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PR Newswire Builds Up Its Content Marketing Muscle

Reimagining the press release
  • August 06 2012

The press release isn’t dead. It’s just evolved. And PR Newswire sees itself at the forefront of that evolution.

Many people still associate the PR Newswire brand with distributing press releases. But as the marketing world has changed with the greater interplay of paid, owned and earned media, PR Newswire has undergone a makeover designed to help its customers better manage this convergence.

In the world of content-led marketing, earned media has grown from coverage in traditional media to incorporate the shares, likes and links of social media. Owned media—a brand’s websites, microsites, blogs and the content that populates them—has become both a place for the content to drive earned media and a way to help sustain the buzz around a brand generated by earned media. And paid media, once the lead, now often takes a supporting role to drive the conversation forward.

“Marketers and PR professionals who leverage these three media in a holistic, strategic program benefit from consistency of message and end up spending much less to get much more,” says Rachel Meranus, VP of marketing & communications for PR Newswire.

Consider, for example, how the press release has changed. It’s not just for announcing a message to the media in hopes of garnering pick-up. For many brands, press releases are a lead-generation vehicle targeted directly at consumers to encourage them to interact with owned media such as a blog or white paper, drive event or webinar registration, or even make a purchase.

“With content marketing at the forefront of today’s communications strategies, the press release continues to grow in value and has become an even more integral marketing tool…to unify and engage with audiences, build long-term relationships with constituents and drive interaction,” says Meranus.

The intersection of paid, owned and earned is central to PR Newswire’s ARC engagement platform, which allows brands to engage with their targets through a full library of multimedia content. At the core of ARC is an interactive media player that can showcase up to five video segments or other visual media so that brands can use videos, photos, infographics and the like along with press releases to drive richer engagement. For example, Caesars Palace Las Vegas uses the ARC to announce hotel activities, promote hotel packages, provide rewards program information and increase bookings.

“PR today has gone back to its roots of influencing the public directly—without an intermediary,” explains Meranus. “It’s about direct to public, direct to consumer, as well as traditional media relations through ongoing storytelling and streaming of content. Relationship building is still at the core of PR, but it now requires careful listening to online conversations, monitoring of consumer behavior, and identifying and engaging with consumers, the media, bloggers, influencers and potential brand ambassadors.”

To simplify managing those disparate activities, PR Newswire released its Agility platform this past June.

Agility is an integrated workflow platform that lets brands target and distribute content, monitor online conversations, engage with traditional and social media influencers in real-time and analyze the reported intelligence. Instead of having to toggle between different tools and platforms, communications professionals can now manage the lifecycle of a communications program from a single platform with a single log in.

At the center of the Agility platform is a “semantic engine” that helps return results that are relevant and actionable. Marketers are able to keep an eye on topics and conversations trending around their brands, competitors and industry, and use the insights to tailor messages accordingly.

“Agility is an extremely intuitive platform that will make communications professionals more efficient and effective in their jobs,” says Marian Salzman, CEO of Euro RSCG Worldwide PR, North America.

Marketers may think in terms of the intersection of earned, owned and paid media, but to consumers, it’s all just information. “They’re simply just looking for the most relevant content in the channels they frequent,” says Meranus. “Media converges when all channels work in concert and trigger each other. When converged successfully, they amplify the impact of one another and enable brands to reach their audiences when, where and how they want.”