The Experts Speak: How to Brand Your Startup

August 21, 2015

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media

This past year’s SXSW festival offered audiences enough movies, music and tech to keep busy until – you guessed it – next year’s SXSW. For those in the know, however, that wasn’t the end of the fun. From July 19th to the 22nd there was an additional SXSW event, the SXSW v2v in Las Vegas. This boutique event, aimed to help startups grow, brought together great minds and offered future business moguls an opportunity to learn from and connect with industry leaders.


One of the topics discussed during the four days in Vegas was how a new company can develop a brand with which audiences will identify. Melodie Tao, Marketing Consultant and Founder of Marketing Melodie, spoke on just that and left the crowd inspired.

Coverage and highlights of the session can be found here.

“How can you establish your brand?” was the first question Melodie posed, and what followed was a series of tips and insider tricks to connect with modern markets. Find out what she had to say and how it might apply to your business.


Business Wire CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz also spoke about startups prior to the Vegas event at the Austin SXSW. Her fireside chat was insightful and declared that “every business has an audience.” Coverage of the conversation can be found here.

“Every Business Has an Audience” is a Key Takeaway from SXW2O

March 17, 2015

By Vilan Trub, Business Wire

The venue was large and had already been entertained by the great Al Roker by the time Jim Weiss (CEO, W2O Group) and Cathy Baron Tamraz (CEO, Business Wire) stepped on stage. They had their hands full with a standing room-only audience and only saying something fundamentally mind blowing would turn it around. Fortunately for the crowd, that’s exactly what happened.

Cathy and Jim at SXW2O event

During the session, Cathy was asked how a newswire service could support a startup or organization that journalists weren’t actively looking for information on. “If you have a business, you have an audience,” she told the crowd. “Safe is not going to win the game.”

More news is being created and consumed now than ever in the history of modern man, she continued, adding that there are trade papers, journalists, online publications and consumers looking for relevant company news every day. You don’t have to be a big name brand to get noticed; you just have to have a good product or piece of news. In a world so cluttered with content, it was refreshing to hear someone say what every successful large and small organization knows to be true. You don’t have to be big to get noticed — you just have to appeal to your core audience.

Apple WatchTo reiterate the point that smaller companies can greatly benefit with a newswire service, Cathy cited her own company’s history. When Business Wire first launched over 50 years ago, they were distributing news for companies like Hewlett-Packard, companies that were being run out of garages. This hasn’t changed much. From startup launches to the introduction of the Apple watch, Business Wire continues to distribute market moving news across a wide range of industries.

Jim Weiss chimed in, adding that startups need to get into the practice of issuing releases. It is important to start building and archiving a digital trail for your company during its earliest stages. The digital revolution also created a wide variety of options for the format of your distributed information.

Both Jim and Cathy agreed that multimedia was not just beneficial to a news release, but a requirement in modern news consumption programming. Modern communicators like Hasbro, Intel, Cigna and more are leveraging multimedia assets like News and Picture Capsules that allow users to play a game while learning about the brand and product. IntelBy incorporating interactive multimedia within the news story, audiences spend far more time on the news announcement than they would had it just been a simple text release.  Text-only news releases engage readers for seconds, while interactive-based releases are showing engagement results between 4-10 minutes – rates that are unheard of in the current communications and content marketing space.

The next topic covered was the importance of measurement in the communication space.  Measurability is the single greatest tool in identifying how a release is impacting the market and the company goals alike. Advents, such as NUVI, create an ability to not only see where your news release is being picked up but who is engaging with it and how – reading, sharing or advocating. Being able to distinguish the public reaction of your release gives you the opportunity to take control over your campaign like never before.

nuvi report

The lineup at this year’s SXW2O was fantastic, and the reason why is because the speakers were inspiring. There is a great feeling to knowing that you can make an impact especially when the message is coming from people who make an impact every day, like Jim Weiss and Cathy Baron Tamraz. The question now is who are you trying to activate with your news, and how can Business Wire help you distribute it?

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Listen up! Everything PR and Social Media Pros Need To Know About Meerkat

March 9, 2015

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

Welcome to Meerkat!

Welcome to Meerkat!

As Business Wire’s director of social and evolving media, I get asked a lot about the future of social tech and which emerging apps are going to impact the social news distribution/consumption flow.  Right now, that tool is most definitely Meerkat.

Meerkat is a very easy to use, point and shoot iOS application that allows users to share live video from their mobile devices.  For today’s marketers, the opportunities provided by Meerkat for program amplification, and real-time news sharing are huge.  Expect to see marketers use it to livestream media and consumer focused events and interviews, showcase product use, create meet and greets with executives, interviews and even provide real-time behind the scene sneak peeks.

Using Meerkat is easy! First you download the app and log in using your Twitter account.  Meerkat will automatically find and link you with Twitter followers who are also using Meerkat, so right from the start you have fans and followers.  Meerkat videos are not available for replay, although you can choose to save your broadcasts for additional content marketing meerkat

Meerkat offers two ways to livestream –in real-time or later, at a scheduled time.

