Tag Archives: press release
Content marketing is one of the newest communications disciplines. Press releases, on the other hand, are a decades-old tactic. On a webinar held yesterday with the Content Marketing Institute, participants learned how to breathe fresh life into their press releases using content marketing tactics — and how the content the PR department creates can fit into (and even drive) a larger content marketing plan.
The webinar was moderated by Joe Pulizzi (@juntajoe), founder of the Content Marketing Institute, and he was joined by:
- Bob Canaway, Director of Marketing, Ektron @bobcanaway
- Michael Pranikoff, Director of Emerging Media, PR Newswire @mpranikoff
When it comes to content marketing and maximizing earned media, the value of the press release is growing ever stronger. Providing an influential and engaging outlet to market one’s brand across multiple channels – as well as increase search visibility of one’s content, press releases are becoming an integral part of the marketing mix.
Michael kicked off the discussion, noting the importance of search engines and social media in the amplification of a message. Ensuring releases are written with search engines in mind, while also including elements that are easy for social networkers to share, are two cornerstones of developing an effective press release. A third key to success, he noted, is the inclusion of multimedia content, which drives overall online visibility and engagement with the message.
The discussion on tactics was followed by a framework offered by Bob, with an additional emphasis on measurement. Bob encouraged listeners to “measure everything they can measure”. As he sees it, a business outcome is a measurable activity that has a quantifiable return, and he believes that delivering relevant, consistent, and optimal content will drive successful outcomes. At Ektron, Bob’s team uses a five step framework for their marketing communications, centered around: content, context, experience, optimization, and business outcome. In other words, if the content an organization creates in taken in the proper context by an audience, they will be inspired to experience an action.
In developing Ektron’s approach, Bob has found that the use of news releases throughout the communications process leads to improved results. When Ektron first decided to use a news release in promoting an upcoming webinar, they saw an immediate 3% lift in registration, which continued with subsequent events. Additionally, Ektron also noted a 30% increase in performance of one of their landing pages when they placed the content directly from a previous news release onto the page rather than writing a normal brief for the same purpose. Bob emphasized how important it was to measure the success of the use of these releases.
For access to the full discussion, please follow this link to the webinar archive: Press Releases: The Content Marketer’s Not-So-Hidden Treasure
Hundreds of homes have burned this week in Colorado, and many more remain at risk as wildfires continue to rage out of control. We are heartsick for those who’ve lost their homes (and in some cases, livelihoods). As is our practice during major disasters, PR Newswire is waiving fees for all news releases from organizations offering aid to victims and those assisting in rescue and relief efforts surrounding the fires tearing through Colorado.
“With the reports of more than 300 homes destroyed by the Waldo Canyon fire and more than 30,000 people evacuating Colorado Springs alone, there’s a great deal of information that needs to be communicated to the residents of Colorado Springs, its surrounding areas, and the broader country,” said Scott Mozarsky, chief commercial officer, PR Newswire. “We want to make sure that the organizations that can offer assistance have a quick and easy way of getting their messages out.”
If you have a release that you’d like to distribute relating to the Colorado fires and you are a PR Newswire member, you can upload it via the Online Member Center (https://portal.prnewswire.com/Login.aspx) or email it to email@example.com. All non members can also email releases to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include “Colorado Fires” in special instructions or the subject line of the release.
To view news releases issued by PR Newswire members offering aid, please see News About Colorado Fires on PR Newswire’s website (http://latest.prnewswire.com/page/colorado-wildfires)
To our friends, families, colleagues and clients in Colorado, you are in our thoughts this week, and we hope you and yours remain safe and sound.
The big story in the news this week (so far) has been the Supreme Court’s ruling on immigration. It was the lead story on every news outlet in the country all day yesterday, with journalists analyzing and pontificating about the impact of the ruling, and looking for new angles, content, sources and perspective to provide context and opinion to their reporting.
