Multimedia Press Releases Tell Rich Stories, Raise Awareness

Two financial services companies issued multimedia press releases this week that are ready examples of how content assets can be used to tell rich stories, useful to the media as well as in advancing Marketing’s goal to raise awareness and drive Web site traffic.

Northwestern Mutual’s press release on survey results (“Young Americans Say They Need Millions to Retire”) and John Hancock’s promotion of its “Find The Answers” ad campaign and microsite can give mutual fund or exchange-traded fund (ETF) marketers ideas on how to think beyond the all-text, suboptimized, largely boilerplate press releases that do little for reporters and even less for profile-raising.

The Northwestern Mutual press release wins the award for the most number of links from to pages on Northwestern Mutual domains—we counted 26.

Some links go to pages, others to expandable chart images (shown above) that the media or others could use. We wish that more attention was paid to the page titles and that the images were optimized for image search, which can be a significant traffic driver. The press release links to Northwestern Mutual's financial literacy Web site, and other sites, as well.

A video is offered on the press release, as served from YouTube (with comments disabled). Offering the embed code would encourage reporters and bloggers to use the video.

The John Hancock press release, from, is branded. It offers a single downloadable image and a sample of the commercial featured in the ad campaign. It's interesting that the video, embedded below, is served from, a site that publishers use to distribute their videos to multiple sites. These commercials may be showing up on other sites, too.

Both Northwestern Mutual and John Hancock encourage sharing and commenting on the news by offering links to Twitter, Facebook, Delicious and other social sites.

These features approach the social media press release, which has been in existence for about three years. Its creator Todd Defren even offers a template for it on his Web site.

As you can see, the Northwestern Mutual and John Hancock releases don't offer all of the features suggested by the social media press release template. Still, we find their offering of multimedia content encouraging and will be interested to learn more about their experience—and whether others will follow.

For more on the evolution of the online press release, check out this presentation by Shel Holtz, principal of Holtz Communication + Technology and co-host of one of our favorite podcasts For Immediate Release.