Boston PR Groups Suggest Social Media Strategies for Success

February 17, 2011
by Liz Koch, Media Relations Representative, Business Wire/Boston

Liz Koch

Social Media Club Boston and Publicity Club of New England co-presented an evening panel discussion on social media campaign successes using Facebook, Twitter and blogging. The Social Media Club Boston chapter hosts programs that promote and educate anyone interested in learning more about social media literacy and best practices for social networking. The Publicity Club of New England promotes and encourages the profession of public relations by holding monthly educational programs, maintaining a job bank, and hosting the annual Bell Ringer Awards.

The discussion, hosted by Constant Contact, was shaped by a dynamic panel of speakers and led by moderator Julie Hall (@juliehall) of Schneider Associates (of the Tweet Me Sweethearts campaign). Panelists included Amy Kenly of Kalypso (thought leadership and “thoughtware”), Tyson Goodridge of Dialogue, Evan Falchuk of Best Doctors, Josh Mendelsohn of Constant Contact, Joselin Mane of 451 Marketing (and @BostonTweetUp founder) and Mike Proulx of Hill Holliday.

Photo credit: Todd Van Hoosear (@vanhoosear on Twitter)

Some of the practical social media strategies shared included:

  • The quantity of fans/followers your organization has is less important than how effective that same group is in promoting you to others. You have to be sure you are giving them the right tools to market for you. For example, if offering a discount for checking in with FourSquare at a restaurant garners 10 new patrons for a lunch special, this is more valuable than 100 followers who don’t ever visit the restaurant. Joselin Mane used Turner Fisheries as an example: The restaurant went from not being open for lunch to serving 40 plates regularly.
  • Visitors to your website or brick/mortar business that came from an existing social network were more than three times as likely to share your message than those who happened upon it. For example, Mike Proulx of Hill Holliday described a campaign for which Marshall’s engaged in producing “haul videos,” a social media format which already had credibility with teen shoppers.
  • Don’t get hung up on “the next big thing” – this adds extra distance to the social media learning curve. Instead, utilize the current available networking strategies!
  • Use a URL shortener (in your tweets, press releases, etc.) that provides analytic data like clicks, traffic, and sources. Bit.ly offers free analytics for any link as well as a host of other tools.

For additional insights from the program check out related tweets under the event hashtags #PubClubofNE and #SMCBoston.


Business Wire Gives Back for 50th Anniversary

February 15, 2011

In the grand tradition of our founder, Lorry Lokey, & of course, Warren Buffett, chairman of our parent company Berkshire Hathaway, this year, Business Wire is giving back to celebrate our 50th anniversary.

We are setting a goal of 5,000 hours of community service for our 500+ employees in 2011. Each employee will given up to 12 hours of paid time off to volunteer at the nonprofit of their choice, with the goal that together, we can give back at least 5,000 hours to the communities in all 32 markets where we have local bureaus. In addition, Business Wire will continue to match charitable gifts to nonprofit organizations, as it has done for more than 10 years.

We are proud to be following in the footsteps of Warren Buffett, who is a founder of The Giving Pledge, along with Microsoft’s Bill Gates. Founded in 2010, The Giving Pledge encourages wealthy individuals worldwide to give the majority of their fortunes back to society. Our founder, Lorry Lokey, is also part of The Giving Pledge, and has already demonstrated a tradition of giving, particularly to education.

All of us here at Business Wire hope to uphold their example as we celebrate our 50 years of service to the communications industry this year. Be sure to check back here and at our Facebook page for updates throughout the year on our progress toward 5,000 hours given back!


Marketing Professionals Go in Depth on Engagement at Social Media Masters

February 15, 2011

by Amy Yen, Marketing Specialist, Business Wire LA

Last week, Business Wire was proud to be a sponsor of Social Media Club’s Social Media Masters workshop, a one-day program in San Diego offering advanced social media training in a unique format. Brian Solis, author of Engage, was the keynote speaker for the event, which also featured dedicated workshops for Facebook (led by Murray Izenwasser), LinkedIn (Chuck Hester & Neal Schaffer), Twitter (Carri Bugbee) & social media monitoring (Paul Dyer & Kelly Feller).

