ICYMI: Meet The Washington D.C. Tech Media

April 3, 2015

By Simon Ogus, Business Wire

As a technology reporter in the digital age, life has become pretty crazy. You are expected to be an early adapter to the new tech toys, be an early adapter and work non-stop in today’s 24/7 news cycle.

mediarelations

 

Hoping to bridge the gap between the reporter and the PR professional, Business Wire Washington, DC hosted a “Meet the Technology” media panel on focusing on the latest trends in the world of technology reporting.  The panel consisted of five established names in the Washington, DC technology reporting industry and the topics discussed included how reporters utilize social media professionallyhow to effectively organize a pitch and the best ways to get a reporter’s attention in today’s non-stop news cycle.

Speakers:
Paul Sherman, Editor and Publisher of Potomac Tech Wire – @PaulRSherman
Kasra Kangarloo, Reporter, Washington Business Journal – @TechFlashWBJ
Rob Pegoraro – Columnist, Yahoo! Tech – @RobPegoraro
Joseph Marks – Reporter, Politico – @Joseph_Marks_
Hayley Tsuyakama – Reporter, Washington Post – @htsuka

How Reporters Prefer to Be Pitched
The panel began with how reporters can ideally and most efficiently be pitched in the current times. The near unanimous sentiment was that pitching by e-mail was preferred over phone and social media. Paul Sherman flatly said that “phone pitching, while not dead is much rarer these days”.  Every panelists agreed.  Phone calls with pitches often will fall through the cracks as the reporter might not be at their desk or lose track of the phone call or message throughout their busy day.

Photo by Jennifer Dunn

Photo by Jennifer Dunn

Hayley Tsuyakama noted that she liked receiving emails from PR pros “because those pitches can be saved if I am busy, flagged if I want to make sure I see them later and easily searchable through modern e-mail capabilities.” This illustrates a strong point about email, even if they aren’t used immediately, they can be found easily via keyword searches of the e-mail text, subject or sender’s contact information.

But email is not the only way to reach reporters.  When the conversation turned to the role of newswires in the news gathering process, each of the panelists agreed that newswires offer a wide range of benefits over releases pitched directly by the individual company.  Sherman said he “uses Business Wire as a source every day.”  In addition, the speakers noted that newswires are both convenient and a good source of accurate information.

What to include in your pitch
Knowing how to pitch a reporter also immensely aided by knowing where the reporter gathers news ideas and what kinds of topics and trends they find important. Ultimately a public relations professional may love their own story or find it extremely important, but it is up to the reporter to determine if they want to cover it.  So what is a pitch that will catch a reporter’s eye? Rob Pegoraro said If I can learn something myself and teach my readers at the same time, then I have found a great story to cover.” Reporters are busier than ever trying to uncover impactful story ideas. As Sherman said “competitors are not just other outlets, but social media as well. Anyone is a source now with smartphones, the job is much more competitive in 2015.” So how does this affect the PR professional? Reporter’s time is now more valuable than ever, so getting your message across takes additional strategy and tactics. While the content of your story will be what gets you covered, the panelists did provide a few other ways to catch their attention.

Meet the DC Tech Media

Provide an Expert Marks said “Being able to provide an expert to your pitch is very important, it is great to learn stuff from a pitch that you don’t already know. If your spokesperson has great credentials, feel free to pitch anytime, not just when a breach happens in my cybersecurity reporting.” This is a strong message for all communicators  always try to have an expert at your disposal for technical pitches as they will help to catch the eye of the reporter trying to explain complex content matter.

Be Easy to Find
Additionally Kasra Kangarloo said being active on Twitter is important for communications skills. “It’s easier to find a @twitter profile than an email address, so I may reach out by tweet instead of email.” As well all know Twitter is the main hub of spontaneous communication, so having an active presence could get you that dialogue going with a reporter that could eventually lead to coverage for your client.

Leverage Partners (and don’t forget to include financial data)
The conversation shifted to Kangarloo’s coverage of technology startups and what he looks for in a good new startup to cover for the Business Journal. He had some great advice for anyone trying to get media coverage for a newer startup. He said “Get your name out there, I want to hear you from someone else. Not from yourself, anyone can talk about themselves. Hearing about your startup from someone else will pique my interest.” He also reminded the audience that data such as revenue is key for securing coverage, especially for today’s startups.

Read Your Pitch, First (on a mobile device) 
While the subject matter of the news release is always paramount, the panel did mention some tips on best practices to get them interested in a story.  Pegoraro Reminded the audience that most reporters work off mobile devices and suggested PR professionals read their pitch on their own mobile device to ensure the most salient points appear at the top of the device.

