Don’t Forget Who is Also Interested in Your News — Congress and Wall Street

January 30, 2012
by Danny Selnick, Vice President, Public Policy Services, Business Wire DC

by Danny Selnick, VP, Public Policy Services

Did you ever think that your earnings or hiring news might really be of interest to members of Congress?  Well they are.  When a company has positive earnings or announces expansion plans,  it may tie into job stability and growth — not just at the company, but across the particular states where the company has operations.  Members of Congress want to know about news back home — what’s affecting their constituents.  After all, they’re voters.

But staffers on the Hill aren’t personally reading through the massive amounts of news coming into their information services.  Instead, they are more likely to have filters with keywords that automatically pull out stories of interest.  So, make sure you consider how your news is likely to be searched by public affairs audiences when crafting content.  Keywords typically used by elected officials in tracking news include his or her name, the district (city) they represent, or a particular issues they’re involved with.

So if a news item mentions  Cleveland, OH, for example, it’s a good bet that Dennis Kucinich’s office (and others representing Cleveland) will see the story.  It could even become part of their news summary or daily news briefing.  Same for the Senate as well.  Because not all news releases contain good news, Hill staff need to know about that too … who knows how they might be able to help?  And now with the economy all about jobs and the hope it will improve, these news items are more important than ever.

What about news from advocacy organizations?  Did you ever think your issues based news would be of importance to industry analysts on Wall Street?  Your news can play a role in the ratings of companies and industries analysts follow.  Analysts do more than go over financials, read news releases, visit plants and hold conference calls and meeting with corporate leaders.  They’re looking for news that will have an affect on companies and industries they cover.  Issues-focused news from advocacy organizations can have an impact — if the issue is big enough.

Like members on the Hill, analysts have a plethora of news feeds to keep abreast of what’s happening.  So if you’re trying to make a point about some legislation, don’t forget to get your news to those covering Wall Street.

Whether you’re an advocacy group, association, non-profit, union, government agency or corporation, if you have important issues-focused news, Business Wire’s Public Policy Wire can help you deliver it to the decision-makers, influencers and media you need to reach most.


Business Wire Florida office…movin’ on up!

January 26, 2012
by Laura Sturaitis, EVP Media Services & Product Strategy

I know it might get on some people’s nerves, even on a good winter’s day, to be focusing on the lucky one’s at Business Wire’s South Florida office in January, but add to that bit of geographical luck that the BW Florida team is now happily ensconced in our new, beautiful and expanded office space in Plantation, Florida. Our new office is centrally located to serve the Greater Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach area and is just minutes away from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport, which allows our team to visit with our clients in Central and North Florida regularly.

The Business Wire Florida team (click to view larger)

Four members of the original BW Florida team have been working together for more than 20+ years. This will be our 5th move to increasingly larger offices in South Florida. The Business Wire Florida office is like many other BW bureaus which locally employ a full service newsroom, a Media Relations Specialist, our Client Services team of sales professionals, our team of HQ Online Newsroom Specialists and me, EVP of Media Services and Product Strategy, a corporate position, all under one roof. Many of the members of our team have held different roles within the company, bringing a unique skill set and breadth of experience to the task of serving Business Wire members in our local area and throughout the company. Our office really puts a face on Business Wire’s proud tradition of local service and global reach. We live it here every day!

Check out our new digs in Business Wire blue and green to match our logo, or call us at 800-700-9473. All our contact numbers stay the same; only our address has changed to 1200 South Pine Island Road, Suite 140 Plantation, FL 33324. Call us to schedule a time to come by to visit us!

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New Year, New Online Newsroom

January 24, 2012

by Ibrey Woodall, VP Web Communications Services, Business Wire Florida

Click here to download the 2011 Communicators Online Newsroom Survey Exec Summary

Hopefully, one of the items on your list of New Year’s resolutions is to closely review the workings of your current online newsroom. Do you have a fully developed and optimized online newsroom? Does it have the expected features? Does it fit well into your overall set of public relations and social media tools? Does it allow you to work efficiently and timely?  If not, do you have the budget to afford one that does?

Based on the results of the October 2011 Communicators Online Newsroom Practices Survey by Business Wire and Bulldog Reporter, the majority of organizations who intended to create an online newsroom in the future expected to do so within the next three to six months. That means that 2012 will be the year that some communicators will finally take advantage of the technology available to them.

