A picture’s worth a thousand words – but how much for the caption?

April 24, 2015

By Hannah Kelly, Business Wire Paris

Here at Business Wire, we know that over half of journalists and media professionals are more likely to review a press release that includes multimedia, and that images/photographs are one of the top content types for the online newsroom, but in order to truly launch effective multimedia, we must remember one very important detail – the caption.

When looking for the first time at a news release, readers’ attention immediately goes to the caption, and then the added image. This creates the ideal opportunity for you.  With up to twice as many people reading captions than body copy, captions provide an excellent opportunity to attract the reader’s attention. This short but sweet accompanying paragraph is your key to unlocking the image – it is the who, what, where, when, why and how, all rolled into one short sentence.

Small Town Big Fish Caption

Immediately after reading the caption, the reader will flick back to the image, and view it, usually, from a different perspective. This is more commonly known as the loop, and is essential to engaging the reader. The photo and the caption complement each other, building suspense and satisfying curiosity.

But it is not only that captions define images, captions put images into context. In many instances, the caption and image can result in coverage when an article is not possible. Business Wire captions can be up to 100 words each, more than enough space to create a connection between image and story.

ServiceNow Caption Example

Given the importance of captions, and their role in not only increasing coverage but building connections between your product and your customer, what are the best practices for writing one?

  • Use prepositional phrases, interesting adjectives and action verbs
    The caption should focus on action, and help the article to progress, while providing as much information as possible as to the relevancy of the multimedia to the news you are sharing
  • Use phrases that have been cut out of the main narrative
    This is the ideal time to retrieve phrases that were cut out for length reasons, but that are still pertinent to the text and work well with the release
  • Do not repeat body copy
    For the simple reason that nobody likes déjà vu, whatever they’re reading!
  • Provide information that’s not available by simply looking at the photo
    A reader will look at the caption to learn more, not for reinforcement of already formed ideas. Captions allow you, the brand, to define the image and those captured in it, properly.
  • And, finally, do not use the phrases “above” or “pictured here”.
    These phrases are of little use to reporters who may choose to use your image and caption instead of the entire press release.

Tony Romo Caption

Multimedia is more important than ever within the news creation and sharing process. The caption serves as a reference, increases the impact of the image and adds to the credibility of the piece.  Don’t overlook it, instead take advantage of this space and use it to not only increase coverage of your news, but conversions as well.

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One on One with VentureBeat’s Founder and CEO, Matt Marshall

April 6, 2015

By Matt Van Tassel, Business Wire

With over a year since Business Wire signed an exclusive wire partnership with VentureBeat, I thought this was a perfect

Matt Marshall, CEO and Founder

Matt Marshall, CEO and Founder

opportunity to sit down with Matt Marshall, the man behind this great news organization.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with our partner, VentureBeat is a powerful channel for Business Wire clients looking to engage venture capital funds and influencers. The highly targeted audience for VentureBeat includes potential investors, business decision-makers, tech industry leaders, and consumer enthusiasts with a keen interest in the latest innovative products and services. By adding news releases to VentureBeat, Business Wire clients gain access to the venture capital news mix, with stories aimed at VC-backed innovation, deal flow and liquidity.

Matt Marshall, Founder & CEO of VentureBeat, launched the website in 2006 in response to the lack of coverage in the entrepreneurial and tech space. Matt began his writing career with the Washington Post in 1994 and covered venture capital for the San Jose Mercury News prior to starting VentureBeat. In 2002, Matt was awarded “Journalist of the Year” by the Northern California Society of Professional Journalists. Matt’s impressive background, experience and passion were clearly evident when we spoke to him about VentureBeat.

Matt, give our readers a little background, what is VentureBeat?
VentureBeat is a media company that covers disruptive technology and why it matters in our lives. We are headquartered in San Francisco, with a news bureau in New York and staff writers in France and the United Kingdom. The company, now at 44 people, is divided into News, Events and Research. Events produces six events per year, targeting C-level executives and founders. VB Insight, our new, VC-backed research offering, focuses on reports tracking mobile monetization and marketing automation.

VentureBeat

VentureBeat

How did VentureBeat get started?
The company began in 2006 as a personal project. I was working at the San Jose Mercury News and blogging in my free time. This blog was the seed of what became VentureBeat.

Who is VentureBeat’s target audience?
VentureBeat is what I call a “B2B2C” play.

