New NIRI Survey Confirms Industry’s Strong Endorsement of IR Best Practices

October 22, 2012
by Neil Hershberg, Senior Vice President, Global Media/Business Wire
Neil Hershberg

Neil Hershberg, SVP – Global Media

They are known as IR “Best Practices” for a reason: collectively, these disclosure tools meet the information needs of all market participants simultaneously and in real-time, and they promote fair, orderly, and efficient capital markets.

The good news is that the National Investor Relations Institute, the prestigious international association of more than 3,300 IR professionals representing over 1,600 publicly held companies, released its 2012 survey on corporate disclosure practices last week.  The overwhelming majority of respondents indicate that they will stick to tried and proven compliance platforms — SEC filings (91%), press releases via paid providers (89%), and publicly available conference calls/webcasts (67%) — as their primary tools to reach the investment community, and to satisfy their regulatory obligations. Interestingly, these statistics are unchanged since the last NIRI survey focusing on this issue in 2010.

The NIRI survey of 2,038 IR professionals bore a number of interesting findings, including:

  •  88 percent of respondents indicate that their companies have no immediate plans to move towards exclusive use of their corporate website to disclosure material information. Nearly two-thirds said that their companies will never exclusively use their corporate website as the only method of material disclosure information.
  •  Social media platforms (e.g. Twitter, Facebook corporate apps) are slowly being embraced by IR professionals as part of their broader disclosure arsenal. However, no single option is used by 20 percent of the universe sample.
  •  The most important factor determining the method/channel of disclosure is the materiality of the information; cost ranks as the least important influence in the dissemination decision.

The major takeaway from the membership survey’s findings is that four years after the SEC published its controversial Interpretive Guidance Release on Web-Based Disclosure, the industry has responded with justified caution, and a genuine concern and commitment that the information needs of all of its investor constituencies are addressed.

There is a clear recognition that a broadly disseminated news release that is simultaneous and freely accessed on an equivalent basis by the investment universe is the surest way to providing a level playing field for all market participants.

It also is noteworthy that IR professionals are adopting supplementary tools to reach investors, augmenting the reach of proven disclosure channels. In the NIRI survey, respondents report using over 15 different channels for disclosing information.

The NIRI survey invited members to submit open-ended, qualitative responses. Here is a sampling of what NIRI members are saying:

  •  “…I am increasing the channels that I use to communicate and not relying on any one channel, certainly not my website which requires investors/analysts to be more pro-active to access..”   (Small-cap, Other Services, Corporate, Global Brand)
  • “Our goal is to reach as wide an audience as possible with information, not limit the audience to only those people who happen to visit our website at a particular time.”    (Micro-cap, Manufacturing, Corporate, Global Brand)
  •  “In my opinion, the dissemination of important information should be as broad and simultaneous as practicable.””  (Micro-cap, Information, Corporate)
  •  “We don’t believe that our retail shareholder base has equal and timely access to our website for fair disclosure.”   (Mid-cap, Finance and Insurance, Corporate)

 Based on the NIRI survey findings, the IR community should be commended for its corporate responsibility, in addition to its excellent work serving the interests of investors.

In a world of diminished services and diluted values, it is especially reassuring to see the IR industry’s steadfast commitment to ‘Best Practices.”

  Business Wire firmly believes that it is the best choice for disclosure services, which has been our core business for more than a half-century. We are the only service provider to have patented technology that provides simultaneous, real-time access to network recipients worldwide. Our network security and editorial processes are audited annually in multiple international jurisdictions by leading independent accounting/management firms. And we offer a full-suite of reporting services, all handled in-house, including EDGAR and SEDAR filings, as well as fulfilling disclosure requirements in 14 markets throughout North America and Europe.

We once again salute NIRI members for their unwavering commitment to preserving the ideal of fair and full disclosure, and for their support in maintaining the integrity of our financial markets.


13 Tips To Sharpen Your Communication Skills in 2013

October 18, 2012

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

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

There is a distinct buzz in the air during the final quarter of the year.  In the PR community, this growing sound is our nagging reminder to sit down and think about new business, budgets, cuts and strategies for 2013.

We’re no different, so our team looked at our own best practices to empower you with 13 tips to make you a better communicator in 2013.

13. Commit to commenting. Stop being a social media voyeur.  Be active by liking and commenting on posts you read.  The comments can be as interesting as the posts; many people read them and they’re a good way to make connections.

