Social Media, Wall Street, and the Big Questions Still Being Asked

July 10, 2014

By M. Joe Curro, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire

Show me something innovative, not just new. I have a wide range of interests, but one thing that really gets me going is finding a creative approach, a new way of presenting what I’ve seen before. A triple-A game studio released yet another first-person military simulation? Meh. Astoria is getting another fusion restaurant? Yawn. Netflix is suggesting another season of Star Trek… OK, bad example. How do they know me so well?

I had the opportunity to witness a creative approach last Thursday at PRSA-NY’s inaugural #SocialWallStreet Meetup. Held at the Museum of American Finance, the event featured a discussion of how to address the questions facing Wall Street’s use of social media. New regulations have been passed, but few companies seem eager to embrace the opportunity. The decision to frame the event as an “unconference” was more than the cheerful adoption of an undefined buzzword. It was brilliant.

prsa socialwallstreetBusiness Wire has been a part of this debate for years, encouraging our clients to use social media channels as part of a well-rounded communications strategy for both PR and IR. While there are plenty of risks to keep in mind, social media has the potential to be incredibly valuable. I was glad to see that Business Wire’s message has clearly been getting out there. As a refresher, check here for a white paper on the risks and rewards of social media for regulated companies.

David Rosen, SVP of Digital Corporate & Public Affairs at Edelman, ably played MC to a group of about 50 participants from agencies, financial companies and others. David got the ball rolling by laying the framework for the day — namely, that we were not there to debate whether or not permission had been granted from a regulatory standpoint for companies to use social media. We were working from the assumption that it had, and the question we needed to answer was: Now what?

The event started with brief presentations and a free-form Q&A session with David’s experts, Joyce Sullivan, VP of Social Business Programs at Socialware, and Tom Chernaik, CEO and Co-Founder of CommandPost/CMP.LY.  We then brainstormed in groups of five or six, while David, Joyce and Tom circulated among us, and came up with the most immediate concerns preventing a company from embracing social media as part of its communications strategy.  Once we had around two dozen questions, we voted to determine the top six that we felt needed the most urgent attention. Each group took one question and proposed specific answers that could be implemented to address the concerns of cautious social media adopters.

The groups considered:

  1. How to convince senior management that social media isn’t just for teenagers
  2. How to make the business case for social media
  3. How to create compliant content
  4. How to help people realize that social media is more than just Twitter
  5. How to do real-time response
  6. How to respond if your social channels are hacked

We arrived at some clever answers and heard a broad range of ideas. But the part I like best is that we’re not done. The #SocialWallStreet event was not intended to be a one-off experiment. It was a seed to get a conversation growing in our industry. There will be future Meetups (and I look forward to them), but we should be talking about this constantly.

The answers proposed by the attendees of Thursday’s event can be seen here. I invite anyone and everyone to join the conversation, and if you’ve got an idea to share, let us know.  Post a comment to the event summary. Start a debate within your own company. Heck, send me your idea! This is just going to get more interesting, and I want to see how it turns out.

Joyce captured the attitude of the event perfectly as she wrapped up her opening remarks: “The regulations are in place, but you’re all waiting for someone to give you permission. OK, fine. I give you permission. Now get to it.”  Sounds good to me.


How Austrian Butchers Used Social Media to Fight McDonald’s

June 30, 2014

One of the advantages of being a global news distribution service with local offices around the world, is the ability to feature successful campaigns occurring in local markets.

In this CommPro.biz piece,  Seval Dogan and Ralph J. Dittmar, from Business Wire Germany, take a closer look at the successful strategies and tactics Austrian butchers used in response to a McDonald’s ad attacking their core product – the Wurstsemmel sandwich.

As you will see, utilizing social media channels, the butchers were able to evoke local pride so quickly and effectively that McDonald’s pulled their advertising campaign within two days of launch.

Read more about this amazing program here:  http://bit.ly/Wurstsemmel


The Art of Storytelling – Understanding The Story Arc

June 27, 2014

Are today’s communication pros ruining the age-old tradition of compelling news story narratives with their press releases?  Julian Sher, the award-winning journalist and veteran senior producer of CBC’s investigative TV program “The Fifth Estate,” believes so.

