Frankie Flack Explains Why Newsrooms are Using Press Releases More Than Ever

July 17, 2014

By Neil Hershberg, Sr. Vice President, Global Media, Business Wire

Not only are press releases alive and well but, according to an industry insider, their role in today’s editorial ecosystem is more important than ever. They have emerged as the “exclusive information source” for many corporate developments, most of which fail to generate independent coverage.

Frankie Flack, a pseudonym for a New York-based public relations professional, authored a column for “Talking Biz News” explaining the shifting dynamics of financial news coverage in a challenging media environment. “Talking Biz News” is a popular web site that enables business journalists to track the latest media trends, developments, and personnel moves.

You can read the article here: http://talkingbiznews.com/2/frankie-flack-why-my-press-releases-are-the-new-newswire

According to Flack, a confluence of factors have contributed to the press release’s resurgent popularity, and its de facto dominance as a primary news source.

Newsroom cutbacks have sharply curtailed the resources dedicated to breaking news other than major announcements, in Flack’s view.

Beat reporters are committed to churning out “thumb-sucker” stories focusing on Big Ideas, as opposed to the nuts-and-bolts stories that news organizations were noted for in the past.

Even the larger market-moving news services have become dependent on news releases to provide context to their headlines, often in the absence of insights from analysts and academics who were relied on for perspective in the past. According to Flack, press releases enable issuers to “control the narrative.”

Flack also cites the ubiquity of press releases on the web, pointing to such popular sites as Yahoo! where releases far out number wire stories.

The middling stories that represented the bulk of a news service’s daily output have all but disappeared, Flack notes, making press releases the “exclusive information source” for most corporate events. In the absence of coverage of record, press releases have become the default archive that investors, journalists, consumers, and others will rely on in the future.

Clearly, press releases are more vital than ever, playing an ever more robust role in determining the daily news agenda, and influencing user consumption.


Editor’s Corner: Putting Faces with Names: Getting The Most Out Of Personnel Announcements

January 7, 2014

By Dara Khan, Business Wire Editor

 When you submit a personnel announcement to Business Wire, our editors are the first eyes on your staffing news. Our talented and experienced newsroom team reviews hundreds of news items per week, and we have developed a pretty good sense of what elements make them successful. Here’s one editor’s take on putting together a winning press release for announcing hires, promotions, or other staffing changes in your organization.

Natalie

The best piece of advice I can give is to include multimedia with your press release.

When you meet people for the first time, you remember them by both their names and faces. This is true in press releases as well; by including a photo of the person, you make it easy for reporters, analysts and others to put face to the name. We editors know from experience that releases with a photo—whether of a new executive hire or a retiring founder—instantly capture readers’ attention, and our research has shown that releases with photos or other multimedia generate five to ten times more pickup than those without them. That is just from adding a photo or video to your news release!

However, there are other ways to increase your press release’s visibility.Broader distribution of press releases allows for reporters and other brand fans to find and share your news.  But why not consider adding a targeted specialty circuit to increase visibility within highly specific target markets? If you’ve made a prominent minority hire, consider the Asian-American Media, African-American Media or LatinoWire circuits, which all heavily target media in markets that can be difficult to reach through broader channels. If your release is about someone who has made significant contributions through nonprofit and charity work, consider the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) circuit. If you’re running a cutting-edge startup and just added a big name to your team, congrats! Now is the perfect time to take advantage of BW’s new partnership with VentureBeat.  Each of these distributions reaches a highly targeted list of reporters and media outlets, all viewing and sharing these kinds of announcements on a daily basis.

At the end of the day, the foundation of a good personnel announcement is a concise and well-written press release. This may seem like a very basic tip, but it is surprising how often we see releases that are unnecessarily long, overly wordy, or lack quotations from or about the personnel in question. That last part is especially important.  Why? Because including quotes is another great way to capture the human element—and the attention of readers. These quotes are so frequently sought after that Business Wire’s system actually automatically generates highlighted pull quotes from those sections!  These pull quotes appear on the businesswire.com version for your release (as well as via our PressPass media news service), so be sure to use that to your advantage by making them shine.

