Tag Archives: Industry news

Google’s Revamped Image Search Streamlines Searchers’ Pathway to Your Website

A look at Google's new image search, courtesy of the Google Webmaster Blog, with my own emphasis added in orange.

A look at Google’s new image search, courtesy of the Google Webmaster Blog, with my own emphasis added in orange.

Over the weekend, Google unveiled a faster and more streamlined image search function.    While communicators probably don’t need another reason to use images – the advantages of doing so are pretty clear – Google just hand us another.

In their post about the update, Google noted that in addition to streamlining the user experience in order to make it easier for people to flip through relevant images and find the one they’re seeking,  Google also noted that they are making the domain name for the images clickable.  This is a big deal.

The domain name is now clickable, and we also added a new button to visit the page the image is hosted on. This means that there are now four clickable targets to the source page instead of just two. In our tests, we’ve seen a net increase in the average click-through rate to the hosting website.

The new format, as displayed on the Google webmaster blog, is much easier for users to scan, and does a better job of highlighting the images.  Instead of pointing and clicking, opening and closing images, users will be able to flip rapidly through them, and will be able to quickly access the related web page for each. As an inveterate Google user myself, this is a welcome change.

We know that content with images generates more views.  Now Google is making it even easier for viewers of those images to get directly to your web site.   Including images with the content you publish has always been a good idea, and it just keeps getting better.

Related resources:

Blog posts about using visuals in PR communications:  Visual PR

Options for embedding and distributing images and multimedia within press releases and other content:  Multimedia and PR

Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.

Your Smart Phone Can’t Taste*

*…but it can see, hear, and touch.

When Steve Jobs and Apple launched the first iPhone in 2007 it was not a phone. It was a collection of sensors with potential.

It could see through a camera. It could hear. And it responded to touch.

Check out this statement introduced during a session at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show:

“When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole.  We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance.  Not only this, but through telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do his will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone.  A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.”

Who is the soothsayer behind these wise words? Nikola Tesla, an engineer, inventor, and philosopher, made this statement. In 1926!!!!!

Yes. That 1926. The one from 87 years ago even though this statement could have been made in the early 2000’s.

A prevailing theme at CES this year is mobile-to-mobile connectivity. Cars, headphones, televisions, computers, tablets, phones, gaming systems, peripheral devices, apps, and more are on display. And most of them support direct connections to each other, the Web, or both.

From a marketing, advertising, and communications perspective mobile has enabled new ways for consumers to be targeted, engaged with, researched, monitored, and sold to.

Sadly, this piles on to all of the traditional and still applicable modalities for communications and marketing and advertising. Conversations that I will share over the next few days will highlight what companies at CES think about incorporating mobile into their advertising and marketing plans.  I anticipate that a majority will be trying to figure it out. And that’s ok.

Even though we were all given a clue that this was coming in 1926.

Preventing yesterday from happening tomorrow

Investor relations compliance isn’t the most exciting subject, but good practices can prevent turmoil for public companies. This post, written by Bradley Smith, director of marketing for Vintage Filings (a PR Newswire company), appeared earlier on the Building Shareholder Confidence blog.

To Disclose or Not Disclose: FTC Disclosure Guidelines for Bloggers

If you bring up Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations in front of writers, especially bloggers, a lot of ‘opinion’ and hearsay come up.

I posted about a Social Media Club of Dallas blogger panel a couple of weeks ago. The panel covered tips and recommendations from bloggers for PR and communications professionals and received quite a bit of attention and lively conversation on the subject of FTC regulations around endorsement and disclosure.

One Dallas journalist in particular wrote that the bloggers I mentioned and others are not complying with FTC ‘disclosure of material connection’ regulations.

So I did a bit of research on the FTC website and discovered a terrific video explaining what they expect:

FTC Endorsement Guidelines for Bloggers Video

FTC endorsement guidelines for bloggers explained by Mary Engles.

I have included the full transcript of the video at the bottom of this page, but take particular note of the following statement by narrator Mary Engle in particular: “What does the FTC’s announcement mean for bloggers? Well for most bloggers not very much. We know that most bloggers are out there talking about their daily lives and their thoughts, and so it really doesn’t mean much for them. But if you’re one of those bloggers that is in a marketing program with an advertiser and you’re being paid to blog about a product, or you’re receiving a steady stream of products from a company, then you need to disclose that relationship you have with the company.”

Not nearly as scary as some might believe.

And if a blogger ‘does’ have a  relationship with a company that needs transparency it’s really simple to be in compliance according to Engle: “You can just say, “ABC Company gave me this product to try,” or, “XYZ Company sent me to their theme park to try it out for a day.” It’s not too complicated, and it should just be straight forward and upfront.”

Disclosure of receiving something from a company that one writes about is simple and in a lot of cases perhaps not even ‘officially’ required, although as a consumer and as a regular reader of blogs I would hope that anyone (blogger, journalist or otherwise) that gets into an event for free or receives product or a gift and writes about the company would be transparent about it.

Transparency contributes to credibility for the writer and assures that consumers (all of us) are protected from potentially false advertising.

Here are a few more good links to FTC information. Do check them out:

***

Transcript for the FTC video “The Endorsement Guide”:

Narrator:
What’s new about Endorsement Guides?

Mary Engle:
The Endorsement Guides have been around since 1980, and they’ve always required that endorsers disclose their relationship with advertisers. What’s new here is that we’re applying this principle in today’s world, in the world of social media, where you can’t always recognize an advertisement just by looking at it.
 
Narrator:
Why did the FTC update the Endorsement Guides?
 
