Are Your News Releases Making Business Editors Happy?

November 19, 2014

Business Wire recently held a very popular webinar with our largest global news partner, The Associated Press, the 165-year-old non-profit cooperative newsgathering and reporting organization.

During this webinar, attended by more than 400 communication professionals across the country, Philana Patterson, AP’s Small Business and Breaking News Editor, told listeners “How to Make a Business Editor Happy” – a series of tips that will help ensure better coverage of your news releases by the AP, its subscribers and other media.

  • Reduce industry jargon and use clear, crisp writing. Make sure your releases don’t get counted in the annual SHIFT Communications Top 50 Most Overused Words in Press Releases Stick to the basics and make sure your release could be easily understood by any reader.
  • Use subheads throughout your releases to organize news. Breaking up your release into easily-digestible chunks, clearly labeled with explanatory subheads, makes it easy for editors to locate the topics most relevant to their beats or areas of interest.
  • Consider using bullets to highlight key items. Much like subheads, bullets make it easy to see at a glance what the key takeaways from your news are.
  • Don’t try to bury the news in the release – they will find it anyway! Reporters and editors are paid to find news, and if it looks like you’re trying to hide something in your release, it’s probably the first thing they’ll report on.
  • Include a phone number on your release. If it’s important enough to send out, it’s important enough to get asked about. Make sure interested media can get in touch with you. Business Wire makes sure your contact info is available to all of our receiving media points.
  • Make sure the contact person is working all day the day your news moves. If your usual contact person isn’t going to be in the office, make sure there’s an alternate contact available. Nothing’s more frustrating for editors than trying to do follow-up only to be told the contact isn’t in that day.

Patterson also offered one very important tip for making sure your news gets noticed in the first place:  Include a photo.  According to Patterson, many of their subscribers tell the AP that they mostly use stories that carry photos.  Visual elements are particularly important for mobile and online users who gravitate towards visual-based reporting.

Visual content on the AP Mobile app for iPad

Visual content on the AP Mobile app for iPad

Photos not only get your story noticed at the news desk, they get it noticed if the AP provides further coverage. And always make sure your photos are high-resolution – at least 2,000 pixels on the longest side, and at least 1MB in size.  All photos that run over Business Wire will meet the AP’s sizing standards.

We’ve made Patterson’s full list of tips available as a PDF – click here to download your copy  to save and share with your colleagues!

If you attended the webinar, we hope you enjoyed it and found its content useful. You can find additional webinars, local meetings and other Business Wire events at our Events page. Bookmark it today!


Why You Should be Alerting Investors via Mobile

October 3, 2012

News audiences, all of them, are on the go these days: More than half of all US adults own a smartphone or tablet, and more than 60 percent of those read news on their devices at least once a week. As mobile starts to complement – and in some cases, supplant – desktop usage, it’s important to make sure that you’re reaching audiences where they are. And that’s more true when it comes to market-moving news targeted at investors and analysts.

Nigel Malkin, president of Brand2hand Media, recently led a webinar for Business Wire called “Mobile Alerts for Investor Relations.” In this webinar, Nigel discussed the whys and wherefores of reaching investors by mobile. A few highlights from that event:

  • SMS open rates are more than 90% on average, compared to 22% for email
  • Mobile users generally open SMS messages within 4 minutes, compared to 6 hours for email
  • Different markets have different text character limits, and messages must be designed accordingly
  • There’s a definite way to structure your mobile alert messages for top effectiveness

You can listen to the archived webinar here, or view the accompanying slide presentation below.

Afterwards, learn more about how we can help you add mobile alerts to your own investor relations program.


Upcoming Webinar: Mobile Alerts for Investor Relations

September 18, 2012

Reaching your audiences via mobile devices becomes more and more important all the time, as investors and consumers move away from desktops to smartphones and tablets. In our upcoming webinar, Mobile Alerts for Investor Relations, Nigel Malkin, president of Brand2Hand will discuss the growing trend to deliver breaking investor relations and other news to key stakeholders via mobile devices. Nigel will provide tips on adding SMS registration to your online investor center or online newsroom, an overview of how financial tables render on mobile devices and synchronizing your alerts with your press releases.

Register here for this free webinar, which takes place on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 1:00pm ET. We look forward to having you join us!


Will “Sleeping Giant” Latino Vote Play a Big Role in the National Election?

July 30, 2012
by Pilar Portela, Media Relations Supervisor, Business Wire/Florida
Pilar Portela

Pilar Portela, Business Wire Media Relations Supervisor

Latino votes increased nearly 25 percent from the 2004 presidential election to the 2008 election, and it is estimated almost 10 percent of voters this November will be Hispanic — a 26 percent increase from 2008 figures.

The numbers raise the question — will Latinos have an even greater impact on the upcoming election than they did in 2008?

This summer Business Wire’s LatinoWire sponsored two expert webinars on:

If you missed them, the first webinar featured top political journalists who cover the Latino vote and the second featured two nationally recognized authorities on Hispanic affairs and politics and the Latino media.

