Every corporate online newsroom has “musts”—the essential areas that are most visited by reporters and other key users.
At other times, the essentials have a narrower audience, as when Mayo Clinic posts a b-roll interview with a medical expert.
Either way, the two top newsrooms from widely divergent organizations offer lessons that every communicator should consider. Above all, know your business, your industry and the news media well enough to anticipate what will draw reporters and others.
Here are a few areas every online newsroom should offer:
Whenever possible, Mayo produces multimedia content, because journalists like to share information in ways that offer consumers a richer experience, Petrovich says. Similarly, visitors are more like to share multimedia content on Facebook and Twitter.
B-roll is in high demand with reporters at downsizing news outlets that are stretched thin, Petrovich says. TV reporters now must handle social media, and newspaper reporters have to shoot video.
A story on the clinic’s first face transplant story was a prime example of media outlets using b-roll that Mayo produced. To protect the patient’s privacy, the clinic recorded interviews with him and made those available, along with interviews with physicians.
Recognizing that viewers often access video where they can’t play the sound, Mayo has taken to adding captions on all its video stories. This isn’t for journalists, who get captionless video, but for consumers who might have muted their devices when they auto-play.
“We realize that not every story can be heard at all times,” Petrovich says.
At Nissan, “the bread-and-butter stuff is the stories,” says Brad Nevin, editor-in-chief for its global communications website platforms.
Nevin used to work at Car and Driver magazine, so he is familiar with the needs of automotive journalists. They want to get on Nissan’s site, get the information they seek and get off. They prefer straightforward navigation that makes clear how to find the assets they are seeking.
“Sites get into trouble when they try to be too fancy and too designed, where there are all sorts of bells and whistles that aren’t helpful to finding information."
Have you made it easy to find the news that reporters most often seek from your site, such as executive bios or content supporting major product launches?
When reporters are slamming out a story on quarterly results, they don’t have time to scour your site looking for scattered data, pictures, YouTube streams or transcripts of the speech the CEO delivered when announcing the results. Corral all these assets in one location.
“It’s putting everything in place on one page,” Nevin says. “You get everything you want very easily and quickly.”
In addition to announcements of results, Nissan also posts transcripts of speeches at significant venues, such as the Detroit Auto Show. Reporters will love you for transcripts. Cutting and pasting from transcripts reduces reporting time—and the likelihood of transcription errors by the journalist.
Speaking of auto shows, Nissan creates event pages where fans and journalists can find the content.
With major industry events, offer press releases, videos and other assets, as Nissan did for this year’s Beijing Auto Show. Also, when you anticipate a spike in viewers because of an event, give IT a heads-up in advance, Nevin advises.
“We know that at Detroit auto show, those views are much higher than they usually are,” Nevin says.
Mayo has 4,000 experts in medical science who have all kinds of information at their fingertips, Petrovich says. What makes for compelling newsroom content, however, is the intersection of such science and conversational storytelling.
As an 80-year-old company, Nissan has a heritage page that offers resources for fans and journalists looking for former iterations of its cars. This can be useful for automotive writers who wish to discuss changes in a model over the years. Such sites can be hits with fans, as well.
Nissan offers interesting oddities such as 1935 footage of its manufacturing process and a short film titled “Beauty that is the envy of Hollywood.” The latter was shot in 1937, “when it was still rare for even Hollywood movies to be in full color,” Nissan states.
“I think of myself as the librarian for all our assets in our company,” Nevin says, “and it’s all organized on the menus.”
Mobile use is going up, and journalists—like everybody else—frequently access organizations’ sites from their smartphones.
Nissan has moved away from an app is designing its web newsroom to be mobile-responsive, adjusting to the size of the viewers’ screen. Nevin doubts that journalists are doing their major work on a tiny handheld device, but they still use smartphones to view content from the organizations they cover.
Become a what? A “Brand Journalist”? What’s that you say? It’s part of the communication fabric of the here and now and future.
First, us traditional PR pros at branded companies pitched stories to journalists so that they could have sources and information to write their stories. Now, they’re the journalists too.
What changed? Well, for starters, the Internet went platinum. All of a sudden anyone could use a platform to publish their own content, then images, and then videos. Now, brands can use a combined set of tools to bring their press rooms to life.
Here are some ideas on how to become a brand journalist:
In formulating a press room, most companies will go to the basics. “Let’s include our latest press releases, media coverage, logos, press contact, and more!” Not so much with a branded journalistic press room. The idea is to bring people in. To teach them. To inspire them. The branded press room is more about positioning and differentiation than it is about promotion. To be the thought leader, you have to lead with content that is thought-provoking, authentic, builds trust, and that readers want to read.