Learn why as Sher outlines how to utilize story arcs to tell your business story in this piece by Business Wire Canada’s Zara McAlister:  http://bit.ly/BrandStoryArcs 


The Business Wire 2014 Media Survey Results are In! Check these out!

June 26, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media

What happens when you ask 300 members of the media 30 questions regarding the information they need from you to write about a company?

You get data.  And with data, you can do great things!  Business Wire 2014 Media Survey

Data provides you with a road map, a rationale for making small and large changes to your PR program.  And this data is pretty great.  This data gives you an insider’s view of the workings of today’s online newsrooms, and the tools journalists use.

We’ve even provided links at the end to some articles and how tos to get you started.

In this survey, we asked 300 North American reporters, editors, bloggers on a variety of beats and news platforms – from TV to blogs – what metrics they are held to, when was the last time they looked at a press release, what types of news they want to see, what are their multimedia requirements, what your online newsroom must contain (more than you may think!), and if they like (or hate) social media pitches and more.

Here are just five of the amazing points we uncovered:

  1. Reporters are evaluated on several interesting metrics, but the top two remain page views and social shares.  Tip: Share your coverage across all marketing channels to help reporters meet this metric, showcasing your coverage and the publication to existing and new audiences alike.
  1. At the time they replied, 90 percent of journalists surveyed had used a press release in the previous week, and 53 percent said they used newswire content one or more times a day.  Tip: Download the survey to see exactly what kind of news they would like to see.
  1. Only 1 percent of journalists surveyed want to be pitched through social channels, with 22 percent preferring news releases; however, when it comes to researching story news or leads, 74 percent of them rely primarily on social channels.  Tip: Upgrade your social monitoring program. Today’s monitoring tools are less expensive, and much easier to use than you may think!
  1. Where do you look when researching an organization_q15_2014Corporate websites and online newsrooms continue to be top destinations for company-specific information.  Tip: Not sure if your online newsroom has the info today’s reporters want and need?  Find out what our respondents said.
  1. 70 percent of respondents said their jobs would be harder without press releases.  Tip: Write targeted releases that include the answers to the questions your news will generate. This will provide reporters the data they need to cover your story quickly.

We’ll be discussing more of these results, and their impact, in the next few weeks.  Can’t wait?  Download the complete survey here or email us to learn more about how today’s journalists rely on newswires like Business Wire to do their jobs.

Want to share this survey with your Twitter followers?  Click this link to tweet it out http://bit.ly/BWMediaSurvey!


Everything PR Pros Need to Know About the 2014 AP Stylebook

June 25, 2014

Earlier this month, Luke O’Neill, outlined the recent changes to the AP Stylebook in two articles published in CommPro.biz.

In his first piece, Luke looks at the biggest change that PR pros need to know from this year’s guide, AP’s changing definition of “over”.

In his second piece, Luke breaks down 8 of the most common AP style errors made by today’s communication professionals.  From capitalizing job titles to adding hyphens to words ending in –ly, these errors can be found in a majority of today’s press releases, much to the chagrin of reporters and journalists.

Learn more about the latest in AP stylebook changes and writing best practices in these two articles:

  1. http://bit.ly/2014APStylebook
  2. http://bit.ly/APMistakesPRProsMake

 


The Role of Cultural Knowledge in Global Marketing (or How A Color Choice Nearly Brought Down a Major Company Launch)

June 23, 2014

Earlier this month, Business Wire Paris’ editor Hannah Kelly discussed the importance of understanding cultural changes before launching campaigns in global markets.

In this CommPro.biz piece, Hannah showcases examples of great marketing programs that failed due to the brand’s misunderstanding of how the local market perceives colors, translations, gender and social norms as well as marketing styles.

If you are launching marketing programs outside your region, definitely read this piece: http://bit.ly/culturalmarketing

 


The Four Pillars of PR in 2014: Authenticity, Trust, Engagement & Measurement

June 19, 2014

The 4 Pillars of PR

Earlier this year, PR Week hosted their first global congress in Barcelona.  At this inaugural event, four themes emerged – Authenticity, Trust, Engagement & Measurement.

