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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 


Business Wire Partners with iSentia, Expanding Press Release Distribution Reach and Impact Throughout Australia and New Zealand

May 6, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media

We are very excited to introduce you to our expanded news and content distribution partner for the Australia and New Zealand markets – iSentia.

iSentia

iSentia is the largest media information and business intelligence company in the Asia Pacific region.        With some 1,200 employees operating across 15 countries, iSentia has earned its reputation as Asia’s leading media resource center, featuring reach to over 10,000 print, broadcast and online outlets.

The new arrangement will provide Business Wire members news distribution access to a wide range of industry trade journalists, in addition to mainstream and online media within the Australian and New Zealand markets.  This partnership enhances Business Wire’s existing Asia Pacific distribution alongside The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse global networks.

In addition, with Business Wire’s Sydney office available to provide product counseling and consultative support, iSentia clients will gain seamless access to Business Wire’s global media networks and investor relations services.

  “iSentia’s continuously refreshed media data maximizes the return-on-investment potential for our clients,” said Cathy Baron Tamraz, Business Wire’s CEO, who made today’s announcement. “Of equal importance, iSentia’s impressive client base will now be able to reach consumer audiences, business decision-makers, and investors in North America, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa, in addition to all of the Asia Pacific region, with ease.”

Learn more about this partnership at http://www.newsboost.com/newsroom/businesswire

Have questions about this new partnership?  Let us know!


Introducing Facebook’s FBNewswire, A New Resource for Journalists

April 28, 2014

FB Newswire Today in CommPro.Biz, Business Wire’s Senior Vice President, Global Marketing, Tom Becktold discusses Facebook’s latest offering, FBNewswire. This new offering  is “a resource for journalists that aggregates newsworthy content shared publicly on Facebook by individuals and organizations.”

FBNewswire aggregates highly shared news content into one place, allowing media outlets to quickly see the news resonating, in real-time by Facebook’s users.

Read more about this offering now:  http://bit.ly/WhatsFBNewswire

Like this blog post? Share it out in just two simple clicks: http://ctt.ec/0rZJ5


PR Trends for 2014 Focus of Business Wire Houston Event

March 28, 2014
By Cindy Cantu, Senior CSR, Business Wire Houston

All things social

This is the year of the empowered customer, according to Business Wire’s Director of Social & Evolving Media Serena Ehrlich. “It is up to YOU to create your brand differential and up to US to guide you through how to do it,” she told the audience at Business Wire Houston’s event, “All Things Social – Maximize Your PR in 2014” on March 26th.

Attendees from various industries including energy, biotechnology and pharmaceutical, as well as numerous media and marketing professionals, heard all about how social media is having a major impact on today’s press release. The old method of packing in keywords and hyperlinks in your press release to boost your Google ranking was made obsolete after Google launched its Hummingbird and Penguin updates, Ehrlich said.

Now, the focus is on a well-written, quality press release that can be shared via social media by you and other readers, plus will attract coverage from journalists and bloggers. One tip to consider is to add helpful links to your owned media (website, Twitter handle or blog, etc.)  at the end of every press release. Adding a ClickToTweet link, embedded with a Google URL Builder is also a good idea. If you do receive additional coverage from other media, it’s important to share those articles through your own social media channels too, she added.

Another sure-fire way to increase your readership and overall PR success is to add multimedia to your releases. Research shows releases with images or video receive three times more engagement and impressions than plain-text news on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest, making multimedia no longer optional for today’s releases. Ehrlich said.

All-things-social-pic-2-lo-res

Serena Ehrlich explains “the year of the empowered customer” using social and multimedia.

One recent example of multimedia having a huge impact happened at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Surrounded by all of the giants in the technology industry, a relatively small company named mophie sparked major interest in their “space pack” product by simply adding a photo to their press release. They had one of the most popular releases among all CES exhibitors, Ehrlich said. Both release views and multimedia downloads surpassed 20K shortly after the release was issued.

Navigating through the current changes in the PR world can be daunting. Business Wire works hard to stay on top of the latest news and trends so it can share the information with its clients. Visit the Business Wire Newsroom and read the BusinessWired blog to be informed.

