Category Archives: Digital Content

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.

Author Emily Nelson is a Customer Content Specialist for PR Newswire. Follow her adventures on or on twitter

Social Curation for Writers

Twice a month, ProfNet hosts #ConnectChat, a Twitter-based interview that covers topics of interest to media and communications professionals. The latest chat featured writer Linda Bernstein, who discussed social curation for writers.

With all of the information and data available online, it’s more important than ever for writers to filter through the noise. In this chat, Bernstein discussed why writers should use social curation, including some of the available tools that help work manage the social clutter.

ImageBernstein teaches social media in the continuing education program at Columbia University’s School of Journalism. She has more than 35 years of experience in all corners of journalism and publishing, including as editor of Sesame Street Parents, Scholastic Parent and Child and Modern Bride Connection magazines. She is currently a contributor to PBS’ Next Avenue. In addition, she is a speaker, social media consultant and conference organizer. Her own blog, GenerationBSquared, is an active voice for the baby boomer generation.

Following is a recap of the chat:

Linda, thanks so much for joining us. Let’s get right to it. What is social curation?

Social curation is selecting and organizing material you pick up on social media. With curation, we make sure our audience has best possible information.

What’s the difference between curation and aggregation?

Aggregation is simply bringing together a bunch of stuff in a “pile,” so to speak. Curation involves thought, judgment, and selection.

So aggregation is getting all the info, and curation is sorting through it?

Yes, aggregation is collecting; curating is choosing and selecting and making sense. Journalists need to focus on information and filter away all the noise of social.

What is good definition of noise, and how do you avoid it?

Noise, I would say, is all the information that floats about on social that may be inaccurate or not useful. We avoid noise by becoming good curators — which is what we’re talking about!

In what ways are people already curating on social media?

We are all already using Twitter lists, and “friend” settings on Facebook. We also have been, in our heads at least, selecting trusted sources. We also curate the experts we get from ProfNet. If someone is great, we follow her and use again.

Why is curation important for journalists/writers? Why do they need to be doing it?

There is so much happening on social that, without it, we would go nuts — or not see the story. Curating also means we have better, accurate sources we trust. Curation isn’t something that happens overnight. You work on it over time.

Can you give an example of how a writer would use curation for, say, breaking news?

For Twitter, you would search hashtags. You can use or Also, don’t forget to look at trending topics. You might find the most used hashtags there. Also, see who is tweeting in the hashtag. Use search! Hashtags are so rich with possibility. Find journalists and experts you trust and follow them. It helps to do your homework way beforehand. Choose major cities; find news sources there you trust.

How do you make sure you’re not plagiarizing when you’re curating?

Be smart. Give credit. Follow fair use laws. Find out what is copyrighted and cannot be shared. Here’s a link to U.S. fair use/copyright laws: 

Do you have a favorite tool for curating?

My favorite tool: my brain. Also:

  • For curating people, I love oneQube. While following my home stream, I can click on buttons to find out about people. Here is my oneQube for today’s chat report:
  • HootSuite enables you to filter tweets so you get rid of noise: Get Started with Twitter and HootSuite.
  • For putting together a story, nothing beats Storify. It pulls in videos and tweets from the Web. Here are some great directions for putting together a Storify: Tips for Using Storify in Your Reporting and Digital Storytelling.
  •, a people research platform in now in closed beta. Their CEO, Perri Blake Gorman, is on Twitter: @bethebutterfly.
  • OverBlog, a blogging platform that enables you to highlight your curated social, including Facebook and Google +.
  • SeeSaw is amazing. You type in a hashtag, and it shows you tiles. Pictures from links are displayed. With SeeSaw, you can take the tiles you see and like and save them to a board.
  • Rebel Mouse: collects your social stream – you can embed it into your site. Widely used by news orgs.
  • Prismatic lets you connect to a newsfeed based on your interests.
  • With, you decide on a topic, name the stream, and handpick sources. Also offers some suggested content.
  • For journalists, Storyful verifies information. It’s not a free tool, but most news organizations subscribe.
  • Pocket (formerly Read It Later) is my favorite way to save things to read later. You can organize what you save with tags.

Pocket sounds really interesting, especially for those of us with terrible memories.

I have a button on my browser. It makes life easy! In fact, most of these tools have browser buttons. Here is a list, though some of the tools aren’t around anymore: The Best Content Curation Tools for Journalists.

With so many tools, how do we decide which one to use?

I always say: Be an early tester. Be a thoughtful adopter. Try them all. Use what you like. There are so many wonderful tools, but, ultimately, they will impede us unless we settle on a few helpful ones. You should curate your tools as well as all the information.

ProfNet, a service of PR Newswire, connects PR professionals with journalists and writers in need of subject-matter experts.  Each month, ProfNet users are quoted in hundreds of media outlets, ranging from major newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and New York Times to trade magazines like Risk Management and QSR magazine.  Users receive queries about potential story opportunities daily, and can manage the type and volume of queries received.  Want to know more? Get a quote or request a free trial at:

Content We Love: Social Media Makes this Release Pop

“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.

Kellogg's Pop-Tarts 'Gone Nutty!' Toaster Pastries, Now Available in Two Peanut Butter Flavor Varieties.  (PRNewsFoto/Kellogg Company)

Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts ‘Gone Nutty!’ Toaster Pastries, Now Available in Two Peanut Butter Flavor Varieties. (PRNewsFoto/Kellogg Company)

Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but when it comes to a modern press release, social media is reigning champion.

My eyes popped upon seeing Kellogg’s recent release announcing the new Pop-Tarts® lineup. The release jumped from a “traditional release” (just text) to a supercharged social media delight!

Social media can be daunting but is important when it comes to releasing news. Why, you ask? Search engines are showing social content higher and higher (as of May 16th,Yahoo! is showing tweets in the news feed itself), a whole untapped audience is awaiting on these social channels (more and more are joining daily), AND it expands the life of a release.

Imagine dropping colored dye into a glass of water. The moment the dye hits the water, the entire glass changes color. Impact. If you can drop more dye into more glasses of water, the dye goes even further and affects even more.

Sharing your story on social media is adding glasses of water!

Kellogg accomplished this by way of Click-To-Tweet.

Click to Tweet: Pop-Tarts have Gone Nutty! @poptarts411 brings fans the most requested flavor #CrazyGoodPB! Check it out

A) is a website for custom tweet creation. Want others to tweet something specific? Create a click-to-tweet!  The release is so much more shareable because quite literally, it is a push of a button.

B) The tweet is solid – the handle (@poptarts411 is called a ‘handle’ as it is how to find the company/person/group on twitter) is within the tweet instead of at the beginning. This is important because tweets that start with a handle look like replies or a conversation in progress. While the hope is for replies and conversations, many simply skip over tweets that start with a handle. Optimum visibility is not starting with the @.

C) #Hashtags are the way to search via social media. It shares a thought/trend/news that connects others. The #Discover feature at the top of twitter finds the news you’re looking for. Whether it is a #workout or sharing your Pop-Tarts® #CrazyGoodPB experience, you can find conversations around the #.

The press release did not just stop there. Also included a link enabling readers to connect on Facebook, providing seamless connections on multiple platforms.

Having social-media friendly releases are not difficult to have but imperative in our social-savvy world. Start the conversations by putting your content on social media platforms. Share your news and let your story be heard everywhere it can.

Big thanks to the Kellogg Company for the release we’re nuts over!

Author Emily Nelson is a Customer Content Specialist for PR Newswire. Follow her adventures on or on twitter

Is a Paid Placement Right for Your Campaign?

There’s been a lot of buzz in the communications industry around the idea of using paid placements (also referred to as “strategic placements),  yet misconceptions persist about what this term actually means and when they are appropriate to use.  In a nutshell, a strategic placement is a 30 or 60 second stand- alone video in a newsbreak format that is used to provide news content during breaks in scheduled programming for TV or radio.  Video produced from B-roll and Satellite Media Tours (SMTs) as well as Radio Media Tours (RMTs) can also be repurposed into scripted packages for strategic placement on national or local TV and radio. 

