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Rethinking the Humble Press Release

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Presentation for the HighEdWeb Arkansas Regional Conference on June 27, 2012.

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Rethinking the Humble Press Release

  1. 1. Rethinking the Humble Press Release Lori Packer :: @LoriPA :: HighEdWeb Arkansas 2012
  2. 2. Let me tell you a story... about ladybugs."Look Up! TheBillion-BugHighway YouCant See"NPR, Robert Krulwich
  3. 3. Its the people who already care about you who care about you.
  4. 4. Its the people who already care about you who care about you.Turn those audiences into communicators
  5. 5. Its the people who already care about you who care about you.Turn those audiences into communicatorsInformation + enthusiasm = BUZZ
  6. 6. FacultyStudentsStaffTrustees
  7. 7. General Public Academic Community Prospective Students Parents AlumniFacultyStudentsStaffTrustees
  8. 8. Press releases: In the beginningLetterhead, printers,envelopes, labels,stamps, fax machines
  9. 9. Press releases traditionally seen as a source.
  10. 10. Press releases traditionally seen as a source.Serve as “fodder” forjournalists
  11. 11. Press releases traditionally seen as a source.Serve as “fodder” forjournalistsTell our stories to reporters,who then tell a story totheir audience (or not)
  12. 12. Press releases traditionally seen as a source.Serve as “fodder” forjournalistsTell our stories to reporters,who then tell a story totheir audience (or not)Can influence but notcontrol the outcome
  13. 13. Press releases traditionally seen as a source.Serve as “fodder” forjournalistsTell our stories to reporters,who then tell a story totheir audience (or not)Can influence but notcontrol the outcomeHave a limited shelf life
  14. 14. But theres a problem.The traditional news hole is shrinking.
  15. 15. But theres a problem.The traditional news hole is shrinking. CNN closes its science unit.
  16. 16. 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.
  17. 17. 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.
  18. 18. 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.
  19. 19. Press releases can now also be seen as destinations. you are here
  20. 20. 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.
  21. 21. 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.
  22. 22. Press releases
  23. 23. ContentPress releases
  24. 24. Stories ContentPress releases
  25. 25. Words and images Stories Content Press releases
  26. 26. Case study #1: Words and images"Parents ums and uhs Help ToddlersLearn New 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
  27. 27. Story featured audio of the speech samples used in the study (words)...and photosof theexperimentunderway(images).
  28. 28. Art = options.
  29. 29. Case study #2:Make it easy to be social"Is SomeHomophobia Self-Phobia?"A study by a Rochesterpsychologist shows anti-gaybias is linked to a lack ofawareness of ones sexualorientation and authoritarianparenting. April 5, 2012
  30. 30. Make it easy to be socialFacebook users follow news linksshared by family and friendsFully 70% of Facebook news consumersget most of their story links from friendsand family.  Just 13% say most links thatthey follow come from news organizations.2012 State of the News Media report by Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism
  31. 31. Changes in traffic patterns
  32. 32. Changes in traffic patternsSpring semester 2012185k total visitsFacebook:4.4% of total visits12.6% of visits fromreferralsTwitter:.3% of total visits1.2% of visits fromreferrals
  33. 33. Changes in traffic patternsSpring semester 2012 Spring semester 2011185k total visits 190k total visitsFacebook: Facebook:4.4% of total visits 3% of total visits12.6% of visits from 11% of visits fromreferrals referralsTwitter: Twitter:.3% of total visits .3% of total visits1.2% of visits from 1% of visits from referralsreferrals
  34. 34. Changes in traffic patternsSpring semester 2012 Spring semester 2011 Spring semester 2010185k total visits 190k total visits 163k total visitsFacebook: Facebook: Facebook:4.4% of total visits 3% of total visits 1.1% of total visits12.6% of visits from 11% of visits from 3.25% of visits fromreferrals referrals referralsTwitter: Twitter: Twitter:.3% of total visits .23% of total visits, .3% of total visits1.2% of visits from .65% of visits from 1% of visits from referralsreferrals referrals
  35. 35. Changes in traffic patternsSpring semester 2012 Spring semester 2011 Spring semester 2010185k total visits 190k total visits 163k total visitsFacebook: Facebook: Facebook:4.4% of total visits 3% of total visits 1.1% of total visits12.6% of visits from 11% of visits from 3.25% of visits fromreferrals referrals referralsTwitter: Twitter: Twitter:.3% of total visits .23% of total visits, .3% of total visits1.2% of visits from .65% of visits from 1% of visits from referralsreferrals referrals
  36. 36. Case study #3: Try something different"Cincinnati WaterfrontPanoramaDaguerreotype"Art conservators andcomputer scientist worktogether to preserveone of the highest-resolutiondaguerreotypes inexistence. October 14, 2010
  37. 37. What was cool about this story?
  38. 38. 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.
  39. 39. 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.
  40. 40. 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, butwhy stop there?
  41. 41. 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?
  42. 42. If you pitch, why not publish?
  43. 43. If you pitch, why not publish?The story was picked up.(yay! By Krulwich, no less)
  44. 44. 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
  45. 45. 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
  46. 46. Case study #4: The media still matter"Lights Most Exotic Trick Yet: So Fast ItGoes ... 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
  47. 47. Backwards light: An early attempt at a complete packageInfographic… Animations… High-res photos…
  48. 48. Backwards light: The results Hit in the New York Times = SUCCESS! Story appears online with link back to the release because of the animation
  49. 49. 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.
  50. 50. 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
  51. 51. What do reporters want?Mainstream media are reacting to changes in media landscape too Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism http://stateofthemedia.org/2012/ 2012 State of the Media Report Online audience growth continues to dominate; newspapers yet to reverse pattern of losses. For the first time, more people said they get news online (46%) than from newspapers (41%).
  52. 52. Learning from FuturityOnlinemagazinepublishingresearch newsfrom morethan 60universities inU.S., U.K., andCanada.
  53. 53. Learning from Futurity: Words and images
  54. 54. Learning from Futurity: Words and images
  55. 55. Learning from Futurity: Words and images
  56. 56. Six things you can do now torethink your press releases.
  57. 57. Six things you can do now torethink your press releases. Add tweet and Facebook like buttons. Easy peasey, lemon squeezy.
  58. 58. Six things you can do now torethink your press releases. Add tweet and Facebook like buttons. Easy peasey, lemon squeezy. Write headlines like a copy editor. Is your headline tweetable?
  59. 59. Six things you can do now torethink your press releases. Add tweet and Facebook like buttons. Easy peasey, lemon squeezy. Write headlines like a copy editor. Is your headline tweetable? Art, art, art. What can we shoot? Can we use stock? Art = options
  60. 60. Six things you can do now torethink your press releases.
  61. 61. 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.
  62. 62. 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...
  63. 63. 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.
  64. 64. Four things I want to do next.
  65. 65. 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?
  66. 66. 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."
  67. 67. 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.
  68. 68. Four things I want to do next.
  69. 69. 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?
  70. 70. Some inspiration: William & Mary
  71. 71. Some inspiration: Vanderbilt
  72. 72. Some inspiration: Denison University
  73. 73. Questions? Presentation available on SlideShare"Rethinking the Humble Press Release." Tag: #hewebar Contact me: Lori Packer lori.packer@rochester.edu Twitter: @LoriPA

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