Both webinars covered the upcoming elections and what the issues of interest are to Latinos. Here are some highlights:

  • Pilar Marrero, senior political reporter and columnist for La Opinión and Impre.com, and Maria Elena Salinas of Univision said Spanish-language media like theirs must cover all aspects of the elections, ranging from the simple – such as the voter registration process – to the hot topics and issues that affect not only the national but local elections.
  • “I’ve been with La Opinión since the late 80s and ever since then I’ve covered most elections, be it the federal level, state level and local elections, and [La Opinión] always has had a dual set of plans around the elections. One is the general elections coverage, and second is civic engagement,” Marrero said.
  • Dr. Federico Subervi, Professor and Director of the Center for the Study of Latino Media & Markets at Texas State University- San Marcos, said Latino representation is very scarce in the general market English-language media. He said one can see this with the absence of Latinos from the morning TV programs and contributing to the community newspapers. Overall the general market network news minimally covers issues related to Latinos, which plays into lack of connection to the election process and candidates.

Aside from the obvious issue of immigration, Salinas pointed there are other issues Latinos are interested in.

  • “Most polls show that jobs, the economy, education and housing are the top issues for Latinos,” Salinas said. “However, the immigration issue is the issue that moves their votes.
  • Dr. Gabriel Sanchez, who works in the Department of Political Science at the University of New Mexico, shared a Latino vote map — www.latinovotemap.org — by Latino Decisions that allows visitors to simulate Latino turnout and vote choice in the 2012 Presidential election. He said while there are differences between Latinos regarding language, religion, language and origin — there is a shared cultural heritage and sociopolitical status leads to political cohesiveness among Latinos.

It is that cohesiveness which could play a large role in this Fall’s election.

  • “We have said for years if not for decades that the Latino vote is the `sleeping giant’ that has finally awakened. I think that was so in the last election and it could be so in this election. Except we have a very big problem and I think the biggest challenge we have right now is to motivate Latinos to go out and vote,” Salinas added.

If you missed the LatinoWire expert webinar series, a recording and PowerPoint presentations are available. For more information on future LatinoWire expert webinars go to www.businesswire.com.


“How the Hispanic Media Will be Covering the National Elections” Webinar Recording Now Available

June 28, 2012

If you missed our recent webinar, “How the Hispanic Media Will be Covering the National Elections,” fear not! A recording of the webinar is now available for your listening pleasure. A quick refresher:

Speaker(s):
  • Pilar Marrero – Senior Political Reporter/Columnist for La Opinión and Impre.com
  • Ruben Navarrette – Syndicated Political Columnist for CNN, COM Contributor, Voxxi.com Contributor, USA Board of Contributors, NPR Commentator, Poder Magazine Columnist, etc.
  • María Elena Salinas – Univision Network Anchor, co-anchor of “Noticiero Univision” and the primetime news magazine “Aqui y Ahora” (Here and Now)

Moderators:

  • Danny Selnick – Vice President, LatinoWire & Public Policy Services, Business Wire DC
  • Pilar Portela-Webb – Media Relations Supervisor, Business Wire Miami
Description:

Will the Latino vote elect the next President? It’s estimated that nearly 10% of the voters this November will be US Hispanics (a 26% increase over 2008 figures) — and many live in critical “swing” states. The presidential candidates and their campaigns recognize the importance of getting their message out to Hispanics. And no less interested are the mainstream and Hispanic media in covering the election. Time Magazine’s March 5 cover story “Yo Decido (I Decide): Why Latinos Will Pick the Next President” was a good example. This webinar will focus on how Hispanic media is covering and will continue to cover the national elections; and what the real issues of interest to Latinos are.

 


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.
 

How to Write Good Quotes: Keeping it Real Makes Your Press Release More Effective

August 30, 2011

by Monika Maeckle, Vice President, New Media

Our friends over at Ragan wrote an enviable dispatch recently, 4 Ways to Improve Quotes in Press Releases.  Wish we had authored this one.

Quotes are a tradition in press releases and inject a human voice into the text.  The challenge of balancing executives’ bloated claims in quotation marks with saying something meaningful continues for writes of press releases.   Quotes riddled with jargon and buzzwords lose their meaning and leave the reader wondering, “Huh?”

Good QuotesRagan cited this bad example of a quote from  President and CEO John Johnson:

“I plan to continue this legacy of providing innovative products and services to our customers. With over 30 competing companies for our customers to choose from, we have some challenges ahead. I am confident that we can meet those challenges successfully. And the first step is the release of our new app.”

In such cases, better to paraphrase like this:

“President and CEO John Johnson believes the release of the new app will provide customers with the communications tools they need, setting XYZ Company apart from more than 30 competitors. “

Our own Andrew Guinn wrote about the grammar of quotation marks in press releases a few weeks ago–don’t you sometimes wonder where punctuation belongs?  We also touched on making your quotes more notable in a recent Press Release Basics webinar last week.

Apart from injecting humanity into a press release, quotes are often featured as a “pull quote” drawing even more attention to their effectiveness–or lack of it.  Best to craft them carefully.


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