In this summary by Agnes Deleuse, Senior Marketing Manager, Business Wire Paris, & Chen-Lee Tsui, European Marketing Manager, Business Wire London, we take a look at how the four pillars of PR create the foundation for a successful PR program.

Learn more about each of these elements and how, when combined, they can not only increase coverage and interest in an organization, but also provide a higher return on investment at http://bit.ly/4PillarsofPR


Footballing nations battling it out in the IR Magazine Awards!

June 11, 2014

By: Chen-Lee Tsui, Manager, European Marketing/London

With only a few weeks to go, the IR Magazine Europe 2014 awards are due to take place on Tuesday 24th June. For the football/soccer fans among us, this is the same evening as England’s first World Cup game against Costa Rica!annual IR Magazine Awards ‒ Europe

Now in its 24th year in London, this event celebrates the best Investor Relations achievements across various industry sectors and acknowledges the contributions made by individuals as well as by teams. For both winners and runners-up an IR Magazine Award means that those selected have demonstrated they have created results that deliver real business benefits.

The short list for the awards came out recently. If you’d like a flutter the odds are in favour of Germany – a great footballing nation, with 27 nominations across 17 main award categories. Another world class football team, England (read: UK), picks up 18 nominations (five more than last year!). The Scandinavian countries (sorry, not qualified for the World Cup) share nine nominations, followed by Italy (six), Spain & Portugal (five) and last but not least the orange footballing giant, the Netherlands, with two.

booth

Business Wire has been supporting this industry leading awards program for more than 11 years. This year without fail, we will be present. Back by popular demand, a branded photo booth will be there to capture your evening with friends and colleagues! Attendees will have the opportunity to get their pictures taken for free at the photo booth, providing a great “take-away” lasting memory of the event.

We hope to see many of you there “strike a pose”. Email us with questions, or if you would like to meet up during the program.  See you in London on the 24th June!


Don’t Miss the Upcoming Webinar “The Business of Sports”

June 5, 2014
Jake Toplitt, Account Supervisor at Matter, Inc

Webinar moderator Jake Toplitt

The pressure is on. You have been put in charge of getting coverage for a top sports brand.  You begin your press campaign by writing a compelling release which you promptly distribute, patiently waiting for signs of interest.  You want a journalist that will sing praises about your brand or maybe a mere mention. But instead you find silence. What went wrong? Wouldn’t it be great to learn from someone on the inside who can share insights on the business side of a major sports outlet?

Danny Ecker, Reporter/Producer (Sports Business), Crain's Chicago Business

Danny Ecker, Reporter/Producer (Sports Business), Crain’s Chicago Business

On June 12, Business Wire is giving PR professionals the opportunity to learn everything from sports-oriented product pitches and endorsements to coverage of the biggest news in professional and collegiate athletics with a webinar titled “The Business of Sports.” The webinar will feature a panel of leading journalists from the world of broadcast and print.

“So many story pitches that show up in my inbox are generic. I am constantly deleting emails from PR people that are so obviously casting a wide net and trying to get a reporter to bite,” said Danny Ecker, who writes for Crain’s Chicago Business and will be speaking on the panel. “Covering sports business often requires looking at the world of sports the way most people don’t and highlighting everything except what’s happening on the main stage.”

Hugo Balta, Coordinating Producer, ESPN

Hugo Balta, Coordinating Producer, ESPN

Another speaker is Hugo Balta, a coordinating producer for ESPN. Balta has mentioned on many occasions the importance of doing your homework when pursuing a journalist or outlet. His philosophy is to research the outlet so you can begin to understand what they’re trying to achieve. Then you can tailor your client to what specifically meets the needs of the journalist.

