Tag Archives: Content We Love

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

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

A tweet-able, eye-catching headline

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

Los Angeles Times Chicken Wings

Juicy, bite-sized bullet points

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

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

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

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

Anchor text with a call to action

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

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

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

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

Content We Love: The Brand as Publisher

ContentWeLoveAs I was interviewing Anthony Hardman  of SecureState for yesterday’s blog post about newsjacking, I asked him whether chip and pin technology that is present in Europe would solve the credit card fraud problems we’ve seen in the US lately.   He replied, “Funny you ask,  I just wrote a 1,000-word blog post on that very topic – I’ll send you the link.”

Credit card security is top of mind for me.  Earlier this week, I spotted some funky looking charges that turned out to be fraudulent.  If, in fact, I accurately represent the audience of people who are concerned about their credit cards after shopping at compromised retailers and are thinking long and hard about credit card security, Hardman did a great job in anticipating my concerns and the sort of questions I’d be asking.  A former journalist, he’s now applying his news nose to his company’s content creation strategy. What he sent me wasn’t just a blog post-it was brand journalism.

secure state chip

As I completed my research for my blog post, I couldn’t help but notice that SecureState had promoted the chip and pin blog post with a news release (“Is Chip and Pin the Answer to Retail Security? SecureState Offers Advice for Industry.”) That news release (and the others SecureState has issued to promote their content recently) is the subject of today’s Content We Love series. 

Now why would anyone use a channel like news release distribution to promote owned media when in fact so many other channels exist? After all, we have our brand websites and blogs, social media channels, industry groups and online forums – the list of channels with which we can reach our audiences goes on an on.

In my mind, the answer is simple. If your organization needs to continually expand its audience and develop engagement with new prospects, then distribution needs to be part of the content strategy. lil tweet

“People are reading news releases, and Google is indexing them. Our second leading source of referral traffic for our web site is from PR Newswire press releases,” Hardman noted during our chat yesterday.  “We’re using them to promote our content. We’re targeting readers.”

Hardman told me that the press releases his organization issued have become the second-largest referrer of traffic to their web site, behind search engines, which means that the readers the company is targeting are finding their messages.

SecureState is using its content strategy to augment its PR efforts, and in effect is acting as a publisher.  The news releases are surfacing the editorial content the company has created.  They’re earning attention and credibility for their own messages by communicating in a timely and direct way with their own audiences.  It’s an interesting and effective strategy for amplifying the visibility of the brand’s messages. 

Get some new ideas for your PR & content strategies for the coming year: join us next week for a free webinar titled “Newsworthiness: New Context & Opportunities for PR,” on January 23.  The very definition of “news” is changing, and this evolution creates the opportunity for PR & content marketing pros to create timely content that earns credibility, earns media and generates ongoing (and relevant) visibility for the brand. Taking pages from the journalistic and content marketing playbooks, this webinar will include a discussion on the evolution of news, how to map the resources within your own organization and ways to identify different opportunities a responsive communications department can capitalize upon.

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of  the recently-published ebook Driving Content DiscoveryFollow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.

Content We Love: News We Can REALLY Use

ContentWeLoveMost of the US has been gripped in inexorable cold for the better part of the last week and have been dreaming of Spring, which seems pretty far off at this point.  Enter the folks at Kayem Foods, who reminded us this week that we can still grill despite the chill.

Kayem Foods' press release promotes a contest, and offers great cold weather grilling advice.

Kayem Foods’ press release promotes a contest, and offers great cold weather grilling advice.

Earlier this week, the Kayem team issued a press release promoting their new “Grill in the Chill” Facebook giveaway.  While you have to like their Facebook page in order to be in the running for a package of grillable goodies or the grand prize- a brand new grill – readers of the press release were all winners, because in addition to the contest promotion, the message also included a variety of great cold-weather grilling tips.

Freemont Insurance offers timely advice on preventing ice dams and frozen pipes, two winter scourges.

Freemont Insurance offers timely advice on preventing ice dams and frozen pipes, two winter scourges.

Another great example I spotted this week was from Michigan-based Freemont Insurance, titled “Is Your Home Winter Wise? Freemont Insurance Offers Tips for Protecting a Home from the Ravages of Winter.”  The press release addresses problems such as ice dams and frozen pipes, and offers information on how to prevent and remediate both.

In addition to sharing an extremely timely angle, these two messages do more than capitalize upon a news opportunity.   By offering generous and truly useful information, both brands increase the likelihood that their messages will be read and shared.   In addition to driving short term actions, such as Facebook page likes (a call to action served up by both companies) the reads and shares of the press releases issued by Kayem Foods and Freemont Insurance are also likely to generate traction in search engines, developing longer-lasting and potent visibility for each company.