In the past, barriers to utilizing an online newsroom have included lack of resources, inability to self-publish content, inability to integrate social media, lack of traffic, lack of analytics, lack of automated posting of press releases, inability to customize or highlight content, and simply the absence of a user-friendly content management interface.

Fortunately, very few of those surveyed felt that the cost of an online newsroom was a hindrance. Both large and small companies pay less than $10,000 a year for a standard online newsroom. Use this number as a parameter when working the cost of an online newsroom into your 2012 budget.

One of the obstacles communicators have had to deal with is one I’ve seen way too often. You won’t find this hurdle noted directly on the survey because it deals with internal departmental control and strife. However; you can imagine or even relate to the situation when you see that most organizations use an internal IT department to create their online newsroom. This may explain why communicators have not been able to self-publish content, automate press release postings, integrate social media, or even highlight specific content.

An online newsroom is a means by which a communicator can perform their job more efficiently, update content more frequently, supply desired material to journalists more easily, and interact with multiple audiences more timely – especially during a crisis situation. It is not just another section within an organization’s marketing website.

Will you be able to use dedicated communications technology to meet the varied demands of 2012? In other words, are you a PR warrior with the proper battle weapons?

Learn more about Communicators Online Newsroom Practices: join us for our free webinar on Tuesday, February 28 at 1pm ET. Ibrey Woodall, VP Web Communications Services for Business Wire, will moderate the panel, which includes Cindy Haas, Director, Corporate Communications, Ryder System; Maggie Jensen, APR, Media Relations Consultant, Securian Fianancial Group; and Mike Trask, Manager of Corporate Communications, Bally Technologies. Register for the free session HERE.


Top 5 Reasons You Need to Be Delivering News to Stakeholders Via Mobile Alerts

January 24, 2012

With the rapid proliferation of web-enabled mobile devices, your target audience is no longer tethered to their desktop computers.  Keeping users informed of significant news events via their mobile devices is an essential part of proactive online communication and the newest best practice in investor relations.

As of June 2011, consumers now spend more time consuming content on their mobile devices than on desktop computers.  Are you delivering your content in the most mobile device-compatible format? If you’re delivering content to mobile devices via email, the answer is a resounding NO.

The advantages of news alerts via SMS vs. email

  • Immediacy: An email is, on average, opened about six hours after it’s sent.  By comparison, multiple studies indicate a text message is read within four minutes of receipt.
  • Near-perfect open rates: Most email campaigns see open rates averaging less than 20%, which indicates the vast majority of emails are never even read. By contrast, you can expect an open rate in excess of 95% for text messages. In terms of timeliness and effectiveness, there is really no comparison.
  • User Experience – On mobile devices, SMS works, but HTML emails ‘break’:  HTML is the most common and preferred email format on desktop computers (as opposed to plain text).  However, on many of the most common mobile devices your best case scenario is your HTML emails are too small to read on a mobile device and your worst case scenario is they look like a garbled mess.  Thus, many among your target audience have already learned not to bother opening email-based newsletter or news alert communications on their mobile devices.  Conversely, SMS was designed for mobile devices so its reliability is near perfect on mobile devices.
  • Direct Access to Rich Mobile-Formatted Content: When an SMS contains a mobile hyperlink or URL to additional content on a mobile-formatted website, users have learned they can simply click the link and be taken directly to a mobile-formatted website where they can expect full, rich mobile device-friendly content.

The Bottom Line:

  • You have a better chance of reaching your target audience of their mobile device than their desktop because that’s where they are consuming more content
  • You have a considerably better chance your target audience will pay attention to your message if you deliver it to them via an SMS alert that links to a mobile friendly version of your news

Top 5 Reasons You Should be Offering News Alerts via SMS

Read the rest of this entry »


Marketing vs. PR Writing – What’s the Difference?

January 18, 2012

… in this social media world we live in, the line between marketing and public relations writing is or ought to be blurred and that’s a good thing.

Hyperbole-filled marketing prose will quite likely be dismissed by target audiences just as verbose public relations copy. Through social media, our customers help keep savvy marketers grounded and more authentic, as journalists have done in their engagements with public relations practitioners for years. To say there is a line between marketing and public relations writing, then, misses the point of the current world of communications.

