Austin Media Professionals on Social Media, Pitching and More

November 29, 2012
by Erica Shuckies, Account Executive, Business Wire/Austin

During a particularly busy news week for Austin media, the Business Wire Austin office hosted a “Meet the Media” luncheon, featuring Colin Pope, editor of the Austin Business Journal; Corrie MacLaggan, national correspondent for Reuters; and Bonnie Gonzalez, morning live reporter for Your News Now Austin. Paying mind to the notion that “news happens”, the luncheon was smack dab in the middle of preparation for the inaugural Formula 1 US Grand Prix race and memorial services for legendary University of Texas football coach, Darrell K Royal. Needless to say, we were glad to have the panel available to chat with us.

The conversation focused around the increasingly evolving worlds of public relations and news; specifically, how the media’s day-to-day operations are affected by these changes. Topics included the growth of social media (among both reporters and PR professionals), the importance of multimedia in PR, and the differing preferences among media outlets.

Colin Pope mentioned something that is a good reminder for us all before pitching any media: “remember your audience”. Every pitch should be catered to the individual to whom you are speaking, and each person could have a different preferred method of contact. Follow and interact with them on social media, read past stories they’ve covered, and look through their bios. You will often discover that one reporter prefers email communications, while another loves to chat on social media. As an example of this, Bonnie Gonzalez noted that she uses Facebook for story discovery and research, while Corrie MacLaggan sticks to Twitter. If you skip over this important step, your news will most likely get lost among the many hundreds of story ideas these people see each day.

Moderator Raschanda Hall, from the Business Wire Chicago office, posed an interesting question for the panel: how ethical is the use of social media by reporters for breaking news? Colin Pope answered it best by noting that the job of a reporter is to pass news to the public. As long as they use good judgment and follow any organizational guidelines, how they decide to disseminate that news is up to them.

Here are a few more key takeaways from the event:

  • Keep your press releases short and to the point. Too often, the lead in a release will be buried under ‘fluffy’ information leading up to the important details.
  • Target your pitches and press releases to the right individuals. Do your homework and don’t waste their time. Keep in mind that the media has increasing sets of responsibilities, yet the same amounts of time to accomplish all of the extra tasks.
  • Visuals are a BIG deal. Not only do visuals make the story more likely to get read, but they also give the journalist another aspect of the story to use, enhancing the final product and making their job easier.
  • If you are going to add multimedia to a press release/pitch, make sure it is a professional, high-quality file. Color files are always a plus.
  • Let the media know that you (or a spokesperson) are available as a subject expert in your industry. When journalists are writing a piece about a particular industry, they often like to have outside sources comment on the story. Just like that, you gain easy exposure for yourself and your company!

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Are You Naming Your Multimedia Files Appropriately?

November 29, 2012
by Phil Dennison, Senior Marketing Specialist

Yesterday, I saw a lot of people sharing this article from Inc. magazine’s “Kickass Social Media Strategy” blog: The Perfectly Optimized Press Release. It offers a lot of useful tips — some of them of the same type we’ve been offering on our blog and our website for a while — but there was one in particular I wanted to bring attention to.

3. Take advantage of multimedia attachments.

Press releases with multimedia typically have higher click-through rates. So, if your wire service allows multimedia attachments such as videos or pdf files then be sure to take advantage of this extended functionality. Here’s a little known trick: don’t forget to optimize the filenames and titles of your multimedia attachments to your press release. This will boost the press release’s SEO power. Again, use keywords and phrases that are relevant to the press release only.

This is a tip that can’t be stressed enough, and it doesn’t just refer to photo captions (which should definitely also include your keywords for optimum SEO).

The file names for your online photos, videos and PDFs are indexed by search engines just as the text of your press release is. By naming those files appropriately, using keywords and coordinating with your overall strategy, you increase your opportunity for being found by web users. And having an appropriate photo or video come up in search results, especially since high-ranking multimedia results appear on the first page, carries a great deal of power – it’s content that can be viewed and consumed nearly instantly, attached to your brand and your marketing strategy.

