Los Angeles Media Breakfast: Content Marketing & PR for Startups

December 13, 2012
by Luis Guillen, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/LA

Starting a new business can be a challenge. Companies are faced with creating interest, establishing brand awareness, and promoting their product to potential customers all from scratch. Marketing is always evolving, and new companies must adapt quickly and efficiently to the new worlds of content marketing and social media.

Business Wire Los Angeles recently invited a panel of industry professionals to speak about content marketing and PR for startups. This well-attended breakfast event generated some very insightful tips from our expert speakers:

Emily Scherberth (moderator) - Founder and CEO, Symphony PR & Marketing Inc.

Dana Block - Account Director, Consumer Technology, Allison+Partners

Dena Cook - Managing Partner, Brew Media Relations

Kevin Winston - Founder & CEO, Digital LA

Kyle Ellicott – Startup & Entrepreneur Columnist, TechZulu/Co-Founder, Techhustlers.com

Start with what’s important. Know who you are, what your company’s message is, and how you differ from the competition. Dena Cook suggested “knowing your objectives, painting a very clear picture to clients, and marching to the same beat” as important steps for companies to help establish credibility. Startups have a great ability to be authentic with the media; remember to give your company a personality.

Do NOT limit yourself. Get out and network —  attending social mixers and meetups is a great way to make yourself relevant. Kevin Winston of Digital LA advised to “find out what the public is talking about . . . certain stories will get picked up depending on ‘what’s hot’ in the media.” Go to events, even if you don’t have a story to pitch, and get involved. Build relationships with journalists and bloggers —  this is an area where many startups fail.

Relationships are important. Journalists are your friends, and have great influence. When pitching the media, do your homework: know the person you are seeking, read their work, and do not blind pitch anyone. Get to know them on a personal level and think long-term. “Establish relationships; it’s important to build a network rather than getting one article written out of it,” said TechZulu columnist and entrepreneur Kyle Ellicott.

Content Marketing is all about objectives. Be mindful of your target audience. “We consume news on-the-go,” said Dena Cook of Brew Media LA, so develop customer-centric content and make that process “organic and as real as possible.” Content marketing should be built around your brand and should always be “relevant, interesting, and easy to understand/make sense,” said Kevin.

The landscape has changed the way we consume information and communicate our message. However, an old rule still applies: don’t put all your eggs in one basket. For startups, the best strategy to maximize exposure is for content marketing to supplement your press release campaigns.

Give your company a personality, establish your voice and start a thoughtful conversation.


Austin Media Professionals on Social Media, Pitching and More

November 29, 2012
by Erica Shuckies, Account Executive, Business Wire/Austin

During a particularly busy news week for Austin media, the Business Wire Austin office hosted a “Meet the Media” luncheon, featuring Colin Pope, editor of the Austin Business Journal; Corrie MacLaggan, national correspondent for Reuters; and Bonnie Gonzalez, morning live reporter for Your News Now Austin. Paying mind to the notion that “news happens”, the luncheon was smack dab in the middle of preparation for the inaugural Formula 1 US Grand Prix race and memorial services for legendary University of Texas football coach, Darrell K Royal. Needless to say, we were glad to have the panel available to chat with us.

The conversation focused around the increasingly evolving worlds of public relations and news; specifically, how the media’s day-to-day operations are affected by these changes. Topics included the growth of social media (among both reporters and PR professionals), the importance of multimedia in PR, and the differing preferences among media outlets.

Colin Pope mentioned something that is a good reminder for us all before pitching any media: “remember your audience”. Every pitch should be catered to the individual to whom you are speaking, and each person could have a different preferred method of contact. Follow and interact with them on social media, read past stories they’ve covered, and look through their bios. You will often discover that one reporter prefers email communications, while another loves to chat on social media. As an example of this, Bonnie Gonzalez noted that she uses Facebook for story discovery and research, while Corrie MacLaggan sticks to Twitter. If you skip over this important step, your news will most likely get lost among the many hundreds of story ideas these people see each day.

