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A Show About Slaves, With White Actors, Will Go On After Protests

By DAN BILEFSKY

The show based on slave songs closed in Montreal. But after a backlash, several theaters in Quebec are planning to stage it.

Protests Shutter a Show That Cast White Singers as Black Slaves

By DAN BILEFSKY

“Slav,” a show featuring white singers performing black slave songs, has been canceled at the Montreal International Jazz Festival following criticism of cultural appropriation.

Online newsroom makes college a community information hub

With newspapers and TV stations shrinking their staffs these days, how does an organization get attention for its events and accomplishments?

And if there’s ever an emergency such as a hurricane or—God forbid—a gunman on campus, how do you get the news out on all your digital channels immediately?

These are some of the questions that led officials at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas, to launch an online newsroom through PressPage. Del Mar College is the first higher education institution to subscribe to PressPage in Texas.

Del Mar has 12,000 students, making it as large as a mid-size university. That means it’s a hub of academic activity as well as a resource for a community that is both a tourist attraction and center of industry on the Gulf Coast, Eddleman says.

Del Mar hosts musical events featuring faculty, students or visiting artists, as well as theatrical productions, art exhibits and other cultural programs.

An information hub

The college has been featured in important news stories, and Del Mar officials naturally wish to trumpet the news. PressPage is a cloud-based newsroom that allows easy posting by communications professionals. The software also enables users to post readily to social media, extending the reach of Viking News, as Del Mar’s site is called.

“It’s a great hub to get things out,” Eddleman says.

Since the site went up late last year, it has received more than 8,800 visits. PressPage has provided in-depth statistics to the college compared with what was previously available, such as new and repeat visitors.

Eddleman says, “I feel these numbers are very impressive, since our Viking Newsroom has been live for less than six months.”

Tropical storms pose a significant threat along the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Harvey hit about 15 miles north of the college. In such an emergency, the college can change the number of stories rotating in the carousel.

Easy posting

Another advantage of the platform is that it makes it easy to upload stories, photos and video, and to attach captions to visual assets. This allows the college to make its content compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act; a blind person scanning the site with a special device would know what photos are posted. Also, the college’s Del Mar TV provides closed captioning, a capability that didn’t exist before it used PressPage, Eddleman says.

The school produces a wide range of content. There’s a video on the sound recording technology program’s final recording for spring semester, as well as an article on spring commencement.

Under the heading “Latest News,” it touts its industry partners and highlights their support of the college, Eddleman says. Stories mention a $100,000 donation to the Safety Institute and a $54,000 scholarship award for 17 process technology majors, a department that also received a $1 million gift.

The front page has an “In the Media” section that enables the college to note stories about its programs or where its staff are quoted. Quick Takes enables users to post notable matters they wouldn’t pitch to news outlets, due to lack of local column space or airtime.

Eddleman’s team has four people, part of a college relations office of 15. She believes PressPage would work just as well for small, rural colleges where communicators often have dual roles.

Even in Corpus Christi, the site has become a resource for the community at large, as well as those interested in the college.

“You might have Mom and Dad researching, or a potential student researching your institution,” Eddleman says, “and they come across the news and—‘Oh, OK’—they see all the different things that we do.”

 

7 newsroom features that increase journalists’ engagement

Every corporate online newsroom has “musts”—the essential areas that are most visited by reporters and other key users.

Sometimes those essentials are popular parts of the site—as when Nissan creates an archive of its concept cars, or models that won’t be sold but herald future developments or are fantasy vehicles.

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:

1. Multimedia content

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.

2. ‘Bread-and-butter’ information

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?

3. Financial information

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.

4. Major events

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.

5. ‘So what?’ content

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.

6. Heritage assets

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.”

7. Mobile accessibility

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.

 

This revised article has been published before on PRdaily.com on May 30, 2018.

Writing a Press Release: Top 5 tips you need to know

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:

Maine Voted to Expand Medicaid. Judge Orders the State to Get Moving.

By ABBY GOODNOUGH

Maine voters were the first to approve a ballot measure expanding Medicaid. Months later, a court reproached the state for its “complete failure to act.”

How a Pentagon Contract Became an Identity Crisis for Google

By SCOTT SHANE, CADE METZ and DAISUKE WAKABAYASHI

A $9 million deal for the use of artificial intelligence technology has fractured the internet giant’s work force and risks driving away top engineering talent.

Is GDPR an opportunity or a concern?

GDP what?

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.

How GDPR affects PR

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.

Accountability

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.

Transparency

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.

