13 Tips To Sharpen Your Communication Skills in 2013

October 18, 2012

Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager, Business Wire/Chicago

By Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager, Business Wire/Chicago

There is a distinct buzz in the air during the final quarter of the year.  In the PR community, this growing sound is our nagging reminder to sit down and think about new business, budgets, cuts and strategies for 2013.

We’re no different, so our team looked at our own best practices to empower you with 13 tips to make you a better communicator in 2013.

13. Commit to commenting. Stop being a social media voyeur.  Be active by liking and commenting on posts you read.  The comments can be as interesting as the posts; many people read them and they’re a good way to make connections.

12.  Give before you ask. No matter what service you provide, even the well-intentioned invitation can be seen as a demand for time, effort, and attention. Take this tip from Chris Sacca, advisor to some of the top social media companies, “If you’re insightful and helpful, people will want to be around you.”

11.  Refine your elevator pitch. How? Practice, edit, repeat. If you pitch TV stations you know assignment editors are willing to listen, but you’d better be able to get your point across fast! Call five assignment desks, and chances are, you’ll hone your pitch quickly.

10.  Subscribe to industry newsletters and READ THEM. PR/communications newsletters such as CommPRO.Biz, MediaBistro,  Smart Brief on Social Media and Ragan’s PR Daily offer helpful suggestions for improving your written and verbal communication skills and keep you up on industry trends. You might recognize a misstep you consistently make, such as avoiding an overused word.

9.  Get involved with an industry organization.  Don’t just attend events — join a committee, serve on the board, or simply volunteer your time as you can. Be sure not to limit yourself to PR/IR groups.

8.  Learn more about the offerings of your service providers. OK, this one may be a bit self-serving, but don’t shoot the messenger.  Many PR-related service providers are constantly advancing their catalog of offerings, providing free reporting, or creating complementary products to go along with the services they’re most known for.  Take the meeting and find out what else they offer for you to maximize your relationship.

7.  Have an SEO discussion with your web team, your wire vendors and your content creators. If one conversation isn’t enough, have however many it takes for you to understand search engine optimization (SEO) basics and start using these strategies to improve the visibility of content you produce for the web.

 6.  Take a class or seminar.   Many schools and professional societies offer continuing education classes at a low cost, and some even offer free sessions. Consider classes in photography, advanced web technology or web design.  You can even brush up with a business writing or grammar class.

5.  Attend a journalism conference. The price tag of some PR conferences can be off-putting.  Directly across the aisle our industry peers are putting together great and pertinent programming at a fraction of the cost.  Check out conferences organized by the Online News Association, Society of Professional Journalists or one of the journalists-of-color member organizations like NABJ, the National Association of Black Journalists.  You’ll learn a lot and make some new contacts while you are at it.

4.  Share your experiences. If you have no time to sit on a board or a committee, offer to speak at one of their programs on a  topic you know matches the interests of their members.  In PR groups, speakers on the topics of social media, measurement, crisis communications, media relations and brand strategy are highly sought after!

 3.  Invite a blogger out for coffee. If you don’t work with bloggers, meet up with an editor, producer or member of the Twitteratti who you value having a relationship with.  Even if they can’t meet face to face, the check-in email is a nice gesture and way to keep a relationship top of mind even if you’ve moved on to cover new areas.

2.  Be an active listener.  Multi-tasking, while great in so many ways, contributes immensely to our eclipsed attention spans. Make an effort to listen more closely.  Practice by playing a prerecorded webinar and not clicking away; or watching or listening to an on-air personality you don’t agree with and resisting the urge to turn away or blurt out.  Just listen.  If you improve your listening skills you might pick up the other half of what most people don’t hear when someone is speaking.

1. Immerse yourself in mobile.  Mobile marketing is the future, but the future is today.  To leverage this market for you and your clients you need to use it. Download news apps and visit the mobile rendered pages of your favorite brands. Then make sure your own messaging is mobile friendly.


