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What Editors and Writers Want From PR Pitches in 2018

In a highly-shared article on The Atlantic recently, senior editor Derek Thompson suggested that struggling media organizations have only one option. Instead of “pivoting” like a startup towards new forms of advertising, or new storytelling formats like video, they should be pivoting back to the one thing that really

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CisionScoops at Las Vegas Review-Journal and Us Weekly, Changes at Teen Vogue, Addition at The Wall Street Journal

Cision’s research department makes over 20,000 media updates to our influencer database each day! Here are the latest moves to keep your media lists up to date and on point. All CisionScoops reflect original reporting from the Media Research team; if you have a scoop, send

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Here Are the Top Marketing Design Trends for 2018 [Infographic]

Shutterstock — a familiar name to many creative professionals — released its 2018 Creative Trends Report today, shedding light on the design trends marketers need to know about this year.

The report is the result of synthesizing and analyzing the billions of searches for visual content on Shutterstock’s collection — which boasts over 170 million images. Based on those searches, Shutterstock determined which design concepts are most likely to influence creative marketing and design this year, from pop culture to emerging trends.

This is the seventh year Shutterstock has released a Creative Trends Report, and this year, there’s a common, underlying science-fiction-esque theme — at least when it comes to the top three trends, named to be “fantasy,” “new minimalism,” and “space.”New Call-to-action

Intrigued? Check out the full report, which — how fitting — has been visually represented by the infographic below.


1. Fantasy

Unicorns — the mythical creatures, not the high-valued startups — are cool again. Along with its friends like mermaids and centaurs, fantasy-themed images are predicted to see a rise in popularity. 

2. New Minimalism

It’s not just any minimalism — it’s the clean, circu-linear kind that uses white space to draw greater attention to an image’s boldest features.

3. Space

Elon Musk, is that you? We’re not sure if SpaceX is behind it, but images pertaining to the solar system and beyond are expected to be a major trend this year.

4. Natural Luxury

Less screen, more green. Images with natural elements are on the rise — with a touch of “geological”-themed luxury, like marble.

5. Punchy Pastels

Spring has arrived early, with pastel hues and shades dominating 2018 design trends.

6. A Global March

The legacy of last January’s Women’s March lives on — searches for terms like “activism” and key occasions like “International Women’s Day” are on the rise.

7. Cactus

Honestly, your guess is as good as ours on this one. As Shutterstock describes it, this trend reflects “nature’s ultimate survivor” with “beauty and danger.”

8. Digital Crafts

It’s the latest generation of origami. Is a robot capable of crafting? Inquiring, visual minds want to know.

9. Ancient Geometrics

You might be familiar with the Mandala, which is an ancient, geometric symbol frequently associated with Hinduism and Buddhism. There’s been an uptick in searches for that type of image — a trend we expect to continue as many seek these zen-like images.

10. Cryptocurrency

We’re not at all surprised to see this one on the list. Cryptocurrency has been a major point for those in both tech and finance in recent months, with such headlines as bitcoin debuting on Wall Street and Kodak unveiling its very own cryptocurrency (which resulted in its stock price skyrocketing in an impressively short period of time).

11. Holographic Foil

Tech has been gradually permeating the mainstream and pop-cultural conversation, and that’s arguably never been truer than it has been in 2018. Holographics have long served as thematic, visual representation of tech — which is what we predict helped it earn a place on the list.

 
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Shell buys stake in solar developer Silicon Ranch

Firm is among European oil and gas firms turning to renewables to diversify earnings sources

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How to Boost PR Campaigns With Social Data

As social media becomes woven into the workflow of communications professionals, it can feel daunting to understand what content will resonate with your influencers and the target audiences that engage with them.  
Cision Communications Cloud®’s “Matterhorn” release arms communicators with the tools they need to deepen their understanding of what

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CisionScoops at NYT & Grok Nation, Changes at CNN Washington & Hearst

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Cision’s research department makes over 20,000 media updates to our influencer database each day! Here are the latest moves to keep your media lists up to date and on point. All CisionScoops reflect original reporting from the Media Research team;

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How to Write Copy People Notice, Read, and Trust: Lessons from "The World’s Best Copywriter"

The phone rang a couple times before he picked up.

