Business Wire Gives Back: San Francisco Tech Staffers Volunteer at Alameda County Food Bank

July 29, 2011

by Ann Bennett-Beals, Senior Software Engineer

As part of the Business Wire 50th Anniversary Give Back program, a group of Business Wire software developers and testers from the San Francisco office ventured out to Oakland, California for a memorable volunteer effort at the Alameda County Food Bank on the last Friday in June.

BW SF tech staffers (L-R): Sreelatha Chandra, Gilbert Vahanian, Ann Bennett-Beals & Judith Zeichner

We were all revved up to sort and package fresh produce for thousands of low income and hungry residents at the new volunteer center.  It was a huge warehouse filled with thousands of pounds of food that needed to be prepared for delivery to more than 275 food pantries, churches and agencies around the bay area.  The food bank distributes enough food for 300,000 meals each week and serves one in six residents of which 43% are children and teens (source: www.accfb.org).

The crew went to work bagging more than 2,500 pounds of carrots during the morning shift and 1,500 pounds of onions during the afternoon shift.  By the end of the day we had our fill of physical work but we enjoyed giving back to the community thanks to Business Wire’s generous gift of sharing. 

Volunteers for this wonderful event were Sr. Software Engineers Ann Bennett-Beals & Gilbert Vahanian,  Quality Assurance Manager Judith Zeichner, News System Developers Anastassia Sytnik & Sreelatha Chandra,  HQ Developers Almon Tang & Mariam Rajabi and Web Support Specialist Sahn Vong. Thanks, team!

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In honor of its 50th Anniversary, Business Wire is giving back by providing each of its 500+ employees up to 12 hours of paid time off in 2011 to volunteer with the nonprofit of their choice. Read more about what BW employees are doing to give back.

Find out more about the Alameda County Community Food Bank.


Five Killer PR Tips for Staying Relevant in Public Relations from JDA Software’s Cindy Kim

July 28, 2011

by Billy Russell, Client Services Representative, Business Wire Phoenix

Last week, Business Wire Phoenix hosted a luncheon with Cindy Kim, Director of Marketing and Social Media for JDA Software, titled “Adapt or Vanish: Five Killer PR Tips to Stay Relevant.” Cindy discussed the past of PR and its future, detailing its transformation in response to the internet and how communications have been changed forever. Watch a video with highlights from the presentation here:

Classic techniques are tried and true and will always be useful, but in a world where much corporate correspondence is conducted through Facebook, Twitter and blogs, staying on top of the technology is a must.  To stay relevant in today’s market, you must adapt.

Here are Cindy’s tips:

1.      Join Conversations – Your company should engage in conversation with participants who follow you on Twitter and Facebook to let them know that living, breathing people staff the Twitter feed.  No ot systematic Tweets based on alogrithms, please.
2.      Socialize PR – Make your news shareable by making it easy for readers to follow you on the web.  Include sharing icons and other relevant social media sites in the “About” section in news releases.
3.      Atomize Your Content – It all starts with a BIG IDEA.  Take your big idea and split it into sub-categories to plan your marketing strategy, i.e., recycle the content via blog posts, presentations and podcasts.
4.      Drive Demand – Your social media followers will be interested in what’s coming.  Use social media to make product announcements.  Tweet your recent innovations.  Your Facebook page should include links to news release announcements.
5.      Socialize Events – Spread the word of any upcoming events through social media portals.  Tweet your event.  Invite colleagues through LinkedIn.  But, most important, engage the public and your followers.  Encourage them to become interested in your events and have the news spread and go viral.

Check out some great pictures from the event:

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For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit our events page or follow Business Wire events on Twitter, hashtag #bwevents.

Business Wire Gives Back: Taking to the Saddle to Help Kids Build Character and Confidence in Denver

July 26, 2011

As a child, Thomas Shelley of Business Wire Denver dreamed of riding horses.  But it wasn’t until his mid 30s that Shelley had the opportunity to seriously get in the saddle.

Responding to a classified ad for horseback riding lessons, Shelley took his first lesson at age 36.  “Even though learning new skills from my lesson horse, Shaahin, was a big challenge, I came to realize how our small steps of progress each week began transferring to  other parts of my life,” says Shelley. “My self-confidence soared.”