Although most PR and marketing people are pretty savvy about this strategy now, we still occasionally see multimedia files that have descriptive names but not any of the releases keywords; or worse, generic file names like “DSC_200.jpg.” Make sure that every element of your release – text, logos, photos, videos, etc. — is helping to achieve your SEO and marketing strategies.

If you have questions about naming your multimedia files, or how best to distribute your multimedia press release, contact your local Business Wire account executive, or call our Photo Desk at 800.221.2462.


Is a Password Protected Company Website a Best Online Newsroom Practice?

November 27, 2012
by Pilar Portela, Media Relations Supervisor; and Julia Sotelo, Client Services Representative, Business Wire/Miami

Pilar Portela, Media Relations Supervisor

As more and more companies are building their online news sites, many are faced with questions about how best to serve their consumers, employees and visiting journalists:  When building your online newsroom, should you have visitors register to log into your company website? How far back should press releases be archived on an online newsroom? Should executive bios with age be included on the company news site?

These were some of many questions asked at Business Wire Florida’s Online Newsrooms Best Practices for Communicators panel earlier this month at the University of Miami.

Julia Sotelo, Client Services Representative

The panel consisted of Bill Faries, Miami bureau chief for Bloomberg; Rick Hirsch, managing editor for The Miami Herald; and Jeff Tavss, executive producer for digital & social media for WPLG-TV. Ibrey Woodall, vice president of web communications services for Business Wire, moderated the panel. Each media professional shared his insights on online newsrooms and the challenges of their usage by the media.

When asked if they would visit a “password protected” company online newsroom where they had to register to gain access, each panelist said no, and had questions of their own on the matter.

“Why would a company do that?” Hirsh asked.

“How prevalent is this practice?” Tavss said.

Pictured left to right: Pilar Portela (Business Wire), Jeff Tavss (WPLG-TV), Bill Faries (Bloomberg), Claudia Perez (Business Wire), Janice Essick (Business Wire), Julia Sotelo (Business Wire), Eric Bushkin (Business Wire), Rick Hirsch (The Miami Herald)

Faries shared that you have to be a big company such as Coca-Cola for him to register for such a site. He even went further to say that once he is in a password-protected news site he should be able to find information that is not accessible by the general public.

“The act of password protecting content types within an online newsroom is not widespread; however, it can be very useful at times. It all depends upon the strategy and specific purpose of the online newsroom,” added Woodall.

Also brought up during the panel discussion was a timeline for press releases and searchable archives. Hirsch said, “Companies should keep everything up”. Faries agreed and added, “Keep it up for transparency.”

Woodall advised that the industry average is to provide a minimum of 2 to 5 years of press release archives. “If you can provide more historical press releases than do so,” stated Woodall. “But if you are unable to do so, at least provide milestone releases that affect  the make-up of the company, such as a merger or acquisition or new CEO. You don’t necessarily need to provide a release about a small community event from 1973.”

Here are some other essentials a company should keep in mind when mapping out its online newsroom.

  • It should be easily accessible, and made available from your home page.
  • Full birthdates for executives should be listed, not just ages.
  • Complete executive bios, including resumes, are preferred.
  • Provide links to the executives’ LinkedIn pages.
  • Phone numbers (very important) and/or email addresses for media contacts should be available.
  • Provide cell phone numbers for executives if possible.
  • Categorize press releases and include searchability functions.
  • Sites MUST be optimized for viewing on mobile phones and tablets.
  • Media does not like when they have to register to access the information.

For more information and tips on building a better online newsroom read our guidance report. If you would like us to create your online newsroom contact your local Business Wire account executive.