To begin a livestream, aim your camera to feature whatever you want to show and start streaming.  The app will then send out a Tweet to your Twitter followers, as well as a mobile alert to Meerkat connections, that you are livestreaming, inviting them to view your video.  Meerkat users can then come and watch either via the Meerkat app or their web browser, with in-app notifications alerting you every time someone new joins in.

How to schedule on meerkatTo schedule a livestream, click the schedule button, type in the time and date of your upcoming livestream and Meerkat will help you promote it by sharing this information via a Tweet sent from your Twitter account.

During your livestreams, you can engage with viewers via comments that are also pushed out on Twitter as a way to increase the visibility and potential engagement of and with your Meerkat livestream

The results of Meerkat livestream announcements on Twitter remind me of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  First, it coincides with Twitter’s recent move to allow users to embed Twitter-hosted videos on any website.  As Twitter focuses on video sharing, don’t be surprised if you see more videos within your Twitter stream. While we cannot confirm it at this time, it would make sense for Twitter to change their news feed algorithms slightly to highlight this new feature.

In addition to Twitter’s own emphasis on video, Meerkat also taps into innate human behavior in two ways.  First, when one sees an announcement of a livestream from a friend or connection, it creates a desire to click to see what is being shared. Secondly, with today’s consumers adopting visual communications, this is a perfect marriage between social media and video production, allowing them to watch the video live, as it is being made.  Meerkat itself built in a point system to reward users for watching other videos, showcasing top viewers via a leaderboard.  The gamified, viral nature of the tool, combined with the ease-of use, makes this a marketers dream – and just in time for SXSW.

With no costs associated with the service, and its ability to alert your followers of current and upcoming broadcasts, there is no reason marketing and communication pros should not be testing this tool to support a wide range of event, business, product and consumer-focused marketing program. Are using Meerkat yet?

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5 Tips from Arizona’s Top Journalists on Gaining Local Media Coverage

December 6, 2014

Earlier this year, Business Wire Phoenix hosted an event regarding media relations and local media – how to get the most out of your pitches and how to best strategize your PR efforts to reach out to newspapers, magazines, and other media publications located in your region.

Dawn Gilberton, Patrick O’Grady, and Kiva Couchon, on a panel moderated by Amy La Sala, provided five important tips to getting the most out of your media outreach efforts:

  • Know your local media
  • Use the 24-7 news cycle to your advantage
  • Press releases are still valuable as long as the release includes the right information
  • “Digital is driving everything”
  • Now is a great time to be in PR if you’re utilizing different media platforms

Read this piece by Victoria Green (MRT, Los Angeles) and Billy Russell (CSR, Phoenix) fully detailing tips on how to gain coverage from your local media:

How PR Pros Create News Content That Generates Action

November 28, 2014

“Think like a movie producer”

Every day, PR professionals utilize storytelling to engage key audiences. In this piece, Phil Dennison, senior marketing specialist at Business Wire, discusses the ways PR professionals can strengthen their storytelling prowess by thinking like a movie producer.

These tips include:

  • Build suspense and create anxiety
  • Foster aspirations
  • Drive empathy
  • Harness emotion

Learn more about implementing creative thinking by reading the entire piece here:

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?

CMW 2014 Recap: Andrew Davis on “How Brilliant Storytellers Create a Sudden Urge to Act”

September 26, 2014

By Katie Kennedy, Business Wire Cleveland

In his opening remarks, “How Brilliant Storytellers Create a Sudden Urge to Act,” Andrew Davis  kicked off day one of Content Andrew DavisMarketing World with an engaging keynote urging marketers to rethink the marketing funnel and focus on what he calls “moments of inspiration” or MOI.

What is a moment of inspiration? I’ll spare you the reenactment of his meatloaf example – which was hilarious –but in short, a moment of inspiration or MOI can be as simple thought which triggers a series of activities that at any point could lead you to a point of purchase.

So, rather than a traditional marketing funnel in which consumers start at awareness, go into a research phase and then take the action the marketer wants, Davis sees the consumer journey as a path defined as:

  1. a moment of inspiration
  2. a trigger
  3. an initial consideration set
  4. active evaluation
  5. moment of purchase

“Valuable content increases the demand for the products and services you sell,” said Davis. “If you want to own the consumer journey, create moments of inspiration.”

Davis sees this as the single biggest opportunity for content marketing and shared his secrets for creating these moments of inspiration via valuable content that inspires people to buy the ideas, products or services.

Four steps for creating content that inspires MOI:

  1. Build suspense
  2. Foster aspiration
  3. Dive empathy
  4. Harness emotion

To read more about Davis’ presentation, including additional tactics, we recommend reading this event summary:

To learn how “MOI leads to ROI”  follow Davis on Twitter @TLPDrew or visit his website:


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