Business Wire Spotlight: Meet Zara McAlister!

August 11, 2014

For today’s Friday spotlight, we once again head north to interview Zara McAlister,  our Canadian media relations specialist.

Meet Zara McAlisterZara, thank you for speaking with us!  Tell us about yourself, where are you from?
I was born and raised in Port Perry, Ontario, a small town north of Toronto. As a country girl, I’ve had to adjust to big city living in Toronto. It’s getting easier every day.  

When did you start working for Business Wire?
After completing my MA degree in Journalism from Western University in the spring of 2012, I took on the position of newsroom editor at Business Wire’s Toronto office the following November.    

You first started at Business Wire as an editor, tell us more about your roles within the company.
Although I enjoyed the editorial and client relations side at Business Wire when I worked in our Toronto newsroom, I was excited about pursuing new opportunities as a media relations specialist for our Canadian territory. This role enabled me to put on my journalistic thinking cap and collaborate with the thousands of journalists in the country. I’ve been working in this role for the past five months – and I love doing it!

Tell us more about your role as our Canadian media relations expert?
As a media relations specialist, I develop and maintain relationships with Canadian journalists, form partnerships with media points by exploring content license opportunities, co-manage our @BusinesswireCA Twitter account and I work on keeping our expansive database of media contacts up-to-date. Apart from my primary responsibilities, I also enjoy writing content for our blog and other public and investor relations publications.

What do you enjoy about your job?
The best part about my role in media relations is the opportunity to meet new journalists every day. Even though I’m not always interacting with journalists face-to-face (more often than not we connect via social media), I get to learn about our Canadian media landscape, what our journalists deem newsworthy and how Business Wire can facilitate their needs. I think working with our journalists is so important given how unstable their industry is at this time, so we want to be able to help our reporters and editors as they are taking on massive changes.

What do you like about Business Wire?
All of my colleagues, from Seattle to Tokyo, have always been friendly and encouraging. Our global team is ready to land a hand when needed, despite operating on different time zones. Our courtesy with each other definitely extends to our customers and our media partners, so they can always expect outstanding and punctual customer service.

What are some of your favorite contributions to Business Wire?
I was able to hone my copy editing skills when I worked in our Toronto newsroom, so I always felt a rush of adrenaline every time I was able to catch misplaced quotation marks, dangling modifiers, and misspelled names.  I prided myself on spotting those pesky little “It’s” vs. “Its” errors, which actually happens quite frequently.  

I’ve been able to employ my journalistic skills by writing content marketing pieces to help increase our brand awareness in Canada. I’m not afraid to try out new ways of marketing ourselves.

Tell us about yourself!
I’m a self-professed lover of chick lit and all things related to the Bachelor/Bachelorette reality TV show. For those two hour episodes every Monday evening, my eyes are glued to the TV watching impossibly romantic dates and heart wrenching breakups. When it’s not a Monday evening (and this show airs pretty much all of the time), you can find me enjoying Toronto’s summer patio scene or hitting around a birdie with my badminton racquet.

I’m also a globe trotter, having travelled across North and South America, and much of Europe.

What drives you to do what you do every day at Business Wire?

As soon as I step into my office, I’m ready to offer valuable content to our Canadian journalists so that they can share important news with their readers or investors. Newsrooms will never have to worry about a lack of content when they decide to work with Business Wire.

What is your favorite thing about living in Canada?
That we are generally well-liked by people around the world. Because the stereotype that Canadians are polite, friendly and outgoing people is actually accurate—look no further than our Toronto office team. Also, I think I look fairly stylish in a snowsuit.  

Why do you recommend Canadian companies work with Business Wire?
Business Wire has formed long-lasting and solid partnerships with many of the major media points around the world. That means that your news will always be viewed and shared by the editors, reporters and producers that make up global newsrooms.


Brand Journalism and the Evolution of Online Newsrooms

August 6, 2014

In the August 2014 issue of PRSA Tactics, Business Wire’s VP of Web Communications Ibrey Woodall reflects on how the online newsroom has matured from a basic press release archive to a central communications headquarters complete with brand articles. Although a very few journalists (only 7 percent) still believe that company-written articles do not belong in the news center, results from the 2014 Business Wire Media Survey illustrate that more than 60 percent of reporters are receptive to brand journalism.

Brand Article Types of Interest to ReportersRead the article “Online Newsrooms and Brand Journalism: Survey Shows Media Acceptance of Corporate Storytelling in Press Centers” to learn more about how organizations can create special content sections within their online newsroom. Content that helps relay a company’s history and industry focus, enhancing both brand loyalty and search engine optimization.


Frankie Flack Explains Why Newsrooms are Using Press Releases More Than Ever

July 17, 2014

By Neil Hershberg, Sr. Vice President, Global Media, Business Wire

Not only are press releases alive and well but, according to an industry insider, their role in today’s editorial ecosystem is more important than ever. They have emerged as the “exclusive information source” for many corporate developments, most of which fail to generate independent coverage.

Frankie Flack, a pseudonym for a New York-based public relations professional, authored a column for “Talking Biz News” explaining the shifting dynamics of financial news coverage in a challenging media environment. “Talking Biz News” is a popular web site that enables business journalists to track the latest media trends, developments, and personnel moves.

You can read the article here: http://talkingbiznews.com/2/frankie-flack-why-my-press-releases-are-the-new-newswire

According to Flack, a confluence of factors have contributed to the press release’s resurgent popularity, and its de facto dominance as a primary news source.

Newsroom cutbacks have sharply curtailed the resources dedicated to breaking news other than major announcements, in Flack’s view.

Beat reporters are committed to churning out “thumb-sucker” stories focusing on Big Ideas, as opposed to the nuts-and-bolts stories that news organizations were noted for in the past.