 

Like this blog post?  Tweet it out by clicking here: http://ctt.ec/m74wd

 


Business Wire Event Recap: Business Wire Cleveland Welcomes John Campanelli

February 25, 2014
By Katie Kennedy, Account Executive

On Tuesday, February 18, Clevelanders braved the wind and treacherous roads after an unwelcome overnight snowfall to join Business Wire Cleveland for a breakfast event featuring John Campanelli, the new publisher and editorial director of Crain’s Cleveland Business. Campanelli, a Cleveland media veteran, is the first new publisher of Cleveland’s most reputable source of business news in 28 years.

In fact, Campanelli cited reputation as a major factor in his decision to take the position as publisher at a time when print publications are diminishing. Crain’s Cleveland Business is highly regarded by the community it serves and John plans to keep that reputation intact.  How?Cleveland Media Breakfast

“The worst sin is to not be interesting. Content is the single most important thing,” said Campenelli. “As long as we can keep it interesting, we’ll survive.”

Campanelli gave a preview of how he plans to keep it interesting and what is to come for Crain’s Cleveland Business:

  • A new website, responsive design, a stronger social media presence – “they are all coming.”
  • Multimedia usage. Short 3-4 minute videos recapping the week’s news are on the horizon as part of an overall campaign to include more multimedia with most stories.
  • Expanded coverage. John indicated that philanthropy and sports are beats that deserve more attention.
  • More diverse content. Look for news on dining, fitness and other “things that business people care about” to be added to the mix.
  • Continue to be a business connector. Not only by providing data and information, but also by hosting more events.  Plans for smaller, more editorially-focused events are on the agenda.

During the Q&A portion of the event, Campanelli responded to several questions about the recent changes at The Plain Dealer, Cleveland’s no-longer-daily newspaper. John assured the audience that Crain’s will continue to be delivered in print and that there is no plan for the publication to be online only. A former colleague of John’s from The Plain Dealer asked perhaps the most memorable question: “Do you see a place for investigative journalism in business news?”

“Absolutely!” replied John.

Campanelli asked the audience in jest if they had any tips before concluding with a sincere thank you and extending an invitation to our guests to get in touch with him and share information and ideas as he settles into his new role.

Not so ironically, as I sat down to write this recap a colleague in attendance at the event suggested I keep it fun, light and interesting – I guess John got his point across!

John’s Crain’s page: http://www.crainscleveland.com/apps/pbcs.dll/personalia?ID=22&category=CONTACT

Twitter: @johncampanelli

Crain’s: www.crainscleveland.com


Sending News to the Middle East? Q&A with News Services Group’s Tony AbiHanna

February 6, 2014

Matt Allinson, International Media Relations Supervisor

by Matt Allinson, International Media Relations Supervisor

I recently had the good pleasure of speaking with Tony AbiHanna, a Managing Director at News Services Group (NSG) in Dubai. NSG is a leading news service provider in the Middle East and North Africa and a distribution partner of Business Wire.  With more and more client news going to the Middle East, I was curious to know if he had any tips for conducting business in the region. During a short question and answer session, Mr. AbiHanna touched on the proper timing of a press release, what social media are popular in the region and whether sandstorms whipped up by shamal (wind) ever impact business.

Q: What is the single biggest thing to keep in mind when trying to successfully distribute news in the Middle East? Is it timing? Is it the headline? Is it the tone?

A: Normally media outlets across the Middle East tend to publish news related to the region.  So it would be best if clients can highlight a relation (if any) to the Middle East, a country in the region, or the name of a company based here in the headline of a press release. Otherwise, the news release most probably will end up in the international news page (if there is still space for it).

And timing plays a big role if the client is targeting print media.  Any release distributed after 3:00pm or 4:00pm (at the latest) has less of a chance of being picked up by the print media.

Q: What is the best day of the week and the best time of  day to send out a press release in the UAE (or the region – if there’s an agreed-upon standard)?

A: We advise avoiding distribution on Sundays (the first day of the week here) and Mondays.  Otherwise, all other days are fine.  Keep in mind, however, that Saturday is an off day and therefore an easy day news-wise.