Moderator Raschanda Hall, from the Business Wire Chicago office, posed an interesting question for the panel: how ethical is the use of social media by reporters for breaking news? Colin Pope answered it best by noting that the job of a reporter is to pass news to the public. As long as they use good judgment and follow any organizational guidelines, how they decide to disseminate that news is up to them.

Here are a few more key takeaways from the event:

  • Keep your press releases short and to the point. Too often, the lead in a release will be buried under ‘fluffy’ information leading up to the important details.
  • Target your pitches and press releases to the right individuals. Do your homework and don’t waste their time. Keep in mind that the media has increasing sets of responsibilities, yet the same amounts of time to accomplish all of the extra tasks.
  • Visuals are a BIG deal. Not only do visuals make the story more likely to get read, but they also give the journalist another aspect of the story to use, enhancing the final product and making their job easier.
  • If you are going to add multimedia to a press release/pitch, make sure it is a professional, high-quality file. Color files are always a plus.
  • Let the media know that you (or a spokesperson) are available as a subject expert in your industry. When journalists are writing a piece about a particular industry, they often like to have outside sources comment on the story. Just like that, you gain easy exposure for yourself and your company!

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Earnings Release Advice from Top Experts

October 25, 2012
Raschanda Hall

Raschanda Hall

by Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager, Business Wire Chicago

During this earnings period, we spoke with top editors at Bloomberg and MarketWatch to find what they want you to know as you report your financial information to the world.

Susan Warren, Dallas Bureau Chief for Bloomberg  says:

Don’t round up financial information.  Bloomberg prefers decimal points, e.g. “Company revenues are $6.245 billion, instead of $6.2 Billion.” Also, give your bullet points context - if average daily production is up by 20%,  what does it mean for the company?

The less jargon, the better,” says Chris NobleAssistant Managing Editor for MarketWatch based in San Francisco.

Biggest Pet Peeve: Sending news out after market close and not being available to comment.  Warren says, “Whether it’s good news or bad news, you want it covered accurately.”

Our own editors, who process an average of 3,000 earnings-related announcements every quarter, also have suggestions that can help ensure a smooth earnings process: Submit file types that can be converted easily.  Excel files (including embedded tables in Word documents) Word tables and tables created via Webfilings all convert well in the Business Wire editorial system. Be sure to check with your wire service for types of files they prefer.

“We need to be able to copy and format the tables, so unfortunately we can’t work with picture files or PDF files,” say Colleen Edmundson, who has been with Business Wire for nearly seven years and oversees the veteran editorial staff in our Chicago office.

Want more tips to a smooth earnings process? Check out our full 2 minute tips interview with Colleen on SoundCloud.


13 Tips To Sharpen Your Communication Skills in 2013

October 18, 2012

Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager, Business Wire/Chicago

By Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager, Business Wire/Chicago

There is a distinct buzz in the air during the final quarter of the year.  In the PR community, this growing sound is our nagging reminder to sit down and think about new business, budgets, cuts and strategies for 2013.

We’re no different, so our team looked at our own best practices to empower you with 13 tips to make you a better communicator in 2013.

13. Commit to commenting. Stop being a social media voyeur.  Be active by liking and commenting on posts you read.  The comments can be as interesting as the posts; many people read them and they’re a good way to make connections.

12.  Give before you ask. No matter what service you provide, even the well-intentioned invitation can be seen as a demand for time, effort, and attention. Take this tip from Chris Sacca, advisor to some of the top social media companies, “If you’re insightful and helpful, people will want to be around you.”

11.  Refine your elevator pitch. How? Practice, edit, repeat. If you pitch TV stations you know assignment editors are willing to listen, but you’d better be able to get your point across fast! Call five assignment desks, and chances are, you’ll hone your pitch quickly.

10.  Subscribe to industry newsletters and READ THEM. PR/communications newsletters such as CommPRO.Biz, MediaBistro,  Smart Brief on Social Media and Ragan’s PR Daily offer helpful suggestions for improving your written and verbal communication skills and keep you up on industry trends. You might recognize a misstep you consistently make, such as avoiding an overused word.

9.  Get involved with an industry organization.  Don’t just attend events – join a committee, serve on the board, or simply volunteer your time as you can. Be sure not to limit yourself to PR/IR groups.