12.  Give before you ask. No matter what service you provide, even the well-intentioned invitation can be seen as a demand for time, effort, and attention. Take this tip from Chris Sacca, advisor to some of the top social media companies, “If you’re insightful and helpful, people will want to be around you.”

11.  Refine your elevator pitch. How? Practice, edit, repeat. If you pitch TV stations you know assignment editors are willing to listen, but you’d better be able to get your point across fast! Call five assignment desks, and chances are, you’ll hone your pitch quickly.

10.  Subscribe to industry newsletters and READ THEM. PR/communications newsletters such as CommPRO.Biz, MediaBistro,  Smart Brief on Social Media and Ragan’s PR Daily offer helpful suggestions for improving your written and verbal communication skills and keep you up on industry trends. You might recognize a misstep you consistently make, such as avoiding an overused word.

9.  Get involved with an industry organization.  Don’t just attend events — join a committee, serve on the board, or simply volunteer your time as you can. Be sure not to limit yourself to PR/IR groups.

8.  Learn more about the offerings of your service providers. OK, this one may be a bit self-serving, but don’t shoot the messenger.  Many PR-related service providers are constantly advancing their catalog of offerings, providing free reporting, or creating complementary products to go along with the services they’re most known for.  Take the meeting and find out what else they offer for you to maximize your relationship.

7.  Have an SEO discussion with your web team, your wire vendors and your content creators. If one conversation isn’t enough, have however many it takes for you to understand search engine optimization (SEO) basics and start using these strategies to improve the visibility of content you produce for the web.

 6.  Take a class or seminar.   Many schools and professional societies offer continuing education classes at a low cost, and some even offer free sessions. Consider classes in photography, advanced web technology or web design.  You can even brush up with a business writing or grammar class.

5.  Attend a journalism conference. The price tag of some PR conferences can be off-putting.  Directly across the aisle our industry peers are putting together great and pertinent programming at a fraction of the cost.  Check out conferences organized by the Online News Association, Society of Professional Journalists or one of the journalists-of-color member organizations like NABJ, the National Association of Black Journalists.  You’ll learn a lot and make some new contacts while you are at it.

4.  Share your experiences. If you have no time to sit on a board or a committee, offer to speak at one of their programs on a  topic you know matches the interests of their members.  In PR groups, speakers on the topics of social media, measurement, crisis communications, media relations and brand strategy are highly sought after!

 3.  Invite a blogger out for coffee. If you don’t work with bloggers, meet up with an editor, producer or member of the Twitteratti who you value having a relationship with.  Even if they can’t meet face to face, the check-in email is a nice gesture and way to keep a relationship top of mind even if you’ve moved on to cover new areas.

2.  Be an active listener.  Multi-tasking, while great in so many ways, contributes immensely to our eclipsed attention spans. Make an effort to listen more closely.  Practice by playing a prerecorded webinar and not clicking away; or watching or listening to an on-air personality you don’t agree with and resisting the urge to turn away or blurt out.  Just listen.  If you improve your listening skills you might pick up the other half of what most people don’t hear when someone is speaking.

1. Immerse yourself in mobile.  Mobile marketing is the future, but the future is today.  To leverage this market for you and your clients you need to use it. Download news apps and visit the mobile rendered pages of your favorite brands. Then make sure your own messaging is mobile friendly.


Business Wire at the 2012 PRSA International Conference

October 12, 2012

Business Wire is pleased that the 2012 PRSA International Conference is returning to San Francisco the place we were founded in 1961 – Welcome to our Hometown!

We will have a large contingent of BW people on hand so please be on the lookout, stop by Booth 18, and say”Hello” to us all.

For those coming to San Francisco early for Assembly (PRSA’s gathering of representatives from local chapters, industry sections and others as a governing body for the organization) on Saturday, look for Mike Gibaldi and Lee Marshall, who are there representing the Miami and Philadelphia chapters, respectively.

Here’s what you can expect when you visit the Business Wire booth:

Learn about some of our staff’s favorite San Francisco hotspots, giving you great ideas for trying new places. You will also meet team players from all areas of our business in addition to our industry experts.

See a demo of our award-winning NewsHQ online newsrooms presented by Ibrey Woodall. She is a true expert in designing online media rooms and knowing what is really important when working with them.

