Tag Archives: targeting

Focused Content: Lessons from Profitable Publishers

Data excerpted from the Association of Magazine Media resources.

Data excerpted from the Association of Magazine Media resources.

It’s no secret that traditional media outlets are struggling to recalibrate their business models to fit today’s digital economy, and many are struggling.  On the other hand, there are some publications that are logging impressive growth, and I’m a big believer in following the money.  How have these publications managed to deliver strong growth in such tough times? It turns out they have a common secret sauce: niche content. [Tweet it!]

I took a look at data from the Association of Magazine Media that compared paid and verified magazine circulation for 2012 and 2011, and I spotted some common attributes that offer important lessons to communicators crafting communications and planning campaigns.

Demographics:  Five of the top fifteen high-growth magazines are lifestyle magazines catering to Hispanic audiences.  One can’t ignore this potent market signal – there is real demand for content tailored for American Hispanics.  If you represent a consumer brand, and your organization hasn’t developed a strategy for communicating with the Hispanic marketplace,  a fantastic opportunity is being left on the table.

Niche focus:  Urban Farm. Bowhunt America.  Haggerty Classic Cars.  Woodcraft Magazine.   These are some of the top-performing titles, and they are tightly-focused publications.   It’s not enough to simply create content for hunters, for example.   There are big differences in hunting waterfowl, upland fowl and deer.    General content for “hunters” wouldn’t resonate deeply within these niches.   As the top performing magazines show us, there is opportunity for content that is an inch wide and a mile deep.

More than 200,000 people have liked Eating Well's Facebook page, and it's a lively and active social presence that attracts new audience continually.

More than 200,000 people have liked Eating Well’s Facebook page, and it’s a lively and active social presence that attracts new audience continually.

 Multiple platforms:  Top performer Eating Well, which logged circulation growth of almost 60% year on year, is much more than a magazine.  It’s a multi-channel juggernaut, with lively and engaged social presences and assets that parent company Meredith Corp. describes as:

  •  A highly successful and award-winning bi-monthly magazine with a circulation of  almost 590,000;
  • A content-rich website featuring healthy recipes, cooking how-to, meal plans and shopping tips, as well as articles, numerous blogs and nutrition advice. EatingWell.com averaged more than 1.8 million unique monthly visitors and 16 million monthly page views in the first half of 2011, making it one of the top 25 food sites in terms of traffic according to comScore;
  • A robust content licensing and custom marketing program providing diet and nutrition articles, how-to cook information, healthy recipes and meal plans to over 75 clients including major consumer portals, healthcare, food and supermarket retail partners;
  • A Healthy-in-a-Hurry mobile recipe app rated as a top foodie app by the iTunes store and top health app by Consumer Reports Health Newsletter; and
  • A series of high-quality food and nutrition-related books and cookbooks.

We’ve all heard the adage, “All brands are publishers now.”  Taking a close look at the successful and profitable publishers within our industries and markets offers smart guidance for content marketers.  Developing content that resonates with a passionate niche audience will help drive discovery of that messaging among liked minded people (a.k.a. well qualified prospects!)

Need to get into your niches? You can find niche influencers and track emerging trends and conversations with MediaVantage, our potent media monitoring suite that pulls traditional media coverage and social media mentions relevant to your work into a single database, so you can extract valuable information about your coverage with speed and ease.  Learn more
Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of the e-books Unlocking Social Media for PR and the newly-published  New School Press Release Tactics.  Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.

Coming up at Content Marketing World:

Sarah is presenting on the topic of content discovery next month at Content Marketing World, in session titled “10 Online Discovery Tips that Will Get Your Content Promoted.”   We hope to see you in Cleveland at the show!   In the meantime, follow the conversation on Twitter, hashtag #CMWorld.

Create Discoverable Stories Using Editorial Calendars

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The MarketWatch/Wall St. Journal editorial calendar provides a great framework for content ideas.