Lastly, do not hesitate to call your local Business Wire newsroom or account executive to discuss more ways to get the most out of your personnel announcements. One thing that sets BW apart is the degree of hands-on, personalized service from our 24 local news bureaus. As the only commercial newswire with this many editorial offices, Business Wire has editors and a sales team who are always ready to help you send your press release out to the biggest possible audience. We always look forward to hearing from you!


Tips, tricks and advice for today’s PR, IR and Marketing Professionals

October 19, 2013

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social & Evolving Media

What a week!  There were so many great news pieces, platform changes, tips and more that we had to commit an entire blog to sharing them with you.

Below please find this week’s top stories for public relations, corporate communications, investor relations and marketing communication professionals.

Social Platform + Search Engine Updates

Media + Research

Tips, Tricks and Best Practices

Did you find this list useful?  Did we miss anything?  If so, please share below, we are always looking for compelling information we can share with our audience!


Remembering Heroes of Yesterday; Communicating to Win Today

February 11, 2013

by Bernadette Morris, President/CEO, Black PR Wire

Bernadette Morris, President/CEO, Black PR Wire

Bernadette Morris, President/CEO, Black PR Wire

Remembering the heroes of yesterday comes naturally to us today. Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks — these are some of the people who ignited a spark. They each had a goal and purpose in mind. And that is why their legacy continues to shine. Recognizing them and others during Black History Month is a ritual that we follow every year. They lived their lives with purpose and made life easier for those of us that are still here.

Heroes of yesterday represented our race. They wanted us to live our lives as equals, despite the obstacles they faced. These men and women fought against injustice and stood up for humankind. They knew how to communicate to win and follow their dreams relentlessly – which is what we all must do if we do not want to be left behind. Planning for growth is inevitable, it seems. In celebration of Black History Month, let’s follow behind the path of our heroes of yesterday and live our dreams!  Here are a few tips to help YOU communicate to win and grow your business:

  •  Guarantee it – Guarantee your customer that your products/services are of the highest quality.  Go beyond the call of duty to ensure that you are meeting all quality standards.
  • Recycle your ideas – Keep track of your ideas.  You never know when one of them may work for a specific project or initiative.
  • Work your marketing magic – Always develop a winning marketing plan and adhere to the objectives that were outlined in the plan.
  • Show and tell – Don’t just tell people about what you have done, show them.  Provide them with visible promotional products and product samples.
  • Use creativity – Creativity plays a major role in helping companies to accomplish their objectives.  Be creative in all of your project endeavors – strive to be unique and distinct.  The more your product/service stands out from the competition, the more you will be noticed.
  • Be dependable – Make a conscious effort to always be dependable and honest in your business dealings.  Customers tend to be loyal to those they can count on.
  • Enter as an expert – Learn your market and become an expert in your chosen field.
  • Show you know – Show your customers that you know what you’re talking about.  Convince them that you know your product and what is best for them better than anyone else does.
  • Commit and never quit – Always remain committed to your goal and remember your reason for being in business.
  • Stick to your strengths – Remember what you’re good at and continue using your natural talents to take you to the next level.
  • It it’s not broken, fix it anyway – Always search for new and innovative ways to do the same tasks.  You’ll find that a little creativity can produce amazing results.
  • Be ready for change – Be prepared to deal with the constantly changing business climate.

Want to hear more from Bernadette?  Register to attend the Business Wire and Black PR Wire 2013 Minority Leadership Series.


Tools For Increasing Sales Through Social Media

February 8, 2013

by Bernadette Morris, President/CEO, Black PR Wire

Bernadette Morris, President/CEO, Black PR Wire

Bernadette Morris, President/CEO, Black PR Wire

Black consumers spend a considerable amount of time using social media: Twitter and Facebook are all the rage. We know that social media is a hot topic within the business community today. So, in recognition of  Black History Month, we thought that we would share a few tools for Black-owned businesses on how to increase sales through social media.

