Friday Fast Links: Fifth calls, CSR, name changes and more

April 8, 2011

Have a great weekend!

PR Peeps Poll: Most PR Pros Practice Good Headline Habits

April 7, 2011

by Monika Maeckle, Vice President New Media

Congratulations, PR Peeps!  The vast majority of you practice good headline habits.

The March PR Peeps Poll with 191 participants, shows 143 (76%) utilize keywords in headlines while 119 of you (62%) take the extra minute or two to customize headers for email, social networks and Twitter.

PR Peeps Poll:   Headline Habits

Conventional wisdom assumes that 80% of readers don’t jump past the headline, so focusing on keywords and concepts and taking that extra time to customize for context is extremely important.   With so much competition for our attention, you may not have a chance beyond the headline to get your message across.

While 33 out of 191 (17%) said they do not emphasize keywords in headlines, 13 (about 7%) of you don’t know what keywords are.   Several  chimed in with comments such as, ” Headlines need to cause an editor to say ‘people will click to read this!’ ” and  “Non PR savvy executives push for headlines that are always too long.”  Yes.  We feel your pain.

How's your Headline Habits?

How’s your Headline Habits?

Do you emphasize keywords in the headlines of your press releases?

                                                  Yes–143,  or 76%

                                                  No–33, or 17%

                                                 What are keywords?–13, or 7%

 Do you rewrite/customize press release headlines for email, social networks and/or Twitter? 

                                                  Yes–119, or 62%

                                                   No–72, or 38%

To all those who participated, thank you very much!  Out next PR Peeps Poll asks, How do press releases fit into your branding efforts?

191 respondents via Twitter, email and Business Wire webinar polls. Poll conducted  conducted February – March 2011.

Los Angeles Tech Reporters Offer Tips for Pitching Tech Media

April 6, 2011

by Amy Yen, Marketing Specialist, Business Wire Los Angeles

Last week, Business Wire LA hosted “LA-Area Technology Journalists Discuss Reporting Trends and How to Pitch Tech Media,” a media breakfast and panel discussion with technology journalists discussing what makes a good story and best practices for pitching tech media.

Sallie Olmsted (far right), Executive Vice President of Convergence at Rogers & Cowan, moderated the panel, which included (left to right):

  • Brian Deagon, Business and Technology Journalist, Investor’s Business Daily
  • David Sarno, Staff Writer, The Los Angeles Times
  • Natalie Jarvey, Reporter (Technology), Los Angeles Business Journal

Here are some key takeaways from the discussion:

  • Journalists are extremely busy and have little time to look at each pitch they receive. Be succinct and get to the point immediately.  Don’t try to set up the story. In a press release, the point of the pitch needs to be in the headline or first paragraph; in an email pitch, it needs to be in the subject line. David Sarno says to think of the headline and first paragraph of a press release as the entirety of your release, because most people don’t read past that.
  • In pitches, press releases and all corporate literature, journalists value clarity and authenticity over flowery language.
  • Stories are rarely just about one product. They usually have more to do with a trend or how people are doing things differently. Think about that as context for your pitches.
  • Reporters still like face-to-face meetings, demos, visits and webinars, but just don’t have much time. Trade shows are one place where you can meet face-to-face, particularly for tech companies. Get in touch with reporters who are attending in advance.  If you’re doing a demo or webinar, make an archive available so reporters don’t feel like they only have one chance to see it. Transcripts are also helpful and should be provided promptly.
  • Although many reporters are on Twitter and Facebook, pitching by email is still generally more reliable.
  • If you are pitching over the phone, make sure you know what you’re talking about and are able to answer questions! This is especially applicable for low-level PR professionals and interns who are asked to pitch.
  • Quotes in press release do get used, especially if the reporter doesn’t have time to get a quote on their own. However, to get used, the quote must give insight and not just be a generic “this is great” type quote.
  • Most reporters will honor an embargo, but the panelists say they don’t see it as an indicator that something is important. Embargoed items get treated like any other news item.
  • If your company uses a general media inquiries mailbox (such as a type address on your website), make sure it’s monitored regularly.   If a reporter sends an inquiry to that address, it should be responded to promptly. Better yet, list your media relations person.
  • Great tech/business news sites: TechMeme, TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, Bloomberg.

For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit

Follow Business Wire events on Twitter! Hashtag #bwevents

BW Fun Fact: Business Wire Home to Double Jeopardy! Queens with Two Champs on Staff

April 5, 2011

If  Berkshire Hathaway companies were their own category on the long-running answer-and-question show Jeopardy, the answer to the clue “home of  TWO Jeopardy queens” would be  Business Wire.

Laura Sturaitis, Jeopardy champ, with Alex Trebek in 2002

Laura Sturaitis, Jeopardy champ, with Alex Trebek in 2002

Boasting our own “daily double,”  Business Wire’s team of 500+ employees includes two amazing women, running different departments, on opposite coasts.  Both have enjoyed competing and winning on Jeopardy.

Sandy Malloy leads our  information services department in San Francisco and won two games worth more than $10,000 back in 1989.  And Laura Sturaitis, Executive Vice President, Media Services and Product Strategy in Florida, won one of two games on the show back in December of 2002.  Also worth noting:  Sturaitis’ taping marked the first time the new Jeopardy set was revealed, “a very big deal at the time,” she says.

When she found out she would appear on the show, Sturaitis phoned Malloy for tips.  “She told me to start watching the game with a click pen in my hand to simulate the buzzer. That was really good advice.  Mastering the timing of that buzzer was the secret to getting in to answer versus being locked out for buzzing too soon,” she says.

Malloy says her only prep was to “look at a globe for awhile.” 

In the crazy coincedence department, Sturaitis was coached by her husband, Arch, who had appeared on Canadian TV’s teen quiz show,  Reach for the Top, hosted by none other than…a young emcee named Alex Trebek.  Trebek has hosted Jeopardy since 1984.

Malloy also had previous TV competition experience.  As a teenager she competed in the quiz program It’s Academic and appeared on a short-lived game show called The Challengers with Dick Clark.  There  she won  $850–“enough to buy a new TV, after putting money aside for taxes.” 

Says Sturaitis:  “I’ve been a media and communications professional for 25+ years, and at Business Wire now for 19,  but nothing I have accomplished has connected with people more than the last line of my bio where I reveal I am a Jeopardy Champion.”

Friday Fast Links for April 1: Why consumers use SM, defining marketing, and more

April 1, 2011


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 38,066 other followers

%d bloggers like this: