No Joke: Fighting PR Tomfoolery on April Fools’ Day

April 3, 2009

As much as we enjoy playing spectator to the fake news circuit, we appreciate the mention of our April Fools’ policy in PR Newser’s round-up of this year’s tries in headlining gotchas. Business Wire continued its strict vigilance against April Fools’ related joke releases crossing our wire this April 1st. As our senior vice president of Marketing, Business Wired’s own Tom Becktold put it:

“For Business Wire, April Fools is a pretty high-alert day. Our newsrooms and staff are on the lookout to block April Fools press releases from getting on our wire. We ask our clients not to send us fake press releases tied to April Fools campaigns…Our users trust us for legitimate copy.”

It doesn’t sound like many mainstream sources fell for the Lawn Mower Racing Hall of Fame & Museum of America from the US Lawn Mower Racing Association (the museum is fake, but the organization is real) or The Guardian newspaper’s switch to a completely Twitter-based platform (okay, that one was pretty good). Still, we’re sticking to our policy of leaving releases not marked as an April Fools’ item off our wire on April 1st. Sorry, jokesters.


Business Wire International: You’re Opening an Office in China Now?

April 3, 2009

Today we continue our series of posts from colleagues outside the US with a look at our operations in China, from Kevin Chiew, Director, Asian Business Development. Previous entries in this series are available from London, Frankfurt and Paris.

This month marks my five year anniversary at Business Wire, and when I was offered the job to head up business development in Asia I was told two things. The first was that I would never be bored, and the second that was my job description was whatever I wanted it to be, as long as it improved the business. No truer words have been said to me, especially in 2009, as we embark on expanding our sales presence in China with our Business Wire licensed affiliate, Interfax China.

In the last five years Business Wire has pursued a multilevel approach to distribution in the Asia region, at the top using the networks of AP and AFP for region-wide distribution — just about every major media organisation in Asia subscribes to either one or both of these feeds. Then, on a country level, we’ve worked with country distribution partners to get country-by-country blanket coverage. Finally, our own NX technology and PressPass services have provided vertical market coverage. We have developed a distribution network that is second to none and which is continually evolving, improving and expanding.

We have been expanding our sales network in the region as well, with offices in Tokyo and Sydney, and sales channels in India (a licensed affiliate), Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea and now China (a licensed affiliate).

Business Wire appointed Interfax China as a licensed affiliate of Business Wire, and began operations this month. When we reviewed the China market, it quickly became evident that we needed a strong local partner, who understood the market and had operated there successfully. Interfax China has been operating in China since 1998, and they are the largest commercial foreign news service in China. They understand the local market and have good relationships both in the government and in the business community. Our relationship with Interfax China began two years ago, when they began to disseminate Business Wire press releases into the China market as part of their news service. Interfax China’s network disseminates to more than 9,000 journalists, 600 newspapers, 3,000 magazines and trade publications 300 websites, with guaranteed postings to more than 40 websites for every release.

With such an overwhelming presence, it became obvious that Business Wire and Interfax China would make a powerful force in China. Combining the local support of Interfax China with the global network of Business Wire, as a licensed affiliate, Interfax China would be able to offer the same services and support that any Business Wire office would be able to supply.

But I digress. The title of this piece is, “You’re Opening an Office in China NOW?”

Back in early 2008, when we began to study China, opening offices there was a slam dunk; any business selling anything could justify opening up in China. In 2009, it is a totally different story. The world economy is looking like a train wreck and companies are closing offices, not opening them. So why did we continue to open up in China, when so many others have backed away?

In a word: PERSPECTIVE, which the Oxford dictionary defines as “the understanding of the relative importance of things.”

Despite the world economic gloom you can read in any newspaper in the world at the moment, the fundamentals of doing business in China remain the same:

  • It is the third largest economy in the world, rapidly challenging Japan and even the USA in size.
  • Even the revised growth forecast of the World Bank predicts economic growth of 6.5% in 2009, which would be enviable in any other economy.
  • It has a population of 1.3 Billion people with a growing, educated middle class.
  • It has a strong domestic market, which will be supported by the government stimulus package of some $586 billion dollars.
  • It has foreign exchange reserves of $1.95 trillion, which is predicted to rise to $2.5 trillion by 2010, which means it has a strong buffer against economic down turns.

Although the USA subprime mortgage collapse may have helped lead to the global economic recession, the recovery may well be led by Chinese consumers and investors. The Asian Development Bank, OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) and World Bank all predict economic growth to in China for 2010 of some 7.5% to 8.5%.

So as my grandfather, who lived through the last Great Depression and beyond, used to say, “It was a great time to make some money.” If your business wants to catch the next wave of the economic boom, now is the time to establish your business in China.

Business Wire is in for the long haul, as is its affiliate Interfax China. Our PERSPECTIVE is not the next 12 months, but the next 12 years and beyond. When our clients want help on their China strategy, we will be on the ground for them, as we will be on the ground for our China-based clients looking to expand into the rest of the world.

Business Wire is in China — why aren’t you?

Kevin Chiew

Director, Asia Business Development, Business Wire


Media Members Talk Recession, Share Tips for PR Pros

April 2, 2009

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Business Wire Newport Beach
recently hosted “Meet the Media: Communicating During the Recession,” a media breakfast featuring a panel of area media members discussing today’s media trends, how the media handles news-gathering and what the business and PR communities can do to improve their communications with publications, as well as how the uncertain economy affects both groups. More than 70 PR & IR professionals from Orange County and the Inland Empire took in the discussion, moderated by Business Wire Newport Beach Regional Manager Christie Brockhage and including panel members:

Here are some of the key takeaways from the panel:

  • It’s usually best to pitch a story to reporters as opposed to editors. Reporters have a natural instinct and passion for reporting news.
  • When reaching out to a reporter, always ask, “Are you on a deadline?” “Do you have time?” “Would this be a good time to talk?”
  • Don’t use company lingo when pitching. Make it as simple as possible for the reporter to understand your story. Don’t make them have to ask for further explanation.
  • With the current economy, business stories are very relevant. But media outlets don’t like to stack up the news with the same type of stories.
  • The recession, as well as the rise of news websites, have been very disruptive to the media, particularly large newspapers. The Internet is making TV old news, since, by the time the 6:00 news rolls around, everything there is to report is already online.
  • Media sources are countering with efforts like hyper-local journalism, such as a beta site launch for Saddleback Valley.
  • Additionally, there are now more opportunities for readers to “skip the middleman” by posting blog posts and events to media websites.

Local Business Wire offices host several events each year on PR, IR and media topics.  Check out the Business Wire Events page to find upcoming events in your area.


Drinks Are On You!

April 1, 2009

Jason Chupick of PRNewser takes note of our recent survey results on how long it takes to write and get approval for a press release, especially the 11% of respondents who said it takes “weeks.”  But Jason’s got a great piece of advice:

If you’re in corporate PR, you can probably relate to the 11%. You may want to apply the parlor game of my former colleague, head of the Zusman Group consultantcy Barry Zusman in these instances: the person responsible for circulating the 10th draft of a release has to buy drinks for all concerned.

I propose a corollary:  If you can nail it in one draft, everybody else has to buy you a drink!


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