Congratulations to IR Magazine US Awards Winners!

March 30, 2012

Last week, Business Wire was proud to sponsor the 2012 IR Magazine US Awards in New York City. Our team attended the ceremony and BW President Gregg Castano presented the Best Overall Mid-Cap Award. We’re pleased to sponsor the event photos for the Awards.

>>View the event photos here

Here are some pictures of our team at the ceremony:

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Congratulations to all the winners!


Raleigh-Durham Media Discuss Journalism Trends, Press Release Tips

March 28, 2012

by Penny Sowards, Client Services Representative, Business Wire Charlotte

Business Wire hosted a “Meet the Media” luncheon at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel & Convention Center in Durham on March 15.  Panelists included Rick Martinez, News Director, NewsRadio 680 WPTF; Rick Smith, Business and Technology Manager, WRAL-TV, and David Bracken, Assistant Business Editor, The News & Observer. Kristi Lee-John, Principal at Crossroads Public Relations, was moderator.

Panelists discussed current trends in journalism and tips on effective pitching.

L-R: David Bracken, Rick Smith, Rick Martinez. Kristi Lee-John, moderator at podium

Important points made during the discussion:

  • Make sure someone from your company is available by phone or email at all times after making an announcement
  • Keep the lead information at the top
  • Have all answers available if possible
  • Pitch should always be professional and go to the appropriate reporters
  • Subject line on emails should be “to the point”
  • The company website is very important to journalists for gathering information
  • Blogs are a great tool and have great potential provided quality is there
  • Make an effort to contact the media before 3 p.m.
  • No jargon-filled releases

The journalists all agreed that press releases are important and relevant in conveying news to the media. Specific guidelines were discussed on what the media deems a good press releases:

  • Headlines should be clear and to the point
  • The focus of the news should be at the beginning of the release
  • Bullet points are a great tool to create a clear and concise message to the reader
  • Multimedia and web links are great added features to make the release more informative and interesting.

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 #bwchat.


The Ten Commandments of Pitching

March 21, 2012

PR professionals and members of the news media deal in information, with the PR side selling it and the media serving as potential buyers. Like any buyer-seller relationship, deals are not always struck. But, there are ways sellers can improve their chances of interesting buyers in their information – and can develop better long-term relationships with individual media outlets – if they keep in mind these 10 commandments of how to pitch a story, as told by Mark Dodosh, editor of Crain’s Cleveland Business.

1. Thou shalt know thy audience. (i.e., who are you trying to reach?)
2. Thou shalt understand thy media outlets. (i.e., who do they reach and what are their needs?)
3. Thou shalt be precise and concise with thy pitch.
4. Thou shalt be prepared to make the right people available to a reporter.
5. Thou shalt be satisfied with singles and doubles, rather than expecting to hit home runs.
6. Thou shalt not pitch “angles.”
7. Thou shalt not make a promise of exclusivity to more than one media outlet.
8. Thou shalt not present false, misleading or unsubstantiated information in thy pitch.
9. Thou shalt not expect the story to be tailored to thy specifications.
10. Thou shalt not pout if the answer is “no.” (i.e., “Sorry, but we’re not interested.”)
Ten Commandments of Pitching

Click to enlarge and print for your own convenience!


Editor’s Corner: Best Practices for Using Links in Press Releases

March 21, 2012

by Sera Gonzalez, Senior Editor, Business Wire Dallas

by Sera Gonzalez, Senior Editor, Business Wire Dallas

With the advent of XHTML, additional knowledge is only a click away. Embedded hyperlinks turn ordinary text into doorways of information. Business Wire tracks link click-throughs, showing the link text, URL, which version of the release and how many total clicks it has received.

As an editor, I’ve seen releases with no links at all, making it difficult for readers to easily find more information. I’ve also seen releases so full of links it was impossible to determine what information was important. Finding a balance and knowing how to optimize link usage is vital for press release writers.

When considering hyperlinks in text, the writer has two options: the URL and anchor text.

A URL in the text is like this: www.businesswire.com, which works well for short URLs and at the end of boilers, linking to company home pages. Though most of the internet is XHTML compatible, there are a few sites that still post in plain-text. In these instances, a link will not be active in the body unless it is written out. Instead of saying, “Click here,” say, “Visit www.businesswire.com.” Full URL links are also useful when linking to social media sites: http://facebook.com/businesswire and http://twitter.com/businesswire. Readers see your handle and can type it in if they already have those web sites open. Registration URLs for conference calls, webcasts and trade shows help a reader easily keep the link for future use or send to colleagues.

