PRSA International Conference Preview: See you in Orlando!

October 14, 2011

by Amy Yen, Marketing Specialist, Business Wire Los Angeles

Heading to the PRSA International Conference this week? So are we! We’re looking forward to meeting PR professionals from across the country and learning about the latest trends and developments in the industry.

Don’t forget to come by and see us at Booth #401/403 for fun giveaways and a chance to win an iPad2.  We’ll have our team of experts on-hand to discuss our entire suite of public relations services, including:

While you’re at the show, take advantage of free one-on-one demonstrations of our dynamic NewsHQ Online Newsroom solution conducted by our online newsroom expert Ibrey Woodall.  You’ll learn how a better online newsroom can benefit your organization. Contact your local account executive or email Conferences2011@businesswire.com to schedule your free consultation.  We have times available all day Sunday and Monday.

Business Wire’s Laura Sturaitis, Executive VP of Media Services & Product Strategy, will be speaking with Greg Jarboe, president of SEO-PR, at a session called “Maximizing Press Release Performance Online” on Tuesday, October 18 at 9:45 a.m. ET in Palazzo Salon E.   You won’t want to miss their presentation of the results of an 18-month study on online press release performance and the strategies and best practices for optimizing press releases to increase traffic and engagement with key landing pages and websites.

Follow live updates from the conference on Twitter @BusinessWire.   Hope to see you there!


Tips for Effective Searching: Knowing your Defaults Results in Better Google Search Engine Results

October 13, 2011

by Sandy Malloy, Senior Information Specialist

Sandy Malloy, Senior Information SpecialistIn our recent post on free tools for monitoring your press releases, we encouraged users to revisit their Google Alerts settings.  This valuable service was established years ago.  Lots of us signed up then and have never looked back.  We hope you’ve updated your alert settings and are getting better results after a quick check-up.

The same is true for ad hoc searching.  Nonchalant typing of a phrase into the Google search box can be tempting, but a few thoughtful tips can help you get the most out of the search experience.  Here’s a few to get you started.

1)  Know your defaults.  It’s good to know your faults, but when it comes to searching, it’s even more important to know your defaults. Many of these can be changed to improve results.

For example, a search on Google Web (http://www.google.com) defaults to “everything.”   Sounds comprehensive, right?

Not necessarily.  An automatic blanket search can have drawbacks.   The information you are seeking often gets buried beneath higher-ranking but irrelevant pages.  You  may be better served searching individual Google content areas such as news, images  or Web separately.  Also, try Advanced Search (discussed below).

The order in which results are displayed can also affect your results.  The default sort order is “relevance.”  This type of sorting  works great for non-news websites.  For news, sorting by date is often better.

Unless you specify otherwise, Google will suppress apparent duplicate content.  Again, for some types of searches, that’s fine.  If you want to find a company’s website, it’s usually the first result on the page and you don’t need anything else.  Or you may want to know that a piece of news appeared and don’t care which version of the story you see.  But what if you want to see how widely that story was disseminated?  Google will show you one version of the story unless you override duplicate suppression.

2)  Searching for exact phrases is a common strategy, but did you know you can use quotes around your phrase or dashes between the words for exact matches?

If you don’t, Google will search that combination of words in any order and not necessarily next to one another.  That can result in weird returns such as this recent search for stories about Fire Prevention Week.

I added no quotes or dashes. The third result: “The State Police forensic team, State Fire Prevention and Control, A week after the fire, owners Mike and Jim Frazee said they plan to rebuild their .…”

For common combinations of words (e.g., “Barack Obama”) it’s not that critical to be more specific.  But combinations of common words can spit out irrelevant results that nevertheless rank high because all the words are present.

3)  Make Advanced Search your friend.  It will allow you to put in phrases without worrying about the format (see #2 above), combine words and phrases (hint:  a phrase using a dash, e.g. fire-prevention-week, can be used as a “word” in the advanced search form) and even allow you to narrow your search using other parameters such as source name or domain.  The domain option in Google Web is a great way to find information from non-commercial sources.  For instance, you can find health-related information coming from educational (.edu) or government (.gov) sources, or nonprofits (.org)  In News, I like to specify my time frame as well.


Press Release Issuers Can Target Influencers via Business Wire’s SmartBrief Partnership

October 12, 2011

The broad brush, and the single strategic stroke: when it comes to press releases, you need to do both.

Business Wire recently deepened its four-year partnership with SmartBrief, a custom publisher of targeted industry email newsletters.  The new agreement expands from 12 to 80 the number of targeted industry trade email publications to which Business Wire clients will have access when sending their press releases around town or around the globe.