While the content of your press room will cover topics close to your brand, there’s not always the need to mention your products, if at all. Those links can live above your branded press room in the nav bar. What you’re going for in the branded press room is a deeper dive into why it really matters why you’re focused as a business on these topics, who’s behind the topics, where did they originate, by whom, and what’s the future.
It’s important that the people behind your words are identifiable as leaders in your sector or business. By leveraging the people in your organization, you’re giving credibility to your press room, its message, and your brand. Just having any person write your content won’t fly as you will need to put a face to your marketing. Those authors can also go offline and become part of a speaker tour or be quoted in articles on related subjects. Build your brand!
Go beyond the traditional press room and include video and audio clips. Even slate in social media so that your readers can tweet from within your content. Use a lot of images to engage the readers too.
Optimize your content for search on page and behind it. Your branded press room will have so much natural content that it will be a goldmine for search. Make sure to categorize your videos, blog posts, and audio files. Add search phrases to content and hashtag when sharing on social.
I would think that this would be the hardest part. How do you convince others to share your branded content? Invite them to contribute, mention their companies/people, speak at their conferences or invite them to speak at yours. Or, just tap your stakeholders to share your content. Simply just tweeting out the latest blog post isn’t enough. There needs to be a sound strategy that helps get the message out to the right people at the right time.
See, there’s a lot more that can be done to a press room if you’re a brand journalist.
In this article, 7 Public Relations professionals reveal their secrets about how to write a press release and capturing a journalist’s attention in today's vibrant media landscape.
Their advice covers a broad range of topics from optimizing your headlines and quotes, leveraging social media, to maintaining key relationships with the press. Read their top 5 tips on how to write a press release:
Today, the brand combines its legendary and classy style with a hip lifestyle image. The watchmaker’s recent and unique collaboration with motorcycle company Indian is a great example of how they captured an iconic spirit into a series of three one-of-a-kind timepieces.
Baume & Mercier puts a lot of effort in making its timepieces appealing to a younger crowd. With its Clifton Sports collection, the brand brings it classic and legendary style to a new generation of users.
PressPage is proud to serve Baume & Mercier with their online newsroom.
PR meets social selling
The concept of social selling is being widely adopted by sales organizations. It is based on leveraging your commercial team’s social network in finding the right prospects, build trusted relationships, and ultimately, convert these relationships to sales goals. PR-generated content will allow your sales force to convey your organization’s added vlaue and establish their individual expert profiles to the benefit of these commercial goals.
Key webinar takeaways
This webinar discusses how comms-generated content enables your sales force to embrace social selling. Learn how to align content with the bottlenecks of your sales funnel and elevate your PR department from a cost center to a profit center.
Jock Breitweiser is an experienced communications veteran having held several positions as PR lead, including TriNet. In this webinar, Jock will explain the basics of the social selling concept, why it is gaining such momentum, and how PR can support this process to actively and achieve bottom-line results.
In this webinar you will learn:
Why should PR support sales team with comms-generated content
How to identify and understand key bottlenecks in your sales process
How to align PR activities with the sales funnel and obtain sales’ buy-in
How to develop the professional profile of your sales team’s members
How to develop their social network
How to provide sales with the right digital content to enable their commercial processes
And… How to show the ROI of comms in the commercial process
You can register now to save your seat. After registration you will receive a confirmation email with your own personal link to attend the webinar. Can't attend live? You should still register! We'll be sending out the recording to all registrants after the webinar.
The team’s cyclists work hard to manage their diabetes in combination with their lives as professional bike racers. The team reflects this on its website, which showcases all of their racing activities, inspirational stories and qualitative and educational activities.
Although the site provides a continuous stream of great content that is a tremendous source of information for fans, and an inspiration for people living with diabetes, the team’s public relations efforts were eager to incorporate a more media savvy strategy into their website.
PressPage’s purpose-built PR platform provides the team with the ultimate workflow to create and distribute their media releases and analyze readership and editorial conversion.
“In addition to racing, media is very important to Team Novo Nordisk. Our goal is to reach everyone in the world affected by diabetes, give them role models and inspire them to chase their own dreams,” said Team Novo Nordisk Senior Director of Public Relations Fitzalan Crowe.
Peapod, an Ahold Delhaize USA company, is America's leading online grocer with over 40 million orders delivered to date. The company stands out in the increasingly competitive online grocery shopping market with its intuitive, inspiring website and award-winning mobile app; allowing customers to shop faster and smarter as well as save time and money with each order.
