Inside the Newsroom:  What Reporters Like About Newswires

As a small business owner, whether or not to use news distribution services, aka Newswires, to announce your news is a growing concern. Is it worth the cost? According to a recent survey conducted by Business Wire Media, it is. Read on to find out what reporters like about newswires.

BusinessWired - Business Wire Blog

By Hannah Kelly, Editor, Business Wire Paris

Commercial news distribution services (aka Newswires) have been in existence for over fifty years, their durability proving their utility. Business Wire’s latest mission was to investigate the ‘why’ behind the popularity of newswires, particularly as far as reporters are concerned, and here’s what the 2014 Business Wire Media Survey concluded…

Why do reporters continue to use newswires?
Simply put, newswires make reporters’ lives easier. An overwhelming 68.2% of reporters surveyed stated that their job would be harder if newswire-distributed press releases were no longer available. (Tweet this!) Newswires make for reliable news sources providing reporters with ongoing, instantly accessible information on a wide variety of news subjects, from technology to pharmaceuticals.

How often do reporters use newswires?
An astonishing 89% of responding reporters referred to newswire copy within the last week.  (Tweet this!) 3.3% of reporters surveyed use newswire…

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Simple tips for improving your online newsroom.

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With the growth of brand journalism and social media, there has never been a better time to build awareness and attract and build interest in your business and your work amongst journalists. A great way to do that is with the online newsroom that can act as a media hub for all your stories, videos, images, and other content you create to engage with your audiences. PR Daily recently shared eight ways to make sure your newsroom stands out:

  1. Optimize for mobile. Smartphone screens are one of the primary ways that users interact with content, so make sure your newsroom works on mobile devices. For help, download this free mobile social media press release template.
  1. Use visual storytelling. Press releases that contain images, videos, and downloadable files get nearly 10 times more views than those that use text alone, so put visuals center stage in your news releases. On your main page, use low-resolution images that load fast, and link them to high-resolution versions that can be downloaded in one click. Never hide your images behind password-protected image libraries.
  1. Make it shareable. Add social media sharing widgets to your newsroom so that it’s easy to share your content. Make sure your images and videos are automatically embedded in social posts via Facebook Open Graph and Twitter Cards. Facebook posts with images are proven to get more engagement, and tweets with pictures are 94 percent more likely to be retweeted.
  1. Make it easy to integrate into other web properties. Add an RSS or JSON feed, embed widgets, or even an API to your newsroom. This enables your media partners to integrate your content into their digital properties, giving you more visibility.
  1. Do your SEO homework. Drive more organic traffic to your newsroom by adding relevant header tags and relevant keywords, helping you get found by search engines. Check out Woorank’s SEO analyzer for a free analysis and tips to improve your SEO rank.
  1. Build it for speed. Google favors faster sites with faster load times, so take care that all your high-resolution visual content isn’t slowing you down. Pay extra for a fast server and make sure your content gets regularly cached. Aren’t sure how your load time stacks up? Use a free website speed test to analyze your load time and find any bottlenecks.
  1. Build once, use repeatedly. If you work at an agency, you’ll need to manage multiple newsrooms for clients, each with their own logos and brand guidelines. Rather than reinvent the wheel for each new client, build a reusable template that can easily be skinned for a custom look and feel.
  1. Integrate with a pitching tool. Building your newsroom is just the first step. You still have to pitch your stories to influencers, which is why you need to integrate your newsroom with a pitching tool. Choose a tool that includes automatic media previews so that you can tease your visual assets directly in your emails. Analytics and contact management are good to have, too.

All this may sound daunting, but launching an online newsroom isn’t all that complicated. With so many tools available to help you create newsrooms, setting it up is the easy part. Start small, use a good basic template, and most importantly, lead with great stories.

Source: PR DailyOriginally posted August 15th, 2014 by Frederik Vincx, co-founder at Prezly, a PR tool that helps you pitch stories to your media contacts that care.