In fact, Freemont releases useful information monthly, using press releases to convey tips and information about preventing electrical fires, avoiding hunting accidents and winterizing your boat, to name a few. As such, they’re doing a nice job of speaking directly to their audiences of current and prospective customers, in a useful and engaging way.

Thank you to Kayem Foods and Freemont Insurance for helping us deal with the cold, and showing us creative ways to package useful content!

Join us for a free webinar titled “Newsworthiness: New Context & Opportunities for PR,” on January 23.  What’s newsworthy? The very definition of “news” is changing, and this evolution creates the opportunity for PR pros to create timely content that earns credibility, earns media and generates ongoing (and relevant) visibility for the brand. Taking pages from the journalistic and content marketing playbooks, this webinar will include a discussion on the evolution of news, how to map the resources within your own organization and ways to identify different opportunities a responsive PR department can capitalize upon.

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of  the recently-published ebook Driving Content DiscoveryFollow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.

Content We Love: Showcasing News for All Audiences

ContentWeLoveIn the run up to the 2014 iteration of the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), exhibitors have been clamoring for media attention, furiously booking interviews with media, scheduling press conferences and satellite media tours, prepping visual communications assets and priming their social media presences — and for good reason.   CES is a monster show that generates a massive amount of news coverage and social buzz.

LG CES

As I was scanning the burgeoning feed of press releases the show has already generated, one from LG grabbed my attention – an not solely because it was about a 77-inch OLED television. (Please, don’t tell my husband about the existence of this thing!)  

LG To Showcase OLED TV Lineup at CES 2014

No doubt, the TV looks cool.  Scratch that, it looks amazing.  I found myself reading the whole press release, clicking on the pictures, and then Googling prices (let’s just say, it’s still in the “if you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it” range for most people.)  But as I said, it looks pretty amazing. 

However, this edition of Content We Love isn’t about a stunning TV picture.  It’s about the fact that LG have elected to engage the audience who won’t be at CES this year.  The folks who will be at the show probably won’t be able to miss the LG booth.  The monster OLED TV will undoubtedly be front and center in the display, drawing in booth traffic like moths to a flame.

But for the majority of us who won’t be at CES, LG have done something pretty interesting.  They have used a big industry event to drive attention to their products, prior to the launch.   A few years ago, LG may have elected to keep the unveiling of their new OLED TV range under tight wraps, in order to make a splash at the show.

But today’s information environment is different.  Social buzz can help garner media attention. Both media attention and social interaction send potent signals to search engines, and can increase brand visibility.  Messages and campaigns simply do not exist in isolation anymore.

In the days before next week’s big event, LG can provide important runway for the debut of their new TVs by starting to build social buzz and media awareness right now.  And one way they’re seeding that interest is by sending a news release, loaded product details and handsome images, out to the media and the broader public in advance of the event.  With this LG release, we see evidence of a truly integrated communications strategy.

Kudos to the LG team on a well planned – and executed – communications strategy.

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of  the recently-published ebook Driving Content DiscoveryFollow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.

The Content We Most Loved in 2013

ContentWeLoveAs we wind down 2013 and look forward to the new year, we took a look at some of the campaigns and messages highlighted this year on Content We Love.    The most popular posts for the year fell into three categories:  examples of  multimedia/multichannel campaigns, message distribution and writing tactics.  here are the top posts of the year, for each of these key categories:

Multimedia & Multichannel Campaigns

Content We Love: the Press Release Behind the Dove “Real Beauty Sketches” Campaign :  http://blog.prnewswire.com/2013/04/19/content-we-love-the-press-release-behind-the-dove-real-beauty-sketches-campaign/

Content We Love: A Message in a Bottle (and a Multimedia News Release) http://blog.prnewswire.com/2013/03/22/content-we-love-a-message-in-a-bottle-and-a-multimedia-news-release/

Content We Love: Michaels Stores Crafting Multimedia http://blog.prnewswire.com/2013/02/22/content-we-love-michaels-stores-crafting-multimedia

Content Distribution: 

Content We Love: A Feel Great Story Gets A Boost:  http://blog.prnewswire.com/2013/12/13/content-we-love-a-feel-great-story-gets-a-boost/

Content We Love: Curating Company Content & Keeping it Current
http://blog.prnewswire.com/2013/08/30/content-we-love-curating-company-content-keeping-it-current/

Writing Tactics: 

Content We Love: Backbone of Storytelling : http://blog.prnewswire.com/2013/05/10/content-we-love-backbone-of-storytelling/

Content We Love: A Press Release Built for Action
http://blog.prnewswire.com/2013/11/08/content-we-love-a-press-release-built-for-action-2/

Content We Love: Social Media Makes This Release Pop
http://blog.prnewswire.com/2013/05/17/content-we-love-social-media-makes-this-release-pop/

Content We Love: A Masterful News Hook
http://blog.prnewswire.com/2013/01/18/content-we-love-a-masterful-news-hook/

Content We Love: A Feel-Great Story Gets a Boost

ContentWeLove

Have you seen the WestJet “Real Time Giving” video yet?  If you have, I know you want to watch it again.  If you haven’t, you really must. Either way, here it is:

As of this writing, the video has been viewed more than 19 million times since its release earlier this week, and I think it’s safe to say that this is just a start.