Peapod offers delivery to both homes and businesses and has over 200 pick-up locations across the United States.
GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulation. It is a new European legislation that is designed to harmonise data protection rules across Europe, creating consistency in how organisations must deal with personal data. In the Netherlands, our existing data protection law is quite strong, but in some other European countries it was relatively weak. GDPR creates a ‘level playing field’ across Europe.
In essence, GDPR is all about getting organisations to give due respect to the personal data that they process. It’s not about stopping companies from processing personal data, but ensuring it is looked after properly, kept accurate and not abused. By creating a clear set of rules across Europe, the hope is that this will help organisations provide better products and services and add value to the economy, without breaching the rights of individuals.
If you think GDPR is strictly related to PR (since it is in the name), you are wrong. GDPR is a legislation that affects all organizations, regardless of what industry they are in. Everyone needs to be aware of what it entails, how it affects them and how you can prepare for it. However it is interesting to see what effect it has on public relations.
There are a few areas within GDPR that have a direct influence on PR, namely Accountability, Transparency and Consent.
There is no doubt that GDPR affects how organizations collect, process and transfer personal data. It is important that organizations not only comply with GDPR, but also demonstrate this compliance. This means creating a culture in which all relevant elements of the organization comply to the GDPR, including a good awareness about this within the whole team.
Being transparent about how you cope with data is another aspect that is important, but the first step here is knowing what personal data you store, why you store this, what you do with it, where you store it and who it is stored by. Is this data that you really need to store? The more information you store, the bigger the risk. So make a good evaluation of what information you need to store and how to make sure you keep this safe.
And last, but not least: Consent. The aspect that got at least a lot of Sales and Marketing people to freak out, because they were afraid that they could not do their job the same way they were doing it before. Well...that is maybe not completely true, however, the fines that could be associated with not being compliant can really make you nervous.
All aspects mentioned are directly related to Sales and Marketing, but they also affect PR professionals directly. Think about sending press releases unsolicited to journalists. That is not an option anymore after 25 May. From the moment GDPR is being applied, you will need to start with a personal e-mail to the journalist that you contact for the first time in which you ask if you can send them press releases in the future. The journalists that you want to add to your press list, can only be added if they have given their consent.
Outsource Communications also has 5 more GDPR tips for PR:
As of May 25, 2018, every company doing business in Europe will need to be GDPR compliant. Although it is fast approaching, organisations still have time to work on their compliance.
The PressPage platform is also affected by GDPR, and so we have been busy on ensuring it’s alignment with the new regulations. It is key for us to ensure our clients are GDPR compliant when using our services. For this we are doing numerous things, like:
Ensuring all personal data in the PressPage Mail databases is encrypted at rest and in transit.
Making sure that the right processor agreements are in place so that all transparency with regards to the processing of personal data is provided.
We have also worked hard on updating protocols and procedures surrounding PressPage’s GDPR readiness.
And finally, we have had multiple internal meetings and have enabled our team to be fully aware of the implications of GDPR.
In general, many fear the implications of GDPR. There are many aspects that an organisation needs to address, which inevitably means more work.
Christa Hemelaar’s, PressPage’s Marketing Manager, the first reaction was certainly not one of joy when hearing about GDPR. Sales and marketing tend to look at GDPR as a restraint on how they go about their business, especially when considering than non-compliance can lead to fines.
However, after studying the regulations and understanding its reasoning, she did conclude it could have some positive effects. Christa indicates that “on the other hand, the ones that provide consent should be seen as a very relevant audience for us and will only receive the information that is relevant to them.”
Christa’s view is concluded by the social impact GDPR will hopefully have in light of recent data and privacy breaches. When keeping the recent Facebook leaks in mind, Christa believes this law comes at a perfect time to ensure that the privacy of individuals is protected in our society; in her view a plus for both sides.
The first official press release was sent out in 1906, but now more than 100 years later both time and technology have changed the way we do PR. However, a traditional press release is still an important element of the majority of PR campaigns. One of the biggest differences we do see is in the audience. Previously, it was the press covering their stories for the newspapers, radio and later, television. A wider range of channels are now used for distributing news, with the website playing a more important role, in addition to the towering impact of social media.
These changes have had a big impact on how PR professionals did their job in the past and how they are doing it right now. Where they focused on just reaching the right journalists they knew before, now they try to push their message to a wider audience on more channels. It is not just about the media anymore, but bloggers, vloggers and other influencers. For the cultural sector these changes have created lots of opportunities, but it also means a shift in how they do PR.
Perhaps a no-brainer, but one of the biggest challenges for museums and other organizations in the cultural sector is to get more visitors with limited resources. So how do you reach new audiences and more importantly, how do you make sure you engage with them? Where do you start?
It is important to create and share content to reach your audience. However if content is king, technology is queen. Having a central place where people can find both information about the location and find inspiring content in all shapes and sizes, is essential. By sending out your news via email, social media (paid & organic), you reach the media, such as newspapers, authority sites or review sites, and your target audience. However when interested in the content, journalists shared it within their networks as well which allows you to reach an even bigger audience. So it allows you to also reach the people that you don’t know yet, but are interested in you.
Having others to tell and spread your story can have a big effect. Think about influencers such as bloggers and vloggers. They are seen as experts or leaders for their own group of followers– connecting with influencers can help to reach a bigger audience because they create content themselves about you. You do need to put effort in getting the most out of influencer marketing. Find out how the Museum of Contemporary Art in Australia set up their social media influencer campaign and how that worked out. Or check out these other cases in the article “The art of influencer marketing: influencers in museums”.
PR can be done in many different ways. For each sector there are specific elements to point out. According to the PR experts the Guardian spoke to, here are some tips for those working in Arts or cultural PR:
Think beyond the role: PR is intended to mean ‘the person who is responsible for press’, when in reality the term ‘public relations’ implies something much wider than that. Try to play a more central role in the organization.
Use a press release as the start of the process, not the end: It is not just about sending out information– you need good relationships with journalists. It’s all about building communication in from the start of any project.
Use social media and encourage others to pass on the message for you: PR companies that recognise the power of word of mouth are doing their clients a big favor. Twitter hashtags used to aggregate tweets about a specific event or show can be a great way of showing people who else is talking about something they're interested in, and building a mini-community around it.
Include the right images with any press release: If it is a gallery of a museum, include a wide-angle photo of the venue itself next to a selection of images of the objects and people that are involved. It will generate more publication needs.
As indicated before, having the technology in place is beneficial if not even essential to ensure your PR efforts to be optimal. Step away from just sending out the PDF press release, but create an online environment where your audience can find all the information they want. One place where the journalists can find details and images for their story, but also where your visitors can find out more about the new expo that is coming up.
These days, every company must be a publisher.
As traditional news outlets shrink, organizations are learning to tell their stories in a journalistic fashion through text, photographs, infographics, videos and other means.
Yet in pursuing that mandate, organizations mustn’t overlook a related task: to ease the job of journalists and bloggers by making newsrooms as reporter-friendly as possible.
“They have to, because there are fewer and fewer reporters are out there, fewer people that can tell their story for them,” says Tom Foremski, a former Financial Times journalist who publishes the influential Silicon Valley Watcher blog.
There’s a lot of information out there, and if you don’t provide what reporters, bloggers or others need, they are likely to snag non-corporate images or pull videos from YouTube, says David Erickson, vice president of online marketing for the Minneapolis public relations agency Karwoski & Courage.
Here are some ways to do that:
Many communicators—perhaps most—have experience in journalism. Give your site a look-over with the eyes of a harried reporter on deadline. These days journalists have even tighter deadlines than in the past, and some produce as many as five or six stories or updates a day.
“If you have a newsroom that’s a mess, they’re not going to spend very much time looking around for what they need,” Foremski says.
Foremski has long called for organizations to “deconstruct the press release into special sections and tag the information,” so that writers can pre-assemble some of news story and make the information useful.
Can an industry blogger quickly find boilerplate about your company? Do you provide financial information in many different formats for that business reporter? Do you offer publishable graphics and photographs of your products? Are names and photos of your officers and experts available?
By contrast, are your press releases in a PDF that prevent writers from cutting and pasting quotes and figures? That slows the writer and increases the likelihood of inaccuracies.
Is information updated and are names spelled correctly? Few things bother a reporter more than getting a phone call from an organization requesting a correction on information taken from the official website.
At Nissan Motor Corp., newsroom staffers strive to post interesting assets that news media outlets can use, says Brad Nevin, editor-in-chief for global communications website platforms. The challenge is to give it editorial integrity and not have it look like a glossy marketing brochure that journalists and bloggers might not wish to use.
At the same time, images and video must be dynamic. If Nevin just slapped up text and staid photographs, “I think it would put a lot of people to sleep,” he says.
A recent story noted that Nissan will become the first Japanese carmaker to compete in the all-electric ABB FIA Formula E racing championship. The story included interviews, behind-the-scenes video, and cinemagraphs, or images with motion that plays in a loop.
The approach, Nevin says, is, “How can we make our stories rich and colorful? We use the video. We use the cinemagraph. We use the sound files. We use the social media video. We use the Instagram series of images.” Nissan encourages industry publications to grab and use what they like.
People won’t visit your newsroom if you haven’t posted since last August. Besides, search engines will decide you aren’t a player in your field if you don’t update regularly.
“Google loves active pages,” Foremski says. “They’re not going to index your pages if you update it every two months.”
There’s a reason: How often posts are uploaded can tell you about how active a company is, he says. Regular updates also help you build a readership that’s interested in your industry.
“It’s good to keep the frequency going,” Nevin says, “and then that trains people to come back and see what’s new.”
When a company as significant as Google announces quarterly results, journalists and bloggers around the world write up the news. Often they search newsrooms and archives looking for different angles or color they can add, Foremski says.
Corporate newsrooms often have a search engine that scans the entire website, rather than searching a narrower field relevant to journalists, such as the newsroom assets, says Erickson.
When writing a press release, think multimedia, he adds. Offer audio clips of quotes from your spokespersons for podcasters, video for other media, he suggests.
For organizations doing business internationally, the added complexity of a globalizing economy and the need to communicate with different audiences in different geographical locations, time zones, and languages makes it a challenge of serious proportions.
This ebook is an introduction to the basics for running a newsroom for international audiences. The 4 chapters reflect the impact of technology and the growing influence of social media on modern PR and media relations strategies.
PressPage provides the global newsrooms for Toyota, CBRE, Velux, Logitech, Mercedes, EPSON and many more. In talking to our clients, we have selected four interesting topics:
Part 1 - Searching for El Dorado
Making your newsroom findable and accessible for international audiences.
Part 2 - Showcase your global media contacts
Getting personal will set you apart from the crowd when building better media relations.
Part 3 - When it comes to content… Go local!
Why your global newsroom should localize content as much as possible.
Part 4 - 'Mobilizing' your newsroom
An essential part for a smooth running global newsroom is optimizing it for mobile visitors.
Bart: “Here’s what hasn’t changed: The first press release was written by Ivy Lee in 1906. He represented the Pennsylvania Railroad when one of their trains derailed off a bridge in Atlantic City, causing more than 50 deaths. That was 112 years ago and guess what? In this digital age, many, many brands are still using press releases to connect their stories to media outlets. Some just use press releases as website content. It’s hard to believe.”
Jeff: “Our friend Dan Lyons, working at Hubspot at the time, found this stat: In 1980, the ratio of PR professionals to journalists in the United States was 1.2 to 1. By 2010, three decades later, there were four PR professionals for every journalist in the U.S.
It’s just a fact of life. Fewer reporters are employed by fewer media outlets with far more fragmentation in the audience space than ever. The world has changed.”
Bart: “Demise is probably a little too strong. News reporting is going to be around a long time. It serves an important social need and legacy media like the Washington Post are showing that really good journalism can make a publication viable even in today’s fragmented market. The print edition of the New York Times alone reaches more people than the Huffington Post, so great newsrooms can still live in this digital environment.”
Jeff: “I’m good with demise, and I blame the Associated Press. AP was an early, and substantial investor in natural language programming, a precursor technology now being perfected via Artificial Intelligence in the form of robot reporters.
Services like WordSmith, Wibbitz, News Tracer, Buzzbot and Heliograf are serving today as robot reporters – and they’re hastening the death of legacy media. Here’s a scary stat I read in Wired magazine regarding national election reporting: In November 2012, it took four employees at the Washington Post, 25 hours to compile and post a fraction of the election results. In 2016, Heliograf created more than 500 articles in the same time frame. Can we really expect news organizations to compete against that?”
Bart: “Bet on the ones who view reporters as customers, that is, who have digital newsrooms that make a reporters’ life much easier by helping them do their research much faster. Reporters are going to naturally gravitate to brands who are serving up content they can get to and use quickly.
Also, bet on the brands who get this: The audience now decides what “news” is. The audience now assesses how much news depth it wants. The audience determines when it will take news in, the format in which it will accept it and with whom they’ll share it.
Brands who understand these two sides of the same storytelling coin are going to prosper. Those still intent on faxing out press releases are going to be in trouble."
Jeff: “Bet on the ones that create content robot reporters will eat, then re-publish.”
Jeff: “It’s pretty clear – brands have to make their own news. That’s how they can reach an audience that cares about them, and to borrow a phrase from the scientist Stuart Kauffman, reach an adjacent possible audience that can be recruited in as a customer or interested stakeholder.”
Bart: “Content remains king but a digital newsroom is its queen. Through a digital newsroom, you’re displaying your own content and you’re using an integrated set of distribution tools, like email and social, to push a message to your subscribers. The content itself is rich enough to also pull in interested eyeballs, so the two-way transaction, along with the fact that the content is served up to reporters in a very friendly way, distinguishes a digital news room from simple content-push marketing.”
Jeff: “Content marketing isn’t much different from advertising – it’s always rainbows and unicorns – nothing but happy stuff. Brand journalism is the key to a killer digital newsroom. When a brand tells stories about itself, even ones that may be about difficult topics, they’re embracing a whole new level of authenticity. That’s very hard for brands to do – they’re too protective, too insulated – but authenticity is the key to relevant content people want to read vs. easily delete-able content that’s nothing but advertising in a different package.”
Bart: “Well, one START is diving deep into your audiences to find out what they care about. What interests do they have in your brand? Why should they read your stuff? With a good understanding of that, you’ll be able to create an editorial point-of-view against which you can develop content. If you don’t have this, then you’re as good as a tree falling in the forest with no one around to hear you.”
Jeff: “I think brands, especially those who often find themselves inside of sensitive topics like labor practices, sustainability issues or even the ethical treatment of puppies and kitties, have to STOP putting themselves in front of reporter microphones where they’re exposed to knuckleball questions that have the potential to make them look stupid. Why create that kind of exposure? Take control of your news by making it, and breaking it yourself.”
As advertising and other marketing become less effective, content marketing is exploding. During this event, a panel of experts will discuss trends and effectiveness in corporate publishing strategies.
Foremski will entertain thoughts from:
Intel’s Ken Kaplan who has many lessons to share from a decade of innovative media initiatives at the world's largest chipmaker.
Fred Davis, Co-Founder of Wired Magazine and many other publications. He will share some of the publishing wisdom of Bill Ziff - who built the media giant Ziff-Davis by focusing on trust.
Dave Richardson from Impress Labs/KiteRocket, who will provide thoughts on how PR firms are becoming publishers.
And Bart Verhulst, Co-Founder and Chief Strategist of PressPage, who will provide insights on how the social newsroom is a key asset for self-managed and -operated web properties.
Come Tuesday April 17, 2018 at 6.15pm in the heart of North Beach San Francisco for an informal Media Salon. Location: 811 Sansome St, San Francisco, CA 94111-1507, United States.
During this webinar Bart Verhulst, Co-founder of PressPage and Niru Gupta, Newsroom Consultant, reveal the secrets for building, promoting and measuring a search engine optimized content strategy centered around your corporate newsroom or brand journalism site.
In this webinar, you will learn:
The changing role of PR in the digital world; from a cost to profit center
The impact of recent changes in social (i.e. Facebook) on your digital PR strategy
The subsequent importance of owned media property and SEO
Basics for a search engine optimized newsroom; content and platform
You can register now to save your seat. After registration you will receive a confirmation email with your own personal link to attend the webinar. Can't attend live? You should still register! We'll be sending out the recording to all registrants after the webinar.
Twitter recently announced a change in their product usage policies which limits the users’ ability to perform coordinated actions across multiple accounts. You can read more about it here.
The main reason for Twitter to introduce this policy update, is to get better control over the amount of Twitter accounts that spam the same messages in the hope to reach more people.
To comply to these new policies, and prevent "enforcement actions" by Twitter, we have updated our account selection feature for Twitter. Here’s how it will affect your experience:
Adding a Single Twitter channel
If you have only a single Twitter account connected or only add one channel to a Release, you will not notice any difference.
Adding Multiple Twitter channels
If you have added a Twitter channel to your Release and have more Twitter accounts connected, you will be able to choose only one account to schedule and publish a post on. In case you want to publish the same message across multiple Twitter accounts, then you will need to wait until the previous message has been posted before you can add another one.
If you have any questions regarding this matter, please feel free to contact Support.
Contact Statistics: You can now view a number of specific data points for each individual on a contact list. For each recipient you can see: which campaigns each recipient received, how many times they’ve opened a given campaign, and how many times they’ve clicked inside a particular campaign.
Date and location placeholder: When sending out a campaign based on a release, it is important to indicate the location and publication date of the release. Now you can select a placeholder to quickly add both to your email campaign.
Export Contact Lists: We have added the option to export one or multiple contact lists from PressPage Mail to a csv file, enabling you to use these files externally as well.
PressPage Mail UI update: Workflow update to enable adding contacts to a List when actively working in that List.
When new users log on to the platform for the first time, they now receive a tutorial which guides them through the platform. This allows us to ensure our new users are quickly up to speed with the platform. Existing users that have not logged in recently, can also run through this tutorial to freshen up their knowledge. There is an option to activate the tutorial within Account Settings.
Case recovery: Deleted Cases & Releases can be recovered easily from the Trash folder in the Case overview page. Deleting items from the Trash will delete them forever.
Want to stay on top of the latest developments? Be sure to check the roadmap in the main PressPage Manager menu (top-right corner) for upcoming functionalities!
Jackson Electric Membership Corp. had, one month before, gotten its newsroom up and running when tropical storm Irma battered northeast Georgia, where the company is based.
The storm knocked out power for half of the electrical cooperative’s 225,000 members, who were eager to know when the lights would go back on.
The switch last August to a dedicated hosting platform for Jackson EMC’s online newsroom proved fortuitous. It was off-site and therefore less susceptible to power outages and other local problems.
Handling the unexpected
In a world where accidents and unforeseen crises can swamp an organization’s newsroom within minutes, there are many advantages to hosting one’s newsroom on a dedicated platform, rather than on-site. With the emergence of networked computers known as the cloud, communicators can work from home and keep the site rolling on servers located far from the windstorm or other disaster.
That perilous storm more than once proved the value of a cloud-based newsroom platform, according to Cristina Armand, PR and digital marketing manager for Miami-Dade Aviation Department, which runs Miami International Airport.
When Irma brought its hurricane-force winds and flooding to southern Florida last September, the airport’s PressPage newsroom jumped from an average of 100 visitors a day the first week of the month to 11,432 visitors on Sept. 12, says Armand.
“It’s made a very big difference,” Armand says, “and I have seen an increase in traffic because of that.”
Jackson EMC saw similar boosts in traffic. During a major ice storm in 2015, the news site had 31,981 views. In 2017, the hurricane brought visits totaling 43,555, a 36 percent increase.
As Irma howled, Jackson EMC issued 19 press releases in five days and received 120 media inquiries. The newsroom helped get out the news in important ways.
A sleepover at work
The crisis kept communicators at work overnight for several days just to make sure they had access to all platforms. They grabbed a little sleep on cots from time to time, just to keep going.
The company’s PressPage newsroom, however, could have been managed elsewhere. It has the distinct advantage in that it is cloud-based.
“It’s accessible from home or when you’re traveling,” Sorrow says. “That’s something that we’ve used in times when it’s not a crisis.”
By contrast, Armand recalls being at another airport during a blackout. Because the servers were on-site and the website crashed, “they were not able to get news out,” she says.
Another helpful aspect of the platform is that during an outage, it’s easy to switch to “storm mode.” In such instances, the design changes to elevate key attributes that everyone is searching for, such as the power outage map, contact information and a link to report outages.
The power company’s platform also hosts information on its community goodwill-building efforts. Oddly enough, the electrical company is big on recipes (“which sounds a little bit crazy,” Sorrow concedes). The site serves as a repository of its cooking formulas and tips.
That dates to the company’s founding 80 years ago, when many of its clients were used to firing up a wood-burning stove. Jackson EMC even used to do in-home demonstrations of how to cook on newfangled appliances.
“Being an electrical cooperative, some of our early days were about teaching people in rural areas how to cook with electrical appliances,” Sorrow says. “Our members love those recipes. They love submitting them; they love talking about them.”
A good newsroom coordinates the distribution of news to email and social media contacts with the posting to websites, reducing the need for costly newswire distribution services.
The airport’s newsroom traffic from social media platforms increased by 27 percent after the site was launched. In November 2017, the newsroom helped MIA win the Peggy G. Hereford Award for excellence in airport marketing and communication.
All in all, a good off-site web platform helps communicators manage time when they have none to spare.
Andrew Brown, director of media relations and online content for Kalamazoo College, warns PR pros not to panic. He says:
The brand managers who are best at their jobs are data driven from the start. Stick to your social media plans, analyze the new data, and make adjustments where you see your reach slipping, assuming reach is your most important analytical target.
Here’s how brand managers can follow Brown’s advice—along with tips from other savvy communicators—and win with content despite the change in protocol:
1. Start with your own assets
Facebook is a crucial part of PR and marketing efforts, but that doesn’t mean PR pros should post content only there or on other platforms. Instead, start by crafting content on your organization’s newsroom or blog, and then tailor content to fit multiple channels outside your owned venues.
Brown says: If you don't yet have a blog, or if yours has been forgotten in your marketing strategy, get one going. They're vital for search engine optimization, audience engagement and contributing owned content to social media. They also can provide additional reach when content managers see it slipping.
A recent CooperKatz survey revealed that 45 percent of Facebook users in the United States glean their news from Facebook—and after the algorithm change, 65 percent said they’ll go directly to news sources, not other social media channels. If you’re housing your organization’s news and important information on your newsroom or blog, you stand to win big with increased traffic and interaction.
Amy Burke Friedman, president at PR firm Profiles, says a “multi-channel marketing mix leading with PR” is crucial to increasing your stories’ reach and getting your content seen.
Friedman suggests using your organization’s own website as the “home base” for your content, and says by using your own assets and “taking ownership of [your] expertise,” brand managers can “see huge benefits and increased reach.” Those assets include online newsrooms full of photos, video, copy and other elements that tell your story.
2. Create compelling content
Whether content is housed on your organization’s website or newsroom and then shared across social media platforms or it’s created directly on Facebook, PR pros should focus on high-quality text, images and video—rather than the number of posts created.
“Great content is still just as important as it was before, but good storytelling is paramount,” Friedman says.
Rachel Blanks, account manager at ARPR, says Facebook’s algorithm change is forcing brand managers to evaluate whether their content efforts are truly what audiences want:
Brands will need to step back and look at their content from their audiences' perspective and ask, "What can we share that is actually useful or interesting or will facilitate conversation?" At the end of the day, when done right, this is how social media content should always be approached.
“One thing that brand managers can do to combat decreased reach is to make content customer focused rather than having content that is always self-promoting,” says Cassie Gonzalez, community manager and marketing coordinator for OnePitch. “Social media should be used as a platform to connect with customers on a more personal level rather than to make an immediate sale.”
Using data and analytic insights, PR pros should seek out the questions audiences are asking and then create valuable content providing the answers, Gonzalez says. PR pros can also incorporate popular subjects or trending hashtags into their writing and conversations for added relevance.
3. Test purposeful tactics to achieve your goals on Facebook
After creating content that will resonate with your audience, you can then test methods for gaining more eyeballs and engagement on Facebook.
Andy Jelic, social media specialist for Re:Group, shares several tactics PR pros can employ to boost their Facebook pages’ reach, including swapping posts, getting sponsors involved and tagging local businesses. He also suggests having employees share your content, writing:
By motivating your coworkers to share content, you can turn them into effective brand advocates. Brand advocacy is one of the best methods of social media marketing. According to the Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report, 83% of people trust recommendations of friends and family, and the same percentage take action on these opinions at least some of the time!
Jelic’s insights are shared in a blog post on Re:Group’s website, ultimately underlining the importance of housing your content, stories and expertise on your organization’s own digital property.
PR pros should aim for moving past superficial interactions (views and passive “likes”), instead persuading their organizations’ fans to engaging meaningfully with posts.
With Facebook giving more value to engagements like comments and shares, and even testing down-vote buttons, it’s important to give users a meaningful reason to react that isn’t just superficial “liking.” Comments have always been more valuable than “likes,” for example. Achieving these more valuable reactions from users means you have to share or tell a great story without presenting problematic content, which Facebook penalizes.
Posting several times a day won’t solve your problems, either, Friedman says:
It’s not a best practice anymore to flood your feed with 10 posts a day that receive no engagement. We’ve seen clients who post one to four times a week achieve higher engagement rates and reach, and publishing content strategically is important for optimization. Timing can be everything.
Brown says brand managers should think twice about throwing money at the problem of declining Facebook reach, as well:
It’s important to remember why you're on Facebook in the first place. Is it for word-of-mouth or is it for engagement, driving traffic to your website and boosting sales? Content managers should remember what provides them with a return on investment, especially if it's something other than reach. Then, target that return rather than assuming that reach is the end-all, be-all of social media success.
The platform’s algorithm change certainly has caused PR headaches, and it will continue to do so as brand managers battle to gain consumers’ attention and encourage audiences to act.
However, you can overcome this digital content setback by focusing on a stellar newsroom or organizational blog as your foundation, crafting outstanding content there to then push out across channels, and testing posts for what works. Blanks cautions PR pros not to focus only on one platform.
Wood provides performance-driven solutions throughout the asset life cycle in the oil & gas, chemicals, environment and infrastructure, power & process, clean energy, mining, nuclear and general industrial sectors.