Social media is a viral form of communication and the platform of choice for any serious Internet marketer. By becoming part of a social media site, an internet marketer taps into a global market with numbers in the millions. This instant access to a global audience is what internet marketers use to get their message, product or services across.  There are many advantages to jumping on the social media bandwagon:

  • Consumers are communicating more.
  • Little to no monetary investment is required.
  • Allows you to go where your audiences are.
  • People regroup on communities.
  • It is interactive and word-of-mouth is stronger.
  • People read blogs and consume more user generated content.
  • Social media tools allow you access to millions of people.
  • People tend to take part in online conversations and are happy to communicate with brands.
  • Allows you to generate more traffic to your Web site.

For those black businesses that have NOT hopped on the social media bandwagon, here are a few tips on how to use it to increase your sales:

  • Create pages/profiles on social media sites: Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube (post videos) and Slideshare (post presentations).
  • Build your presence as a go-to expert.
  • Use your social media presence to have a conversation with your audience about something that matters and reflects well on your brand.
  • Expand your reach. Connecting with like-minded individuals all across the globe has never been easier with social media sites such as LinkedIn. Start building your network today – it’s free to join, and you never know who is out there unless you’re involved and engaged.
  • Build relationships. Consider your contacts virtual friends as opposed to potential customers. Give them an opportunity to get to know you and the work that you do.
  • Use a combination of on and offline channels (print, TV, social networks, ads, promo flyers, etc.) to let people know about your projects and initiatives.
  • Offer incentives to encourage repeat site visitation and contribution (prizes, points, rebates, etc.).

Want to hear more from Bernadette?  Register to attend the Business Wire and Black PR Wire 2013 Minority Leadership Series.


Monika Maeckle: New Media Career Exemplified by Change Morphs to the Next Stage

November 15, 2011

by Monika Maeckle, Vice President of New Media

Today my career at Business Wire comes to an end and my first thought is that I will miss you, our clients, colleagues, webinar attendees and readers of the Business Wired blog.   I leave you in the able hands of our talented marketing team, who just picked up a fourth award from the Society of New Communications Research.

Change has been the only constant in my combined 16 years here.   When I joined the company the first time, in New York City in 1987, we considered the fax machine “new media” and the Internet was in its infancy, relegated to use by universities and computer geeks.   That was the year the domain www.apple.com came online, Microsoft gave us Works, and Compuserve (remember them?) introduced the GIF standard for images.  

Back then, Cathy Baron Tamraz managed the New York Region for Business Wire, Gregg Castano, who recruited me, served as New York City sales manager, and Phyllis Dantuono  was my fellow account executive.    This talented triumvirate now serves as Business Wire’s CEO, President and COO.    

We were the East Coast pioneers of Business Wire, planting the flag in Manhattan for founder Lorry Lokey’s budding California wire service empire.  I was sad to leave two years later, but family called me home to Texas in 1989.

Eight years later I reconnected with the New York crew when I read in Texas Monthly Magazine that the wire services were opening in Texas.   I called Cathy, and with the foresight worthy of a Berkshire Hathaway CEO, she dispatched the affable Tom Mulgrew (now Vice President of Agency Relations) to recruit me from the boutique PR agency I was running at the time.  Tom and I hit it off, and soon we opened an office in San Antonio.  Dallas and Houston followed shortly, and the rest is Business Wire history.
 
What a fun ride we’ve shared: opening offices in Texas and abroad, yanking marquis accounts from the grasp of our rivals, learning and launching new tools and technologies too numerous to name.   I’ll never forget staging a luncheon in San Antonio in the late 90s, encouraging clients to “join the webolution” and explaining “Spam, it’s not just a meat product anymore.”  And then there was that major deal we did with Warren Buffett.  Berkshire Hathaway bought the company in 2005 and owns it to this day. 
 
The landscape keeps changing, and yet Business Wire remains constant, always out front.   
 
While it’s tempting to focus on the frustrations of the daily grind in this tough economy, I leave Business Wire proud to have been part of a team that in spite of any challenge, continues to set the pace, lead the way, and stage the industry for what comes next–whatever that is.  
 