We target people who are already in the technology industry, along with those who aspire to be in it. As our conference participants show, our audience is comprised of C-level executives at leading technology startups, senior technologists at blue chip technology companies, investors, analysts and leading academics. Other notable participants include young people early in their technology careers, many of them starting their own companies, as well as regular folks interested in what’s happening at the forefront of innovation.

What kind of traffic volume do you receive – daily, weekly, monthly?
Our most recent numbers are 7.5 million uniques per month. Volume varies, of course, depending on the news or if we’re hosting a conference.

Is there a particular industry or sector that you gravitate towards (or perhaps is trending now)?

The general “beat” at VentureBeat is innovation. But lately, we’ve started focusing on the new technologies and strategies companies are using to achieve impressive growth, given the explosion of the smartphone and other channels.

Whether it is in the area of social, mobile or marketing automation, there are thousands of promising companies. As it has been with other market segments, our job has been to filter through those technologies, and report which ones are really working. We’re doing that through our news, but also our events, and increasingly our research initiative, called VB Insight.

What do you look for when you are going to write a story?
It goes back to innovation. If a company is disrupting an entrenched business, that’s a story. If a company aspires to change the world through online education or a health care device, that’s also a story. The bottom line is that we want to bring our readers the news from the front lines of this industry.Business Wire VB Logo

Does multimedia play an important role in VB’s reporting process?
We’re open to anything that gets the story across in a compelling way.

Is there a funding round or minimum amount of funding required for a story to be written?
We don’t play those games at VentureBeat. If a startup has an innovative value proposition, we will write about them. We don’t care if the company is two guys in a garage.

How does VentureBeat differentiate itself from other online news portals?
We distinguish ourselves in two ways: The first is that we bring old-fashioned shoe-leather journalism to a world moving at Internet speed.  We don’t rely on gossip or un-sourced pieces. We get the story fast, but we also get it in full.

The second difference is breadth of coverage.  We don’t just chase the next funding announcement. We do science pieces, stories that explore the human impact of technology, pieces that are often critical of the received values of the industry itself.

How is VentureBeat perceived versus competing websites, like TechCrunch or Wired?
TechCrunch is great, fast, and snarky. It’s also pretty loud, and sometimes had a hard time buckling down and covering the most innovative trends with serious analysis. That’s where we think VentureBeat adds greater value. You’ll see us go a lot deeper in areas of marketing technology, for example, where we bring in the expertise we’ve generated from our VB Insight research initiative. We bring a depth of insight that is unparalleled, because of our data set draws from tens of thousands of technology users. The same goes for Wired, to some extent. Wired covers a lot of cool, wonky stuff, which we also try to do. But they’re less focused on the business leader — that practitioner who really needs to get things done and needs to make critical decisions on the tech they’re using.

What is the most important benefit VentureBeat offers its readers? 
Our goal is to inform–and inspire.

What were some of the reasons that helped VentureBeat decide on moving forward with the Business Wire partnership?Press Releases on Venture Beat
There were two reasons: The first was your brand. The second was the community of sophisticated business users that support that brand.

What are some of the advantages for Business Wire clients posting their news releases to VentureBeat?
The chief advantage is direct access to one of the most sophisticated and influential technology/business audiences in the industry today: 35% of VB readers are C-level; 58% director-level and above; 70% have final purchasing power at their jobs.

How can VentureBeat contribute to driving brand awareness for our clients’ websites?
Again, it goes back to our audience. Their influence, combined with their engagement and regular sharing of content across their social channels, leads to that increased brand awareness.

To learn more about how your company’s news releases can benefit from Business Wire’s exclusive partnership with VentureBeat, click here.


Top 5 Things Journalists Look for in a News Release

April 6, 2015

By Vilan Trub, Business Wire

Journalists and media professionals get bombarded daily with emails and news releases. Those same journalists and media professionals also don’t have a lot of time. Make sure that you’re doing everything you can to grab their attention by giving them exactly what they’re looking for. What are they looking for?

Who are you?

Before you write your news release, you have to answer one big question.  What is the name of a great The Who song, the theme song to a CSI spin-off, and the question that every news release must answer?

Who are you?

yay-15034446-digital

News is an industry of trust, so always ask yourself, why should journalists trust me? Treat a press release like a self-endorsement when trying to arrange a blind date. What are your best features and why would you (or your news release) be a perfect match for someone? It’s also good to have a trusted mutual friend, such as a newswire service, to make the introduction to your desired media outlet. Remember, you must woo a journalist with your release.

