Business Wire International: France

March 30, 2009

Today we continue our series of posts from our colleagues outside the US, with a look at Business Wire’s experiences in France from Agnes Deleuse, Marketing Specialist.

Challenge, challenge, challenge!

The youngest of all Business Wire European offices, Paris opened its doors in the fall of 2005. Business Wire Paris was thus fully operational when the TOD (Transparency Obligations Directive) was enforced in January 2007. Getting the authorization by the French Market Authority to distribute disclosure information was certainly a decisive factor to attract global companies listed on the CAC40.

Representing an important part of our business, disclosure news distributionwas a good way for companies using our services to discover Business Wire and the many advantages of a newswire service. These companies started to realize they could introduce the wire in their marketing and communications strategy, for Business Wire has so much to offer, from global distribution to industry specific media coverage, multimedia posting, search engine optimization and XBRL formatting.

But too many French companies are still unfamiliar with the wire. There is a long educational process to implement here because French people are sometimes too conservative. Changing their marketing and communications habits to use a wire can be considered a revolution.

However, in the economic turmoil the world is now facing, changing marketing behavior is going to be a necessity. There is therefore a new chance for the wire, and thus for Business Wire. Companies want to continue to communicate but are tied to cost reduction, while print media is on a downward slope. Reaching international press agencies, online services, portals, journalists, investors and various trade communities is so easy with a wire service.

French companies are slowly incorporating this new media concept to cope with the economic environment. In France, we have noticed that our new clients are experimenting with the wire on a one-shot basis to start with. Some have already repeated the experience and we hope that they will continue using Business Wire in the long term. The online visibility and SEO tools are certainly enticing. Companies are adapting to a new situation, and so are we.

Thus, challenge is our daily sport.

But there is a corporate challenge as well: International offices have to face many differences from their counterparts in the United States. Speaking a foreign language is a major one, adapting existing tools from the US market to European customers is another. But so far, so good. European offices are very young and still growing.

But should there be no challenge, there would be no fun. We have to be constantly inventive and creative to go on the lookout for new clients, to find new ways and new words to promote Business Wire, its products and services. The high existing potential is very stimulating and the Business Wire Paris team* is up front to face the challenge.

Agnes Deleuse
Marketing Specialist
Business Wire France

*Business Wire Paris office team (12): a regional manager, a sales manager, two account executives, one CSR, one MRT, one marketing specialist, and a newsroom of five persons.


How Long Does it Take to Write a Press Release? “Several days,” said half of those polled

March 30, 2009

Polling results are in for Business Wire’s occasional 1-question poll and to those of us in the press release business, the results are no surprise.  My sense is that PR professionals may want to use these results to justify billable hours spent on press release creation, too.  Here’s a summary:

Almost half of 277 respondents said it takes “several days” to write and get approval for a press release.     Only 3%–nine of the total–were lucky enough to churn out a press release in “an hour.”  About 37%  said they spend “half a day” or “a day” to get press releases together while those poor PR souls who need “weeks” constituted an unenviable 11%.   Details below.

How Long Does it Take to Write a Press Release

Several of you wondered why we didn’t make our poll into two questions–since writing a release and getting approvals are such distinct steps in the process.  The reason: we wanted to find out the total time investment in the release BEFORE it arrives at Business Wire.  We also wanted to keep the poll to one question to encourage participation.

So what are we getting at?  Press Release Optimization.

Anecdotally, clients tell us that they “don’t have time” to optimize their press releases.  Or they don’t know how.  That’s why we built a free tool, Press Release Builder, that walks you through the optimization process.   Thing is, clients aren’t using it because it takes an extra few minutes.   Huh?  

Why would you NOT spend an extra 30 – 45 minutes optimizing your press release for search given that you’ve already invested “several days” getting it to the one-yard line?   Business Wire couldn’t help but wonder.

One obstacle is that clients are not managing press release optimization into their workflow.  Frequently press releases are written and approved, and by the time they arrive at Business Wire, their creators have no no interest in tweaking keywords or rearranging paragraphs that might change the copy and require a return to the meat grinder for more time-consuming approvals.

We understand.  That’s why we encourage you to factor press release optimization into your budget BEFORE you come to Business Wire for distribution.  Even if you work with a digital PR firm or a search engine specialist, it will take time.   You can play around with Press Release Builder at your leisure, FOR FREE, when you’re not on deadline.   Talk to your account executive.  It’s worth the investment.

To those who participated, thanks for taking the poll.  And how about helping with the next one?  Do you optimize your press release for search engines?

Business Wire Occasional 1-Question Poll:

How long does it take to write and get approval for a press release?

an hour–3.2% (9 respondents)
half a day–20.21% (56 respondents)
a day–16.96% (47 respondents)
several days–48.73% (135 respondents)
weeks–10.83% (30 respondents)
 
277 respondents via Twitter and Business Wire webinar polls.  Poll conducted March, 2009.

Target the World with Your Financial News

March 26, 2009

The upcoming G20 summit meeting in London, at which world leaders will gather to discuss the global economic situation, shows perfectly how the worlds of business and finance don’t stop at national borders.  Your company’s or organization’s news can have an impact around the world, so it’s crucial to target markets outside the US with your economic news.  Here’s a look at just a few of our options for reaching your targets internationally:

globe_lg1Global Financial Media:  Target media, investors and key financial newspapers, trade publications and news outlets in 117 countries and translation into more than a dozen languages.

Asia-Pacific Financial Media:  Target key broadcast and print media, as well as financial newspapers, trade media and websites, throughout the Asia-Pacific region.  Includes full-text translation into four languages.

Europe Financial Media: Send your news to 30 nations, including all of the EU members, Russia and key markets in Eastern Europe.  Reaches consumer and general media plus hundreds of financial-specific publications with translation into five languages.

London Metro:  Reach print and broadcast media throughout the London area, site of the G20 summit, via the Press Association, the national news agency of the UK.

Public Policy Wire:  Don’t forget to target government policymakers and other opinion leaders in the US with news that impacts public policy.

CSR Circuit:  Finally, publicize your corporate citizenship efforts with distribution to leading Corporate Social Responsibility publications and thought leaders, Socially Responsible Invesment funds,  academics, activists and financial analysts.

For a complete list of distribution options visit our Distribution Catalogue, or contact your local bureau for pricing and options.


Business Wire International: Germany

March 25, 2009

Today we continue our series of posts from our colleagues outside the US, with a look at Business Wire’s experiences in Germany from Caroline Wernery, Marketing Specialist.  Make sure to also read Monday’s post from Dick Bromley, RVP Europe.


Business Wire in Germany: The crisis and how we profit from US innovations

Our clients speak German and require service descriptions, website information, contracts and bills in their native language. It took us a while to learn and improve all that, but after several years in the market we are settled. BusinessWire.de now provides news and Business Wire product and service information in German, and locally-produced material allows us to serve all of our clients in the language they prefer.

The 8-person Business Wire team in Frankfurt offers news distribution in Germany, the DACH region and of course internationally. Our daily goal is to be recognized as a local news provider, not just as an international wire service.

News distribution in the crisis

During the current economic crisis – which is also being felt in Germany – it is even more important for companies to let the world know about their business and products: Companies should distribute more news to sell their products, and to find new business partners or investors. And this is exactly what we’ve experienced in recent months: Compared to last year, more news has crossed the wire . . . both good and bad news.

As in other countries, the crisis in Germany has hurt local newspapers. Now, more and more people concentrate on online media and portals. Social media sources such as blogs, Twitter and Facebook are no longer unknowns and everybody seems to be using them. Previously, Germans relied on newspapers and television; now time is more limited and people rely on current online news.

For us, as the only wire service in Germany, this development of “being online” offers lots of opportunities. During the past months, people got more and more interested in search engine optimization tools as well as services to distribute pictures and videos. “Being multimedia and getting found in the growing news jungle” is the new direction the PR community follows in Germany. Reputation management is taken more seriously: Take care of which kinds of news get found. With our SEO tools, companies can direct readers to find good news before finding bad news, letting them show up higher in search engine rankings.

Thanks to our US founders and colleagues for the great innovations they made years ago and we can now fall back on. Sometimes it takes a while for new services to get accepted over the ocean, but when people ask for them, we are the first who can offer them.

The lesson for us is clear: It is not all about language, it is all about service.

It is always coupled with challenges, working for a foreign company in Germany, due to language problems, different time zones and cultural differences. Taking the challenges and turning them into opportunities makes it exciting every day.

Caroline Wernery
Marketing Specialist
Business Wire Germany


Will New, Longer Google Results Affect Your Traffic?

March 24, 2009

Google today announced two changes to their search results pages.  The first is a refinement to the suggested searches at the bottom of the SERPs — Google will now offer semantic-style suggested searches*, where its system has a better understanding of related concepts and where to find them.  (And it will do so in 37 languages!)

The other is a little more significant:  In order to help users who are using longer queries and search strings, the longer the search you enter, the longer the “snippets” Google will show you underneath the dark blue linked results.  As they explain it:

Suppose you were looking for information about Earth’s rotation around the sun, and specifically wanted to know about its tilt and distance from the sun. So you type all of that into Google: [earth's rotation axis tilt and distance from sun]. A normal-length snippet wouldn’t be able to show you the context for all of those words, but with longer snippets you can be sure that the first result covers all those topics.

Mashable — one of my top sources for web- and social-media related content — mentions these changes briefly, and refers to the semantic results as the more important of the two.  “Not so fast!” says Marshall Kilpatrick at ReadWriteWeb — these changes could affect whether people actually click through to your page:

It’s pretty simple, really. If you’re shown a link to another Google search query, you’re more likely to perform another search instead of going offsite to visit the first results links you were shown. If you’re shown 3 lines of excerpts instead of two, you’re more likely to get the full answer to your question without having to visit the page that the answer is on, off-site.

Two very different reactions, so I’ll be interested to see how this plays out.  I don’t necessarily think it’s in Google’s best interest to develop search results strategies that keep people from visiting other pages, but, as Kilpatrick also points out, 80% of searches are informational in nature, while only 10% are navigational.  If you get the information you need right there on the SERP, why click?

On the positive side, longer snippets could potentially put to rest any confusion the usefulness of your meta keywords and meta descriptions.  If your content is well-written and well-organized, and you’ve used your keywords wisely, then as average query length increases, you’ll stand to benefit from the longer snippets returned from the search.

I tested this myself, using a four-word phrase that isn’t searched for very often, relatively speaking, but which is important to our business.  The Business Wire home page was the #2 natural result, a deep page using the search phrase was #3, and a blog post on the topic was #7.  Can’t see as we have any reason to complain!

Seriously, beyond that little self-serving test, Business Wire will keep a close eye on this and other search-related topics — one of our goals remains to ensure that your press releases help to drive consumer, investor and media traffic to your site.  As the search game changes, we’ll always offer the clearest advice to you to ensure that you continue to benefit from our distribution technology.

What are your thoughts on this?  What positives and negatives do you see, and what ways can you think of for changing those informational searches into navigational and/or transactional searches?  Might this affect they way you write content for the web?  Let us know what you think in the comments.

 

*The alliteration there was completely unplanned, but worked pretty nicely.


Search Engine Strategies NY 2009: Get the News

March 24, 2009

Not only is Business Wire the official wire service for Search Engine Strategies NY 2009, but our own Tom Becktold, SVP Marketing, is on the scene and tweeting his impressions.  Follow Tom’s Twitter feed to get his on-the-ground thoughts from SES, then visit the show news archive  for up-to-date press releases from exhibitors and others.


Aristotle on Twitter, Mom Knows Best, and Other Lessons from SXSWi 2009

March 23, 2009
Is Aristotle on Twitter

If Aristotle were on Twitter, he'd be a big retweeter.

Getting attention in a cluttered content universe was just one hot topic at South by Southwest Interactive this year, and the question, “Do you give good URL?” aimed to address the point in a delightful panel of  University of Texas at Austin academics.

Maybe my background as an American Studies graduate from UT predisposed me to this panel, but I found it was one of my favorites in the five-day new media conference of more than 6,000 attendees.

The discussion, “Is Aristotle on Twitter?” revisited the great philosopher and addressed the struggle many of us face online–deciphering style from substance. Giving good URL–that is, supplying readers with useful, relevant content via helpful links–indicates BOTH, say the academics.

Generous, appropriate Link Love not only shows your style, but reflects your judgement.  You wouldn’t knowingly pass along something you didn’t find valuable–would you?

While last year Twitter was oft discussed in the context of the horrendous Sarah Lacy/Mark Zuckerberg interview, in 2009 Twitter tips were ubiquitous, as attendees filled conference halls, laptops opened, Tweetdeck loaded.    Example: Retweeting may be the sincerest form of flattery and is strongly encouraged, say the academics.   “Retweeting creates judgement, while tweeting creates familiarity.” 

Other great takeaways:

1. Every cell phone is a media outlet.
2. Retweeting makes readers see through you; tweeting makes readers see you. Both are important.
3. Social media will provide the data helping determine the five things you SHOULD be doing rather than the 50 things you COULD be doing.
4. “Being better is its own word-of-mouth,” Kathy Sierra.
5. Distinguish the urgent from the important, as in don’t respond to “urgent” emails at the expense of those that are important.
6.  The humble “telephone is one of the best branding tools out there, despite being low-tech,” Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappo’s.
7.  The organization chart of the future will have customers at the top, CEOs at the bottom.
8.  When it comes to social media, it’s just as important to be interested as it is to be interesting.
9.  When hiring, chemistry is MORE IMPORTANT than skills.
10.  When you find yourself in the echo chamber, call your mom for a reality check on ideas. Mom frequently DOES know best.

As a mom, I concur.


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