Phoenix-Area Media Discuss Popularity of Social Media

September 30, 2010

by Heidi Mayer, Account Executive, & Billy Russell, Client Services Representative, Business Wire Phoenix

On Friday, September 24, Business Wire Phoenix hosted a lunch seminar that provided local companies with an opportunity to meet the media and discuss how reporting has evolved amid the popularity of social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook.  Chad Graham with The Arizona Republic, Keith Yaskin with FOX 10 and Shawn Martin from ABC15 News discussed how social media has affected traditional news reporting while Cindy Kim of JDA Software provided her own unique insight on pitching stories from a public relations perspective.  The seminar was moderated by our own Regional Manager Grant Armendariz.

L-R: Grant Armendariz, Cindy Kim, Shawn Martin, Chad Graham & Keith Yaskin

Here are some key insights from the discussion:

Why they use social media
Both Kim and Yaskin said that they use social media as a tool to build relationships. According to Kim, it’s a way for her to not only reach the decision-makers – analysts, bloggers and journalists – but also to raise brand awareness with her clients and prospects. Martin talked about a new show on ABC 15 that will experiment with integrating social media and news, with the goal of giving the audience a voice.  His greatest challenge is to get viewers to interact on three screens: TV, computer and mobile. Graham mentioned that AZ Central has been using this year to develop a strategy for using social media and train reporters on its use. He’s found social media an effective means for the immediate exchange of information, and has also discovered benefits to geo sharing.

Changing the way people approach the media

In today’s environment, Martin pointed out, the PR professional who has to make a pitch is often at a loss: social media is so new that there are no rules or guidelines to using it effectively. However, there are many right ways to go about it. Graham made the point that good stories are always going to be good and will get coverage no matter what. He considers social media as more of a tactic than an overall strategy, and sees it being used to make an end run around reporters to get word out on a particular topic immediately. Kim said that social media has broadened her approach and allowed her to be more creative with traditional channels. She added that it’s also created some great relationships and made possible good conversations to create better fits for stories. Yaskin agreed, saying that relationships matter. He’d be much more likely to help out someone he’s made a connection with through social media than a random pitch off the street.

The rise of citizen journalism

While the rapid rise of citizen journalism is sometimes considered a threat to traditional sources of news, the three journalists on the panel all agreed that they see it as a positive change. Martin said that AZ Central is embracing the trend, allowing audiences to drive the news. Because reporters can’t be everywhere, ordinary bloggers and tweeters can play an important part in bringing stories to the public’s attention. Yaskin, meanwhile, finds himself becoming a citizen journalist. People aren’t willing to wait for the news anymore, with so many platforms available to them, so he acts as a “mobile newsroom,” reporting on additional aspects of the story (i.e.  A reporter was being mocked by a fireman for wearing too much makeup). From the PR perspective, Kim said that her company sees this trend as an opportunity as well. When a cyberhack story broke, JDA started a “lessons learned” blog which was then covered as part of the story. However, Graham, while excited about “man on the street news,” warns that it should be taken with a grain of salt. Journalistic standards still apply, which means: always check the facts.

What not to send through social media
All four panelists had suggestions for anyone using social media to disseminate information. Kim recommended thinking about personal branding when posting, because how a person communicates is just as important as what that person communicates. The three journalists talked about the kinds of stories they didn’t want to be pitched through social media: immediate, breaking news, which should always be called in (Martin), anything that’s already been covered (Graham) and any legal information (Yaskin). Yaskin also cautioned about tweeting story ideas that others can figure out and pitch for their own benefit. Other than that, he said, anything can be sent.

Here’s a terrific video clip from panelist Keith Yaskin at FOX 10, speaking on how social media has changed the way he interacts with public relations professionals:

Thank you to all those in attendance and especially our panel for a lively and entertaining discussion about this new trend.  We look forward to our next event in Arizona, Business Wire Holiday Open House, which gives everyone an opportunity to meet our newsroom and learn about our product offerings while enjoying a festive holiday breakfast.  Look for your invitation and don’t forget to RSVP!