Today’s papers, newscasts and web sites are all leading with speculation about tomorrow’s anticipated Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of healthcare. Expect Friday’s news hole to be fully occupied with the fallout.
Undoubtedly, if you’re reading this blog, you’re aware of these news trends, because chances are pretty good that you keep your thumb on the pulse of the news. But are you taking full advantage of the news and attention opportunities the US legislative process affords brands and organizations?
Bills and issues are debated daily when the Hill is in session, shaping news coverage nation- (and even world-) wide. If your organization has an opinion relating to pending legislation or court rulings, then you have an opportunity to garner some attention and coverage the point of view your organization supports. How can you do this?
- Engage your audience early, prior to the vote or ruling. People who care will be talking about the outcome prior to its decision.
- Offer an interesting story angle, such as how a ruling or decision will affect your industry or a specific type of worker. If you have ‘the other side of the story,’ now is the time to tell it.
- Convey your POV in social networks, blog posts and press releases.
- Don’t forget the graphics. If you can turn facts into pictures and illustrate a potential outcome, go on bended knee to your graphics person and get an infographic produced.
- Tap your experts. Identify and promote your organization’s experts. Be sure key bloggers and journalists know about their availability. A good way to garner free visibility for them is to create profiles on Profnet Connect, our community connecting subject matter experts with media and bloggers.
- Even if you miss the boat and don’t get out in front of the story, all is not lost. Journalists value thoughtful quotes and expert perspective. As the dust is settling, issue a statement from your organization, including a quote from (and picture of!) a credible expert. Media outlets will also be seeking stories about the ramifications of the outcome. If your industry will be impacted, this is an additional opportunity for your organization’s voice to be heard.
A quick look at the wire last night showed that once again, PR Newswire clients are right in the thick of the story, issuing a broad array of press releases, statements, expert commentary and background information about the impending SCOTUS (that would be DC-speak for the “Supreme Court of the United States”) ruling, giving the news media, bloggers, government officials and social media pundits a wealth of fantastic quality content and access to experts to help them shape their stories. Take a look >http://www.prnewswire.com/search-results/news/%22supreme+court%22-7-days-page-1
If you’d like to learn more about how to take advantage of these opportunities, take a look at PR Newswire’s publicity services for public interest news.
The dealine for submitting your content for The Crowd-Sourced eBook: The Definitive Guide to Social Influencer Engagement is June 29! You are invited to contribute.
Pinterest referral traffic has surpassed Google Plus, Linked In and YouTube traffic combined, and as we reported here earlier, brands are seeing an increase in revenue generated by pinned content. (See “Selling in Social” for details.)
Not surprisingly, PRNewswire.com has seen an increase in Pinterest traffic since January 2012, and PR Newswire content has been widely pinned, liked, and repinned. Our clients distribute some fantastic visuals with their press releases (gorgeous photos, infographics, and interesting products), so to make it easier to share them on Pinterest, we’ve added the “Pin It” button to news release pages with images. Yet another reason why adding a visual to your release can increase engagement!
PR Newswire is a good-sized company, and there’s a lot more to us than the teams of account managers and content specialists, with whom our customers are in frequent contact.
Behind the scenes, we have teams devoted to building the audience for the press releases you issue via PR Newswire. Our media relations and audience development teams recruit journalists and bloggers for the PR Newswire for Journalists media site, which serves tens of thousands of media professionals worldwide. Our syndication team adds new web sites to the global network of web sites that source news from PR Newswire. Our online teams curate and share content on Twitter, building the social audience for news. And our web team is constantly fine tuning the performance and visibility of our web site.
Their work delivers the results you see when you use PR Newswire. The media views, the online views and the search engine referrals your press releases receive are the direct results of the work one by these folks, who operate behind the scenes, and, let’s face it, are somewhat unsung.
Simply put, we work hard at making the wire really work.
Every now and then, a customer will take the time out to do a comparison between PRN and a competitor, and they’ll publish the results. We were very gratified when we saw a blog post titled “Wire Service Showdown: PRWeb vs. PR Newswire” on WolfCom’s blog today.
