Sarah Skerik

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    • Member Type(s): Expert
    • Title:Vice President, Content Marketing
    • Organization:PR Newswire
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    • Member:ProfNet

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    Getting Press Release Readers to Take Action

    Thursday, February 27, 2014, 10:00 AM [General]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Before-and-After-Page-Templates
    Before-and-after landing page optimization results from MecLabs. Changes to how Web pages are structured can significantly increase the results those pages generate.

    Marketers know that slight tweaks to their Web pages can deliver astonishing “lift” in the results those pages generate. Moving a button to a different spot on the page and reducing the amount of text and other visual clutter increases the likelihood that page visitors will take the desired action, clicking on the primary call to action on the page.

    This is called "landing page optimization," and it’s an increasingly important field of digital marketing. What’s the connection with PR?

    The press releases we issue become landing pages of a sort when they hit the wire and are distributed online. They are hosted on thousands of websites, and are the digital ambassadors for our brands, conveying messaging, branding, visuals and -- importantly -- links directly back to our websites.

    New press release outcomes 

    As a result, many organizations are using releases to generate more than media coverage. Driving social interactions that lead to improved search engine results is one potent new outcome for which brands are using the distribution of content.

    Promoting content -- such as blog posts and white papers -- is something else we’re seeing more brands do with online news releases. Generating leads and direct sales (such as app downloads and event registrations) is a third use of news releases we’re increasingly seeing.

    Formatting press releases to encourage readers to take action

    Jakob Neilsen of the Neilsen Norman Group is the grandfather of online user experience (“UX”) research, and has devoted considerable time to researching how people read content online. PR pros penning press releases can utilize this research to create more effective content. How?

    Continue reading

    5 Tips for Pulling of a Newsjack With Everyday PR Tools

    Friday, January 17, 2014, 9:55 AM [General]
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    Orchestrating a successful newsjack (a term coined by David Meerman Scott to describe the practice of responding quickly to a developing situation and inserting your brand’s voice into the ensuing media coverage) can seem daunting, but in reality, all it takes is one person who is paying attention and is willing to get creative with the PR tools they have at hand.

    Anthony Hardman (@ahardman) is a PR specialist with SecureState, a global management consulting firm focused on information security. Using common PR tools, he orchestrated a spectacular newsjack around the recent security breach at Target. Leveraging the media database within the Agility platform, along with a raft of finely tuned pitches, creative press releases, his brand’s owned media channels and his telephone, Hardman was able to earn fantastic news coverage through his efforts.

    Standing Out

    “The first key to earning media attention is determining what you can add to the story that no one else is talking about,” noted Hardman, a former television producer who pays particular attention to news value.  “In this case, it was the fact that SecureState could comment on what takes place during a data breach investigation. For other retailers, for example, it could be an example of how they’ve gone above and beyond to ensure their customers’ security.”

    Start With Existing Relationships

    Newsjacking requires one to work fast, so Hardman started with the journalists he already knew.

    "Once I found the news peg and crafted my pitch, I quickly pulled up all my media contacts who I thought would be interested in the story, and started making phone calls,” he told us. “Email is the best way to establish contact initially, but when you have an existing relationship with a reporter, it’s okay to call.”

    He called all the producers and reporters he knew, locally and nationally, and within 30 minutes had scheduled two on-site interviews and live in-studio time for a 7 p.m. broadcast that night.

    Mine Your Media Database

    Things were off to a great start. However, Hardman believed the story would appeal to a broader media audience beyond the core journalists he had already contacted. To develop a broader contact list, he turned to his Agility media database to identify relevant security-industry and national news contacts to whom he could send the pitch.

    An email pitch Hardman sent via Agility lead to this interview on PBS NewsHour featuring SecureState's CEO.
    An email pitch Hardman sent via Agility lead to this interview on PBS NewsHour featuring SecureState’s CEO.

    To save time, Hardman first exported relevant journalist contacts from lists he had created for previous media campaigns.  Then, he decided to cast his net wider, and performed a targeted search for consumer advocate reporters, and added selected contacts from that search to his growing media list. 