Here are some highlights from Brian Solis’s keynote and the closing panel discussion on integrated marketing:

  • Social media is an earned privilege. A ‘tweet this’ or ‘like us’ button on its own doesn’t mean anything. Ask yourself why audience should care. You have to compete for every ‘like’ by being compelling.
  • Influence is not popularity. A large number of Twitter followers or Facebook likes doesn’t necessarily equate to the capacity to change behavior or perception.
  • What used to be an audience is now an audience with audiences. An average Facebook user has 130 friends. An average Twitter user has 140 followers. Everyone is now their own distribution channel.
  • Context, not content, is now king. People want to feel that the great content they are seeing was created for them specifically, on the network that they are on. Don’t blast your message identically on every network, customize it to the platform.
  • Social media marketing should not be done in silos. Tactics like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc should be integrated and linked with traditional marketing channels. Don’t focus so much on the tools, just focus on what you want to do, then find the right distribution point for your message.

Speaker Chuck Hester talks about LinkedIn

Here are some tips & insights from Chuck Hester & Neal Schaffer’s session on LinkedIn:

  • A LinkedIn profile is not an online resume. It’s an online portfolio. LinkedIn is not just for job seekers.
  • Optimize your LinkedIn profile for search by putting keywords in your headline & summary. Don’t leave your headline as your current title; use the terms people are likely to search for.
  • When adding people to your network, don’t send the generic “I’d like to add you” message. Personalize your invitation & ask what you can do for the connection.
  • Include up to three URLs in your profile. Besides your website, one good one to include is the URL for your media center or online newsroom.
  • Users can follow & recommend companies on LinkedIn. Company pages have a section where you can highlight specific products & services.
  • LinkedIn groups are a good way to promote best practices & position subject matter experts. Leave your group open to ensure discussions get indexed. Be descriptive in the titles of your groups: use keywords you want to come up in search.
  • Consider creating subgroups to enhance the SEO of your LinkedIn groups. Each subgroup & main group gets indexed separately, so you can target keywords in your descriptions to different audiences. For example, a subgroup for “LA tech jobs” under the main group “tech jobs” further targets by geography & would show up under a search for “LA jobs” when the main group might not.
  • Include your LinkedIn, Twitter & other social media profiles in your press release contact blocks.
  • Treat your connections on LinkedIn & other networks like they are physically in front of you.

For more tips on LinkedIn, see Guy Kawasaki’s classic blog post, 10 Ways to Use LinkedIn. You can also find Business Wire on LinkedIn.

See more live updates from this event on Twitter: hash tag #smm11


Talking Turkey and International Media Relations: Pitching Turkish Media

February 14, 2011
by Kai Prager, Media Relations Representative, Business Wire/Frankfurt

Turkey is a country that has seen increasing interest in recent months and we’ve experienced more queries recently on how to pitch Turkish media. Perhaps a more stable government and the “stellar growth” of the Turkish economy accounts for this interest.

The Turkish press is rich and diverse, with about 40 national newspapers selling 4.5 – 5 million copies per day. The most popular include Zaman, Posta, Hürriyet, Sabah, Milliyet, Türkiye, Cumhuriyet and Vatan, and represent the scope of Turkish society from traditional and conservative to liberal and socialist.

About 900 local and weekly papers flourish throughout Turkey, in Kurdish languages, Greek, Armenian, Arab and Hebrew. The big national papers such as Zaman are printed in Turkish but also produce English versions, Daily News and Today’s Zaman.

As the official language, Turkish is the language of choice when pitching local media. We find that most publishing houses employ journalists who speak English, or even German, but releases delivered in the native languages will get more attention. If you don’t send your story in Turkish, make sure you send it to writers that speak your language.

Most newspaper web sites list the staff writers, the articles they’ve written, and ways to contact them. Don’t forget to do your homework and peruse the clips before contacting journalists.  As elsewhere in the world, Turkish media appreciate your familiarity with their work and dislike irrelevant pitches.

We advise a follow-up phone call to make sure a story gets noticed after sending. And, as always, having a relationship with the reporter helps.  Visuals can give you an advantage in capturing attention as well — photos, graphics, logos, anything that makes it easier for time-strapped reporters to assemble a story.  Just like reporters around the world, members of the Turkish media appreciate the entire story package, not just the text.