They compared PR Newswire and PR Web in a head-to-head match-up, using identical press releases.
“PR Newswire clearly won the matchup, both in terms of overall performance and in terms of performance per dollar spent. The regional distribution option actually got national coverage and still ended up beating out PRWeb’s national distribution. Most importantly, PR Newswire beat PRWeb in the Google search results, showing that it is superior for meeting SEO objectives,” they noted in the blog post today.
We’re very glad for WolfCom’s business, and are grateful for taking the time out to share the results of their experiment. As I mentioned, a lot of work goes into the care and feeding of our distribution network, and seeing this post from WolfCom sure made a lot of people smile.
We’ve just announced The Crowd-Sourced eBook: The Definitive Guide to Social Influencer Engagement and invite you to contribute.
(This year, we’re highlighting some of the folks who keep PR Newswire operating smoothly. Meet Byron Hurd, a senior customer content specialist at PR Newswire, with a serious penchant for speed.)
Most people prefer driving either a stick-shift or an automatic. PR Newswire’s Byron Hurd doesn’t much care. It just has to drive well.
Hurd, a senior customer content specialist at PR Newswire, is a bit of a car addict. The obsession began innocently enough – Matchbox and Hot Wheels and by his teens, he toted the occasional car mag on long road trips to visit family in Texas. Today, he owns four cars — a 2008 Mazda Speed 3, 1997 Jeep Wrangler, and two Mazda Miatas (1990 and 1994 – one is a parts car and doesn’t run). They all neatly fit into his driveway in Annapolis, Md.
Hurd also blogs for Speed:Sport:Life. And he occasionally spends weekends racing cars at the track.
“Driving for the first time on a racetrack is pretty intense,” said Hurd, 27. “But it’s the best rollercoaster ride you could ever take.”
Hurd got his blogging start with Speed:Sport:Life through a connection he made as a member of an online Volkswagen enthusiast group. The guy also happened to blog and was a racing driver. They went out to the Virginia International Raceway. The rest is history – Hurd was invited to write for the blog.
That was a few years ago.
Hurd’s favorite thing about writing for Speed:Sport:Life is the ability to experience many different cars. “They give me a car for a week and sometimes I get to commute in them and take them on racetracks. You can’t get that from a test drive,” Hurd said. “We’re just a few friends who like to write about cars. Something will occur to me about a car I drove recently, and I’ll sit down and write.”
Hurd has been on a racetrack dozens of times. It’s usually an all-weekend situation, and he meets up with others from racing organizations and clubs. The groups usually are broken down according to beginners and advanced driving groups. (Beginners, for example, must drive with instructors and are only permitted to pass drivers in certain areas.)
Hurd’s longtime girlfriend Nicole – who also comes from a car family – is very understanding about his passion. “Her one rule is that we can’t have more than one car that doesn’t run so we don’t get overwhelmed,” Hurd said. “I don’t think I could get by with owning one car. The monotony would drive me crazy.”
Hurd’s next track weekend is this month in Summit Point, WVa.
There, he plans to drive a new Porsche 911. He also anticipates more track weekends in his future because the season for car racing is heating up in the Mid-Atlantic. (Most car clubs will get together between now and October.)
“Driving” press release distribution
When Hurd isn’t living and breathing his vehicular hobby, he splits his work day within the DC office of PR Newswire doing a variety of things. He spends half of his day proofing press release copy, reading and checking for typos. Hurd then puts the release into the system and spends the rest of the day talking with PR Newswire clients, confirming press releases, troubleshooting, and assisting with customer service.
He also curates the @PRNauto presence on Twitter for PR Newswire, sharing auto and motorsports news and press releases from around the web.
Christine Cube is a media relations manager for PR Newswire and freelance writer. You can follow her @cpcube.