Story timing plays a crucial role in determining whether or not your story is discovered by your audience.  For years and years, media outlets have been publishing their editorial calendars, to help brands manage ad buys and PR pitches.   Those same editorial calendars are a rich resource for content marketers, too.

Time = Opportunity

As you peruse editorial calendars, you’ll notice that the lead times are generally pretty long, even for daily newspapers.  Special sections are planned and “in the can” well in advance of publication. There is opportunity for smart content creators within these timeframes, including:

  • Earned media:  Reporters covering the space will be starting to develop story ideas.  If your brand’s content plans will generate newsworthy content, get your PR team involved.   Surveys, market research and tips/advice are examples of owned content that can earn media when pitched to the right outlets.
  • Accelerating audience interest: In the run up to an event or season, audience interest increases.   Savvy brands can tune into early conversations to identify hot-button topics, and build content around those topics.  A well-structured content plan can also help the brand get ‘out in front’ of the conversations as well.
  • Opportunity to trigger and shape discussion:  As audience interest swells, brands can also trigger and shape discussion with content derived from research, polls and surveys.   Trends pieces and related tips can surface new topic angles with audiences and trigger new conversations.
This smart press release from CCH includes a state-by-state list of tax holidays, making it relevant both in terms of timing and geography.  (Click the image to see the whole story.)

This smart press release from CCH includes a state-by-state list of tax holidays, making it relevant both in terms of timing and geography. (Click the image to see the whole story.)

Developing content that supports the brand’s key themes credibly can create the foundation for shaping the direction of the conversation. The relationship between timing and the ultimate discovery of brand messaging is clear.  There’s a lot to be gained for the brand that is prepared and catches the wave of attention around an event or topic as it’s developing, not waning. However, it’s also important to remember to seed discovery with distribution of message components.   Tactics you’ll want to have in your toolbox include:

  • Social and traditional media monitoring:  Keep tabs on conversations, stories, influencers, new trends, and new players.
  • PR savvy:  Don’t overlook the opportunity to generate valuable earned media.  Pitch relevant journalists newsworthy facts, data and trends.   Generate more visibility for assets you produce, such as surveys, white papers and infographics with a press release that outlines a few key points and offers readers a link to the rest of the information.
  • Visual development:  Don’t forget to develop visuals.  An infographic is more than just a great way to illustrate a trend or make data more tangible.  Multimedia assets attract more viewers, and can develop lives and audiences of their own.

One final note:  a strong social presence for the brand is especially helpful for capitalizing upon ultra-timely, news-driven topics.  Make building and bolstering your brand’s social presence and the relationship with the audience an ongoing priority – these are important assets that deliver tremendous value to the organization and provide ongoing visibility for the brand.

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of the e-books “Unlocking Social Media for PR and the soon-to-be-published “New School PR Tactics.”  Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik

Coming up at Content Marketing World:

Sarah is presenting on the topic of content discovery next month at Content Marketing World, in session titled “10 Online Discovery Tips that Will Get Your Content Promoted.”   Stop by the PR Newswire booth to see what’s new (and enter a great give away!) In the meantime, follow the conversation on Twitter, hashtag #CMWorld.

5 Ways Press Release Writers Can Offer More Content & Guidance to Readers & Journalists

Last night PR Newswire completed the updates to our content syndication network and on www.prnewswire.com  to meet Google’s new guidelines regarding links in press releases.  And we’re convinced that in this new environment, new opportunities for press release issuers abound.

Here’s why.