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


Breaking News: Press Release STILL Not Dead

September 28, 2010

 

by Monika Maeckle, Vice President New Media

Will the death wish for the press release never cease?  Something about the approach of Day of the Dead each Fall seems to provoke fantasies of its demise.

A recent article in AdAge is a case in point.  Media columnist Simon Dumenco suggested that Twitter has made press releases obsolete.  “The long-suffering, much maligned press release, I’d argue, finally died this summer,” he wrote.    Dumenco pointed to Kanye West and other celebs as models of  how Twitter can replace press releases.

This just in: Press release still not dead

But then PR  people  (including yours truly)  chimed in, vigorously  rising to the press release’s defense.          

Among the comments:

 

            

“Dead?! Oh, Mr. Dumenco, I disagree.” –nravlin,    Burlington, VT

“There will always be a need for someone to encapsulate that great story, that feature, in a form which has shape and rationale and the emotional appeal which is what resonates with people’s fundamental needs.”–JustWrite, Los Angeles, CA

“Press releases aren’t dead, so let’s try to be a bit less argumentative and bit more informed, shall we?”–cameronb129, Baltimore, MD

“Yes, my industry has changed. I used to type news releases on an IBM Selectric. Now I compose them in a word processor, and embed hotlinks and keywords….the purpose of the news release itself hasn’t changed. And, luckily for my clients, neither have my results when it comes to writing and distributing news releases.”–Kathleen Hanover, Las Vegas

The discussion has churned for years.   Silicon Valley blogger Tom Foremski stirred up the nondebate back in 2006 with a now infamous rant, Die Press Release! Die! Die! Die!  I wrote about it right here almost exactly two years ago.  A Google search of the phrase “death of the press release” returns more than 19 million results.  And the AdAge article referenced above provoked more than 20 comments, a slew of blogposts, and an active discussion in the PRSA group on LinkedIn.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, press releases are here to stay.  They continue to serve as one of the most  useful, cost effective, enduring and yes–ubiquitous–tools in the marketing and communications arsenal. We can legitimately debate what to call them:  press releases, news releases, h-releases, social media releases, social media news releases.  But that’s another blogpost.     

For more on the State of the Press Release, check out our White Paper.


Editor’s Corner – September Edition

September 24, 2010

With 31 bureaus around the world and more newsrooms than all of our competitors combined, Business Wire is proud to provide local expertise and superior service, backed by the most accurate editors in the world. In Editor’s Corner, we ask some of our best to chime in on how to get the most out of your press release, based on their years of experience in the industry.

by Business Wire Minneapolis Editor Paul J.F. Bowman

Answer Potential Questions Within Your Press Release Content

Readers should rarely need to clarify your information; well-written press releases answer nearly every question they may have. After you’ve read aloud the final draft of your release in private, ask a few colleagues to review it as well. See if they have any questions about the content. If not, you’ve written with clarity!

 

Company XZ is rated #1 in our field.

#1 in which field? Who rated you #1?

 

ZZ Magazine rated Company XZ ‘#1 Distributor of ABCC Products.’

 

The latter italicized sentence shows who rated Company XZ as #1 (ZZ Magazine). It also indicates in which field Company XZ is rated #1 (distribution of ABCC Products). This example illustrates a primary purpose of a press release: to offer the media enough initial and verifiable information to write about the topic.

 

Don’t offer a reason to leave your press release

In my experience, phrases such as “studies show” or “researchers agree” (my personal favorite: “most people agree”) often lack citation. A reference to the study or survey’s findings should always accompany these phrases; uncited claims quickly open the information’s legitimacy for questioning.

When writing an article responding to a survey or research, offer verifiable sources through hyperlinks, name/company/position of personnel interviewed, periodical name and date of issue, etc. Don’t leave your readers to trust your writing exclusively; give them a chance to investigate your source material. The sources you provide act as the first defense of your information. Ideally, the writer’s content guides the reader’s understanding of the research, much like a GPS assists a driver’s navigation.

