We Are Pleased to Focus on this Unique, Innovative Tool

April 8, 2009

We’re obviously big at Business Wire on offering advice for writing a good press releaseSearch Engine Optimization is an important part of that, but so is simply writing concisely and clearly — avoiding jargon, placeholder phrases, filler and other stuff that creates clutter and keeps people from understanding (or just getting through) your news.

Now, HubSpot has a new tool that can help you avoid gobbledygook phrases.  Their online Gobbledygook Grader will analyze your content — press releases, brochure copy, and anything else — and help you avoid the clutter.  Marketing strategist David Meerman Scott, who helped develop the tool, analyzed more than 700,000 press releases that ran over Business Wire and other sources in 2008; his top five, and the number of times they appeared:

  1. Innovate       51,390
  2. Pleased to     48,672
  3. Unique            48,095
  4. Focused on    40,964
  5. Leading provider   33,101

Sounds like words that might be hard to avoid, but give it a try — your press releases can only get better.


Brevity Is The Soul Of Viewership

April 8, 2009

Online video is the Internet’s It Girl right now: Viewership of online video is up more than a third, Hulu and its streaming full-length shows are the #2 video site on the web (stealing eyes from TV screens), and it seems like even your grandmother is vlogging on YouTube now.

But with all those tens millions of videos being watched, who’s really watching?  That apparently depends on how long your video is.

According to a new study by TubeMogul, people are watching a lot of videos, but they aren’t watching for very long.  More than 10% of viewers click away after the first 10 seconds of a video, and after a minute, more than half the audience is gone.

Audience Attention Span (Source: TubeMogul)

(Source: TubeMogul)

While TubeMogul’s data has a number of caveats and limitations, and they seem to be concerned with the implications for pre- and post-roll advertising, I’m more interested for what it says about PR-related video content — product demos, talking-head interviews, etc.

We always advise our own users to keep their videos short; ideally, less than 5 minutes long.  (As you can see from the graph above, fewer than 10% of users will hang around for more than 5 minutes.)  Rather than include a lengthy video with your multimedia press release, create a short excerpt, and make the full video available for download or by request.  It’s easier to keep viewers for a minute or two, and leave them wanting (and requesting!) more, than to keep them around for three, four, five minutes or longer.  And it both builds interaction and encourages social media penetration — users will be more likely to share and recommend shorter videos, and when they come to you for more, it opens up a dialogue between you and consumers, media and other audiences.

So, in short, keep it short!  For some great examples of what our own users are doing with video:

Business Wire on YouTube


Business Wire Upcoming Events – April 7 Edition

April 7, 2009

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Join Business Wire experts in your area for media breakfasts, panel discussions and other insightful events. We bring local media members and industry thought leaders to your market to discuss today’s most relevant topics, from writing for SEO to marketing with social media. Best of all, Business Wire events are usually free of charge. Check out some of our upcoming events in your area:

Meet the Media: DC Area Journalists Discuss the Future of Technology News & Reporting Trends

Hosted by Business Wire Washington, DC

Join Business Wire DC for breakfast and a panel discussion with distinguished local journalists about the state of technology reporting in the Metro DC area. Panelists  Paul Sherman of Potomac Tech Wire, David Hubler with Washington Technology, Darlene Darcy with Washington Business Journal, Mark Kellner with the Washington Times and Gautham Nagesh with NextGov.com and Government Executive magazine share forward-thinking trends that may emerge from recent changes in the news industry. Admittance is $10 for all attendees.

Thursday, April 9 at 8:00am ET

Marriott Tysons Corner
8028 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, VA 22182

To register: Please RSVP to Neeli Yelamanchili at Neelima.Yelamanchili@BusinessWire.com or 703.243.0400.

Lunch & Learn: Press Releases as Web Pages and Marketing in a Down Economy

Hosted by Business Wire Phoenix

Join Business Wire Phoenix for a two-part lunch seminar. Business Wire Account Executive & New Media Specialist Malcolm Atherton leads “Part I: Your Release Wants to Be a Mini Web Page,” a discussion on developing release content for long tail online visibility. Then, Jeff Luth, President, Luth Communications, presents “Part II: Fear and Loathing in Your Marketing Department: Positioning for the Upturn,” a discussion on best practices for marketing departments during the down economy. This event is free for all attendees.

Tuesday, April 21 at 11:30am MT
Union Square Boardroom
6991 E. Camelback Rd. Suite D-210, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
To register: RSVP by Friday, April 17 to Billy Russell at Billy.Russell@BusinessWire.com or call 480-990-9942 or visit http://businesswirephoenixaprilevent.eventbrite.com.

The Role of the Canadian Media in the North American Energy Sector

Hosted by Business Wire Canada

Join Business Wire Canada and a dynamic panel of industry experts for an interactive discussion about the role of the Canadian media in the North American Energy sector. Panelists include Charles Frank, Business Editor, Calgary Herald; Claudia Cattaneo, Calgary bureau chief, Financial Post; Gordon Jaremko, Editor, Alberta Oil Magazine; and Wilf Gobert, Chairman, Calgary Economic Development. This event is free for all attendees.

Thursday, April 23 at 2:00pm MT
Fairmont Palliser Hotel, Leduc Room
133 9th Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta , Canada
To register: Please RSVP by April 17 to Rhianna Padamsey at Rhianna.Padamsey@BusinessWire.com.

Effective Communication Strategies in Challenging Times

Hosted by Business Wire Charlotte

Join Business Wire Charlotte for lunch and a discussion about effectively communicating your message during challenging times. Listen and learn best practices from both IR and PR professionals in the field as well as members of the media. Open discussion will be welcomed for idea-sharing among panel and audience members alike.  This event is free for Business Wire members and $10 for non-members.

Tuesday, April 28 at 11:30pm ET
The Morehead Inn
1122 E. Morehead St., Charlotte, NC  28204

To register:  Please RSVP to Angela Hayworth at Angela.Hayworth@BusinessWire.com or 704-347-1590 by Thursday, April 23.

For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/business-wire-events.


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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