Now that these changes have been made, we no longer have to caution you, as we had recently, to be careful to limit links to just one or two per press release,. You’re now able to  link the interesting and useful content that best serves your readers, and your business.  This means you’ll be able to add more richness and depth to press releases, using links to add new dimensions to the content you present, such as:

  • Adding credibility and accessibility to the experts quoted in press release, by adding a link to their expert profile on Profnet Connect, bio on your web site, a paper they wrote or their social media handle.  This is a particularly handy reference for journalists and bloggers considering covering the story.
  • Encouraging interaction by plugging a “Tweet this” link into your content, following a key stat or pithy quote.
  • Boosting measurability and engagement by using a landing page. Get cozy with your marketing team, and instead of simply linking to a page on your web site, have a landing page designed specifically for your press release.  Populate that page with content that is relevant to your message, and provides details for journalists and engagement for potential customers.  Landing pages are extremely measureable, too. If the press release you issue does a good job of generating interest, the landing page will support and measure subsequent audience engagement.
  • Building curation into your content. This might sound counterintuitive, because press releases are all about the company message. But think about it: most of the organizations we represent are spending a lot of time, energy and resources publishing content these days. Curate some of that content for your press release readers.  Embed a relevant link in the body of the copy to related media coverage or an industry blog post.  Using a link, you can surface relevant earned media, to bolster the message credibility.
  • Creating pathways for potential customers.  We know that potential buyers look at press releases as credible sources of information.  Cozy up to your marketing team again and channel this interest by incorporating a call to action in the form of a strategically placed link within a press release.  This link can go to a landing page with quick access to trials, demos and downloads, which will appeal to people doing research on potential purchases.

 Because we no longer have to worry about leaving search engine juice on the table with press release links, we can now link to all the information and resources that help journalists, reader and buyers — which will ultimately make the messages more effective.

However, we’d also like to insert one note of caution.  We’re not recommending that you link to every conceivable asset your organization can muster.  Scads upon scads of links are annoying and turn readers off.  We’re advocating message craftsmanship, using links strategically to present related and useful information and logical next steps for readers.   (A good rule of thumb: if a piece of content or related web page isn’t specifically relevant to the press release, don’t link to it.)

Start to think of press releases as the trail head for a route that leads back to your company, and avoid presenting readers with a maze or circuitous route.  The path should lead clearly to the objective, and not send readers wandering in circles or into dead ends.

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of the e-books “Unlocking Social Media for PR and the soon-to-be-published “New School PR Tactics.”  Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik

Coming up at Content Marketing World:

Sarah is presenting on the topic of content discovery next month at Content Marketing World, in session titled “10 Online Discovery Tips that Will Get Your Content Promoted.”   We hope to see you in Cleveland at the show!   In the meantime, follow the conversation on Twitter, hashtag#CMWorld.

3 Imperatives for Healthcare Communicators Managing Industry Change (& Lessons for the Rest of Us)

Keynote speaker Paul Matsen of Cleveland Clinic.

Keynote speaker Paul Matsen of Cleveland Clinic.

The sold-out Future of Healthcare Communications Summit held last week in New York and jointly hosted by PR Newswire and the Business Development Institute focused on the major challenges posed by the Affordable Care Act to American healthcare providers.  According to Ray Kerins (@RayKerins), senior vice president and head of communications & public affairs at Bayer Corporation, the healthcare industry currently suffers from a lack of open dialogue and major distrust amongst patients towards healthcare systems. Three major recurring themes throughout the summit offered inventive solutions for mending fragmented relationships between healthcare providers and their patients:

1.       Reform negative public opinion toward healthcare systems

A troubling observation presented by Kerins showed that none of the top ten companies on Forbes’ 2013 List of the World’s Most Admired Companies is a healthcare provider. Kerins believes that in order for healthcare communicators to “recapture the brilliance of the industry,” they must re-examine mistakes made in the past to avoid repetition and engage with stakeholders.

Paul Matsen (@pgmat), chief marketing and communications officer at Cleveland Clinic, discussed five marketing strategies executed at Cleveland Clinic to help transform negative public opinion. While the clinic upheld a legacy as a prominent referral center, it was widely perceived as being inaccessible. In addition to the “Same-Day Appointments” program, Cleveland Clinic differentiates itself by helping physicians patent their intellectual property to build start-up companies and form alliances. Through access, alliances, targeting, engagement, and a branded patient experience, Cleveland Clinic was re-established as a leader in world class care. 

