Tag Archives: content marketing

I Wanna See! Visuals are the Holy Grail of Storytelling

A 2 year old girl is being recorded on video by her father, and just as he’s almost done recording, she grabs for the camera.  Dad didn’t have time to stop recording, and a two year olds’ hands grasp the camera, you hear her immediate need for gratification, “I wanna see”.

This was the story being told and shown by Jim Lin, VP of Digital Strategy at Ketchum Public Relations in San Francisco and author of the BusyDadBlog, as he finished his workshop at the Visual Storytelling Workshop that was held last week in San Francisco.

The audience gathered to learn from Lou Hoffman – CEO and Founder of The Hoffman Agency; Jim Lin – VP & Digital Strategist at Ketchum PR; Brian Solis (via Skype) – Author and Principle Analyst at The Altimeter Group; and Lee Sherman – Co-Founder and Chief Content Officer at Visual.ly.

Lou Hoffman started the day talking about the importance of telling a good story and how visuals serve as the shortcut to the emotional touch points of the story.  In fact, he spoke about a study that The Hoffman Agency did on articles in the economist and how 17% of the stories over a 3 month period included anecdotes in them, yet less than 5% of press releases do so.   A good story has visuals to connect, and as an example, he offered this video from Caterpillar:

Storytelling today has a new process.  Online, good stories can take on a life of their own.   Lou showed his theory of the new Communicator’s Story Spike:

Jim Lin then spoke up about how visual storytelling can be the cure for the “common meh”.  Good visuals can bring the true emotion to the story.  Piggybacking on those emotional touch points, Jim spoke about how people don’t always remember the stories (facts and figures), but remember how they felt in that moment….yet too many brands leave passion on the table to settle for just the facts and text.   The importance that multimedia can bring to the table…good snackable content…and related the contents of a multimedia story to that of a good lunchable – short text, nice video, good visual all in one box ready to be lunch.  This is truly the way to make your story an experience for the consumer of that story.  At PR Newswire, we know this is true based on our own studies that have shown that visual stories get more views and generate more engagement.

Brian Solis then joined the crowd gather via Skype to bring his passion on the subject front forward.  In just launching his new book, WTF Business – What’s The Future of Business – Brian spoke about creating a business book that was more meant to be a visual experience.  (I know it’s the first business book that I’ve seen that is in a coffee table book format. )  His desire to present his content in this way was developed with his passion to try new things and break the rules of common convention.

When it comes to breaking common conventions today, Brian passionately spoke about this being the best time for PR & Marketing professionals to recreate all the rules.  The trends of content marketing are about “stitching together moments of truth” for the passionate consumer.   Brian explores this “ultimate moments of truth” in his new book, and finds that connecting visuals and stories lead people down the path to purchase because we are now connecting facts & figure to emotional connection.

Finally, Lee Sherman joined us from Visual.ly, one of the most visually exciting companies out there today.   Lee is passionate about connecting data to that visual story.   People are starting to suffer from I.F. – Infographic Fatigue.   So, now we need to be able to tell a better and more cohesive story, and visuals can help do that.  Just check out this video created by Visual.ly:

Visual Storytelling doesn’t have to be complex, but it does have to be emotional.   PR Newswire will be hosting another workshop on Visual Storytelling in Atlanta on April 24th.

Potent & Creative Content Earns Attention: See The EARNIES Winners!


Earlier this month, we announced the winners of our 2nd earned media awards program, The Earnies.  The caliber of work was impressive and is testament to the fact that PR professionals and marketers are truly pushing creative boundaries and thinking outside the box to successfully connect with their audiences and drive business results.  And with thousands of votes cast by our community, this year’s winners can walk away knowing their work was admired not just by us, but by their peers.

The winners are:

The Earnies Grand Prix:   The Advertising Council

Campaign: “FWD Campaign” by the Ad Council and USAID

usaid mnr

A snapshot of the Multimedia News Release used to promote the FWD>> campaign. Click on the image to see the actual MNR.

 In an effort to raise national awareness about the famine, war and drought in the Horn of Africa, The Ad Council joined forces with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and created the FWD (Famine, War, Drought) campaign, encouraging Americans to FWD the facts about the crisis and support relief operations.  By leveraging a variety of social media channel and the influence of their partners, allies and agencies to spread the message, the Ad Council achieved astounding results – reaching millions of people, igniting incredible audience interaction and generating an impressive amount of content surrounding the campaign.

Best Use of Video in Social Media: LatentView Analytics

Campaign: Confessions of a Serial Analyst

In order to showcase their workplace culture, LatentView Analytics tested their filmmaking skills and also put their own in front of the camera. “Confessions of a Serial Analysts” was filmed in their India office and the result was a fun, short film that resulted in thousands of video views and Facebook likes – and gave viewers insight into the world of LatentView Analytics.

Best Connection to Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook Audience: New Media Strategies

Campaign: Engaging the casual wine buyer: The Wine Bar Facebook Community

wine tasting
Diageo Chateau & Estates needed help establishing a social presence for their Lifestyle Wines and attracting a younger demographic of wine drinkers.  After conducting thorough research of the audience, their behaviors, likes and wants, as well as of the competition, New Media Strategies strategically created an editorial calendar which focused on easily digestible and visual content and launched a new Facebook page to reach this audience. The Wine Bar Facebook page quickly became an online wine community that boasts a fan base of 31,000+ with extremely high interaction outpacing the competition

We Can’t Believe That Worked!:New Media Strategies

Campaign: ACCCE “Click-to-Call” Grassroots Advocacy

earnies12-believe-NewMediaACCCE, American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, wanted rally online advocates to take offline action, increase the level of activism and increase online visibility in search and social.  In order to do so, New Media Strategies, needed to identify a way to do so quickly and easily, and motivate “an army of grassroots supporters into a quantifiable result.”  Using a two-fold approach, educate and activate, NMS developed a first-of-its-kind, a click-to-call campaign using Twitter, owned email lists and Facebook to connect local supporters directly to their  state senators.  With 3,300 calls and 41 hours of constituent-to-congressional-office talk time and promoted tweets, ACCCE saw a ~153 percent increase in followers. Furthermore, Twitter and Google used this campaign to create platform case studies, highlighting the success of this campaign as a first-of-its-kind in the advocacy space.

Best Use of Social Listening for Campaign Planning: General Electric

Campaign: HealthyShare: Surprise & Delight

ge tweetLooking to strengthen the public’s association of health and health-related subjects with the General Electric brand, GE developed a campaign that would allow them to have meaningful conversations about health, engage audiences that were interested in such subjects and grow brand enthusiasm.  By using a refined list of Twitter search terms and carefully listening to conversations taking place on Twitter, GE was able to identify a strong audience base to target, establish trust and share healthy gifts that helped generated earned media and new brand advocates.

Best Visual Campaign through Pinterest or Instagram: Fathom

ConsumerCrafts Back-to-School Crafter’s Challenge


It’s no surprise that the use of visual content is a necessity for ConsumerCrafts, an online craft store that sells affordable arts & craft supplies for jewelry making, scrapbooking, kid’s crafts and more.  So in order to increase Pinterest followers and pins, Fathom and ConsumerCrafts developed a contest that invited users to submit photos of creative kid’s craft projects using back-to-school items.  The winning entry was simply determined by the highest number of repins.  ConsumerCrafts saw a significant increase of blog and website referral traffic, engagement from bloggers promoting the contest, hundreds of repins and was able to identify new followers, as well.

Best Use of an Infographic: Cisco Systems

Campaign: The Internet of Things

earnies12-infographic-CiscoInternetArmed with the understanding that there are more devices tapping into the Internet than people on Earth to use them, Cisco set out to bring awareness that connections to the Internet go way beyond the obvious – computers, tablets and phones – and explain the impact this has on business.  Furthermore, Cisco sought to drive positive conversation around their brand and its role in bringing the network into its current, impressive state.  By creating an infographic and thoughtful messaging to support it, and then promoting it through multiple channels, Cisco’s campaign, “The Internet of Things,” was a huge success.  In fact, Cisco noticed a 30% increase in quantity of conversation and a 7% increase in sentiment; 100MM+ impressions, impressive media pick up and significant social conversation and tweets by thousands, including industry influencers.