REMINDER: U.S. Stock Exchanges Closed Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 22

November 21, 2012

Please be aware that the U.S. exchanges (NYSE/NYSE MKT, NASDAQ, OTCBB, Pink Sheets) will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 22 in observance of Thanksgiving. Exchanges will also close early, at 1:00 pm ET, on Friday, Nov. 23.

Calendar of US Federal Holidays:
http://www.opm.gov/Operating_Status_Schedules/fedhol/2012.asp

NYSE Holiday Calendar:
http://corporate.nyx.com/en/holidays-and-hours/nyse

NASDAQ Holiday Calendar:
http://www.nasdaqtrader.com/Trader.aspx?id=Calendar

The following are some numbers that may be of assistance:

Dow Jones: 212.416.2000
Reuters: 646.223.6000
Bloomberg: 212.617.2300

US SEC Branch of EDGAR Filer Support
Telephone: (202) 942-8900

NYSE Client Services Department
Telephone: (212) 656-3000
Fax: (212) 656-7299 (212) 656-2294
Email: pressreleases@nyx.com

NYSE MKT
Telephone: (212) 656-3000 or (212)-656-5804
Email: pressreleases@nyx.com

NASDAQ Stockwatch
Telephone: (800) 537-3929
Fax: (301) 978-8510
Link to NASDAQ.net: NASDAQ.net

OTC Bulletin Board (OTCBB)
Telephone: (203) 375-9609


The Never Ending News

November 16, 2012
by Chris Metinko, Media Relations Specialist/Business Wire – San Francisco

Chris Metinko

With the growth of the internet, blogging and social media, the everyday news cycle has become a 24 hour a day phenomenon with no start or stop. But what does the modern news cycle mean to journalism as well as the people who help provide the information?

“Essentially, it’s impossible to keep up,” said Mike Isaac of the tech site AllThingsD. Isaac was one of four panelists to discuss the topic at a breakfast hosted by Business Wire in San Francisco.

“You’re feeding a beast that never stops eating,” Isaac added.

While some might point to the advent of social media as the origin of the 24-hour news cycle, Louise Kehoe, who leads Ogilvy’s West Coast technology practice, said the news always has been that way.

“The more things change the more they stay the same,” Kehoe said. “In the news business, the lights are always on somewhere.”

Kehoe said what has changed is so many more people can have their voices heard, and not everyone has the same tight journalist standards.

“We have to figure out how to handle people who don’t play by the rules,” Kehoe said.

Alex Wellins, co-founder and managing director of The Blueshirt Group, said one way companies can keep from getting burned with the nonstop proliferation of information via blogs and social media is to be careful of the information they put out. He said it is especially important for public companies — who are watched heavily by the SEC — to be careful of what they say, and have social media strategists and rules in place to avoid trouble.

“Things like social media create opportunities, but there also is a cost involved,” Wellins added.

Looking to the future of news, most felt there will likely be some kind of shake out as far as where people go to get their news and who is trusted.

“In our industry, we’re under peer review every day,” said Christopher Noble, assistant managing editor for international at Market Watch.

“People are smart and return to the authoritative voice,” Isaac said. “That’s what I see happening.”


Does Including a Photo Get You More Views? Rutgers CMD Wins SNCR Award for Finding Out

November 13, 2012
by Phil Dennison, Senior Marketing Specialist/Business Wire – Cleveland

As we’ve stressed again and again, multimedia drives press release views online — our own measurement data shows it, and so does pretty much everyone else’s. This past Friday, though, the Rutgers University Center for Management Development (CMD) won an award from the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR) for looking into it in an unconventional way: What happens when you distribute the same release twice, once with a photo and once without?

The photo distributed by Rutgers CMD with their second of two identical press releases one week apart.

With the help of SEO-PR, Rutgers CMD wrote and optimized a press release concerning an upcoming promotion, then distributed it via Business Wire at identical times one week apart, first without a photo, then with one. Everything else – headline, content, formatting, and so forth — was identical. The photo was the only difference.