Though many will not read your source information, simply offering your reader the chance to review it gives tremendous credence to your piece. Providing citations and footnotes focuses the reader on your source information rather than Web search results.

My estimated chances of finishing an article are around 1% once I’ve attempted to find or clarify the source information myself. In the press world, this loss of your captive audience costs money. Once you’ve let readers stray from your content, it will be very difficult to bring them back.

Hyperlink your sources

 

Clicking press release hyperlinks on our website opens them either in a new window or a new tab, depending on how your browser is setup. The only exception to this is the (BUSINESS WIRE) hyperlink in the dateline or our logo at the end of the release. Clicking either of those will bring you to our home page in the same tab/window.

The setting to automatically open each hyperlink in a separate window is embedded in the website coding. If your company has an online press center, ask your webmaster if they can enable your release hyperlinks to automatically open new windows/tabs.

Internet Explorer 7 users, here’s how to change your setting between opening a new tab or opening a new window:

  1. Open Internet Explorer 7
  2. On the “File,” “Edit,” etc. toolbar, click “Tools,” then “Internet Options”
  3. On the General tab, under the subsection named “Tabs,” click “Settings”
  4. The first box, “Enable Tabbed Browsing” must be checked to use tabs
  5. Once that box is checked, the options we’re most interested in are under “When a pop-up is encountered:”
  6. Pick your preferred option, “Always open pop-ups in a new window” or “Always open pop-ups in a new tab”
  7. Click “OK”
  8. Click “OK” again
  9. If “Enable Tabbed Browsing” was not checked before step #5, you will need to restart your browser to complete enabling of this feature

-Paul J.F. Bowman, Editor, Business Wire Minneapolis


A Closer Look at the BRIC Countries: China

September 23, 2010

by Neil Hershberg, Senior Vice President, Global Media, Business Wire New York

BRIC Country FlagsThis is the final installation of Business Wire’s series on the “BRIC countries“– Brazil, Russia, India and China, emerging economic powerhouses that are widely anticipated to drive global growth in the 21st century. The BRICS, an acronynm coined by former Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O’Neill nine years ago, are responsible for almost half of the global growth since the financial crisis began in 2007, according to recent published reports.

The series thus far has examined Business Wire’s distribution capabilities in each dynamic market, focusing on its  exclusive partnerships that effectively reach the news media, portals, business-to-business sector, and the local investment community. China is certainly no exception in terms of Business Wire’s unique ability to penetrate challenging and complex international markets.

While most major economies are still struggling to regain their financial footing in the wake of the meltdown, China’s stupendous growth has continued largely unabated. It recently became the world’s second largest economy, fueling an international acquisitions program of historic propositions, primarily in the realm of natural resources.

China’s unbridled growth shows no signs of slowing down. Surging domestic demand (the country surpassed the United States as the world’s largest passenger car market), and a government-backed clean energy push provide strong momentum for sustained economic acceleration.

Business Wire’s distribution partner in this pivotal market is Interfax China, the country’s largest foreign news gathering organization.

Covering the length and breadth of China’s out-sized geography is no mean feat. Most foreign news organizations content themselves with a scalpel approach, slicing off bits of digestible information and feeding it to a general readership. Not Interfax China. In terms of sheer information gathering capabilities, no other foreign news outfit in China has the reach, access and market intelligence enjoyed by this respected international information agency’s over 30 experienced journalists and analysts, and a team of senior overseas editors operating out of bureaus in Beijing and Shanghai.

Interfax China is an agile and energetic information-gathering service, mobile enough to provide probative sector-specific daily and weekly reports from the western-most reaches of Xingjiang Autonomous Region to the sprawling megalopolis of Chongqing and the ministries of the nation’s capital. Founded in 2000, Interfax China has chronicled this amazing growth story, following the progress and missteps of emerging privately-held tech firms and state-owned energy Leviathans alike. And, in the process, the agency has gained an insider’s knowledge of Mainland China – knowledge it shares with the world.