It’s worth noting that just as in the United States, press freedom is part of the constitution, even though Turkish law allows for some restrictions.   Article 301 of the penal code makes it a punishable offense to “insult Turkishness.”

When the writer and Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk was prosecuted under that Article for a speech given during an awards ceremony in which  he criticized the government, it became an international incident.  Be advised also that insulting the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, is punishable by law and has lead to the blocking of some websites like YouTube.

PR professionals can effectively target Turkish media by familiarizing themselves with journalist preferences, crafting a newsworthy release, including multimedia and following up.  By doing so, your press release is likely to get the attention it deserves.


Shrinking International News Output of UK Papers Creates Opportunity for PR Pros

February 7, 2011
by Michel Rubini, European Media Relations Team

A recent report titled “Shrinking World” published by the Media Standards Trust suggests that the loss of international news coverage by UK newspapers is a gain for public relations pros.

The report, written by Martin Moore and published in November 2010, details how international reporting in UK newspapers has decreased in the last 30 years by nearly 40%. The report compared international reporting output for one week in 1979 with 2009 from four national papers, The Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail, and the Daily Mirror. The conclusion: international news coverage has diminished dramatically.

Counting all the foreign news stories in the four newspapers in the same week over a period of 30 years, the total number decreased from 502 in 1979 to 308 in 2009 (see graph below).

The reasons for the decrease are multiple. Original foreign reporting is expensive. A foreign bureau costs $200-300,000 a year, based on a 2007 analysis by Jill Carroll for the Harvard Shorenstein Center.  As a result, UK newspapers have reduced the number of journalists based abroad, replacing them with freelancers.

The end of the Cold War in 1989 factors into the decrease in foreign reporting as well. The Cold War provided a clear framework and rationale for covering international affairs which a domestic audience relied upon.  Also contributing to the decline is the rise of more specialised media, such as locally based satellite TV, or online local editions of foreign newspapers, and even social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook.

In such a setting, it’s no surprise that UK-based correspondents rely on news sources from the country of origin as well as newswire content like that provided by Business Wire to fill in the gaps, turning the loss of foreign correspondents in UK newspapers into a gain for PR professionals and their clients.


Why the Deck is Stacked Against Retail Investors

February 3, 2011
by Neil Hershberg, Senior Vice President, Global Media
Neil Hershberg

Neil Hershberg, SVP - Global Media

The classic Cole Porter musical, “Anything Goes,” is returning to Broadway this spring.

Retail investors won’t have to wait that long. In practice, “Anything Goes” has become the unofficial mantra of Wall Street, the Digital Age’s equivalent of ‘The Wild West” when it comes to disclosure.

Unfortunately for individual investors, who invariably get the short end of the stick, the folks in a position to end today’s information free-for-all have yet to take action.

At the risk of sounding like the Cassandra of capitalism, here’s why retail investors are swimming upstream:

1. Reg FD’s “level playing field” has become the regulatory equivalent of an ecological disaster area; it is eroding faster than many storm-swept East Coast beaches.

Mega-cap companies with huge investor followings have, for reasons best known to themselves, opted for micro-disclosure, dispensing with broadly disseminated news releases in favor of standalone web postings or similar truncated practices.

Rather than providing simultaneous, real-time information access to all interested investors, these best-practice contrarians have essentially decided to ladle access on a sequential basis to anxious  investors clamoring for corporate updates.

Over the past few decades, we’ve regressed from “trickle down economics” to “trickle down disclosure.”  Unfortunately, retail investors are the ones getting hosed.

Ironically, technology trend-setters are among the most flagrant abusers of acknowledged best-practice disclosure practices. These industry leaders should know better than anyone the inherent technical limitations of the Internet, and why the web’s architecture makes it impossible to meet the complex challenge of simultaneity.

2. Retail investors also are unknowingly getting eaten alive by spiders; these automated creepy crawlers have become a hidden epidemic.

While Bloomberg recently generated headlines when it published Disney and NetApps earnings results in advance of their official release, the real concern for retail investors should be the stealth spidering tactics of traders deliberately seeking to stay under the radar.