2.       Create content for multiple channels

David Blair (@drblair1), head of industry for health at Google, reported that

David Blair of Google delivered a look into the future of healthcare technology.

David Blair of Google delivered a look into the future of healthcare technology.

90% of all consumption is screen based, with 77% of consumers relying on screen technologies for health information. In fact, an astounding 7 billion searches on Google are specific to health conditions. According to Blair, the proliferation of screens has empowered patients, creating a need for branded experiences within multiple contexts. “We live in a constantly connected world of moments,” he explains, “Think of your brand message as liquid content; you want to flow to every device at any time.” A fascinating adoption of multi-channel health content occurred this year when UCLA live-tweeted a brain surgery for the first time using Twitter’s vine app.

Monique Levy (@monlevy), vice president of research at Manhattan Research, supports the notion of multi-format engagement. A Manhattan Research study concluded that the amount of time consumers spend searching for material depends on the type of device being used. While smartphones supply “quick hit information,” tablets and desktops are used for “lean back learning.” The results emphasize a need for appropriately formatted content for each type of communications device.

 

3. Personalize engagement with customers 

While some consider press releases to be old-fashioned, they are still regarded as a highly dependable source of information. Gil Bashe (@Gil_Bashe), EVP and health practice director at Makovsky, refers to a Makovsky-Kelton Health Info Study which found that company press releases have higher trust amongst patients than company websites or social media.

Mike Slone (@MikeSlone17), design director at Eliza Corporation, believes that disengaging marketing tactics like charts and brochures have steered patients away from building trust with healthcare providers. Instead, Eliza Corporation developed a vulnerability index (VI) which uses survey data to quantify the impact of everyday stress factors. A high VI score indicates an increased risk of developing health issues likes diabetes, depression, and heart disease. To promote healthy living, ad campaigns address daily anxieties with humor, such as “Exercise to Avoid Punching Your Boss in the Face.” Slone says that health communication is “not just about health, but about the quality of life you live.”

There’s no question the Affordable Care Act is changing access to and the delivery of health care in the US, and represents a sea-change for the industry.  The imperative for communicators as they navigate these changes is clear – brands and organizations must both listen and speak to their audiences.  Messaging needs to address the questions and concerns of the constituents, not paper them over with brochures.   The common thread in the advice from the speakers was the focus on the audience, a good guide for any marketing or PR professional steering message strategy through uncertain waters.

Author Shannon Ramlochan is a member of PR Newswire’s marketing team. 

How Content Curation Attracts Audience & Powers SEO

If you want to position your organization as a thought leader or enhance your brand’s reputation on line (or, for that matter, do the same for yourself), honing your ability to curate relevant content is crucial.

You may already know some great curators – they are those people on Twitter who share links that you consistently click on, or that friend on Facebook who always finds the most interesting stuff.  They are those people whose boards on Pinterest seem to be full of the most compelling ideas.

In short, they are the people who have earned (and kept) your attention.

Curation is a lot like editing.  In addition to having their fingers on the pulse of a particular topic, good curators winnow out the valuable nuggets from amidst a veritable mountain of chaff: and this ability is what makes them so valuable to their followers.

Developing a stream of relevant and interesting content is a worthwhile endeavor.  In addition to attracting and keeping interested followers, doing so effectively creates an audience for the communications you develop (again, for either your brand or yourself) and deploy into the stream.

A free webinar later today featuring Cameron Uganec (@CameronU)  of Hootsuite will be exploring these benefits, and also discussing how curation can improve SEO and web site traffic.  Simply put, it’s difficult to understate the importance of developing a relevant audience for your brand, and the benefits that can accrue to organizations that make the investment in doing so.   Social buzz, thought leadership, SEO, lead generation — it’s all connected, and it all starts with sharing great content.

