PR Professionals Rejoice! Business Wire and ITDatabase Launch TechCalendar

November 12, 2014

Earlier today Business Wire and ITDatabase announced the launch of TechCalendar, the industry’s most comprehensive, searchable, directory of tech events, speaking opportunities and awards.

TechCalendar takes the tens of thousands of consumer and enterprise focused tech industry events, awards and speaking opportunities and places them into one easy to search database. This single database provides PR professionals the ability to easily search, find and act upon highly relevant promotional opportunities.

Updated continuously, TechCalendar features a number of options for tech companies to track events important to their brand including:
  • Easy event and award discovery by keyword, topic or organizer
  • One-click “following” of all relevant events and awards, as well as show organizers
  • Calendar creation and integration opportunities
  • A variety of sharing and exporting tools for easy data integration

Click here to sign up for your free trial today.

 


The Role of Data in Today’s Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) Programs

November 10, 2014

By Matt VanTassel, Global Disclosure Services, Business Wire Matt VanTassel

Last month I had the opportunity to attend a Sustainability Practice Network discussion at Baruch College here in New York. The topic, Under the Hood: Corporate Sustainability 2014 was a broad-based discussion of Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) programs including their development, implementation and the data that is derived from them.

As someone still learning the intricacies of ESG, it was reassuring to note that this topic, or better,  this idea, is truly still a work in progress. Why? Because today’s corporations are implementing ESG-based programs differently across industries, and the data that is created is being used in a multitude of ways.

Citi’s Assistant Vice President of Sustainability, Davida Heller laid out an impressive array of information on Citi’s programs and how they weigh social and environmental concerns when making investments. Citi tracks risks associated with anything from social discussions to environmental risks, for clients and their internal initiatives. You can review their numerous programs and stances on each topic here.

As a former Bloomberger, I always like to know what’s brewing at Bloomberg. While the company has a long-standing environmental policy (their forks are made out of potatoes!), there is also a department and functions that cater to culling and analyzing this data. Senior ESG Analyst Su Gao provided interesting statistics on how ESG-related data is being consumed by Bloomberg terminal users. There has been a nice uptick in data usage (48%), confirming that analysts and investors are looking beyond balance sheets and cash flow statements when making opinions and investment decisions.  ({ESG } on the terminal)

Domini’s Tessie Petion, lead research analyst for the Funds’ social and environmental standards, introduced a novel point that not all data is relevant for each investment and Social Responsible Investing (SRI) can (and should) have very focused concerns (such as treatment of animals or energy usage, etc.). SRI data is also being consumed beyond the typical ESG investor. One example of this is the use of SRI data when analyzing CEO pay packages (Say-on-Pay rules under the Dodd-Frank Act).

Turner Construction’s VP & Chief Sustainability Officer Michael Deane gave an interesting narrative on how he made the business case for Turner’s decision to ‘go green’. As of today, 50% of the buildings constructed by Turner are LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and they had 364 LEED-certified projects and 261 LEED-registered projects completed or under way as of May 2014.

One of the most compelling takeaways from this discussion came from Lorraine Smith, Senior Director at SustainAbility. She explained that it is extremely difficult for companies to quantify the environmental cost of their business. To better visualize this difficulty, she asked the audience about the food we ate that day and how much it cost us out-of-pocket. She then asked us what it would cost the environment to provide us that same amount of food. For example, she mentioned Greek yogurt, while delicious, creates a serious environmental repercussion in the form of acid whey.  Acid whey as it turns out is a very difficult to recycle byproduct of making and consuming this yogurt.

Professor David Rosenberg, Director, The Robert Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity  added, “Nothing should be more important to today’s corporate leaders than understanding the impact their businesses have on the environment and on the communities that sustain them.  As speakers at our event demonstrated, to be good stewards of the planet and good partners to their various stakeholders, corporations first need good data.  That is why exploring the potential for better reporting on sustainability is central to our mission of promoting corporate integrity,” commented Professor David Rosenberg, Director, The Robert Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity.

As ESG initiatives become more and more prevalent in corporations, the amount of data generated continues to grow. How the data is measured or interpreted and then utilized to build successful ESG programming continues to be the largest hurdle for both the companies and their investors.  Companies who take the time to analyze their data will be able to build the groundwork for successful ESG programs.

