How to Perfect Your Headlines

July 20, 2015

by Agnes Deleuse, Senior Marketing Specialist, Business Wire Paris

How to Perfect Your Headlines

Photo: startupstockphotos.com

Headlines are made to draw in readers.  They are bait to capture their attention.  On newspapers, magazines, blogs, social media, and, of course, press releases, this is what you see first. According to a recent survey by Copyblogger, 80% of readers don’t read beyond the headline. Thus, your headline better be a catchy one if you want your audience to remember you.

Here are a few tips from Business Wire to help you craft the perfect headline.

1/ Provide real information
No jargon.  Your headline should imply an interesting and relevant question.  You can include figures/data.

2/ Opt for short phrasing
It is a necessity.  Today, titles must be short. Think social media. Write headlines like a tweet or a post. Also, remember that if your release is going to be translated into foreign languages, English is one third shorter than French, for instance!

3/ Write your release first and finish by crafting the headline
It will help you focus on the main message you want to highlight.  You want to target the brain of your reader.  Don’t focus on news release discovery at this stage. To do this, integrate the keywords your audiences use to find your company information in the sub-headline or the first paragraph.

4/ Write at least three headlines, adjusting the order of the words and see which one has more impact.
Work like a sculptor. Add words, remove them, change them, move them around.  You can test the headlines on your colleagues.

5/ Think like a journalist!
If you want your news to catch a journalist’s attention, write a headline that is snappy, informative.  To think like a journalist is also a way to approach a subject the way a journalist would.  Journalists like it when they sometimes just have to copy and paste headlines and body texts directly from a press release!

Quality content, including well-written headlines, contributes to the entire process of delivering information to your right audience.

For additional information on how to craft an effective news release, click here:

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How Business Wire Works: From News Release to News Coverage

July 15, 2015

Every day, Business Wire distributes the news releases that become news headlines.  But how does it actually work? What is the role a commercial news distribution service like Business Wire has in the news creation process?

To answer the question of “how your news is made” take this guided tour of the company that transforms your news into everyone’s news.  Welcome to Business Wire.

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Want to learn more about news distribution services and how to use them to increase awareness, coverage and engagement of your company’s releases?  We suggest reading:

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[DOWNLOAD NOW] Business Wire Launches Let’s Get Visual: Multimedia and the News Release

July 9, 2015

Earlier today, CommPro.biz published a piece outlining the new Business Wire multimedia report Let’s Get Visual: Multimedia and the News Release. This guide offers comm pros best practices for releasing company news that will connect with modern audiences in the digital and mobile age. While the importance of a news release is timeless, the communication landscape is changing and PR and IR teams need to take advantage. Find out how.

2015 WP_Cover Graphic_Lets Get Visual

Click here to read this piece and click here to share this information with your Twitter followers: http://ctt.ec/f4c3X

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A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Journey of a News Release

July 7, 2015

We can tell you how a press release develops into breaking news, reaching everyone from industry reporters to regular folks enjoying morning coffee with their tablet. We can also show you the same information with a cool sharable video. What’s the difference? The difference is the same as reading a recipe for the perfect steak or watching Gordon Ramsey prepare one, step-by-step. Visuals relay information that is both unique and engaging and when executed correctly, highly effective.  These are the reasons why we won’t tell you how a news release works – we’ll just show you.

The release of How Your News is Made – An Inside Look at News Releases and News Distribution aims to showcase the steps that a company announcement takes before issuers can celebrate the full results of their communications outreach.

The new media playing field is changing. Taking full advantage of social and mobile platforms, as well as advances in smartMastercard Sample Release technology (even air conditioners seem to be smart these days) can make significant impact in maximizing news release visibility. How does that happen? First a news release needs to be written. Not all releases are written equal and certain actionable tips can go a long way such as crafting a compelling headline, ensuring the first sentence contains key information, inserting calls to action and leveraging well placed hyperlinks to drive inbound traffic.

The next step shows just how much influence the digital revolution has on how people communicate. Once you have crafted your interesting news release, it is time to add in supporting multimedia. The reach of a text-only news release is minor compared to the reach of a release that includes multimedia. An image, an infographic, a video—these assets push your news across the internet and keep audiences engaged while consuming your core messages.