    “Generally speaking, I prefer to avoid sending out a mass email, in favor of more targeted and personal messages,” Hardman noted. “However, in cases where time is limited, such as a newsjack or when you need to communicate broadly in the event of a crisis, a mass email is appropriate – as long as you are selective about the recipients.”  

    To hone in on the right people, Hardman used the Google News search function embedded in Agility. 

    “I love the Agility Google search function,” he told us.  “I start by targeting topics within the database, and then whittle the contacts down.  Then I do a quick Google search and look at their latest stories to help decide whether or not they’re a good fit for my pitch.”

    “The Google search function is a great way to expand your media research beyond what we provide in the Agility profiles,” explained Torrey Mirabito, PR Newswire’s director of customer engagement, and one of our Agility experts. “If you want to get a real sense for how the journalist is writing and what they’re covering, you have the option to hit the “Search Google” button in Agility, which will pull up the Google News file for that person, enabling you to see their recent work at a glance. “

    Once he had refined his media lists, Hardman turned his attention to the messages, creating different emails for each outlet type.  For broadcast outlets, Hardman offered experts for on-camera interviews, and included a recent blog post so news producers could get a feel for the point of view the company was offering.  Print outlets received a pitch with a different news peg which highlighted the fact that SecureState is one of 11 companies authorized to investigate card holder data breaches.

    Hardman sent out his pitches and kept an eye on the analytics. Over the course of the following two hours, he secured multiple interviews with a variety of media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times and numerous trade publications.  A follow up email distribution garnered more coverage, including an appearance two days ago on PBS NewsHour for SecureState’s CEO.

    Respond to Journalist Queries

    There are a variety of services journalists use to post queries and find experts, and Hardman didn’t rest on his laurels. He scanned PR Newswire’s ProfNet during the news cycle around the data breach, and responded to several requests for experts with his unique pitch. 

    This ProfNet query from an AP reporter lead to coverage in the Boston Globe, Yahoo! Finance and NPR (and dozens of other outlets across the US.)

    This ProfNet query from an AP reporter lead to coverage in the Boston Globe, Yahoo! Finance and NPR (and dozens of other outlets across the U.S.)

    Hardman says he knew he struck gold when Associated Press reporter Bree Fowler – who had issued a query on ProfNet and was on a tight deadline – instantly responded to his pitch with an interview request. The resulting story (Tips for Consumers Worried about the Target Breach) hit the AP national wire, and was picked up in media outlets from coast to coast.

    Leverage Branded Media

    Despite the fact that he was generating extraordinary media coverage, Hardman also capitalized on the opportunity to develop traction for SecureState’s owned media channels. Two internal experts were assigned blog posts to provide additional insight and perspective into the data breach.

    “I edited and published the posts, and promoted them through every channel I could, which included social media and a news release promoting the articles,” Hardman told us.

    The press releases SecureState has issued to  promote company content are now the second-largest source of web site traffic for the company, behind search engines.
    The press releases SecureState has issued to promote company content are now the second-largest source of web site traffic for the company, behind search engines.

    “People are reading news releases, and Google is indexing them. Our second leading source of referral traffic for our web site is from PR Newswire press releases,” Hardman noted. “We’re using them to promote our content. We’re targeting readers.”

    Press releases, blog posts and media databases are PR industry tools that can deliver spectacular results when wielded with creativity, timeliness and precision, as the results of Hardman’s efforts prove.

    “When you’re one person, you have to be agile and you have to use what you have,” Hardman concluded.

    Want more inspiration?  Join us for a free webinar titled “Newsworthiness: New Context & Opportunities for PR,” on January 23.  The very definition of “news” is changing, and this evolution creates the opportunity for PR pros to create timely content that earns credibility, earns media and generates ongoing (and relevant) visibility for the brand. Taking pages from the journalistic and content marketing playbooks, this webinar will include a discussion on the evolution of news, how to map the resources within your own organization and ways to identify different opportunities a responsive PR department can capitalize upon.

    Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of  the recently-published ebook Driving Content Discovery. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.

    What’s Your PR Resolution for 2014? [Survey]

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014, 3:46 PM [General]
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    Image via

    The new year always brings discussion of what trends and tactics are on tap for the coming 12 months, and this year is no different. Storytelling, new measurement tactics, hyper-targeting, visuals, social, “Slow PR” -- these are just a few of the trends industry prognosticators have identified.