Mary Engle:
There’s been a lot in the news about the FTC’s Endorsement Guides lately. What’s the story? Well the FTC cares about protecting consumers, and we know that nowadays when consumers want information about a product or a service they’re thinking of using, they often go online to check it out and see what other consumers have to say. Don’t you want to know if the reason a consumer is giving a rave review is because they’re being paid by the advertiser to say it, or they’re getting a steady stream of free products from that company? We just want to bring some transparency to the process so that when there is a relationship between an advertiser and a reviewer the reader knows about it.
 
Narrator:
What do the Endorsement Guides mean for bloggers?
 
Mary Engle:
What does the FTC’s announcement mean for bloggers? Well for most bloggers not very much. We know that most bloggers are out there talking about their daily lives and their thoughts, and so it really doesn’t mean much for them. But if you’re one of those bloggers that is in a marketing program with an advertiser and you’re being paid to blog about a product, or you’re receiving a steady stream of products from a company, then you need to disclose that relationship you have with the company.
 
Narrator:
How do bloggers follow the Endorsement Guides?
 
Mary Engle:
If a blogger does have a relationship with an advertiser that needs to be mentioned, it’s pretty simple. You can just say, “ABC Company gave me this product to try,” or, “XYZ Company sent me to their theme park to try it out for a day.” It’s not too complicated, and it should just be straight forward and upfront.
 
Narrator:
Is the FTC planning to sue bloggers?
 
Mary Engle:
Is the FTC planning to sue bloggers? Well, let me put it this way: that is not why we issued this guidance. We issued this guidance to make it clear that everybody should be playing by the same rules, whether you’re a professional reviewer or an amateur reviewer. Just be upfront about the connections you have and any conflict of interest you might have with the company.
 
Narrator:
Where to go for more information.
 
Mary Engle:
To find out more about the FTC’s Endorsement Guides, go to our website at ftc.gov. There, you’ll find the Guides themselves. They have a lot of practical examples that really may help answer a lot of the questions that you have.

***

Victoria Harres is Director of Audience Development at PR Newswire, the main voice behind @PRNewswire, social media lead for @Business4Better and a frequent speaker and writer on social media for business. 

DNC 2012 Day One: Event Prep & CarolinaFest

Brian Taylor on the floor at the 2012 Democratic National Convention today.

PR Newswire arrived to the Democratic National Convention early Monday morning to an increasingly packed scene.

The Charlotte Convention Center was bustling on this Labor Day with journalists prepping for the next day’s start of the convention, volunteers corralling themselves in pockets inside and outside of the building, locals and tourists documenting everything happening around them, and law enforcement officials securing the perimeter and surrounding streets.

Bird’s eye view of Radio Row

PR Newswire’s Jean Arnold, director of customer content services, and Christine Cube, media relations manager, both from DC, spent most of the day in the Joint Press Office, which operated and moved a lot like a newsroom. Phones were ringing, meetings happened, and a lot of groundwork for the convention was taking place. It was an impressive operation.

The PR Newswire team — joined by Brian Taylor, vice president of public interest markets, and Jennifer Cotton, director of the Mid-Atlantic sales region — made its way over to CarolinaFest, a family-friendly festival that was to kick off the DNC week in Charlotte.

Prepping the stage for today’s opening ceremonies

The festival was great. Despite intermittent downpours, thousands of local residents, public officials, media, and law enforcement came out to enjoy live music, local fare, and get excited about the week to come.

The work starts at the Democratic National Convention today. Day 2 dawns …

The PR Newswire team’s view of the GOP convention

More pictures from our intrepid colleagues down in Tampa at the Republican convention.  Next week they re-locate to Charlotte for the DNC version. Enjoy!

“Radio row” at the Republican Convention. Wall to wall (and shoulder to shoulder) interviews!

Sound check – check – check -check

Kid Rock on stage.

“Tip jar” seen on stage during Kid Rock’s act.

Diane Sawyer on the convention floor

John Voight (aka Angelina Jolie’s pops) rallying the troops at the convention.

They left “PR Newswire People” off the sign, but somehow, we don’t think our colleagues were deterred.

Live From the Republican National Convention: It’s PR Newswire

PR Newswire team members Brian Taylor, Tom Hynes & Alberto Alvarez on the floor yesterday in Tampa.

All of us at at PR Newswire are proud of our role at both the Republican and Democratic conventions.  But what does it mean when a wire service is selected to be the “official wire service” of organizations like the RNC and DNC?

Well, it means a number of things.

Our team are right in the thick of it. Here, Geraldo Rivera interviews Michelle Bachman.

First and foremost, both the RNC and DNC will be issuing their press releases exclusively via PR Newswire.  We’re working with the credentialed media covering both conventions, to get them set up for direct feeds of convention news.   We’ve been working on getting everyone set up for the last few weeks, but we’re also sending teams to both events to provide on-site support.

Newt Gingrich on the Mike Huckabee radio show.

We’re also aggregating news, images, tweets and press releases from both conventions on special news pages.  You can find those here:

Republican National Convention News

Democratic National Convention News

We also have a team of dedicated political junkies from our content services and audience development teams tweeting about politics and policy under the handle @prnpolicy5858.  This week, some are in DC, and some are at the Republican convention.  They’re tweeting madly to keep up with all the news, and they won’t get any rest, because on the heels of the Republican confab in Tampa comes the Democratic event in Charlotte next week.   Hand massages may be in order once the conventions have wrapped up!

Giant nets full of balloons tucked into the ceiling of the convention center in Tampa.

Politics is divisive, and like any group of people, we all have different political leanings and hot-topic issues.   But the PR Newswire team is united in our pride in our role in this election.   Stay tuned for news from Tampa this week.   Next week, after Labor Day, it’s on to Charlotte!
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