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PR in 2015 is recapturing its rightful place as the platform for conversion!
So…how do you intend to make the most of low cost fast-track PR?

Folks, we are witnessing a change. Until recently, the deluge of digital clutter littering our online space has been clouding the value of PR. But in 2015 it’s becoming abundantly clear – PR is back on the agenda.

PR 2015 PESSO CURRENCYPR is recapturing its rightful place as a communication platform that encompasses connection, engagement, storytelling, persuasion and ultimately conversion.  No matter how much content is channeled across multiple media formats, what ultimately moves the needle and converts the highest amount of people is PR coverage.

Ok, I just want to press pause for one moment and explain:

PR coverage in 2015 not only encompasses traditional digital media, aka online news portals and premium bloggers.  It covers the entire spectrum of PESSO – Paid, Earned, Searched, Shared and Owned media. I’ll get back to PESSO a little later.

Data recently collected by BusinessWire shows the type of content that convinces and converts the highest number of consumers is editorial content.

When people are looking for information to make a decision about a company, 67% still trust editorial content. Out of all types of PR coverage, 84% of consumers trust earned media.

When you track the paths running through the conversion funnel, viral content coverage based on editorial information is the Holy Grail; consumers who refer friends spend 13% more than the average customer. The same group refer business equal to 45% of spend.

It’s a tough journey down the conversion funnel and despite advances in big data and targeting technologies, it’s becoming more complex. Concurrently there is a growing number of web and mobile touch points jamming these data jungles.

So if you want to get heard and convert in 2015, you better start looking for a digital back alley.  PR in 2015 could well be the key to your back alley.

Why?

PR hits the majority of touch points and helps to jump start conversations, on and offline. It feeds viral campaigns with invaluable content. When a message is exposed first through PR and amplified by viral, the impact is compounded.

In tandem with the revival of PR there’s a growing need to refresh the media toolbox.

For a start, the text-based press release is not really working well any more. 63% of people globally are visual processors. A phenomenal 8 billion images are uploaded and shared every day. Media, social and mobile formats have caught on. It’s time PR adapts as well.

If you are going to use visuals to engage and connect, you may as well invest in video. Video is the most powerful storytelling format. Video also produce a lot of SEO juice and is a pivotal tool for conversion. OmniVideo compares the worth of a minute of video to 1.8 million words. According to Google; Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube. ComScore statistics reveal that Americans on average spend almost one hour a day watching videos. The rest of the world is catching up on web, on mobile, on tablets and now on smart TVs.

So if the media is changing, it’s time companies readdress the way they are conveying their news and brand stories to earn coverage.  Press releases with images and links to videos have a much higher chance of getting media and social media audiences to engage and have a longer lifecycle.

The currency representing all PR – PESSO stretches beyond earned PR.

Paid media is achieved by using content engines such as Outbrain and Taboola that recommend sponsored content in high traffic websites.

Earned media is probably the most recognized PR currency, but with the proliferation of media and technologies there are other PR formats, and none less legitimate.

Search media is still trumping in 2015, but not the old irrelevant way of “build it and then get linked”. The new Search is earning links from credible sources, powered by great content and high engagement with niche’s influencers. Today, the relationship comes first and the “ask” comes later.

Social media, once the promise of viral marketing, has gone mainstream and become costly. It’s also hard to find meaningful metrics to help measure social media.

Social media that dodges the pay-to-play deluge is only effective if effectively integrated into a PR and marketing strategy. Unfortunately most of the time in B2B, PR social media efforts are wasted. For consumer PR or B2B2C PR, the social mobile connect is more relevant to an online and mobile strategy.

Regardless of what business, successful Social PR campaigns start with premium content that can be repurposed to highly visual and video formats and tailored to niche communities. Quality content curation is the poor cousin, but if done well can still work.

Owned Media is the last currency format in this formula.  If you are tired of chasing meaningless impressions on social media and sick of succumbing to its schizophrenic rules, you’ll understand how owned media evolved.

A growing number of brands, particularly large brands, have been reclaiming control of their communication through their own home grown media channels. They are telling their stories and sharing quality content with their niche communities to create their own buzz by their rules.

According to hubpot – companies like Intel, IBM and nVidia have been leaders in creating media operations. Companies are also hiring journalists to fill a void that has been created by the decline of traditional media. 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.

In sum, long gone are the days where PR was media relations alone. PR has begun to steadily regain its grounds in 2015 and is reclaiming its rightful place as one of the most powerful weapons in the digital marketing campaign.

Debbie Meltzer.

Marketing, PR and Premium Content

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