    But we’re curious – which strategies and tactics top your PR resolutions for 2014?  Tell us in this short, one-question survey: www.surveymonkey.com/s/2WCGNH9

    And check back next week on Beyond PR to see how your answer compares to what your peers said!

    The Content We Most Loved in 2013

    Monday, December 30, 2013, 12:15 PM [General]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    ContentWeLove

    As we wind down 2013 and look forward to the new year, we took a look at some of the campaigns and messages highlighted this year on Content We Love.

    The most popular posts for the year fell into three categories: examples of multimedia/multichannel campaigns, message distribution, and writing tactics. Here are the top posts of the year, for each of these key categories:

    Multimedia & Multichannel Campaigns

    Content We Love: the Press Release Behind the Dove “Real Beauty Sketches” Campaign :  blog.prnewswire.com/2013/04/19/content-w...

    Content We Love: A Message in a Bottle (and a Multimedia News Release) blog.prnewswire.com/2013/03/22/content-w...

    Content We Love: Michaels Stores Crafting Multimedia blog.prnewswire.com/2013/02/22/content-w...

    Content Distribution: 

    Content We Love: A Feel Great Story Gets A Boost:  blog.prnewswire.com/2013/12/13/content-w...

    Content We Love: Curating Company Content & Keeping it Current
    blog.prnewswire.com/2013/08/30/content-w...

    Writing Tactics: 

    Content We Love: Backbone of Storytelling : blog.prnewswire.com/2013/05/10/content-w...

    Content We Love: A Press Release Built for Action
    blog.prnewswire.com/2013/11/08/content-we-love-a-press-release-built-for-action-2/

    Content We Love: Social Media Makes This Release Pop
    blog.prnewswire.com/2013/05/17/content-w...

    Content We Love: A Masterful News Hook
    blog.prnewswire.com/2013/01/18/content-w...

    Do Newswire Services Work? PR Newswire Does.

    Monday, December 2, 2013, 11:16 AM [General]
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    In the wake of the recent conversation about the value of newswire services, I thought I’d share an email I received from an old friend, who works at a major print outlet in Chicago.

     Hey Sarah!

     I’ve got a work-related problem and wonder if you can help me find a solution:

    I’m a digital news editor at XXXXX. For years we’ve had access to PRN releases through our subscription to the [major paid wire service] wire. It’s been a great source of business news, particularly before the markets open, and our early morning editor depends on it. But we’re about to end that [major paid wire service] subscription and switch to [another major paid wire service] — which offers PRN through its terminals, as you probably know, but not through the web-based portal we’ll be using to access the wire service.

     I’m wondering if there’s a way to get direct access to PRN releases right on our desktops. We’d be interested in filtering the tons of releases you move to focus on Chicago and Illinois and a universe of our top companies — but that might get into more detail than you care to know at this point, so I’ll stick to the primary question: How can we keep getting our PRN fix?

     We’re ending our [major paid wire service] sub at the end of the month, and our early morning editor is already getting the PRN-withdrawal shakes. Let me know what you think about this.

     Significant base of media subscribers

    Across the U.S. -- and the rest of the planet, for that matter -- thousands of media outlets devote technical resource and computer space to receiving PR Newswire press releases. We know the technical and newsroom contacts at each outlet, and we work with them to tailor the news feed to fit the outlet’s needs.

    In addition to the news feeds that are hardwired into newsrooms as described above, more than 30,000 credentialed journalists and bloggers access PR Newswire for Journalists each month, where they tally more than a million press release views monthly.

    Why media and bloggers use PR Newswire

    So why is the PR Newswire feed of press releases still used by so many journalists and bloggers? There are a few reasons why:

    • Efficiency: It’s easier for an outlet to get a streamlined feed of news releases filtered by topic and geography from a company like PR Newswire than it is to manage individual messages from all the agencies, brands and organizations reporting news. Press releases are coded and formatted according to news industry standards, making it as easy and efficient for news editors to manage their press release feed as it is for them to manage their paid news feeds from sources like the AP, Dow Jones and Reuters.
    • Credibility: Every press release PR Newswire runs to its media circuits is authenticated; only people who are authorized to do so can issue a press release on behalf of their organization. Additionally, we have the tringent standards around attribution, requiring sources and contacts on every press release. Media know that the copy they get from PR Newswire is reliable and trustworthy. As a result, major wire services frequently re-run press releases we issue in full text over their circuits and their spot-ews editors rip headlines from our wires to run on theirs. Press releases received via email or found on the Web have to be first verified, which takes valuable time in today’s deadline-every-second news environment.
    • Quality: PR Newswire has a variety of copy-quality standards to ensure the press releases we issue contain newsworthy content that our receiving media and bloggers can act on. Advertorial copy and stories about threatened (but not actually filed) lawsuits are two examples of the sort of content that doesn't pass muster for distribution to one of our media circuits.

    We all know that the media environment is far different today than it was five, 10 or 15 years ago. One reason why PR Newswire still delivers results today is the fact that our press releases are consumed by audiences directly.

    • About 15% of the traffic to PR Newswire.com comes from people researching products and services via search engines.
    • Press releases are widely shared on social networks. (Live feed on Twitter of tweets of PR Newswire press releases: twitter.com/search?q=PRnewswire&src=typd...)

    To get a better handle on audience behavior, I embedded trackable URLs within the press releases I issued to promote blog posts in the month of November. Those links, which were all embedded in the third paragraph of the release (meaning people had to open the release, and really read it to get to the link) generated almost 1,000 clicks. And think about it: By the time someone finds press release, reads it and then clicks on the link you offer them in the release text, they’ve demonstrated some real interest in your message. The click-through numbers represent enormously valuable traffic.

    So, press releases -- and newswire services -- still work. That said, they both work better when the organizations issuing press releases make a point of developing the sort of interesting, visual and interactive content audiences appreciate today. I’ve written an e-book detailing new approaches to press releases that are generating results, and it includes real-life examples and tips. Here’s the link: New School PR Tactics.

    Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of  the newly published e-book Driving Content Discovery. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.

    Ditch the Press Release? Not So Fast.

    Monday, November 18, 2013, 10:58 AM [General]
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    who readsIs it time to ditch the press release?

    That’s the question posed in a blog post titled, “Five Ways to Ditch the Press Release and Actually Reach Your Audience,” published earlier this week on Social Media Explorer.

    Unsurprisingly, the short answer in my mind is “no.” Of course, you’d expect me to say that. After all, I’m a newswire veteran and am in the marketing department here at PR Newswire, the industry’s largest newswire service. But before you dismiss me as being entirely self-interested, consider these facts:

    • Press releases on PRNewswire.com garner millions of reads each month, and more than 60% of those find the content directly via search engines.
    • Journalists registered for PR Newswire for Journalists tally more than one million news release reads each month.
    • Press releases are shared multiple times a minute on social networks.
    • More than 10,000 websites worldwide repost news releases issued by PR Newswire.

    Is this a tactic worth ditching? No.

    In truth, I agree in principle with just about everything author Maggie Patterson suggests -- regular readers will know that tactics such as surfacing and sharing specific key messages,  utilizing a variety of multimedia elements to illustrate (and enliven) a story and making copious use of supporting blog posts are all tactics we denizens of PR Newswire advocate.

    A problem does crop up, however, with the post’s assertion, “The goal of a press releases is to secure media coverage.” In reality, organizations today send press releases for myriad reasons in addition to securing media coverage, including: 

    • Increasing traffic to a website or landing page;
    • Promoting direct audience actions, such as event registration, downloads of an app or white paper and product purchases;
    • Seeding the social Web with key messaging;
    • Positioning the organization or one of its experts as a thought leader or industry source; and
    • Distributing or driving attention to marketing content, such as infographics, blog posts and videos.

    My colleague, Sandra Azzollini, who oversees PR Newswire’s website as our vice president of online communities, reminds us of the crucial connection between the press release and measurable results for the organization issuing the news.

    “What is the purpose of a press release? It’s not to get people to read the press release,” she notes. “It’s ultimately to sell a product, stock or image. A press release is a vehicle to complete that transaction, whatever your campaign goal is.”