Last week I penned and article for Ragan’s PR Daily titled “The 5 Mistakes Press Release Writers Make” and followed that up with a more detailed post here titled, “The 6 Mistakes That Can Sink Press Release Visibility.” I shared these on several PR discussion groups and solicited additional feedback from my fellow members, asking what other press release tips they would offer.
Newsworthiness was a prevalent theme, and was in fact echoed in a video interview by Steve Farnsworth (@steveology on Twitter) in which he asked EE Times editor in chief Junko Yoshida for her opinion on press releases (see the video at the top of this post.)
F. John Sbrana, Communications Coordinator at Vineland Public Schools near Philadelphia noted, “ I try to write short, interesting news stories and not “press releases”.
Tonya Hayes, a Bay Area PR pro, said “ I say “no” to some press releases. That means having the energy to say “no” to a CEO. If there is no news, it’s better to put the brakes on than to tick off the media. Or worse, have them ignore your next one. “
Tracey Paleo, blogger and editor at Gia On The Move, noted in a comment on the Ragan story the importance visuals play when she’s evaluating a story. “When receiving press releases I almost 100% will follow up with a pr rep or whoever is sending when photos are included. Online readers are visual. So am I. Especially when talking about non-corporate content, i.e. arts & culture, events etc. It’s essential. Often what I see also are embedded links to internal host sites/pages (other than press release sites) where photos or video can be downloaded with a password. It’s a great alternative to getting caught in a spam blocker and completely helpful.”
Kim Stevens, publisher of State Aviation Journal and Arizona Aviation Journal concurred. “I believe in running photos with every article or brief we use in our aviation journals. I’m amazed at how many releases we get that don’t include any photos or even company logos – and this from major companies or organizations. Fortunately, we’ve built up quite a library, but it is frustrating to send an email asking if a photo is available. Although not my first choice, I find myself hitting delete more often rather than going photo-less or holding a story while we wait, and wait, and wait even longer for a photo.”
Michael Crabtree agreed. “ Always try to include images. From a recent survey, access to high res images was highly valued with 87% (of journalists) saying that’s (very) important.
In an interesting twist, many of the participants in the discussion highlighted issues that could be best described under the header of “Press Releases 101.” The PR Newswire Content Services team would agree – though the end of the first quarter 2012, they found (and fixed) 27,414 client mistakes in press releases. In particular, numerous people noted that spelling is a prevalent problem.
Gwen Watkins, the Botswana-based director at entreprenuers for Africa Ltd. was adamant, saying, “ Learn to spell! I sub 10-15 press releases every night for an online marketing magazine and am horrified at the careless spelling. The cardinal sin – misspelling your own client’s name, or company name, followed by misspelling an internationally recognized name or brand. It’s not as if Microsoft doesn’t help – more than half the mistakes are picked up for me by its Word spell check.”
Brevity was also a recurring theme. From a user (and search engine) standpoint, a 400 word release is more effective than an 1800 word tome.
Yassir Islam, a Washington DC-based communications professional talked about how to combine brevity but still offer detail to those who need it, “I like to keep press releases to one page, if I can. You can always add links to fact sheets for those who want to dig deeper.”
Tactics for keeping the key messages of the press release front and center were also discussed, and to the points I made about developing focused messaging in both articles, I think that these tips are particularly important.
Caryn Starr, NYC-based owner of StarrGates Business Communications, noted that having a boilerplate about the company to keep too much ancillary information from creeping into the release. That’s an excellent point, and segues nicely into some advice about the lede (or “lead” as some prefer.) Staci Harvatin, interactive communications & media melations coordinator at Saint Louis University Hospital, said, “One of my favorite press release tips is “don’t bury the lede.” Part of this falls under the “don’t lose focus “point, but I think it is important enough to restate. Also, I still write down my top three key messages before writing the release. I know many people do this in their head, but I like checking them off as I go along.”
When combined with the tips offered earlier that were really geared toward driving social interaction and online visibility, I think that these suggestions will really help communicators produce more effective content. Do you have a favorite tip that we missed? If so, share it below!