What can Public Relations Professionals Learn from TBD.com?

August 9, 2010

by Cecile Oreste, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/DC

TBD.com, which launched today, is taking a unique approach to providing hyperlocal news.  Unlike AOL’s recently launched Patch.com, which hired reporters to cover local communities in California, New York and other states, TBD.com will partner with more than a hundred community blogs to provide the most comprehensive coverage of the DC Metro area.

TBD.com Homepage

TBD.com, a hyperlocal news site which launched today in Washington, DC

That’s not to say that TBD.com won’t have a reporting staff of its own.  The TBD.com editorial team is comprised of several journalists from a number of traditional media, including The Washington Post, as well as new media platforms like local blog DCist.com.  What makes TBD.com different from other competitors that are also looking to provide news down to the ZIP code is its willingness to admit that no one news outlet can cover it all.

“Aggregation will play an important role.  We’re not just producing content, but will be linking to traditional media outlets and our community of blogs when they have content we’re not covering,” said Jeff Sonderman, Senior Community Host of TBD.com. “We’re taking an approach that is almost the opposite of legacy media by not keeping the traffic all to ourselves.”

In addition, TBD.com plans to use an editorial style that mirrors the format of its community blogs, which cover news about a variety of topics including neighborhood issues, food, sports and entertainment.  “Our reporters will have more of a blogger mindset.  They’ll be focused on talking to a community of users, creating short dispatches, constantly updating stories and linking to other sources,” Sonderman said.

According to Sonderman, there are a number of reasons why the blog movement has developed as much as it has.  Blogs tend to engage readers with a more personal perspective versus traditional media which adhere to a specific formula.  Blogs are also infinitely customizable and can appeal to even the smallest group of readers.

Sonderman gave the example of Allergy Life in Loudoun – a blog about child food allergy issues, written by a mother raising a daughter with life-threatening allergies.  “You’re never going to find a reporter who covers allergies in Loudoun County,” he said.  “But there happens to be a blog for that niche audience.”

What can public relations professionals learn from TBD.com’s approach to hyperlocal news?  First, we take a lesson from TBD.com’s model of aggregation.  Although you can provide journalists with valuable information, you don’t have all the answers.  Providing resources or additional credible contacts can help build relationships with journalists.

Second, engage your reader.  Press releases don’t always have to follow the same format.  Write with voice, humor, wit and get a journalist’s attention by breaking through the clutter.

Finally, find your audience – even if it’s a community interested in a girl living with allergies.  Identify who you’re trying to reach and go where they are even if it’s a small publication or local blog.


Interview: Cathy Baron Tamraz on “2 Minutes & More”

August 5, 2010

Business Wire CEO & Chairman Cathy Baron Tamraz recently sat down for a few minutes with Renee White Fraser and Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire, hosts of 2Minutes&More, an hourlong business program that airs Sunday afternoons on KFWB-AM in Los Angeles. Both of the hosts are successful business owners who each week share their own tips for success and interview others to inspire success and entrepreneurship.

Cathy Baron Tamraz

BW Chairman & CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz

Cathy’s fifteen minute segment covers topics ranging from how Business Wire helps its clients by being a credible, trusted source of news:

“When a release runs over Business Wire, Dow Jones, Reuters and Bloomberg, as examples of financial wires, they don’t check the source, because they know that, coming from Business Wire, we’ve done that. The release will go out a lot faster, it will be automatically posted to their constituencies. Everybody has faith that when it comes out through Business Wire, it’s real.”

. . . to how our formatting and distribution models help our users with their SEM and SEO efforts, to our acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway and our own successful corporate culture:

“We’re a real homegrown kind of company. We’re close with each other, we run it very entrepreneurial, but we’re serious about what we do. [I've] been there 31 years, and I like to know everybody’s names, and their families and what’s going on in their lives, and I really think that builds loyalty and good morale. We’re all about the longer you stay with us, and continue to do a great job for us and take care of the company, the more we want to take care of you.”

Cathy’s interview was part of a program on “Public Relations & Earned Media”; listen to her segment here. And be sure to listen to the rest of the program, which includes interviews with Business Wire users Susan M. Tellem, CEO of Tellem Worldwide, and Rebekah Illiff, owner of Smart Girls Consulting.


Tuesday Mornings the Best Time to Send a Press Release According to PR Peeps Poll

August 4, 2010

 

by Monika Maeckle, Vice President New Media

 

Tuesday mornings are the best time to send a press release, according to 215 professional communicators surveyed in our latest PR Peeps poll.   The data reinforces our longstanding advice on the topic.  For decades we’ve told  clients that the best time to send  a press release  is “early in the day, early in the week.” 

Of course the general disclaimer “It depends” applies here, as the timing of  any press release is subject to the nature of the news, goals of that release, the news of the day, and other variables.   That said, we’ll resist the urge to say “I told you so,” and enjoy the fleeting affirmation of having PR Peeps confirm our sage advice. 

This poll was  a challenge to analyze, as it was the first time we asked an open-ended question.  (Note to self:  in the future, ask only multiple choice questions. ) In retrospect, we could have done a better job framing the survey, as responses ranged from time of day, to day of week, to general musings such as “when you have news to announce” or “you’re the experts–you tell us!”

That said, the single most common answer, with 135 votes, was “mornings” or a variation thereof, such as “before noon” or “before 10 AM.”   The second biggest vote getter, with 71 votes, was Tuesdays or a variation, such as “Tues. – Thursday.”

Below are the details, as best we can present them.

When’s the Best Time to Send a Press Release?