When to use a paid placement? 

To increase the audience for a broadcast campaign: Impressions are often king in the broadcast world, but in some cases, satellite or radio media tours (“SMTs” and “RMTs” respectively) may not  garner the number of impressions that clients often like to see.  To increase the return on the investment in broadcast production, we always advise employing a multi-faceted approach so that content can be seen and heard on a variety of mediums.   Paid placements can often help get air time on cable and network affiliates that are often unattainable otherwise, and can be a great way to increase your audience ‘footprint.’  For example, CNBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, Headline News, and The Daily Buzz are just a handful of typically coveted networks where content can be easily placed with the paid approach. 

To Target Local Markets or Demographics: Some initiatives have a local focus, with coverage wanted regionally, for example a bank that has only east coast branches. By utilizing paid placement, content can be placed in specific cities, states and/or on major national networks – adding a niche targeting approach.  Add a statewide radio distribution and impressions skyrocket.

Targeting a specific demographic? A cluster of cable outlets can be selected to further refine goals.  For example, content geared toward women can be placed on ABC Family and Lifetime, video devoted to entertainment can be placed on Comedy Central and Discovery, and Lifestyle related content can be placed on networks such as Food Network and HGTV.


Broadcast paid placements can be a great addition to add to any multi-tiered broadcast approach. In addition to helping to boost impressions,  paid placements can be used to target specific cities, states and regions and deliver  the message to the right demographic.

Want to explore new ways to tell your brand’s story and to reach new audiences?  We’d be happy to chat with you about creating a video or a designing multimedia distribution strategy that will increase discovery of your brand’s messages.  We’d love to hear your ideas, and help turn them into reality. Contact us for more information.

Author Risa Chuang is Director of Media Relations for MultiVu, a PR Newswire company.

Content We Love: 2013 January-March in Review

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 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.

News. Content. Engagement.

The many reasons for sending press releases mirror the many types of releases we see here at PR Newswire. From January through March, we have seen a variety of compelling messages that captured our attention.

Social media campaigns, captivating headlines, riveting infographics, and compelling videos took center stage throughout the beginning of the year and the world took notice. These are some of the releases from January, February, and March of 2013 that we absolutely love.

 01. Pop Culture Pets: Veterinary Pet Insurance released the top names for our furry friends and the tale (or tail) leads to Twilight for inspiration.

 02. Riveting Headline: American DG Energy Inc. passed “go” in our books with this captivating headline. The energy agreement started its 15-year sentence at a county jail and served a conversation on social media channels to discuss it.

 03. Big Nominations: Kino Lorber’s release wins an award in our book for showcasing a video and pictures to accompany the big news of an Oscar nomination. From a beautiful film to a beautiful release, we applaud you!

04. Digital Love: Social media reigns supreme in recent survey from highlighting the technological advances to dating past and present. Will #tweetups and a digital date be next?

05. DIY Wedding: Michaels Stores released a budding romance for 2013 with the top DIY wedding ideas. While we were fawning over the ideas (and pinning the pictures), the video perfectly complimented the message. DIY puts the merry in merriment.

06. #GoAndSmellTheRoses: Around the world in minutes, Travelocity’s roaming gnome urges all to take the vacation of a lifetime. The new campaign features great visuals and an official hashtag. Inspired for travel, we all want to #GoAndSmellTheRoses

07. Free Food Madness: Shooting hoops isn’t the only thing on the menu for Outback Steakhouse. To celebrate March Madness, their bracket-tournament was for a free juicy appetizer.

Kudos — and thanks — to the organizations listed  for the pleasure of reading your phenomenal releases and allowing us to spotlight your stories.

Author Emily Nelson is a Customer Content Specialist for PR Newswire. Follow her adventures on or on twitter

Social Influence on Business Strategy: Empathy is the Secret Sauce

This post originally appeared on the Business4Better Blog.

