How to Craft an Editorial Calendar

November 20, 2014

Several times a year, Business Wire’s Serena Ehrlich presents at TechMUNCH, the nation’s leading food blogger conference, on the topic of how to craft a successful editorial calendar.  If you haven’t had a chance to read this piece, check it out here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20140926200156-1308357-blogger-pr-tip-of-the-day-why-you-need-an-editorial-calendar

In this article, Serena outlines why you should create and use an editorial calendar, various elements that affect the calendar, and how you can use events such as movie premieres, elections, breaking news, and more, to deepen the affinity between your blog and your readers.


Are Your News Releases Making Business Editors Happy?

November 19, 2014

Business Wire recently held a very popular webinar with our largest global news partner, The Associated Press, the 165-year-old non-profit cooperative newsgathering and reporting organization.

During this webinar, attended by more than 400 communication professionals across the country, Philana Patterson, AP’s Small Business and Breaking News Editor, told listeners “How to Make a Business Editor Happy” – a series of tips that will help ensure better coverage of your news releases by the AP, its subscribers and other media.

  • Reduce industry jargon and use clear, crisp writing. Make sure your releases don’t get counted in the annual SHIFT Communications Top 50 Most Overused Words in Press Releases Stick to the basics and make sure your release could be easily understood by any reader.
  • Use subheads throughout your releases to organize news. Breaking up your release into easily-digestible chunks, clearly labeled with explanatory subheads, makes it easy for editors to locate the topics most relevant to their beats or areas of interest.
  • Consider using bullets to highlight key items. Much like subheads, bullets make it easy to see at a glance what the key takeaways from your news are.
  • Don’t try to bury the news in the release – they will find it anyway! Reporters and editors are paid to find news, and if it looks like you’re trying to hide something in your release, it’s probably the first thing they’ll report on.
  • Include a phone number on your release. If it’s important enough to send out, it’s important enough to get asked about. Make sure interested media can get in touch with you. Business Wire makes sure your contact info is available to all of our receiving media points.
  • Make sure the contact person is working all day the day your news moves. If your usual contact person isn’t going to be in the office, make sure there’s an alternate contact available. Nothing’s more frustrating for editors than trying to do follow-up only to be told the contact isn’t in that day.

Patterson also offered one very important tip for making sure your news gets noticed in the first place:  Include a photo.  According to Patterson, many of their subscribers tell the AP that they mostly use stories that carry photos.  Visual elements are particularly important for mobile and online users who gravitate towards visual-based reporting.

Visual content on the AP Mobile app for iPad

Visual content on the AP Mobile app for iPad

Photos not only get your story noticed at the news desk, they get it noticed if the AP provides further coverage. And always make sure your photos are high-resolution – at least 2,000 pixels on the longest side, and at least 1MB in size.  All photos that run over Business Wire will meet the AP’s sizing standards.

We’ve made Patterson’s full list of tips available as a PDF – click here to download your copy  to save and share with your colleagues!

If you attended the webinar, we hope you enjoyed it and found its content useful. You can find additional webinars, local meetings and other Business Wire events at our Events page. Bookmark it today!


Case Study! Increase Sales by Using Press Release to Promote Branded Content

November 16, 2014

Many of our clients are using press releases to not only promote breaking company news, but also to promote breaking company content.  In this case study, we speak with Jerry Goldstein, VP of William Mills Agency, to discuss how they used one press release to promote a white paper with spectacular success.  Results include WSJ coverage, social sharing, inbound traffic, and downloads by the company’s top prospects.

Are you using press releases to promote your content?  If not, read this piece today.  It will change the way you think of content distribution.

http://www.prnewsonline.com/featured/2014/10/15/william-mills-agency-increases-awareness-and-b2b-sales-with-content-distribution/


When it Comes to Online Newsrooms, Give the Media What They Want

October 27, 2014

By Sarah Drake Boerkircher, Assistant Director, News & Communications, Wake Forest Universitysdboerkircher

At the PRSA 2014 International Conference in Washington, D.C., I participated in the public relations professional development workshop “Content, Social Strategies and Online Newsrooms: Managing Communications in Higher Education.” As a PR professional for a university’s news and communication team, I was eager to hear how journalists were interacting with online newsrooms. These are the takeaways that I found to be most helpful:

So… what do media really want in a newsroom?

  • First and foremost, an online newsroom must be mobile-friendly. If a newsroom isn’t responsive, this will only cause annoyance, causing the reporter to leave your site as soon as possible.
  • Press releases, which are categorized and easy to search.
    • Experts with biographies and up-to-date information.
    • Media contacts that include email addresses, phone numbers, mobile numbers and Twitter handles.
    • Fact sheet(s). Note: a fact sheet is not the university’s history.
    • Images, photo galleries, infographics and videos.
    • In the News” section, which includes the most current university coverage.
    • An archive. Up to five years of information can be included, but must be easy to search. Major university milestones that fall outside of the five-year window can also be included.
  • Finding an answer should be easy. When media visits a university homepage, more than 80 percent are looking for the newsroom. Reporters do not want to spend hours (let alone minutes) searching a university site for an answer, so make the newsroom reporter-friendly by easing the search features and incorporating the content outlined above.
  • Content needs to be searchable. Often public relations professionals use corporate / university speak that is not easily searchable, which prevents a press release or story from gaining traction. Use language that people will most likely use when they conduct a search. This is as simple as calling a spade a spade.
  • Use a story in multiple ways, so impact can be measured. Storytelling is key in public relations, so being able to measure the impact of a story is important. Repurposing content through a blog post, tweet, video, infographic, photo or Instagram post, increases the chances of a story to be shared. Once content is shared, which is often easiest to do so across social media, a story’s reach and spread become measurable.
  • There is always room for improvement. After major or minor changes to a newsroom, do not be afraid to ask media to take a look at your site. Feedback can help to make the newsroom that much more efficient and only help get media the content that they want when they need it.

The Perfect Recipe for the PR Professional: Data, Multimedia & Engagement

October 21, 2014

By Jennifer Dunn, Senior Account Executive, Business Wire

In today’s world of marketing and PR, one of the topics constantly being discussed is “big data and measurement.” For some, this is an exciting topic; for others it may seem overwhelming because there is so much information to digest. I fall somewhere in between as I believe it’s all in how the information is conveyed to me in regards to whether or not I will find the information stale or enlightening. One could compare this to – what makes news or a press release more engaging – think straight text releases vs. ones with photos or video.

perfect recipe for pr professional

I attended a number of sessions at PRSA International in Washington, D.C., October 12-14th, but have to say, by far, the one that really stuck with me was “Big Data and Analytics for Communications Pros: Why the Math Matters” with Mike Buckley, VP of global business communications at Facebook as the featured speaker. Not only did he provide great insight on how data can be utilized to measure results, but was engaging and honest.

Interesting Points from Buckley’s session:

  • “There is more data created in one day than grains of sand on every beach in the world.”
  • “Use data to understand what is going on. Embrace it.”
  • “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”
  • “Understand the cycle, shorten the cycle, get ahead of the cycle using data.” Math grounded some of Facebook’s major business decisions such as the purchase of Instagram. They received lots of negative press, but they just rode it out and now FCBK and Instagram are two of the fastest-growing mobile apps.
  • “Look at social chatter as part of your analytics.”
  • “Your Facebook algorithm is governed by your actions. Choices have to be made and great content is key.”
  • “Data is not everything. It can be complex. Data will never replace human judgment and interaction.” This was probably the most powerful statement Buckley made during his presentation. He followed it by showing the video of John Berlin, a father whose son passed away January 28, 2012. Berlin had made a plea to Facebook trying to access his son’s “Look Back Video.” The entire crowd was just silent after seeing the video. Buckley said the video went viral and Facebook did reach out to John Berlin providing him access to his late son’s video.

What really made this session such a success, was the combination of Buckley’s presentation style and the use of engaging visuals/audio. Not once did I find myself disengaged from the discussion. I, along with the rest of the audience, was captivated throughout the entire session. Buckley successfully took a topic that can at times be dry and not exciting to some, and simplified it by relating to his audience, showing how they can make “big data” part of your everyday communications cycle.

This session really proved the importance of embracing data and including social analytics as part of that data and measurement. Further, it showed the impact multimedia can have on increasing overall engagement and word-of-mouth marketing.


Case Study: Press Releases Increase Awareness, Sales of Lakemaid Beer

October 16, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media

Earlier this month, Business Wire launched the first in a series of case studies showcasing how clients are utilizing press releases to increase awareness, message permeation and, ultimately, sales.

In this CommPro piece, we speak with Pocket Hercules to find out how one press release, video and image resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in media coverage, views and ultimately, sales for Lakemaid Beer.  This program is one that many PR professionals can duplicate to support a wide range of products, services and more.

Click here to read the entire article and then ask yourself, how are you utilizing traditional PR tools to support your organization?


11 Things Marketers Should Know from the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit

October 8, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media

Last month hundreds of marketers, communicators and social media experts met in Baltimore for the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit to discuss the latest trends in all aspects of marketing and best practices for increasing engagement, sales and ROI.

In this piece, we will look at the top 11 marketing predictions for 2015, including the rise of the social CMO, a movement away from real-time marketing to right time marketing and the increased importance of the online newsroom.

  1. The rise of the CSMO (chief social media officer): Social media has evolved from short form messaging communication tool to a program that directly affects every part of a business.  As the real-time customer engagement platform, data generated can directly impact the future of one’s organization.  This role will be a hybrid between creative and analysis.  Those social media teams focusing only on outbound communications, ignoring the data available will not succeed.
  1. Multimedia is here to stay: More and more studies are showing that multimedia is now considered a mandatory element when looking to increase the response rate of any communications program. In addition, we will see a huge increase in mobile video investment as mobile device penetration continues to skyrocket
  1. Paying to engage with your social audiences: As Facebook, Twitter and other platforms mature, their business models are moving quickly into revenue generation and profit.  Look for these platforms to continue to roll out paid opportunities such as geographic and demographic targeting to increase the ability for a brand to reach their brand fans.
  1. A refocus from real-time marketing to right time marketing: Thanks to the meme that the Oreo Superbowl ad was created on the spot and thus is real-time marketing (completely false by the way, the ad was created months in advance), there became a push in 2014 for brands to jump into real time marketing.  Instead thinking about “real-time” organizations in 2015 will move towards “right-time” which involves the use of data to determine how and when to distribute each piece of created content – from social updates to press releases – to maximize the result.
  1. The rise online newsroom: As it becomes harder to get media’s attention, more and more organizations are building branded newsrooms – or including within their existing newsroom a section for brand-created content.  This content allows brands to tell their story, utilizing their own voice.  However it is important to remember that the only good branded content is seen branded content, many of these organizations are not only setting budgets aside to build these newsrooms and create this content, they are putting budget aside to distribute the content as well via press releases, coverage amplification services and more.
  1. A breakdown of internal siloes: As more and more data is becomes available through various marketing channels, it is imperative that marketing work with more and more internal teams to improve processes, define customer expectations, provide stronger customer service, increase sales, build corporate reputation and more.
  1. A better understanding of the ROI of a communications program: Marketers are moving away from “last click” attribution to multi-touch point attribution, allows brands to track customers through their entire journey ensuring that every touch point along the way is credited.
  1. A big shift from content creation to content distribution: As content marketing becomes a staple for most marketing programs, more and more marketers are turning to paid tools including press releases and amplification tools to ensure their created content is seen content. After all, there is no reason to pay for content to be created, if you aren’t paying for it to be distributed.
  1. The growing importance of social customer service as more than 50% of customer service interactions begin on the computer, well before the customer has engaged the brand.
  1. Look to smart devices and wearables to change news consumption from tweets to bursts. How can you increase the impact of your news as you decrease the amount of space needed to tell it!
  1. Sharing corporate sustainability responsibility news will continue to increase in 2015 as more and more consumers are choosing to align with brands and organizations that reflect their own beliefs. Organizations of all sizes from Nike to Honest Teas have connected with customers and build entire brands by focusing and staying true to their CSR message.

This year’s speakers shared so many wonderful thoughts but it was these 11 that resonated with me the most.  Which of these surprises you?  Which does not?


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