3 times as muchThe reason for multimedia’s success is how easily it relays ideas. Humans process images 60,000 times faster than text. When reading text you try to paint an image of what you’re reading with your imagination. A video offers information in such a way that can’t be misinterpreted, both offering information and explaining it, simultaneously. Business Wire CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz does not hide her confidence in the role multimedia will play in the communications industry.

“My prediction is that multimedia will be a part of every single news release.” – Cathy Baron Tamraz during a conversation with Tim Bahr, CEO of Nextworks.

Once the release has been built and sent to Business Wire, our editorial team reviews the release, suggests edits and distributions to ensure the release meets your goals.  Once edited and approved, the final news release is disseminated across the wire and into the hands of your key constituents.

But you can’t celebrate just yet!  Once the release is out, media outreach performed and online discussions have begun, it is time to measure the results of your work.

Business Wire provides a wide range of measurement and monitoring tools to help you track the impact of your news rulerrelease. Business Wire NewsTrak and NUVI reporting shows not only how much activity your release received, it provides detailed information on social discussion and shares surrounding your news. For more specific data, the Market Impact Report tracks the impact of your release upon your (and your industry’s) stock price.

Your release has been crafted, assets added, received editorial review and feedback, crossed the wire, activated your key and secondary audiences and provided you with data to help craft the next one.

This is the path of a news release.

Interested in learning more about Business Wire’s news distribution service? Let us know! And just click here to share out this exclusive sneak peek on the distribution of a news release:  http://ctt.ec/CdaQm.


PR Updates From Around the World: June 30

June 30, 2015

By Denise Grayes, Business Wire Nashville

As we come to the end of June, we wanted to share one more PR industry changes and updates blog.  To learn more about each news item, simply click the hyperlink.

Atlanta
ExamMed has selected Trevelino/Keller as its principal integrated PR and marketing agency. Article

Arketi Group has created a new website for Zotec Partners. Article

Austin
AEP Texas has named Andy Heines as director of corporate communications. Article

Boston
Shift Communications has expanded its healthcare practice with the addition of new clients: Decision Resources Group, a provider of high-value data, analytics and insights products and services for the healthcare industry; Medullan, a digital healthcare innovation lab; and Sermo, a leading social network for doctors. Article

PAN Communications has been selected by Drizly. Article

marlo marketing took the top honors at the June 2015 Bellringers’ Awards for the agency’s Community & Consumer Affairs campaign to launch and market The Lawn on D,  Boston’s first-of-its-kind outdoor interactive landscape located on D Street at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC).  Article

DC
Maura Sullivan has been named assistant to the Secretary of Defense for public affairs. Article

The Incite Agency and Fenway Strategies have joined forces. Article

Sage Communications has teamed with Glory Days Grill to co-sponsor the Track and Field competition at the 2015 World Police and Fire Games in Fairfax, VA. Article

Sage Communications announced five new sports and entertainment contract wins through its Brotman|Winter|Fried division. Article

212 Communications LLC announced that Bill Atkinson has joined the firm as partner. Article

Stratacomm LLC announced the hiring of Kristin Ford-Glencross as an account director in the company’s Washington, D.C. office. Article

Detroit
Dan Ponder, CEO of Detroit-based Franco Public Relations Group, was recognized as Michigan State University Broad College of Business Executive MBA Program’s Alumni of the Decade. Article

Los Angeles
JMPR Public Relations announced that it has been named agency of record for Beverly Hills Motoring Accessories (BHMA). Article

The Long Beach Grand Cru has selected Bob Gold & Associates as its official PR agency. Article

Movement Public Relations announced the signing of its newest client, Proof of Concept. Articl

Miami
The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications announces the appointment of Robert W. Grupp as director of its Master of Arts in Mass Communication (MAMC) program specialization in Global Strategic Communication.  Article

Nashville
Nissan North America has promoted Brian Brockman to director, internal communications. Article

New York
Heineken USA has promoted Tara Rush to senior vice president of corporate relations. Article

CA Technologies has appointed Jeff DeMarrais as senior vice president and chief communications officer. Article

De’Longhi Group America has named Current as public relations agency of record following a competitive review. Article

The Pollack PR Marketing Group (PPMG) announced that it has been selected by The Center For Client Retention (TCFCR) to lead its integrated marketing and public relations efforts. Article

Magrino has added new international architecture and design client, Rottet Studio. Article

Hotwire is reshuffling its US management as global CEO Brendon Craigie moves stateside to steer the tech agency’s growth in this market. Article