As totally lovable as the video is, however, it’s not the subject of my adoration this week.   That honor is reserved for the press release the WestJet team used to promote the video, seeding the media coverage and social visibility that triggered viral sharing. lil tweet

WestJet Today

Like the kid who circles everything in the catalog, the West Jet had the waterfront covered, creating a variety of visual assets, and wrapping them into a fully loaded press release.

A press release about promotional video?  Yes. The team deftly used paid media to promote their owned media, resulting in an earned media avalanche, with pick up in USA Today, the Today Show, Mashable, Huffington Post and Forbes, to name just a handful of outlets running the story.

westjet mashablePromoting content via a newswire service like PR Newswire (or, in this case, our sister company up north, Canada Newswire,) to promote owned content may strike some PR people as strange.  However, it’s a tactic that has proven to work well for the content marketing crowd, who don’t blanch at the idea of marketing their marketing.

Using a newswire to promote content delivers a variety of benefits, including:

  • Reaching a larger audience.  When you distribute content online via PR Newswire, for example, it is re-posted on thousands of web sites, exposing the message instantly to new audiences.
  • Seeding social interactions.  Search engines weigh social interactions heavily in their algorithms, and sparking a spate of tweets or a bevy of +1s can give content a significant boost in search rankings — as well as reaching an expanding audience and setting the stage for viral growth.
  • Capitalizing on the opportunity to earn some media, while you’re at it.  The WestJet video is a great case in point.  The video itself isn’t terribly newsworthy, however, its popularity is.  WestJet was beautifully prepared for that possibility, distributing related images and several other videos, including a blooper reel and a more serious interview with Richard Bartrem, the company’s vice president of communications and community relations, in which he spoke  about the inspiration and logistics behind the airline’s second annual holiday surprise video.

westjet usatoday

According to Todd Wheatland’s Content Marketing World presentation earlier this year, most viral videos have been given a big leg up through paid promotion.  If you want your video to go viral, Wheatland said, first you need to be certain that it is fantastic.  The next step? Buying some promotion. And distribution of the content via PR Newswire is a fast, efficient and cost-effective mechanism for driving the content into new audiences and seeding social visibility – the foundations of viral spread of content.

So kudos to the WestJet team on job very well done, and thanks for brightening our day.  This is truly content we love!

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of  the newly-published ebook Driving Content DiscoveryFollow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.

A sampling of the media coverage:

NPR: Must Cry Video? Watch WestJet Airline’s ‘Christmas Miracle’

Forbes: The Real ‘Christmas Miracle’ of WestJet’s Viral Video: Millions in Free Advertising 

New York Daily News: WestJet Airlines Surprises Passengers With Gifts After They Touch Down From Flights 

Buzzfeed: This WestJet Christmas Miracle Will Make Your Day 

Huffington Post:  WestJet Finds Out What Passengers Want For Christmas, Leaves Presents at Baggage Claim

 

Content We Love: Turning Owned Media into Earned

ContentWeLove

Preparing the weekly Content We Love post is an interesting exercise.  When it’s my turn to do this feature, I cruise over to PR Newswire.com, and let my eyeballs wander over the headlines.  Invariably, an item will leap out at me, and without fail, those that do are stellar examples of press release writing.

avg huffpoToday’s example is no exception.  The headline garnered my attention, the subhead kept it and the body of the release sealed the deal over and over again, keeping my attention with crunchy facts and links to additional information. 

avg 4 traders

The press release referenced in the HuffPo piece. It was issued via PR Newswire & syndicated across the web, building visibility for AVG’s story. 

Here’s the title: ‘Over 1-in-3 small businesses spend more time tidying their desks than backing up their data.’

Issued by AVG Technologies, a provider of security and privacy software for computers and mobile devices,  the release is also a great example of what I see as a growing PR trend for 2014:  using owned media (in this case, a survey) to generate earned media.

 

AVG’s PR team pulled an irresistible news hook out of the data findings, wrapped it up into a tight press release, graced it with their colorful branding and generated some fantastic news coverage.

avg small biz media

In addition to the media hits, the story is also one of the most-emailed on the PR Newswire web site, an important indicator of reader value.  Getting eyeballs to a story is one thing.  But generating interaction is another story entirely. In addition to amplifying the story, search engines pay attention to stories generating interaction, and they use that information to inform search rankings.  