A key tip is to include a well-written boilerplate  at the bottom of your release. A boilerplate is a mini-bio of your company that lets the reader know exactly what you do.

A Headline Comes First
Before a journalist reads your release, they first see the headline. The headline is like a trailer to a movie, one that is well made will garner the interest of the audience. A bad headline, however, is the last thing that gets read before a journalist moves on to their next email.

A good tip for putting together a strong headline is to remember what the reader is looking for: information. Avoid using click-bait tactics because media pros have developed a keen sense of what to look out for. There are good reads online about the difference between click-bait and a well-made news releases, so make sure to be on the lookout.

CoSchedule Headline Analyzer

There is even an online headline analyzer by CoSchedule to help you craft the perfect headline that hooks the reader in and doesn’t let go.

The Ws
Journalists aren’t looking to read Moby Dick when opening your news release. Today’s reporters are looking for two key 5 Wselements.  They want to know the facts, and they want to know the story behind the facts – the one that tells why the product was made, who it impacts, what that impact was and why it would impact the publication’s core audience.  This is when you turn to your “W”s!

Who, what, where, when, and why is an exercise taught in elementary schools so that students can get a grasp of how to break down a story to its most basic and relevant elements. Use this same exercise when drafting your release because journalists don’t want to go looking for key story elements. By reducing the amount of work needed for a third party to tell your story you will find a much higher likelihood of coverage and engagement with your news.

Social Sharing

Social Media is Honey – Use It
Every news release is designed to attract readers. In the digital age, social media has become a swap meet where information is traded free of charge. Including social media links to your news release gives people the opportunity to easily distribute your news, the very same news you want covered by journalists. The name of the game is reach so make it easier for people to distribute and redistribute your release.

Multimedia
Cavemen didn’t write paragraphs about the beauty of horses. They made drawings on cave walls that are easy to understand even today! Believe it or not, that was the earliest form of multimedia.

Thanks to technical and mobile device advancements and penetration, humans are creating and consuming multimedia at unheard of rates. When thinking about crafting your press release, you must understand that multimedia supplements are no longer optional. Reporters and consumers use multimedia to create emotional connections and to showcase the real “why” behind your news.

In a 2014 Business Wire study of more than 300 journalists and media professionals, more than half (54%) are more likely to review a press release that includes multimedia than one that does not. The preferred media are photographs, by a staggering 73% of those participating in the survey.

bizwiremultimedia

But even multimedia is changing. With more than 63% of the world being visual and interactive learners, static multimedia is being replaced with interactive assets such as the Business Wire News and Picture Capsules that create engagement opportunities for newsreaders. These capsules are so engaging that the average viewer is now spending between 4-10 minutes per Capsule, just consuming the related content they host. Check out the one Six Flags used to announce one of their famous roller coasters would be running backwards for a limited time.

Batman

Hundreds of news releases are sent out each day, make sure that your next one stands out. Follow these steps to grab the reader and make sure that they’re getting, and sharing your message.


How Business Wire Works: The Digital Journey of News Release Distribution

March 26, 2015

By Kourtney Hannaway, Editor, Business Wire

The life of a press release begins with a piece of newsworthy, specific content. It contains tight, efficient text focused around industry keywords and clear formatting. Multimedia assets, like photos and video will give it a boost, and links to social media sites spread its reach and encourage clicks.

Intel Example of a Business Wire Picture Capsule

After initial development, the release is submitted into the Business Wire Connect platform. Through this process, distribution possibilities become available, including regional and industry-focused options, translations, and specialty circuits like LatinoWire and HealthWire. The submission system includes an option to see a proof of the release before distribution, and a section for special instructions to pass along any questions or specific issues so they can be quickly resolved.

Business Wire NX Distribution Technology

When the submission process is complete, the press release pops into the Business Wire Newsroom. From there, editors carefully look over the release and its chosen distribution, making suggestions to both when appropriate. Editors add keywords based on the release content, making sure the release gets directed toward relevant media and boosting the release’s ultimate reach. They also connect relevant releases to the Business Wire tradeshow archives, when relevant, for free.

A release that has been fully prepared then gets scheduled for the time requested. When it crosses the wire simultaneously and securely through the NX network, Business Wire editors monitor the release to confirm third party sites like Yahoo! and AP are posting it correctly and on time. The release will appear on many platforms, including mobile apps and promoted stories sites like Dlvr.it.