“Hello?”

“Hi,” I said. “Is this Pat Corpora?”

“Yes, it is.”

“It’s Eddie Shleyner,” I said. Silence. “I sent you a message on LinkedIn … about the Sampler. You replied with your number … told me to call.”

In 1995, Pat published The Doctor’s Vest-Pocket Sampler of Natural Remedies, a piece of direct response mail designed to sell a bigger, more complete book called New Choices in Natural Healing.

In other words, the free “sampler” book was designed to garner the attention, engagement, and trust necessary to sell prospect’s on the real product, the money-maker.Download our free guide here for tips to become a better writer. 

“Oh!” he said. “Hi, Eddie.” He sounded enthused. I could tell he was a nice guy. “How can I help?”

“Well,” I said. “I’m sure you know, the Sampler is famous.”

Pat smirked. “Okay.”

“At least it is among copywriters,” I said. “That’s why I’m calling: I’m writing an article about the Sampler — because it’s a master class in written persuasion — and I want to make sure I get the facts right.”

“Sure.”

“Well, first of all,” I said, “how many did you send out?”

“Oh, I’m sure we mailed 50 million copies,” said Pat. He paused. “Yeah, about that many.” He paused again. “It was a huge number.”

“And how many books did that sell?”

“Oh, millions.”

“Millions?” I said.

Millions. It was our most successful mailer ever.”

How did Pat sell all those books?

He hired Gary Bencivenga to write the copy.

Bencivenga is a Hall of Fame copywriter. He’s on par with John Caples and Eugene Schwartz, David Ogilvy and Joe Sugarman. He knew what he was doing. That is, he knew how to write copy that captured attention, garnered engagement, and drove readers to take action.

Like any effective copywriter, Bencivenga was part writer, part psychologist. As a writer, he was able to produce clear, concise sentences. As a psychologist, he excelled at thinking like his prospect. He understood her, empathized with her. And that’s what this article is about.

It’s about the big-picture concepts you can learn by studying one of Bencivenga’s most successful controls. In other words, this article won’t teach you how to write like a copywriter as much as it’ll teach you how to think like one.

You’ll learn the rules of the trade, the fundamentals of crafting ad copy people notice, read, and trust.

How to write copy people notice, read, and trust.

If you don’t already own The Doctor’s Vest-Pocket Sampler of Natural Remedies, you can buy one on Amazon for a buck or two plus shipping. If you’re a serious student of copywriting, I recommend ordering your copy as soon as possible, reading it daily, and transcribing it often.

When you receive it, smile. You’re holding one of the finest direct marketing assets ever created.

What makes it great? It follows three important principles:

1. It hones in on a single, primary desire.

That’s why people notice it in the first place.

People buy things to achieve their desires. Period.

“Every product appeals to two, or three or four of these mass desires,” writes Eugene Schwartz in his classic book, Breakthrough Advertising. “But only one can predominate.”

The Sampler’s target audience was older, likely suffering from an ailment, likely fatigued from the side-effects of conventional medicine, and likely eager for alternatives. Natural alternatives. Bencivenga honed in on this.

How to Hone In

Once you know, with absolute certainty, what it is your prospect desires:

a) Make the desire plainly visible and unmistakably clear.

This will ensure that the prospect sees it.

The Sampler displays the words “NATURAL REMEDIES” in big, bold, capital letters on its cover. In fact, those words appear twice, which brings us to my next point …

b) Repeat the desire over and over, using synonymous terms.

This will keep the prospect engaged without wearing her out on the same verbiage.