Sometimes URLs for frequently shared pages can be really long and should be hidden from readers. These cases call for anchor text, like Business Wire, instead of writing out the URL. These links are like the icing in your release; leading your reader to more information. For names in releases, an anchor text link to the person’s biography – which commonly includes a photo – works perfectly. You also can use anchor text in product announcements, referencing a page with videos, photos, reviews or purchasing information. Anchor text links also boost SEO for your release. For example, if you wanted your release to rank on Google for the keyword “Business Wire,” you would make sure that phrase appears in the headline, first paragraph and as anchor text, Business Wire.

Make hyperlinks work for you. Lead your reader to places beyond your release, to further the understanding of your product, personnel and company. Also keep in mind that not everything needs a hyperlink; too many and your release can look like spam and discourage readers. The link is yours.

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.


Social Media Week Miami Panel Identifies Economic Development Benefits of Social Media

March 15, 2012

Corporations, non-profits organizations and professional communicators around the world took part in Social Media Week this past

Pilar Portela

Pilar Portela, Business Wire Media Relations Representative

February.  Pilar Portela, Media Relations Supervisor and Business Wire LatinoWire Representative served as a panelist at a discussion hosted by Latinos in Social Media (LATISM) South Florida that focused on social media for economic development.

Panelists Included:

Social Media Week Panel

L-R: Natascha Otero, Brenda Leguisamo, Pilar Portela, Ernesto Sosa, Jorge Fernandez, Blanca Stella Mejia, and Carlos Pedraja

Social Media is not just about marketing or technology

Rodriguez stated that, aside from social media being about marketing and technology, more and more it’s about how a product today is made or made better collaboratively. For non-government and government organizations it’s about how to raise money.  Increasingly for all it’s about how work gets done. This is something that impacts both big businesses and small businesses.

Pedraja talked about how Google not only caters to big businesses but makes sure it is providing small businesses the online search tools that will allow for collaboration to happen instantaneously and speed up the business practice. For Google collaborating with businesses is in their DNA.  You can find a host of Google Apps for Businesses online.

International Trade and Social Media are a Great Mix

Leguisamo stated that in Miami it’s increasingly important to create more cash flow between businesses both locally and internationally. Using social media to increase sales outside of the country can hugely impact the local market.

When the real estate market crashed in South Florida, ONE Sotheby’s was forced to look for new ways to generate interest in the local market. Fernandez says ONE Sotheby’s used social media to tap into the interest of foreign buyers. They madetheir Twitter, Facebook, blog and website available in three languages: Spanish, English and Portuguese. As a result, in 2011, 60% of their residential sales in Miami came from foreign buyers.

Having the right mix – SEO, Social Media and Sharing

When it comes to the communication outreach efforts of Business Wire, Portela says

“We see clients using a number of tools to not only get their messages across and extend the life of their press releases but to have a web presence and build relationships with media in both traditional and social media newsrooms as well. Having the right mix is not an `or’ proposition but an `and’ proposition to conduct business today. You have to leverage mobile, social media and traditional communication strategies.”

In retrospect, each panelist had a different take on how social media has helped their industry but all agreed that collaboration and communication is the key to building a new vision to power the economy.

To view the live streamed panel discussion visit: http://new.livestream.com/smwmiami/socialmediaforeconomicdevelopment/videos/160007

 Photos courtesy of Blanca Stella Mejia, Latism South Florida.

Journalist Networking Secrets from Inside the Wire

March 13, 2012

by Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager, Business Wire/Chicago

The purpose of media relations was beat into my head by my college PR professor — she often said, “The goal is to develop mutually beneficial relationships with the media.”

This definition very closely mirrors the Public Relations Society of America’s new definition of Public Relations. Only she never gave me an exact formula for achieving that goal.

So we decided to share our advice on how Business Wire’s Media Relations Team uses networking events and journalism groups to build relationships with members of the media.  One thing we’ve learned; while starting these relationships may happen in email or social networks, building them will require more face-to-facing and less “Facebooking.”

Luis Guillen

Luis Guillen

Networking Events – The Introduction

Ice breaking is an art form but it is not brain surgery, especially if you do your homework first.  Luis Guillen, our media relations representative for Southern California, says he researches the media people he expects to see at upcoming events beforehand.  “I like sports, so knowing what schools they went to helps me use sports and hometown information to connect.” Luis bonded with several reporters over small hometown familiarities at the National Association of Hispanic Journalists convention in Florida this past summer.  This led to new media connections he’s further fostered since returning to Los Angeles.

We’ve been taught to master our elevator pitch, but sometimes you have to take the stairs.  Maryana Bradas, who supervises our entire east coast team of media relations specialists, says:

Maryana Bradas

Engage in casual conversation,” especially when seated at a luncheon table.  “As long as they are relatively talkative your discussion will go all over the place.  Both parties will get a chance to talk about what they do and you can tell if you will have a good fit for further connecting.”

