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.


PRWeek asks: What is the Impact of Panda 4.0 on Today’s Press Release?

July 2, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media

Earlier today, PRWeek tackled a topic on the minds of communication professionals around the globe – the impact of Google’s Panda updates on the press release.

logoSmallIn this piece, they ask experts from newswires and agencies alike whether this change will kill or enhance the press release.  Every respondent agreed – the press release is not dead.  In fact, thanks to this change, which effectively removed low quality content from mingling with high-level content, PR professionals have a terrific opportunity to reach and activate key audiences.  Today’s PR pros are in fact seeing greater success and visibility within key audiences with highly targeted, well-written, multimedia enhanced news.

Read more about Panda 4.0: Good news for content, bad news for link-stuffing at PR Week.  Curious on the best ways to craft a release in 2014?  Check out our free guide.


Which Publications Inform Today’s Leading Communicators?

March 18, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media

Earlier this year we asked blog readers to share their top daily reads.  We wanted to see which publications are considered must-reads among today’s communications experts.  Do communicators rely on mainstream media to keep them up to date through mainstream media, like The New York Times?  Industry trade magazines such as Mashable?  Or social networks including Twitter and LinkedIN?

The results were somewhat surprising.  With 152 respondents to date, our survey shows:

  • Just 20% of respondents said they read mainstream media such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today on a daily basis, yet these publications continue to be the top-desired coverage targets for small and big B2B and B2C companies alike.
  • Only 9% of those who replied use LinkedIn as a news source, yet LinkedIn continues as a top conversion platform for many businesses.
  • 17% noted Twitter as their primary news source, the highest of any social network, with one communicator smartly pointing out that Twitter’s speed makes  tools such as Google Alerts less valuable.
  • 14% relied on PR industry trades suggesting that these outlets, while valuable, may not produce content frequently enough to warrant a daily read.
  • A mere 2-11% read highly targeted social, digital or SEO-oriented blogs and articles. While this may be because these topics are heavily covered  in other industry publications, we were still surprised by such a low number.

What do you think?  Which publications are you reading every day?  Take two minutes to fill out this survey yourself, and we will continue to share updates as the data change.

Business Wire Reader Survey

Business Wire Reader Survey

You can find the survey here:  http://blog.businesswire.com/2014/02/27/what-publications-to-top-marketers-read-business-wire/


Business Wire Phoenix and Keith Yaskin Show How to Tell Your Story with Video

March 7, 2013
by Billy Russell, Client Services Representative, Business Wire/Phoenix

At Business Wire’s February 27 workshop, “How to Dynamically Tell Your Company’s Story With Video,” Keith Yaskin, who moderated the event, had an opportunity to provide his own insight into the creative process of crafting a video to tell a company’s story.

Three teams were each assigned to produce a video for a specific company Keith had outlined, and were asked how they would tell their story and what visuals would be highlighted. Two teams were given the task of creating a video for a mining company in order to boost its image to gain public support for a land swap.  One team was given a small, local dentist’s office who specialized in kids’ dentistry.  Both industries may have a difficult time portraying a positive image for different reasons:  Mining companies can receive public backlash for environmental reasons, and a dentist’s office is a classic phobia for many people.  So, how to tackle these issues?

According to Keith, there is absolutely no ONE right way to tell a story.  There may be ten, twenty, a hundred different ways to tell a story, all of which can be equally effective.  The two teams provided with the task of the mining company had different ideas, ranging from who to interview, to where to shoot the interview.  Should it be outside on a sunny day?  Who would be interviewed?  The town’s mayor?  An environmentalist professional?  Everyone had their own ideas, none of them wrong, but all greatly different in achieving the goals.

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Event photos by Billy Russell, Business Wire

Keith then shared a video he had personally produced for a mining company in the same situation. His was shot almost entirely within the mine, about 70% of it being with the workers and interviewing them, and 30% within the town.  He explained to the workshop attendees that he wanted to highlight the hard work that the employees handle within the mine in order to boost the company’s public image.  When it comes to interviews, he told us, he much preferred working with non-actors in order to get a more naturalistic demeanor from them.  With actors, he said, sometimes they come off TOO good, too polished and confident.  He told the groups that he preferred the reactions and statements of everyday people as their conversations come across more warmly.

The second team was asked to create a video for a pediatric dentist’s office to portray the professional positively and warmly; themes were discussed on what would be covered and who would be interviewed.  Some ideas were to interview the child coming to visit and asking how they liked coming to the dentist’s office, making sure to get great, big smiles on camera to highlight his/her happiness with the visit and the professional work on their teeth.  Other members of the team thought it would be a good idea to spend some time talking about the equipment used, to show how state-of-the-art their techniques for dentistry are, to ease potential clients’ minds about what to expect.

After the discussion, Keith shared another video he had produced to demonstrate how he handled the same task.  He allowed the dentist to speak freely about how he comforts his clients coming in for checkups and building rapport with them.  Keith noted one of his techniques to filming is to, after an interview is conducted, have the dentist continue to wear his microphone and to shoot video of him going about his business so that he can get some off-the-cuff moments and the children visiting his office that looks and feel entirely real and unrehearsed.

The workshop closed with a Q&A session where our attendees had a chance to clarify any questions that they had about the creative process and how to work within reasonable budgetary restrictions.


The Never Ending News

November 16, 2012
by Chris Metinko, Media Relations Specialist/Business Wire – San Francisco

Chris Metinko

With the growth of the internet, blogging and social media, the everyday news cycle has become a 24 hour a day phenomenon with no start or stop. But what does the modern news cycle mean to journalism as well as the people who help provide the information?

