Online Newsroom or Investor Center – Your Message Must be Mobile

May 21, 2012
by Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communications Services
Ibrey Woodall

Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communications Services

I have weekly, often daily, conversations with communicators at Fortune 500 companies. These discussions focus on online newsrooms and investor centers. More and more, I see these top-notch professionals realize that their communications center should be optimized for mobile access.

Whether your message is for investors and analysts or journalists and bloggers, you cannot ignore the fact that your audience is a moving target. And that moving target has a smartphone.

Two years ago, only 18 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers owned a smart phone device. Today, it is 44 percent according to Nielsen. If you need more statistics to convince you of the mobile momentum, the Pew Research Center reports that a third (34%) of all desktop/laptop news consumers also use their smartphone to access news.

So the question isn’t whether you need your online newsroom or investor center optimized for mobile devices, it is how quickly you can make it happen. Other points to consider include which platforms your mobile-optimized online newsroom or investor center will support; how investors, analysts, or journalists will find your mobile site; if your mobile site is legible; if you will be able to view mobile site statistics; and whether you need a mobile application or a mobile website.

Luckily, mobile-optimized sites should be clean and uncomplicated since we are talking about a very small screen. Therefore, the mobile-optimized version of your online newsroom or investor center should take no longer than two weeks to launch. All major platforms (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android) should be supported, and when a member of your target audience visits your online newsroom or investor center, their smartphone should automatically redirect to the mobile version for better viewing.

Simple design is the key to a good user experience when it comes to mobile sites. Shy away from use of graphics that carry a large file size, and keep the code clean. As with any other site, you should have access to analytics so that you will know the number of page views and unique users garnered by your mobile online newsroom or investor center.

Although there are very good reasons to create a mobile application, Business Wire offers the mobile-optimized version. It’s faster and less expensive to provide to communicators with deadline concerns and budget limitations. It’s also searchable via Google so target audiences have a greater chance of finding company news, information and other content types including press kits, stock quotes, and contacts. And, as we’ve seen, web browsers will continue to gain speed, while an individual platform may not necessarily have an indefinite lifespan.

If you have questions concerning NewsHQ Mobile online newsrooms or InvestorHQ Mobile investor centers, contact your local Business Wire representative.


Upcoming Business Wire Events: Olympics in London, Katie Paine in Dallas, Meet the Media in Boston, Denver and Charlotte

April 30, 2012

Upcoming Business Wire Events

Business Wire’s Media Breakfast: The Olympics, Media & PR

Hosted by Business Wire London

With the biggest sporting event in the world at our doorstep, join us for a discussion about how the Olympics affects the media landscape. Panelists include: Matt Ball, Editor-in-Chief of MSN UK, Scott Dougal, Deputy Sports Editor, the Press Association, Duncan Hooper, Managing Editor, News & Sport, MSN and Darren Waters, Head of Devices & Social Media, MSN / ex-BBC journalist. This event is FREE for public relations and communications professionals.

Wednesday, May 2 at 8:45 AM BST
St Bride Foundation
Bride Lane, Fleet StreetLondon , EC4Y 8EQ, United Kingdom

To register: RSVP by Monday 30 April to uk@BusinessWire.com

Meet the Boston Media

Hosted by Business Wire Boston

Join Business Wire Boston for breakfast and a panel discussion with members of the local media. Learn about current trends in journalism, what kind of news editors are looking for, and how to effectively pitch a story. Panelists include: George Donnelly - Executive Editor, Boston Business Journal, Abby Jordan – Associate Regional Editor, AOL’s Patch.com, Leigh Montgomery – Librarian, Christian Science Monitor, Frank Quaratiello – Business Editor, Boston Herald and Don Seiffert – Associate Editor, News, Mass High Tech. This event is FREE for all attendees.

Thursday, May 3 at 8:00 AM ET
Westin Waltham Hotel
70 Third Avenue, Waltham, MA, 02451

To register: RSVP to http://www.eventbrite.com/event/2184174926?ref=ebtn

Meet Denver Journalists and Public Relations Professionals Specializing in Targeting the Hispanic Market

Hosted by Business Wire Denver

Learn Tips for Reaching and Pitching Hispanic Media, a Critically Important and Growing Segment of the American Community. Daniel Montano, President/CE) of Elevation Creation International moderates a panel, including María Rozman, News Director, KDEN Telemundo Denver; Roberto Martínez-Maestre, General Director, El Hispano; Kim DeVigil, Senior Director, Communications, University of Denver; and Luisa Collins, News Director, Univision Colorado. This event is FREE for Business Wire members and $20 for non-members.

Thursday, May 3 at 8:30 AM MDT
Denver Athletic Club
1325 Glenarm Place, Denver, CO, 80204

To register: RSVP by May 1 to JoAnne Hirsch, (303) 861-8833 or joanne.hirsch@businesswire.com

Pitching to Pickup – Tips from Local Media on Working with Newsrooms

Hosted by Business Wire Charlotte

Local media professionals will discuss how to effectively pitch news to the media. Panelists include Dion Lim, News Anchor, WCNC; David Harris, Managing Editor, The Charlotte Business Journal and John Arwood, Business Editor, The Charlotte Observer. This event is FREE for Business Wire members and $20 for non-members.

Tuesday, May 22 at 7:30 AM ET
Dilworth Neighborhood Grille
911 East Morehead St, Charlotte, NC, 28204

To register: Please RSVP by Thursday, May 17 to Penny Sowards at penny.sowards@businesswire.com

Measuring What Matters: New Rules for 21st Century Communications Measurement

Hosted by Business Wire Dallas, with NIRI, PRSA, IABC and Critical Mention

What metrics really matter? How can metrics drive strategy? Join IABC, PRSA, NIRI, Business Wire & Critical Mention for the annual joint communications lunch, as Katie Paine, CEO of KDPaine & Partners, provides measurement insight on “best in class” measurement programs for 2012, best measurement tools today, where measurement is headed and more. Standard Luncheon Fees apply: Full-time Student $25.00, Guest $50.00 , Member $40.00 and Table of 10: $500.

Thursday, May 31 at 11:15 AM CT
Thanksgiving Tower (Tower Club)
1601 Elm Street, Dallas, TX, 75201

To register: Please RSVP by May 28 at 10:00 pm on this page

Business Wire holds dozens of local events every year. We bring local media members and industry thought leaders to your market to discuss today’s most relevant topics, from trends in today’s newsrooms to writing for SEO. Events are usually free of charge to members. For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit BusinessWire.com. Follow live updates from Business Wire events on Twitter: hash tag #bwchat


Katie Paine Talks Measurement with Florida Communicators

April 4, 2012

by Julia Sotelo, Client Services Representative & Pilar Portela-Webb, Media Relations Supervisor, Business Wire Florida

Business Wire Florida held “Measurement, Engagement & Influence with Katie Paine- Moving from Theoretical to Tactical,” a memorable breakfast discussion for South Florida Professionals on March 6th. The event featured measurement guru Katie Paine. The event was held at Nova Southeastern University’s main Ft. Lauderdale-Davie campus. The panel was moderated by Laura Sturaitis, Executive VP Media Services & Product Strategy for Business Wire.

L-R: BW Florida Regional Manager Janice Essick, VP of Web Communications Ibrey Woodall, EVP of Product Strategy & Media Services Laura Sturaitis, speaker Katie Paine and Media Relations Supervisor Pilar Portela

Katie Paine shared her 25 years of measurement expertise and offered valuable information on evaluating the success of communications initiatives. In general Katie taught us that what matters isn’t new. For example: Conversations with stakeholders, relationships, and reputation and behavior.

Some things don’t change:

  • What matters has been measured before
  • In a crisis, success is still how fast it goes away
  • Your influencers haven’t changed, they just have different titles

She advised to get past measuring followers and story hits and to look at SEO and Page Rank; Influence; Engagement; Relationships; Advocacy; Sentiment and ROI.

Here are Katie’s 7 steps to Measure What Matters:

  1. Define Results
  2. Understand your audience and what motivates them
  3. Define Investment
  4. Determine what you are benchmarking against
  5. Define metrics (what you want to become)
  6. Pick a tool and undertake research
  7. Analyze results and glean insight, take action and measure again

Among her insights was the importance of involving all departments – PR, marketing, web, sales, SEO – in the strategic planning of communications decisions- “break down the silos.” This is directly in line with what we encourage our clients to do. Of particular importance is connecting web analytics in crafting your release and communications efforts. Katie also talked about the “Kick Butt Index.” How does management define ‘kicking butt?’ Know their definition and set up your communications metrics accordingly. Learn more at Katie’s The Measurement Standard or Business Wire’s Press Release Measurement.

For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit our events page or follow Business Wire events on Twitter, hashtag #bwchat.


Upcoming Business Wire Events: Katie Paine in South Florida, Meet the Media in Charlotte

February 27, 2012

Upcoming Business Wire Events

Measurement, Engagement and Influence with Katie Paine- Moving from Theoretical to Tactical

Hosted by Business Wire Florida

Join Business Wire Florida for breakfast and a session with measurement maven, Katie Paine.  Paine’s most recent book, Measure What Matters: Online Tools For Understanding Customers, Social Media, Engagement, and Key Relationships, was released last March and will provide a foundation for her presentation.  “Measurement isn’t just a buzzword on everyone’s to do list anymore,” says Paine. “With tight budgets and a growing proliferation of tools and techniques to get your messages out there, PR pros are increasingly faced with tough decisions on where to put their resources. Only by figuring out what really matters and then developing specific metrics to measure the programs, can the right choices be made.” This event is FREE for all attendees.

Tuesday, March 6 at 8:30 am EST
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Avenue Carl DeSantis Building, 3rd floor Sales Institute, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, 33314

To register: RSVP to Julia.Sotelo@businesswire.com by Friday, March 2.

Meet the Media

Hosted by Business Wire Charlotte

A panel of media experts will discuss topics including what’s a good story and current trends in journalism, as well as give tips on effective pitching. Panelists include: Rick Martinez, News Director, NewsRadio 680 WPTF; Rick Smith, Business and Technology Manager, WRAL-TV; and David Bracken, Assistant Business Editor, The News & Observer. This event is FREE for all attendees.

Thursday, March 15 at 11:30 am EDT
Sheraton Imperial Hotel & Convention Center
4700 Emperor Blvd., Durham, NC, 27703
To register: Please RSVP by March 9 to Penny Sowards at penny.sowards@businesswire.com

Business Wire holds dozens of local events every year. We bring local media members and industry thought leaders to your market to discuss today’s most relevant topics, from trends in today’s newsrooms to writing for SEO. Events are usually free of charge to members. For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit BusinessWire.com. Follow live updates from Business Wire events on Twitter: hash tag #bwchat


Engagement: Buzzword Bingo Term, or Something More?

February 1, 2012
by Sandy Malloy, Senior Information Specialist, Business Wire/SF
Sandy Malloy, Senior Information Specialist

Sandy Malloy, Senior Information Specialist

I had two experiences recently that started me thinking more deeply about one of the 21st century’s hot topics, “engagement.”  One was a webinar on the topic.  The other, which I found more compelling, was a blog post about how the Veterans Administration launched Facebook pages for all 152 of its medical centers.  (I was not biased toward this story just because its genesis was a Business Wire release, by the way.)

There is nothing wrong with measuring engagement and, in fact, it’s a critical part of a proper measurement program.  Communicators should be concerned not only with who might have seen their messages but how many cared enough to take some kind of action.  That’s really the simple definition of engagement: It’s active, not passive.

But some of the articles, blog posts and presentations I am seeing make me wonder whether some of these communicators are going far enough when they say they want to promote engagement.  Engagement isn’t just a buzzword, nor is it simply getting people to like (or “Like”) your company enough to buy something, although that CAN be your objective.

The reason I was impressed by the VA initiative is that they had a clear goal in setting up their social media accounts.  Said Secretary Eric Shinsheki:

“Veterans and their families told us from the beginning that they want to engage and they want relevant information delivered at the local level. By leveraging Facebook, the Department continues to expand access to VA, and embrace transparency and two-way conversation.”

This statement encompasses two goals:  “relevant information delivered at the local level” and “two-way conversation.”  In addition to Facebook, the VA produced 64 Twitter feeds, a YouTube channel, a Flickr page and a blog, all with the aim of helping veterans understand their benefits and “receive the health care their service has earned them.”

With the goal established, it becomes possible for the VA to measure results.  Are veterans receiving the information they need, and is their care improved?  Are they communicating with their local VA office?  In short, are they taking the actions the Department set out to promote when they established their social media program?

A goal can be as detailed as what the VA outlined, or as simple as increasing visibility for a brand.  Either way, though, measuring “engagement” is not an end.  Measuring engagement in the service of [fill in the blank] is a much more meaningful exercise.


Top 5 Reasons You Need to Be Delivering News to Stakeholders Via Mobile Alerts

January 24, 2012

With the rapid proliferation of web-enabled mobile devices, your target audience is no longer tethered to their desktop computers.  Keeping users informed of significant news events via their mobile devices is an essential part of proactive online communication and the newest best practice in investor relations.

As of June 2011, consumers now spend more time consuming content on their mobile devices than on desktop computers.  Are you delivering your content in the most mobile device-compatible format? If you’re delivering content to mobile devices via email, the answer is a resounding NO.

The advantages of news alerts via SMS vs. email

  • Immediacy: An email is, on average, opened about six hours after it’s sent.  By comparison, multiple studies indicate a text message is read within four minutes of receipt.
  • Near-perfect open rates: Most email campaigns see open rates averaging less than 20%, which indicates the vast majority of emails are never even read. By contrast, you can expect an open rate in excess of 95% for text messages. In terms of timeliness and effectiveness, there is really no comparison.
  • User Experience – On mobile devices, SMS works, but HTML emails ‘break’:  HTML is the most common and preferred email format on desktop computers (as opposed to plain text).  However, on many of the most common mobile devices your best case scenario is your HTML emails are too small to read on a mobile device and your worst case scenario is they look like a garbled mess.  Thus, many among your target audience have already learned not to bother opening email-based newsletter or news alert communications on their mobile devices.  Conversely, SMS was designed for mobile devices so its reliability is near perfect on mobile devices.
  • Direct Access to Rich Mobile-Formatted Content: When an SMS contains a mobile hyperlink or URL to additional content on a mobile-formatted website, users have learned they can simply click the link and be taken directly to a mobile-formatted website where they can expect full, rich mobile device-friendly content.

The Bottom Line:

  • You have a better chance of reaching your target audience of their mobile device than their desktop because that’s where they are consuming more content
  • You have a considerably better chance your target audience will pay attention to your message if you deliver it to them via an SMS alert that links to a mobile friendly version of your news

Top 5 Reasons You Should be Offering News Alerts via SMS

Read the rest of this entry »


The Top Twenty Press Releases of 2011

January 5, 2012
by Phil Dennison, Senior Marketing Specialist, Business Wire/Cleveland

At Business Wire we pride ourselves on our consultative approach to offering our services — we try to give you the best advice on how to make your press releases successful and get the most for your money. From press release tips to measurement facts to targeting options, our account executives and editors help you execute your strategy in the most effective way.

I recently took a look at the twenty most-viewed press releases on BusinessWire.com from Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 4, 2011, to see what kinds of trends and facts might be inferred from them. What types of releases garner a lot of views? Big brand names? Photos? Raw content? Headlines?

Ultimately, each company has to decide for itself what the strategic purpose of each press release is, and how best to achieve its goals. Among these releases, here are some facts and figures:

  • Cumulatively, these twenty releases account for 1,216,513 views, or an average of 63,076 views per release.
  • Fifteen of twenty included their company logo (a free service of Business Wire). Seven included at least one photo, and one included a video.
  • On average, 59% of readers found the release directly on BusinessWire.com (while browsing headlines or via RSS feeds or headline delivery emails), 34% found it on another site, and 6% found it via a search engine. Less than one percent of traffic, on average, came via social sources.

traffic sources graph

  • Links are a key factor in engaging readers with your news. Thirteen of the twenty releases included at list one hyperlink in the body of the release; but those thirteen releases got an average of 7,798 link clicks.
  • But don’t underestimate social, especially the top sites. For the traffic which did arrive from social sources, 65% came from Facebook, 29% from Twitter, 5% from LinkedIn, and the remaining 1% from all other social networks.
  • In terms of user engagement and sharing, on average, readers shared each release on Facebook 147 times, on Twitter 103 times, and on LinkedIn 88 times.
  • Business Wire readers are very interested in news about Apple and ExxonMobil.

It’s not easy to discern any clear trends, but two facts do stand out:

1. BusinessWire.com and its list of websites and other online sources carrying our news feed continue to be a crucial part of the news distribution process, getting companies tens of thousands of views, leading to user engagement, photo downloads, news coverage and more.

2. For all the growth in social, search is still a major driver of traffic for companies working online, which is pretty much everyone. Compelling, search-optimized content continues to be key to getting your press releases in front of your audiences.

So, without further ado, here are the twenty most-viewed press releases of 2011. Take a look and see what tips you might be able to get from them to make your own press releases more successful.

AT&T to Acquire T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom

Cyber Monday:  The Season’s Best Deals – No Fighting for Parking. No Waiting in Line.  Just Lean Back, Put Your Feet up and Shop.

Statement by Apple’s Board of Directors

Statement by Steve Jobs’ Family

Adobe Delivers Technical Communication Suite 3

Comic Sans Pro Typeface Family Makes its Debut

ExxonMobil Announces Three Discoveries in Deepwater Gulf of Mexico

HP Confirms Discussions with Autonomy Corporation plc Regarding Possible Business Combination; Makes Other Announcements

ExxonMobil Speedpass Customers Can Save 15 Cents Per Gallon

The Alliance for Consumer Education Names Senator Herb Kohl Honorary Chair

Clear Channel Radio Announces Acquisition of Thumbplay’s Cloud-Based Music Business

Letter from Steve Jobs

Fisher Investments MarketMinder Re-released

Steve Jobs Resigns as CEO of Apple

Exxon Mobil Corporation Declares Second Quarter Dividend

Heinz® Dip & Squeeze® Ketchup is Available Nationally! Heinz and Chick-fil-A® Invite You to Celebrate with Free FryDay

Exxon Mobil Corporation Declares Fourth Quarter Dividend

Exxon Mobil Corporation Declares First Quarter Dividend

FDA Approves YERVOY™ (ipilimumab) for the Treatment of Patients with Newly Diagnosed or Previously-Treated Unresectable or Metastatic Melanoma, the Deadliest Form of Skin Cancer

Google to Acquire Motorola Mobility


Moving to Mobile: Tips for PR Pros on Creating a Winning Mobile App

December 20, 2011
– by Shawnee Cohn, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/NY
MRT

Shawnee Cohn

If you think mobile apps are solely for fun and games, think again.

A recent study conducted by Flurry showed that consumers are spending more time on their mobile applications than on the Internet. The tablet revolution is changing the way in which journalists tell stories, as well as how they prefer to be pitched.

However, PR pros do not have to sit back and wait for their clients to generate media coverage. Smart businesses can ‘go mobile’ by creating their own apps to connect with customers and build their brand.

Here at Business Wire, we launched our very own mobile app so that our news content can be easily accessed from any location.

Leaders in the industry insist that PR professionals must not only learn about mobile app development, but also take advantage of the opportunities it offers to increase brand loyalty.

However, not every application hits a high note, and many have failed in the past. So what is the formula to create a successful mobile app?

Recently the International Association of Business Communicators/NY Chapter hosted a panel covering the ways in which brands can utilize mobile strategy to strengthen their PR, communications and marketing efforts.

The panel featured:

  • David Weiner, Digital Media Manager, PepsiCo
  • Lou Tosto, SVP Digital & Mobile Sales, CNBC.com
  • Sarah Meron, Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Communications, American Express Company
  • Adam Carey, Client Services Director, Imano
  • Nicole Kuritsky, Senior Manager Emerging and Social Media, Rodale

The group of mobile marketing experts had a wealth of beneficial tips to offer regarding best mobile practices. Here are some key take-aways:

The customer is key: The panelists agreed that positive user reviews are highly influential when it comes to the success of your app. Make sure that your design allows for both a seamless and engaging user experience. Also, keep in mind that including polls and surveys within your app can be a valuable tool to help you learn about your audience.

Ask yourself, “Do I need an app?”:  Sarah Meron of American Express notes that brands must consider whether their application creates a new experience for the user, different from that which is available on the original website. Will your iPad app offer value that the customer cannot find on any other platform? David Weiner of PepsiCo commented that brands should first place emphasis on becoming mobile-friendly before beginning the app development process. You might be convinced that your app is the first of its kind, but take a thorough look at the various stores to make sure an app similar to yours does not already exist, suggests Nicole Kuritsky of Rodale.

If you build it, they might not come: Building an app does not necessarily guarantee that customers will automatically rush to download it; thorough marketing and PR efforts are still as critical as ever. Make sure all systems are go before the app is live, and remember to include a link to the app store in whatever marketing materials you release to promote the new development. Adam Carey of Imano also suggests including a casual game within the app to spark the interest of potential customers. But be careful before you try to create the application yourself; development is a complicated undertaking. Partnerships with mobile consulting firms are the “name of the game,” and you “will fail if you try it yourself,” according to Sarah Meron of America Express.

 For more information on the IABC New York Chapter , visit www.nyiabc.com. You can also get the latest mobile/wireless news by registering at www.businesswire.com.


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!


To Register or Not to Register? For Press Release Measurement, a Tough Question

August 9, 2011

by Sandy Malloy, Senior Information Specialist Sandy Malloy, Senior Information Specialist

In a column on ClickZ entitled “5 Traits of the Analytically Empowered Organization,” Neil Mason offers basic guidelines on how to get the most out of measurement and analysis.  Mason addresses website analytics but his guidelines can also apply to interpreting press release measurement data collected in Business Wire’s complimentary Newstrak reports.

“In an ideal world, data is integrated around known users but this may not always be appropriate or possible,” wrote Mason. “Some internal data may be on a customer level, but digital data is often based on cookie level data.”   

In other words, if you know with whom you are dealing (your own customers, or website visitors about whom you have specific information that they provided upon registration) you can record accurate information about those people.  If not, you have to gather information using less direct, and therefore less accurate, methods.

So, although ideally you would like in-depth, accurate data about each visitor to your site, or viewer of your press releases, realistically you might not be able to gather this data without compelling that person to register.  But compulsory registration can cause someone to leave a website.  A recent study found that 75% of consumers take issue with being asked to register on a website and will change their behavior as a result.

The Business Wire site stopped requiring registration as a prerequisite to reading full press releases because we wanted visitors to stay on our site longer and read more of our clients’ releases.  The trade-off is missing visitor-supplied information about their geographic location, industry, job title, and other facts from registration forms. 

We can still report upon each visitor’s “location” but that information actually corresponds to the IP address of the visitor.  Sometimes that’s the same as where the visitor is located.  In other cases, it only reflects where the internet service provider is located. 

We’re not alone in swapping broad access and happy website visitors for information that we have to then find indirectly (or selectively,  from the relative few who don’t mind registering). 

For instance, I’ve seen demos of social media analysis products that have geographic and demographic sections.   When I have pressed the salesperson for how these data were derived, I learned they used IP addresses–exactly as we do–and reported demographics for users who include that information in their profiles.  In other words, indirect, or selective; or even very, very selective, information.

None of this means that their reports, or our reports, are useless.  On the contrary, they can be extremely useful but, as is the case with any statistical report, you must know what you’re viewing.

Here are some tips on how to use statistical reports with these constraints in mind:

  • Don’t accept any numbers at face value.  Understand the context in which they exist and how they fit in with one another as well as with any statistics you might be gathering internally.
  • Make sure you are indeed gathering those internal statistics.  Don’t rely on third party reports to tell you the whole story about what you are trying to measure–the “known users” referred to above are YOUR users, and you can leverage those relationships to gather a lot of information.
  • Especially if you are purchasing a measurement product, don’t be so lulled by the sexiness of the presentation that you fail to ask the vendor, “How do you find this information?”  Prod for  specifics so you’ll know what numbers to rely upon and which should be taken with that proverbial grain of salt.

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