Ed note: Today is the second day of Business4Better, a new event produced by PR Newswire’s parent company, UBM plc., designed to foster partnerships between non-profits and corporations. As I was scanning the blog posts recapping the first day, I spotted the post below and decided to share it with you.  It’s an interesting illustration of the degree to which social influences have permeated business decision making and strategy, and the importance of empathy to an organization’s success.  – SSReconciling a balance sheet or analyzing data for the next great product is not the only metric that drives the success of great companies. Rather, the secret sauce has to do with empathy for the world around you.

It is not just business for better, it is better for business, says Dev Patnaik, CEO of Jump Associates and author of Wired to Care who opened up the Business4Better show here in Anaheim.

He implored businesses to reconnect with their humanity and gave examples of companies that are doing this today. “When we are fact-based and living our lives with PowerPoint data, we are only bringing in a part of our brains every day to work, says Patnaik. “You have to have that connection and get out beyond your walls and spend the time in the real world.”

Harley Davidson is a company that embraces these ideals. “The minute you walk into Harley Davidson headquarters, the parking lot is overflowing with Harleys, the building smells like leather and the company keeps the connection to the world around them. There is an authenticity. We are them and they are us,” said Patnaik.

Patnaik also compared the culture of Nike and Reebok. Nike is a culture of athletes and Reebok is a culture of MBAs that sell shoes. Great companies have a gut sense to know what is right, the passion to leap on something new and the courage to stick with something shaky; he added.

Some view empathy is a lovey-dovey word but Nike and Harley Davidson are hard charging places, he said. “When you care about people more than yourself, you will innovate and grow. You will have a sense of mission and reason to come into work every day.”

Kelley DamoreAuthor  is Chief Community Officer at UBM Tech. 

A New Way to Crowdsource a Campaign

The Social Media Club of New York City (SMCNYC) hosted an event last month  showcasing Ford Motor Co. on the floor of the New York International Auto show to reveal Ford’s fun, new marketing campaign for its fuel-efficient vehicle C-MAX.

Team Detroit, Ford’s agency, came up with print, TV and digital banners using the Italian “La Linea” character, but they needed social too. This is when the social group at Team Detroit stepped in to create a concept.

C-MAX Live Social Campaign

The group describes C-MAX Live by saying: “Imagine yourself in a live crowdsourced Instagram animation.” The concept they came up with integrates traditional, media, and social media in a way that hasn’t been done before by creating a live, crowdsourced animation, which is done through Instagram.

The Process Behind the Concept

Team Detroit needed to bring the “La Linea” character to life, so they decided to literally bring people into this character’s world. The group wanted to create an animation that would incorporate real people interacting with the character, but first they needed to create a story.

Team Detroit started storyboarding it out and seeing how many frames it would take to have people interacting and doing certain scenarios with the “La Linea” character. Shilo studios joined the project by doing the math that was necessary to figure out frame rates and make sure everything worked in size and scale. They had the line drawing put together into a storyboard. From that storyboard they pulled 68 individual frames that had people interacting with them. Those 68 frames were then used for traditional out-of-home buys, such as postings in malls, movie theaters, and events all over the country in their top C-MAX markets.

How People Can Interact With the C-MAX Live Boards

What they are asking people to do is to literally line their bodies up with the dotted line on the boards (see images below). Once you line yourself up with the “La Linea” character in the background, you take your picture through Instagram and apply the hashtag “C-MAX,” and through object recognition they are able to pull that animation and stitch it back together in real-time live.

You then go to a landing page and you opt-in through Instagram, and you can see yourself in the animation with people from all over the country in real-time. The animation is always dynamic and changing, so you will always see yourself but everyone else will change because it is pulling in those people from all over the country who are interacting with the boards. In addition, if you have an Instagram friend participating in a different city and at a completely different board, then you will see them in your animation.

This campaign launches on May 1 in various cities. Here is a list of the cities, along with a link to the animation:

Whether you’re a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email — all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at

Written by Polina Opelbaum, editor of ProfNet, a service that helps journalists connect with expert sources.  To read more from Polina, check out her blog on ProfNet Connect.