Centaur Rising Founder Kristaan Cooper and Thomas Shelley with Horse

Thomas Shelley with Centaur Rising Founder Kristaan Cooper and equine friend Wally

Now through the Business Wire Gives Back 2011 program, Shelley is volunteering on Tuesdays at Centaur Rising, a non-profit organization that emphasizes youth development through the teaching of classical horsemanship.

Shelley’s primary responsibility at Business Wire is to develop, maintain and expand our media relations database.  He’s been tapping those same  organizational and communication skills doing “strategic networking” for Centaur Rising. His volunteer efforts include reaching out to Denver area schools, nonprofit and community organizations to explore the possibilities of working together on youth programs.

Shelley’s goal is to help ensure that young people have a chance to experience the confidence and character boost that comes from mastering the horse and rider partnership. 

“Kids shouldn’t have to wait ’til their adult years to start horsemanship training,” he says.

Founded in 2005 by Kristaan Cooper in the Rocky Mountain foothills of Pine, Colorado,Centaur Rising, seeks to restore our connection with Nature through the teaching of classical horsemanship.


Editor’s Corner: Best Practices for Presenting Quotes in Press Releases

July 20, 2011

by Andrew Guinn, Graveyard Newsroom Supervisor, Business Wire Nashville

Andrew Guinn

by Andrew Guinn, Newsroom Supervisor, BW Nashville

Writing for an audience of business journalists can be tedious.  You want your story to catch their eye, but the language of business news ties your hands and holds you to a monotonous retelling of the latest bond offering or board meeting.  You want to make the release personal and add some zing, but your boss (or client) doesn’t want you to editorialize for them… so, why not let them do it for you?  By asking the right questions, you can build a palette of quotations to break up the rhythm of business speak and breathe a little life into your release.

As the narrator of business news, you convey the facts and answer the “5 W’s.”  Anything you say which attempts to judge these facts without attribution will lead to the dreaded question: “Says who?”  With quotations, not only can you tell the reader how your company feels about its news, you can relay how you think they should feel about it.  You also provide business journalists with the tools necessary to make their story about your news seem as though it resulted from an actual interview, not just a press release.

Once you have the quotes you need, you should present them in the proper manner.  To demonstrate, I’ll quote myself during the rest of this entry.  (I wouldn’t try this at home, unless you’re your own boss.)

“A standard, run-of-the-mill quote starts out like this,” said Andrew Guinn, Editor, Business Wire Nashville.  “Simply take the first full idea the speaker said and follow it with the attribution.  The first mention of the speaker should give their full name, title and company.”

For simple quotes like this, the punctuation should always be placed inside the quotation marks.  Since the attribution is complex, the verb should come first so it is not tacked on to the end like an afterthought.  (“This is an example of what not to do,” Andrew Guinn, Editor, Business Wire, said.)  On further references to a speaker who has already been mentioned, only their last name is necessary.

“In hard news, the preferred verb for an attribution is ‘said,’” Guinn said.  “Words like ‘commented,’ ‘stated’ and ‘says’ are fine for fluffy features, but, since most hard news is written in the past tense, quotes should be finite – the speaker said these words.

“Notice I left the quotation mark off the end of the last paragraph.  If the statement you’re quoting continues into a new paragraph spoken by the same person, you can use a continuing quote like this and not need to add another attribution.  You can carry on in this manner for as long as you need, but, if you change speakers, you’ll need to start a new paragraph and a new quote.”

If you need to introduce the quote, but don’t want to use an entire paragraph or sentence to do it, “you can use a partial quote,” Guinn said.  “This is especially helpful if the idea you’re trying to convey is based on this person’s opinion, if your speaker wasn’t concise or if you simply need to establish context not provided in the quote.”

These are the three most common types of quotations you’ll encounter writing a standard press release.  For further information, the Associated Press Stylebook is considered by many to be the “journalist’s bible.”  Of course, you can always feel free to contact your local Business Wire office and speak with an editor who will be more than happy to assist you.

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.