So across the board, this is a real PR win – in terms of earned media wins, social media traction and ultimately in search engine visibility.

Kudos to the AVG team on a story well played!

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of  the newly-published ebook  Driving Content DiscoveryFollow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.

 

 

 

A Provocative Headline Breaks the Rules, and Really Works

ContentWeLoveIf you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that press release headlines are the subject of frequent conversation.  We’ve discussed why a good headline can make or break your press release and have offered myriad suggestions on length, inclusion of keywords and news hooks.  Write the headline you want to see published, we say.  Shoot for 100 characters.

While I still stand by that advice, I’ll also admit that sometimes, it goes straight out the window.

The news release that caught my eye this week has a 16 character, two-word headline, “Where’s Dental?

It’s provocative and timely – the Affordable Care Act is very much in the news this week, and without even reading the release, I knew what it was about – the exclusion of dental care from the new healthcare insurance laws.

The funny thing, though, is the fact I wasn’t aware that the ACA didn’t cover dental.  But in that simple two-word headline, I realized that it didn’t, and I couldn’t help it – I clicked and read!

And that’s the point.  This headline – this simple, provocative, two-word query – not only got my attention, but it made me think, and it set up the desire to learn more.

Responses to the statement, “Taking care of my teeth and gums is as important as taking care of my general health,” on the recent survey fielded by the Washington Dental Service Foundation.

The only suggestion I’d suggest for this release would be the inclusion of a visual, preferably, a simple infographic illustrating the survey data.  Adding a visual punch to that fantastic headline would have carried the message even further.

Kudos to the PR team at the Washington State Dental Service Foundation on crafting a timely, interesting and effective news release!

Want more tips on driving discovery of your messages by new audiences? Join us Tuesday, November 19, for a webinar all about content discovery.   You’ll learn how to craft messages and strategies that will be found by and resonate with new, relevant audiences. 

Free webinar registration: Connecting Messages with Audiences: Tips & Tactics for Driving Content Discovery 

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of  the newly-published ebooks  New School PR Tactics  and Driving Content DiscoveryFollow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.

Content We Love: A Press Release Built for Action

ContentWeLove

This week’s standout press release isn’t loaded with multimedia, but it caught my attention nonetheless due to excellent presentation of text elements.  Issued by Edcite and titled, “Edcite Puts Teachers in Control of Common Core Practice,” this press release is designed to both tell the story to interested media and bloggers, and encourage direct action from the audience. lil tweet

There are quite a few things I like about this story, including:

  • The snappy headline captures initial attention, and the subhead keeps the momentum going, providing incentive to keep reading with a strong news hook.
  • An ultra-streamlined lead paragraph surfaces key messages using bullet points, rather than burying them in subsequent paragraphs.  This tactic increases the likelihood that a reader will stay on the page, rather than bouncing away.
  • The streamlined lead is immediately followed by a call to action in the form of a link readers can follow.
  • A quote from a teacher involved in the development of Common Core curricula adds another dimension of interest and credibility.   Even better, it reads like a mini-story, highlighting a problem the Edcite solution solves.
  • The quote is followed by a video link, offering yet another call to action, and encouraging additional engagement and reader interaction.

As I read through this release, I was struck by how deliberately the author used different elements to maintain reader attention.   The entire message is tight and focused, while still very readable and relatable.     A text-only press release can be a rich and engaging experience for readers, as this message from Edcite clearly proves.   My compliments to the authors on a job well done. 
Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of  the newly-published ebook  New School Press Release TacticsFollow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.

Content We Love: Resorting to Great 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.

Growing up, family vacations were my absolute favorite. We kept a list of the states visited and show-and-tells in school were filled with pictures of pilgrims, museums and nature. So when I saw the release by Holiday Inn Resort about launching a campaign for kids on vacation, I couldn’t help but feel giddy.

The Holiday Inn Resort® Brand Launches Kid Classified Campaign

The headline is pithy and intriguing. I couldn’t help but find out what “Kid Classified” meant. Within the reasons for having a dynamic headline, readers taking action to read the release is paramount.

But center stage and stealing the spotlight is the infographic. I absolutely love infographics because it combines two great things: visuals and content. What a great way to showcase the results of a survey, Holiday Inn Resorts!

Within the great content and engaging language of the release also contained bullet points. Bullet points are the breath of proverbial fresh air; they break up chunks of text. This aids for optimal readability because it lets the reader hone in on important information and not skim.

After reading this release I couldn’t help but reminisce on my incredible childhood traveling and also yearning to travel even more. It is always a joy to read such great content! A big thank you to Holiday Inn Resorts for providing an excellent press release.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-holiday-inn-resort-brand-launches-kid-classified-campaign-225178642.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.