The result? Despite the fact that Google News didn’t index the second release, it got 20% more views and 63% more clicks in 14 days than the first press release got in 21 days. Taking into account search engine penalties for duplicate content, that’s a pretty impressive result.

Even better, according to Eric Greenberg, Managing Director of Executive Education, Rutgers CMD, “This campaign has already generated seven registrations worth $31,500 in incremental revenue for Rutgers CMD, which is 8.75 times more than the $3,600 spent on writing, optimizing and distributing the press releases over Business Wire with and without a photo. So, conducting the study has paid off financially as well as academically.”

To further bring home the importance of press release optimization, after issuing the press release announcing this award, Rutgers CMD got some very impressive search results:

This is not the first such research that Rutgers CMD and SEO-PR have conducted into press release ROI. Greg Jarboe of SEO-PR recently authored a white paper for Business Wire, Linking Press Release Output to Outcomes, that details three separate sets of research on when best to send a press release and whether an active press release campaign has measurable revenue effects. Download it today to find out more.

Congratulations to Rutgers CMD and SEO-PR on their prestigious award, and we hope to bring you more research from them in the future.


Dow Jones Spot News Editors Offer Tips to Get Your News Noticed

November 5, 2012
- by Shawnee Cohn, Media Relations Specialist;
Joe Curro, Account Executive; and Alan Asarch, Manager, Licensing & Content Development, Business Wire/NY
MRT

Shawnee Cohn

A common question we get at Business Wire is, “What happens once my press release gets to the actual newsroom?” A key part of our service offerings is the delivery of your market-moving financial and earnings information that fulfills financial disclosure requirements.  Our patented NX Network ensures simultaneous delivery of this important press release content to the Associated Press, Dow Jones, Thomson Reuters, AFP, Bloomberg, and other leading financial and news organizations around the world, but what happens on the other end?

On a recent visit to the New York headquarters of Dow Jones, several Business Wire employees met with editors at the Dow Jones Newswires Spot News Desk. These editors are some of the first eyes on the real-time news, including press releases coming in through Business Wire and other wire services.  While some news releases may be automatically published over Dow Jones’ various products and services, they have the challenging responsibility of using their swift editorial discretion to determine what news makes their headlines.

The Spot News Desk team at Dow Jones Newswires shared some tips for public relations and communications professionals tasked with writing press releases, to help make sure the releases are seen:

Leave the “fluff” out of your release: At some of the busiest times of the day, such as market open and close, the Spot News Desk editors are hoping to publish several headlines per minute. If it takes longer than a few seconds to determine the market-moving information in the press release, your news is at risk of getting tossed, or at the very least, giving an editor a headache. Instead of forcing the newsroom to sift through your jargon, make the news evident from the very beginning, and try to write in a tone that can be easily understood by multiple audiences. Use bullet points at the beginning to identify salient details, and try to include a subheading that is relevant and would be able to stand on its own.

Timing is of the essence: For a lesser-known company, you’ll have more of a chance at catching an editor’s eye and attention during a slow time of the day. From 10AM-3PM, the influx of wire news tends to quiet down at Dow Jones. If you send out your press release at the market closing time of 4 PM, you risk a greater chance of having your announcement lost in the shuffle.

Use a wire service for your earnings news: Some companies opt out of using a wire service to distribute an earnings announcement and choose instead to post this news directly to their corporate website. For Spot News editors who are monitoring major announcements through a feed of wire news, it can seriously disrupt the flow of information if they are required to open a browser, navigate to a specific page, and/or copy and paste URLs in order to collect the data needed for a story. Needless to say, Spot News desk teams are incredibly busy, and if you can lend a helping hand by making your release easily accessible through a wire service, it is much appreciated.

Beginning its 52nd year, Business Wire continues to be trusted by public relations and communications professionals for the distribution and delivery of their press release announcements to the news and financial community.

For more information about Business Wire’s Public Relations and Investor Relations services, visit www.businesswire.com.


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