Armenian Media Today: Q&A with Gegham Vardanyan

July 13, 2015

By Kai Prager, Senior Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire Frankfurt

Armenia is a country with an ancient cultural heritage that once reached from the Mediterranean to the Caspian Sea. It also was the first country to adopt Christianity in 301 AD.

To strengthen the statehood and instructing the people in the news religion, the Armenian alphabet was introduced around 405 AD by Mesrop Mashtots and the first media was produced Many of these old scripts still exist and are collected in the Matenadaran, the repository of ancient manuscripts in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan.

Detail of the portal of the Matenadaran. Photo by Rabirius.

The first Armenian printing establishment was founded in Venice in 1565 and focused on religious texts; it was later moved to Istanbul. The first newspaper was published in Madras, India, in 1646, but it took another 60 years before Armenian papers and journals were printed in Armenia. As part of the USSR, most Soviet-era publications were in Russian; however, in the 1980s, there was a language and cultural revival that sparked an increase in journalistic activity. After independence, Armenia developed its own press laws. Though some media enterprises failed, more publications were founded that are still in circulation today, like Aravot, Yerkir, or AZG

The Internet began to spread with the beginning of the 21st Century and online media was developed.

To find out more about the development of online media and other trends of the Armenian media market,we asked Gegham Vardanyan, producer of Media.am, a project of the Media Initiatives Center, to give us an overview:

1.  The media market in Armenia is small. Which effect does it have on the media landscape?
Armenia is a small country; the actual population figure barely reaches 3 million. This doesn’t prevent us from having, for example, a large number of TV channels. For instance, there are 14 TV channels broadcast in Yerevan alone. There are many daily newspapers, but the print media is experiencing a crisis: print runs barely reach 5,000. In addition, newspapers are printed 5 times a week: there are no newspapers on Sunday or Monday.

Online media is well developed. News websites usually publish in three languages: Armenian, English, and Russian.

Despite the quantity I mentioned, it’s not always that the same TV station offers diverse TV products for its viewers, especially in terms of news. Armenian news outlets are not wealthy, and few have their own correspondents, not even in Moscow or Washington. In order to keep abreast of international news, Armenian news outlets often make use of different news agencies, especially Russian sources.

2.  Who owns the classic media outlets, like publishing houses, broadcasting stations, etc.? Does it interfere with journalistic work?

There is the Public TV and Radio Company of Armenia, which is completely financed by the state budget.

The matter of media ownership, by and large, is a problem. In many cases, large media holdings are Closed Joint-Stock Companies (CJSC). The law allows neither members of the public to apply to the state registry to receive the names of stockholders nor requires media companies to make the names of stockholders public.

Some of the private stations belong to politicians and businessmen close to the government. Though the law officially prohibits political parties from owning TV channels, four parliamentary parties have a huge influence on four different TV stations and the public knows this. This, of course, has a direct effect on the work of these TV channels.

Gegham Vardanyan. Photo by Sona Kocharyan.

Gegham Vardanyan. Photo by Sona Kocharyan.

3.  How did the move to digital media change the Armenian media landscape?
News websites in Armenia that operate according to the convergent newsroom model are advanced. Leading websites offer their readers not only text, but also high-quality photos, video, and live video coverage of developing news.

The most widespread social networking site is the Russian Odnoklassniki, though for discussions on social and political topics, the main platform is Facebook.

Though there is a lack of professionalism in the Armenian media landscape, the increasing number of news websites ensure media pluralism and are relatively more free (i.e. less controlled) than broadcast and, to a lesser extent, print media.

4.  What sources do journalists usually use to access information?
In Armenia, journalists use press releases. There are 5–6 press clubs that host press conferences on different issues every day. Republishing content from local news outlets without permission, as well as translating from various foreign media, is extremely widespread.

5.  Which topics are most popular in the media?
Here, the picture is the same as in the rest of the world. The most popular topics are crimes, celebrities, and sports, especially football. From political topics, of interest are news on the Karabakh conflict, when the situation on the Armenia-Azerbaijani border is tense. In general, developing news are of interest.

But the overall picture is different on different websites. For example, the top 5 most read stories in 2014 of a few leading news websites in Armenia were drastically different.