The expanded access straddles a broad spectrum of industry and association email newsletters-from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners to the Culinary Institute of America to the New York Society of Security Analysts and everything in between.

Each SmartBrief newsletter is co-branded with a leading trade association or professional society and provided free of charge to subscribers. Those interested, may sign up at SmartBrief.  Business Wire clients can add SmartBrief distribution to the targeted industry audience of their choice in conjunction with their Business Wire geographic circuit by adding the newsletter choice in the Special Instructions area of Business Wire Connect when uploading their press release.

Click-throughs and metrics are incorporated into Business Wire’s comprehensive Newstrak reports, allowing clients to monitor the reach of the extra visibility.

You can view the list of SmartBrief newsletters available in which to feature your Business Wire release for an additional fee or contact your  local Business Wire office to get more information on how to target SmartBrief subscribers directly with your news.


NASDAQ as SRO: An Oxymoron

October 10, 2011
by Neil Hershberg, Senior Vice President Global Media
 
Neil Hershberg
Neil Hershberg, SVP – Global Media

As a “Self-Regulatory Organization,” NASDAQ is proving to be a poor role model in terms of policing its own policies.

NASDAQ has twice promised the SEC that it would refrain from the unfair and controversial practice of “bundling” its IR Services, e.g. wire distribution and IR web sites, with its listing fees. Yet despite these repeated assurances — concessions made to extract approval of several hefty listing fee hikes — NASDAQ has continued to engage in its anti-competitive practices, blatantly ignoring its compliance commitments.
 
Hence, today’s problematic paradox: in its pedestal role, NASDAQ seeks to portray itself as a bastion of free enterprise, and patron of fair and open competition. When it comes to its own commercial dealings, however, NASDAQ clearly doesn’t practice what it preaches. NASDAQ’s self-serving actions confirm that it is anything but the paragon of capitalism that it purports to be.
 
And, in an act of unquestionable hubris, NASDAQ is now asking the SEC to approve its predatory practices:
 
http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro/nasdaq/2011/34-65324.pdf
 
NASDAQ is apparently seeking to parley the SEC’s recent approval of a change in the NYSE’s Listed Company Manual to rationalize its own proposed rule change. In reality, NASDAQ’s filing is its latest gambit to distort the dynamics of the marketplace, and to leverage its subsidiary holdings to gain an unfair competitive advantage.
 
The key difference between the SEC’s newly approved Section 907.00 in the Big Board rule book and NASDAQ’s rule change request is that the NYSE is recommending independent vendors to its listed companies. Conversely, NASDAQ’s proposal is entirely predicated on its sibling subsidiary’s wholly-owned service offerings, which collectively operate under the “Corporate Solutions” banner. Once the complimentary period expires, all future profits will go straight to NASDAQ’s parent company’s bottom line.
 
This systemic vertical integration provides NASDAQ with the pricing flexibility to artificially manipulate the pricing structure of its offering to the detriment of the entire IR services industry. It makes a mockery of the principle of fair competition, which is especially troubling given NASDAQ’s perceived Olympian stature in the free enterprise system. 
 
Does the SEC really want to be seen as sanctioning NASDAQ’s “stacked deck?”  We certainly hope not, as Americans’ confidence in the nation’s financial system is already seriously challenged.
 
NASDAQ’s opportunistic overture strains credibility on several levels.
 
NASDAQ trumpets that issuers are not obligated to take advantage of its complimentary services; the clear implication is that competition won’t be compromised.
 
Yet, NASDAQ itself says it is compelled to offer NYSE-listed companies complimentary services because the Big Board offers comparable services.
 
This is a tacit acknowledgment that companies are reluctant to forfeit these free services; instead, these “no-cost” services are a powerful incentive for issuers to remain with their current providers.
 
In other words, NASDAQ’s claim of open competition exists in name only.  Budget-conscious issuers are extremely unlikely to pay for services that are freely available. And that means that rival IR service providers are unfairly elbowed out of the process. NASDAQ’s strategy seeks to divert the IPO pipeline to its sister service providers, effectively stanching the future lifeblood — and growth potential — of the IR service industry at large.
 
Furthermore, NASDAQ attempts to rationalize its rule change request by saying that a comparatively small number of issuers will be eligible to participate in the program. This is a vacuous argument that is indicative of NASDAQ’s cynicism in raising the bundling issue in yet another guise.
 
