By Ellen Hartman
Today, it’s easy for brands – big and small – to become overwhelmed with technology and social media. There are so many options available it’s hard to know where to begin and how much to spend when it comes to getting the word out about your business.
While having big budgets to hire a Chief Information Officer and a myriad of technology vendors to handle your brand’s social media efforts is nice, the reality is that small and medium-sized companies typically don’t have those kind of resources available.
Tight budgets, however, don’t have to be a roadblock for you to DIY your own multime-dia news release. In today’s connected society, we are all technology experts and can be our own master storytellers. Your brand’s story is right at the tip of your own fingers!
One of the easiest ways to begin sharing your brand’s story is with the multimedia news release. Long gone are text-heavy news releases of the past; they can easily get buried and ignored. But a multimedia news release can help increase your brand’s visibility by merging a traditional news release with today’s technology.
More than 80 percent of journalists say that they depend on news releases to provide information on companies that they cover. Here’s how to do it:
- Embed video and photos. Simply put, a news release that uses photos and video is more likely to be clicked on. Don’t miss out on getting more views to your release by excluding them. You don’t even have to have a professional photog-rapher or videographer. The quality of photos and videos taken with your own iPhone will usually suffice. The video should be short, compelling and shareable. If it is, it will be more likely to be shared (and opened) on other platforms like Facebook and Twitter as well.
- Hyperlink to relevant content. If you are hosting a charity event, for example, make sure you hyperlink to the charity’s website, and they can do the same for you in their news release. Or if you are referencing the menu of your own restau-rant, link to the menu page on your website. If you’re running a Facebook or In-stagram contest, link to those platforms. These may sound like no-brainers, but you would be surprised how many times news releases omit this information. The more you can drive traffic to your website and social media sites, the better.
- Use key words. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is imperative for driving your news to the top of a Google search. Are you a restaurant that’s sharing news about your monthly menu specials? Make sure you include phrases like, “Atlanta’s best onion rings,” or “favorite burger.” When locals search for the best place to go for those items, you are more likely to pop up at the top of their search results.
- Call out quotes. Your news release should always include a quote from some-one within your own organization, but if you have a third party that you can quote to back up your story, that’s even better. Did a celebrity or a city VIP name you the best restaurant? Or their favorite place to grab a beer? Be sure to accurately reference their quote to bring validity to what you are sharing in your news re-lease.
- Keep it short and sweet. People can now communicate in 140 characters or less. And with our increasingly shorter attention spans, news releases need to be consumed quickly and clearly. A handful of well-written paragraphs will do. Any-thing beyond that and your reader has lost interest and moved on.
- Use a newswire distribution service. Public companies are required to send their releases on public wire services that are picked up by search engines and the media. Private companies can do the same to broaden their reach and to make their information searchable for future stories.
Ellen Hartman, APR, Fellow PRSA, is the CEO of Hartman Public Relations, a full-service public relations agency specializing in the foodservice industry including media relations and crisis management. Hartman has experience working for Coca-Cola, Con-cessions International, Chili’s, Huddle House, First Watch, Billy Sims BBQ and Uncle Maddio’s Pizza and many QSR brands including Popeyes, Church’s and Arby’s. An in-dustry leader for more than 25 years, Hartman is active in the Women’s Foodservice Forum, Les Dames d ’Escoffier International and has served on the board of Georgia State University School of Hospitality.