Press releases are used to engage consumers. Journalists go to customers and corporate websites to gather reporting information. So, your communications practitioners should all be singing from the same song sheet, so to speak…

What’s your take?


The Top Twenty Press Releases of 2011

January 5, 2012
by Phil Dennison, Senior Marketing Specialist, Business Wire/Cleveland

At Business Wire we pride ourselves on our consultative approach to offering our services — we try to give you the best advice on how to make your press releases successful and get the most for your money. From press release tips to measurement facts to targeting options, our account executives and editors help you execute your strategy in the most effective way.

I recently took a look at the twenty most-viewed press releases on BusinessWire.com from Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 4, 2011, to see what kinds of trends and facts might be inferred from them. What types of releases garner a lot of views? Big brand names? Photos? Raw content? Headlines?

Ultimately, each company has to decide for itself what the strategic purpose of each press release is, and how best to achieve its goals. Among these releases, here are some facts and figures:

  • Cumulatively, these twenty releases account for 1,216,513 views, or an average of 63,076 views per release.
  • Fifteen of twenty included their company logo (a free service of Business Wire). Seven included at least one photo, and one included a video.
  • On average, 59% of readers found the release directly on BusinessWire.com (while browsing headlines or via RSS feeds or headline delivery emails), 34% found it on another site, and 6% found it via a search engine. Less than one percent of traffic, on average, came via social sources.

traffic sources graph

  • Links are a key factor in engaging readers with your news. Thirteen of the twenty releases included at list one hyperlink in the body of the release; but those thirteen releases got an average of 7,798 link clicks.
  • But don’t underestimate social, especially the top sites. For the traffic which did arrive from social sources, 65% came from Facebook, 29% from Twitter, 5% from LinkedIn, and the remaining 1% from all other social networks.
  • In terms of user engagement and sharing, on average, readers shared each release on Facebook 147 times, on Twitter 103 times, and on LinkedIn 88 times.
  • Business Wire readers are very interested in news about Apple and ExxonMobil.

It’s not easy to discern any clear trends, but two facts do stand out:

1. BusinessWire.com and its list of websites and other online sources carrying our news feed continue to be a crucial part of the news distribution process, getting companies tens of thousands of views, leading to user engagement, photo downloads, news coverage and more.

2. For all the growth in social, search is still a major driver of traffic for companies working online, which is pretty much everyone. Compelling, search-optimized content continues to be key to getting your press releases in front of your audiences.

So, without further ado, here are the twenty most-viewed press releases of 2011. Take a look and see what tips you might be able to get from them to make your own press releases more successful.

AT&T to Acquire T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom

Cyber Monday:  The Season’s Best Deals – No Fighting for Parking. No Waiting in Line.  Just Lean Back, Put Your Feet up and Shop.

Statement by Apple’s Board of Directors

Statement by Steve Jobs’ Family

Adobe Delivers Technical Communication Suite 3

Comic Sans Pro Typeface Family Makes its Debut

ExxonMobil Announces Three Discoveries in Deepwater Gulf of Mexico

HP Confirms Discussions with Autonomy Corporation plc Regarding Possible Business Combination; Makes Other Announcements

ExxonMobil Speedpass Customers Can Save 15 Cents Per Gallon

The Alliance for Consumer Education Names Senator Herb Kohl Honorary Chair

Clear Channel Radio Announces Acquisition of Thumbplay’s Cloud-Based Music Business

Letter from Steve Jobs

Fisher Investments MarketMinder Re-released

Steve Jobs Resigns as CEO of Apple

Exxon Mobil Corporation Declares Second Quarter Dividend

Heinz® Dip & Squeeze® Ketchup is Available Nationally! Heinz and Chick-fil-A® Invite You to Celebrate with Free FryDay

Exxon Mobil Corporation Declares Fourth Quarter Dividend

Exxon Mobil Corporation Declares First Quarter Dividend

FDA Approves YERVOY™ (ipilimumab) for the Treatment of Patients with Newly Diagnosed or Previously-Treated Unresectable or Metastatic Melanoma, the Deadliest Form of Skin Cancer

Google to Acquire Motorola Mobility


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