Business Wire Co-Sponsors PR News’ Next Practices PR Conference

Sandy Malloy Speaks at Conference

by Sandy Malloy, Senior Information Specialist, Business Wire/SF

The presenters at PR News’ Next Practices PR Conference, which was recently held in San Francisco and co-sponsored by Business Wire, covered a wide spectrum of what now comprises the PR universe; and lived up to the promise of presenting digital communication strategies for now and the near future (at least ten minutes, these days).  I was pleased to be invited to speak on content marketing along with Amanda Mahan from Clorox and Edelman Digital’s Jess Clifton.  Like all the other panelists, we focused on practical advice.

My emphasis was on making content, including press releases, work harder.  Some ways to do that are making it more “findable” (optimization) and “likeable” by using photos and/or videos.  I also shared tips for repurposing content, e.g., by pinning a press release photo to Pinterest; and for integrating content across channels.

Here were some of my favorite tips from other panelists:

  • What kind of videos do people search for the most?  “How to…”  If you don’t have that kind of material to work with (the example given was Adobe), try a behind-the-scenes tour.
  • Use video outtakes as exclusive content in social media.  You don’t always have to be informative if you can be entertaining, since the goal is connecting with an audience.
  • Invite customers to tell stories that showcase your company’s expertise, or use positive customer feedback in one channel (e.g., Facebook) on another (your website).
  • Three roles that social media and digital communications can play in a crisis are instigator, accelerant, or extinguisher.  Use the platform on which the crisis is happening to respond so you can potentiate that third role.  (Dallas Lawrence, VP of corporate affairs for Mattel).
  • Five content marketing archetypes, per Clorox’s Amanda Mahan, are curated content; co-created content (company plus audience); original content; consumer-generated content; and sponsored content (paid advertising).  Understanding your brand(s) and your audience will enable you to turn these into strategy.
  • Don’t forget increasingly popular apps and social media platforms like Pinterest, Vine, Instagram, Snapchat and Reddit.

Some common themes:

  • Participation in social media is not a one-time thing.  You have to develop a schedule, ideally more than once a day, to post new content.
  • Teamwork is essential.  These days, teams can include marketing, PR, social media specialists, and anyone else who can help set goals (in other words, management!) and measure results in addition to creating and marketing content.
  • Relationships are essential.  Whether you are working with the media or trying to reach a particular audience on social media, the relationship will drive success.
  • You have to know how to write.
  • There is great demand for content, so generate lots of it appropriate to your brand, message and audience; and incorporate visuals.  Presume that much of it will be viewed on a smartphone or tablet.
  • Measure your results.
  • Go offline.  Meet with reporters.  Use online platforms like or to drive real-world action.

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