Read the rest of this entry »


SEO 104: Press Release SEO Final Exam

September 20, 2010

Welcome to the final edition (for now) of our SEO Q&A mini-series.  If you haven’t yet, I recommend taking a few minutes and reading through the previous posts: SEO 101, SEO 102 and SEO 103.

If you’re the impatient type, feel free to go straight to the Final Exam.  Otherwise, continue on to our final batch of Q&A culled from our free webinar series.

Should we host the full text of our press releases on our website or simply link to wire release?

Many of our clients host a copy or version of their release on their own website along with distributing over the wire and I don’t see anything wrong with doing so.  However, I would recommend publishing your release on your site at the same time as you distribute over the wire.  This can be easily accomplished using an online newsroom.

Also, some SEO savvy companies have experimented with publishing significantly different versions of their releases on their site in order to provide search engines with varied content to digest and perhaps be relevant for different searches.  You could try changing headlines, keywords, writing style, release length or a combination of all of the above and see how your releases perform.

When optimizing our releases, should we focus on more commonly used (and competitive) keywords or focus more specific keywords that may see more targeted searches?

This is a difficult question to consider in a vacuum.  To truly answer it, you will probably need to coordinate with other people, departments or agencies that you work with and see if you can come together to gauge the relative value of different keywords to your business.

For instance, you can look at your web analytics or search marketing tools to see which keywords drive the most conversions.

Or you can look at reputation or brand related keywords and use SEO analysis tools to determine roughly how much work you’d need to do to make a dent in the rankings.

You could use tools to guestimate which keywords are sending traffic to competitors and try to catch up with their rankings.  You could even see which articles and blog posts are consistently cited by journalists covering your field and see if you can outperform them with fresher or better data.

The trouble is, you’ll probably want to work with whoever you need to in order to do or some of these tasks, weigh the apples against oranges, consider your goals and take a direction based on you or your team’s own judgement…but that’s the fun of it!

Our press releases often open with a standard company introduction.  Is this bad for SEO performance?

Possibly.  Conventional SEO wisdom dictates that search engines give greater consideration to text higher than text further down.  The first 100 words are of particular importance and can possibly be used as your meta description, even if one is already provided.

I would recommend moving your company introduction down to the company profile or About section of your releases.

Should I always include my company name in the headline?

Press releases distributed over the wire are sent through various platforms such as the AP, Dow Jones and Bloomberg which automatically scan headlines for company name mentions, so if you are concerned at all with being properly classified and indexed across the board you should definitely incorporate your company name into all your release headlines.

That doesn’t mean your headline must start with your company name though.  The first words of your headline are arguably the most valuable keyword real estate in your release, so consider incorporating your most important keywords here if you can.

Okay, you’ve made it through the entire course.  Now it’s time for your final exam (no cheating!).  Please let us know how you did in the comments.


InvestorHQ and NewsHQ Now Available

September 14, 2010

We teased you with them a couple of months ago — now they’re finally available. InvestorHQ and NewsHQ, our new online investor center and online newsroom products, are here for your company to build and better your web presence.

Take a look at today’s press release, and view the two slideshows below that outline some of the terrific features to be found in NewsHQ and InvestorHQ.

To learn more about the NewsHQ online newsroom and InvestorHQ investor center, please email HQ@businesswire.com.


Upcoming Business Wire Events – Sept. 14 Edition

September 13, 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:

PR with a Punch – Maximizing Your Press Release

Hosted by Business Wire Houston

Join Business Wire Houston team for this practical session on maximizing your press releases’ chances of being found, seen and shared online and get on the fast track to becoming a PRO (Press Release Optimizer). We will take a look at the relationship between your company’s overall SEO and Press Release Optimization strategies. As we walk you through the steps of building an optimized press release you will have the opportunity to pick up a few tips and tools as well as learn the long term benefits of being a PRO. This event is free for all attendees.