As the discussion came to a close there was an interesting question from the audience about what defines journalistic success in 2015. Lots of outlets strictly look at click-rates which often times leads to stories that perhaps aren’t the most informed content on the web. The reporters responded honestly and the majority said they were very aware of their analytics for their stories and that plays a major role in how their performance has been, but there is more to the process. Pegoraro said “making readers smart is a focus of journalistic success in additional to analytics.” This tweet from the event also goes on to say what additional words were said on the topic.

Journalism today has changed.  Reporters are expected to do more, in less time.  Crafting interesting pitches, tailored to each media outlet’s needs and utilizing smart distribution methods will help you increase your coverage and overall visibility.  For additional commentary on this discussion please check out the hashtag #bwchat.


Business Wire and Black PR Wire Host Free Webinar: Building Brand Believers

February 23, 2015

By Serena Ehrlich, Social + Evolving Media, Business Wire

In recognition of Black History Month and in celebration of their continued partnership, Business Wire and Black PR Wire will host a free best practices webinar for business professionals featuring a distinguished panel of accomplished corporate leaders, brand representatives and non-profit pioneers. The panelists will share their case-studies and insights on how they have connected with black consumers for their industries and organizations.

What:   Building Brand Believers: How to Reach the Black Market
When:  Wednesday, February 25, Noon – 1 p.m. ET
Register now: http://go.businesswire.com/Building-Brand-Believers

Featured Speakers:      

  • Alicia R. Alston, Vice President, Global Communications, Prudential Financial, Inc
  • Amber Bullock, Executive VP, Community & Youth Engagement, American Legacy Foundation
  • Courtney Cunningham, Esq., Co-Founder/Managing Director, Commonground/MGS;
  • Danyele L.C. Davis, Vice President, Flowers Communications Group.

“This will be a powerful session that no PR professional would want to miss,” says Bernadette Morris, CEO of Black PR Wire.  “These experts will share their experiences and we all look forward to hearing from them.”

The webinar is free and open to the public. However, registration is required for all participants. To register for the session, please visit http://go.businesswire.com/Building-Brand-Believers.  Registered guests will also be able to follow along with our conversation and ask our panelists questions by tracking and including the #bwbprw hashtag on Twitter during the webinar.

Want to share this webinar information with friends and colleagues? Tweet it out by clicking this link: http://ctt.ec/vdhd0

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Clickbait vs. News Releases: How the News Release Perseveres in a Clickbait World

February 12, 2015

By Hannah Kelly, Editor, Business Wire Paris

Clickbait is the term used to describe web content that uses sensationalist headlines in order to generate click-throughs, and often goes hand-in-hand with a lack of quality or accuracy. Clickbait manipulates the “curiosity gap,” enticing readers with an “unpredictable” story through an intriguing title that does not match the resulting story.

buzzfeed

It’s become a topical subject of late, with Ben Smith, Buzzfeed’s Editor-in-Chief announcing in November that “Buzzfeed Doesn’t Do Clickbait”, and the creation of The Onion’s satirical website, clickhole.com, almost a year ago. Readers are becoming increasingly exasperated by misleading titles and anticlimactic articles, and a backlash movement has been created. This lead to events such as Facebook declaring that it was taking measures to remove clickbait from the platform and the creation of the ingenious Twitter account @SavedYouAClick, which currently has over 187,000 followers.

So it seems the internet’s largest content creators have decided: clickbait is over.

But if this is true, why do news releases still work? Why is it, in this world of short attention spans and long titles, the news release still catches the attention of media, consumers, analysts, decision makers and more?

Simple. It’s trustworthy.

  • A news release headline will always tell you exactly what you’re about to read. Be it “Company’s Earnings up by 7%” or “Company Nominates Person as New Vice-President,” there are no surprises. The essential information is presented straight away, and the article will contain a more detailed explanation.
  • A news release will include contacts. Want to query something? Find out more information? Discuss an event? At Business Wire, the inclusion of a valid contact (verified by our team) is non-negotiable. This allows the reader, whether they are an analyst or a future customer, direct access to the right person within the company.
  • It provides additional context and content. In past years, PR professionals would have to plea to media outlets to include a link back to their company’s website. However, this is rapidly changing.  More often we now see reporters linking back to a client’s news release within their articles.  This new step allows the readers to read the factual news from the company, while they present their view within their article.
  • Arguably the most important aspect of all – publisher credibility. News releases are the origination point for any story. Reporters utilize this as source data, the raw data they need to tell a story.

