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.

OnlineNewsroom

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.

Free PR Resources to Help Build Brand Awareness

April Neill Public Relations is happy to share some awesome FREE PR resources that we use and recommend to our clients on a regular basis. Use these to help build your brand awareness.

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H.A.R.O. (Help A Reporter Out) – www.HelpAReporter.com

Everyone’s an expert at something. Sharing your expertise may land you that big media interview you’ve been looking for! Journalists post specific queries – up to 90 each day. You respond directly to them if you are a good source for their needs. From The New York Times, to ABC News, to HuffingtonPost.com and everyone in between, nearly 50,000 members of the media have quoted HARO sources in their stories.

Business2Blogger.com – www.Business2Blogger.com

Fill out a form with a specific PR request, such as, “Looking for bloggers to test and write about best chip less nail polishes.” Business2Blogger blasts it out to thousands of Bloggers who sign up to receive your offers. Those interested in your offer get directly in touch with you to get started. This can result in some great articles for your business.

Google Alerts – www.Google.com/alerts

Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. Some handy uses of Google Alerts include:

  • monitoring a developing news story
  • keeping current on an industry or competitor
  • monitoring mentions about your business
  • keeping tabs on mentions regarding your name and monitoring your reputation

SocialMention.com – www.SocialMention.com

Social Media Alerts like Google Alerts but for social media. Receive free daily email alerts of your brand, company, CEO, marketing campaign, or on a developing news story or competitor.

Free-Press-Release.comwww.Free-Press-Release.com

A great site to submit press releases for free online, or pay up to $30 for additional optimization and features including hyperlinks, no ads, additional keywords etc. Note that this service puts your release online only; it doesn’t actually submit it to any media sources.

PubArticles.comwww.PubArticles.com

Sign up and posting of articles is 100% free. If your article meets 4 requirements: It’s totally original, it hasn’t been published anywhere else, it’s useful or helpful information and it meets the site’s writing guidelines, it will get ‘exclusive’ service which brings a variety of benefits including being posted to Google News, distribution to Twitter and other social media and your article being published on PubArticle’s homepage.

HootSuite.com – www.HootSuite.com

This service allows you to post and update ALL of your social media in one place. Populate the content of your Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, Flicker, blog and other social sites all at once, or schedule them to go out at predetermined times in the future. HootSuite provides basic measuring – such as showing you how many people click on your links or re-tweet your posts – for free. For one account it’s free, to manage multiple accounts it’s less than $10 per month.

Animoto.com – www.Animoto.com

Animoto automatically produces beautifully orchestrated, completely unique video pieces from your photos, video clips and music. Fast, free and super easy! Animoto syncs with Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket, and SmugMug to get your images in a snap. Add text and emphasize specific images with the touch of a button. Upload your own mp3 or choose from Animoto’s collection of tunes in several different genres.

Screenr – www.screenr.com

Screenr’s web-based screen recorder makes it easy to create and share screencasts around the web. Just click the record button, capture your screen & voice and share the link.

Do you have any free PR resources to share that aren’t listed above? We’d love to hear what’s working for you!

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. Email AprilNeill@gmail.com to make your appointment today or call 312.772.3832 for more information.

Facebook’s Latest Newsfeed Algorithm a Game-Changer for Brands

FacebookAlgorithmImageBy April Neill, CEO/Founder April Neill Public Relations

For brands and small businesses who have put in the sweat equity over the last few years to build their Facebook following and gain consumer confidence and loyalty through intelligent, thoughtful brand publishing, Facebook’s latest newsfeed algorithm is going to be a game-changer.

In a recent article titled, The Great Facebook Swindle And What To Do About It published on Social Media Explorer, Jason Falls explains how the rules have changed and it doesn’t bode well for brands. First of all, with the changes, even though your audience “Likes” your page, there is a strong likelihood that Facebook won’t let most of them see your posts organically in their news stream. They can still visit your page to see it, however, unless you pay to promote it, many of your followers won’t see it. As a matter of fact, with the changes, Facebook is ratcheting down organic exposure of brand page content to 1-2% at best. This is not good!

Here are the highlights on how brands can still win.

  1. Direct people to your Facebook URL It’s no longer enough for to tell our audience to “Like” us on Facebook. Now we have to ensure they know that we offer great content there but Facebook won’t let them see it unless they go to the Facebook page just like they would come to our website and they are going to have to type in our brand name or URL to see our content. For traditional communications, stop using the “Like us on Facebook” call to action and start using the “Visit us on Facebook at facebook.com/yournamehere” one.
  2. “Share” is now the new “Like” When a user does find your content, intentionally or not, and uses the Facebook “Share” button, it places that content on their timeline as if posted by them. They are recommending that content to their friends and followers. This circumvents Facebook’s brand classification as it sees the post as being from the individual. It is content they are organically recommending. So every single call-to-action must be “Share with your friends.” By building a loyal group of advocates, readers, fans or customers who will go the extra mile to type in your URL or bookmark your Facebook page, plus who will Share rather than like, perhaps even writing a little lead in to tell their friends why they should go see this content, you can still organically reach a lot of people. The challenge is that your content has got to be dynamite and your audience has got to love you beyond their love of most other brands.
  3. Pay to play I know … this isn’t organic. But now you know that in order to achieve organic success you need a highly engaged audience willing to share. When you have content that will attract that kind of user or you can target to find that kind of user, take advantage of the fact you can offer up a little bit of money to get it in front of more of the kinds of people you want to collect. It’s a numbers game, in a way. For every 20 users, you’ll probably have one that really digs you enough to type in the ULR and/or “Share” your content. (Your traction here may vary from 1:20, but that’s a good starting point.) The more users you have the more advocates you’ll have to choose from.