Upcoming Business Wire Events: Killer PR Tips in Phoenix, Digital Etiquette in Charlotte, Hyperlocal Journalism in Pittsburgh

July 19, 2011

Upcoming Business Wire Events

Adapt or Vanish: Five Killer PR Tips to Stay Relevant

Hosted by Business Wire Phoenix

PR is no longer relegated to drafting press releases and bylined articles. Today, PR pros support business goals, connect and support customers, amplify demand-generation efforts and take social listening to a whole new level to move the company’s brand forward. Join Business Wire Phoenix & Cindy Kim, Director of Marketing and Social Media for JDA Software, for this session on how social business is impacting the PR world. Cindy will outline five killer strategies to help you make an impact that goes beyond just PR, based on real-world lessons. This event is free for all attendees.

Thursday, July 21 at 11:30 a.m.
SkySong
1475 N. Scottsdale Rd., Alliance Room, #365, Scottsdale, AZ 85257

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

Minding Your Mobile Manners – Etiquette Tips for the Digital Age

Hosted by Business Wire Charlotte

Join Business Wire Charlotte for breakfast and a panel discussion with experts in the field discussing the topic: Minding Your Mobile Manners – Etiquette Tips for the Digital Age. A panel of professionals will share their experience and expertise, presenting both PR and media perspectives. Panelists include Eric Frazier, staff writer for the Charlotte Observer and Scott Hepburn, president of Media Emerging, a public relations and marketing firm. The event is free for all attendees.

Thursday, Aug. 4 at 7:30 a.m.
Dilworth Neighborhood Grille
911 E Morehead, St., Charlotte, NC 28204

To register: RSVP to Penny Sowards at 704-552-1590 or email penny.sowards@businesswire.com by Monday, Aug. 1

Hyperlocal Journalism: Latest Buzz Word or Developing Trend?

Hosted by Business Wire Cleveland [Pittsburgh Event]

There appears to be a trend toward “hyperlocal” news coverage. What does this mean, exactly? Has there been a fundamental shift toward more community news coverage? What is the best way to pitch your news to media outlets covering small local communities? Find out what hyperlocal means for PR professionals with our panel, which includes Bobby Cherry, Reporter, Sewickley Herald; Cindi Lash, Regional Editor, Western Pennsylvania, Patch.com; and Gina Puppo, Community Coordinator, Trib Total Media. This event is free for all attendees.

Wednesday, Aug. 24 at 8 a.m.
Rivers Club
One Oxford Center, 301 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

To register: RSVP to Matt O’Donnell at matt.odonell@businesswire.com by August 17, 2011.


Business Wire holds dozens of local events every year. We bring local media members and industry thought leaders to your market to discuss today’s most relevant topics, from trends in today’s newsrooms to writing for SEO. Events are usually free of charge to members. For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit BusinessWire.com. Follow live updates from Business Wire events on Twitter: hash tag
#bwevents


Business Wire’s 50 Years of Innovation Timeline Invites Your Comments

July 14, 2011

by Laura Sturaitis, EVP Media Services & Product Strategy

In celebration of our 50th Anniversary, we’ve posted a timeline of the past five decades on our homepage at www.businesswire.com

It was a labor of love and almost an archaeological effort to gather the key milestones of our company.  The enormous task was made a bit easier by the fact that many of us have been here a while.   Milestones, trivia and details of some our finest moments combine to make the Business Wire timeline something to make us all proud.

All that’s missing are your comments.   We would love to hear your Business Wire story.  

Simply click on any of the “VIEW” icons and a comment box pops open, ready for your comments and insights.  You can also share the entire experience through your favorite social site. 

Business Wire:  50 years of innovation timeline

Here are some BW memories to get you started, including mine:
Business Wire opened its office in Miami in 1987. I started as the Florida Regional Manager in 1992. Today, I still work in the Florida office with three of the people who were there the day I started. I have so many great memories of the many coworkers, colleagues and clients who I have known throughout the years and am proud to say are my friends. 
 
Business Wire and I both turned 50 this year. I can’t even believe how lucky I am to have spent 20 of those years at BW. Sure, we have both grown and changed, but we both still hold the same fundamental values. I think I can speak for us both when I say we look forward to many, many more productive, interesting and successful years ahead.
 
