Cision’s annual survey of more than 1,550 North American journalists and influencers reveals key findings on how journalists use news releases and multimedia to tell better stories. According to the Cision 2017 State of the Media Report, when communicators pair compelling messages with rich formats like photos, videos, social media posts, infographics and data, they can drive better and more accurate coverage and increase earned media opportunities.
Rising 2017 Media Trends
Journalists are more prepared today to engage in a digital-first environment and they see sponsored content and native advertising as less important than last year. This presents a huge opportunity for brands to tell newsworthy stories in a variety of formats; by doing so, they can use content as a tool for building brand credibility and thought leadership, educating and entertaining their audiences and driving the business forward with a carefully considered earned media strategy.
When asked to explain their choices, the issues most often mentioned included the drive towards mobile readership and an increase in video requirements based on readers’ demands.
- Mobile compatibility, video and image-based content, influencer marketing and social media as a journalistic resource were all cited as rising trends.
- Journalists cited news releases and story leads as their #1 most valuable PR resource. Journalists value news releases and want brands to provide high quality content.
- Journalists ranked news releases as the third most valuable channel for audience engagement, after Facebook and Twitter.
Another key media trend Cision uncovered was that journalists need PR pros to provide more multimedia content. When asked how often they use multimedia, 71% of journalists cited that they always or often use it. The rise in usage of multimedia caters to the changing media consumption preferences of their audiences. Brands should do well to take note of this; by providing multimedia content to journalists, they are increasing their earned media opportunities and providing more engaging stories.
Journalists also ranked the specific multimedia and data elements they’ve used over the past 2-3 years. The top three elements include photos, social media posts and videos. This gives brands a good variety of resource ideas and formats to choose from when they are crafting their next news release. Here are some tips to consider when creating and/or including these multimedia elements:
- Photos: Photographs and graphics are perhaps the easiest way to bring your story to life. Image tips:
- Provide the highest resolution image possible to allow journalists and your audience to resize the media for different channels.
- Multimedia must be yours or be free and properly licensed. Before submitting multimedia that is not yours, please read Can I Use That Picture? 3 Rules to Ensure Your Blog Isn’t Breaking Copyright Rules.
- Social Media Posts: Embedded tweets and other social media posts are an interesting way to suggest to your reader that there is a broader story outside of yours that gives your content a timely feel. Embedding tweets in content is simple: grab the embed code as indicated below and throw it into your word doc by clicking on the tweet, and selecting “embed tweet” from the dropdown.
- Videos (including YouTube): You don’t need a video production expert on your marketing/communications team to experiment with videos. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Keep it short and sweet: 60 seconds or less is a general ideal length for videos. Keep it short and sweet. According to Ad Age, you lose 33% of viewers by 30 sec, 45% by 1 minute, 60% by 2 minutes.
- Make sure the message matches your audience: Video can be a great communication format and vehicle for any audience. But before you shoot, have a clear understanding of who you are speaking to and what you are trying to say. If you develop a script and even a storyboard beforehand, that can help ensure your message comes across as you intended. An exception would be a live event, where you want to document exactly what happened in real-time.
The Cision 2017 State of the Media Report includes many more key takeaways for brands looking to improve their news release strategies. Journalists told us about rising media trends in the industry, how to better target and build relationships with journalists, and much more. Read the report today for real actionable intelligence from journalists and influencers all over North America.
About Nick Bell
Nick Bell is the VP of Marketing Communications at Cision. With more than 20 years of technology marketing experience, Bell has held executive-level positions with marketing technology firms including Oracle Marketing Cloud, Eloqua and Adobe. Bell has a proven track record of developing award-winning and ROI-based marketing programs, media relations, and brand strategies. Bell holds a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter @nbell94102.