What are the Most Common Errors our Editors Catch in Your Press Releases?

September 4, 2013

If there’s one thing our customers are almost universally in agreement about, it’s how fantastic our editors are. In our more than 20 newsrooms around the world, our eagle-eyed staff are constantly on the lookout for little errors that might otherwise go unnoticed during the press release writing and approval process. When they find them, they immediately alert the sender before we transmit the release, saving many an error from appearing in media inboxes, on social media or anywhere else.

The data bears it out – Business Wire issues far, far fewer corrections than any other wire services.

According to our internal reports, here — in no particular order — are the ten most frequent catches by our editors in your press releases:

1) Wrong day/date/time zone agreement.
2) Bad or broken hyperlinks.
3) Inconsistent references to the same company, people or product names.
4) Wrong usage of similar sounding words; e.g. their/there, then/than, effect/affect, and so on.
5) Wrong dates or old info recycled from a previous version of the release.
6) Apostrophe and possessive errors like “it’s” vs. “its.”
7) Company name missing in headline.
8) Footnotes referenced but not included in the release.
9) Improper use of quotation marks.
10) Missing or incomplete contact info and/or photo captions.

You should always make sure your release is as complete and as correct as possible before submitting it, but if anything slips through, we’ll be there to catch it!


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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PRSAIcon 2011 Recap: Eight Key Takeaways, From Storytelling to Link Tracking

October 19, 2011

by Amy Yen, Marketing Specialist, Business Wire Los Angeles

Business Wire at PRSAIcon 2011This week, Business Wire was once again a proud sponsor and exhibitor at the 2011 PRSA International Conference, aka #PRSAIcon. Our conference team had a great time meeting so many of our amazing clients in person and learning the latest about the always changing PR industry. We tweeted updates on our @businesswire feed throughout the conference of interesting lessons from many of the keynotes and sessions. Here are eight key takeaways:

  1. PR is about storytelling. It was only appropriate in Orlando, home to the most magical place on earth, that the unofficial theme of the conference was storytelling. Opening keynote speaker Soledad O’Brien of CNN talked about storytelling being more than a statistic. You have to find the character behind the statistic & tell the story with their passion. The closing keynote speaker, Joe Rohde from Disney, talked about compelling stories coming from the interruptions in expected patterns. “We don’t have time for things we think we already know.”
  2. Video and visuals make for compelling storytelling. YouTube is the number two search engine in the world behind Google. Video makes for great content and is not as expensive as it’s perceived to be. (After all, every phone is a camera.) It’s also a good idea to get your executives on video talking about your brand . . . it helps qualify them as spokespeople for journalists.
  3. Customer service is the new black. Like it or not, part of PR is now customer service. In fact, thanks to social media, PR people are often the first to hear about the problems. There is still a level of awe right now if you just reply when your customers try to talk to you.
  4. Media training is not just a C-suite sport anymore. Keynote speaker Chris Brogan talked about how everyone is on some kind of media these days, so everyone should be trained. Soledad O’Brien discussed media training from a journalist’s perspective, saying passion and emotion can’t be trained. Ultimately, what people relate to is the authenticity and passion behind the messaging points.
  5. You can’t ignore Google+. Chris Brogan pointed out that you have to care about Google+, if only because it’s the only social network currently being indexed on the top two search engines in the world. Every PR professional should at least be conversational about it. Additionally, Google+ profiles can help with personal online presence since it ranks so highly on Google. Optimize your title and introduction and include links to all your other sites and networks, as those appear in your search results.
  6. Empower your employees on social media. If you’re terrified to give control to others in your organization, you will not be successful in social media. Train them and have a social media policy so you can be. Your policy should be short and understandable without legal assistance and should be in every new hire’s packet when they start.
  7. If it can be searched for, it can be optimized. Keyword optimize your blog posts, landing pages, press releases, online newsrooms, multimedia and social content. In press releases, optimize in the headline and subhead, include links and a call-to-action. For photos and other multimedia, optimize the file name of the file you are uploading, include alt text and captions.
  8. We are all fighting for budgets. PR should get credit for the leads it generates. Set goals before your campaign so you can track conversions with tools like Google Analytics. Track traffic with tools like Google URL builder, which tags your URLs so you know where your link clicks are coming from (press release versus AdWords versus Facebook ads, etc).