6.  Do you have any tips for people who would like to reach media, or journalists in Armenia?
You can read about Armenia’s media in a few industry websites, such as the Media Initiatives Center, Media.am (a project of the Media Initiative Center), and the Yerevan Press Club. See also the database of Armenian media outlets and professionals on the Yerevan Press Club website, as well as the Media Map on Media.am, which is organized by region (for example, see here for Yerevan).

Journalists in Armenia can be reached through social media. They are active primarily on Facebook, though also on Twitter.

Note:  Adrineh Der-Bogossian helped Gegham Vardanyan with the English text.

Click here to share this media relations tip on Twitter: How to Work with Armenian Media: A Q&A with Gegham Vardanyan: http://ctt.ec/7j2V9

Stay up to date with the latest news and trends impacting today’s communications programming. Join our mailing list today!


The Rise of Digital Video and Why it Matters

May 26, 2015

By Hannah Herreid, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire

“Instead of couch potatoes, we have digital potatoes.” Ryan Van Fleet, Senior Director of Insights and Analytics, Tremor Video

There is no arguing that the digital sphere is here to stay. In fact, digital video may soon take the reins from cable television. According to a study by Limelight Networks, Inc, “More than 90% of consumers are open to ‘Cutting the cord’; a shift led by the desire for flexibility and increasing availability of on demand programming.” Additionally, digital video advertising is growing faster than any other advertising platform. Online video ad revenue is estimated to reach $5 billion in 2016 whereas TV ad revenue is predicted to decrease by 3% each year (BI Intelligence).

With mobile and digital use on the up and up, it comes as no surprise that companies, journalists, and thought leaders have taken notice of the trends and practices encompassing it. The Publicity Club of New York recognized the rise in digital video at a recent luncheon where 6 leaders in digital production discussed the current happenings and future of digital video.

PCNY Panel of Producers

PCNY panel of producers: Mike Schmidt – Mashable, Christopher Booker –  The Financial Times, Shalini Sharma – Fast Company, Joanne Po – The Wall Street JournalMarcos Bueno – Vox Media, Laura Petrecca – USA Today

The Power of Live Streaming + Social Media

Joanne Po, Executive Producer at The Wall Street Journal stated, “The path of journalism has changed. We’re creating our own journalism, not necessarily tied to the paper anymore.” The Wall Street Journal like other publications in attendance, have practiced live streaming for multiple years. According to Po, viewership of their live video stream is much higher than traditional cable networks through syndication with other sites who repost the videos. Presence on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Meerkat, Periscope and others also contribute to the increased number of viewers. Livestreaming has served as a great media platform for breaking news and creating content in an efficient manner for digital media.

yay-13690020-digital

New Expectations for Journalists
Reporters are now expected to take a video and be able edit and understand the production techniques whether they are on the production side or not. This is especially true for breaking news. Some producers prefer to send a reporter and shoot the footage themselves as opposed to a PR person’s video in order to keep the digital consistent and in line with the publication; however, news outlets are always looking for qualified experts to comment on breaking or national news stories. For a Public Relations professional, it is still recommended to submit your videos to news sources. Make sure that it is relevant and topical, and try to relate it to a current event. The publication may or may not use your footage, but they will follow up if they like the story regardless.

The Evolution of Media Strategy
According to Jim Pavia the Senior Editor at Large at CNBC Digital, the video component a few years ago was a regurgitation of what had already appeared in an article, and viewership was low. The audience wasn’t necessarily getting anything out of it. Now the strategy behind online video has changed. Videos now offer the viewer a bonus or added value as incentive to watch. “The consumers of media have evolved in their practices of consumption therefore, media must also evolve.” Since the rise in digital video consumption has increased exponentially, CNBC among other media outlets have added digital video components to almost all of their online articles.

Branded Production for Digital Media
The shift from broadcast television to digital video can be attributed to millennial consumers who lead the pack with an average of 4-7 hours of online video intake a week. They consume almost twice the amount over any other age group (Limelight Network, Inc).

Digital video is no longer about clips, but about building production brands, and this is a trend we’ll continue to see. Fast Company is a prime example of this with multiple segments that tap into millennial interests. For example the “Fast Comedy” that features funny workplace skits, “Brand Evolution” which highlights iconic brands’ past, present, and future, and the “29th Floor” a platform for editors and writers to take on whatever is current.

