What FB Newswire means for PR pros

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Facebook made another move into the media space this week.

“FB Newswire is another useful tool for journalists looking for newsworthy content from Facebook users,” says Victoria Harres, vice president of social media and audience development for PR Newswire. “The partnership with Storyful adds a layer of verification that saves time in the newsgathering process.”

Content from FB Newswire, which launched Thursday, is published via presences on Facebook and Twitter.

This new channel is an opportunity for PR pros and the brands they represent, but if you want pickup on FB Newswire, your PR content must generate social interactions.

To help, here are four keys to developing social interaction for your clients’ content:

1. Understand your fans and their preferences. Analyze the last several months of your brand’s Facebook posts, and notice what sort of content drew the most unique users and total interactions.

2. Build content that appeals to them. Instead of simply posting press releases to Facebook, go to school on your Facebook Insights data, and develop unique posts highlighting the messages most likely to resonate with your FB audience.

3. Utilize multiple visual images. Most Facebook posts contain a visual, and the effectiveness of visual content on social channels is well documented.

4. Share on Facebook (and encourage broader social sharing). Sharing is one of the most powerful signals of content quality, and broad sharing of your message across Facebook and other social networks will be a key factor in garnering FB Newswire pickup. We’ve written extensively about social media strategies for PR and content marketing, but here are some keys worth repeating:

• Write a descriptive and compelling headline, and keep it to about 100 characters.

Use bullet points and bold font to make it easy for readers to scan content and quickly land on key messages and interesting facts.

Employ visuals. Redundant, I know, but worth emphasizing.

• Embed social sharing buttons in your content.

FB Newswire represents another earned media opportunity for PR pros, but it’s too early to gauge the impact it will have on reporting and on PR. Many media outlets already feature popular social content—it’s not unusual at all, for example, to see popular YouTube videos on morning news shows.

[PressPage: The leading digital newsroom technology. Complete a 15-minute demo and get a $ 15 Amazon.com gift card.]

Because of the effectiveness of social media on driving traffic to websites and the value that search engines are placing on social signals, PR pros should be making social sharing and the generation of social proof a priority in their campaigns, regardless of whether FB Newswire becomes widely used by professional journalists.

Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of the e-books Unlocking Social Media for PR and New School Press Release Tactics. Follow her on Twitter @sarahskerik.

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