I’ll be tuning in, I hope you can, too.  Here’s the registration link:

A Guide to Content Curation: How Social Media Changed the Game — Wednesday July 10, 2013
2:00 pm-3:00 pm ET

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

The PR Pitch: A Skill that Matters More than Ever

keepcalmAn article Ragan’s PR Daily ran last week titled “Is the Traditional PR Pitch Dead?” flirted with the notion that it’s possible to practice PR without pitching media and bloggers. The author, Rachel Farrell, concluded (and I agree)that social media is a path to news, not a replacement for it, and that pitching thought leaders and who shape opinion is still a good idea. The art of the pitch still matters.

I’ll go a step further and say that the pitch has never been more important to PR than it is today.

The pitch is the art of describing the very core of a story, and it drives right to heart of why the story would be of interest or importance to the audience.

Just as a pitch – whether delivered via email or phone — is designed to attract the attention of a journalist, that same pitch can also be used to attract your brand’s publics.

In fact, we need to think about leaving multiple pitches  into messages, in order to attract the reader keep the audiences’ attention and guide them along the path that we’ve created, all the way to the outcome we intend.

Even if pitching traditional media and connected bloggers isn’t part of the remit of the particular project, ultimately the success of the message hinges on the pitch, and here’s why:

The pitch will win attention: When appealing to online audiences, it’s crucial that you surface that essential why in the story as quickly as possible. Think about starting your press release, for example, with a pitch.

Keep pitching to hold attention: But don’t stop pitching for attention with the headline.  Once you have the attention of the reader (or in the case of a video, the viewer,) you have to keep it.  Keep pitching throughout the message to keep the audience engaged.  How do you do this? Keep surfacing those crucial nuggets that describe why the story matters, and lead your audience through the message, laying a trail with these compelling ideas.

Close the deal with a pitch: What’s the outcome you want the audience to take? If you’ve kept the audience’s attention throughout the whole message, you’ve managed to generate a lot of interest.  Well done!  But now is not the time to take your foot off the gas.  Encourage the reader to take the next step, and use a pitch to do it.

Abandoning the power of the s the last thing I would do. As the availability of information multiplies and attention spans correspondingly decrease, honing the ability to craft messages designed to garner, keep and guide audience interest is important, and the pitch is a tactic that translates especially well to today’s attention market.

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

How to Create a Winning Blogger Pitch Every Time

Every other week, The Q&A Team answers questions from ProfNet readers with advice from our large network of experts. Has there been a question burning in your mind lately, something you’ve been wondering that none of your colleagues can answer? Please send it to polina.opelbaum@prnewswire.com

Dear Q&A Team,

I am a PR professional interested in learning how to pitch mommy bloggers. How can I find the right mommy blogs to work with? What should – and shouldn’t – I do when pitching?  What are the benefits of getting my product or news covered on a mommy blog?

Signed,

Pitch Perfect

Dear Pitch Perfect,

You’ve come to the right place! Here are five ProfNet experts who share their advice and the lessons they learned about pitching mommy bloggers:

Finding the Right Mommy Blogger

Wendy Hirschhorn, CEO of Wendy’s Bloggers, has reviewed over a thousand mommy blogger websites. The mommy bloggers she adds to her powerful network need to meet her professional standards. That includes the ability to write cohesive reviews; generate sufficient traffic to their sites; and use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr and other social sites to promote their product reviews and giveaways.

Some other things Hirschhorn looks for when deciding to work with a mommy blogger include: 1) looking at the site to make sure it’s well-designed and easy to navigate; 2) checking to see the blogger blogs regularly, which means every day or close to it; 3) reading the bio to get a sense of the mommy blogger.

Last but not least, “I try to elicit feedback from them about preferences on companies they’d like to connect with, what their experience has been blogging about different categories, e.g., frozen food, restaurants, CDs, clothing, etc., to see what works and what doesn’t,” says Hirschhorn.