Even the larger market-moving news services have become dependent on news releases to provide context to their headlines, often in the absence of insights from analysts and academics who were relied on for perspective in the past. According to Flack, press releases enable issuers to “control the narrative.”

Flack also cites the ubiquity of press releases on the web, pointing to such popular sites as Yahoo! where releases far out number wire stories.

The middling stories that represented the bulk of a news service’s daily output have all but disappeared, Flack notes, making press releases the “exclusive information source” for most corporate events. In the absence of coverage of record, press releases have become the default archive that investors, journalists, consumers, and others will rely on in the future.

Clearly, press releases are more vital than ever, playing an ever more robust role in determining the daily news agenda, and influencing user consumption.


Increase Journalist Interest in Your Healthcare Press Releases – Free Webinar!

July 14, 2014

In the last 5 years, new communication tools have made it both easier, and more complicated to launch and manage successful Healthcare PR programs.  Media relations has changed across the board, especially as it relates to writing about healthcare.

To help our clients increase the visibility of their organization and their news, Business Wire is hosting a one-hour webinar in which we will be asking leading reporters how they identify topics, what assets they need to write about a company and even how they like to be pitched.

Our panelists include Tina Reed from the Washington Business Journal and Jacqueline Fellows, senior editor of HealthLeaders Media.

Join us on Thursday, July 17th from 12:00-1:00 PM EDT and in just one hour, learn everything you need to know about working with healthcare reporters in 2014.

Learn more about this one hour webinar, at http://bit.ly/HealthMediaWebinar

Speakers include:

Tina ReedTina Reed, Washington Business Journal, Healthcare reporter
Reed has been the HealthCare Reporter at the Washington Business Journal since January 2014. She previously was the online content editor and healthcare reporter with The Capital in Annapolis, MD. In her current role she covers the pertinent health issues that affect the Washington, DC metro area.

 

Jacqueline Fellows

Jacqueline Fellows, HealthLeaders Media, Senior Editor
Fellows has been with HealthLeaders Media since 2012. Her coverage is focused on the business of healthcare.  Prior to joining HealthLeaders she spent more than 10 years in broadcast journalism where she won numerous awards including the 2010 Best Radio Newscaster Award from the Tennessee AP Broadcasters and Media Editors.

 
Kerting Baldwin, Director of Corporate Communications, Memorial Healthcare SystemKerting Baldwin, Ed.D., is the director of corporate communications at Memorial Healthcare System.
She oversees all aspects of media communication including strategy, social media, corporate communications and crisis communications for the six-hospital healthcare system in south Broward County. Kerting started her career as a journalist, and has worked for The Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel and The Tampa Tribune. She also has worked in the broadcast industry for Telemundo as a video editor.  Kerting holds a Bachelor’s in Communication from Florida International University, a Master’s Degree in Liberal Studies from University of Miami and a Doctorate in Education from St. Thomas University. Her doctoral thesis focused on the use of social media in healthcare.
 
The event will be moderated by Molly Pappas and Simon Ogus, Business Wire Health and Public Policy Media Specialists. Molly and Simon work closely as liaisons between healthcare and public policy reporters and our clients, ensuring media outlets receive the news they are most interested in, quickly and easily.

Register for the Event now:  http://bit.ly/HealthMediaWebinar


Don’t Miss the Upcoming Webinar “The Business of Sports”

June 5, 2014
Jake Toplitt, Account Supervisor at Matter, Inc

Webinar moderator Jake Toplitt

The pressure is on. You have been put in charge of getting coverage for a top sports brand.  You begin your press campaign by writing a compelling release which you promptly distribute, patiently waiting for signs of interest.  You want a journalist that will sing praises about your brand or maybe a mere mention. But instead you find silence. What went wrong? Wouldn’t it be great to learn from someone on the inside who can share insights on the business side of a major sports outlet?

Danny Ecker, Reporter/Producer (Sports Business), Crain's Chicago Business

Danny Ecker, Reporter/Producer (Sports Business), Crain’s Chicago Business

On June 12, Business Wire is giving PR professionals the opportunity to learn everything from sports-oriented product pitches and endorsements to coverage of the biggest news in professional and collegiate athletics with a webinar titled “The Business of Sports.” The webinar will feature a panel of leading journalists from the world of broadcast and print.

“So many story pitches that show up in my inbox are generic. I am constantly deleting emails from PR people that are so obviously casting a wide net and trying to get a reporter to bite,” said Danny Ecker, who writes for Crain’s Chicago Business and will be speaking on the panel. “Covering sports business often requires looking at the world of sports the way most people don’t and highlighting everything except what’s happening on the main stage.”

Hugo Balta, Coordinating Producer, ESPN

Hugo Balta, Coordinating Producer, ESPN

Another speaker is Hugo Balta, a coordinating producer for ESPN. Balta has mentioned on many occasions the importance of doing your homework when pursuing a journalist or outlet. His philosophy is to research the outlet so you can begin to understand what they’re trying to achieve. Then you can tailor your client to what specifically meets the needs of the journalist.

Kristi A. Dosh, Esq., Sports Business Analyst, Public Relations Exec.& College Sports Consultant

Kristi A. Dosh, Esq., Sports Business Analyst, Public Relations Exec.& College Sports Consultant

The panel also includes Kristi Dosh, who is a Sports Business Analyst, Public Relations Exec. & College Sports Consultant. Moderating the event is sports marketing professional Jake Toplitt, Account Supervisor for Matter Inc. All of the panelists bring years of experience working for sports outlets and will effectively reveal powerful pitching tips and advice for reaching sports journalists and influential outlets.

Sign up and be prepared to learn about unexplored opportunities for coverage from leading professionals working in the field.

Register Now


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!


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