Consent

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:

  1. A PR database is more than a press list: You should be open about the data you store and use, and why? If a journalist wants to inspect the data, you should be able to deliver it in a readable format. And perhaps even more important if someone wants to be removed from the database, you need to fully remove their data from your database.
  2. Choose your PR tools with care: When you send out press releases yourself or use an external tool, the responsibility still lies with you as a sender. You have to know what data is collected, where and how it is stored and when it is removed.
  3. Do not pass on press lists: The data in your system remains the property of the journalists. This means you may not pass on information on to customers, partners or other parties without the journalist's express consent.
  4. Limit your press list: Of course, it is a good idea to send releases only to the journalists for whom they are relevant. However, from now on you must keep your press list even more up to date and be more selective about the people who receive each press release. This prevents journalists filling in complaints because they feel harassed.
  5. Protect your PR infrastructure: All systems on which journalist's data are collected, processed, or stored should be made as secure as possible.

PressPage & GDPR

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.

So... what now?

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.

 

PR in the cultural sector: Combining traditional & new methods

“The changing PR landscape”

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.

Reaching audiences with your resources

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.

The influence of others spreading your story

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”.

Tips to get more out of PR for the cultural sector

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.

Technology is queen

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.

5 ways to reach journalists and bloggers through your online newsroom

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:

1. Streamline your newsroom for harried writers

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.

2. Think like a reporter, page designer and video editor

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. 

3. Update frequently

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.”

4. Offer different angles on your big stories

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.

5. Offer the right audio, video and search options

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.

This revised article has been published before on PRdaily.com on April 3, 2018.

Download the ebook 'Optimizing your Newsroom for International Audiences'

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.

  

The evolution of mainstream media and the need for every company to become a media company

1. How has the media landscape changed? What are some trends you’re seeing evolve over time?

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.”

2. Are we seeing the demise of the traditional newsroom in favor of more automated measures?

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?”

3. What brands are going to rise and fall in this new landscape?

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.”

4. How can brands take a stand and stop their over reliance on pitching media via traditional PR efforts?

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.”

5. How does a digital newsroom differ from content marketing?

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.”

6. What should brands start or stop doing when it comes to garnering news coverage?

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.”

 

3 ways PR pros can win with content after Facebook’s algorithm changes

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.

Friedman says:

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.

 

This revised article has been published before on PRdaily.com on February 22, 2018.

 

The impact of content rich newsrooms

7. Miami International Airport

MIA launched their revamped social newsroom in March of 2016 switching from a native newsroom -driven by their website’s standard CMS- to a dedicated newsroom solution for digital PR and media relations.

On November 7, 2017, the industry awarded Miami International Airport the 2017 Peggy G. Hereford Award out of over 300 entries. This was made possible due to the launch of their sleek, easy-to-read News Room site that better showcased the airport’s press releases and marketing material, offered seamless integration for social media sharing and search engine optimization (SEO), and generated an exponential increase in online visitor traffic and engagement.

8. Johnsonville Sausage

The Sheboygan Falls sausage maker uses their newsroom for web posts and social media sharing, boosting the reach of a cooking stunt and broadening the search for a multi-skilled spokesperson.

The newsroom allows reporters and other audiences to download images and interact with video content from Johnsonville's owned web property. The metrics demonstrate what works online and what doesn't. "That helps me be smarter in terms of what kinds of content we put up in the future," Dlugopolski says.

9. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

KLM’s communications team was growing increasingly discontent with the Content Management System (CMS) they were working with to publish news to their native newsroom. “Within KLM there was a corporate mentality, resulting in a workflow with little flexibility. Platforms that were chosen at the time were functioning satisfactorily, but changes in the communications industry were so drastic that we felt we were lagging behind”, says Lars van Straten, Online Communications & Reputation Specialist at KLM. 

It is the result that counts, and in this regard too, KLM is very pleased with their newsroom centric comms strategy. The use of the newsroom platform has provided the airliner with a growing number of visitors.

Leveraging your digital assets: 3 brands achieving great results with their online newsroom

4. The Shepherd Center

Even though the work that is being done at the Shepherd Center can sometimes remind us of the fact that miracles do exist, it is not everyday that a hospital specializing in brain and spinal cord injuries, gets the opportunity to make the evening news or the morning headlines.

Atlanta-based Shepherd Center has used its hybrid content strategy effectively, attracting attention of news media and the general public alike.

5. Ohio Health

The Ohio based healthcare organization's editorial philosophy and communications workflow is a stellar example of how to run your organization's online newsroom. 

Finding traditional news media harder and harder to reach in the modern age, OhioHealth saw an opportunity to showcase their internal communications stories alongside their media relations efforts to truly create a one stop shop brand journalism website.

Two years ago, OhioHealth, a not-for-profit, faith-based healthcare system in Ohio, switched their newsroom over to PressPage. Within the first year, their total viewership jumped from 11,588 visits in 2015 to 114,697 visits the next full year on their new PressPage newsroom. That is a meteoric 889% increase!