Karma Martell, president of KarmaCom Inc., had different criteria for the last mommy blogger she pitched on a new brand launch. She explains, “I picked her because although she wrote for a national-regional audience mommy blog, she lived in and was the perfect client demographic for the brand. I found this out from her Twitter profile.”

Martell warns that not all mommy bloggers are created equal. “They have many different foci. You really need to get a feel for the portal or their individual columns. Just because they are a mommy blogger does not mean they are writing or tweeting about raising kids primarily,” she says.

Finding the Right PR Professional

“I appreciate it when PR professionals take the time to read a few of my posts on each blog before pitching an idea,” says Dana Hinders, blogger for Smart Mom Picks and Modern Baby. “I receive a lot of pitches that are interesting, but not well-suited for either blog.”

Hinders adds: “Providing images with a pitch is very helpful, especially if the images are something eye-catching. We share a lot of posts on social media, and images tend to encourage people to click on the links. If I know I have good images to use, I’m much more likely to cover a product.”

If a post is about a specific product, it is important to provide Hinders with price information and a description of where to buy the item.

Jamie Lee, blogger for The Denver Housewife, also has certain things she looks for before responding to a pitch. Lee says, “I look to make sure they have my name right, if it’s a product that will fit my family, and if the opportunity is worth my time.”

Successfully Pitching the Mommy Blogger

Kate Connors, account executive at Media & Communications Strategies, Inc., says she has successfully pitched mommy bloggers on behalf of her client, Touro University Worldwide. She attributes her success to two things: 1) finding out the blogger’s niche and making sure the information being offered actually benefits their readers, and 2) making sure to have an expert who can offer to comment or write a piece.

Connors explains how she applied these recommendations when she pitched bloggers on behalf of Touro: “The university has taken an active role in supporting military families in light of the recent cuts in tuition assistance programs. There is a huge blogosphere of military moms who write daily about their struggles, both financially and emotionally. I reached out to each of them offering a release about the importance of Military Spouses Day and what kind of assistance Touro was offering.”   In addition, Touro has a Marriage & Family Therapy Department, so after the Sandy Hook shooting and the Boston Marathon bombing, Connors contacted mommy bloggers offering assistance from these professors on how to talk to children after a disaster. “Some bloggers wrote back asking for quotes, others for pieces,” said Connors.

What Not to Do When Pitching

Hinders says: “One thing I really dislike is when a PR professional sends several copies of the same email a day or two apart. I try to respond to pitches fairly quickly, but it does take a few days for me to get caught up if I put out a ProfNet request that gets a lot of responses. Sorting through duplicate pitches just creates more work for me.”

Her favorite PR professionals, says Hinders, are the ones who go above and beyond when it comes to communication.

In addition, for Smart Mom Picks, Hinders tries to shy away from covering products that are very expensive or not widely available in the U.S.

Lee doesn’t generally respond to PR professionals offering her one coupon for something, a discount code, or just nothing in return. “Writing the blog posts, reviewing the product, and editing the pictures all take time and I want to make sure that I am getting something in return that is also benefiting me and my family,” she says.

Benefits of Working With a Mommy Blogger

After Martell successfully pitched a mommy blogger, her ROI was twofold. Martell says, “The client got mentions and special promotions on the blog, and the client saw ROI in member signup from the blog’s users. We knew this because the offer was coded per promotion. In turn, we also developed a cordial relationship with the regional editor, who actually contacted us later to include another client in an event they were planning.”

After Connors successfully pitched mommy bloggers on behalf of her client, she said it greatly helped the university increase its online presence.

Connors adds, “We received this email from the university client in response to our blogger outreach: ‘By having several sites back-link to our site in a very natural manner, you helped to increase our search ranking with Google. Building our internal architecture in this way will help us greatly in the long-term.’”

Besides increasing online presence, it also helped increase the number of student applications, says Connors. “Media & Communications Strategies had potential students reach out to us after reading some of the expert commentary in a blog post. “

“The goal of building a successful online presence is creating a two-way relationship between you and the blogger. The more you can provide them, i.e. experts, the more likely they are to come back to you for further stories,” suggests Connors.