Best Global Communications Campaign: Tourico Holidays, Inc

Campaign: Best Hotel Promotion Combined with a Worthy Cause!

earnies12-global-TourisoIn an effort to increase revenue during a one-month global promotion and also raise $40,000 for Give Kids the World Village, Tourico Holidays had to get creative.  By engaging contracted hotels and creating a system that encourages small donations, a match program, along with promotion of the campaign through email, social media, at events and on their website, Tourico was able to increase the number of bookings by 93% and increase revenue by an impressive $685,000.  Before all of the check-ins even occurred, they were able to donate the $40,000 to Give the Kids the World Village and hope to triple that once all hotel check-ins are made.

Best Integrated Campaign on a Shoestring Budget: Gutterglove

Campaign: Gutterglove Brings China Manufacturing Back to California

earnies12-grandprix-GuttergloveGutterglove wanted to bring awareness to the fact that bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. would improve the American economy and began to create the content to do so.  With just $3,000 to spend, Gutterglove was forced to think outside the box.  One of their employees, John Quincy Adams IV, was the descendant of our former presidents and leveraged this fact and incorporated it into messaging to spark additional interest in their story. That, along with a website dedicated to promoting the cause, helped Gutterglove see huge earned media success across broadcast, print and social media.

Best Piece of Branded Content: CSC

Campaign: Connected Consumer

With a new, major Leading Edge Forum (LEF) report, “Connected Consumer and the Future of Financial Services” in hand, CSC wanted to put this piece of content to work to stimulate conversation among the media, analysts and clients, enhance their reputation, promote themselves as thought leaders and generate leads.  By executing a thorough, targeted, multi-channel campaign that considered internal and external stakeholders and influencers, CSC’s campaign was able to do so. By implementing a number of tactics – including live-tweeting of a panel discussion, relevant, third-party blog posts, town halls, dedicated sales tools and more, CSC secured coverage in major financial services outlets,  received enthusiastic feedback from analysts,  garnered more than 40,000 Twitter impressions in just over a week and generated hundreds of leads through downloading of the report.

We were inspired (and a bit awed) by these winning entries, and the runners up.   Our congratulations to the winning entrants, and our hearty thanks to our judges:

And thanks also to YOU, our readers who cast their votes to determine the final winners!

How Content Distribution Drives Message Discovery (and Results!)

Like any business, sometimes our own story needs telling.  Earlier this year, we decided that we needed to do some PR for our MultiVu business, which focuses on the production and distribution of multimedia content.   It’s cutting edge stuff, with some truly unique aspects, and it sits right between PR and marketing, and we needed to offer some explanation and raise awareness of these services.

So what did we do?  We did the same thing any of you, our customers, would do.   First, our team brainstormed the messaging.  They outlined the key points we needed to convey from a brand standpoint, and then approached the messaging from the opposite context – the questions our audience often asks has about producing video and other multimedia content, and the various struggles that can complicate these projects.

“The hardest thing to do is to distill what you do into a short-form, engaging video,” noted Bev Yehuda, vice president of web engagement products for MultiVu.  “We had to apply what we tell our clients all the  time regarding developing a video: if you don’t take the time out during the process to determine what your elevator pitch is, you run the risk of creating irrelevant content.”

With the messaging drafted, it was time to determine the medium.   Since this was about MultiVu, we knew we needed to use multimedia messaging.   We wanted to show our expertise (and our personality!) in a fun and friendly way, so we went with an animated approach.

Upping exposure with distribution

Once our animated video was done, we packaged it into a multimedia news release (“MNR”,) which combines a variety of distribution strategies and channels.

mv mnr explainer

Here’s a snapshot of the MNR we created to promote the MultiVu video. Click on the image to see the whole thing.


