want to make sure that I am getting something in return that is also benefiting me and my family,” she says.

Benefits of Working With a Mommy Blogger

After Martell successfully pitched a mommy blogger, her ROI was twofold. Martell says, “The client got mentions and special promotions on the blog, and the client saw ROI in member signup from the blog’s users. We knew this because the offer was coded per promotion. In turn, we also developed a cordial relationship with the regional editor, who actually contacted us later to include another client in an event they were planning.”

After Connors successfully pitched mommy bloggers on behalf of her client, she said it greatly helped the university increase its online presence.

Connors adds, “We received this email from the university client in response to our blogger outreach: ‘By having several sites back-link to our site in a very natural manner, you helped to increase our search ranking with Google. Building our internal architecture in this way will help us greatly in the long-term.’”

Besides increasing online presence, it also helped increase the number of student applications, says Connors. “Media & Communications Strategies had potential students reach out to us after reading some of the expert commentary in a blog post. “

“The goal of building a successful online presence is creating a two-way relationship between you and the blogger. The more you can provide them, i.e. experts, the more likely they are to come back to you for further stories,” suggests Connors.

Martell reiterates Connors’ last statement. “Remember that when pitching mommy bloggers, you have to think about where you can give back to them. For example: something special for their readers, an invitation to an event, retweets and mentions, etc.”

Written by Polina Opelbaum, editor of ProfNet, a service that helps journalists connect with expert sources.  The Q&A Team is published biweekly on ProfNet Connect, a free social networking site for communicators. To read more from Polina, check out her blog on ProfNet Connect.

 

Content We Love: Outstanding by Standing Out

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.

In a sea of press releases, it can be daunting to make a story stand out in the crowd.

To my delight, the VARIDESK release was standing out while standing up thanks to the image and bullet-points in the release.

The VARIDESK Single is now available at VARIDESK.com.  (PRNewsFoto/VARIDESK)

The VARIDESK Single is now available at VARIDESK.com. (PRNewsFoto/VARIDESK)

Art schools everywhere teach the importance of negative space. The empty space surrounding art naturally draws the eye to what is important. This very reason is why…

  • Adding bullets in your press releases delivers results.
  • A bullet is a punchline, a statement, a priority…
  • Which automatically attracts attention!

Press releases are full of stories, which inadvertently require words. These works are formulated into sentences and paragraphs and create blocks of text. However, it is human nature is skip over text until something interesting comes into view (AKA: “skimming”).

The release highlights the fundamental reasons for the new product by using bullets.

New products are a great reason to put out a press release but they are an even bigger reason to include a photo! In our visual world, we require images to pique and hold interest. Whether this is a new computer chip, a new CEO, or new stand-up desk, the target audience is looking to look.

Our research has found that including images increase a release’s visibility which means the eye-catching image on your release is literally catching more eyes.

Releases share the story and shouldn’t be lost in the shuffle so be sure to make the release stand out (and up!) by adding bullets and visual elements to your release.

A big thanks to VARIDESK for the outstanding release!

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/varidesk-stand-up-desks-launch-as-most-affordable-most-easy-to-use-way-to-transform-workspace-210244541.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.

Content We Love: Mt. Everest of Optimization

mnr memory“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 SEO 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.

Writing a modern press release can seem like a climb over Mt. Everest. With search engines reading for a human element, modern releases need more than a who, what, when, where, why baseline. To reach the summit, you need optimization.

  • Optimization is a buzz word you may hear a lot. “Make sure your content is optimized!” Yet many are left wondering what exactly that means.

Optimization is forming content to be received in the best possible way. Transforming a story to an optimized press release is a feat; so when Fusion-io boldly announced the peak ascend of Mt. Everest using optimization, my interest was more than piqued.

Fighting Alzheimer’s at Altitude: Scale the Mt. Everest Memory Challenge

Headline: Headlines are paramount. With search engines indexing only the first 65 characters and this being the first introduction to your story, it needs to stand out. Not every release will be literally climbing Mt. Everest, but generating the same buzz and interest starts with the headline.  This headline is short, pithy, and combines the main objectives together: Alzheimer’s, Mt. Everest, and a Memory Challenge.

Social Media: This release featured a custom hashtag: #MemoryChallenge and included a feed to see tweets with the hashtag. This presents a steady stream of information that is constantly updating (because twitter is continuous) on the release itself. Not only does including this cross platforms and channels to share the story, but it guarantees the release stay relevant.

Links: The connective tissue of the web, search engine spiders  are so named because they crawl across web sites and content, following links and gauging relevance and popularity . Connecting related content to your press releases via  a link or two provides your readers with more information, and when the readers follow the links you share, it sends an important signal to the engines – this is good stuff, people like it and are seeking more information.   This release is a good example of smart linking: instead of a slew of links at the very bottom, this release features information throughout!

*Be wary of being “spammy.” Less is more when it comes to linking.  Try to limit links to just a few – one or two are ideal.

Multimedia: Whether it takes looking at a release as “branding” or sending a story, including visuals is imperative within our modern world. Plainly: audiences are looking for more than just text.

Setting the stage (or base camp) are visuals of the mountain and the details of the impressive trek. Instantly the viewer is drawn in because it is interesting. Images are inherently interesting!

Telling a story via press release can be dull or empowering. The power of optimization is at fingertips’ length and the difference can be truly breathtaking.

 Big thanks to Fusion-io for a mountain-top experience with a great release.

http://www.multivu.com/players/English/60918-fusion-io-climb-for-memory/

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.