Business Wire’s 2015 Media Survey Reveals Best Practices in Media Relations

October 20, 2015

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social & Evolving Media, Business Wire
Earlier this year, Business Wire asked reporters worldwide their preference for being pitched – from the type of news they prefer, to best practices for continuing relationships after coverage was secured.

The results of the Business Wire 2015 North American Media Survey provide a strong road map for communicators to follow when looking to increase the visibility of their organization via news coverage.

Click here to download the full survey results now:

Media_Relations_Info_FINALStep 1:  Write an interesting release
This may sound easy enough, but in order to catch a reporter’s attention, your news release needs to contain the information they want to cover.

When you craft your next news release, focus on the breaking news and interesting story angles as well as quotes to increase the likelihood of pick up.

Step 2:  Multimedia is no longer optional
As more and more reporters are providing news content for online sources, there is a growing need for multimedia.  What kind of multimedia? The element most preferred is a photographic with graphics, videos, infographics, logos and audio files rounding out the list.

Why is multimedia so important? As we discuss in Let’s Get Visual, multimedia elements allow readers to engage and absorb information in new ways, building deeper emotional connections between the reader and the news story.  And reporters are not just relying on you to provide them with supporting multimedia – more than 64% of reporters are creating their own to supplement content.

In short, if you want to tell your story in your voice, supply reporters with multimedia to ensure the highest possible adoption of your news.

Step 3:  Your News Release Distribution Service Matters
News distribution services such as Business Wire play an important role in the news ecosystem. 63% of media respondents noted that their jobs would be harder without newswires to vet and deliver news releases.  Commercial newswires provide media outlets with an ongoing stream of trusted, breaking news in a variety of formats, allowing reporters to access and produce news coverage throughout the day.  And what newswire do media outlets trust the most?  At 67%, Business Wire continues to be the top newswire of choice for today’s media.

Step 4:  Social Pitching is Not Advised
Despite the use of social media for research purposes or for identifying hot news trends, 75% of reporters said they do not want to receive pitches via social media

Rather than pitch reporters via social channels, use the channels to identify who is writing about your industry and to gain a better understanding to the types of news your top reporters are interested in writing and sharing with their readers.

Step 5:  The Role of Your Online Newsroom
Where do reporters turn to research your pitch? Your online newsroom!

When breaking news hits the reporter’s desk, the next step is for the reporter to research the news, the company and the impact your news has on their readers. 77% of reporters turn to company online newsrooms to find the information they need to turn your news release into a headline.  Frequently updated newsrooms provide reporters, and other interested parties, on-demand access to the news releases, multimedia and other branded content – perfect for reporters responsible for writing news stories in a 24/7 world.

Bonus tip? Share your coverage!
The top metric for judging the success of a news story continues to be inbound traffic to that piece. Help reporters meet this metric by creating a strong coverage sharing program to not only increase views, but awareness of your news.

Securing coverage in a selfie world is not easy, but by following the steps provided in the 2015 Business Wire Media Survey you can build stronger relationships with your key media targets and increase the chance to receive more media coverage.

Click here to share these survey results on Twitter:

Download the complete 2015 Business Wire Media Survey now:

When Posting Financial News to an IR Site, Risks Are Not Acceptable.

April 29, 2015

By Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communications Services

Security of an investor relations (IR) website and news distribution is paramount to any public company. Ask the investor relations officer (IRO) who has suffered due to earnings information being released to the public prematurely.  If a company’s earnings news release is accessible too soon, it can move markets, and quickly. When this happens, expect heads to roll in many ways.

Although most IR site vendors state that earnings releases post automatically to the IR site service they manage, only a few can actually confirm that the posting of the news release happens directly from the distributor to the IR site. Some vendors utilize a third-party aggregator to obtain newswire-distributed news releases and then post the release onto the IR site service. Anytime an additional step like this is added to a workflow process, more time is needed, and the opportunity for something to go wrong is greater. Most experienced communicators are familiar with the concept of Murphy’s Law – anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

At Business Wire, an earnings release is never staged onto an IR site before publication – hidden or not. When the earnings release is distributed to the desired outlets, it gets posted directly to the IR site at that time, not any sooner. This leaves no opportunity for Murphy to cause trouble. Once the news release distribution is ordered, the option to post the

Earnings news releases that are distributed via Business Wire post directly and simultaneously to the Business Wire InvestorHQSM IR site service.