“Essentially, it’s impossible to keep up,” said Mike Isaac of the tech site AllThingsD. Isaac was one of four panelists to discuss the topic at a breakfast hosted by Business Wire in San Francisco.

“You’re feeding a beast that never stops eating,” Isaac added.

While some might point to the advent of social media as the origin of the 24-hour news cycle, Louise Kehoe, who leads Ogilvy’s West Coast technology practice, said the news always has been that way.

“The more things change the more they stay the same,” Kehoe said. “In the news business, the lights are always on somewhere.”

Kehoe said what has changed is so many more people can have their voices heard, and not everyone has the same tight journalist standards.

“We have to figure out how to handle people who don’t play by the rules,” Kehoe said.

Alex Wellins, co-founder and managing director of The Blueshirt Group, said one way companies can keep from getting burned with the nonstop proliferation of information via blogs and social media is to be careful of the information they put out. He said it is especially important for public companies — who are watched heavily by the SEC — to be careful of what they say, and have social media strategists and rules in place to avoid trouble.

“Things like social media create opportunities, but there also is a cost involved,” Wellins added.

Looking to the future of news, most felt there will likely be some kind of shake out as far as where people go to get their news and who is trusted.

“In our industry, we’re under peer review every day,” said Christopher Noble, assistant managing editor for international at Market Watch.

“People are smart and return to the authoritative voice,” Isaac said. “That’s what I see happening.”


Does Including a Photo Get You More Views? Rutgers CMD Wins SNCR Award for Finding Out

November 13, 2012
by Phil Dennison, Senior Marketing Specialist/Business Wire – Cleveland

As we’ve stressed again and again, multimedia drives press release views online — our own measurement data shows it, and so does pretty much everyone else’s. This past Friday, though, the Rutgers University Center for Management Development (CMD) won an award from the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR) for looking into it in an unconventional way: What happens when you distribute the same release twice, once with a photo and once without?

The photo distributed by Rutgers CMD with their second of two identical press releases one week apart.

With the help of SEO-PR, Rutgers CMD wrote and optimized a press release concerning an upcoming promotion, then distributed it via Business Wire at identical times one week apart, first without a photo, then with one. Everything else – headline, content, formatting, and so forth — was identical. The photo was the only difference.

The result? Despite the fact that Google News didn’t index the second release, it got 20% more views and 63% more clicks in 14 days than the first press release got in 21 days. Taking into account search engine penalties for duplicate content, that’s a pretty impressive result.

Even better, according to Eric Greenberg, Managing Director of Executive Education, Rutgers CMD, “This campaign has already generated seven registrations worth $31,500 in incremental revenue for Rutgers CMD, which is 8.75 times more than the $3,600 spent on writing, optimizing and distributing the press releases over Business Wire with and without a photo. So, conducting the study has paid off financially as well as academically.”

To further bring home the importance of press release optimization, after issuing the press release announcing this award, Rutgers CMD got some very impressive search results:

This is not the first such research that Rutgers CMD and SEO-PR have conducted into press release ROI. Greg Jarboe of SEO-PR recently authored a white paper for Business Wire, Linking Press Release Output to Outcomes, that details three separate sets of research on when best to send a press release and whether an active press release campaign has measurable revenue effects. Download it today to find out more.

Congratulations to Rutgers CMD and SEO-PR on their prestigious award, and we hope to bring you more research from them in the future.


Twitter CEO Speaks to Role in Journalism and Communications at ONA12

October 3, 2012
by Chris Metinko, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/San Francisco

Chris Metinko

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo made clear two points while speaking in San Francisco recently:  he does not consider himself the current leader of free speech, but he does realize the company’s place in journalism and communications, and new tools are on the way to aid those industries.

Costolo made the remarks while speaking to more than 500 journalists and communications professionals at the Online News Association’s annual conference attended by Business Wire. During an onstage interview with Emily Bell, director of Tow Centre for Digital Journalism, Costolo laughed off a question about how it feels to be the head of the free press in the 21st century.

“I don’t view that as my job,” said Costolo, adding he considers Twitter a tech company in the media business. He, however, did acknowledge Twitter’s growing impact on the world of journalism and news dissemination.

“Hopefully Twitter has become a tremendously valuable tool to journalists,” said Costolo, who spoke at the same conference three years ago when Twitter had 80 employees. It now has 1,300 employees.

Twitter’s growing impact among communication professionals could be seen at the conference — where there were more than 34,500 tweets about the conference with hashtag #ONA12, compared to 20,000 tweets for last year’s conference. In a recent study, just under half of all journalists surveyed said they use Twitter for sourcing stories.

Realizing that impact, Costolo said Twitter is working on curation tools he hopes to make available to newsrooms to host live events on the social media platform.

“We have known for a long time that when events happen in the real world, the shared experience is on Twitter and we want to create an ability to curate events,” Costolo said.

He added that Twitter will have the ability by the end of the year to allow users to download past Tweets — something that could help many in the communications field with research and gauging public opinion. Although he cautioned the proposed timeline may not be exact.

“The caveat is that this is the CEO saying this,” Costolo laughed, “not the engineer who’s building this.”

Other tidbits form Costolo:

  • When asked about a Twitter phone, Costolo said he never says never but that is “not the way we think about the company.”
  • Costolo cited New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady as the person he would most like to see on Twitter who currently is not.
  • Costolo declined to give disclose Twitter’s revenues when asked — noting the positives of being a private company.

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