So the news release lives on, victorious in its integrity and straightforwardness – and Business Wire can help you to be a part of the reputable news release collective.  Because after all, honesty is the best policy.

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Three Reasons Why PR Professionals Rely On Newswires

February 9, 2015

By Billy Russell, Business Wire Phoenix

Corporate communications have never been more important.  In an internet era where a wealth of knowledge is available at anyone’s fingertips, consumers now have an unprecedented ability to see an entire corporate history unfold before them.  Whether a company is publicly traded or private, it is crucial to a company’s current and longterm success that they communicate initiatives, product rollouts and personnel announcements to the public.  A press release is the tried-and-true surefire method of encapsulating an important, newsworthy event with a cohesive narrative. Once it is written, what happens next?

With so many options available, the task of actually releasing the press release can be daunting.  There are many methods for press release distribution including email blasts and direct pitching to established or discovered contacts at media publications, but for the broadest audience reach possible for your company’s content and breaking news, a commercial newswire like Business Wire is the most effective tool at your disposal.

Why PR Professional Rely on Newswires:

1.  Newswires Increase Visibility – The problem with promoting your news via email is that yay-9159998-digitalultimately it limits the potential impact of your news to only those you already know. A newswire, on the other hand, distributes news to thousands of contacts at one time, via the method they choose to receive news – electronically.  These outlets include major news services like the Associated Press, Dow Jones, Bloomberg, Reuters, international news points like JiJi Press and Agence France Press, online services like Yahoo! and key financial communities like J.P. Morgan H&Q.

Outside of the newswire’s proprietary list of media and journalists, many news aggregators utilize newswire feeds to provide relevant content for its desired reading audience.  This means company news can now be discovered and acted upon by thousands of investors and consumers—instantly and on demand.

2.  Newswires Provide Legitimacy – A news release distributed electronically by a newswire will be posted on multiple sites and media sources as opposed to just one company website’s news section, or social channel.   Every media outlet receiving a newswire feed understands that this content has already yay-8022260-digitalpassed through strict publishing guidelines to ensure accuracy and legitimacy.  The efficacy of using a newswire to distribute company news announcements is to live on the web as an official piece of breaking news, to not simply be a single-source announcement.

Distributing your news through a newswire allows you to reach out to the media as a whole (newspapers, magazines, TV and radio), thus inaugurating a company’s name as an official, recognized brand that has a placement in news around the country and in the web.

3.  Trusted Name Recognition – There is nothing more trusted than a familiar name.  Some names become synonymous with products—heck, some corporate names become verbs.  A trusted source is one with a name that is familiar, a name that has become familiar due to reputation and a history of legitimacy.

The media relies on newswires for reputable, vetted company news content.  With an established database of contacts and a unique delivery platform, a newswire can easily deliver a company press release to a media outlet. With thousands of news releases being shared every day, newswires ensure yay-15034446-digitalthat journalists and editors are provided with the content that they need in order to do their jobs.  To make their lives even easier, journalists can use keywords to make sure they receive only the news they are most interested in, by subject and region.

Company news releases are no longer considered to be just a media pitch requesting coverage.  Today’s news releases are viewed as the key source of originating data with more and more media outlets linking to the release to provide readers access to the raw data provided within the press release.

There is an entire world of options to consider when it comes to amplifying your company’s news.  Amplifying your content with newswire distributions ensures you have left no stone unturned in your quest to increase coverage, engagement and sales.

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Business Wire Los Angeles: Why 2015 Will Be the Year of PR

December 17, 2014

By Sean Markham, Account Executive, Business Wire Los Angeles

As we wrap up 2014 and head into 2015, the media landscape has changed dramatically. But there remains this constant: news is the top shared content across all channels. How to generate editorial coverage, the role of the press release, social media and WOM in the marketing funnel were just some of the topics covered at a recent breakfast event hosted by Business Wire. Held on Thursday, December 11 at The Olympic Collection Banquet and Conference Center, a diverse group of Los Angeles-area PR professionals gathered to listen to Business Wire’s very own Director of Social and Evolving Media Serena Ehrlich (@Serena) discuss the myriad challenges and opportunities for communications practitioners.

If news and editorial coverage is the most shared content, who creates this content? “You guys do. All of you in this room,” Ehrlich emphasized to the engaged audience.

Infographic provided by MediaLeaders

Among the many important takeaways from this event is the crucial role multimedia plays in standing out in the crowded field of news. Releases with images or video receive 3X more impressions and engagement than their plain text counterparts.

During her comprehensive discussion, Ehrlich also shared insights on several social media tools to use in your PR efforts, including ClickToTweet, TweetReach, the LinkedIn Long-Form Blog Service as well as Google URL builder.

Here is a recap of Ehrlich’s presentation, which will help prepare all PR pros for the year ahead:

Media Has Changed

  • The role of the news release: Today the press release = action document that jumpstarts action within all target audiences
  • News releases align to the marketing and sales funnel and increase: Awareness, Discovery, Brand Reputation, Message Adoption, Conversations, Inbound Traffic, Intent and Conversions
  • Releases should not: Act as a stand-alone sales tool, replace customer service, be text only, work in a vacuum and work without support
  • News doesn’t go viral just by being issued. PR professionals will need to do work (social sharing, etc.) to make news releases go viral.
  • Journalists are held to three core metrics:  inbound traffic, social shares, time on site
    • Tip: Socially share out any coverage you receive to help reach these metrics
    • Tip:  Video is the perfect access to increase time on site
  • Many adults are now getting their news from social media networks

Social Media Has Changed

  • Every single major social network is showcasing news articles, reputable content and multimedia, perfect for PR
  • Tweets that include a photo or video receive 3 to 4x higher engagement
  • Tweets including multimedia uploaded via Twitter receive 150% more RTs
  • Facebook photos receive 53% more Likes, 104% more comments and 84% more CTRs on links
  • Facebook shares your updates based on the assets your audiences likes best. Meaning if you are not a video person (a rarity these days since 63% of the world are visual learners and rely on video for information) then FB will not populate many, if any, videos on your News Feed.
    • Tip: Text which kind of audience follows your fan page. Post a video, then post a link, and, finally, just post a photo and see which posting gets more impressions and engagement
  • LinkedIn is top B2B platform
    • Tip: Use the LinkedIN long form content blog service to increase reach within this platform
  • Millions of videos are watched on YouTube every day; 33% of YouTube searches are news related

Multimedia is the #1 Way to Increase Press Release ROI

  • Almost 65% of the world’s population are visual learners. Text-only press releases no longer work with this highly visual audience.
  • Releases with images or videos get 3x more engagement and impressions than plain text news
  • 1 minutes of video = 1.8 million words
  • Photographs do not need to be translated

Press Release Tips

  • Write for your highly targeted audience
  • Post a blog answering all the questions your release will generate to ensure message adoption
  • Photos and videos are no longer optional when looking for coverage
  • Use Google Tools!
  • Search bar – helps determine key phrases used most by searchers
  • Use URL trackers to track actions taken by readers on your website
  • Drive social sharing with Click to Tweet
  • Hashtags should be specific (use hashtag.org to see volume)

Read more about this event and all Business Wire events by following the #BWChat hashtag.

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With press release editing, catch erors befor they hapen

December 1, 2014

By Luke O’Neill, Editor, Business Wire Boston

We’ve heard it many times here at Business Wire: We catch a typo in a press release, let the client know, then the voice on the other end of the phone stalls, then sighs, “You don’t know how many people have looked at this thing, and that wasn’t caught.”

yay-6559046-digital

That exasperation can be and should be avoided – especially before the release hits the wire and Web. Mistakes, alas, are inevitable, but it’s important to guard against them before they happen. After sending out a press release, the focus should be on promoting your news, not fixing it.

The editing process of any document can be cluttered at times with too many cooks in the kitchen, too many rewrites, and tracked changes simply can be confounding. Plus, don’t edit just for the sake of editing. Sometimes the writer has it right.

At newspapers or websites, editors generally read stories three times and three different ways – have you tried these yet?

  1. Breeze through it initially to get a sense of the story – it’s helpful to literally sit on your hands during this process so you’re not tempted to edit.
  2. The heavy lifting: Rewrite, rework and restructure the story as necessary.
  3. Fine-tune: Polish the prose and clean up typos.

The step between 1 and 2 can be tricky – you need to know how the story needs to be reworked, but that usually comes with practice and experience. This blog, however, is more focused on step 3 – finding those minute mistakes before they become major mistakes.

Eradicating Errors

So how do you sidestep slip ups while editing press releases? Most editors anticipate problems before they occur, know where things could go wrong before they do, ask where things could go wrong and think of the consequences of their editing actions. Yet sometimes it just comes down to having an eagle eye.

yay-3433113-digitalAlso, be mindful that the absence of one lone letter or the transposition of a couple letters changes the meaning of a word, and spellcheck won’t necessarily pick it up.