Discover our Smart News Release and Smart Marketing Page options for your integrated marketing plans – cost-effective ways to present attractive multimedia press releases and online marketing platforms, engage with reporters and consumer audiences, boost your organic SEO and get measurable results.

We hope you also save some time for the following:

Once again, come find us and learn why Business Wire remains an extremely important tool for your public relations and marketing campaigns. We hope to see you there!


“Meet The Hispanic Media Features Panel” Webinar Recording Now Available

October 10, 2012

If you missed LatinoWire’s Expert webinar,“Meet The Hispanic Media Features Panel,” with reporters from Efe News Service, Fox News Latino, NBC Latino, and Vista News Magazine, fear not! A recording of the webinar is now available for your listening pleasure.

Speakers:

Moderators:

Despite the issues we had with the audio (and we apologize), it was probably one of the most well-attended LatinoWire Expert Series Webinars to date — with lots of good tips, take-aways and contact information.  Below you’ll find a summary of what was said by each of our speakers, and should you wish to listen again to the full Webinar, kindly click on this link.

Claudia Solis - Servicio Hispano at Efe News Services

csolis@efeamerica.com

  • Servicio Hispano is focused exclusively on US Latinos for the past 8 years and is the main news supplier of many Spanish media outlets in the US, such as Univision, impreMedia, MSN Latino, Yahoo!, CNN en Español, Fox Latino, and about 90 other clients.
  • Our network has 20 correspondents, who are distributed throughout the main Latino markets in the US in Miami, New York, Los Angeles and Washington, DC.
  • We cover the Hispanic community in the US from entertainment to immigration, including sports, features, education, politics, community, etc.
  • We are looking for new voices, emerging topics, and exploring angles in coordination with the photo and video departments.
  • For product/service type stories we prefer that they have a human angle to them. Find an angle that tells a story and that is about people.
  • We are a Spanish-language news agency and prefer to receive news stories in Spanish but can work with English-language stories too.
  • Prefer to be pitched via email.

Carolyn Salazar — Fox News Latino

Carolyn.Salazar@Foxnewslatino.com

  • Targets second and third generation Latinos.
  • It has hardhitting, in-depth, investigative and light story lines from around the country and Latin America.
  • Launched two years ago, the website puts face on Latino issues through profiles or niche stories.
  • FNL covers news, politics, lifestyle, entertainment and health stories.
  • Daily operation so always looking for stories and story ideas. We cover substantive social issues and lighter stories that a human dimension to important Latino issues.
  • Since we have a national reach, we prefer issue-type stories and trends, rather than local events and products.
  • We like pitches tied to big events or holidays.
  • Prefer pitches by email, do not like phone calls.  We do appreciate when pitches know and understand our audience — second/third generation Latinos who still care about their culture, but are more comfortable speaking and reading in English.
  • We do profile individuals and companies, but the person and company should either be well-known or be doing something no one else is doing and that few people know about.
  • I appreciate pitches that show some preliminary reporting suggesting what the theme or the angle of the piece might be.

Nina Terrero — NBC Latino
Nina.Terrero@nbcuni.com

  • NBC Latino is unique from other Latino audience outlets because every single subject area we cover (politics, news, lifestyle, entertainment, technology and more) is written from the perspective of moving it beyond the usual conversation towards something more inspired, empowered and energized.
  • We report beyond the expected headlines and try to reflect our audience; where they come from and where they are headed. We know our audience is smart and accomplished, and we know they aspire for even more.
  • As someone who produces lifestyle content, I appreciate working with publicists who can write an articulate, compelling pitch (whether it’s a product launch, news-you-can-use, industry developments, etc.) accompanied with (when applicable) pictures, video and access to expert sources.
  • Email works best, but a follow-up call is often appreciated and I am accessible via Twitter as well at @thenininsky.
  • My stories appear throughout NBC Latino on various verticals and have run on NBC Universal outlets like the Today Show, Nightly News with Brian Williams, Education Nation and MSNBC.
  • Towards that end, I appreciate working with someone who can look beyond the expected to create a story that’s compelling and reflective of a dynamic population here in the United States.