At the conference, we also announced our new partnership with Critical Mention, which will provide clients with access to Critical Mention’s real-time television and radio monitoring platform. As an introductory promotion, Business Wire clients who subscribe with Critical Mention for 2012 will receive the remainder of 2011 at no charge.

We’d also like to congratulate Elizabeth Rowland at Strat-igence, who was the winner of our iPad Giveaway. And thanks again to PRSA, the speakers and all the attendees for a great conference!


Social Media ROI – It’s all about $$$

November 17, 2009

How do you know if your organization’s social media participation is producing a good return on your investment (ROI)?

According to a panel of Cleveland social media experts, it’s all about converting your tweets, Facebook status updates, blog posts, etc. into dollars in the bank.

Panelists at The City Club of Cleveland on November 12 included (in picture below seated from left to right):

Cleveland Social Media Panel

The panelists, moderated by “Tech Czar” Michael DeAloia, LNE Group (at lectern in picture above), explored the definition of ROI as it applies to social media and provided tips to the audience of about 80 guests for getting the most out of their social media participation.

Michael kicked off the discussion by asking the panel why so many organizations are disappointed in social media the first time they try it.

According to Jason, organizations are often disappointed in the results because they didn’t set clear goals from the beginning. The key to measuring ROI for social media is determining ahead of time what you want to get out of your social media participation and how you’re going to measure it.

John says your goal should be to measure the financial gains that result from your social media participation. Whether you want to generate increased revenue from Twitter followers who buy your products, or decrease costs by managing customer service issues from your blog, the bottom line is that true social media ROI comes in the form of more money for your organization.

Sentiment also comes into play when talking about social media measurement, which can make determining total ROI a bit difficult, says George. Intangibles such as the tone of the comments about your organization posted online contribute to the success of your social media participation but are not as easily quantified.

Dominic advises organizations to monitor what is being said about them online and get involved in the conversations. Responding promptly to both positive and negative feedback can create more positive sentiment toward your organization, which could in turn result in more people willing to do business with you.  All of this social interaction is searchable, so how you engage with people online will affect interactions later on.

Monitoring what is said about your organization online can also give you an idea of where you should concentrate your social media efforts. The people who are talking about you will determine where you will need to be, added Dominic. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time so you can engage the people who are most interested in your organization.

That doesn’t mean you should bombard your social media audience with a sales pitch. The panelists each stressed that social media should be used for building relationships and creating positive sentiment toward your organization online.

“Social media includes the word social for a reason,” said John. It’s important to spend the time to create quality content that will draw people to you and want to engage in conversation with you. Sales pitches will likely turn people off.

George pointed out that you can start to identify “brand ambassadors” online who spread good news about your organization and draw more people in. Your brand ambassadors will soon become your best salespeople. As Jason described it, “social media is word of mouth published.”

Bottom line, before jumping into social media it’s important to set clear goals and to understand that it takes time to build up good relationships with your audience. When you choose to invest the time it takes to engage your audience and connect with them personally, your return on that investment will be significant.

Panelist John Heaney has made video of the entire session available, which you can watch via the embed below or visit http://www.viddler.com/explore/orangeenvelopes/videos/7/.

For more information about social media ROI, the panel recommends that you visit http://thebrandbuilder.wordpress.com.


Who Do the Media Trust?

July 24, 2009

(edit: Pierson’s full quote appears below.  The initial post paraphrased and omitted a competitor)

The explosion of online news and changes in the media in recent years have prompted a lot of discussion on how much people trust the media, but a recent incident highlights just who it is that the media themselves trust.

Reuters reporter Ransdell Pierson writes about a recent incident in which an unknown party called his office on a Sunday to fax a press release detailing an offer to buy Harman International Industries at a 100% premium from their most recent closing price.

Pierson’s response?

“If it’s such a big transaction, shouldn’t this news be coming over the PRNewswire or BusinessWire?”

Unable to verify the information on the release, Pierson decided not to run it, nor did any major news outlets.  But it popped up in enough places to spike Harman’s share price.  Now, the SEC is suing several parties in Kuwait and Bahrain to recover profits from what appear to be suspicious trades based on the takeover offer, which was in fact fraudulent.

Pierson’s response is a good indicator of how the financial news community views Business Wire — as a legitimate, credible source of news.  It’s a reputation we’ve built over the 48 years, and we’ve done so by ensuring that fraudulent news never makes it to the wire.

Before we’ll send out a press release, we vet it thoroughly, making sure first that the issuing party has properly established membership with Business Wire and is a legitimate organization.

We also have newsrooms staffed 24/7, with experienced editors and staff available around the clock to look at every press release and ensure that it’s real news.  A press release dealing with a known company like Harman — a Business Wire user — and from a company who had not established membership with us and whose existence could not be verified, would not have made it out over our wire.

The media look to us for credibility and legitimacy, and your company can as well.  Our experienced staff and security procedures make us a trusted source for any kind of news.


Business Wire Announces New Website Design, SEO, and Multimedia Features

February 11, 2008

  

Following a successful soft launch in December, we are glad to officially announce our new website upgrade. Over the next few blog posts we’ll discuss the changes we made on our site. The overarching theme of all these updates is making the content we distribute on behalf of our clients as accessible as possible to all the different user groups who look for it, and in the ways they look for it. First, our new and improved website design and accessibility. 

So how is the new website design different and better now? Here’s what we did:

Redesign: 

After successfully introducing a few new international websites in 2007, we were ready to shower our main website with some additional attention as well. So in order to make the site look more up-to-date we decided to make it a bit cleaner, less cluttered, and make more effective use of white space. We’ve also reorganized some of our pages in a way that makes important content visible to those looking for it, and in a way that fits the ways in which they look for it. Below is a screen grab of the new homepage design:

  

BusinessWire.com homepage

    

In addition to the improved look-and-feel, the new homepage structure strikes a good balance between offering news content and highlighting Business Wire’s key products and services. It highlights various important products such as our PR, IR, and Media services, while still displaying our news feed in a visible place on the page. It also highlights more clearly many important features such as our RSS links, tradeshow news, Business Wire’s own news, and more. This updated look and structure extends to our internal pages as well. Here is a screenshot of our new Products and Services section: 

 

Business Wire Products and Services 

Search and User Visibility: 

On the accessibility front, we’ve updated our website code to include improved labeling and tagging of different parts of our pages, in order to make it easier for search engines to spider our content; made it simpler and leaner under the hood so that pages load faster; optimized the site for some newer versions of web browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari; and switched to a unified URL structure that also makes our content more search friendly and enables more accurate traffic measurement. All these increase the likelihood of our clients’ press releases showing up higher in search results, and of users being able to more easily and quickly access our clients’ releases.

Search Engine Optimization is a moving target, and there are no silver bullets. However, we continuously enhance our SEO efforts. Examples of this include offering our EON: Enhanced Online News search and social-media-ready platform; continuously providing our clients with tips and best practices on how to better communicate in the new media landscape and make their content as web-friendly as possible; and helping clients understand how to combine SEO efforts across press releases, new online services, and their own websites. Our continuous upgrades, like the one we’ve announced today, is another example of how keep making our content as accessible as possible.  We encourage you to check out our new site design, and as usual, feel free to let us know what you think.

The official press release is here. Stay tuned for more on our multimedia and sharing updates.


Lost in MySpace? Our free webinar series offers tips and hints to help you navigate the maze

January 22, 2008

Lost in MySpace cartoon

We have just posted the dates and times in January and February so you can register for our free webinar series which you can find on the Business Wire Events section of the Business Wire website.

This popular webinar series has provided thousands of Business Wire members with tips and hints on how to use the wire and EON: Enhanced Online News to morph the press release from a straight-up media relations tool to a well-integrated web page which is widely available online and which can be found by search engines and viewed directly by consumers and investors in addition to reaching journalists and bloggers. 