    Press releases, once an exclusive means of communicating with professional media, are also the domain of the public who seek out, trust and share news content. And therein is an imperative for communicators: the content we produce – including news releases – needs to be written with the audience in mind, and designed to appeal to them. The messages need to be clear, focused and provide a compelling call to action for readers. Before one ditches this tried-and-true tactic, the content that the organization has published warrants a close look. In reality, publishing boring content that appeals to no one is the tactic that should fall by the wayside.

    Learn more about how to use press releases and other tactics to drive discovery of your company’s messages and the content you’ve worked to hard to publish on our free webinar Tuesday, Nov. 19. REGISTER

    Refresh your press releases with these new school press release tactics — this free e-book has lots of ideas and examples that inspire: New School PR Tactics

    Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing and the author of the newly published e-book, "Driving Content Discovery." Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.

    Measurement & Connection: Takeaways From the PRSA International Conference

    Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 11:37 AM [General]
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    Brian Solis maps the future of PR. Image via Vanessa Bravo (@vanessabravoCR)
    Brian Solis maps the future of PR. Image via Vanessa Bravo (@vanessabravoCR)

    This year’s PRSA International Conference in Philadelphia reprised many themes common to public relations, but with a new twist. The influences of social media, content marketing and digital marketing measurement were common threads, linking discussions about pitching, strategy and measurement. There’s a good reason for this -- digital activities are incredibly measurable, and our peers in marketing gleaning spectacular amounts of insight about audience interests and behavior from their data, and that data is impacting other communications practices.

    Communications success starts and ends with the audience.

    “If you keep trying to earn relevance, you will always matter,” said Brian Solis in his keynote, summarizing neatly what many other presenters before him emphasized. Developing understanding of what your audience is interested in, and using that context as the framework for brand messages, is the key to creating content that people will read, share with their social networks, and act upon.

    However, developing understanding of the audience requires us to get comfortable with data analysis, noted Stephen Loudermilk (@loudyoutloud), director, media and industry analyst relations, LexisNexis, in his presentation titled, “Using Big Data and Analytics to Increase PR and Marketing Brand Awareness.” According to a stat from Ragan Communications, 54% of PR people don’t know what big data is. This is disconcerting, as another study titled “Analytics: The New Path to Value,” conducted jointly by the MIT Sloan Management Review and IBM Institute for Business Value, revealed that top performing organizations use analytics five times more than lower performing organizations.

    Social amplification of content matters.

    Brian Solis noted that 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a product when it’s recommended by an advocate, and we all know that social networks are hotbeds of personal connections and recommendations. However, there’s another important reason why developing relevant social interaction with PR content should be a priority. Seven of the top 10 search engine ranking factors are derived from social interaction, according to a study this summer by SearchMetrics.  

    When you think about it, this isn’t surprising. If a network of savvy, connected people with a similar interests all find a piece of content valuable, and they share that content with their personal networks, it’s easy to see how those actions can be interpreted by search engines as a measure of the value of that content.

    Link PR to real business outcomes

    “As PR pros, we need to recalibrate our thinking to understand how what we’re doing helps achieve one or more of these things,” insisted Shonali Burke (@shonali) in her session with Heidi Sullivan (@hksully) titled, “Building Your Bottom Line: Integrated Communications Strategies That Work." Said Burke: “We need to ask ourselves: What are we trying to do, and why is it important?”

    It’s also time to stop reaching for equivalencies in measurement strategies. There was some talk about “ad cost equivalencies” supplanting AVEs as a metric PR should be tallying. However, ACEs (and AVEs) both fail to quantify the value of recommendation and reputation that a good PR message also conveys. For this reason, and because digital media are incredibly measurable, I believe that PR should focus on linking communications activities to business outcomes, and learn how to correlate ongoing activities and interactions with those outcomes.

    Evolving media platforms …. Is PR keeping up?

    My own session was devoted to the evolution of media models and news coverage, and what PR needs to do to keep up with those developments. Media outlets are developing apps, creating infographics and shooting video on the fly. We have to ask ourselves if we’re providing the right sort of data and content that will work in these evolved presentations of news. Failing to do so means that our brands will miss valuable opportunities for exposure.

    The setting in Philadelphia provided a nice analogue for public relations. On the one hand, Philly is steeped in history and tradition; however, it’s far from stagnant. The city has reinvented itself as a foodie and culture mecca, inviting new demographics to discover what it offers. There are good lessons in Philly’s success for the practice of public relations.

    For some additional ideas on developing relevant public relations and marketing content for your organization, download my free ebook, “Driving Content Discovery.” In it you’ll find tips, examples and ideas for improving the discoverability of your content by making it more timely and relevant to your audiences.

    Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of  the newly-published ebook  New School Press Release Tactics. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.

    The Media Evolution: Is Your Content Keeping up?

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 1:44 PM [General]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    suntimes iphotogs

    In response to sea changes in how people find, consume and share information, traditional media outlets are retooling their newsrooms and evolving their coverage. Despite the still-challenging economic environment, many outlets are investing heavily on people and technology, in order to deliver a news product that satisfies audience appetites for rich visuals, tablet-friendly design and up-to-the minute reporting.  This begs the question: Is PR content keeping up?

    Outlets are creating expansive digital teams of reporters, Web editors, social media managers, data specialists, designers, photographers, app developers and mobile editors. They’re also requiring journalists to learn new skills and produce content in a variety of formats.

    The Chicago Sun-Times offers an extreme example. The venerable paper laid off its entire staff of photographers earlier this year, electing instead to equip and train reporters to shoot and edit photos and video using iPhones.

    Can a reporter, newly trained in creating visuals, provide the paper with same sort of visual storytelling and evocative images that a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer once did? Of course not. But that’s not the point.

    Spectacular images gracing the front page of papers and the covers of magazines drove newsstand sales -- once a core revenue stream for print media. As newsstand sales dwindle, those images offered less return to the Sun-Times. Digital content and newscycles running at the speed of the Internet changed the game. The timeliness of an image is more important today than its composition or artistry. The Sun-Times determined that a fleet of reporters armed with iPhones are better equipped to deliver the visual content the organization needs to compete in today’s media environment.

    These changes at the Sun-Times, and at other news outlets across the U.S., beg an important question of PR pros: Is the content your organization produces meeting the needs of your key media outlets -- and your digital audiences?

    Visual content -- images, video and graphics -- is eagerly consumed by digital newsrooms, and by journalists who curate topical content on blogs and social network presences. And the underpinnings of visuals -- facts, figures, processes, trends and other information that lends itself well to visual illustration -- is particularly useful. Look at the front page of every issue of USA Today, and you’ll see a mini infographic in the USA Snapshots section.

    In order to earn media coverage -- and attention in social networks -- visuals are almost a requirement, and can certainly help boost the coverage and social media attention a story generates.

    For some additional ideas on developing relevant public relations and marketing content for your organization, download my free e-book, “Driving Content Discovery.” In it you’ll find tips, examples, and ideas for improving the discoverability of your content by making it more timely and relevant to your audiences.

    Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of  the newly-published ebook  New School Press Release Tactics. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.

    Redefining Newsworthiness & Finding New Opportunity for PR

    Monday, October 28, 2013, 12:27 PM [General]
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    PRSA attendees: Visit PR Newswire at booth 401 for fun photos & prizes, and mark Sarah's session (Tuesday morning, 8 a.m.) on your calendars.
    PRSA attendees: Visit PR Newswire at booth 401 for fun photos & prizes, and mark Sarah’s session (Tuesday, 8 a.m.) on your calendars.

    As media paradigms and economics have shifted, arguably so has the very nature of news. Certainly, a big story – one that shapes markets and opinions – is still a big story.  However, a quick look at industry publications and the web sites of some of the biggest news outlets today reveals a shift in coverage, and it’s not so subtle. Media are aligning coverage with what interests their audiences, not the other way around.

    An extreme example of this is the coverage that CNN devoted to Miley Cyrus’ controversial performance at the VMAs, despite the fact that the political situation in Syria was coming to a head at the same time. CNN – a leading outlet by anyone’s measure – devoted its front-page to Cyrus’ spectacle, rather than the violence breaking out in the Middle East.

    PRSAoneworld

    Attend the Newsworthiness: New Context & Opportunities for PR session at the PRSA International Conference, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 8–9:15 a.m. Room: Franklin 3 (Hotel Floor 4)

    Why was that the case? Simple. More people are interested in (and in the ensuing days would be searching for) information relating to Cyrus’ performance rather than the situation in Syria. From a Web traffic – and ad dollars – perspective, the Cyrus story was the clear choice.