Of course, we could have simply shared the video socially – and we did post it directly to a number of social sharing sites – but the distribution component that is built into an MNR is crucial, for a number of different reasons:

  • Distribution drives discovery, delivering content to relevant audiences across the web – on channels, via news web sites and in industry niches.
  • Discovery seeds social conversation, amplifying your message, and increasing exposure to relevant groups.
  • Social conversations deliver third party credibility that can spur people to take action.
  • Distribution increases the number of digital touch points for your brand, and if your audience values the content, it will gain visibility in search results.  Search engines are informed by user activity and interactions around a piece of content.

How Content Distribution Drives Social Interaction

Prior to the release of the MNR, we shared the video itself on PR Newswire’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages. More than 1,400 of our Facebook fans saw the video, and it was liked by 6 and shared by 3.   It fared better on LinkedIn, where it was seen by 1,983 people, generated 30 click-throughs and 8 shares.  Decent exposure for the two minutes (if that) required to share the video with PR Newswire followers.

mv distribution effect on social

However, if you need proof of how distribution drives social interaction with content, you needn’t look any further than the sharing numbers the MNR generated.  Readers of the MNR shared it with their Facebook friends 196 times (as of this writing.)

Distributed content reaches qualified, interested audiences.  And social shares have a strong viral effect, triggering more shares.

Overall Multimedia News Release Results

The social sharing was just one aspect of the visibility the MNR generated for MultiVu.  Over all, adding distribution paid off for this project, tallying thousands of reads of the press release — and tens of thousands of video views.

mv explainer Multimedia News Release Results

It’s very satisfying for us to put on a “customer” hat and use our own services to promote our messages, and witness first-hand how our networks deliver lasting results and visibility.  And based upon the results of this campaign, you can look for more from these animated characters created by MultiVu – several more videos are in the works!

Want to explore creating your own “explainer” video or learning about how multimedia distribution can 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.

sarah avatarAuthor Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media, and is the author of the e-book “Unlocking Social Media for PR.”  Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik .

Common Themes from the Content & Distribution Track at SXSWi 2013

This year’s programming for South By Southwest featured an entire track devoted to the subjects of content and distribution.   The sessions in that track varied wildly from ultra-tactical (“How to Rank Better in Google and Bing,”) to the esoteric (“#CatVidFest: Is This the End of Art?”) Despite the wild array of subject matter and expertise that are the hallmarks of SxSW Interactive, common themes did emerge over the course of the conference, and communicators should take note.

Don’t forget we’re talking about human behavior.

In addition to the hundreds of panels devoted to the discussion of storytelling and other content tactis, the Interactive program also devoted considerable space to user experience design (“UXD”) and different aspects of psychology.  Why?  Because ultimately, marketing communications exist to influence human behavior.   Sitting in sessions that picked apart the psychology of habits, the social behaviors that drive the rapid spread of a meme across social channels or discussed how YouTube’s treatment of comments encourages troll-like behavior among those commenting on videos really drove this fact home.

The discussion of what makes media spread in the panel titled “Spreadable Media,” offers a profound example.  Think about it: we sit in front of our screens, and an avalanche of Tweets, Facebook posts, links in emails and other content floods our attention.  As human beings, we make specific choices about that content. What’s worth passing along, and to whom?  And in which channel?  And as part of what conversation?

UPDATE: The speakers have published a book titled (unsurprisingly) Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture. It sounds like a good read. 

“If we just think in terms of going viral, we’re not treating the audience as having social agency or cultural effect,” one of the panelists (I didn’t catch which, though I captured the quote verbatim) noted. “We strip away the politics of what goes viral.”  Simply referring to a piece of media as “viral” in nature glosses over the choices that went into mobilizing the material, which means that we overlook the very mechanics of the message, and what caused it to resonate with the audience.  And I think that any marketer can agree, that is stuff worth knowing.

Content needs to be quality.  Everything else is a waste of time, and can injure your brand.   