It’s safe to say that we’ll be seeing a lot more online video moving forward. From digital ads in the marketing realm, to online production, to company created videos, evolving with the consumer is what media outlets and public relations professionals must do to keep current.

Click here to share this blog post with your Twitter followers: http://ctt.ec/d71m1

Stay up to date with the latest news and trends impacting today’s communications programming. Join our mailing list today!


Business Wire Roundtable: Mixing with Chicago Media

April 28, 2015

By Whitney Cowit and Courtney Saltzman, Business Wire Chicago

On Wednesday, April 22, Business Wire Chicago held its first Media Roundtable and Speed Networking event featuring journalists and editors from across the print, TV and radio industry. Organized in 15-minute Q&A sessions, attendees met with reporters to discuss topics such as their role in the news cycle, how they find content and what information is most valuable to them.

Media participants included some of the biggest outlets in the industry, with contributions from:

The Business Wire Chicago team had an opportunity to participate in the sessions and share back key learnings. Below is a sampling of what they heard.

What is the best form of outreach for pitching stories?

  • Carrie Walker of ABC Chicago 7 is open to texts, calls or emails. If it’s breaking news, she wants to know about it. Additionally, she indicates that you can pitch news anchors directly. They often have influence over the stories they broadcast.
  • Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz of the Chicago Tribune recommends email. She mentions if you don’t hear back, follow up with a phone call and eventually she will get back to you.
  • Kathy Chaney of WBEZ 91.5 states she prefers email for pitches or via social media channels. Please don’t fax!
  • Mary Wisniewski with Thomson Reuters says no phone calls, as emails are always preferred.
  • Natalie Perez with Univision requests that you contact her assignment desk directly via email or phone. They also have their own social channels for outreach.

NUVI Chicago

What are some of the best ways to develop relationships with media?

  • Elejalde-Ruiz (Chicago Tribune) says no gifts. She would rather have an in-person meeting over coffee or lunch so she can hear your story idea and ask questions.
  • Walker (ABC Chicago 7) emphasizes that developing strong relationships with media is key. In her words, everyone has a job to do and if a PR person can deliver quality content he/she will make a good impression.

What information should PR communicators include in their subject line?

  • Elejalde-Ruiz (Chicago Tribune) says including the word “Exclusive” always helps. Additionally, make sure stories are relevant to the reporter’s beat. Further, if you were referred to her via another media point, include this in the subject line.
  • Walker (ABC Chicago 7) recommends including the words “Current” or “Today” as a way for her to denote pressing news from tomorrow’s stories.
  • Wisniewski (Thomson Reuters) prefers content that relates to national trends, top stories and legislation ‘hot topics.’ Be sure to include these keywords in the subject line of your email pitch.
  • Chaney (WBEZ 91.5) suggests you never be vague in a subject line. The more detail you can provide the more inclined she’ll be to open your pitch.

What information should PR communicators include in their email pitches?

  • Walker (ABC Chicago 7) loves to see multimedia accompanying a pitch since it shapes the story. She also looks for expert sources that are relevant to her beat and the stories she is covering. Finally, she suggests always leaving out one important detail. It will give her a reason to call.
  • When pitching an expert source, Chaney (WBEZ 91.5) recommends including other places your source has been quoted or recent appearances within broadcast coverage. Additionally, she suggests you include unique angles to stories that may have previously been thought of as commonplace.
  • Elejalde-Ruiz (Chicago Tribune) recommends being as straight-forward and concise in your emails as possible. Avoiding irrelevant details helps her quickly assess the news angle to see if it’s relevant to her publication.
  • Perez (Univision) prefers storylines that offer a human element and appeal to emotions.

What details should PR communicators avoid in their email pitches?

  • Elejalde-Ruiz (Chicago Tribune) does not believe surveys are a good source of information. Pitches that include these are typically ignored.
  • Walker (ABC Chicago 7) asks that PR people do not send b-roll footage or videos as ABC 7 Chicago will usually obtain their own for broadcasting. Additionally, satellite media tours no longer provide useful content for their coverage.
  • Wisniewski (Thomson Reuters) says not to include any attachments with your pitch. She also suggests avoiding repeat pitching and redundant emails since she will follow up on stories she’s interested in covering.