Interested in reading additional corporate social responsibility related news?  Follow us: @BWCSRNews and @BW_CSR.

 


6 Steps to Ensure Media Outlets See Your Holiday Press Release

November 7, 2014

Yes, it is early November, and yes, it is the holiday season for most PR professionals.  While it may be too late to secure coverage in long lead publications, there are still numerous coverage opportunities in newspapers, short lead publications, and of course, online media outlets.

In this piece, we look at the six steps to consider when issuing your holiday press release.  Did you know that November 9 is the big press release kick-off day for holiday news?  Or that if you use Business Wire to distribute your holiday news, we include it for free in our holiday Hot Topics packages for media?

Click here to learn everything you need to know about increasing the impact of your holiday news story:  http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/236550/maximize-your-holiday-pr.html


Media Speed Dating in the City of Roses

November 3, 2014

By Matt Allinson, International Media Relations SupervisorMatt 1

The weather in and around Portland, OR, was anything but tranquil on Thursday, October 24. The dark sky chirped and clapped with wind, hail, thunder and rain. But, try as it might, it could not drown out the roaring chatter coming from inside the Bridgeport Brewery, where six of Portland’s finest journalists and over 50 of Portland’s finest PR professionals gathered to laugh, learn and get to know more about each other.

Matt 2

The luncheon was broken down into four 15-minute sessions. While the media members stayed seated, guests moved from table to table to talk with the four editors/reporters to whom they were most interested in speaking.  Representing the Portland media were: Nick Mokey (Managing Editor of Digital Trends); Sarah Rothenfluch (Executive Editor of News at Oregon Public Broadcasting); Erik Siemers (Managing Editor at the Portland Business Journal); Tim Steele (Digital Managing Editor at KOIN 6); Kristi Turnquist (Entertainment Reporter at The Oregonian); and Bruce Williams (Senior Assignment Manager at KGW). The event was expertly moderated by Becky Engel (Director of Client Services at Grady Britton).

The rules were minimal: no pitching. Everything else (within the law) was allowed. Great networking followed and a few tips from the media came forth:

  • Networking is key to getting reporters to cover a story … make the effort to meet us in person. We get hit with a lot of stories daily and we’re much more likely to run your story if we have a relationship with you (and the story is innovative/relevant). –Nick Mokey
  • It’s good to form relationships with reporters. They’re not going to take every pitch, but if you stay in contact and stay persistent, there will come a day when they’ll need to talk to you. –Tim Steele
  • Staying ahead of an emerging trend will get you to be considered an expert on the subject. –Sarah Rothenfluch
  • Visual content plays a role so be sure to include multimedia in your pitch. –Kristi Turnquist

Matt 3

  • I get between 800-900 emails per day, so make sure your pitch is targeted, has a unique subject line and includes photos/video. – Bruce Williams
  • If you’re making a pitch, you have to think of it in terms of what would interest you if you were to receive what you’re pitching. Why would we be interested in it if you’re not? –Tim Steele
  • We love exclusives … bring us something exclusive and there’s a much better chance that it’s going to get run. We’re greedy that way. –Erik Siemers

Matt 4

  • The news cycle is constant. Is your story a tweet? Some stories are. Or is your story a big, in-depth conversation that would take a month to plan? Or is it somewhere in between? If you can figure out where your story is on this spectrum before pitching, it’s extremely helpful. –Sarah Rothenfluch
  • If you have a good story, don’t be afraid to reach out … but know who you’re pitching and what they do. Email’s probably the best way to pitch … but please don’t send a blast. Target your pitches. And don’t be afraid to follow up. – Erik Siemers

The Rise of Predictive Scanning: PR Isn’t Dead, It’s Poised for a Comeback

October 30, 2014

By Neelima Yelamanchili, Business Wire DC

Cutting Through The ClutterHow people want to interact with a brand has changed. For brand and content communicators, timing the message delivery can play a crucial role in enhancing perceptions and encouraging favorable behavior change.