NASDAQ’S rule change request is its latest ploy to “tie” its corporate services to listings.  The SEC has repeatedly rebuffed NASDAQ’s past efforts at bundling its services. NASDAQ’s recycled proposal seeks to provide a cloak of legitimacy to an anti-competitive practice that has failed to survive previous SEC scrutiny.
 
The SEC’s decision should not be influenced by NASDAQ’s understanding of the number of affected companies; rather, its decision should be solely based on the merits of NASDAQ’s proposal. And if market fairness is the one of the ultimate criteria, then the evidence clearly dictates that NASDAQ’s rule change should be rejected.
 
Following is the text of Business Wire’s comment letter to the SEC on NASDAQ’s rule-change proposal:
 
http://www.sec.gov/comments/sr-nasdaq-2011-122/nasdaq2011122-1.pdf
 

NYSE Opening Bell with Warren Buffett: A Day in the Life of SVP of Marketing Tom Becktold

October 10, 2011

Here’s a glimpse into one of the best days I’ve experienced in my 23 years at Business Wire. This is a recap of my experiences planning and participating in the Business Wire 50th Anniversary NYSE Opening Bell events on Friday, September 30.  (Learn more about Tom Becktold)

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We had planned for months – event details, contests, timing, logistics, media interview scheduling.  When the most famous investor in the world accompanies you to the NYSE Opening Bell under the gaze of media, employees and clients to honor the 50th anniversary of your company, you want to get it right.

It was an incredibly exciting day as dozens of our staff were on hand as Warren Buffett joined Business Wire on our big day.

The NYSE hosted a breakfast for the Bellpodium guests in their historic board room, which has played host to heads of state and business leaders for the past century – impressive to say the least.  Joining us were executives from Barclays Bank, including Berkshire Hathaway market maker Jimmy Maguire, who’s been on the trading floor for more than four decades.  NYSE CEO Duncan Niederauer welcomed us and presented Business Wire with a framed proclamation honoring our 50thCathy Baron Tamraz and Warren Buffett each made remarks, with Warren pulling out a copy of the letter Cathy sent to him that started the process of Business Wire being purchased by Berkshire Hathaway in 2006.

To the Bellpodium we headed at 9:20 am, where we saw BW colleagues and traders cheering us on.  It was a tremendous honor to be among the group on the podium representing the amazing Business Wire team around the globe. Duncanput us all at ease by demonstrating some entertaining clapping styles.

We then headed to the trading floor, which was a frenzy of activity.  Traders wanting Warren Buffett’s autograph or to shake his hand – really everyone there was in awe of him, and he couldn’t have been more gracious.  A trip to the Barclay’s trading desk, and then to a photo op for wire service and news photographers quickly followed, along with a video interview by the NYSE, conducted by their senior media relations manager (and former BW colleague!) Annmarie Gioia.

From there, we split into teams.  Most BW folks headed up to the Board Room or luncheon along with many of our trade press for interviews that have or will be appearing soon.  I stayed with Cathy,Warren and a couple NYSE reps on the floor as we did four live and one taped interview in about an hour – Fox Business, CNBC, Bloomberg, Nightly Business Report and CNN.  Cathy did a fantastic job summarizing our anniversary and fielding questions along side Buffett (see links to coverage below).

Our luncheon then took center stage, with more than 225 in attendance, including BW staff, Berkshire colleagues, executives at our top clients and agencies, executives and reporters from our trade media and major media – Fortune, CNBC, industry influencers like Jeff Morgan, head of NIRI, among others.

The luncheon opened with remarks by Cathy where she introduced our College Video Contest winner, Jenna Marie James.  Jenna has become quite the celebrity as a result of winning our contest to come to NY to meet Warren Buffett.  She’s been interviewed by newspapers and radio stations in her home state of Indiana (she’s a senior at Ball State University), and did a live interview with the CBS Early Show on the morning of the event.  She’s pretty amazing and her videos are great fun to watch.

We then played our 50th Anniversary Video, produced for the event, featuring interviews with BW execs, and followed with a toast by Gregg Castano.

After lunch, Cathy did an interview with Warren Buffett and then opened the floor to questions from the audience.  The subjects covered were timely and Buffett’s comments were informative and in his disarming style.  He touched on the European debt crisis and his thoughts on the Euro surviving (they need a more unified monetary policy or need to break up) to the “Buffett tax” (he jokingly said he always wanted a tax named after him) to our economy (watch housing starts – we need to the number of households, which will take time, to absorb the available housing; when we have a million new housing starts a year, the economy will be back).