There are myriad reasons why it’s important to be selective about what you publish – and that message was emphasized in a variety of sessions.  Quality content that’s useful to the audience generates the kind of engagement signals (e.g. time on page, click-throughs, shares) that search engines notice.  The same sort of quality content is that that is most likely to spread and augment your brand’s image and credibility.

It turns out that the downside to publishing content that doesn’t make the grade with the audience isn’t simply a waste of time.   Lightweight content that doesn’t deliver value to the reader will cause visitors to “bounce” (immediately leave) from a web page, sending a negative signal to the ever-vigilant search engines.   Bad content can also result an active departure from the brand audience, by motivating people to disassociate from the brand by un-liking or un-following social presences, or unsubscribing from an email newsletter.   Content for content’s sake is a bad idea.  It won’t trigger the human behavior you’re after, which in turn won’t result in the search engine ranking the brand desires.

Now that you’re back home and have had a chance to unpack – both your luggage and your brain – what were the theme that stood out to you at South By this year?

sarah avatarAuthor Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media, and is the author of the e-book “Unlocking Social Media for PR.”  Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik

Want to make your media spread?  PR Newswire can distribute your content — text, images, video and any combination thereof — to digital audiences both broad and narrow.

SXSW: Forget Stories. Your Brand Needs a Narrative.

If you’ve spent any time at all recently reading PR and marketing blogs, you know that storytelling is a top trend, and for good reason.  Building storytelling into the communications mix delivers the personable and engaging messaging that sticks with audiences and is effective fodder for social content consumption.

However, at SXSW yesterday, I learned where stories fall short in a brilliant presentation titled “Moving from Story to Narrative,” by John Hagel, author of “The Power of Pull” and co-chairman of Deloitte’s Center for the Edge.

The problem with stories, Hagel argued, stems from the fact that they’re not participatory.   Stories are told to the reader, from the vantage point of the teller.  This leads to the next problem.  Stories eventually end, and the reader moves on to other things.  Now, savvy marketers reading this will say to themselves that those other things can be influenced by providing compelling calls to action, streams of related nurturing content or the ability to participate an adjacent community.   Without a doubt, this is all true, but even the best CTAs don’t work all of the time.

Enter the narrative.

Narratives differ from stories in two important ways, according to Hagel.  First, narratives don’t have an end.  They are open ended, and the resolution is yet to be determined.  Secondly, narratives invite participation.   The inherent message isn’t “Listen” — it’s “Join.”

“Narratives motivate actions,” Hagel noted in his presentation.  “In some cases, they motivate life and death choices.  Stories don’t do this.  Every powerful movement that has impacted our world has been shaped and energized by a potent narrative.”

The “Think Different” slogan from Apple beautifully encapsulated the company’s narrative: how technology and intuitive design can enable people to achieve  more. As Hagel said, Apple founders Jobs and Wozniak thought differently from day one.

  • Apple:  Their charge to “Think Different” isn’t about Apple.  It’s about us, and how we can use technology to achieve more.  Apple is the catalyst.
  • Christianity:  People are born in sin, but have the opportunity to be saved.  How things turn out isn’t known, but it will be determined by people’s choices and actions.
  • The American dream — Anyone from anywhere can achieve anything:  This opportunity expressed in this narrative has drawn people from all over the world to America for hundreds of years.

“In a business context, if you can harness the power of narrative, you can derive competitive advantage,” said Hagel.  Narratives work because they don’t simply motivate employees, they can galvanize a broad swath of people, and inspire them to action.

From campaign to context

I took pages and pages of notes during Hagel’s presentation, even winning kudos for speed and thoroughness from the reporter sitting next to me in the audience.  For the last 24 hours, I’ve been noodling on what he said, thinking about how a brand might start to embrace narratives.  As Hagel mentioned in his presentation, narratives take root organically, growing from the actions of people, and they evolve over time.  They aren’t the product of a brainstorm session, so this post won’t contain Tips for Making Narratives Work for Your Brand or anything like that.

However, there are strong parallels between Hagel’s description of the narrative, and the move we’re seeing in marketing away from episodic campaigns, and toward living brand streams.  The clear message is that today’s audiences crave context, and communicators can derive more power for their brands by providing that important framework.

I’m going to go away and think about the narratives emerging within my company, and my industry, certainly. However, I’m also going to be thinking long and hard about the connective tissue content generates, and how that can be used to create context around opportunities.  If a narrative emerges, great.  But in the meantime, there are important lessons for communicators about what makes people tick in John Hagel’s work.

sarah avatarAuthor Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media, and is the author of the e-book “Unlocking Social Media for PR.”  Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik

Is your interest in honing your brand’s content strategy piqued by today’s post?  Join PR Newswire and special guests Brian Solis,  Jim Lin and Lou Hoffman for a live event  in San Francisco titled  Tipping the Engagement Scale in Your Favor: How to Employ Multimedia Content for Compelling Storytelling

Related reading:

Create narratives, not stories – Moxie Interactive

Moving from Story to Narrative – @ItsDane

What Content Creators Can Learn from Tablet Design Pros

According to recent Adobe study, tablets are trumping smartphones in global website traffic.

Users of the internet prefer to use tablets for more in depth visits.  Whether they’re shopping, watching videos or just leisurely browsing the mobile web, tablet users tend to visit 70% more web pages than smartphone users do.

The experts on the panel titled “Lean Forward, Lean Back: Tablet News Experiences,” Dr. Mario Garcia of Garcia Media and Sarah Quinn of the Poynter Institute, discussed findings from the Poynter Eyetrack tablet research study, and some of those findings provide useful instruction for content creators seeking to reach tablet users.

You have about 10 seconds to keep readers from bailing out, according to the Poynter study.  Content publishers need to provide readers with what they panelists called “gold coins,” such as pulled quotes and visual elements to keep engaged. Dr. Garcia referred to this as the pop-up moment – something needs to happen to keep them reading more.

People consume content via the “media quartet”  — papers, the web, smartphones and tablets.  However, user behavior for each media type is different.  Papers and tablets are “lean back” media – readers put their feet up, and slow down.  Conversely, smartphones and the web are generally “lean forward” media – users are moving quickly and need to find information quickly.

Content publishers also need to keep these behaviors in mind when designing content, because one size doesn’t fit all.   In order to capture audience attention on each channel, the content needs to suit the users’ needs.

Related reading: a Storify collection from the session: Storytelling in the age of the tablet.

By Erika Kash, product manager, online services, MultiVu.


Want to make a viral video? Don’t forget the PR! #SXSW

Newsflash – brand videos don’t go viral.  According to the #ComedyTech panel yesterday at South by Southwest Interactive, viruses go viral; videos spread.  To simply describe that spread as “viral” implies an organic, infective power that simply doesn’t exist — and worse, it overlooks the mechanics of creating a video that successfully develops a life of its own online.

Whether or not a video spreads on the web and in social networks is largely predicated upon three things:

1) Whether or not the video is funny (seriously, when’s the last time you shared an inspirational video? Or a boring one?)

2) The video’s originality.

3) The PR push behind it.

According to the panel, the real driver behind the spread of videos online is getting “a big voice” behind the content.  That big voice can be a celebrity, or it can be generated by media coverage.  Enter the PR department.  Deliberate media research and engagement can deliver the credible media exposure that gives a video message the best shot at internet immortality.

Give your messages a boost with video and multimedia content distribution from MultiVu, a PR Newswire company.

sarah avatarAuthor Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media, and is the author of the e-book “Unlocking Social Media for PR.”  Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.


Words to Live By for Communications Pros

At PR Newswire, we frequently conduct webinars featuring  a variety of top thought leaders in the industry, and through their knowledge-sharing and insights, there are some great nuggets of information derived from each of these presentations. But if you’re like me, once the webinar is over, you move on to the next item on your list; rarely is there enough time to pause and truly reflect on what these wise words mean.  So we’ve compiled some of the most thought-provoking quotes from our recent webinars into the above SlideShare presentation, “Words to Engage by… PR, Marketing & the New Media Landscape.”