Kristi A. Dosh, Esq., Sports Business Analyst, Public Relations Exec.& College Sports Consultant

Kristi A. Dosh, Esq., Sports Business Analyst, Public Relations Exec.& College Sports Consultant

The panel also includes Kristi Dosh, who is a Sports Business Analyst, Public Relations Exec. & College Sports Consultant. Moderating the event is sports marketing professional Jake Toplitt, Account Supervisor for Matter Inc. All of the panelists bring years of experience working for sports outlets and will effectively reveal powerful pitching tips and advice for reaching sports journalists and influential outlets.

Sign up and be prepared to learn about unexplored opportunities for coverage from leading professionals working in the field.

Register Now


Eight Reasons the Media Hate You (And How You Can Fix It)

June 4, 2014
By Stephanie Jo Peksen, Account Executive, Business Wire New York

If you’re like most public relations professionals, you have a list for everything – a to-do list, a client list and, of course, a media outreach list. When time gets tight, you may occasionally succumb to the temptation to send out a blanket pitch to your entire press list, and then cross your fingers while hoping that all your clients’ dreams come true. A word of advice: don’t. The key to garnering coverage in 2014 is by helping reporters help you. Otherwise you risk landing in the junk folder – permanently.

8 Reasons the Media Hates You (And How You Can Fix it) By Stephanie Jo Peksen, Account Executive, Business Wire New YorkTo help you connect with the press who really do need your input, we compiled comments from editors, outlining the top eight reasons why reporters occasionally hate you – and how to make them love you.

1)      You Didn’t Tailor Your Pitch: “It’s hard work, but work worth doing: tailor your pitch to me. Know who I am and what I cover and exactly what might interest me about your product/person/idea other than just ‘IT EXISTS!'”  says Allen Salkin, author of From Scratch: Inside the Food Network, and freelance journalist for NY Times and other publications.

In other words, make sure you’ve at least looked at the publication and understand its audience and news stance. Are you pitching a local publication about a product launch and including a general press release and product sheet? Fine, but find an authentic local hook – don’t just say “people chew gum in New York, so your New York publication should cover our national launch of chewing gum.” There needs to be an honest connection with the reporter’s readers, and the issues covered by the media outlet – find that connection, and use it as your lede.

 

2)      Your Headline is a Snooze and Your Lede is MIA: “If the subject line of your email pitch isn’t interesting and concise, you will get deleted before you’re read. Same goes for your press release headline: if you leave the meaty stuff at the bottom, it will never get read,” says Nicole Bode, Deputy Editor of News, DNAInfo New York.

It may seem self-explanatory that brevity is the soul of wit, but we dare you to review your last few press releases or press pitches. Could you read the headline or subject aloud without the need to gasp for air? Are the most crucial details easily found within the headline/sub-head or first paragraph? If not, get cracking – and revising. Same goes for voicemails, elevator pitches and topics for short meetings.

3)      You Had Truly Bad Timing: “Not understanding a publication’s production schedule is a problem. If a magazine goes to print on Tuesday, Monday night is not the time to say ‘Ok, we’re ready to go on the record now!’” and think that you’ll make it into that issue. There are always exceptions, but they are not made with ease. Get to know the publishing schedule of a media outlet you hope to do lots of work with. It’s not an excuse to say that you waited to the last minute because you were afraid it would get out before an agreed upon date. If you think a writer or editor is that unprofessional, you shouldn’t work with them anyway,”says Xania Woodman, Senior Editor, Vegas Seven Magazine.

If you don’t know your key outlets’ timetables, start gathering them now, and act accordingly. No sending press info about a Super Bowl-related product two days before the game: No editor will have time to review and your client will be shortchanged. Similarly, unless it’s breaking news or you specifically know the editor or reporter is working that day, don’t pitch press on a major holiday. Take a break yourself – the media will respect you more if you’re not emailing them while they’re BBQing for Memorial Day or July 4th.

 

4)      You Were Too Chummy: “Among my pet peeves are publicists who address me as Mr., and others who write to me as if we know each other, when we have never before spoken or met (e.g. ‘Hi Jamie! Hope you’ve been having a great week…’ How about just ‘Dear Jamie, I represent Tazo Teas, and I would love to get to know you. I have a new product that I thought might be an excellent fit for your publication…’” says Jamie Kiffel-Alcheh, Editor-in-Chief of CarleyK.com.