From Jen Saragosa, Account Manager in Boston…
 
May, 1999: I was hired as an Account Executive in the Boston office and immediately loved advising  companies on their PR and IR strategies. Highlights in my twelve years include meeting original Business Wire owner (and philanthropist) Lorry Lokey and also current owner Warren Buffett.
 
It’s been a thrill to be part of an innovative company that was first to market with SEO, social media, mobile phones and numerous other technologies and tools – all that help PR and IR professionals be more productive and successful. Happy 50th Anniversary Business Wire -here’s to 50 more!
 
From Tom Becktold, Senior Vice President, Marketing in Los Angeles…
May, 1988 – I started @BusinessWire as an editor in the Los Angeles bureau.  I remember watching Kirk Gibson and the Dodgers win it all on the late shift. I honed my typing skills taking press release telephone dictates for breaking news of an off-shore oil rig explosion in the North Sea and experienced the immediacy of Business Wire’s impact by hearing the updates reported on the radio moments after sending the release.

C’mon, don’t be shy.  Let us hear from you today.  If you need more inspiration, check out the Business Wire 50th Anniversary video, too. 

 

Milwaukee Media Discuss Pitching Tips and Media Relations Best Practices

July 12, 2011

by Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager, and Matt Blouin, Account Executive, Business Wire Chicago

Business Wire Chicago recently hosted a luncheon featuring top Milwaukee media at Milwaukee’s Newsroom Pub. Panelists offered tips on creating pitches that generate interest.

(L-R) Mark Maley (Patch.com), Bob Helbig (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel), Kathy Mykleby (WISN-TV) & moderator Raschanda Hall (BW Chicago)

Kathy Mykleby, News Anchor/Reporter at WISN-TV, along with Bob Helbig, Deputy Business Editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and Mark Maley, Milwaukee Regional Editor for Patch.com shared their insights regarding what it takes for a story pitch to be successful.  Raschanda Hall, Business Wire’s Global Media Relations Manager, moderated the panel.

Great crowd at the Newsroom Pub!

Below are some of the key takeaways from our panelists:

  • Local Content is King.  There is no real answer to “what is news” and no real definition to “newsworthy.”  Being interesting or clever can help.  Tailor the news to a specific area, giving it a local angle.  The ultimate goal is to serve the interests of  readers.  Look at yourself as a reader.
  • Social networking sites provide leads and promotional opportunities.  Reporters are constantly gathering information from Twitter and other social media sites.  They are especially interested in following people and organizations relevant to their jobs. Maley says his regional Patch.com editors rely heavily on Twitter to find and promote stories.  Mykleby says social media is great but we sometimes forget that success lies in building relationships.
  • The higher the resolution the better. Visuals are important to the layout of news stories.  Always make sure to provide quality, high resolution photos.  Even if multimedia is not used right away, it is typically kept on file.  Helbig admits that years ago the Journal Sentinel would never think of using outside photos but now it is much more common.
  • Attachments are okay, but… if you will be attaching something in an email, explain what is in the attachment in the body of the email.  Better yet says Helbig, include the attached press release in the body of the email too.  This serves two purposes.  He can read it right away and forward or print a clean version for filing or sharing with a colleague.
  • Social Media Release or Traditional does not matter — just keep it short.  The format of a press release is less important than the length.  Whenever possible, try to keep the release to no more than one page, and be sure to include contact information.  Mykleby says if she or one of her producers at WISN-TV needs more information they will ask for it.
  • Email is the preferred method of contact if the matter is not urgent.  An occasional follow up phone call is acceptable.  Be straightforward as time is precious and staff may be limited.  Helbig says he gets several dozen emails an hour.  The subject line and first sentence of an email might be all that is viewed.
  • Make sure your website is journalist-friendly.  Have a high quality website with as much information as possible for reporters to access.  Contact information, pictures and company descriptions are all useful. Mykleby says when she’s researching, Google, press releases and company websites all are important.

For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit our events page or follow Business Wire events on Twitter, hashtag #bwevents.


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