Courtesy of April Neill Public Relations, a boutique PR firm serving small businesses and non-profits in Chicagoland. April Neill PR offers FREE 30 minute phone or in-house consultations. For more information, visit AprilNeillPR.com or email info@AprilNeillPR.com.

15 Tips for Garnering Media Coverage for Your Business

Garnering media coverage is a great way to boost credibility.

Getting featured in the news is a great way to boost credibility, traffic, and sales and also a great way to build trust.

Family Features recently shared their 15 top tips to help you create content that is desirable to editors:

  1. Plan ahead. Some of our best placements have 60 – 90 day deadlines. The early bird here really does get the fattest worm!
  2. Be unique. Think beyond common sense advice or information.
  3. Catchy Headlines. If it catches the editor’s eye, they know it will engage their audience.
  4. Solve a problem/inform. Less fluff = More interest.
  5. Celebrity endorsements. Readers love them and therefore so do editors.
  6. High quality HD photography. If your photos include people, make them as culturally diverse as possible – or offer alternative photos featuring Latino, African-American, Asian (et al) subjects.
  7. Cast a wide net. Don’t limit yourself geographically or demographically. Craft your message to be relevant to the widest possible audience because not everyone gets snow in the winter.
  8. Pair a video with your story. We are getting more and more requests for video content that relates to/enhances print content.
  9. Include statistical info from credible sources. Pepper your message with back-up stats from 3rd party sources.
  10. Take advantage of trends. Aligning your brand with hot topics is a big win.
  11. One size does NOT fit all. Bite size content is a consistent request. Consider crafting tips that can be published in whole OR broken into minis that will run as a series over several days. Smaller chunks = Bigger nameplate placements.
  12. Consider tailoring your message to meet ongoing content gaps. Can you authentically tie your brand to things like automotive, career, seniors, families, home buying/selling, etc.? If not, consider sponsoring a series of articles that meet these gaps. You’ll have editors jumping for joy.
  13. Pursue a target demographic with strategically themed content. Consider targeting cultural or demographic groups by selecting culture or demo-specific themes with mass appeal, i.e. Hanukkah, Kwanza, Quinceañera or Changing Careers Late in Life.
  14. Consider infographics. Make sure they are designed in a resolution that will look as good in print as it does on your computer screen.
  15. Deadlines. Did we mention the real need to plan ahead? Many publishers would LOVE to print your message….but only if you can get it to them in time. Making content available 60-90 days in advance is hands-down the best way to get visibility.

Source: Family Features Blog. Written by Vickie Rocco. Published Wednesday, July 30, 2014

April Neill is a brand strategist, lifelong entrepreneur and founder/CEO at April Neill Public Relations, a boutique public relations firm serving small businesses and non-profits in Chicagoland. You can find April on Twitter and also connect with April Neill PR on Facebook.

April Neill Public Relations is passionate about helping small businesses position themselves as experts in their industry. We offer a complimentary 30-minute in-person or phone consultation. Visit AprilNeillPR.com to make your appointment today or call 312.772.3832 for more information.

7 Tips for Selecting a Publicist or PR Firm

By April Neill, CEO/Founder April Neill Public Relations

 

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Publicity can be a powerful tool for small business owners looking to build their brand image and increase their customer base, however, if PR isn’t in your wheelhouse, finding a publicist or PR firm that’s right for you can be a daunting task.

As niche experts in the professional services, healthcare and not-for-profit sectors, we know that there are certain aspects of a PR firm or publicist that will increase your success in obtaining your goals and make the journey more enjoyable and more importantly, more profitable. Here are seven tips to consider before hiring an agency or freelance publicist for your company.