How do media measure the success of their stories?

  • Chaney (WBEZ 91.5) utilizes social channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Sound Cloud for metrics.
  • Elejalde-Ruiz (Chicago Tribune) relies on headline clicks as a form of measurement.
  • Walker (ABC Chicago 7) receives daily reporting on her ratings.

Reporter Metrics

Where do media find most of their story ideas and leads?

  • Chaney (WBEZ 91.5) states that press releases are her number one source for news and information. In addition, she utilizes the AP Daybook each day, but often finds the need for supplemental information as the Daybook does not offer a complete overview. She also believes that journalists cannot do their job unless they are on social media.
  • Similarly, Perez (Univision) uses press releases as her primary source of information. She states that press releases that include multimedia (photos, videos, images) are a bonus. As a secondary resource, she often utilizes social media, Facebook in particular, to find exclusive stories.
  • Wisniewski (Thomson Reuters) utilizes social media as a source for news since it’s the quickest and most up-to-date resource available.

bizwireresearch

What else do PR professionals need to know?

  • According to Walker (ABC Chicago 7), in-studio guest appearances need to be booked at least 4 weeks in advance. Weekends are often a good opportunity for “feel good” stories. When pitching this type of content, keep that in mind. She also enjoys great visuals and finding a unique approach to each story. For example, rather than merely covering a large event, Walker often follows an individual attending the event (or one affected by the cause) to gain an inside perspective and depict how the outcome of this event will impact this individual’s life moving forward.
  • Chaney (WBEZ 91.5) says that journalists want PR professionals who will advance their story and give them something that you haven’t given to other media outlets. Media are always hungry for an exclusive.
  • All of our media guests stated that whether or not news is relevant to their beat, they will often pass it along and share with colleagues to whom it would be relevant.

Reporters Prefer Business Wire

Click here to share these media relations tips across Twitter:  http://ctt.ec/78b1u

Stay up to date with the latest news and trends impacting today’s communications programming. Join our mailing list today!


A picture’s worth a thousand words – but how much for the caption?

April 24, 2015

By Hannah Kelly, Business Wire Paris

Here at Business Wire, we know that over half of journalists and media professionals are more likely to review a press release that includes multimedia, and that images/photographs are one of the top content types for the online newsroom, but in order to truly launch effective multimedia, we must remember one very important detail – the caption.

When looking for the first time at a news release, readers’ attention immediately goes to the caption, and then the added image. This creates the ideal opportunity for you.  With up to twice as many people reading captions than body copy, captions provide an excellent opportunity to attract the reader’s attention. This short but sweet accompanying paragraph is your key to unlocking the image – it is the who, what, where, when, why and how, all rolled into one short sentence.

Small Town Big Fish Caption

Immediately after reading the caption, the reader will flick back to the image, and view it, usually, from a different perspective. This is more commonly known as the loop, and is essential to engaging the reader. The photo and the caption complement each other, building suspense and satisfying curiosity.

But it is not only that captions define images, captions put images into context. In many instances, the caption and image can result in coverage when an article is not possible. Business Wire captions can be up to 100 words each, more than enough space to create a connection between image and story.

ServiceNow Caption Example

Given the importance of captions, and their role in not only increasing coverage but building connections between your product and your customer, what are the best practices for writing one?

  • Use prepositional phrases, interesting adjectives and action verbs
    The caption should focus on action, and help the article to progress, while providing as much information as possible as to the relevancy of the multimedia to the news you are sharing
  • Use phrases that have been cut out of the main narrative
    This is the ideal time to retrieve phrases that were cut out for length reasons, but that are still pertinent to the text and work well with the release
  • Do not repeat body copy
    For the simple reason that nobody likes déjà vu, whatever they’re reading!
  • Provide information that’s not available by simply looking at the photo
    A reader will look at the caption to learn more, not for reinforcement of already formed ideas. Captions allow you, the brand, to define the image and those captured in it, properly.
  • And, finally, do not use the phrases “above” or “pictured here”.
    These phrases are of little use to reporters who may choose to use your image and caption instead of the entire press release.