For me, that will mean launching a strategic consulting and communications firm in 2012 with my talented former newspaper editor husband, Robert Rivard.  In the meantime, you’ll find me at the Texas Butterfly Ranch–a blog about the life cycle we all share.  Please stay in touch and feel free to subscribe.
 
Until we meet again, I wish each of you the best.
 

Great Free Keyword Tools For Your Press Releases

June 18, 2010


In this edition of SEO Tip Jar I want to show you some free keyword tools that can start using today to supplement your press release and online content creation efforts.  Keyword tools are an excellent resource to help you optimize for search, generate new ideas, gauge the relative popularity of different keywords among searchers or even just learn some new words.   I’ve divided this post into two sections:

Keyword Generation Tools which give you ideas and statistics based on keywords you input

Quirky Keyword Tools which might seem a little out there at first but can help you look at related words in different ways and maybe even give you a few ideas.

Without further ado, let’s dig in to the tools!

Keyword Generation Tools

Wordtracker’s Free Keyword Suggestion Tool is the granddaddy of online keyword tools.  Wordtracker was started way back in 1997 and uses a database of search terms culled from popular “metacrawlers” Dogpile and Metacrawler to supplement its keyword suggestion engine with data on search volume.

Wordtracker’s tool is designed to give you keyword ideas and usage is simple.  Just enter a keyword and click the button.  You’ll receive the top 100 related keywords in order of search volume.

It’s worth noting that since search frequency data is not provided directly by Google, Yahoo or Bing you should probably look at the numbers to gauge relative popularity rather than a precise estimate of the traffic you may be competing for.

If you are a data geek and want even more numbers surrounding these results, you can also try SEOBook’s free keyword tool (registration required) which borrows suggestions from Wordtracker. If you want even more results you’ll need to subscribe to their paid plan which is $59 per month.

Wordstream’s Free Keyword tool is a relative newcomer but provides a bit more features than Wordtracker.  First off, Wordstream lets you put in more than one keyword at once.  This lets you more easily gauge popularity of different terms.  Second, and most importantly, Wordstream will provide you with a full list of matching keywords via e-mail rather than limiting results to the first 100.

Another difference between the two services is that Wordstream keywords are ranked with relative frequency rather than hard numbers, although this might actually make it easier for people to put all the keywords you generate in context.

They also assert that their keyword tools draw from the widest dataset, although the results returned seemed quite similar to Wordtracker in my limited tests.

Wordstream has another tool called the Keyword Niche Finder that aims to give you segmented result sets for niche keywords based a single keyword that you enter. enter.

Since the groups generated are likely to be seen as similar by search engines as well as news consumers I can see this tool being very useful for conceiving and building topic themes for, say, a related series of press releases, marketing messages and social media topics working in conjunction.

Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool is a favorite of many wordsmiths since it pulls recommendations and data directly from Google.  As the name suggests, this tool is designed to help Google AdWords advertisers and tends to show you very broad keywords with the most search activity by default (top recommendations for my keywords make sushi and learn Japanese were sushi making and Japanese sushi).  These recommendations and data provided can be useful for anyone crafting online content if you’re willing to mine through the results.

Here’s a tip to find more targeted keywords with the AdWords tool: sort by Global Monthly Searches from low to high and work your way up the list until you find a sweet spot of targeted keywords with significant traffic.  You could also supplement your research with Google Trends for even more data.

Quirky Keyword Tools

Sometimes you just need to take a more different look at things.  The following tools can help you spot trends and relationships among all the words floating around the web.

SEOMoz’s Popular Searches tool simply displays popular searches and topics from Google, Yahoo, Technorati, Amazon, eBay and elsewhere.  All of this data is available scattered around the web, but it’s great to have it in one place.  You can also search the archives to see what’s been popular as far back as 2007.

If you are looking for a hook to a hot topic, SEOMoz’s tool can be a great place to go and get a feel for what’s hot across the Internet.

Quintura is designed as a visual search engine aid.  The site shows related keywords in a tag cloud style design when you perform a search.  Each keyword is clickable and leads you on a web search, making it both a helpful general research tool and keyword visualizer.

VisualThesaurus is not entirely free, but you can perform a few searches before the app starts asking for your credit card information.   Among visual tools I’ve looked at, the clean display and comprehensive depth of word trees presented by VisualThesaurus really make it stand out.  My searches for common words like make produced vast trees of related words and terms.

Last but not least is Soovle.  This tool grabs the search auto-complete results from various popular websites and displays them all in one place.  As opposed to the Popular Searches tool, which tells you what’s hot now, Soovle can be a novel way to find out what searches related to the keyword you enter are the most popular in the long term among many searchers.

Do you have any experience using these or other keyword tools?  Did I miss any great ones?  Please let me know by commenting below or sending a message to @EONpr on Twitter.


Recap: Media & Public Relations Best Practices

March 15, 2010

Business Wire and Black PR Wire recently launched their joint Minority Leadership Series, in honor of Black History Month, with a webinar entitled Media & Public Relations Best Practices.

This 90-minute event, co-moderated by Bernadette Morris, President and CEO of Black PR Wire; and Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager for Business Wire, highlighted the communications and targeting strategies of professionals at three different types of organizations:

  • The Corporate View: Racquel White, Communications Director, The Coca-Cola Company Eurasia and Africa Group
  • The Small Business/Agency View: David Rudd, Vice President, The Axis Agency
  • The Government View: Althea Harris, Esq., Assistant District Director for Marketing and Outreach, Area 1, U.S. Small Business Administration

After an introduction in which reasons to target minority markets worldwide were discussed, each speaker discussed his or her own programs and successes in outreach and communications.

Among the highlights:

  • Coca-Cola takes a local approach to most of its campaigns, and encourages its consumers to engage with the brand or their own communities and talents via contests, challenges and other approaches.
  • The Axis Agency, a multicultural PR firm, recently completed a successful campaign for Disney Interactive Studios by using a multi-channel strategy developed over several months.
  • The Small Business Agency works with cities, chambers of commerce and other organizations to help leverage local expertise for their programs.  A recent partnership with the City of Miami resulted in a 350% increase in loans to underserved communities over five years.

For in-depth details on these and other strategies discussed by the panelists, please listen to the archived webinar (you will need Windows Media Player 9 or higher); and follow the #bwevents hashtag on Twitter to keep up with future Business Wire events.


Should my Small Business use Press Releases?

August 28, 2009

While it’s true that we count some very large companies among our clients, we are also mindful of the needs of startups and small businesses and provide press release distribution tools and services that can fit almost any budget.

EON: Enhanced Online News, one of our press release platforms, facilitates your news being discovered in a number of ways:

-An optimization tool which we call the Press Release Builder that helps you create or optimize your release for search engine performance,
-Distribution in Google News, targeted RSS feeds, and Docstoc.com
-Social sharing links that facilitate your release getting into the social sphere
-Multimedia galleries providing assets such as photos and video in multiple formats to interested journalists, bloggers, and consumers for easy redistribution.

Beyond that, EON enables you to embed images within your release, include active hyperlinks with anchor text of your choosing, and a website preview window with any website of your choosing embedded.

EON starts from $295 for lifetime release hosting.  Multimedia assets are $100 for the first and $50 for each additional.  Here’s two examples of EON releases which really get the most out of the platform:

Candle Lovers’ Dream Come True

Bluetooth Technology Gets Faster with Bluetooth 3.0

…and here’s a coupon for $100 off your first release.  EON releases can be ordered directly from our website.  Simply create an account at http://eon.businesswire.com .

Our metro wire circuits are also very affordable, starting at only $210 for a release under 400 words.  Take a look at your options and get in touch with a Business Wire representative near you (we have over 20 offices) if you have any questions or would like to get started.

Of course the world doesn’t revolve around Business Wire, and there are some great low cost or no cost ways of driving traffic to your site or blog include everything from actively twittering, participating in blogger communities such as BlogCatalog.com, writing guest posts through services like Bloggerlinkup.com, searching for PR opportunities on HARO (or our ExpertSource service), and studying up on everything SEO on sites and forums such as SEOMoz.org to name a few!


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