Q: Are there any meeting customs/traditions unique to the Middle East that outsiders coming to conduct business should be aware of? For instance, in Japan, they have the “kamiza” seat and the exchanging of business cards. Does anything like this exist where you are?

A: There is a tradition of drinking Arabic coffee (which is the white coffee), and it can be considered an offense if the visitor doesn’t drink it as it is part of Arab hospitality. Plus, the professional classic and conservative outfits (especially for females) are advisable.

Q: From your point of view, what social media sites are most popular in the UAE and Middle East? What sites would be best utilized to complement the distribution of a news release?

Twitter is very influential and on top of the list and then Facebook and Instagram, respectively.

Q: Do sandstorms/shamal ever severely affect business in Dubai or elsewhere in the region?

Sand Storm

A: The UAE, Abu Dhabi and Dubai roads and business centers are highly equipped with the latest infrastructure, so sand storms don’t affect business here. However, if the visitor is traveling by car between Abu Dhabi and Dubai or any other Emirate for example, he needs to allow more time as traffic slows down on highways during such storms.


Tips for Getting Your News Noticed in Singapore

January 21, 2014

By Ai Arakawa, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/Tokyo

Ai Arakawa

I recently had the opportunity to take a business trip to Singapore. In the course of my meetings, I was able to speak with some very influential members of the Singapore media. What I took away was a new knowledge of the country’s media and some tips for those sending them news.

The Business Times
Since 1976, The Business Times is Singapore’s only financial daily covering local, regional and international business news. The publisher, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), is one of the most influential publishers owning more than 100 media outlets in Asia. The editorial team at Business Times focuses on grasping the latest economic trends in Singapore as well as around the globe and analyzes this information with deep and original insight. Here are some tips that The Business Times shared during my visit:

  • They are not really a “big fan” of receiving a product news release from each company by email.
  • However, they enjoy checking AP, Bloomberg and other major information providers for global economy information and also check the releases provided by Business Wire.
SPH News Center

SPH News Center

Berita Harian & Berita Minggu
SPH publishes the daily newspaper in Malay language, Berita Harian, launched in 1957 and now boasts a circulation of 59,300. Its Sunday version, Berita Minggu, claims 57,800 copies as circulation. BH, says:

  • Despite the language in the newspaper, most of the releases they receive every day are in English and this doesn’t bother the editorial team.
  • 75% of the paper covers Malay community related topics, so if the releases are related to Malay community, there might be more opportunities to get the coverage. However, they do cover international news as well and he’s personally interested in politics, travels and trends.
  • They enjoy and use social media as well. In addition to Facebook and Twitter, they also use Instagram for topical research.

I found it very interesting to see their use of Instagram, because CNET recently published an article mentioning that Instagram now has a bigger average monthly smartphone audience compared to Twitter based on the data recently disclosed by Nielsen.

The New Paper
Also published by SPH, this is the daily tabloid newspaper in English founded in 1988 with a circulation of 90,800. The paper’s motto is “People”. Link your pitch and tips towards people if you expect the coverage in this paper. They enjoy social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as other Singapore journalists do.

Today

“TODAY lady” at MRT station

“TODAY lady” at MRT station

This is the English daily newspaper from Monday to Saturday published by another leading publisher in Singapore, Media Corp Press. The subscription is free of charge and we can get the paper from the ladies in “TODAY” jackets who hand out the papers in the major MRT (railway system) stations. According to Richard Valladares and Rosalind Png, Assistant Vice Presidents, there are many original articles thanks to their correspondents from around the world. This global content allows them to sell their news in other countries and helps supplement their ad revenue stream.

Like many media outlets around the world, Singapore journalists look for news of interest to their readers, by subject or geography and utilize social channels to round out their articles.  To increase media coverage by these reporters, we recommend a compelling relevant headline, interesting multimedia and including links to social channel content useful to the story.

Liked this article? Let us know!  Business Wire is a global newswire service with offices across the globe.  What other regional media relations tips are you interested in learning about?


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