The Sampler alludes to the concept of “natural remedies” using many different terms, including “self-help remedies” and “non-surgical remedies” and a half-dozen others. Each is a new and engaging way to remind the prospect about the same thing. Each variation whispers, “This is what you want, Dear Reader. Remember? This is what you need!”

c) Sound realistic.

This will allow the prospect to take your copy seriously.

The Sampler doesn’t over-step its product’s promise. For instance, the word “antidotes” sounds more compelling than “remedies” but it’s also less plausible, which is why Bencivenga never uses it. After all, he’s selling a book with thousands of medical suggestions. They’re not all winners. Reasonable people know this.

If you say something that plants doubt in your prospect’s mind, even once, you might lose her. Fantastic claims are risky because they’re hard to believe. Temper your promise to give the message a chance.

2. It doesn’t look like an ad.

That’s why people read it.

The Doctor’s Vest-Pocket Sampler of Natural Remedies doesn’t look like a mailer. It looks like a book:

The cover is card stock and paper inside is thick, too. The back is blank, clean, except for the publisher’s mission statement: “We publish books that empower people’s lives.”

The Sampler is also 50 pages long, neatly organized into four enticing chapters:

Chapter 1: Natural Remedies for Whatever Ails You …

Chapter 2: Secret Healing Triggers …

Chapter 3: How to Instantly Get a Second Opinion, or a Third, Fourth, or Tenth!

Chapter 4: For a Lifetime of Greater Health, Try This …

Each chapter is well-formatted and written in plain English that’s scannable and digestible, peppered with bolding and italics that highlight value. Bencivenga gave the Sampler all the characteristics of a real book, which is why Debra-from-Nebraska pulled it from her mailbox, then sat down, put on her glasses, and actually took the time to read it.

“Allow the reader to enter into your ad with the least possible mental shifting of gears from ‘editorial’ to ‘advertisement’,” writes Schwartz. “A single change in format can add 50% to your readership, and your results.” Schwartz calls this concept Copy Camouflage. It refers to taking elements from trusted mediums and using them to lend clout to your ad. This is also known as “borrowed believability.”

Online advertorial articles, or “sponsored” posts, are a good example of this: they look and read like typical articles but have a hidden sales agenda. Bencivenga uses the same tactic, except he camouflaged the Sampler to look and read like a book.

How to Camouflage

Once you know the medium your prospect recognizes, likes, and believes:

a) Borrow the format.

This will help your promotion look familiar to the prospect.

The Sampler looks like a book because it was published before the internet took root (circ. 1995), when physical mediums (e.g., books and newspapers) were among the only recognized, credible sources of written information.

b) Borrow the words and tone.

This will help your copy sound familiar to the prospect.

The Sampler sounds comprehensible, colloquial. It uses simple words — not medical speak — to convey clear, concise advice that makes sense to people. And that brings us to the final principle …

3. It’s valuable.

That’s why people trust it.

Bencivenga packed the Sampler with advice that can help people live more comfortable lives:

  • On page 14, he shares a juice recipe that treats asthma.
  • On page 15, he shares a tonic recipe that quells cigarette cravings.
  • On page 16, he shares a cocktail recipe that relieves leg cramps.

In fact, almost every page lends a valuable suggestion, something that makes the reader feel excited about the future, hopeful. Something that makes her say, “Wow, I had no idea …” Over time, these feelings compound and intensify in the reader, engendering trust.

“Couldn’t it be that if someone took care of you, very good care of you; if this person would do anything for you; if your well-being was his only thought: is it impossible that you might begin to feel something for him?”Bob Benson, Mad Men

How to Deliver Value

Once you know what your prospect values:

a) Highlight it.

This, again, will ensure that the prospect sees it.

The Sampler is full of bolded, italicized, and underlined words and phrases. It’s full of headlines and subheads, sidebars and images. Remember, people can’t begin to draw value from information if they never even see it.

b) Make it clear and concise.

This will fill the prospect with hope and excitement over her newfound knowledge.