8.  Learn more about the offerings of your service providers. OK, this one may be a bit self-serving, but don’t shoot the messenger.  Many PR-related service providers are constantly advancing their catalog of offerings, providing free reporting, or creating complementary products to go along with the services they’re most known for.  Take the meeting and find out what else they offer for you to maximize your relationship.

7.  Have an SEO discussion with your web team, your wire vendors and your content creators. If one conversation isn’t enough, have however many it takes for you to understand search engine optimization (SEO) basics and start using these strategies to improve the visibility of content you produce for the web.

 6.  Take a class or seminar.   Many schools and professional societies offer continuing education classes at a low cost, and some even offer free sessions. Consider classes in photography, advanced web technology or web design.  You can even brush up with a business writing or grammar class.

5.  Attend a journalism conference. The price tag of some PR conferences can be off-putting.  Directly across the aisle our industry peers are putting together great and pertinent programming at a fraction of the cost.  Check out conferences organized by the Online News Association, Society of Professional Journalists or one of the journalists-of-color member organizations like NABJ, the National Association of Black Journalists.  You’ll learn a lot and make some new contacts while you are at it.

4.  Share your experiences. If you have no time to sit on a board or a committee, offer to speak at one of their programs on a  topic you know matches the interests of their members.  In PR groups, speakers on the topics of social media, measurement, crisis communications, media relations and brand strategy are highly sought after!

 3.  Invite a blogger out for coffee. If you don’t work with bloggers, meet up with an editor, producer or member of the Twitteratti who you value having a relationship with.  Even if they can’t meet face to face, the check-in email is a nice gesture and way to keep a relationship top of mind even if you’ve moved on to cover new areas.

2.  Be an active listener.  Multi-tasking, while great in so many ways, contributes immensely to our eclipsed attention spans. Make an effort to listen more closely.  Practice by playing a prerecorded webinar and not clicking away; or watching or listening to an on-air personality you don’t agree with and resisting the urge to turn away or blurt out.  Just listen.  If you improve your listening skills you might pick up the other half of what most people don’t hear when someone is speaking.

1. Immerse yourself in mobile.  Mobile marketing is the future, but the future is today.  To leverage this market for you and your clients you need to use it. Download news apps and visit the mobile rendered pages of your favorite brands. Then make sure your own messaging is mobile friendly.


“Meet The Hispanic Media Features Panel” Webinar Recording Now Available

October 10, 2012

If you missed LatinoWire’s Expert webinar,“Meet The Hispanic Media Features Panel,” with reporters from Efe News Service, Fox News Latino, NBC Latino, and Vista News Magazine, fear not! A recording of the webinar is now available for your listening pleasure.

Speakers:

Moderators:

Despite the issues we had with the audio (and we apologize), it was probably one of the most well-attended LatinoWire Expert Series Webinars to date — with lots of good tips, take-aways and contact information.  Below you’ll find a summary of what was said by each of our speakers, and should you wish to listen again to the full Webinar, kindly click on this link.

Claudia Solis - Servicio Hispano at Efe News Services

csolis@efeamerica.com

  • Servicio Hispano is focused exclusively on US Latinos for the past 8 years and is the main news supplier of many Spanish media outlets in the US, such as Univision, impreMedia, MSN Latino, Yahoo!, CNN en Español, Fox Latino, and about 90 other clients.
  • Our network has 20 correspondents, who are distributed throughout the main Latino markets in the US in Miami, New York, Los Angeles and Washington, DC.
  • We cover the Hispanic community in the US from entertainment to immigration, including sports, features, education, politics, community, etc.
  • We are looking for new voices, emerging topics, and exploring angles in coordination with the photo and video departments.
  • For product/service type stories we prefer that they have a human angle to them. Find an angle that tells a story and that is about people.
  • We are a Spanish-language news agency and prefer to receive news stories in Spanish but can work with English-language stories too.
  • Prefer to be pitched via email.

