Mid-year Review: Trends and Top-Performing Press Releases from the First 6 Months of 2023
Some of the most engaging content from PR Newswire
By Glenn Frates | Published July 24, 2023
Brands have a lot of noise and busy headline queues to compete with every single day. It's not just via consumer wire services like PR Newswire, but they're also competing with other content channels -- from earned media like the AP and Dow Jones wires to LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, etc. Check out one view of this content crush from Domo here.
Between January and June, the stories that stood out more than ever in our review of tens of thousands of press releases on prnewswire.com were ones firmly moving away from the traditional 5-7 block paragraph template, and instead focused on engaging their target (desired) audiences with tactics like these:
- Editorial-ready headlines/content (e.g., thought leadership pieces)
- More transparency in the headline and throughout the content (answering quickly for the reader "Why is this news important (useful) to me?")
- More multimedia and other content features like simple bullets and bolding to keep a reader engaged -- and fight against any potential quick scan of the content.
Some of the Most Popular Stories YTD
Releases with the most views on prnewswire.com in the first half of 2023 included:
- Bring the Wizarding World to Your Palm with the Harry Potter Tamagotchi Nano
- SVB Financial Group Announces Proposed Offerings of Common Stock and Mandatory Convertible Preferred Stock
- Samuel Adams Introduces the 'I CAN't' Can to Help Drinkers Scratch the Itch to Ditch
- Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. Files Voluntary Chapter 11 Petitions
- U.S. News Reveals the 2022-2023 Best Vacations Rankings
Multimedia that Stood Out
We will continue to shout from the rooftops why including multimedia -- any kind, really -- increases the potential for engagement with your content. Photos/videos that stood out YTD in prnewswire.com's engagement metrics included:
- For the First Time Ever, Cadbury Spotlights a Cat as the Winner of the 5th Annual Bunny Tryouts
- Heinz Cooks Up Saucy Solution to an Age-Old Problem with the Introduction of the Ketch-Up and Down Bottle
- PEPSI® Unveils a New Logo and Visual Identity, Marking the Iconic Brand's Next Era
- Cold Stone Creamery Sparkles this Summer with BARBIE Movie-Themed Creation and Cake
- Wilson Introduces First-Ever 3D Airless Prototype Basketball During 2023 AT&T Slam Dunk Contest at NBA All-Star
Visit the multimedia gallery to view all the latest photos and videos distributed with releases.
Trending Topic: Environmental, Social, Governance
More and more, we are asked at Cision PR Newswire if promoting ESG activity is on the rise, or if brands are shying away from this due to the current political atmosphere around this topic.
As the infographic here shows, ESG messaging is on the rise YTD 2023, and no matter what side of the fence you fall on regarding ESG reporting requirements and/or marketing, telling a brand's good story -- whether you actually mention "ESG" or not -- is shown to win over consumers by creating a positive view of your brand for potential partners, analysts, etc.
Some standout content from the past six months on this front included:
- PepsiCo 2022 ESG Summary: Progress Toward pep+ Goals
- Con Edison Releases Sustainability Report: Powering New York's Clean Energy Transition
- Driving towards a more sustainable future: Sun Life releases 2022 Sustainability Report
IR Trends YTD
Need a quick snapshot of IR content? See our second infographic here, showing a general tempering in positive results messaging. Meanwhile, we're also seeing brands create more engaging IR content -- doing a good job of driving their audience to focus on key messages they want their brand's narrative associated with upfront.
Some nice exmaples of this YTD include:
- CVS -- A nice, clear intro puts a spotlight on two separate "highlights" sections; including a useful PDF supplement.
- McGraw Hill -- Embracing the "infobite" approach to spotlight key figures for the audience to focus on works well here.
- Sempra -- Here's a nice example of utilizing short bullets at the start and supplementing the announcement with a multipurpose multimedia asset highlighting an exec quote+forecasting pie chart+infobite.
Still trending: "Unveiling" big stories
Headlines with strong action verbs continued to stand out in our weekly "most viewed on prnewswire.com" reports. From "reveal" to "expand," ensuring your headline stands out with strong keywords/key phrases and good, positive, action verbs is key. And "unveil" led the charge for the second quarter in a row this year. Some recent examples include:
- Petco Unveils Complete Pet Care Experience at New Flagship in New York City
- Garmin unveils next-gen fēnix 7 Pro Series
- Hormel Foods Pizza Experts Unveil Top-5 Topping Trends for 2023 and Beyond
Spotlight: The Unbranded Headline
More than ever this year, brands are embracing the storytelling approach -- especially when the announcement is a thought leadership piece -- and utilizing good keywords or key phrases in the headline instead of their company name.
When these headlines cross the PRN network, you may not readily know who the news release is from but are clicking on the headline because of your interest in the story itself.
While this isn't an approach appropriate for most IR-related content, of course, it is a nice way to mix up a company's monthly PR/marketing efforts. Some nice examples of this YTD include:
- In their voices: Building connections through volunteering
- Survey: Risk pros sound alarm on asset liability management readiness
- 6 tips for smooth sailing this boating season
There were thousands of press releases that crossed the PRN wire during the past six months, and we cover trends and top-performing content examples month to month, insights you can read more about in our Resources Library and on our media-focused blog, Beyond Bylines.
About the Author
Glenn Frates is Regional Vice President of North America Distribution at Cision. Glenn’s 20+ years experience in content distribution and best practices, global marketing strategies and large-scale operations management has provided him a broad perspective on what does and doesn’t work well in the Marketing/PR arena.