Following distribution, the press release’s effectiveness can be measured through the included NewsTrak report, which gives information on traffic and search data. And the NUVI social media monitoring report displays social media conversation information, relevant influencers, virality, and more. These reports provide valuable info that can be used to create more press releases in the future.

NUVI Social Monitoring Tool Dashboard

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Want to learn more about crafting and distributing a press release that delivers higher results?  Read A guide to writing optimal press releases in 2015.

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5 Tips for Building Brand Believers

March 20, 2015

By Vilan Trub, Business Wire

Bernadette Morris, CEO and President of Black PR Wire, and Raschanda Hall, Director of Global Media Relations at Business Wire, cohosted a conference spotlighting the best practices in multicultural marketing. Hall explained that it was important to understand how to tap into the Black market because “according to Target Market News, the Black American economy already represents the 20th largest market in the world.” The event was initially described as a webinar on how to best reach the Black market, however, what resulted was a fantastic discussion that applied to all developing campaigns, reflecting how connected society has become in a digital world.

  1. Multicultural Markets are more Connected than Ever Before

Communications professional Danyele L.C. Davis, Vice President of Flowers Communications Group, explained that multicultural markets are more connected than ever before.

“The one thing I really want to dispel is that total market is not general market.”

Flowers Communication Group has successfully implemented the Cultural Fusion Model: Assess, Embrace, and Customize. Targeting minority markets the way they were targeted in the past is outdated and destined to alienate your target audience. Millennials see themselves completely differently and the best way to reach them is to assess cultural nuances.

  1. Who Influences Your Target Market?

Courtney Cunningham, Esq., Co-Founder and Managing Director of Commonground/MGS, explained that minorities, like all people, are influenced by region, religion, and upbringing. He referenced a series of commercials in which a Black male is shown failing at many attempts to use household products to do some basic cleaning. This example showcases how a target market is not being effectively reached because the people behind the advertising campaign have a misconception that minority males do not know how to take care of a household. He compared his reaction when watching the commercials to that of a professional lawyer watching a highly dramatized courtroom drama. The result is that you know what you are watching is fake, a stereotype.

  1. Don’t Just Target Your Market, Go to Them!

Danyele L.C. Davis brings up the example of technology and faith. The accepted idea was that cell phones had no place in church. It was considered a big “no-no.” That notion has since changed and the only way to know that is to be immersed in the community. The result was a newfound knowledge that Bible apps and selfies are regularly being used as a mode to connect in church and are quickly becoming integral to the faith community. It was the authenticity behind her attempts to understand this community that led her to identify current trends and make an impact with the #inspiredmobility campaign.

  1. Employees Must Be Brand Ambassadors

Alicia R. Alston, Vice President of Global Communications at Prudential Financial, Inc., stressed the importance of authenticity when attempting to build a connection with a market. She expressed that creating a legitimate and lasting connection with a market can only occur when the people responsible for implementing a campaign have a clear understanding of both the target market and their respective community. Alston makes the point that “employees be brand ambassadors for us” in regards to how employees should represent their respective companies.

  1. There’s More Than One Type of Marketing

Amber Bullock, Executive VP, Community & Youth Engagement for American Legacy Foundation, has been engaged in what is called counter marketing. American Legacy Foundation has been behind the easily recognized Truth anti-tobacco campaign, aimed at educating and influencing the public by exposing the dangers of using tobacco products. Bullock believes that to be successful in today’s world of communication, the emphasis must be placed on people and not the product.

The hour-long conference was followed by half an hour of question and answer. There was a clear consent amongst the group that the communication landscape is changing and it is important to understand what those changes are in order to connect with any target market. The millennial generation is not only forcing the industry to rethink the concept of multicultural marketing, but marketing in a much broader sense. Ultimately, all marketing is target marketing because the idea of a general market is one that is at best misconceived.

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7 Leading CEOs Discuss the Future of Company Communications [Free Webinar]

February 26, 2015

The strategic communication landscape is evolving at an ever-increasing pace.  We’ve seen the move from plain text releases to an era of activation through rich, multimedia storytelling.  Now, more than ever, growing your skill set is critical to keep up with the changing demands of clients and the media. It’s a “learn or get left behind” world.

On March 3 at 1:00 PM Eastern Time, seven of the nation’s leading communication CEOs will come together to discuss the changes and innovations changing the way organizations communicate with media, analysts and consumers.

CommPro CEO Leadership Discussion

On March 3, join 7 of the nation’s leading CEOs for an discussion on the future of communications.