In our January and February 2008 webinar series, we continue our ongoing webinar called Optimizing Your Press Release for Search Engines: Demo of EON: Enhanced Online News Optimization Tool powered by Newsforce showing you how to conduct keyword analysis and research and then write those search terms and links into your press release.  

We have also scheduled new dates for our very popular webinar EON: Enhanced Online News – The Importance of SEO and Social Media for Press Releases which shows you how to use the press release that you send on the wire or on our EON: Enhanced Online News platform powered by PR Web, to put the public  back in your public relations efforts by extending the reach and relevancy of your press release online. 

Our brand new webinar series is called Lost in MySpace? It was created to answer the most frequently asked questions from our EON: Enhanced Online News webinar. We demystify the jargon associated with SEO and Social Media and start from the beginning clearly explaining the various tools, technologies in plain English and tour you through the sites that are most often referenced showing you how you can get involved with them quickly and painlessly.  

Register for one or all of these free webinars and in an hour, you will have learned a new trick or two to expand the reach of your news to reach new audiences online.


New Surveys and Rankings Show Business Wire’s Strong Presence in Both Traditional and New Media

November 15, 2007

Arketi Survey 

As the blogsphere establishes itself as a meaningful and reliable source of information -- with some tech, media, and political blogs wielding as much influence as, if not more than, some traditional media outlets in certain areas -- we at Business Wire are happy to see that we are still able to continually serve both worlds well.  

A recent journalist survey by the Arketi Group found that news releases are used by 90% of business journalists as sources for story ideas, sharing the top spot with industry sources. 54% of journalists mentioned they currently use blogs for story ideas, while 84% said they may report on stories that originated from blogs.  

A larger survey with a slightly different focus, conducted by PR industry news site Bulldog Reporter and online newsroom provider TEKGroup (fair disclosure: all the above mentioned companies have ties with Business Wire), shows that 69% of journalists follow at least one blog regularly, 44% visit social media sites at least monthly, 37% are subscribed to at least one RSS feed, and 20% actively seek multimedia content from companies at least once a month. (this survey also shows some different data on commercial wire services. Michael Tangeman of Media Mindshare makes a few interesting observations on methodology and findings).

Finally, the recently published Techmeme Leaderboard, which ranks websites based on how frequently their stories appear on Techmeme’s increasingly popular technology news application, places Business Wire as its 24th highest source for news (as of the writing of this post), with similar ranking to traditional news organizations as the Wall Street Journal and the BBC, and blogs such as Search Engine Land and PaidContent.org.  

Techmeme Leaderboard snapshot

In recent years Business Wire has put substantial effort into enhancing our multimedia capabilities for video, audio, and photo distribution; enabling our EON: Enhanced Online News search-optimized platform; introducing social media sharing features; reaching new-media sites and platforms; and creating robust RSS offerings. These initiatives are intended to help our clients reach end-consumers directly, interact with the blogsphere, and reach the young and young-at-heart generations of journalists who use new technologies and new media as tools and resources for their work.  We are thrilled to see that these efforts are paying off with both new and traditional media, as indicated by the Arketi and Bulldog Reporter/TEKGroup surveys and Techmeme’s Leaderboard. 

Malcolm Atherton, our eloquent and new-media-savvy account executive, who is one of the strong proponents of our digital media offerings, provides some great info in an interview with podcast site Rocky Mountain Voices during the recent Blogging for Business conference in Salt Lake City. Malcolm sums it all up fantastically. Check it out:

[podtech content=http://media1.podtech.net/media/2007/11/PID_012978/Podtech_BusinessWire_SocialMedia.flv&postURL=http://www.podtech.net/home/4524/new-media-helped-by-traditional-news-distributors&totalTime=420000&breadcrumb=38b0ffcfc3294db2bec05fb60c682b0d]

Posted by Ken Zamkow, Director of Product Development, Business Wire


Google Comments Offers New Opportunities for Communicators

October 30, 2007

 Google News 

One of the goals of our Business Wired blog is to provide readers with better tools for communicating their messages in the ever-changing media landscape. Today we are happy to highlight a service we’ve been following with much interest that we and our friends in Google News thought would be of value to Business Wire clients.  