Wednesday, September 15 at 8:30am CT
Houston City Club
One City Club Drive, Houston, TX 77046

To register: RSVP to Jessica Anderson at 713-871-1900 or email Jessica.Anderson@businesswire.com

Social Media ROI: Being Seen is Not Enough

Hosted by Business Wire Cleveland [Columbus Event]

Your organization has started blogging, tweeting and updating your Facebook status, but is it working? If you’re like many communications professionals today, you may not be sure how to quantify the success of your social media efforts. Join our expert panel in Columbus for a discussion on setting goals for your social media campaign and arming you with the tools you will need to generate both quantitative and qualitative results. Bill Balderaz, Founder, Webbed Marketing will moderate the panel, which also includes: Dave Culbertson, Owner, LightBulb Interactive; Lora Deeds, Senior Public & Analyst Relations Specialist, Quest Software; Amanda Murphy, Assignment Editor, WCMH-TV; and Nate Riggs, Principal & Lead Social Web Strategist, Social Business Strategies. This event is free for all attendees.

Wednesday, September 15 at 8am ET
Fawcett Conference and Event Center – Alumni Room
The Ohio State University, 2400 Olentangy River Road, Columbus, OH 43210

To register: RSVP to Melissa Chambers at 800-769-0220 or email Melissa.Chambers@businesswire.com

“Does your Tweet Count?” Journalists and a PR Professional Talk

Hosted by Business Wire Phoenix

Join Business Wire Phoenix for a free luncheon and meet the media event about how reporting has evolved amid the popularity of social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook. Chad Graham with the Arizona Republic and Tim Vetcher from ABC 15 News will be discussing how social media has affected traditional news reporting while Cindy Kim of JDA Software will be providing her own unique insight on pitching stories from a public relations perspective. This event is free for all attendees.

Friday, September 24 at 11:30pm PT
1475 N. Scottsdale Road, Alliance Room #365, Scottsdale, AZ 85257

To register: RSVP to Billy Russell at (480) 990-9942 or email billy.russell@businesswire.com

Meet the Media Breakfast and Panel Discussion with DC-Area Technology Journalists

Hosted by Business Wire DC

Join Business Wire’s DC office for breakfast and a panel discussion featuring technology journalists from some of the area’s top publications. Listen as they share their thoughts on what makes a good story and learn how your organization can increase its chances of being covered by the media. Panelists include: Paul Sherman , Editor-in-Chief, Potomac Tech Wire; Cecilia Kang , Technology Reporter, The Washington Post; Nick Wakeman , Editor-in-Chief, Washington Technology; Gautham Nagesh , Technology Reporter, The Hill; Bill Flook , Staff Reporter/Technology, Biotech, Venture Capital, Washington Business Journal. This event is $10 for all attendees.

Wednesday, September 29 at 8am ET
Marriott Tysons Corner
8028 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, VA 22182

To register: RSVP to Neelima Yelamanchili at neelima.yelamanchili@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


Business Wire Opens Office in Austin, Texas

September 10, 2010

by Monika Maeckle

Business Wire opened its doors in Austin, Texas this week, planting its flag just south of Ladybird Lake at 510 South Congress and Riverside. 

A team of four veteran Business Wire staffers are delighted to have a foot in the Live Music Capitol of the World, a city we have been working from our San Antonio location for more than 10 years. 

Christye Weld, Austin-San Antonio Sales Manager for Business Wire

“It’s about time we planted the flag in Austin, too,” said Christye Weld, Austin-San Antonio sales manager.

Business Wire Austin staff is looking forward to lunchtime bike rides around Ladybird Lake, foraging the food court at Whole Foods Market headquarters, bonding with our Austin clients, and generally doing what we can to “keep Austin weird.”

For full details on our move, see the press release that ran on our favorite wire service.


LA-Area Communicators Discuss Video and SEO

September 3, 2010

On August 19, Business Wire LA hosted a media breakfast and panel discussion titled “Video & SEO: Best Practices for Effective Marketing & PR” at the Olympic Collection in west Los Angeles. Our expert panel discussed the increasing popularity of online video in brand communications and shared tips with the audience of LA area communicators on how to use video to drive web traffic, generate leads and help SEO.

Hanna Pantle (far right), Assistant Vice President of Corporate Communications and Media Relations at BMI, moderated the panel, which also included (R-L):

Here are some key insights from the panel discussion:

  • There are two major benefits to online video: it increases engagement with the audience and it enhances the SEO of your content.
  • Universal search is becoming increasingly popular and represents a major opportunity when it comes to video content. Because universal search spotlights multimedia, any video you use in support of your news has a good chance of being highlighted in search because there is still not that much video content out there yet.
  • Although video isn’t used by all media yet, particularly print media, it can still help explain things to reporters quickly. Press releases that include video tend to have higher open rates.
  • Another benefit of video is its built-in social interaction. Embed codes and social media sharing links that are regularly included in online videos make them easily sharable and creates multiple posting points online, which helps SEO.
  • Know your audience and where they will be. You can’t neglect YouTube, but you have to put your video where your audience will naturally find it. A lot of the time, people won’t be searching YouTube looking for your video, you have to put it where the audience you are trying to reach already views content.
  • You can think of video sites like you think of other kinds of media, in terms of reader or viewer demographic. Different audiences go to YouTube than go to Daily Motion. The YouTube audience has specific characteristics & the videos on YouTube tend to have specific characteristics. Short-form videos, particularly humorous ones, tend to do well on YouTube, but long-form videos don’t really belong there.
  • Statistics show that if you post your video to a half dozen sites other than YouTube, it increases traffic by 80 percent.
  • It’s also important to know your audience because that will tell you whether it is necessary for your brand to be on certain platforms, such as mobile. Video is a good way to tell your story over mobile because often people are willing to watch a short video on their phones and read the full article or press release once they are back on their computers.

>>Click here to download to a full audio recording of this event.

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


PR Peeps Poll: Almost 70% Tweet the Links to Press Releases

September 3, 2010

by Monika Maeckle, Vice President New Media

The August PR Peeps Poll results are in and  68% of those polled said that yes, they DO tweet the links to their press releases.

We’re not surprised, since the same trend is reflected in the Newstrak reports we provide to our clients with every Business Wire press release distribution.  In fact, it’s not uncommon for Twitter to outperform Google in referrals of traffic to press release landing pages in certain kinds of press releases.

What’s equally interesting are the expectations listed for those who do and don’t tweet their press release links.    Far and away, the most common expectation is “more readers and exposure for the press release”–which received 134 votes.  Gaining the attention of journalists on Twitter  was the second most popular reason for tweeting news release links with 69 votes, followed by the need to be present rather than absent on Twitter scoring 49.   Adding Twitter followers counted 46 votes, while 28 respondents said, “I don’t expect much, but it can’t hurt.

Of the 70 out of 221 who said they don’t tweet their press release links, we encourage you to get busy.  It can pay off.  The main reason folks don’t?  “I’m not authorized.”

Complete PR Peeps Poll details follow.

Do you tweet the links to your press release?

Yes–151, or 68%

No–70, or 32%

If yes, what are your expectations?  You can check more than one:

134–Add more Twitter followers

46–Add followers to my Twitter feed

69–Gain attention of journalists on Twitter

49–Be present rather than absent in the Twitterverse

22–I don’t expect much, but it can’t hurt.

If no, why not?

19–I’m not on Twitter

14–I don’t see the point

20–I’m not authorized

37–Other

To all those who participated, thanks for taking the PR Peeps Poll.  Please partake in our new IR Pros Poll, which launches this month: Which new media tools does your company utilize in its investor relations efforts?

221 respondents via Twitter, email and Business Wire webinar polls. Poll conducted August 2 – September 1, 2010.


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