Communications Week Recap: The Role of Paid, Earned and Owned in Public Relations

October 24, 2014

By Joe Curro, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire

This past Monday, Business Wire’s New York team was proud to partner with Communications Week 2014 for our State of the Union: Living in Times of Media Disruption breakfast panel.  Attendees joined us at Thomson Reuters’ beautiful conference space overlooking Times Square to hear from an elite panel of communications professionals: Chanel Cathey (Director of Corporate Communications, Viacom), Ben Trounson (Director of North American Communications, Tata Consultancy Services), Jordan Fischler (SVP Technology and Digital Media, Allison+Partners), Nelson Freitas (Chief Strategy Officer, Wunderman), and our moderator, Steve Rubel (Chief Content Strategist, Edelman).

Panelist 1

(Panelists left to right: Chanel Cathey, Nelson Freitas, Jordan Fischler, Steve Rubel, Ben Trounson)

Built as an active and lively conversation between the participants, the event provided insight into a wide range of topics from the balance between owned, earned, and paid media, to navigating the opportunities and pitfalls of real-time communications, to the questions on the horizon that we’ll all be talking about in the coming months.

Here are a few of the insights that were shared:

Rethinking measurement?
The volume of available measurement data is overwhelming.  How do communications teams make good decisions based on the available data?  How do you decide what data is relevant?  The goal of your data collection should not be the quantity of information gathered, and decisions should not be made on numbers in a vacuum.  The data you collect may be the response to a question, but it’s not the end of the conversation.  Talk about your findings, use the data to inform how you interact with your influencers, and keep them engaged and giving their feedback.

Risks of paid content?
There is an eternal danger to relying on paid content – of damaging the trust you’ve established with your consumers – so how do brands make the most of this amplification option?  By always staying active in the communities that are discussing the brand.  Paid content, for all its dangers, allows for a greater degree of control.  The more control you have over your message, the more responsive you can be to anything unexpected.

Managing the flood of content?
Consumers are bombarded by a constant flow of content.  We have access to immeasurably more content than we’ll ever be able to consume.  So how do brands compete for valuable attention?  By being a curator of its own content, a brand can keep conversations on topic.  Engage with your audiences, and commit to creating original content of your own.

Real-time responses?
Perhaps one of the most terrifying prospects to communicators is the real-time fumble.  With great risk comes great reward, right?  But while the successes are some of the industry’s holy grails (Oreo in the dark, Arby’s and the hat, etc.), the failures can make anyone shy away from the very idea.  So what’s the answer?  Trust and an honest voice.  Traditional publications are competing with individual creators for the public’s attention, but your brand can empower its own creators with solid and responsible training, multiple voices participating, and open lines of communication between all parts of the team.

Panelist 2(Panelists left to right: Nelson Freitas, Jordan Fischler, Ben Trounson, Chanel Cathey, Steve Rubel)

As you can see from the above, the answers to the questions on communicators’ minds are increasingly interrelated – useful data leads to relevant content leads to managing your voice leads to learning from an engaged audience.  With the goal of activating and influencing audience behavior, this feedback loop supports an increasing trend towards more innovation and more connection between creators and consumers.

Ease of content creation, enhancements and new tools for targeted distribution are on the rise.  Available reaction times are falling, and smaller teams are being tasked with greater and greater responsibilities.  Each of our amazing panelists touched on solutions for the future.  The ultimate answer, as our Moderator Steve Rubel said, is making “constellations – not just putting stars in the sky, but connecting them.”  When all parts of the communications team are working together toward a clear goal, the combined whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Panelist 3(Moderator, Steve Rubel, Chief Content Strategist, Edelman)

Photo credits: Ingrid Ramos/Triangle Below Canal


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:  http://bit.ly/BWatCMI2014

To learn how “MOI leads to ROI”  follow Davis on Twitter @TLPDrew or visit his website: http://www.akadrewdavis.com/


Survey says? Reporters want breaking company news and photos!