The Sampler uses clear language and short, crisp sentences. Even though it’s a medical book, a native English speaker will comprehend every word. Remember, people will only get value from information they understand.

c) Make it actionable.

This will satisfy the prospect, making her happy.

The Sampler tells readers what to do but also explains how to do it. For example, want to treat asthma? “Blend two ounces of onion juice with two ounces of carrot juice and two ounces of parsley juice, then drink this blend twice each day,” writes Bencivenga. “Of course, use this remedy in conjunction with proper medical treatment.”

Remember, people will get the most value from information they can put to use.

“So, what did working with Gary teach you?” I asked.

“Well,” said Pat, “like many other tests I was involved in, it proved the power and importance of copy.”

I nodded, silently, on the other end.

“When we launched new titles, we always tested two or three different copywriters, “ said Pat. “Sometimes the different approaches were close, within 10 percent. But sometimes, it was a 100 percent difference in response rate. That’s what it was with the Vest-Pocket Sampler. That’s the power of great copy.”

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THE MOBILE PAYMENTS REPORT: Key strategies that wallet providers can implement to break from disappointing growth

mobile payments lumiscapeThis is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

In the US, the in-store mobile wallet space is becoming increasingly crowded. Most customers have an option provided by their smartphone vendor, like Apple, Android, or Samsung Pay. But those are often supplemented by a myriad of options from other players, ranging from tech firms like PayPal, to banks and card issuers, to major retailers and restaurants.

With that proliferation of options, one would expect to see a surge in adoption. But that’s not the case — though BI Intelligence projects that US in-store mobile payments volume will quintuple in the next five years, usage is consistently lagging below expectations, with estimates for 2019 falling far below what we expected just two years ago. 

As such, despite promising factors driving gains, including the normalization of NFC technology and improved incentive programs to encourage adoption and engagement, it’s important for wallet providers and groups trying to break into the space to address the problems still holding mobile wallets back. These issues include customer satisfaction with current payment methods, limited repeat purchasing, and consumer confusion stemming from fragmentation. But several wallets, like Apple Pay, Starbucks’ app, and Samsung Pay, are outperforming their peers, and by delving into why, firms can begin to develop best practices and see better results.

A new report from BI Intelligence addresses how in-store mobile payments volume will grow through 2021, why that’s below past expectations, and what successful cases can teach other players in the space. It also issues actionable recommendations that various providers can take to improve their performance and better compete.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • US in-store mobile payments will advance steadily at a 40% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to hit $128 billion in 2021. That’s suppressed by major headwinds, though — this is the second year running that BI Intelligence has halved its projected growth rate.
  • To power ahead, US wallets should look at pockets of success. Banks, merchants, and tech providers could each benefit from implementing strategies that have worked for early leaders, including eliminating fragmentation, improving the purchase journey, and building repeat purchasing.
  • Building multiple layers of value is key to getting ahead. Adding value to the user experience and making wallets as simple and frictionless as possible are critical to encouraging adoption and keeping consumers engaged. 

In full, the report:

  • Sizes the US in-store mobile payments market and examines growth drivers.
  • Analyzes headwinds that have suppressed adoption.
  • Identifies three strategic changes providers can make to improve their results.
  • Evaluates pockets of success in the market.
  • Provides actionable insights that providers can implement to improve results.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND more than 250 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> Learn More Now
  2. Purchase and download the report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

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The Rise of Earned Media + What You Need to Know

As marketing budgets grow, much focus has been on digital marketing for owned and paid media. Whether it be a focus on mobile and e-commerce experiences, or more investment in search and display advertising, earned media has often been third in line in the overall marketing

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CisionScoops at Forbes, The Signal & San Francisco Chronicle, Changes at Bloomberg Businessweek and Additions to The Atlantic

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Cision’s research department makes over 20,000 media updates to our influencer database each day! Here are the latest moves to keep your media lists up to date and on point. All CisionScoops reflect original reporting from the Media Research team;

For full article