Citing data that audiences are bombarded with 5,000 messages a day, Adele Cehrs, CEO, Epic PR Group, explained that when they are faced with so much information, important details are likely to be missed or simply forgotten. The challenge for the communicator is to break through this information clutter and pinpoint and highlight for their audience what is most important.

- 62% say social media has no influence on buying
- 91% rely on word of mouth for brand recommendations
- Just 2.7% of people are willing to recommend a brand across their social media channels for fear of being negatively associated with a brand

To ensure their message reaches through this clutter, Cehrs recommended today’s communicators focus less on engagement metrics and focus more on timing – specifically when there’s a spike in the conversation around a particular topic or issue. SPIKE is defined as “a sudden, point of interest that kick-starts exposure good or bad.” To increase the impact of the news, Cehrs recommends communicators focus on outreach during the spike, “when the messages will be most important to the audience.”

How can you monitor for a SPIKE? Perhaps a particular topic is trending on social media that relates to your brand or industry. Consider that a spike. Perhaps there is new legislation or some issues-focused topic that is prevalent in the news that relates to your message. Again, use that SPIKE.

And while bad news might be a popular cause of SPIKES, don’t automatically assume that’s a bad thing. If handled tactfully, you can make positive waves for your brand in the wake of a competitor’s missteps.

Other ways to monitor for spikes include:
- Competitor wins
- Contrary opinions, from e.g. bloggers, pundits, etc.
- Previous industry/company issues
- Trends in the news cycle

Using social media
Trying to internally sell the importance of social media to your C-suite or executives who distrust social platforms or believe it can be done successfully for free? First, make them understand that there is no such thing as free social media. It’s unrealistic to dedicate around-the-clock staff to monitor social media. Having a team prepared to monitor for the SPIKE and take necessary real-time marketing actions is a more effective use of resources. This is especially true with social media responses being an immediate avenue to connect with audiences.

Be prepared to strike at the SPIKE– you’re likely to get better results, increase your ROI, and might just earn respect from the C-suite!


When it Comes to Online Newsrooms, Give the Media What They Want

October 27, 2014

By Sarah Drake Boerkircher, Assistant Director, News & Communications, Wake Forest Universitysdboerkircher

At the PRSA 2014 International Conference in Washington, D.C., I participated in the public relations professional development workshop “Content, Social Strategies and Online Newsrooms: Managing Communications in Higher Education.” As a PR professional for a university’s news and communication team, I was eager to hear how journalists were interacting with online newsrooms. These are the takeaways that I found to be most helpful:

So… what do media really want in a newsroom?

  • First and foremost, an online newsroom must be mobile-friendly. If a newsroom isn’t responsive, this will only cause annoyance, causing the reporter to leave your site as soon as possible.
  • Press releases, which are categorized and easy to search.
    • Experts with biographies and up-to-date information.
    • Media contacts that include email addresses, phone numbers, mobile numbers and Twitter handles.
    • Fact sheet(s). Note: a fact sheet is not the university’s history.
    • Images, photo galleries, infographics and videos.
    • In the News” section, which includes the most current university coverage.
    • An archive. Up to five years of information can be included, but must be easy to search. Major university milestones that fall outside of the five-year window can also be included.
  • Finding an answer should be easy. When media visits a university homepage, more than 80 percent are looking for the newsroom. Reporters do not want to spend hours (let alone minutes) searching a university site for an answer, so make the newsroom reporter-friendly by easing the search features and incorporating the content outlined above.
  • Content needs to be searchable. Often public relations professionals use corporate / university speak that is not easily searchable, which prevents a press release or story from gaining traction. Use language that people will most likely use when they conduct a search. This is as simple as calling a spade a spade.
  • Use a story in multiple ways, so impact can be measured. Storytelling is key in public relations, so being able to measure the impact of a story is important. Repurposing content through a blog post, tweet, video, infographic, photo or Instagram post, increases the chances of a story to be shared. Once content is shared, which is often easiest to do so across social media, a story’s reach and spread become measurable.
  • There is always room for improvement. After major or minor changes to a newsroom, do not be afraid to ask media to take a look at your site. Feedback can help to make the newsroom that much more efficient and only help get media the content that they want when they need it.

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


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