Carolyn Salazar — Fox News Latino

Carolyn.Salazar@Foxnewslatino.com

  • Targets second and third generation Latinos.
  • It has hardhitting, in-depth, investigative and light story lines from around the country and Latin America.
  • Launched two years ago, the website puts face on Latino issues through profiles or niche stories.
  • FNL covers news, politics, lifestyle, entertainment and health stories.
  • Daily operation so always looking for stories and story ideas. We cover substantive social issues and lighter stories that a human dimension to important Latino issues.
  • Since we have a national reach, we prefer issue-type stories and trends, rather than local events and products.
  • We like pitches tied to big events or holidays.
  • Prefer pitches by email, do not like phone calls.  We do appreciate when pitches know and understand our audience – second/third generation Latinos who still care about their culture, but are more comfortable speaking and reading in English.
  • We do profile individuals and companies, but the person and company should either be well-known or be doing something no one else is doing and that few people know about.
  • I appreciate pitches that show some preliminary reporting suggesting what the theme or the angle of the piece might be.

Nina Terrero — NBC Latino
Nina.Terrero@nbcuni.com

  • NBC Latino is unique from other Latino audience outlets because every single subject area we cover (politics, news, lifestyle, entertainment, technology and more) is written from the perspective of moving it beyond the usual conversation towards something more inspired, empowered and energized.
  • We report beyond the expected headlines and try to reflect our audience; where they come from and where they are headed. We know our audience is smart and accomplished, and we know they aspire for even more.
  • As someone who produces lifestyle content, I appreciate working with publicists who can write an articulate, compelling pitch (whether it’s a product launch, news-you-can-use, industry developments, etc.) accompanied with (when applicable) pictures, video and access to expert sources.
  • Email works best, but a follow-up call is often appreciated and I am accessible via Twitter as well at @thenininsky.
  • My stories appear throughout NBC Latino on various verticals and have run on NBC Universal outlets like the Today Show, Nightly News with Brian Williams, Education Nation and MSNBC.
  • Towards that end, I appreciate working with someone who can look beyond the expected to create a story that’s compelling and reflective of a dynamic population here in the United States.

Marissa Rodriguez — Vista Magazine

marissa.rodriguez@vistamagazine.com

  • Vista is a 27-year-old magazine that caters to Latinas, helping them “live the good life made simple.” We are a resource guide for living an organized, streamlined and fulfilled life.
  • In both print and on our website www.VistaMagazine.com, we focus on simple solutions for everyday challenges in the areas most important to our reader’s lives.
  • In print we publish six themed issues per year: Health (January/February), Work & Life (March/April), Parenting (May/June), Back to School & Style (July/August), Education & Hispanic Heritage (September/October) and Holiday (November/December). However, each issue offers an array of content across the spectrum of topics we cover. Our tone is inspirational and aspirational, but always accessible.
  • The best pitches for us are those about people or things that can show us how to make our lives easier. Ideally, they should also be very in-culture, featuring Hispanic spokespeople or sources, showing how they relate to Latinos, or be otherwise very relevant to our audience.
  • We are a dual-language magazine and website, so pitches in both languages are accepted.
  • Pitches with images are preferred.
  • For print, our ideal time frame is 60 days prior to circulation. Pitches for web can be accepted with a much shorter lead-time. E-mail pitches are preferred.

Getting Your Pitch Camera-Ready: Tips for PR Pros from National Broadcast Media

October 9, 2012
- by Shawnee Cohn, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/New York
MRT

Shawnee Cohn

In the public relations field, there’s no placement like a national broadcast TV placement. Getting your client on a top television program offers invaluable publicity. However, with this much sought-after media coverage comes much stiffer competition to get your pitch noticed by reporters and producers.

Recently the New York chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) held a media panel of experts from top, national broadcast television programs.

Moderated by Suzanne Lyons of Ketchum Public Relations, the panel included:

Following are some highlights that the experts offered for communications professionals:

Build a relationship: While some reporters and producers strictly prefer e-mail communication, others might be willing to meet with you at their office or to grab a coffee. Face-to-face time can go a long way in terms of building a rapport with the media, said Raff. At the Rachael Ray Show, most of the talent bookings originate from PR pros that Crudup has known for over 10 years.  Weber agreed, noting that she prefers to only speak over the phone with publicists who she has an established connection with. If you do not already have a standing relationship with a certain member of the media, the best way to begin developing one is by offering quality pitches.