Marissa Rodriguez — Vista Magazine

marissa.rodriguez@vistamagazine.com

  • Vista is a 27-year-old magazine that caters to Latinas, helping them “live the good life made simple.” We are a resource guide for living an organized, streamlined and fulfilled life.
  • In both print and on our website www.VistaMagazine.com, we focus on simple solutions for everyday challenges in the areas most important to our reader’s lives.
  • In print we publish six themed issues per year: Health (January/February), Work & Life (March/April), Parenting (May/June), Back to School & Style (July/August), Education & Hispanic Heritage (September/October) and Holiday (November/December). However, each issue offers an array of content across the spectrum of topics we cover. Our tone is inspirational and aspirational, but always accessible.
  • The best pitches for us are those about people or things that can show us how to make our lives easier. Ideally, they should also be very in-culture, featuring Hispanic spokespeople or sources, showing how they relate to Latinos, or be otherwise very relevant to our audience.
  • We are a dual-language magazine and website, so pitches in both languages are accepted.
  • Pitches with images are preferred.
  • For print, our ideal time frame is 60 days prior to circulation. Pitches for web can be accepted with a much shorter lead-time. E-mail pitches are preferred.

Getting Your Pitch Camera-Ready: Tips for PR Pros from National Broadcast Media

October 9, 2012
- by Shawnee Cohn, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/New York
MRT

Shawnee Cohn

In the public relations field, there’s no placement like a national broadcast TV placement. Getting your client on a top television program offers invaluable publicity. However, with this much sought-after media coverage comes much stiffer competition to get your pitch noticed by reporters and producers.

Recently the New York chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) held a media panel of experts from top, national broadcast television programs.

Moderated by Suzanne Lyons of Ketchum Public Relations, the panel included:

Following are some highlights that the experts offered for communications professionals:

Build a relationship: While some reporters and producers strictly prefer e-mail communication, others might be willing to meet with you at their office or to grab a coffee. Face-to-face time can go a long way in terms of building a rapport with the media, said Raff. At the Rachael Ray Show, most of the talent bookings originate from PR pros that Crudup has known for over 10 years.  Weber agreed, noting that she prefers to only speak over the phone with publicists who she has an established connection with. If you do not already have a standing relationship with a certain member of the media, the best way to begin developing one is by offering quality pitches.

Lend a helping hand: Reporters and producers know best when it comes to what their viewers want. With that said, giving them a “head start” when it comes to a storyline is always appreciated, noted Raff. If your pitch is in some way helping her do her job better and faster, Weber will be more likely to give it more than a passing glance. All of the panelists were in agreement that video and images are essential to give your pitch a leg up. In the world of TV, offering a visual element to your story cannot be overlooked. A useful tactic is to think of who/what you would like to see on TV prior to sending your pitch, according to Weber. If you do not find your own pitch interesting, than the media probably will not, either.  Jarvis suggests finding some element of “tension” to your story, by discussing the “players and competitors” or other intriguing aspects. Keep in mind that for human interest stories, the individual at the center must be able to speak about their experiences live and in an articulate, compelling way.

Be upfront: If your client is a paid spokesperson or is scheduled to appear on several other television programs, honesty is the best policy. “Communication is key,” according to Raff. Producers might be flexible and even let your paid spokesperson mention their product several times, as long you are open about their intentions right off the bat. Television shows always want an exclusive and prefer to know ahead of time if they would be following a competitor by covering your story. “Withholding information is not good and puts your reputation at risk,” warned Weber. If a client appears on a program and only gives manufactured answers seemingly crafted by a PR person, the relationship between the publicist and that particular show could be permanently damaged, noted Jarvis.

For more information on the PRSA New York Chapter , visit www.prsany.org. You can also get the latest entertainment news by registering at www.businesswire.com


Business Wire Holds Media Roundtable in Portland, Oregon

October 5, 2012
by Lauren Linscheid, Senior Client Services Representative
Business Wire/Seattle

Lauren Linscheid

Journalists, public relations professionals and communicators turned up for Business Wire’s media roundtable discussion in Portland, OR last month. Each attendee was able to spend 15-minute sessions with four out of the seven media representatives in attendance; many joked it was like speed dating with reporters. Participants were able to ask questions directly to journalists, and journalists gave insight into how their days are planned and unfold.