Hosted by Cathy Baron Tamraz, Chairwoman and CEO of Business Wire, this conversation will provide attendees of all levels with best practices that will directly impact communications programming for 2015 and beyond.  Discussion topics will include:

  • Where the PR/Communication industry is headed
  • Instilling and showcasing a spirit of innovation in the workplace
  • The role of collaboration in the creative environment
  • How to create a sense of purpose in your organization
  • The value of mentorship and training
  • Mastering the work-life balance

Participants include…

Register for this free webinar now:  https://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/10/7387

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Business Wire Los Angeles: Why 2015 Will Be the Year of PR

December 17, 2014

By Sean Markham, Account Executive, Business Wire Los Angeles

As we wrap up 2014 and head into 2015, the media landscape has changed dramatically. But there remains this constant: news is the top shared content across all channels. How to generate editorial coverage, the role of the press release, social media and WOM in the marketing funnel were just some of the topics covered at a recent breakfast event hosted by Business Wire. Held on Thursday, December 11 at The Olympic Collection Banquet and Conference Center, a diverse group of Los Angeles-area PR professionals gathered to listen to Business Wire’s very own Director of Social and Evolving Media Serena Ehrlich (@Serena) discuss the myriad challenges and opportunities for communications practitioners.

If news and editorial coverage is the most shared content, who creates this content? “You guys do. All of you in this room,” Ehrlich emphasized to the engaged audience.

Infographic provided by MediaLeaders

Among the many important takeaways from this event is the crucial role multimedia plays in standing out in the crowded field of news. Releases with images or video receive 3X more impressions and engagement than their plain text counterparts.

During her comprehensive discussion, Ehrlich also shared insights on several social media tools to use in your PR efforts, including ClickToTweet, TweetReach, the LinkedIn Long-Form Blog Service as well as Google URL builder.

Here is a recap of Ehrlich’s presentation, which will help prepare all PR pros for the year ahead:

Media Has Changed

  • The role of the news release: Today the press release = action document that jumpstarts action within all target audiences
  • News releases align to the marketing and sales funnel and increase: Awareness, Discovery, Brand Reputation, Message Adoption, Conversations, Inbound Traffic, Intent and Conversions
  • Releases should not: Act as a stand-alone sales tool, replace customer service, be text only, work in a vacuum and work without support
  • News doesn’t go viral just by being issued. PR professionals will need to do work (social sharing, etc.) to make news releases go viral.
  • Journalists are held to three core metrics:  inbound traffic, social shares, time on site
    • Tip: Socially share out any coverage you receive to help reach these metrics
    • Tip:  Video is the perfect access to increase time on site
  • Many adults are now getting their news from social media networks

Social Media Has Changed

  • Every single major social network is showcasing news articles, reputable content and multimedia, perfect for PR
  • Tweets that include a photo or video receive 3 to 4x higher engagement
  • Tweets including multimedia uploaded via Twitter receive 150% more RTs
  • Facebook photos receive 53% more Likes, 104% more comments and 84% more CTRs on links
  • Facebook shares your updates based on the assets your audiences likes best. Meaning if you are not a video person (a rarity these days since 63% of the world are visual learners and rely on video for information) then FB will not populate many, if any, videos on your News Feed.
    • Tip: Text which kind of audience follows your fan page. Post a video, then post a link, and, finally, just post a photo and see which posting gets more impressions and engagement
  • LinkedIn is top B2B platform
    • Tip: Use the LinkedIN long form content blog service to increase reach within this platform
  • Millions of videos are watched on YouTube every day; 33% of YouTube searches are news related

Multimedia is the #1 Way to Increase Press Release ROI

  • Almost 65% of the world’s population are visual learners. Text-only press releases no longer work with this highly visual audience.
  • Releases with images or videos get 3x more engagement and impressions than plain text news
  • 1 minutes of video = 1.8 million words
  • Photographs do not need to be translated

Press Release Tips

  • Write for your highly targeted audience
  • Post a blog answering all the questions your release will generate to ensure message adoption
  • Photos and videos are no longer optional when looking for coverage
  • Use Google Tools!
  • Search bar – helps determine key phrases used most by searchers
  • Use URL trackers to track actions taken by readers on your website
  • Drive social sharing with Click to Tweet
  • Hashtags should be specific (use hashtag.org to see volume)

Read more about this event and all Business Wire events by following the #BWChat hashtag.

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