Lend a helping hand: Reporters and producers know best when it comes to what their viewers want. With that said, giving them a “head start” when it comes to a storyline is always appreciated, noted Raff. If your pitch is in some way helping her do her job better and faster, Weber will be more likely to give it more than a passing glance. All of the panelists were in agreement that video and images are essential to give your pitch a leg up. In the world of TV, offering a visual element to your story cannot be overlooked. A useful tactic is to think of who/what you would like to see on TV prior to sending your pitch, according to Weber. If you do not find your own pitch interesting, than the media probably will not, either.  Jarvis suggests finding some element of “tension” to your story, by discussing the “players and competitors” or other intriguing aspects. Keep in mind that for human interest stories, the individual at the center must be able to speak about their experiences live and in an articulate, compelling way.

Be upfront: If your client is a paid spokesperson or is scheduled to appear on several other television programs, honesty is the best policy. “Communication is key,” according to Raff. Producers might be flexible and even let your paid spokesperson mention their product several times, as long you are open about their intentions right off the bat. Television shows always want an exclusive and prefer to know ahead of time if they would be following a competitor by covering your story. “Withholding information is not good and puts your reputation at risk,” warned Weber. If a client appears on a program and only gives manufactured answers seemingly crafted by a PR person, the relationship between the publicist and that particular show could be permanently damaged, noted Jarvis.

For more information on the PRSA New York Chapter , visit www.prsany.org. You can also get the latest entertainment news by registering at www.businesswire.com


Business Wire Holds Media Roundtable in Portland, Oregon

October 5, 2012
by Lauren Linscheid, Senior Client Services Representative
Business Wire/Seattle

Lauren Linscheid

Journalists, public relations professionals and communicators turned up for Business Wire’s media roundtable discussion in Portland, OR last month. Each attendee was able to spend 15-minute sessions with four out of the seven media representatives in attendance; many joked it was like speed dating with reporters. Participants were able to ask questions directly to journalists, and journalists gave insight into how their days are planned and unfold.

The media representatives included (pictured L-R below):

Media:  

Michelle Brence, Investigative/Enterprise Editor, The Oregonian
Nick Bradshaw, Assignment Manager, KATU News
Rick Turoczy, Editor, Silicon Florist
Eve Epstein, Managing Editor, OPB News
Matt Kish, Reporter,  Portland Business Journal
Tamara Hellman, Assignment Editor, KOIN Local 6 News
R. Bruce Williams, Assignment Editor, KGW NewsChannel 8

Moderator:
Angie Galimanis - Vice President, Lane PR

A few tips from the journalists:

  • Newsrooms hold daily editorial meetings; learn when they are, and try to call before they happen. You’re more likely to get discussed during the meeting.
  • TRANSPARENCY! This word echoed throughout the event. Be clear, straightforward and transparent. If you’re not, you will be ignored.
  • Mention your competitors; acknowledging your competition saves the reporter a step (see transparency).
  • Build relationships, and don’t reach out to a reporter only when you have something to pitch.
  • Email, but do NOT include attachments. Attachments clog email systems.
  • Journalists receive anywhere from 50-500 pitches daily, therefore be very brief and to the point. The subject line should be incredibly compelling and direct. Always follow up after sending your pitch, but don’t be obsessive.
  • Think like a reporter. What makes a good story? Sure your company may have sold five million widgets, but how does that affect the local community?
  • Put links in your press releases.
  • Do your homework. Learn what each organization wants, and what news each reporter or assignment editor covers.
  • Embargoes are still honored. Reporters want the exclusive.
  • Staffing at newspapers, TV and radio stations continues to decline. Journalists often have a hand in every aspect of a story. Only the most compelling stories will receive follow-up.
  • VISUAL, VISUAL, VISUAL! TV, online & print media want photos and videos. Each media outlet has a preference as far as what content they will use. One wants you to send your photos, while the next would prefer to shoot their own.
  • Local viral videos and trends on social media can turn into a news story. Reporters often tweet about a story that is still in process.
  • Because of deadlines and prioritizing, some stories will post online and not make it to print or the news hour.