A simple LinkedIn search would reveal that Ms. Kiffel-Alcheh is in fact, female, and yes, sometimes the simplest declarative introductions can be best. Does your client watch its channel’s daily segment on XYZ, and you think the client is a perfect fit for this reason? Say it clearly and professionally, and you may be surprised at the very pleasant response.

5)      You Ignored the Media’s Main Requests: “In business journalism, some publications require that I find out the revenues of a company–or they won’t accept a story from me about that firm. Every once in a while, a publicist will, after hearing this, go around me to see if they can persuade an editor at the publication to bend that rule, which will usually annoy the editor. Or they will set me up on an interview with a business owner who clearly has no intention of sharing financials, even though we’ve agreed ahead of time that this info will be part of the interview. It’s not always the publicist’s fault, but it ends up being a waste of time for all concerned, since I can’t use the interview in the end,” says Elaine Pofeldt, a contributing editor at Crain’s and a contributor to Money, Fortune and Inc. 

Reporters get frustrated when people set up follow-up interviews without all the information at the ready – so unless you are prepared to burn a bridge, don’t offer a brick wall. Pre-plan and know what information you can offer and to whom. Even if you have limited resources, come up with a Plan B. If the editor says it’s super important, believe it and get that info, or simply decline and come back another time when you have everything he or she needs to build the story. If you build a good rapport, you may wind up quoted in a trend feature or commenting on another company in print. But don’t ignore their original must-haves.

6)      You Sent a Wall of Text: “I might be different than lots of publications. I don’t want to copy/paste/print your release. I want the mechanics to find my own angle. That means links, bullets, bites. I could care less that ‘We are pleased’ was quoted by this or that important person. I agree deeply with David Meerman Scott’s jargon buzzword bingo opinion, where it seems that every solution is ‘next generation, world class, scalable, blah blah blah.’ Skip the adjectives and save me some time in finding my own angle into the story,” says Chris Brogan, Publisher of Owner Magazine, and New York Times best-selling author of six books, including The Impact Equation (with Julien Smith).

Stop calling your client “ground-breaking,” and please do take care in how you set up a press release or a pitch, with easy-to-grasp formatting, so the reporter can review it and figure out if it’s a good match. Business Wire releases are distributed in XHTML, so use bullets to focus on key points, send your release with boldface and italics to highlight issues, and make sure you include multiple relevant and easy-to-access hyperlinks. It’s not just for consumers to engage and generate click-through data for your client (although that’s a plus), but for reporters who need to know very quickly how to reach you, your client, or get more information about the product/event/issue you’re promoting. Adding a photo to your release also helps paint the clearest picture – just make sure to include a proper caption in case it’s used.

7)      You Gave Way Too MUCH information:   “You’re likely not to get any coverage if you send over so much stuff that it won’t download, or if you send a giant press release that’s too long. Simplicity works best for me. Instead of a huge file, I’d click through to see media at a link,” says Tara Cox, Managing Editor, Men’s Journal.

 

While each editor and reporter will have different needs and timetables, crashing someone’s computer with your pitch is never a good idea. Whether you’re sending a well-crafted email blast or a wire press release with well-chosen multimedia, use these digital missives to clearly show your assets and pique interest. Video, images, and multimedia are great, but make sure the links work and files are easy to open.      

 

8)      You Were Boring: “Journalists are busy and some get hundreds of press releases a day (I know I do!), so use a bit of humor in your email to me and include a story with some passion so it can really stand out. A press release can be more than a collection of data. Make me truly excited about what you’re trying to promote. If you were a reader, what story would capture YOUR attention?” says Katherine Brodsky, freelance writer for publications like Variety, Entertainment Weekly, USA Weekend, Mashable, and MovieMaker Magazine.

 

Media professionals face tight deadlines and tough demands, but the ones you hope to reach for coverage are people, not robots- they do respond to genuine feeling. Don’t forget what the R in Public Relations means and try relating and connecting for a change, and yes, add some style and interest where you can. If you can use that to establish trust and connection, and deliver on your promises, anything can happen.

 


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