Tony Romo Caption

Multimedia is more important than ever within the news creation and sharing process. The caption serves as a reference, increases the impact of the image and adds to the credibility of the piece.  Don’t overlook it, instead take advantage of this space and use it to not only increase coverage of your news, but conversions as well.

Click here to share this tips for creating the perfect caption: http://ctt.ec/86l8j

Stay up to date with the latest news and trends impacting today’s communications programming. Join our mailing list today!


[SURVEY] Best Practices for Promoting Crowdfunding Campaigns

April 17, 2015

By Vilan Trub, Business Wire

yay-16924732-digital

Many people are interested in launching crowdfunding campaigns to bridge their idea to reality but aren’t certain how to execute such a campaign successfully. To help answer this question, we created a survey about the best steps PR professionals can take to develop and execute a successful crowdfunding campaign.

Take our 2 minute survey now:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/6NGB5DZ

This survey will be open until April 24th and then we will share the resulting best practices for successful crowdfunding promotion.

Tell your friends about this survey: http://ctt.ec/j9XES

Stay up to date with the latest news and trends impacting today’s communications programming. Join our mailing list today!


Top 5 Things Journalists Look for in a News Release

April 6, 2015

By Vilan Trub, Business Wire

Journalists and media professionals get bombarded daily with emails and news releases. Those same journalists and media professionals also don’t have a lot of time. Make sure that you’re doing everything you can to grab their attention by giving them exactly what they’re looking for. What are they looking for?

Who are you?

Before you write your news release, you have to answer one big question.  What is the name of a great The Who song, the theme song to a CSI spin-off, and the question that every news release must answer?

Who are you?

yay-15034446-digital

News is an industry of trust, so always ask yourself, why should journalists trust me? Treat a press release like a self-endorsement when trying to arrange a blind date. What are your best features and why would you (or your news release) be a perfect match for someone? It’s also good to have a trusted mutual friend, such as a newswire service, to make the introduction to your desired media outlet. Remember, you must woo a journalist with your release.

A key tip is to include a well-written boilerplate  at the bottom of your release. A boilerplate is a mini-bio of your company that lets the reader know exactly what you do.

A Headline Comes First
Before a journalist reads your release, they first see the headline. The headline is like a trailer to a movie, one that is well made will garner the interest of the audience. A bad headline, however, is the last thing that gets read before a journalist moves on to their next email.

A good tip for putting together a strong headline is to remember what the reader is looking for: information. Avoid using click-bait tactics because media pros have developed a keen sense of what to look out for. There are good reads online about the difference between click-bait and a well-made news releases, so make sure to be on the lookout.

CoSchedule Headline Analyzer

There is even an online headline analyzer by CoSchedule to help you craft the perfect headline that hooks the reader in and doesn’t let go.

The Ws
Journalists aren’t looking to read Moby Dick when opening your news release. Today’s reporters are looking for two key 5 Wselements.  They want to know the facts, and they want to know the story behind the facts – the one that tells why the product was made, who it impacts, what that impact was and why it would impact the publication’s core audience.  This is when you turn to your “W”s!

Who, what, where, when, and why is an exercise taught in elementary schools so that students can get a grasp of how to break down a story to its most basic and relevant elements. Use this same exercise when drafting your release because journalists don’t want to go looking for key story elements. By reducing the amount of work needed for a third party to tell your story you will find a much higher likelihood of coverage and engagement with your news.

Social Sharing

Social Media is Honey – Use It
Every news release is designed to attract readers. In the digital age, social media has become a swap meet where information is traded free of charge. Including social media links to your news release gives people the opportunity to easily distribute your news, the very same news you want covered by journalists. The name of the game is reach so make it easier for people to distribute and redistribute your release.

Multimedia
Cavemen didn’t write paragraphs about the beauty of horses. They made drawings on cave walls that are easy to understand even today! Believe it or not, that was the earliest form of multimedia.

Thanks to technical and mobile device advancements and penetration, humans are creating and consuming multimedia at unheard of rates. When thinking about crafting your press release, you must understand that multimedia supplements are no longer optional. Reporters and consumers use multimedia to create emotional connections and to showcase the real “why” behind your news.