Tuesdays–71, or 53%

Mondays –16, or 7 %

Mornings–135, or 63%

10 AM–17, or 8%

As mentioned above, the numbers don’t add up to 215, since many people answered with multiple recommendations such as “about 10 AM, Mon – Thursday” while others answered in unique and difficult-to-quantify ways.    The numbers above are our best reflection of the data. We apologize for the lack of scientific approach here–any market researchers who want to pile on with advice, please email me at monika.maeckle@businesswire.com.

To those who participated, thank you–-and how about helping with our next PR Peeps Poll:  Do You Tweet the Links to Your Press Release?  This poll is back to multiple choice. 

215 respondents via Twitter and Business Wire webinar polls. Poll conducted July 6 – August 2, 2010


Business Wire’s Michael Becker Takes On Web Disclosure

August 2, 2010

Recently, Bulldog Reporter’s IR Alert published a piece authored by Thomson Reuters’ Steve Roycroft on web-based disclosure and its future.  Michael Becker, SVP, Financial Product Strategy for Business Wire, responds today in an article called It’s Time for the Truth: Let’s Unleash the Facts — a Response to Thomson Reuters’ Web Disclosure Column. If you work in investor relations, make sure you give it a read to ensure you’re getting an accurate picture of the state of disclosure today.


Upcoming Business Wire Events – Aug. 2 Edition

August 2, 2010

Upcoming Business Wire Events

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:

Business Wire Networking & Happy Hour

Hosted by Business Wire Seattle

Join your friends at Business Wire for a complimentary Happy Hour to thank you for your membership. Network with other BW members, meet local account executives and editors, and enjoy a drink and light appetizers at the Tap House Grill in Downtown Seattle. This event is free and open to Business Wire members only.

Tuesday, August 10 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. PT
Tap House Grill
1506 6th Ave., Seattle, WA 98101
To register: Please RSVP here. For questions, please contact Lauren Linscheid at 206-405-4000 or email lauren.linscheid@businesswire.com


Adding Video to Maximize Your Reach, Exposure & Pick-Up

Hosted by Business Wire Atlanta

Join Business Wire in Atlanta for lunch and a panel discussion on using video to maximize your marketing communication efforts. Learn how integrating video into your marketing and public relations plans can add value to your news and generate interest in your PR campaigns. Panelists include: Jay Durgan, MEDIAMobz; Cliff Pollen, VisibleGains; Kate Keib, WXIA-TV; and Leigh Jones, The Daily Report Online. This event is free for Business Wire members, and $20 for nonmembers.

Wednesday, August 11 at 11:30 a.m. ET
AMC Fork & Screen Buckhead
3340 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30326
To register: Please RSVP to Yasmine Santos at 770-667-7500 or email yasmine.santos@businesswire.com


Video & SEO: Best Practices for Effective Marketing and PR

Hosted by Business Wire Los Angeles

Business Wire Los Angeles hosts this breakfast event where our panel will discuss how to use video in your press releases to drive web traffic, generate leads and help your search engine optimization. Tips will be offered on creating simple but engaging videos, and optimizing your video and press releaes for search. Hanna Pantle, AVP, Corporate Communications & Media Relations at BMI will moderate the panel, which also includes: Dave Toole, MediaMobz; Meredith Kendall, Break Media; Matt Meeks, Bender Helper; and Joel Russell, the Los Angeles Business Journal. This event is free for all attendees

Thursday, August 19 at 8:00 a.m. PT
The Olympic Collection
11301 West Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064
To register: Please RSVP to Garrett Henricksen at 310-820-9473 or email garrett.henricksen@businesswire.com

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.

Follow Business Wire events on Twitter! Hash tag #bwevents


SEO 102: More Press Release Optimization Questions from our Webinars

August 2, 2010


This is the second edition in my mini-series on SEO basics based on questions we’ve received in our ongoing webinar series on press release SEO.  In this post I address five questions that are a bit more advanced than those I answered in SEO 101, the first post in the series.

Should we embed a hyperlink in a press release distributed through wire services or put the URL in parentheses?

For wire releases on services like Business Wire, releases can be pushed to a wide range of syndicating sites using a variety of methods and technologies on all ends of the process.  Because of this, it’s often recommended to include both a hyperlink and URL in parentheses to ensure maximum reach across all audiences.  Don’t just take my word for it though, check out this Hubspot study on press releases that recommends following that link strategy.

Should keywords used throughout the release be linked to the target webpage every time within the release or just the first time?

Only Google really knows the answer to this one, but it’s widely regarded that the first link from a keyword to webpage on a page carries the vast majority of importance with search engines.    As long as you don’t go overboard multiple links within a release is not a bad thing, but it’s not necessary.

If you link too many times it might even look suspicious to the search engines.

Is it bad to use bullet points in the first paragraph of a release?

I recommend not using bullet points in or as the first paragraph of a release if at all possible, especially if getting into Google News is a priority.  Too many bullet points may cause the Google News robots to flag your release and reject it from the index.

Can I optimize my company boilerplate?

Absolutely.   Your boilerplate is part of your release’s body text in the many eyes of search engines.  Periodically optimizing your boilerplate with one or two strategic hyperlinks to key pages on your site is a great way to squeeze a little more performance out of all of your releases.

Should I use common misspellings or typos as keywords?

Using misspellings as keywords is quite popular in PPC advertising such as Google AdWords, but when it comes it press releases with their intersection of journalist, news and general consumer audiences, typos are typically frowned upon and eliminated by editorial staff.

In addition, search engines are continually getting smarter about spotting and correcting typos and the effectiveness of exploiting typos at all will probably wane over time.

That’s all for SEO 102.  You’ll be getting your diploma soon, but in the meantime please let me know via comments, e-mail or Twitter if there’s any questions you’d like answered.


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