The overwhelming themes were relationships and transparency. If you build relationships and are straightforward with the media, you are more likely to be viewed as a reliable source. It is not enough to blast out your story; you have to engage with the people you want to cover that story.

Business Wire thanks all our guests, the journalists and moderator for making this a fantastic event. Also, thanks to Lela Gradman at Nereus for writing about the event from the PR perspective.

Business Wire/Seattle is currently in the process of planning an event for the Seattle area. If you have topic or speaker suggestions, please email them to Lauren.Linscheid@businesswire.com. And make sure to look for other upcoming local events and webinars on our events calendar.


MINNEAPOLIS: Newsroom 2012: Best Practices for Engaging the Media

September 24, 2012
by Jane Cracraft, Senior Client Services Representative
Business Wire/Minneapolis
Jane Cracraft

Jane Cracraft

Business Wire Minneapolis’ Meet the Media event in downtown Minneapolis was at full capacity with IR and PR professionals from around the region.

The panel consisted of David Brauer, of MinnPost; Julio Ojeda-Zapato, of the St. Paul Pioneer Press; Todd Stone, of the Star Tribune; Dirk DeYoung, of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal; and Michelle Cortez, of Bloomberg. The quintet discussed many topics, and the meeting was very capably moderated by Brad Allen, longtime IR exec, journalist, university adjunct instructor and consultant.

(l-r) Brad Allen, moderator; Julio Ojeda-Zapato, Pioneer Press; Dirk DeYoung, Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal; Todd Stone, Star Tribune; David Brauer, MinnPost; Michelle Cortez, Bloomberg

The event focused on how to best pitch your company’s story and reporters’ increasing use of social media such as Twitter for story leads. In fact, Twitter was mentioned far more than any other social media topic.

Below are a few tips captured from the event:

Pitching:

  • Introduce yourself to reporters before making your pitch by writing a personal note.
  • Schedule a meeting with the reporter; it is their job to know their sources.
  • Cultivate and nurture those media relationships.
  • Do not pitch to a reporter without knowing his/her beat.
  • Well-crafted pitches are crucial: the size of a company is less important than the quality of the pitch.
  • The pitch should be concise and strong. Brevity is encouraged.
  • Write in plain English. Avoid overuse of acronyms.
  • Be specific. Explain what is new and why it matters.
  • It is impossible to send a beat reporter a timely copy of a press release you have already issued via any traditional source. They have it; they measure in seconds.
  • Include more multimedia! This is one of the first things they look for.
  • Don’t get discouraged if they don’t pick up your story; try again. They want news. Keep in mind the reduced staff in most newsrooms.
  • For public companies: noteworthy pitches are those that effect the movement of money.

 Twitter:

  • Twitter enforces brevity, which is a good thing.
  • Twitter can be useful for finding sources for stories.
  • Twitter pitches via “direct message” are increasingly popular, and welcome (again, brevity is key, and well-crafted messages are crucial).
  • A wise PR person will form a Twitter relationship with key reporters.
  • Twitter is a perfect place to tease a story, but be careful not to expose baseline reporting.

Earnings:

  • Earnings: try to release other info around the time you release your earnings. It will make your earnings more noteworthy to those watching your company or industry.
  • Earnings: growth is important. Put that at the top.
  • Provide numbers of revenue and employees.
  • While full earnings are often geared toward analyst audiences, your earnings releases will catch journalists’ eyes more readily if the stock price is dramatically affected or other noteworthy changes are announced.

Social media is ever in flux and you might feel like you need to be on your toes all the time. You do! The Twin Cities scene is a highly literate and educated market with many great publications; these factors make for one of the healthiest media markets in the nation. PR and IR folks can form a relationship or trust with a reporter via social media. If you use it wisely it can help you as a PR person.

Always remember, stories with multimedia get more traffic.

For more in-depth discussion of the “big 3” social media sites – Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook – check out this Business Wired post by Chris Metinko, Media Relations Specialist.