The spiders unleashed by Bloomberg and Selerity likely have plenty of company. In all probability, armies of incognito spiders are clandestinely retrieving troves of actionable, non-public data for their trading masters.

Even if these spiders fail to uncover non-public material information, their very use provides an unfair edge if publicly traded companies do not broadly disseminate their news via a service such as Business Wire.

The reason is that spiders are faster than the RSS readers that retail investors rely on for news alerts when disclosure is limited to a standalone web posting. Whereas Business Wire distributes market-moving news simultaneously and in real-time to financial information systems, portals, and media platforms worldwide, standalone web postings create a feeding frenzy for these rapacious spiders.

Retail investors have a legitimate reason to be suffering from arachnophobia; they are at a distinct disadvantage to market players that control these powerful technology termites.

3. There is a well-known saying that in life, “timing is everything.” That is certainly the case on Wall Street, where latency and milliseconds rule the day.

Winning on Wall Street is largely contingent on the ability to access and act on information faster than anyone else.

Institutional investors clearly have the necessary resources and technology at their disposal to triumph in today’s trading environment.

Notice-and-access and web disclosure disproportionately favor the professional investor, who can read – and react (perhaps even robotically) – far more quickly than the average retail investor.

The trading activity following Netflix’s recent web posting of its earnings (January 26 at 4:05 pm/ET) illustrates the high stakes involved.

More than one-third of Netflix’s total share volume for the day, or just over three million shares, traded after Netflix posted its earnings.

In after hours trading, Netflix’s shares were up $19.16 (10.47 percent).

Although individual investors now have the opportunity to trade in the after-hours market, they are being steamrolled by institutional traders, who clearly have the capability to react with more immediacy.

Retail investors are forced to play a bad hand. A recent blog post by Jack Campbell at 24/7 Wall Street, “Ten Ways Wall Street Crushes Retail Investors,” elaborates on many of these same themes: http://247wallst.com/2011/01/26/ten-ways-wall-street-crushes-retail-investors/

The common denominator linking all these examples is access to material information.

Regulation Fair Disclosure, in its original iteration, is clear on this point: all investors should have equal access to information at the same time.

The answer to the disclosure dilemma is obvious: the integrity of Regulation Fair Disclosure must be restored if retail investors are to be equal market participants.

Simultaneous, real-time access to disclosure news is the only solution that will put an end to the emerging two-tier access system that is slowly taking root.

It’s time for retail investors to get the fair shake they deserve.


Importance of Writing Good Headlines Magnified as Attention Spans and Space Decrease

February 3, 2011
Free “How to Write A Good Headline” Webinar to Offer Headline Writing Tips
by Monika Maeckle, Vice President, New Media

Gawker rolled out its redesign this week, provoking an echo chamber of speculation on what it means for blogs, Twitter and new media in general, and the blogosphere in particular.

One theme was constant in the online nattering:  headlines have never been more important.

With our miniscule attention spans, a firehose of content, and search engines that systematically weigh the first 70 characters of any content page, headlines today carry an unprecedented burden to deliver readers.   And with Twitter and Facebook referring so many pageviews, we no longer enjoy the luxury of the lead paragraph to tell our stories.

The headline stands alone.

“Headlines on websites—particularly those found on news websites with content heavy homepages—carry a very heavy load,” wrote Jake Brooks, Chief Strategist and Project Director of Hazan+Company, in a February 1 blogpost. “For these types of sites, the difference between 10,000 pageviews can rest entirely on the quality of the headline and how well it sells a story.”

No kidding.  And when it comes to press releases, a great headline can make the difference between your carefully crafted news release flying high or detouring to the delete heap.

If you can use some help with headline writing, please join us February 16 for a FREE educational webinar on How to Write  a Good HeadlineRegistration is free.

We’ll look at headlines from both sides of the aisle–from the perspectives of readers and robots.   Our guests will be veteran journalist Terry Scott Bertling, niche/products editor at the San Antonio Express-News; and SEO-meister  Greg Jarboe, President of SEO-PR.

Hope to “see” you there.

How to Write A Good Headline
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
10 AM Pacific/ Noon Central/ 1 PM Eastern
FREE
Register Now

 

 


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