For example, heath vs. health: A heath is one thing, and health is something different. United vs. untied – these two words clearly have very different meanings. Other common press release examples include: manager vs. manger, complimentary vs. complementary, premiere vs. premier, chief vs. chef and through vs. though.

And be sure to check your spellcheck carefully; don’t just breeze through it because the document may be teeming with tech or biotech words. Often, Spellcheck will flag a word it does not recognize, yet the word is spelled correctly. Then later in the document, Spellcheck will flag a similarly spelled word, but it’s off by one letter. If an editor is on Spellcheck “Ignore All” autopilot, then the misspelled word will fly under the radar.

These spelling discrepancies are especially problematic in business press releases with mismatching company and product names.

‘Confident paranoia’

Many press releases simply could use a healthy dose of preventative medicine – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

yay-1578342-digitalIn my local newsroom, we track the time spent on each correction issued by our clients. In my office, we average about 12 client corrections a month. During high-volume times, that correction total can spike. The corrections can be costly to our clients and counterproductive for everyone.

Some press release corrections are more significant and easily avoidable than others. Some common culprits include: incorrect event dates in releases; incorrect media contact information, especially phone numbers; incorrect titles for people; incorrect press release submitted; and not getting the proper approvals from all the companies involved in the release. But perhaps the most frequent offender is a broken or incorrect embedded hyperlink.

At Business Wire Boston, we preach the idea of “confident paranoia.” Be confident in your editing abilities, but, like a good carpenter, measure twice and cut once.

Luke O’Neill, formerly a newspaper reporter and copy editor, is a senior editor at Business Wire Boston. He has nearly 15 years of communications experience and a master’s degree in journalism.


Media Speed Dating in the City of Roses

November 3, 2014

By Matt Allinson, International Media Relations SupervisorMatt 1

The weather in and around Portland, OR, was anything but tranquil on Thursday, October 24. The dark sky chirped and clapped with wind, hail, thunder and rain. But, try as it might, it could not drown out the roaring chatter coming from inside the Bridgeport Brewery, where six of Portland’s finest journalists and over 50 of Portland’s finest PR professionals gathered to laugh, learn and get to know more about each other.

Matt 2

The luncheon was broken down into four 15-minute sessions. While the media members stayed seated, guests moved from table to table to talk with the four editors/reporters to whom they were most interested in speaking.  Representing the Portland media were: Nick Mokey (Managing Editor of Digital Trends); Sarah Rothenfluch (Executive Editor of News at Oregon Public Broadcasting); Erik Siemers (Managing Editor at the Portland Business Journal); Tim Steele (Digital Managing Editor at KOIN 6); Kristi Turnquist (Entertainment Reporter at The Oregonian); and Bruce Williams (Senior Assignment Manager at KGW). The event was expertly moderated by Becky Engel (Director of Client Services at Grady Britton).

The rules were minimal: no pitching. Everything else (within the law) was allowed. Great networking followed and a few tips from the media came forth:

  • Networking is key to getting reporters to cover a story … make the effort to meet us in person. We get hit with a lot of stories daily and we’re much more likely to run your story if we have a relationship with you (and the story is innovative/relevant). –Nick Mokey
  • It’s good to form relationships with reporters. They’re not going to take every pitch, but if you stay in contact and stay persistent, there will come a day when they’ll need to talk to you. –Tim Steele
  • Staying ahead of an emerging trend will get you to be considered an expert on the subject. –Sarah Rothenfluch
  • Visual content plays a role so be sure to include multimedia in your pitch. –Kristi Turnquist

Matt 3

  • I get between 800-900 emails per day, so make sure your pitch is targeted, has a unique subject line and includes photos/video. – Bruce Williams
  • If you’re making a pitch, you have to think of it in terms of what would interest you if you were to receive what you’re pitching. Why would we be interested in it if you’re not? –Tim Steele
  • We love exclusives … bring us something exclusive and there’s a much better chance that it’s going to get run. We’re greedy that way. –Erik Siemers

Matt 4

  • The news cycle is constant. Is your story a tweet? Some stories are. Or is your story a big, in-depth conversation that would take a month to plan? Or is it somewhere in between? If you can figure out where your story is on this spectrum before pitching, it’s extremely helpful. –Sarah Rothenfluch
  • If you have a good story, don’t be afraid to reach out … but know who you’re pitching and what they do. Email’s probably the best way to pitch … but please don’t send a blast. Target your pitches. And don’t be afraid to follow up. – Erik Siemers

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