    News outlets have to make calculated decisions about what they cover. There’s a balance between serving the stories they know audiences are interested in, are searching for and are likely to share on social networks. On the flipside of that coin are the less sexy stories– those covering foreign policy or local government, for example.  I don’t think anyone of us would deny that those types of stories are really important. However, let’s face it– in most cases they don’t set readers interest aflame, and they don’t generate the sort of click throughs, search engine traffic and social buzz that a good celebrity scandal does.

    Lessons for PR: Redefining News 

    Within this reality are some important lessons for public relations.

    One of the most important, I believe, is rethinking what our definition of news is. In addition to the big announcements relating to events that impact our organizations top lines, we have to be thinking about what audiences are into interested in our day-to-day basis, as well.

    Maintaining a constant flow of interesting content is crucial if your organization wants to stay top of mind and today’s digital environment, however, this exercise requires PR to re-think messaging strategy, and expand the definition of news, just as media outlets have, to encompass content that educates and informs the audience.  Developing a stream of useful information keeps the brand top of mind, and wins valuable share of voice for the brand around key topics.

    If you’re in Philadelphia for PRSA, attend my session, Newsworthiness: New Context & Opportunities for PR, tomorrow morning (Oct. 29, 8 a.m., room Franklin 3).

    For some additional ideas on developing relevant public relations and marketing content for your organization, download my free ebook, “Driving Content Discovery.” In it you’ll find tips, examples and ideas for improving the discoverability of your content by making it more timely and relevant to your audiences.

    Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of  the newly-published ebook  New School Press Release Tactics. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.

    Multi-channel Distribution of Multimedia Content Drives Results

    Thursday, October 24, 2013, 2:01 PM [General]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    sodexo case

    The lines between marketing and PR are blurring, as social media and content marketing continue grow in importance. The reasons for these changes are many, including the evolution of the media environment, changes in how people find and consume information, how search engines index and serve up results and the swift adoption of mobile devices and tablets by both consumers and business decision makers.

    Communications tactics have evolved, and a great example of a blended approach that reaches audiences in new ways – and achieves new outcomes for the brand – is Sodexo’s use of PR Newswire’s ARC engagement platform to reposition the brand as a quality of life provider, reflecting the company’s expansive portfolio of services.

    To capitalize upon the publication of the company’s annual “Workplace Trends Report,” the Sodexo team worked with PR Newswire’s MultiVu division to create and host a variety of content elements within an ARC.

    sodexo case mnr

    The ARC is essentially a custom microsite, albeit with an important twist.  Dynamic, multi-channel distribution of the content housed in the ARC is built into the platform. The result?  The Sodexo ARC provided an in-bound microsite, designed specifically for the brand’s target audience.  But with content distribution built into the platform, the ARC also provided strong outbound traffic to Sodexo web properties.

    “The ARC functioned much differently in this respect than our corporate web site,” noted Stacey Bowman-Hade, director of public relations for Sodexo. “I think the ARC is a great tool for combining your marketing and public relations efforts. If you have similar goals in marketing and public relations for pushing out different pieces of content, the ARC is a very good tool for the collaboration of those departments in achieving the same goals.”

    And in an interesting twist, the company’s sales team found another application for the ARC, using it as a ‘mobile app’ enabling them to engage customers with highly visual thought-leadership content.

    The ARC delivered a variety of results for the company, including increased awareness of the company’s new positioning, and even more importantly, engagement and conversation around those efforts, in addition to significant media visibility.

    “To date, we’ve seen 56 million impressions that the ARC has given us just in content, and that is across many media outlets,” said Kevin Rettle, director of marketing at Sodexo. “I think more importantly, when you look at traditional strategies, the quality of the content that we’ve delivered is much higher; for us, it is so much more about the ability to stay top of mind with a client with research and true thought leadership rather than just flat and static advertising.”

    Read the full case study, along with interviews of the Sodexo team and view Sodexo’s ARC here:  Using a Campaign Microsite Presence to Establish Industry Thought Leadership

    Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of  the newly-published ebooks  New School Press Release Tactics and Driving Content Discovery. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.


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