Martell reiterates Connors’ last statement. “Remember that when pitching mommy bloggers, you have to think about where you can give back to them. For example: something special for their readers, an invitation to an event, retweets and mentions, etc.”

Written by Polina Opelbaum, editor of ProfNet, a service that helps journalists connect with expert sources.  The Q&A Team is published biweekly on ProfNet Connect, a free social networking site for communicators. To read more from Polina, check out her blog on ProfNet Connect.

 

PR in China: Does Your Brand Translate?

Click to access our free white paper on media in China.

Click to access our free white paper on the media environment in China.

It’s surprising that so many companies use English when communicating within China, even though the official spoken language of China is Mandarin, and the official written language is Simplified Chinese.  It’s not hard to imagine the negative effect this language disconnect has on campaign results,  and the reason is simple – most Chinese journalists and consumers use internet search as their primary research tool, and they are searching in their own language, even if they speak English.  Any communication not in local language will not be seen.  Think of it this way – if you are searching for a computer do you type in “Lenovo” in Google or Bing, or do you type in 联想?  The same logic applies to users and consumers within China.

Don’t forget the SEO angle

Another point to consider is your target audience will most likely be using search terms that have to do either with a problem or a solution.  To be included in results, your keywords will need to address at least one.   If you have key words or phrases in your release or documents in English instead of Simplified Chinese, your communication will not show up in organic search results.

Just as your keywords are carefully thought out and researched, the translations should be researched just as thoroughly.  In most Asian languages, the keyword itself differs from the rest of the world.  Your product names and technical terminology should be in widely used characters – creating your own “Chinglish” term may be catchy, but unless you’re a name brand with a large advertising budget you will not get the results you wish.

Branding in Chinese

Lenovo's Chinese homepage displays the brand in both Chinese and English.

Lenovo’s Chinese homepage displays the brand in both Chinese and English.

Even your company name should be in Chinese.  Decide upon the proper characters you will use during your branding process.   If you have a local PR, branding agency, or local marketing support, put this into their hands, and listen carefully to their suggestions.  Once you decide upon the characters for your company name, stick to them going forward.  If you change them for any reason, it will require a full re-branding.  Lenovo’s Chinese home page is a very good example.  The English brand is there, along with the characters they chose for local branding.

Where to get help!

There are several agencies and consulting services outside of China that will do all the research and character creation for you.  These services can be pricey, but if you are serious about successful communication in China, they are an excellent investment, and will give you the best ROI.

If you do not have the resources for a branding consultant or agency, find a good translation service that you can trust to accurately translate your company terms.  The best ones will give you several suggestions for you to choose from, and perhaps even do some research for you.  If you do not know of any services, PR Newswire will be happy to give you some recommendations.  Next, you’ll need to check trends on each of the suggestions and pick the one that matches your needs best.   There is a free keyword index on index.baidu.com that you can use to check trends on specific keywords, but the Baidu paid keyword tool is the one I prefer.   I find the results to be more accurate due to the wider search results.

Once you have your product, technology and company names in Chinese characters, then you can start working on your marketing and communication materials.   That doesn’t mean you can’t still use your English brand names and technology terms – it is acceptable to use both the English and the Chinese characters for company name and keywords on your website and your printed and online marketing material.   For press releases that will be posted on third party news sites, as well as paid advertorials, use Chinese only for best ROI results.

Following these steps will help you increase your visibility and return on your brand’s investment in the important Chinese market.   Whether your audience is B2B or communicating in-language will dramatically increase your online visibility.

学一门语言,就是多一个观察世界的窗户。To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world.

Author Colleen Pizarev is PR Newswire’s vice president of communication strategies and works with our clients on crafting global communications campaigns.

Is a Paid Placement Right for Your Campaign?

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

When to use a paid placement? 