Maryana sits on the Press Club of Cleveland’s Board of Directors and attends the Society of Professional Journalists’ regional and national conventions. “As the conversation winds down you can go for the business card exchange.  That’s a natural progression.”

The Association of Women Journalists – Chicago(AWJ) has only in recent years established an associate level of membership.

Karen Kring

Karen Kring

Karen Kring, past president of the chapter, warns against pitching their members at events:

“Pitching is for when they are on the clock more formally. Turn it around; become the reporter . . . You not only want to know their beat, but what specifically within their beat they are paying most attention to so that you’ll know what kind of information or stories they might be receptive to in the future. If you have a story in mind, ask them if they’d be receptive to your follow up with them later.”

Journalist Groups – Getting in and Standing out

Raschanda Hall

Raschanda Hall

I take an alphabet soup approach to networking.  I’m everywhere, all the time.  NABJ, PCC, SPJ, SABEW, AWJ, ONA etc.  I talk to everybody and give every discussion my properly undivided attention, but to really connect with reporters through journalist organizations you have to put in some work; committee work and chapter board member work.  In these roles your work is selfless, and when done right, you build trust and get more immediate access to editors and reporters who can help you when you need it.  Now, this won’t save you from a front page crisis, but it could get you the heads-up that it’s coming.  An organization I was once involved in turned down sponsorship money from a competitor because they felt the competitor was trying to buy their way into the position I had gained through sweat equity.  In that single act my volunteer efforts paid off.

Dawn Roberts is Managing Partner of KD Communications in Delaware.  She also serves as Associate Member Board Representative

Dawn Roberts

for the National Association of Black JournalistsIt’s a position she is passionate about.  NABJ’s annual convention draws thousands of reporters and hundreds of PR people every year.  Her advice to PR folks: Attend media events so that you have an opportunity to meet journalists in person. And volunteer for a media organization. [It’s] a great way to meet journalists!”


Is The Next Big Thing a Lot of Smaller Things?

March 7, 2012
by Chris Metinko, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/San Francisco
Chris Metinko

Chris Metinko

Remember MySpace?

Remember when Facebook was going to be the next big thing?

In social media — just as in everything — there always is the “next thing,” and many are pointing to the exploding popularity of niche social networks as exactly that. Many such sites have seen tremendous growth in the past year, as they cater to specific interests, hobbies and likes.

According to the online data measurement firm comScore, the online virtual pinboard site Pinterest saw the third largest percentage jump in unique visitors from December 2011 to January 2012 — behind only the IRS’s and the Department of Education’s websites. Also according to comScore, it became the fastest user site ever to hit 10 million monthly visitors.

As Business Wire media reps attended programs held in San Francisco during February’s Social Media Week, some of the talk was not on the titans of social networking — Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter et al. — but rather these niche sites that seem to be taking up more and more of social networkers’ time. According to some officials in the burgeoning new category of social media, the migration of users is easily explained.

“There’s a lot of noise in the system right now,” said Oliver Hsiang with StumbleUpon, a search engine that creates virtual communities to rate and rank search results. “People want something to filter through the stuff you don’t care about.”

Niche sites allow users to focus on certain subjects and likes instead of Facebook’s all-encompassing style, which some can find hard to navigate. Sites such as Reddit, a social news site where users post, rate and rank news stories, have gained increased notoriety and users. Jena Donlin, business development manager with Reddit, said the site even allows users into different communities and subcategories to more narrowly focus on interests.

Such niche sites also can potentially be gold for journalists, because they reach a specific, targeted audience. For instance, if a reporter is writing about weight-loss and wants to talk to someone trying to lose weight, going to the uber-popular social network DailyBurn seems logical. If someone is writing about the public’s take on a new, hot restaurant, going to food-obsessed network Foodspotting should do the trick. While these sites may not reach the audience numbers Facebook does, a journalist knows the site’s members are extremely interested in their specific topic or beat, and the site can let writers know what people are talking about on a more regional or national level — not limiting reporters by geography.

Despite the current popularity some of these sites, they still face obstacles in their battle for users’ time. One, obviously, is they are exactly what they are suppose to be — niche sites — meaning they are not going to interest everyone.

Donlin said increased popularity also can bring issues, as it can become increasingly difficult to “keep up with the conversation” on sites. Hsiang added niche sites also face the same problem nearly every website eventually confronts — coming up with fresh and new content to keep users coming back and spending time on the site instead of doing other things like watching television, reading or using other social media.

“You compete for discretionary time with everything,” Hsiang said.


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