To follow our panelists and moderator on Twitter:

David Brauer: @dbrauer

Julio Ojeda-Zapato: @ojezap

Todd Stone: @StribBizEditor

Dirk Deyoung: @ddeyoung

Michelle Fay Cortez: @FayCortez

Brad Allen: @Brad_D_Allen


Putting the Big 3 to Work for You

August 14, 2012
by Chris Metinko, Media Relations Specialist,Business Wire/San Francisco

Ever wonder how to use Pinterest or Facebook to push your campaign? Can you reach out to journalists via Twitter?

These questions and many others were tackled at PR News’ The Big 3 Conference: Twitter/Pinterest/Facebook in San Francisco last week. The conference — which was sponsored by Business Wire and attracted a few hundred media and public relation specialists — featured nearly a dozen panels on the do’s and don’ts in using social media’s biggest names for marketing and outreach.

“Social media is a remarkable tool for self annihilation,” joked Walter Neary, a public relations director for Comcast in Washington state, while sitting on a panel discussing how to use Twitter to gain a competitive edge in media relations.

The panel examined if and how journalists use Twitter in their reporting. A recent study by Oriella showed 55 percent of reporters use social media to find stories from sources and 43 percent verified stories using social media. Nearly 50 percent have professional Twitter profiles.

With so many journalists on Twitter, the social media platform can be an important tool for building a relationship with reporters and even pitching possible story ideas.

Laura Perry, director of communications at UCLA School of Nursing, said in order to do that, it’s important to create a profile that attracts reporters. She added you also must be active and participate on the platform to effectively use it with journalists.

“Listen, reply, retweet,” Perry said was a good mantra.

Perry added Twitter even could be a good way to meet face-to-face with reporters, since many journalists use Tweetups — an event where people who Twitter come together to meet in-person — to build relationships with sources.

Neary said there are a handful of keys to keep in mind while using Twitter in communications work, including: know your community and who you are engaging, have a clear purpose, read anything at least three times before you post and be genuine.

“Reporters expect you to be full of crap because you’re a PR person . . . Be genuine,” said Neary, adding it also is important to take chances.

”If you don’t take risks, you aren’t using (social media) tools properly,” he said.

Follow Neary (@wtneary) and Perry (@UCLANursing) on Twitter, and view Chris’s presentation below:


Journalists Offer Pitching Tips at SoCal Media Breakfast

August 6, 2012
by Kathy Tomasino, Client Services Representative, Business Wire/Newport Beach
Kathy Tomasino

Kathy Tomasino

It was a full house last month when Executives and PR professionals from Southern California attended Business Wire Newport Beach’s Meet the Media event in Costa Mesa.

The event was moderated by Daniel Rhodes, VP Public Relations at Global Results Communications, and our panel of experts included Tom Berg from the Orange County Register, Chris Casacchia from the Orange County Business Journal and Kyle Ellicott from TechZulu.

The event was focused on how to best pitch your company’s story to both local and national press and how reporters are now using social media sites such as Twitter for story leads.

Below are a few tips captured from the event:

  • Make introductions with a reporter before you pitch your story idea.
  • Reporters use social media sites such as Twitter to find story leads.
  • Email is the preferred way to pitch over a phone call.
  • Have a story and be genuine about how you present it.
  • Find a way in – use “nuggets” to grab reporters’ attention.

Although Twitter is a great resource for story ideas, Casacchia advised our audience to only tease their story ideas on such sites and to also use a wire service such as Business Wire for the full press release. (Business Wire does automatically tweet press release headlines via dozens of industry-specific feeds.)  Casacchia also recommended that you know your audience when delving into social media.  Although social sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest are great outlets to promote your story ideas, you must only use the outlets that fit your company style and business as not all may work for a bank or law firm, for example.

Ellicott mentioned that mobile ads have a huge potential especially since more and more people are using their mobile phones for news and all other things.  Luckily for our clients, all Business Wire press releases automatically feed into the AP Mobile app and other mobile applications.

Berg is a great storyteller and uses sites such as Twitter for story ideas.  He recommended our audience use social media to get the buzz going about a story, although the wire is still the first place he will look for news directly from the source.

All of our speakers may be followed via Twitter at @OCStoryteller (Tom Berg); @ccasacchia (Chris Casacchia); @kyleellicott (Kyle Ellicott) and @GlobalResults (Daniel Rhodes).

 

 

 

 


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