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

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

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

THE BOTTOM  LINE?

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

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

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

How to Increase Content & Messaging Visibility with a Multi-Channel Distribution Strategy

We’re all creating content today, but how do we do it right?  Jon Miller(@jonmiller), co-founder of Marketo, along with Michael Pranikoff, PR Newswire’s director of emerging media, seek to answer that question in this webinar.

Jon began the discussion by talking about how marketing has changed in recent years.  Back in the ‘Mad Men’ era of marketing, a buyer would have to talk to a sales person to obtain information on a product, but with the abundance of information available on the internet, the sales person is no longer needed until much further along in the buying cycle. According to Forrester Research, at least in a Business-to-Business setting, a buyer is 65% to 90% finished with their sales cycle before they actually connect with a salesperson.  This has profound implications for marketers.

3 Main Benefits of Content Marketing:

1)      Increased Brand Awareness – Buyers are online.  When someone shares your content on a social network, that action gives you free brand awareness in a more powerful way than purchased advertising.

2)      Better Brand Preference – People are more likely to choose the product from a company they feel they have a relationship with.

3)      Risk Reduction – In Business-to-Business purchases especially, avoidance risk and fear tend to be the most dominant motions in play.  A person may make decisions out of fear of losing their job.  To reduce fear for your buyers, your trusted content and thought leadership will help you gain trust from your buyers, which is important.

Creating content for the buying process:

To create an effective campaign, you need to create compelling content for the appropriate stage of the buying process.  You don’t want to give late stage content to an early stage customer because it’s not relevant to them at this point.

– Early Stage:  By far, the majority of content is early stage – usually educational or entertaining content. It’s all about appealing to the audience before they become a customer.

– Middle Stage: the tools that will help a buyer when they are already thinking about a purchase, such as  a buying guide, ROI calculator or analyst data.

– Late Stage:  is about the product or service specifically, such as pricing, demos and case-studies.

No matter what stage, the content must always be relevant and helpful to the buyer.

The power of visuals

best press release format tips multimedia news release

Press releases that offer readers a variety of multimedia options (e.g. video, images, downloads) generate almost 10 times more views than plain-text messages.

Another trend that Jon talks about is the rise of visual content.    Not only does adding multimedia give you more views, there is also better engagement in content with multimedia elements than plain text.  Marketers need to create content that people want to share.  Michael Pranikoff sited a PR Newswire Web Analytics study that showed syndicated content gets more views as more multimedia elements are added.

Customers want to have fun.  With early-stage content, the more you can do to entertain, the better off you will be.  Jon talks about the jingle created to promote ‘The Definitive Guide of Marketing Automation’, an e-book available on the Marketo website.

As I was watching this webinar, I pulled up Marketo’s youtube channel & watched the video Jon referred to, as well as some other fun & informative marketing videos, and I can see why these videos would be shared & re-shared.  Jon said he believes humor and personality are way underused in b-to-b sales.

Don’t panic – this isn’t as daunting as it may seem

You don’t have to have all your content on Day 1.  Just keep creating something new all the time.  Think big, start small, move quickly.

Think about how you can take the content you have and cut it in different ways – re-purpose your content.

  • Promote your content on different channels:  including paid,  owned (such as your own website or blog) and earned.  On social media, don’t promote too much of your own content.  Build an audience and a following, which will build your presence and will get more impact for the content that you do share.
  • Syndicate & Connect – Michael Pranikoff shared a story about a client of PR Newswire’s that issued a short news release to online publications with a link to their blog post.  After syndicating the release, they found a 54% increase in blog traffic and higher search result ratings.  A little content syndication can go a long way. 

Social media can give you a boost on every other type of campaign.  You don’t have to run a social campaign, but make every campaign that you do social.  Give people a reason to share your content.

If you missed the live webinar,  you can assess a recording here: Connecting the Content Dots

Author Jillian Courtright is a Senior Customer Content Specialist at PR Newswire.