So there you have it. It might also be a great time to spend more time promoting your brand on other social media platforms. Twitter is starting to look better and better! What do you think? Will you put in the extra effort and energy to reach your followers on Facebook or will you leverage other vehicles to get your message out?

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

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. Email AprilNeill@gmail.com to make your appointment today or call 312.772.3832 for more information.

 

Showing Appreciation is Good for Business


Oscar-statues-001Watching the Academy Awards last night, I was struck with the awesomeness of the acceptance speeches and the genuine gratitude the winners expressed. Winning an Oscar can be a huge boost to an Actors’ personal brand and earning potential, for sure, and on this night they are at the height of their fame. Hearing them express gratitude and thanks to those who have touched their lives and to those who have helped them along the way was truly inspiring.

Businesses can benefit greatly from adopting this “attitude of gratitude” and if I had to pick one thing that can have the biggest impact on business, I’d say gratitude tops the list. This quote sums it up perfectly:

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” –Albert Schweitzer 

As a brand, we want to be perceived positively by consumers. It’s necessary before being memorable, engaged or advocated for.

The more deep gratitude and appreciation you show as a brand, whether it’s your personal brand or business, for every contribution no matter how small, the more love, support and success will come your way.

That said, it’s super important to demonstrate gratitude and to acknowledge the people that have helped you get where you are. This was demonstrated during the awards ceremony last night perfectly by Best Supporting Actor winner Jared Leto, snagging the coveted golden statue for his riveting role in Dallas Buyers Club, who not only thanked his single mom for teaching him to dream, but also the 36 million people what have lost the battle to aids.

“And this is for the 36 million people who have lost the battle to Aids and to those of you out there who have ever felt injustice because of who you are or who you love, tonight I stand here in front of the world with you and for you. Thank you so much and goodnight,” –Jared Leto.

It just doesn’t get much better than that.

Gratitude Helps Build Consumer Confidence and Trust.

How do you stand out in someone’s mind? How do you engage and inspire them to speak positively on your behalf? To inspire your audiences to risk their reputation and advocate for you, you must demonstrate that you are worthy. There’s no better way to build trust and consumer confidence than to incorporate gratitude into your brand communication plan. Appreciation and acknowledgement can go a long way in building brand advocates who will not only love you, like we all loved Jared last night, but who will sing your praises as well.

Say a Sincere, Authentic Thank You!

There’s nothing like the unexpected, genuine, sincere thank you. So, the next time you have the chance to express gratitude, go for it! It’s good for your business.

April Neill is a brand strategist, lifelong entrepreneur and founder/CEO of April Neill Public Relations, a boutique public relations firm serving small businesses and non-profits in Chicagoland. You can find April online at www.AprilNeillPR.com or at www.Facebook.com/AprilNeillPR.
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. Email AprilNeill@gmail.com to make your appointment today or call (312) 772-3832 for more information.

Tips for Leveraging Content Marketing for Success

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With today’s constantly evolving digital landscape, you need to be ever ready to adapt your marketing strategy in order to stay competitive within your industry. PR experts have always known this and one of the most widely used examples relates to content marketing.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing involves creating and sharing relevant and valuable content in order to attract and engage specific consumers. The idea is not to sell, per se, to your target audience but instead, provide valuable information that makes your prospective customers more informed and engaged with your brand. The strategy is that if you deliver consistent, ongoing valuable and/or entertaining information to consumers, they will ultimately choose to do business with you.

Here are the basics to implementing a successful content marketing strategy:

▪                Create Your Authentic Brand Voice – you want your audience to get a sense and a feel for who you are as a brand and what you do from the content you create and push.

▪                Identify Your Target Audiences – it’s next to impossible to speak effectively to an audience if you don’t know who they are and/or you can’t identify with them. Start researching and get to know the prospects you are interested in. Then begin pushing out relevant content that provides value and appeal to these clients.

▪                Identify What Makes You Uniquely and Wonderfully You – Ask Yourself What Differentiates You From Your Competitors? – There may very well be a lot of companies that offer the same services that you do; that said, this is your chance to tell everyone what makes your services or offerings special and how you are better than your competitors.

▪                Craft and Push Content across the Web that Speaks to Your Target Audience. – Posting valuable content on your website, on a blog, on hyperlocal sites and on social media channels can be a great way to connect with your target audience and ultimately, a great way to attract customers to your brand.

For best results, Synergize Your Efforts!

Remember that content marketing works best when it’s synergized with your other marketing initiatives, so don’t stop doing what you’re currently doing. Leverage content marketing as one of the many strategies it takes to convert a “friend” to a client or customer.

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. Email AprilNeill@gmail.com to make your appointment today or call 312.772.3832 for more information.