Earlier this year Google News launched a comments feature that allows individuals or organizations that are mentioned in news articles to add their own comments. Comments are then served up alongside those articles on Google News.  

Josh Cohen, Google News’ Product Manager explains: “Google News has always tried to present as many sources as possible to give our users a wide spectrum of views on the news.  Comments is an experimental feature that we believe will continue this goal by letting readers see exactly what people in a story think about current news.  We think this will help us increase the number of diverse and meaningful points of view on the news.”  

So how is this different from any comment section or discussion board? Well, on Google News only persons or organizations who are specifically mentioned in the story can comment. Google News then contacts the person submitting the comment or others in their organization to verify their identity. As a result, each story is expected to have only a handful of highly relevant comments that give readers a more in-depth look at topics in the news. Cohen adds: “their insight will both help readers understand the news, and cover views that may not be well-published or well-understood within the current coverage”. 

For PR professionals and marketers, this is an excellent opportunity to provide greater detail or clarifications when their press releases receive media pick-up. Also, it creates a new channel to follow-up on a press release with updates, success stories, or links to other relevant stories. Finally, it is another form of reaching out to your audience and participating in the conversation. While these comments differ from commenting on blogs or engaging in social networks, they can be a valuable part of the new communications mix.  

So how can you comment on a story that is relevant to your company or client?  According to the instructions on Google News you should send an email to news-comments@google.com containing the following information:

  1. Your comment (hyperlinks allowed, but no attachments)
  2. A link to the story you are commenting on
  3. Your contact details: name, title, and organization
  4. A way to verify your email address

Verification is one of the central components of Google’s comments feature. Therefore it is highly recommended to provide as much information that Google News staff can use (for example adding contact details of persons who can verify your credentials, or, if you are submitting a comment on behalf of a client, demonstrating that you are indeed authorized to speak for them). Keep in mind that Google News will not edit comments once the sender is verified, so they will be posted exactly as you emailed them. 

So the next time your press release or related articles are shown on Google News and you feel you have more valuable input to share, this can be a great new outlet. Please look at the Google Comments instructions page for more details. 

As usual, we’re happy to hear what you think. If you’ve already used Google Comments or would like to share your own thoughts about it, feel free to comment below.


Business Wire debuts German language website… local presence with global reach

July 17, 2007

German FlagAs a major player on the worldwide scene and responding to the specific needs and nuances of German-speaking clients in the D/A/CH region, Business Wire unveiled www.businesswire.de , the first in a planned series of European and Asian language-specific websites tailored to meet the specialized requirements of local audiences.

The site reflects Business Wire’s unique commitment among global commercial news providers. We singularly offer a full-range of local disclosure and news distribution options, coupled with a decentralized approach to editorial operations and customer service, including 22 newsrooms worldwide.

The new German site illustrates our emergence as the industry’s premier global communications platform, offering multinational companies a totally integrated multilingual solution for reaching international markets.

Our patented NX news delivery system currently transmits releases in 14 languages, simultaneously and in real-time, resulting in client releases appearing in multiple languages on major market-moving newswires and desktop terminals. Business Wire’s main website, www.BusinessWire.com, displays copy in 17 languages. Both capabilities are industry benchmarks.

The German-language site underscores our strategy of providing clients with a full-suite of services, supported by worldwide media and investor relations networks. In Germany, Business Wire’s multi-channel platform includes vwd, ddp, the Associated Press and Agence France-Presse, an exclusive cross-section of leading international news services, national news agencies, and prestigious financial information providers.

In February, Business Wire announced a complete portfolio of compliance services for German-listed companies, enabling public companies to meet the strictly defined disclosure requrements of the BaFin, Germany’s financial regulator.

Cathy Baron Tamraz, the company’s president and CEO said “Germany provides a classic case study of Business Wire’s two-tier approach to international expansion. Our primary goal is to be sensitive to local cultures, customs, and client needs, while simultaneously providing companies with seamless access to the world’s major financial and consumer markets. Our message is clearly resonating, as evidenced by our growing ranks of major European companies that have joined our fast-growing client base during the past year.”


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