In a 2014 Business Wire study of more than 300 journalists and media professionals, more than half (54%) are more likely to review a press release that includes multimedia than one that does not. The preferred media are photographs, by a staggering 73% of those participating in the survey.

bizwiremultimedia

But even multimedia is changing. With more than 63% of the world being visual and interactive learners, static multimedia is being replaced with interactive assets such as the Business Wire News and Picture Capsules that create engagement opportunities for newsreaders. These capsules are so engaging that the average viewer is now spending between 4-10 minutes per Capsule, just consuming the related content they host. Check out the one Six Flags used to announce one of their famous roller coasters would be running backwards for a limited time.

Batman

Hundreds of news releases are sent out each day, make sure that your next one stands out. Follow these steps to grab the reader and make sure that they’re getting, and sharing your message.


5 Tips for Building Brand Believers

March 20, 2015

By Vilan Trub, Business Wire

Bernadette Morris, CEO and President of Black PR Wire, and Raschanda Hall, Director of Global Media Relations at Business Wire, cohosted a conference spotlighting the best practices in multicultural marketing. Hall explained that it was important to understand how to tap into the Black market because “according to Target Market News, the Black American economy already represents the 20th largest market in the world.” The event was initially described as a webinar on how to best reach the Black market, however, what resulted was a fantastic discussion that applied to all developing campaigns, reflecting how connected society has become in a digital world.

  1. Multicultural Markets are more Connected than Ever Before

Communications professional Danyele L.C. Davis, Vice President of Flowers Communications Group, explained that multicultural markets are more connected than ever before.

“The one thing I really want to dispel is that total market is not general market.”

Flowers Communication Group has successfully implemented the Cultural Fusion Model: Assess, Embrace, and Customize. Targeting minority markets the way they were targeted in the past is outdated and destined to alienate your target audience. Millennials see themselves completely differently and the best way to reach them is to assess cultural nuances.

  1. Who Influences Your Target Market?

Courtney Cunningham, Esq., Co-Founder and Managing Director of Commonground/MGS, explained that minorities, like all people, are influenced by region, religion, and upbringing. He referenced a series of commercials in which a Black male is shown failing at many attempts to use household products to do some basic cleaning. This example showcases how a target market is not being effectively reached because the people behind the advertising campaign have a misconception that minority males do not know how to take care of a household. He compared his reaction when watching the commercials to that of a professional lawyer watching a highly dramatized courtroom drama. The result is that you know what you are watching is fake, a stereotype.

  1. Don’t Just Target Your Market, Go to Them!

Danyele L.C. Davis brings up the example of technology and faith. The accepted idea was that cell phones had no place in church. It was considered a big “no-no.” That notion has since changed and the only way to know that is to be immersed in the community. The result was a newfound knowledge that Bible apps and selfies are regularly being used as a mode to connect in church and are quickly becoming integral to the faith community. It was the authenticity behind her attempts to understand this community that led her to identify current trends and make an impact with the #inspiredmobility campaign.

  1. Employees Must Be Brand Ambassadors

Alicia R. Alston, Vice President of Global Communications at Prudential Financial, Inc., stressed the importance of authenticity when attempting to build a connection with a market. She expressed that creating a legitimate and lasting connection with a market can only occur when the people responsible for implementing a campaign have a clear understanding of both the target market and their respective community. Alston makes the point that “employees be brand ambassadors for us” in regards to how employees should represent their respective companies.

  1. There’s More Than One Type of Marketing

Amber Bullock, Executive VP, Community & Youth Engagement for American Legacy Foundation, has been engaged in what is called counter marketing. American Legacy Foundation has been behind the easily recognized Truth anti-tobacco campaign, aimed at educating and influencing the public by exposing the dangers of using tobacco products. Bullock believes that to be successful in today’s world of communication, the emphasis must be placed on people and not the product.

The hour-long conference was followed by half an hour of question and answer. There was a clear consent amongst the group that the communication landscape is changing and it is important to understand what those changes are in order to connect with any target market. The millennial generation is not only forcing the industry to rethink the concept of multicultural marketing, but marketing in a much broader sense. Ultimately, all marketing is target marketing because the idea of a general market is one that is at best misconceived.

Click now to share this blog post with friends and colleagues now!  http://ctt.ec/mA0dS

Stay up to date with the latest news and trends impacting today’s communications programming. Join our mailing list today!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 43,759 other followers

%d bloggers like this: