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Rethinking the Humble Press Release
 

Rethinking the Humble Press Release

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Presentation for the Penn State Web Conference, June 14, 2011.

Presentation for the Penn State Web Conference, June 14, 2011.

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  • Thank you. I am reall happy and honored to be at this fantastic event you guys have here at Penn State. I went to school just up the road in Lock Haven, so coming to Penn State still feels a little bit like coming to the big city.\n
  • I’d like to start by telling you a story. A story about ladybugs. I was driving to work one morning... Cut to a couple weeks later, and I saw a short little newsbrief in the NYT Education Life section about one of the first studies done on Twitter in the classroom... Person in Arizona... WHY?\n
  • I like to keep all my main points nice and obvious like this. It makes the easier to remember. This obvious point came as a little epiphany to me, and it also fit in nicely with something my boss is fond of saying, that it is our job to TURN AUDIENCES INTO COMMUNICATORS as a way to BUILD BUZZ. And BUZZ EQUALS...\n
  • I like to keep all my main points nice and obvious like this. It makes the easier to remember. This obvious point came as a little epiphany to me, and it also fit in nicely with something my boss is fond of saying, that it is our job to TURN AUDIENCES INTO COMMUNICATORS as a way to BUILD BUZZ. And BUZZ EQUALS...\n
  • This is a slide my boss has been using in a lot of his presentations to various campus groups since pretty much the day he started. And it’s basically meant to demonstrate just how important it is to reach those internal audiences with information they can be excited and proud of. Because it can be really hard to crack that general audience way out here. \n
  • This is a slide my boss has been using in a lot of his presentations to various campus groups since pretty much the day he started. And it’s basically meant to demonstrate just how important it is to reach those internal audiences with information they can be excited and proud of. Because it can be really hard to crack that general audience way out here. \n
  • This is a slide my boss has been using in a lot of his presentations to various campus groups since pretty much the day he started. And it’s basically meant to demonstrate just how important it is to reach those internal audiences with information they can be excited and proud of. Because it can be really hard to crack that general audience way out here. \n
  • This is a slide my boss has been using in a lot of his presentations to various campus groups since pretty much the day he started. And it’s basically meant to demonstrate just how important it is to reach those internal audiences with information they can be excited and proud of. Because it can be really hard to crack that general audience way out here. \n
  • This is a slide my boss has been using in a lot of his presentations to various campus groups since pretty much the day he started. And it’s basically meant to demonstrate just how important it is to reach those internal audiences with information they can be excited and proud of. Because it can be really hard to crack that general audience way out here. \n
  • This is a slide my boss has been using in a lot of his presentations to various campus groups since pretty much the day he started. And it’s basically meant to demonstrate just how important it is to reach those internal audiences with information they can be excited and proud of. Because it can be really hard to crack that general audience way out here. \n
  • This is a slide my boss has been using in a lot of his presentations to various campus groups since pretty much the day he started. And it’s basically meant to demonstrate just how important it is to reach those internal audiences with information they can be excited and proud of. Because it can be really hard to crack that general audience way out here. \n
  • This is a slide my boss has been using in a lot of his presentations to various campus groups since pretty much the day he started. And it’s basically meant to demonstrate just how important it is to reach those internal audiences with information they can be excited and proud of. Because it can be really hard to crack that general audience way out here. \n
  • This is a slide my boss has been using in a lot of his presentations to various campus groups since pretty much the day he started. And it’s basically meant to demonstrate just how important it is to reach those internal audiences with information they can be excited and proud of. Because it can be really hard to crack that general audience way out here. \n
  • This is a slide my boss has been using in a lot of his presentations to various campus groups since pretty much the day he started. And it’s basically meant to demonstrate just how important it is to reach those internal audiences with information they can be excited and proud of. Because it can be really hard to crack that general audience way out here. \n
  • And that brings us to the press release. This is a content type we all have, right? We all have people who work at our institutions whose job it is to write press releases.\n
  • The traditional purpose of the press release is to serve a media relations function more so than a public relations function. They serve as source material for journalists. Journalists than tell our stories (or note) to their audiences. We as institutions don’t have much is any control over the outcome. And then have a limited shelf life. We send them out, they get picked up, or not, done.\n