Which one stands out most to you?

PR & Visuals Fuel the Content Marketing Engine

“Dear Content Marketing:  Meet PR, Your New BFF!”   This message, as said Lisa Buyer, CEO of The Buyer Group on a recent PR Newswire webinar (“Fueling the Content Marketing Engine through PR”), underscores the evolving relationship between PR and marketing professionals and the need for an integrated , collaborative approach to communications.  On the webinar, she and PR newswire’s Michael Pranikoff explored the use of PR tactics to strengthen a marketing strategy.

The start of the conversation focused on online newsrooms – and how they have gone through a “renaissance” of sorts. No longer controlled by the webmaster where updates are difficult and infrequent, today’s online newsrooms are the responsibility of the communications team, are updated multiple times daily with a diversified mix of quality content.  Essentially, it is a content marketing hub to not only share press releases, but also amplify multimedia content such as photos, videos, financial information, blogs posts and more, feeding the needs of all visitors including journalists, bloggers, consumers, investors and more.

Michael noted that as more brands start utilizing social media, “smart brands are becoming publishers” so there is an increased need to commit to quality content, increasing the need and opportunity for marketing and PR to complement each other in our social media world.”

Visual PR content was the topic of the year with the birth of Pinterest and Instagram. ”   Driving the point home, Lisa noted “There is nothing worse than reading a brilliant post or a news release when nothing in the post is worth pinning!  Not one photo, infographic or video that would make me want to share it with my near and dear.” We are a visual species and engaging content influences our actions.

PR Newswire’s study confirms multimedia content will increase views by nearly 10 times than just plain text alone, however other noteworthy stats were introduced:

  • 44% say they are more likely to engage with companies if they use pictures
  • 79% of journalists say that images increased the odds of a press release getting picked up
  • Readers are 4x more likely to engage or comment on a blog post with a good image

Bottom line: “Go Visual.  Just Say No to Boring.” 

The next hot topic was the need for content optimized for mobile devices. Engaging readers and sharing unique and useful content is not limited to just desktops; brands MUST consider multi-screen users when producing content and enhancing an online newsroom.  Mobile use is not only dominating how we receive information, but also how that information is shared.  But don’t forget; don’t lose the consistency of message when optimizing content for mobile!

This simply provides an overview of the tips and best practices shared. Take a look at the entire presentation, and listen to the archived recording. There were numerous questions addressed questions addressed and valuable answers provided during the Q&A section at the end.   Well worth listening to.

Were you able to catch the live presentation?  If you did, what were your thoughts?  Will marketing and PR be BFF or are they destined to be soul mates?

The Case for Building Distribution into Content Planning

As content marketing strategies become more prevalent in company discussions, there still remains an overriding question:
What strategies can be used for content creation and management?

A critical component is understanding how the assets can be distributed, and ensuring creation will dovetail nicely. Currently, many companies wait for the end product (i.e. the finalized content), and then devise their distribution strategy. While this can cut down on time up front, it can compromise the quality of the asset distribution. Ideally, the creation strategy and the distribution plan are working in synch. Sometimes the people involved may be from different teams, and possibly even different companies!  Think of agencies and how they were historically set up.

PR agencies, ad agencies, and brand marketers were always tasked with content distribution. That content could be a pr message, marketing tag, or print/video ad. Those teams were almost always brought in after the content creation, with virtually no input prior to completion. The management of the assets were overseen by perhaps one person (VP Marketing, etc), and the various teams did the best with what they were provided.

The Digital Asset Management Conference in Los Angeles last week week challenged this methodology.  Companies like HBO and Open Text promoted the idea of upfront planning for all assets and distribution. This can be challenging, especially with divergent philosophies, but ultimately helps ensure the creation of the best assets for the optimum management and distribution.

What we see is this –  not only are silos breaking down between earned/paid/owned media, but silos are beginning to break down at the content planning stages as well.

Kevin ProfessionalAuthor Kevin Wilke is a divisional vice president with MultiVu, a PR Newswire company specializing in multimedia content creation, production and distribution.