September 10, 2014

In this analysis of the 2014 Business Wire media survey, Ibrey Woodall, Business Wire’s VP of web services, takes a deeper look at the types of multimedia elements most preferred by today’s reporters.

bizwirepressreleaseprefs

Not only do we cover the 7 types of news reporters want to see in a press release, we discuss what supporting assets work the best. As we move into a more visual, interactive world, text-only press releases are becoming increasingly rare.  Reporters are using images to round out their story and if you are not providing one, your competitor may be.

bizwiremultimedia

Take a few minutes and read this CommPro.biz piece to learn which types of multimedia reporters need and why:  http://www.commpro.biz/public-relations/media-relations/media-favor-photographs-press-releases-2014-business-wire-survey-provides-journalist-feedback-todays-press-release/


The 5 Definitive Rules to Media Relations in 2014

August 13, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media

Earlier this year, Business Wire released their 2014 Media Survey in which we asked 300 reporters, journalists, editors, bloggers and freelancers a wide range of questions related to how they cover company news.  Their answers provide a very clear road map to media relations best practices in 2014.  In this post, we look at the top five questions that make up the new rules for media relations in 2014.

1. Reporters have to meet metrics too With 44 percent of media survey respondents now writing for online publications, the metrics in which the success of an article is based upon have changed. Thanks to unprecedented speed and reach of news enjoyed by the world today, story views have replaced print sales, social shares replacing water cooler discussions.

Media Moving Online

Tweet this statistic now!

As we have discussed many times, one of the easiest ways to increase the visibility of coverage of your organization is to share it out. Utilize social media to increase the chance of likeminded individuals and influencers finding out about your news, while assisting journalists in meeting the overall story’s own success metrics.

Reporter Metrics

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2. What types of news interest reporters? With so much news occurring every day, what is the best way to capture a reporter’s attention?  What types of news do reporters want to see in a press release?

bizwirepressreleaseprefs

Tweet this statistic now!

The next press release you write should not only focus on the breaking news you are sharing, but include facts, angles, quotes and other assets to increase usefulness to reporters.  

3. Your Multimedia Asset or Theirs? 73 percent of reporters in this survey said photographs were their most favored supplemental asset communicators could provide them. Almost every online and print article today includes multimedia.  When you provide interesting, usable photos, graphics, infographics, video and more, not only are you helping the media outlet, you are also telling your own story, in your own voice.

bizwiremultimedia

Tweet this statistic now!

4. Your website is their top research tool When it comes to doing research for a story, journalists overwhelmingly turn to company websites and company online newsrooms for background information.

bizwireresearch

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When was the last time you took a critical look at the information on your website or within your company online newsroom from the perspective of a reporter on a deadline?  Is your information easy to find?  Can reporters download or embed assets instantly? Is your site impeding your coverage? Did you know that 88 percent of reporters asked said press releases were their most desired type of content in an online newsroom? Do an audit of your website and, specifically your online newsroom. Refresh this important asset to increase usability.

5. Which newswire do today’s reporters prefer? When provided with an array of choices, 71 percent of journalists and media outlets responding to this survey selected Business Wire as their top choice for news releases.

bizwirewires

 Share this statistic out now!

With more than 50 years of leadership experience in the news distribution industry, while we are proud of this statistic, we are not surprised.  Every day we are a conduit between media outlets, reporters, bloggers, analysts, brand fans, organizations, corporations, start ups, Fortune 500 companies and more to ensure timely distribution and receipt of the world’s leading corporate and organizational news.

Learn additional tips and tricks on how to work with today’s media outlets by downloading the complete 2014 Business Wire Media Survey Guidance Report now. Get a copy of the infographic containing the images in this blog post here, or use the below code to embed the infographic into your website:

21st Century Journalism & Public Relations

 

Copy and paste the following to embed this infographic within your site:
<a href=”http://blog.businesswire.com/2014/08/13/the-5-definitive-rules-to-media-relations-in-2014/”><img title=”The 2014 Business Wire Media Survey Infographic” class=”aligncenter” alt=”21st Century Journalism &amp; Public Relations” src=”http://storage.pardot.com/19392/87712/BW_media_survey_infographic.jpg&#8221;
width=”800″></a>

To learn more about crafting and distributing content that activate your media targets, drop us a line.  We’d love to talk.To learn more about Business Wire’s media services click here.


Updating Your Earnings Release: How to Maximise the Readability of Earnings Press Releases

August 12, 2014

By Hannah Kelly, Editor, Business Wire Paris

With the earnings period once again upon us, investor and public relations professionals are coming together to publish what is often considered the most important release of the quarter: the earnings release.