The luncheon wrapped at about 2:30 with Buffett signing autographs and posing for pictures with our clients.  The feedback, tweets and blog posts we’ve received indicate that Friday was a resounding success!

Happy 50th Business Wire!

Television Coverage Highlights

CNBC Squawk on the Street (CNBC link)

CNN Newsroom (CNN link)

Fox Business News (Fox Biz link)

Bloomberg In the Loop (Bloomberg link)

PBS Nightly Business Report (PBS link)

CBS The Early Show (CBS link) interview with our College Video Contest Winner Jenna Marie James, also covered on local television stations, including ABC-Channel 8/Omaha, CBS-Channel 5/San Francisco, CBS-Channel 8/Indianapolis.

Trade Coverage Highlights

IR Magazine/Inside Investor Relations

http://www.insideinvestorrelations.com/articles/ir-tv/18503/warren-buffett-and-business-wire/

Warren Buffett and Business Wire bring cheer to Wall Street

Happy 50th anniversary, Business Wire

PR Newser

http://www.mediabistro.com/prnewser/warren-buffett-business-wire-celebrate-50-years-at-the-nyse_b28023

Warren Buffett, Business Wire Celebrate 50 Years at the NYSE

PR Week

http://www.prweekus.com/buffetts-communications-advice-keep-it-simple/article/213288/

CommPro.biz

http://blog.commpro.biz/irthereforeiam/?p=1094

Great Partners: Warren Buffett Helps Celebrate Business Wire’s 50th Anniversary at NYSE

PRSA Tactics and NIRI IR Update are planning pieces for their print editions.

Feintuch Communications (client/guest, Henry Feintuch)

http://prniblets.blogspot.com/2011/10/my-lunch-with-warren-buffett-and.html


Business Wire Boston Celebrates 50 Years, Hosts Publisher of The Boston Globe

October 7, 2011

by Rachel Gould, Senior Client Services Representative,
Business Wire Boston

Boston-area clients and friends of Business Wire, including members of the media, gathered at the Boston Harbor Hotel on Oct. 4 to celebrate our landmark anniversary.  The event featured a keynote address from Christopher Mayer, Publisher of The Boston Globe, and a champagne toast to commemorate the occasion.

Mayer discussed the recent launch of BostonGlobe.com as a separate entity from Boston.com, including the new paywall for content and better understanding the diverse interests of their online readers.

Through research, Mayer’s team discovered that more than 50 percent of the people accessing Boston.com were not aware they were reading The Boston Globe.  He explained that while the Globe has an expansive online audience, the readership is fragmented and has forced the organization to adapt and focus on how they are connecting with readers.

The Boston Globe has the traditional role of producing quality journalism, but Mayer said in today’s media environment, success is just as much about being a facilitator of content and connecting advertisers to readers.

For a more detailed overview, check out this blog post by Bill McLaughlin, EVP of Lois Paul & Partners, who interviewed Christopher Mayer after his talk.

Check out some great pictures from the event:

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Hispanic Media Experts Advise DC-Area Audience on Marketing to Latinos

October 6, 2011
by Danny Selnick, Vice President, Public Policy Services

Business Wire’s LatinoWire hosted a panel  event for professional communicators on Sept. 28 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

The panel featured:

  • Erica Gonzalez, Executive Editor of El Diario/La Prensa
  • Julio Aliaga, News Director, Telemundo (Washington, DC affiliate)
  • Hilda Garcia, Vice President of Multiplatform Content and Information for impreMedia
  • Charlie Ericksen, Managing Editor and founder of Hispanic Link
Danny Selnick, Julio Aliaiga, Erica Gonzales, Hilda Garcia and Charlie Ericksen

L-R: Danny Selnick, Julio Aliaga, Erica Gonzales, Hilda Garcia. Seated: Charlie Ericksen. Photo by: Michael Toner/Business Wire

Moderated by Danny Selnick, vice president for Business Wire’s Public Policy Services, panel members all underscored the notion that professional communicators must understand the particular needs and interests of this ethnic community and the Hispanic media that is in touch with their readers, viewers and listeners — only with that understanding can communicators successfully connect.

Key points made by each panelist:

Erica Gonzalez:

Erica pointed out that it is important to understand the history of Hispanic journalism.  Spanish-language media should be treated as a valid news outlet – not a 2nd class one.   Your news should relate to the audience – just because it has been translated into Spanish doesn’t qualify it as being newsworthy to the audience.

Read the rest of this entry »


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