  • The traditional purpose of the press release is to serve a media relations function more so than a public relations function. They serve as source material for journalists. Journalists than tell our stories (or note) to their audiences. We as institutions don’t have much is any control over the outcome. And then have a limited shelf life. We send them out, they get picked up, or not, done.\n
  • The traditional purpose of the press release is to serve a media relations function more so than a public relations function. They serve as source material for journalists. Journalists than tell our stories (or note) to their audiences. We as institutions don’t have much is any control over the outcome. And then have a limited shelf life. We send them out, they get picked up, or not, done.\n
  • The traditional purpose of the press release is to serve a media relations function more so than a public relations function. They serve as source material for journalists. Journalists than tell our stories (or note) to their audiences. We as institutions don’t have much is any control over the outcome. And then have a limited shelf life. We send them out, they get picked up, or not, done.\n
  • But there are some problems with approaching press releases in just this limited way. The traditional news hole is shrinking... Another trend, and I say trend with a question mark here ... late edition... So how does this situation lead to a rethinking of the humble press release...\n
  • But there are some problems with approaching press releases in just this limited way. The traditional news hole is shrinking... Another trend, and I say trend with a question mark here ... late edition... So how does this situation lead to a rethinking of the humble press release...\n
  • But there are some problems with approaching press releases in just this limited way. The traditional news hole is shrinking... Another trend, and I say trend with a question mark here ... late edition... So how does this situation lead to a rethinking of the humble press release...\n
  • But there are some problems with approaching press releases in just this limited way. The traditional news hole is shrinking... Another trend, and I say trend with a question mark here ... late edition... So how does this situation lead to a rethinking of the humble press release...\n
  • Not just news fodder, but destinations in their own right. The two functions are not mutually exclusive. A press release still serves as source material for journalists...\nSO WHAT FOLLOWS IS A SWIFTIAN MODEST PROPOSAL FOR RETHINKING THE UBIQUITOUS PRESS RELEASE...\n
  • Not just news fodder, but destinations in their own right. The two functions are not mutually exclusive. A press release still serves as source material for journalists...\nSO WHAT FOLLOWS IS A SWIFTIAN MODEST PROPOSAL FOR RETHINKING THE UBIQUITOUS PRESS RELEASE...\n
  • We need to stop thinking of the press release as a press release in this limited, traditional sense. We need to starting thinking of them as CONTENT. Actually, not even content. We need to think of them as STORIES. I don’t even say “press release” in my office anymore. I say STORY. But even more specifically than stories, we need to think of them as words and images. I say this so often around the office, it’s starting to get laughs, which is probably not a good thing. WORDS and IMAGES, I’ll shout. Someone has to write something, someone has to shoot something, someone has to edit something. \n
  • We need to stop thinking of the press release as a press release in this limited, traditional sense. We need to starting thinking of them as CONTENT. Actually, not even content. We need to think of them as STORIES. I don’t even say “press release” in my office anymore. I say STORY. But even more specifically than stories, we need to think of them as words and images. I say this so often around the office, it’s starting to get laughs, which is probably not a good thing. WORDS and IMAGES, I’ll shout. Someone has to write something, someone has to shoot something, someone has to edit something. \n
  • We need to stop thinking of the press release as a press release in this limited, traditional sense. We need to starting thinking of them as CONTENT. Actually, not even content. We need to think of them as STORIES. I don’t even say “press release” in my office anymore. I say STORY. But even more specifically than stories, we need to think of them as words and images. I say this so often around the office, it’s starting to get laughs, which is probably not a good thing. WORDS and IMAGES, I’ll shout. Someone has to write something, someone has to shoot something, someone has to edit something. \n
  • We need to stop thinking of the press release as a press release in this limited, traditional sense. We need to starting thinking of them as CONTENT. Actually, not even content. We need to think of them as STORIES. I don’t even say “press release” in my office anymore. I say STORY. But even more specifically than stories, we need to think of them as words and images. I say this so often around the office, it’s starting to get laughs, which is probably not a good thing. WORDS and IMAGES, I’ll shout. Someone has to write something, someone has to shoot something, someone has to edit something. \n
  • Let’s look at a few case studies that might help us begin to rethink our releases and lets start with the power of words and images...\n\nHaving heard that brief description, where does your brain go? What do you want or expect next?\n
  • It’s all about context. Georgy Cohen talked about this in a broader sense when talking about merging the real and virtual worlds. What do you want or expect or what would be helpful where you are at right now. Also example from Cynde Fleagles QR code presentation.\n
  • In the month it was published, this release saw more than 4,000 hits. Half from StumbleUpon, 20% directly. \n
  • In the month it was published, this release saw more than 4,000 hits. Half from StumbleUpon, 20% directly. \n