Quarterly earnings releases are a reflection of the financial health of an organization and are most frequently read by the financial community, shareholders, customers and employees.

Earnings releases, which must succinctly showcase this extremely important information, are often a cause of stress and anxiety, particularly in terms of readability.  Today the average news consumer reads only around 20% of provided text, leaving today’s communicators asking how they can optimize the impact of their press releases.

  1. Write your company name in the headline
    Including your company name in your press release headline is the quickest and easiest way to associate your company with its earnings release, and yet it is overlooked time and time again. Furthermore, the inclusion of the company name often leads to a higher SEO ranking – ideal for your annual results!earnings
  2. Ensure the most important information is at the top of your release
    Readers spend 80% of their time reading information found above the fold[1] , so this is where your most important information should be. An operating highlights summary in the form of a bulleted list, positioned just after the first sentence of the release, can greatly improve adoption and understanding of your news.
  3. Include financial tables in your release

    The importance of including complete financial tables within your press release cannot be stressed enough. Financial tables serve as a visual, simplifying wordy paragraphs and allowing quick and relatable comprehension of a company’s situation. In addition, many analysts utilize models to predict company health. Financial tables provide all the detail needed to update these models. And of course, don’t forget to include the reporting currency.

  4. Quote a company executive
    Ideally, the quote accompanying your earnings release will be provided by the company’s CEO[2]. A comment, no matter how long or short, goes a long way toward the personalization of your company and presentation of your key message. This comment can provide a justification, explanation oract as a written pat on the back. Either way, a comment from an executive provides true context of the quarter’s financials – particularly useful given that a large majority of readers of this release will be your shareholders.
  5. Subtitle your sections
    Earnings releases are notoriously difficult to read and comprehend, making subheadings the perfect solution. Included just below the press release headline, sub heads should indicate the type of information to follow, allowing the reader to easily navigate the different categories of information.
  6. Group together similar information
    When possible, similar content should be written consecutively, or as close together in the release as possible. This keeps repetition to a limit, and again, allows the reader to navigate your release more easily.
  7. Be succinct
    There is an unavoidable need to include certain information, for regulatory reasons, but this doesn’t mean that your whole release should follow a lengthy, wordy pattern. Be as concise as you can be[3], but take care to include all the necessary information.
  8. Keep historical information towards the end of the release
    Readers look for the most current and important information first. This goes back to readers spending most of their time above the fold. Historical information, although useful, is not the most relevant in these types of releases. If it is essential – for example, year-on-year comparisons – this ideally should be included within the financial tables or near the end of the press release, below the fold.
  9. Enhance your earnings release with multimediaAce Hardware
    The fastest way to increase effectiveness of news consumption is to include additional visual content. An infographic of your financials, such as the one created and distributed by Ace Hardware, is an easy way to represent your quarterly results.  Or use  video from your CEO or division head, like ARC Resources’ Myron’s Minute, to explain, in plain language, the story behind the data.
  10. Use numbered footnotes – and group them together!
    There is nothing worse than having to match up symbols, and to guess where they are inside the release. A nice, neat, numbered footnote list, found at the very bottom of the release, makes everyone’s life easier. In addition, consider hyperlinking to footnoted information to provide easy access when needed.

The combination of these techniques will improve your earnings release’s readability and ensure that the most important information is found and read by the majority of desired readers. In addition to increased comprehension of your financials by your core audience, you may just get more coverage as your target reporters and shareholders find it easier to digest the news.

How to Write a Compelling Earnings Release

With regard to the information that should be included in terms of structure and content, companies will inevitably vary in the type of information provided, but should try to keep to consistent and complete information in plain English. Here are a few helpful guidelines[4]:

Structure:

  • The date of release and city and state of headquarters should be at the beginning of the release
  • The most important news should be summarised in the first paragraph
  • Subheadings should be used to further clarify and highlight important corporate developments
  • The last paragraph should include a business description, with the company’s complete name, ticker symbol and equity market
  • Media contact information and a website address should always appear at the end of the release

sample_snr_ENContent:

  • Changes in disclosure from quarter to quarter, or year to year, should be specified and explained (sales, revenues, net income, diluted earnings per share and percentage change for each section)
  • Observations should be made only between comparable periods – for example, it is better to compare a third quarter of year N to the third quarter of year N-1, rather than year N’s second quarter
  • Key value drivers and other important line items should be clearly noted
  • Charges/gains/losses should be included if they contribute to the results, and it is advisable to explain how and why they have had an effect (eg. extraordinary gains, losses, equity losses and accounting changes)
  • A consistent format should be used throughout the press release (this is particularly important when reconciling GAAP and non-GAAP financial measures)
  • It is prudent to mention key events and changes, such as government practices and changes to the Board of Directors, plus any steps being taken to address these changes
  • Information on gross profit and margin (plus percentage change), cash flow, share repurchase activity and other measures of performance (capital expenditures, R&D expense and nonfinancial measures) should be included where appropriate
  • Provide forward-looking insights when possible, for the next quarter and/or year, and how the previous forecast has measured up to the current results

Financial statements should always be labeled as audited or unaudited, and can include: complete income statement (with current and year-ago quarter numbers, current year-to-date and year-ago year-to-date comparable period numbers, outstanding shares – both fully diluted and basic), balance sheet (current quarter numbers and end of prior-year numbers), plus cash flow tables, current quarter numbers and year-to-date.

Interested in learning more about increasing the impact of your financial press releases?  Let us know! With more than 50 years of news distribution experience, we have quite a few tips and tricks to share.

[1] http://www.nngroup.com/articles/scrolling-and-attention/

[2] http://www.whitecase.com/files/Publication/60516433-ff3f-444c-8e7d-a5cdcdc84c82/Presentation/PublicationAttachment/be3b92fd-aa2d-45f2-8c4b-ae6486778b0b/article_Earnings_Releases_and_Earnings_Calls.pdf

[3] http://irwebreport.com/20020513/preparing-earnings-releases-for-the-web/

[4] Standards of Practice for Investor Relations, Earnings Release Content (NIRI, page 7)


The Hive – The Buzz and Business of Blogging in Europe

July 31, 2014

By Kai Prager – Senior International Media Relations Specialist

The Hive – The Buzz and Business of Blogging in Europe

Picture provided by Elisabetta Rizzato, Italian Bark (http://www.er-interiordesign.com/)

Two stops from Copenhagen Main Station I stepped off the local train. I looked around and had the feeling I was in a different city:  No historic buildings, no boats … just a few apartment buildings and a modern structure in the background. I took to the street with my little map and tried to decide which direction to go.  I saw two women leaving the station as well and asked them for directions. They pointed toward the modern structure. They were also on their way to the conference, and five minutes later we entered The Hive together, like three eager bees.

The Hive styles itself as “The European Blog Conference.” Visitors came to Denmark from all over Europe, from Iceland to Italy and from Hungary to the Netherlands, to attend. Some of the participants even crossed the Atlantic to take part in the conference, taking the scope as far as the U.S.

Attending the keynote I noticed a main theme that appeared in one form or another throughout the event: Authenticity.

Katie Treggiden, Confessions of a Geek Designer

Katie Treggiden, Confessions of a Geek Designer

Katie Treggiden, who runs the blog Confessions of a Geek Designer, gave an engaging speech about finding –and writing in — one’s own voice and theme. She said this is essential to attracting a core audience who visit the blog regularly. Broadly styled writings, on the other hand, don’t aggravate anyone.

The next speaker, who showcases authenticity with every post, is the charming Anne Faber.  She discussed how Anne’s Kitchen  turned from a blog to both a book and a TV show. The secret to her success is her love of food and cooking which she convincingly applied to her blog and later adopted for publishing efforts and a career as a television presenter.

The Hive hosted a wide range of keynotes and workshops showcasing helpful tools for bloggers, from social media and SEO to storytelling and photography. There were helpful tips for those who want to turn their blog into a business, such as including ads, tying in a shop or offering other services. But it was also stated that all efforts to gain revenue should fit the overall concept of the blog; otherwise, the authenticity of the blog would be damaged.

After two days at the conference, and talking to bloggers from all over Europe and beyond, I left with the realization that blogging transcends borders and connects people all over the world. Blogging provides the possibility to look closely into a special subject that can attract readers everywhere. It permits the use of a wide array of media like text, film, audio and images. But most important, a blog should be authentic and true to its theme and style.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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