6. Manchester University

The University of Manchester is the UK’s largest single site university with almost 40,000 students. It is also one of the world’s top research universities with 25 Nobel Prize winners. See video.

6 ways to build a great mobile newsroom

Organizations are increasingly aware that newsrooms must be like the news media they are designed for, delivering great content.

Yet as the mobile revolution takes hold, it is no longer wise to think primarily about desktop users when designing a newsroom.

Mobile use is skyrocketing, and beginning this year, Google will move to mobile-first indexing when it ranks results, as opposed to the desktop-first it currently employs, says Jared Hoffmann digital content editor at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, whose organization uses a PressPage newsroom.

How then should organizations think about their newsrooms, given that reporters and stakeholders access them on the go from mobile phones? Here are a few tips:

1. Think about the mobile experience.

The current trend in developing newsroom websites is “responsive design” – that is, designing newsrooms which detect and adapt to the screen size of the user - thus creating a pleasant experience regardless of device.

Yet contrary to popular belief, responsive design does not mean fitting the entire newsroom site on the user’s screen. The information provided on a desktop view of your newsroom, such press release teasers, are unnecessary and hazardous to creating a positive mobile experience.

As a result, an important part of developing a responsive newsroom is deciding which information to prune for mobile users.

This is cumbersome to manage from a governance perspective, and it is difficult to keep key information consistent.

Nevertheless, nowadays you must think beyond responsive design to “mobile experience,” or architecting one’s website in a friendly way to get people the information they are seeking as conveniently as possible, Hoffman says.

Here’s why. A newsroom might still be responsive—scaling for smartphones—annoy mobile users with endless navigation and icons users must scroll past to find what they’re looking for.

“The tasks that someone might complete when they come to a given page are not necessarily the first things that you see,” Hoffman says.

Children’s Mercy is redesigning with a goal of anticipating what most people are looking for, and placing that information up top. Most of its patient families are looking to make an appointment, and to log in to the patient portal.

2. Make it sticky, not a pogo stick.

There’s an additional benefit to thinking about what your site users are searching for: It boosts search engine optimization, Hoffman says. “Pogo-sticking” is the term for when people Google up your site, click on it, can’t find what they need, and bounce back out to the search results page.

If people then go to elsewhere and spend more time there, Google begins to favor that other destination. Think, therefore, about giving your users what will keep them there.

“By making it easier for them,” Hoffman says, “we’re making it more competitive for Google to rank us in the long-term as well.”

3. Create great content.

It is no longer sufficient to dump text documents and a staid photo in press releases. Newsroom content must be more dynamic, and that includes mobile newsrooms.

At Nissan, the newsroom posts are not just text but also video and cinemagraphs, or photos with motion built in, such as the one at the top of a story headlined, “Nissan and DeNA unveil Easy Ride mobility service in Japan.”

Marketing can be a source of imagery content such as photos or videos that are useful to communicators at Nissan. The challenge, Nevin says, is not looking like an ad.

“We think of it as a real home run when a third-party [such as an auto magazine] uses these,” he says.

4. Don’t overdo the bells and whistles.

Google prefers sites that download more quickly. When designing a page in your newsroom, don’t use a 13-megabyte image where a smaller one will work, Hoffman says. It’s also possible to have too many outbound links, potentially confusing visitors.

In producing a page, Hoffman says, always ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the value we’re delivering in this page?
  • What do we expect the user needs?
  • What do we want them to accomplish?

“All of your content should architect around those very specific goals, and then nothing else,” he says. “Don’t be tempted to throw in too many extra things in case somebody needs it. Start with the core things you’re delivering and make sure that is displayed in a prominent way.”

5. Create an app.

Because mobile devices use public software platforms, anybody can create an application to use for marketing and public relations purposes, says marketing strategist David Meerman Scott. He has an app that includes blog posts, his Twitter feed and videos, and they link to his online bookstore on Amazon.

Reporters are active on mobiles, so Scott urges those in public relations, analyst relations and investor relations to create apps that reach their constituents. 

Scott adds, “When a reporter or analyst has an application for the company, or music artist, or nonprofit she covers on her mobile, then she can easily check what’s going on, as well as generate alerts for things like press releases—all on her device of choice.”

6. Survey or hold focus groups.

Not every news media outlet wants information dished out in the same way, says Whitney Drake, manager of the story bureau and analytics team at General Motors. That’s why GM offers a variety of content to serve the needs of various reporters.

For starters, ensure that your media contacts are easily located. “In terms of contacts, the ability to click on a phone number and dial out is important,” Drake says.

Surveys and focus groups can provide valuable information about what reporters need. The GM newsroom offers picture and video galleries that reporters can pull from. Though it wouldn’t be easy to drag in a reporter from many newspapers and magazines, GM has other experienced journalists it can consult.

 
This revised article has been published before on PRdaily.com on January 19, 2018.

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