  • In the month it was published, this release saw more than 4,000 hits. Half from StumbleUpon, 20% directly. \n
  • In the month it was published, this release saw more than 4,000 hits. Half from StumbleUpon, 20% directly. \n
  • So if we look at an example of how this story did --and if you use Google Analytics on your site you’ll recognize this screen -- you’ll see it did fairly well by what we typically see on our site. 1,800 hits in one day. Just about half from Stumbleupon, but then 20% direct from enewsletters, homepage. \n
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  • So the traditional media relations function of the press releases doesn’t go away. You can still reach a lot of eyeballs through the New York Times, and some of those eyeballs will belong to those people who care about you. \n
  • So how can you improve your press releases -- practice some kaizen -- to make them better for the reporters you are still trying to reach, while at the same time turning them into destinations in their own right?\n
  • \n
  • Has anyone here heard of the website Futurity.org? This site was a response by 60 research universities to the changing media landscape, who decided to work together to produce an online magazine of their best science and research news. \n
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  • If someone tweets or retweets one of your stories, follow them back. There’s a good chance they may be one of those kitties who care about you.\n
  • If someone tweets or retweets one of your stories, follow them back. There’s a good chance they may be one of those kitties who care about you.\n
  • If someone tweets or retweets one of your stories, follow them back. There’s a good chance they may be one of those kitties who care about you.\n
  • If someone tweets or retweets one of your stories, follow them back. There’s a good chance they may be one of those kitties who care about you.\n
  • If someone tweets or retweets one of your stories, follow them back. There’s a good chance they may be one of those kitties who care about you.\n
  • If someone tweets or retweets one of your stories, follow them back. There’s a good chance they may be one of those kitties who care about you.\n
  • If someone tweets or retweets one of your stories, follow them back. There’s a good chance they may be one of those kitties who care about you.\n
  • If someone tweets or retweets one of your stories, follow them back. There’s a good chance they may be one of those kitties who care about you.\n
  • If someone tweets or retweets one of your stories, follow them back. There’s a good chance they may be one of those kitties who care about you.\n
  • Scott Rosenberg, Founder of Salon.\n
  • Scott Rosenberg, Founder of Salon.\n
  • Scott Rosenberg, Founder of Salon.\n
  • Scott Rosenberg, Founder of Salon.\n
  • Scott Rosenberg, Founder of Salon.\n
  • Scott Rosenberg, Founder of Salon.\n
  • Scott Rosenberg, Founder of Salon.\n
  • Scott Rosenberg, Founder of Salon.\n
  • Scott Rosenberg, Founder of Salon.\n
  • And this is really the big one for me. We have over 3,000 press releases on our website, Dating back to 1996. They generate between 25-25k visits per month. Are we putting them to good strategic use? Mallory Wood and Nick Denardis talked about the 10 things you should know about campus. This hit me. Mission statement. \n
  • And this is really the big one for me. We have over 3,000 press releases on our website, Dating back to 1996. They generate between 25-25k visits per month. Are we putting them to good strategic use? Mallory Wood and Nick Denardis talked about the 10 things you should know about campus. This hit me. Mission statement. \n
  • And this is really the big one for me. We have over 3,000 press releases on our website, Dating back to 1996. They generate between 25-25k visits per month. Are we putting them to good strategic use? Mallory Wood and Nick Denardis talked about the 10 things you should know about campus. This hit me. Mission statement. \n
  • Always have art, always have related links. \n
  • Really inspiring how they share and make use of good stories across multiple Web publications using Wordpress platform\n
  • Great headlines, always art, covers a wide array of stories, commenting\n
  • Always art. \n
  • Always art. \n
  • Always art. \n
  • \n

Rethinking the Humble Press Release Rethinking the Humble Press Release Presentation Transcript

  • Rethinking the Humble Press Release Lori Packer :: @LoriPA :: Penn State Web 2011
  • Let me tell you a story... about ladybugs."Look Up! TheBillion-BugHighway YouCant See"NPR, Robert Krulwich
  • Its the people who already care about you who care about you.
  • Its the people who already care about you who care about you.Turn those audiences into communicators
  • Its the people who already care about you who care about you.Turn those audiences into communicatorsInformation + enthusiasm = BUZZ
  • FacultyStudentsStaffTrustees
  • General Public Academic Community Prospective Students Parents AlumniFacultyStudentsStaffTrustees
  • Press releases: In the beginningLetterhead, printers,envelopes, labels,stamps, fax machines
  • Press releases traditionally seen as a source.
  • Press releases traditionally seen as a source.Serve as “fodder” forjournalists
  • Press releases traditionally seen as a source.Serve as “fodder” forjournalistsTell our stories toreporters,who then tell a story totheir audience (or not)
  • Press releases traditionally seen as a source.Serve as “fodder” forjournalistsTell our stories toreporters,who then tell a story totheir audience (or not)Can influence but notcontrol the outcome
  • Press releases traditionally seen as a source.Serve as “fodder” forjournalistsTell our stories toreporters,who then tell a story totheir audience (or not)Can influence but notcontrol the outcomeHave a limited shelf life
  • But theres a problem.The traditional news hole is shrinking.