Why You Should be Alerting Investors via Mobile

October 3, 2012

News audiences, all of them, are on the go these days: More than half of all US adults own a smartphone or tablet, and more than 60 percent of those read news on their devices at least once a week. As mobile starts to complement – and in some cases, supplant – desktop usage, it’s important to make sure that you’re reaching audiences where they are. And that’s more true when it comes to market-moving news targeted at investors and analysts.

Nigel Malkin, president of Brand2hand Media, recently led a webinar for Business Wire called “Mobile Alerts for Investor Relations.” In this webinar, Nigel discussed the whys and wherefores of reaching investors by mobile. A few highlights from that event:

  • SMS open rates are more than 90% on average, compared to 22% for email
  • Mobile users generally open SMS messages within 4 minutes, compared to 6 hours for email
  • Different markets have different text character limits, and messages must be designed accordingly
  • There’s a definite way to structure your mobile alert messages for top effectiveness

You can listen to the archived webinar here, or view the accompanying slide presentation below.

Afterwards, learn more about how we can help you add mobile alerts to your own investor relations program.


Is Apple’s iOS 6 Update Affecting Your Search Traffic?

October 2, 2012

Last month, just prior to releasing the new iPhone, Apple released iOS 6, the latest version of its operating system for mobile devices – iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. And as SearchEngineLand details, that update may be affecting what you’re seeing in your traffic data.

Safari is Apple’s own web browser, and it’s used by nearly 87% of iOS device users. So if someone is browsing the web on an iPad or iPhone (which 64% of mobile users are) it’s likely they’re using Safari.

The important change here, which SearchEngineLand explains in great detail, is that someone coming to your site via a search using Safari’s built-in Google search box no longer shows up in your traffic logs as search or referral traffic.  They show up as direct traffic, no different from if they had simply typed in your URL.

This appears to be an unanticipated result for everyone involved, and may result in Google making some changes to how searches via mobile are forwarded to the destination site. In the meantime, though, be aware that searches showing up in your NewsTrak Reports and other analytics as “direct traffic” may in fact be searches from iPad and iPhone users.

Combined with last year’s changes that no longer pass search terms through from logged-in Google users, this adds another complication for marketers and PR people trying to maintain an SEO/SEM strategy. It’s a quickly shifting landscape, so make sure you’re aware of all the trends and changes before making adjustments to your own strategy.

 


New Study Reveals Trends in Mobile News Consumption

October 1, 2012
by Phil Dennison, Senior Marketing Specialist, Business Wire

A joint study by The Economist Group and the Pew Research Center for Excellence in Journalism, released today, explains how tablet and smartphone ownership is changing how people read news. The study, called “The Future of Mobile News: The Explosion in Mobile Audience and a Close Look at What It Means for News,” is rich in detail on topic after topic, including ownership trends, paywall effectiveness, mobile ad effectiveness, article depth, and more.

One table reveals what times tablet users tend to view news during the day, depending on whether they check news once or multiple times. The implication for corporate communicators: Make sure you’re releasing your news at the right time for your target media to see it, act on it and plug it into their own news hole.

Elsewhere, the study outlines the differences in news consumption among tablet user who use mostly apps, mostly their browsers, or a combination of the two:

Again, based on this information, communicators can decide whether it’s in their interest to target web-based online publications, to ensure that their news shows up in mobile news apps, or even whether they should be developing their own apps.

The complete study is full of data and information that will help your company develop its communications, public relations, marketing and mobile strategies. It’s worth a read by all professional communicators, journalists, and anyone connected to the news business.


Upcoming Webinar: Mobile Alerts for Investor Relations

September 18, 2012

Reaching your audiences via mobile devices becomes more and more important all the time, as investors and consumers move away from desktops to smartphones and tablets. In our upcoming webinar, Mobile Alerts for Investor Relations, Nigel Malkin, president of Brand2Hand will discuss the growing trend to deliver breaking investor relations and other news to key stakeholders via mobile devices. Nigel will provide tips on adding SMS registration to your online investor center or online newsroom, an overview of how financial tables render on mobile devices and synchronizing your alerts with your press releases.

Register here for this free webinar, which takes place on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 1:00pm ET. We look forward to having you join us!


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


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