Beyond PR

Apr 24, 2014

What PR Pros Need to Know About Facebook’s New FB Newswire


Facebook has actively been courting journalists and bloggers for years, first launching the Facebook for  Journalists page in 2011 in order to position its vast social network as a source of trending and popular content.   The company took their efforts a step further today, launching FB Newswire.  Powered by Storyful, which describes itself as a “social media newsroom” that aggregates and vets social content for use by news media, FB Newswire  is being positioned by Facebook as a resource for journalists, enabling them to incorporate newsworthy content from Facebook into the media they produce.

“Look forward to first-person photos, videos, and status updates posted publicly on Facebook from the front lines of newsworthy events around the world which have been selected and verified by Storyful’s editorial team,”  — FB Newswire post.

What FB Newswire means for brands

FB Newswire is going to attempt to separate signals from noise on Facebook, and the service will undoubtedly lead to earned media placements for brands.  To get there, however, content first and foremost will need generate interaction (likes and shares) and comments on Facebook – to get onto the Storyful radar screen, stories need to reach critical mass in social sharing. Content that doesn’t inspire action on Facebook won’t be surfaced by Storyful.

If you want pickup on FB Newswire, social interactions are an outcome your PR content MUST generate.lil tweet bird

Keys to developing social interaction with brand content:

Understand your fans and their preferences.

Posting messages by rote on Facebook and other social network won’t serve your brand well.  Chances are good there are distinct differences between your most engaged fans on Facebook and followers on LinkedIn or Twitter, and they probably have corresponding differences in preference in terms of content format and topic.  Analyze the last several months of your brand’s Facebook posts, and notice what sort of content was more popular in terms of unique users and total interactions.

Build content that appeals to them

Instead of simply posting your 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.  Doing this will ensure the content you post to Facebook is more aligned with your fans’ interests, and increases the likelihood that they will start a cycle of sharing and interaction that will increase the message visibility and traction on social networks.

Utilize multiple visual images.

The majority of posts on Facebook contain a visual, and the effectiveness of visual content on social channels is well documented.  Recently, Facebook enabled users to post multiple images to posts, and while the jury is out in terms of impact on reach (I have not seen any large studies about this), anecdotal evidence suggests that multiple images in a post do have a significant positive impact on reach.

Share on Facebook – and encourage broad 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 one of the key factors 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.

In the example below and on the right, Dancing with the Stars’ Carrie Ann Inaba shares a photo from Purina ONE’s temporary “cat café” that opened today in New York. You can read Purina ONE’s original press release announcing the café, as well as its multimedia news release with photos and videos of Inaba and the Cat Café on PR Newswire.

Left to right: Purina ONE's multimedia news release with images and videos from the Cat Cafe; FB Newswire's posting of Carrie Ann Inaba's photo.

FB Newswire represents another earned media opportunity for PR pros, but at this point, it’s impossible to gauge the impact it will have on reporting (and thusly, 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.  In reality, because of the effectiveness of social media on driving traffic to web sites and the value 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 or not FB Newswire becomes widely used by professional media.

Additional tactical advice for digital PR campaigns:

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of  the ebook  New School Press Release TacticsFollow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.

3 Comments on Blog Post Title

Emily Kellett (@kellett_emily) 13:41 EDT on Apr 24, 2014

Love this.

Jana Sanders Perry 16:29 EDT on May 12, 2014

“Content that doesn’t inspire action on Facebook won’t be surfaced by Storyful.”

Let me get this straight: we social media managers would need to actively throw money behind our pages and promote content in order for the news to have a shot at generating enough interaction to register on Storyful’s radar, since Facebook squashes organic interaction in favor of paid when it comes to brands? And how is this helpful to the media again?

I get that content has to be appealing to your audience (trust me, I get it), but when Facebook is systematically shrinking reach of that content no matter how good it is, brands aren’t able to generate the same response that might come organically from other social media platforms unless they pay for it.

So, if brand pages must pay to be visible in news feeds if we want to reach more than 10% of those users who have liked our page, and that reach and subsequent interaction is a requirement for inclusion on the FB newswire, how is this a viable tool for any of us besides Facebook?

Sarah Skerik 13:17 EDT on May 16, 2014

Thanks for the response, Jana. There’s no question that Facebook is requiring brands to pay for play. However, when it comes to FB Newswire, I do believe there is an interesting opportunity for communicators, but it’s not derived from brands sponsoring posts.

FB Newswire is one more way that Facebook is surfacing interesting content to its users. In my mind, FB Newswire represents one more the opportunity for brand content to gain visibility. However, as we know, the visibility of brand pages isn’t as potent as it once was, so the key to unlocking visibility on Facebook is in gaining traction with the audience.

Developing content that people will readily share organically, and driving discovery of that content amongst the right people so they can find it (and then share it) are the crucial first steps in gaining visibility on Facebook – or on FB Newswire.

I do believe that brands need to establish and maintain presences on Facebook, whether or not they intend to advertise or promote their posts. However, creating messages and visuals that trigger social sharing organically is really where the potential for communicators really is, at least in my opinion.

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