  • But theres a problem.The traditional news hole is shrinking. CNN closes its science unit.
  • But theres a problem.The traditional news hole is shrinking. CNN closes its science unit. Time, Newsweek, and other mainstream magazines getting skinnier and skinnier.
  • But theres a problem.The traditional news hole is shrinking. CNN closes its science unit. Time, Newsweek, and other mainstream magazines getting skinnier and skinnier. Newspapers are in trouble.
  • But theres a problem.The traditional news hole is shrinking. CNN closes its science unit. Time, Newsweek, and other mainstream magazines getting skinnier and skinnier. Newspapers are in trouble. Another trend? Reporters not including the name of the institution in their story. Just the journal name.
  • Press releases can now also be seen as destinations. you are here
  • Press releases can now also be seen as destinations. you are hereStill serve as source material for journalists, BUT...online the press release becomes the story with anunlimited shelf life.
  • Press releases can now also be seen as destinations. you are hereStill serve as source material for journalists, BUT...online the press release becomes the story with anunlimited shelf life. Tell your own story.
  • Press releases
  • ContentPress releases
  • Stories ContentPress releases
  • Words and images Stories Content Press releases
  • Case study #1: Words and images"Parents ums and uhs Help Toddlers LearnNew Words, Cognitive Scientists Find"Study from the UofR Baby Lab shows thattoddlers actually use their parents stumblesand hesitations to help them learn languagemore efficiently. April 4, 2011
  • Story featured audio of the speech samples used in the study (words)...and photosof theexperimentunderway(images).
  • Art = options.
  • Case study #2:Make it easy to be social"Color Red Increasesthe Speed andStrength of Reactions"A study by a Rochesterpsychologist showsthat people see thecolor red, their physicalreactions become bothfaster and moreforceful. June 2, 2011
  • First big story written *after* Id added theFacebook and Twitter buttons to releases.
  • First big story written *after* Id added theFacebook and Twitter buttons to releases.
  • Changes in traffic patterns
  • Changes in traffic patternsSpring semester 2011170k total visitsFacebook:3.5% of total visits11% of visits fromreferralsTwitter:.3% of total visits1.2% of visits fromreferrals
  • Changes in traffic patternsSpring semester 2011 Fall semester 2010170k total visits 161k total visitsFacebook: Facebook: 2.75%3.5% of total visits of total visits11% of visits from 6% of visits fromreferrals referralsTwitter: Twitter: ..3% of total visits 3% of total visits1.2% of visits from 1.2% of visits fromreferrals referrals
  • Changes in traffic patternsSpring semester 2011 Fall semester 2010 Spring semester 2010170k total visits 161k total visits 163k total visitsFacebook: Facebook: 2.75% Facebook: 1.1%3.5% of total visits of total visits of total visits11% of visits from 6% of visits from 3.25% of visits fromreferrals referrals referralsTwitter: Twitter: . Twitter: ..3% of total visits 3% of total visits 23% of total visits,1.2% of visits from 1.2% of visits from .65% of visits fromreferrals referrals referrals
  • Changes in traffic patternsSpring semester 2011 Fall semester 2010 Spring semester 2010170k total visits 161k total visits 163k total visitsFacebook: Facebook: 2.75% Facebook: 1.1%3.5% of total visits of total visits of total visits11% of visits from 6% of visits from 3.25% of visits fromreferrals referrals referralsTwitter: Twitter: . Twitter: ..3% of total visits 3% of total visits 23% of total visits,1.2% of visits from 1.2% of visits from .65% of visits fromreferrals referrals referrals
  • Case study #3: Try something different"Cincinnati WaterfrontPanoramaDaguerreotype"Art conservators andcomputer scientistwork together topreserve one of thehighest-resolutiondaguerreotypes inexistence. October 14, 2010
  • What was cool about this story?
  • What was cool about this story?That you could zoom in and zoom in and findincredible details in this very high-resolutionphotograph taken in 1848.
  • What was cool about this story?That you could zoom in and zoom in and findincredible details in this very high-resolutionphotograph taken in 1848.That in many ways this "old" technologyproduced a better image than our most moderncameras.
  • What was cool about this story?That you could zoom in and zoom in and findincredible details in this very high-resolutionphotograph taken in 1848.That in many ways this "old" technologyproduced a better image than our most moderncameras.Thats how the press officer pitched it, but whystop there?