Earnings news releases that are distributed via Business Wire post directly and simultaneously to the Business Wire InvestorHQSM IR site service.

release to the InvestorHQSM IR site is selected, as is the option to place the release in one or more subject matter categories. Sweet, simple, streamlined and secure.

As important as the technical dangers mentioned above, so are the internal workflow risks.  All internal procedures at Business Wire have gone through a rigorous audit. Departmental shields against unauthorized access to data can be attested to by the Service Organization Control [SOC] 2 Type II attestation engagement report that Business Wire received in 2014.This means that your news release (in text or PDF format) will not be posted to your InvestorHQSM site by a Business Wire product specialist to save time or effort.

So, when selecting an IR site vendor, do assess and compare the basic features and functionality of the service. Don’t forget, however, to pay close attention to the details of the IR site service when it comes to security of your financial data.

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Ibrey Woodall is Vice President of Web Communications Services for Business Wire. She is responsible for Business Wire’s InvestorHQ IR site and NewsHQ online newsrooms services. She can be reached via email or LinkedIN

Studies Show Reporters Rely on Press Releases — Are You Providing Them With What They Need?

February 21, 2015

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social + Evolving Media, Business Wire

In this day and age, there really should be no question on how to garner media coverage. Yet, day after day, organizations distribute news releases that lack the information needed for the reporter to initiate coverage.  In this PR Week article, Jahana Hayes, from Business Wire Atlanta, shares six ways to make sure your press releases hit, and activate, your target audience.

Read the entire piece at PR Week:


Business Wire 2014 Media Survey Wins Top MarCom Award

November 17, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media

Last week, the winners of the 2014 International MarCom Awards were announced on Business Wire is pleased to announce receipt of the Platinum-level selection in the Writing/White Paper category for the 2014 Business Wire Media Survey Results.

The MarCom Awards are a creative competition for marketing and communication professionals, organized by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP), Entries are gathered from corporations, advertising agencies, public relations firms, design agencies and individual freelancers.

Business Wire 2014 Media Survey

The 21-page document, written by Business Wire’s VP of Web Communications Services, Ibrey Woodall, outlines best practices in media relations, press release distribution and online newsroom management for leading communicators. The contents of the white paper are based on results from Business Wire’s media survey of over 300 North American editors, reporters, and bloggers, and how they engage with corporate news and websites.

“This recognition emphasizes the importance of this paper to all levels of communications professionals, as well as evidence of Business Wire’s close connection to the media,” said Woodall.
The award-winning paper, selected from over 6,500 global entries, reflects on how today’s reporters continue to rely on press releases distributed by newswires, as well as company online newsrooms for supporting information and press materials.

Click here to download a copy of the 2014 Business Wire Media Survey Results white paper:

Click here to read more about how to implement best practices in media relations and online newsroom development:

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.

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?

The Online Newsroom Debate: Combine or Split Out Financial Data

September 12, 2014

In this piece by Ibrey Woodall, Business Wire’s VP of web communication services, we take a closer look at the various ways public companies present their company news to reporters, analysts and other parties.


Some online newsrooms combine public relations, branded content and investor information on one single landing page. While this allows all interested parties access to a wide range of content, many experts have noted that the experience these newsrooms present are not customized enough to produce significant results.

The other option is to decouple company and branded content from investor information by creating two sites, an online newsroom and an IR site that link to each other as needed. Since each audience has such differing goals when visiting the company’s site, this allows each section of the website to be tailored enough to the visitor that it drives higher rates of adoption of content and alignment with the company message itself.

What type of corporate online newsroom does your company have?  And why should you care?  (Hint –over 70 percent of reporters access the company’s news page when writing a story).  Read more here to find out which set up works best for you and your goals.


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