  1. Passion. Find a publicist who is passionate about what they do. The best publicist or PR firm for you is one that is passionate about PR and loves, loves, LOVES the process!
  2. Belief. Find a publicist who believes in you and your brand. Don’t compromise on this point. It’s imperative that your publicist believes in you, your service, your product, and believes in your message.
  3. Creativity. Does the publicist you’re evaluating have a vision for your brand and innovative, strategic ideas for driving the outcomes that are important to you? Find a publicist who is not only innovative, but also one whose creativity and ideas you can trust and believe in.
  4. Experience/Expertise. You’re on a mission to increase your brand awareness and grow your business. For those reasons alone you’re hiring a professional publicist to leverage their experience so you can achieve bigger and better results for you business than you could envision on you own. Ask yourself the following: Do they have the experience and proven track record that demonstrates they can produce the results you want? Do they have experience/expertise working in your industry?  Don’t be shy about asking to see their portfolio and past campaigns they’ve managed. You really need to evaluate their capabilities.
  5. Media Relations. Often, small businesses need a publicist or PR firm to work the media on their behalf. If you need a publicist to pitch journalists or disseminate press releases to targeted media outlets for you, ask them how they build their media lists. Do they have access to journalists in your industry? It’s always good to find a publicist who has access to the most up-to-date media contact lists and who has well-established media contacts in your space.
  6. Writing Skills. Today’s public relations are becoming more and more “content-driven” and it’s imperative that a publicist or PR firm represents you with good writing. It’s a good idea to look at samples of their work and ask your self if they can adapt their writing style to fit your brand image, target market and business goals. Also, do they have published clips to show of contributed articles they’ve written for other companies? It’s one thing to be a skilled writer; it’s another to have your articles actually picked up by the media.
  7. Free Consultation. A good PR firm will offer a free no-obligation consultation that will give you the opportunity to access their capabilities and discover if they’re a good fit for your business and your budget.

Special Offer: April Neill Public Relations is passionate about working with small businesses to increase their brand awareness and name recognition. We offer a complimentary 30-minute in-person or phone consultation. Email AprilNeill@gmail.com to make your appointment today or call (815) 651-0656 for more information. Visit us online at AprilNeillPR.com.

Brand Story, Brand Power

iStock_000012811129_SmallBy April Neill, CEO/Founder April Neill Public Relations

Branding is about storytelling and a strong brand message has incredible power. Not just on how it is perceived in the world, but also how it positions a brand and connects it with consumers, key influencers, and stakeholders.

Whether you are launching a new brand or re-branding your existing business, it’s important to consider what’s at the heart of your brand and what your brand stands for. You really need to know yourself before you start sharing your brand’s story with the world.

In today’s technologically advanced world with the explosion of social media, it’s more important than ever to have a clear vision for your brand, authentic brand communications, and an integrated brand communications strategy.

Let me introduce myself. I’m April Neill, president of April Neill Public Relations (ANPR), a full-service marketing and public relations consulting firm specializing in meeting the needs of small businesses in the corporate, healthcare, and not-for-profit sectors. ANPR takes a strategic, holistic approach to developing brand-centered, results-driven communications and has worked with hundreds of businesses in promoting and publicizing their brand.

ANPR believes that publicity alone isn’t enough for small businesses to gain market share and drive sales. ANPR works hard to make sure that all components are covered and integrates a combination of branding, PR, social media and other marketing components to create successful PR and Marketing campaigns to tell your Brand’s story effectively and strategically.

Our goal for our Blog is to offer a platform for our readers to gain insights into the latest trends and best practices for Branding, Marketing, PR, Reputation Management and Social Media and to start a conversation about what’s working out in the real world.

Do you have a question for our communications experts? A real-life marketing success story to share? We want to hear from you! Join the conversation and tell us about it!

What’s your Brand’s Story and how are you telling it?

April Neill, CEO/Founder April Neill Public Relations
April Neill, CEO of April Neill Public Relations

April Neill is the President & Founder of April Neill Public Relations, a subsidiary of April Neill & Associates, Inc. located in Plainfield, Illinois. April can be reached at (815) 651-0656 or via email at AprilNeill@gmail.com. Visit ANPR online at AprilNeillPR.com.