  • What the hell ... Zoomify! The press officer in this case did a pitch, but did not initially write a press release. For his pitch, he asked if there was a way to show the reporter the incredible detail of the images. Enter Zoomify, a Flash plugin that allows the user to zoom in and move around on an image. But why waste this on the reporter?
  • If you pitch, why not publish?
  • If you pitch, why not publish?The story was picked up.(yay! By Krulwich, no less)
  • If you pitch, why not publish?The story was picked up.(yay! By Krulwich, no less)Then Yahoo! News ran itand linked to our Zoomifypage
  • If you pitch, why not publish?The story was picked up.(yay! By Krulwich, no less)Then Yahoo! News ran itand linked to our Zoomifypage 14k hits in one day Time on page 04:46 (site avg ~01:20) Still sees traffic today
  • Case study #4: The media still matter"Lights Most Exotic Trick Yet: So Fast It Goes ...Backwards?"Light passing through a fiber laced with achemical element went so fast that it exited thefiber before it entered. May 11, 2006http://www.rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=2544
  • Backwards light: An early attempt at a complete packageInfographic… Animations… High-res photos…
  • Backwards light: The results Hit in the New York Times = SUCCESS! Story appears online with link back to the release because of the animation
  • Backwards light: Theres more In May 2006, release receives 101,000 hits To date, this story has received more than 326,000 hits "The gift that keeps on giving." Story is still regularly among the most visited pages on our News site.
  • What do reporters want? • 87% want access to high-res images online • 79% are more likely to pick up a story with an image • 32% want embed codes so they can easily reuse digital content • 30% are looking for web-quality video 2011 survey of 200 journalists by PR agency PwR http://releaseit.pwrnewmedia.com/?p=95
  • What do reporters want?Mainstream media are reacting to changes in media landscape too Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism 2011 State of the Media Report Only online audience has increased. For the first time, more people said they get news online (46%) than from newspapers (41%).
  • Learning from FuturityOnlinemagazinepublishingresearch newsfrom morethan 60universities inU.S., U.K., andCanada.
  • Learning from Futurity: Words and images
  • Learning from Futurity: Words and images
  • Learning from Futurity: Words and images
  • Six things you can do now torethink your press releases.
  • Six things you can do now torethink your press releases. Add tweet and Facebook like buttons. I wish I did it months ago.
  • Six things you can do now torethink your press releases. Add tweet and Facebook like buttons. I wish I did it months ago. Write headlines like a copy editor. Is your headline tweetable?
  • Six things you can do now torethink your press releases. Add tweet and Facebook like buttons. I wish I did it months ago. Write headlines like a copy editor. Is your headline tweetable? Art, art, art. What can we shoot? Can we use stock? Art = options
  • Six things you can do now torethink your press releases.
  • Six things you can do now torethink your press releases. Dont bury the lede. Get to the cool. The researchers title, name of the lab, and the funding agency are what the second paragraph is for.
  • Six things you can do now torethink your press releases. Dont bury the lede. Get to the cool. The researchers title, name of the lab, and the funding agency are what the second paragraph is for. Link, link, link. Original study, professors lab, other research from this professor, other studies on this topic, Google Earth, Wikipedia, NIH photos...
  • Six things you can do now torethink your press releases. Dont bury the lede. Get to the cool. The researchers title, name of the lab, and the funding agency are what the second paragraph is for. Link, link, link. Original study, professors lab, other research from this professor, other studies on this topic, Google Earth, Wikipedia, NIH photos... Always be measuring. Add Google Analytics to your news site if you havent already. Track tweets and retweets and follow up.
  • Four things I want to do next.
  • Four things I want to do next. Write less about more. There are hundreds of tenured faculty doing research around here. How can we tell those stories?
  • Four things I want to do next. Write less about more. There are hundreds of tenured faculty doing research around here. How can we tell those stories? Add commenting. Have tried some experiments with Disqus. Who would monitor? Cant "turn on comments and leave the room."
  • Four things I want to do next. Write less about more. There are hundreds of tenured faculty doing research around here. How can we tell those stories? Add commenting. Have tried some experiments with Disqus. Who would monitor? Cant "turn on comments and leave the room." Rethink our platform. I smell a Wordpress conversion.
  • Four things I want to do next.
  • Four things I want to do next. Think strategically. How can we use our press releases to help tell the larger story of our institution?
  • Some inspiration: William & Mary
  • Some inspiration: Vanderbilt
  • Some inspiration: Denison University
  • Some inspiration:Eberly College of Science
  • Some inspiration:Eberly College of Science
  • Questions? Presentation available on SlideShare"Rethinking the Humble Press Release." Tag: psuweb11 Contact me: Lori Packer lori.packer@rochester.edu Twitter: @LoriPA