The media representatives included (pictured L-R below):

Media:  

Michelle Brence, Investigative/Enterprise Editor, The Oregonian
Nick Bradshaw, Assignment Manager, KATU News
Rick Turoczy, Editor, Silicon Florist
Eve Epstein, Managing Editor, OPB News
Matt Kish, Reporter,  Portland Business Journal
Tamara Hellman, Assignment Editor, KOIN Local 6 News
R. Bruce Williams, Assignment Editor, KGW NewsChannel 8

Moderator:
Angie Galimanis – Vice President, Lane PR

A few tips from the journalists:

  • Newsrooms hold daily editorial meetings; learn when they are, and try to call before they happen. You’re more likely to get discussed during the meeting.
  • TRANSPARENCY! This word echoed throughout the event. Be clear, straightforward and transparent. If you’re not, you will be ignored.
  • Mention your competitors; acknowledging your competition saves the reporter a step (see transparency).
  • Build relationships, and don’t reach out to a reporter only when you have something to pitch.
  • Email, but do NOT include attachments. Attachments clog email systems.
  • Journalists receive anywhere from 50-500 pitches daily, therefore be very brief and to the point. The subject line should be incredibly compelling and direct. Always follow up after sending your pitch, but don’t be obsessive.
  • Think like a reporter. What makes a good story? Sure your company may have sold five million widgets, but how does that affect the local community?
  • Put links in your press releases.
  • Do your homework. Learn what each organization wants, and what news each reporter or assignment editor covers.
  • Embargoes are still honored. Reporters want the exclusive.
  • Staffing at newspapers, TV and radio stations continues to decline. Journalists often have a hand in every aspect of a story. Only the most compelling stories will receive follow-up.
  • VISUAL, VISUAL, VISUAL! TV, online & print media want photos and videos. Each media outlet has a preference as far as what content they will use. One wants you to send your photos, while the next would prefer to shoot their own.
  • Local viral videos and trends on social media can turn into a news story. Reporters often tweet about a story that is still in process.
  • Because of deadlines and prioritizing, some stories will post online and not make it to print or the news hour.

The overwhelming themes were relationships and transparency. If you build relationships and are straightforward with the media, you are more likely to be viewed as a reliable source. It is not enough to blast out your story; you have to engage with the people you want to cover that story.

Business Wire thanks all our guests, the journalists and moderator for making this a fantastic event. Also, thanks to Lela Gradman at Nereus for writing about the event from the PR perspective.

Business Wire/Seattle is currently in the process of planning an event for the Seattle area. If you have topic or speaker suggestions, please email them to Lauren.Linscheid@businesswire.com. And make sure to look for other upcoming local events and webinars on our events calendar.


Twitter CEO Speaks to Role in Journalism and Communications at ONA12

October 3, 2012
by Chris Metinko, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/San Francisco

Chris Metinko

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo made clear two points while speaking in San Francisco recently:  he does not consider himself the current leader of free speech, but he does realize the company’s place in journalism and communications, and new tools are on the way to aid those industries.

Costolo made the remarks while speaking to more than 500 journalists and communications professionals at the Online News Association’s annual conference attended by Business Wire. During an onstage interview with Emily Bell, director of Tow Centre for Digital Journalism, Costolo laughed off a question about how it feels to be the head of the free press in the 21st century.

“I don’t view that as my job,” said Costolo, adding he considers Twitter a tech company in the media business. He, however, did acknowledge Twitter’s growing impact on the world of journalism and news dissemination.

“Hopefully Twitter has become a tremendously valuable tool to journalists,” said Costolo, who spoke at the same conference three years ago when Twitter had 80 employees. It now has 1,300 employees.

Twitter’s growing impact among communication professionals could be seen at the conference — where there were more than 34,500 tweets about the conference with hashtag #ONA12, compared to 20,000 tweets for last year’s conference. In a recent study, just under half of all journalists surveyed said they use Twitter for sourcing stories.

Realizing that impact, Costolo said Twitter is working on curation tools he hopes to make available to newsrooms to host live events on the social media platform.

“We have known for a long time that when events happen in the real world, the shared experience is on Twitter and we want to create an ability to curate events,” Costolo said.

He added that Twitter will have the ability by the end of the year to allow users to download past Tweets — something that could help many in the communications field with research and gauging public opinion. Although he cautioned the proposed timeline may not be exact.

“The caveat is that this is the CEO saying this,” Costolo laughed, “not the engineer who’s building this.”

Other tidbits form Costolo:

  • When asked about a Twitter phone, Costolo said he never says never but that is “not the way we think about the company.”
  • Costolo cited New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady as the person he would most like to see on Twitter who currently is not.
  • Costolo declined to give disclose Twitter’s revenues when asked — noting the positives of being a private company.

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