The social media “opportunity delta”: Using ad-driven distribution to gain press release media coverage.
Medianet and iCrowdNewswire are proud to announce their recent partnership to deliver ad-driven press release distribution on social media and other online platforms.
Find out more about the service here or in our Q&A interview with Medianet Managing Director Amrita Sidhu and iCrowdNewswire Chief Operating Officer Sonia LaFountain.
Sonia LaFountain, COO and iCrowdNewswire; Amrita Sidhu, Managing Director at Medianet
Firstly, Sonia can you please tell us about iCrowd Newswire and what it offers?
Sonia: iCrowdNewswire comprises a team with former senior executives of leading newswires and media analytics companies. With the joint expertise of traditional press release distribution and latest media technology trends, iCrowdnewswire proudly brought ad-driven press release distribution to the market.
Today iCrowdNewswire differentiates itself in the market by offering a very innovative amplification of press release distribution. What that means is that we're able to deliver releases to premium media through platforms like google, Taboola, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, direct to any socio demographic or geographic target audience that the PR communications person would like to reach.
We're amplifying traditional distribution through creative ways, and working with partners like Medianet. These are two businesses that really care about customer service. We’re delivering seven different creatives for each ad, and if Medianet isn’t happy with the design we’ll go back and we’ll deliver something within a few hours that meets the needs. It’s really important for us for our partner to be happy and for their customers to be happy.
Amrita, from your perspective what is a partnership with iCrowdNewswire offering for Medianet clients and any PR professionals? How is it enhancing Medianet’s existing press release distribution services?
Amrita: We pride ourselves for being the number one press release distribution service in the Australian market. But it's our responsibility to make sure our clients can expand their reach, to elevate and to amplify their message. To do that through social and online channels that take it beyond just earned media into areas where you can really connect with your end audience in a very targeted and visible way.
What it does is it gives our clients an extension of reach and it also gets them on a platform that we know from our PR survey findings 76 per cent of media are on there actively looking for new stories anyway.
We’re very choosey at Medianet about who we partner with. For us it’s really important to be working with someone that has the same business value system that we do and has the same enthusiastic and passionate approach about delivering the best outcome for our clients. And to do it using innovative technologies, to do it using strong processes and in a collaborative way. That is really for me what our partnership with iCrowdNewswire represents. They have an amazing team and are a pleasure to work with.
We all know how powerful social media is for story sharing, but how can social media be used to amplify a press releases impact specifically? How is it effective for this purpose?
Sonia: I think in today's environment you have so many young professionals and professionals of all ages and socio demographics using social, so I'd like to say it's how we can reach our target audience, whether it's our journalists, our stakeholders, our customers, right where they live, work and play. That’s really powerful. You're reaching right to them, and they're not necessarily having to find your release.
The nice thing about social is you can get so tailored and really target your audience, so you're amplifying and targeting. One great example of that is LinkedIn, because with LinkedIn you’re able to drill down into people's interests, their industry and even job type.
And I think that's the last piece — you know who you're reaching. Because the analytics from these platforms are amazing, they're real analytics based on the people themselves, what they're entering about themselves.
I’m assuming just reposting a press release directly to social media is not necessarily the most effective strategy, so in terms of adapting your press releases — how straightforward is it to repurpose press release content into other formats and for other platforms?
Amrita: You need to make sure your content is fit for purpose for the platform, and for the audience that is consuming it on that platform. And it is surprisingly easier than I think a lot of brands, a lot of organisations, a lot of government etc would think it is. When you're working with a partner such as iCrowdNewswire that has such excellent expertise in taking a 300 word press release and some images and coming up with six different banner ads, or dare I say coming very soon — some incredible video first type content that is perfect for social.
It is surprisingly easy, it is done very quickly, and at a very cost-effective rate. With social content seeming to be so visually led, the best place to start is with a trusted partner who has the experience and the expertise. And you can learn from that, and get better yourself over time, and be able to adapt and upskill your team as well.
How is success in social media or ad-driven press release distribution measured and defined?
Sonia: It's really up to the goals of the PR communications professional. The one nice thing about social media is that you can really turn the dial and you can set some of those outcomes based on what the goals are. If you want to achieve 100,000 views, you can. Because you're working with the ads and the push for that press release behind the scenes in the platform.
You can achieve whatever goals that your customer wants to achieve with these platforms, because you're able to really customise the outcomes based on those goals, for views and essentially what platforms you are reaching.
Amrita: The other thing, success-factor-wise, that ad-driven distribution and social distribution, and services like the kind Medianet and iCrowdNewswire offer in partnership are true ROI on your press release distribution, not just email open rates or having to wait to understand what was your earned media pickup over the course of the couple of days that you might be sending your press release out. And that for me is the success factor in itself, being able, in this industry where PR success can be slightly vague to define, to be able to actually go back as a PR and communications professional to your internal stakeholders, to your business, with defined metrics.
Sonia: Your release is live during the entire campaign, whether it's running seven or ten days. Oftentimes with traditional releases, it's live but it's sent and it's distributed on that day. With the ad-driven distribution, it's live and it's new every day.
What is the future of PR and press releases in your view?
Amrita: I think our role as service providers, as platforms within these PR ecosystems, is to help clients, help brands continue to get their message to their audience in the most effective way. And that means bringing forward services and features and offerings that are enabling technologies, and are enabling a new way to connect with audiences in what is a relatively traditional field of PR and communications.
When I think about the future state of PR and comms, it’s really about getting the balance right between broad and targeted PR and communications, and it’s about using as many platforms as is relevant to the PR outcome that you’re looking for, to be able to get the reach, the awareness, the consideration, the media pickup, the social pickup that you’re looking for. This is an industry that has really withstood the test of time in a lot of ways, and I’m really confident that it will continue to, but I think it’s really important that we embrace the technology and the platforms and all the different types of media. It’s a privilege for us and to have a partner like iCrowdNewswire together to be able to be at the forefront of enabling and supporting our clients to do that.
Sonia: It’s great to have partners like Amrita and Medianet who are forward thinking and want to innovate and look at different ways to help their customers be as successful as they can be. So I think that the future of PR for us and our partners together is to do exactly that, is to continue innovating, embrace new capabilities, new ideas, new possibilities to reach their audience.
We know that one of the first places journalists go at the beginning of the day is to online news, so whether we’re reaching them through Google or through a social platform, we want to reach journalists, stakeholders and customers where they are living, working and playing.
Amrita: Our Media Landscape Report of the Australian market that was released earlier this year showed 76 per cent of journalists are using social actively as a source for news stories. And yet it’s 25 per cent of PR professionals that are actively pitching on social media. There’s a real opportunity delta between the audience that wants to consume the content and the content that’s actually being served up there, so I think that’s a really important space for us to be playing in for our clients, who have really important messages to get out there.