WPP Group is partnering with Snapchat and the Daily Mail on a new content marketing company, Truffle Pig, to be headed by Alex Jutkowitz. Article

J Public Relations expanded its relationship with The Ritz-Carlton brand with the addition of three more properties to its roster, resulting in a total of 14 properties. Article

Krupp Kommunications took home three awards at the 13th Annual American Business Awards (Stevie Awards) at the organization’s ceremony in Chicago on June 22 winning in three different categories. Article

Gramercy Institute announced its roster of winners for its 13th Annual Gramercy Financial Marketing Strategy Awards. Article

DeVries Global announced that Loretta Markevics has joined the agency as Executive Vice President, Global Creative Intelligence. Article

The Content Council announced that four new board members were elected to its board of directors. Article

San Francisco
Allison+Partners has launched All Told, a new division that combines the agency’s research, content, creative, digital and measurement expertise into a centralized offering. Article

Financial comms boutique the Blueshirt Group is moving into healthcare as this sector undergoes an IPO boom. Article

Silicon Valley
Weber Shandwick has upped Bradford Williams to head of global technology. Article

Atlanta, Boston & Chicago
Myelin Communications announced the acquisition of HY Connect, an advertising agency in Chicago, and Dodge Communications, a public relations and integrated communications firm in Atlanta. Rich Levy, CEO of Myelin, will become chairman of both companies. Article

Hong Kong
ICR announced that veteran business journalist Edmond Lococo has joined its Beijing office as senior vice president. Article

RFI Studios, the digital arm of Ruder Finn, has won a competitive pitch for the Audi R8 LMS Cup digital business in China. Article

Terri-Helen Gaynor has resigned as Asia-Pacific CEO at Burson-Marsteller. Article

Frankfurt
AMI Communications has been selected as agency of record by the leading satellite operator SES Astra. Article

London
Hill+Knowlton Strategies has launched the H+K HER (Helping Executives Rise), a program to support female employees. Article

Hello! Fashion Monthly has hired W to handle its PR on a retained basis.. Article

Shine Communications has won the Open’er Festival brief and will lead the UK PR strategy and delivery to raise awareness of the leading European festival through lifestyle press, digital influencers and social media. Article

MediaWorks has appointed Charlotte McLauchlan as group head of communications. Article

Octopus Group has been appointed by Scredible to drive a PR, social and content program. Article

Comeandhireme.com offers candidates and recruitment personnel at both healthcare agencies and pharmaceutical companies a way to connect and match a qualified employee with the right job. Article

ClickTripz.com has called in Turtle PR to maximise its exposure within the online travel industry. Article

Havas Health has acquired Just: Health Communications. Article

TJX has brought in Ogilvy PR to handle European PR duties after parting ways with FleishmanHillard. Article

Sydney
The $4.5 billion Godrej Group has awarded its public relations mandate to Adfactors PR. Article

Toronto
Hill+Knowlton Strategies has created H+K SJR in Canada, drawing on the communication and storytelling expertise of H+K and the audience development, content and digital publishing experience of Group SJR. Article

Hong Kong & Sydney
Burson-Marsteller announced that Margaret Key has been named CEO, Asia-Pacific. Prema Sagar, Principal and Founder of Genesis Burson-Marsteller, takes on the additional title of Vice Chair, Asia-Pacific. Key is based in Hong Kong, and Sagar is based in New Delhi. Article

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PR Tip: How to Work with Global News Agencies: Agence France-Presse

June 29, 2015

Last week, Business Wire presented audiences with an inside view of the global news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) and tips on how to pitch your business news to their global editorial team. AFP is one of the largest newswires in the world, behind Associated Press and Reuters, with regional offices and bureaus covering breaking and business news generated in over 150 countries.

Our panelists included David Williams, deputy editor-in-chief; Amina Ben Cheikh, marketing manager of web and mobile; and Francois Bohn, international sales coordinator. The event was moderated by Raschanda Hall.

The webinar provided listeners with a better understanding of AFP’s international reach and offered best practices in securing news coverage from AFP journalists and staff around the world.

Click here to listen to this discussion: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/7831143293398660097

During the hour-long event speakers shared key figures that depict just how many lives are reached as a result of AFP’s news coverage, including:

  • 5 24-hour regional headquarters in Washington, Montevideo, Paris, Nicosia, and Hong Kong.
  • 200 news bureaus around the world
  • 150 countries covered
  • 1,500 journalists filing news 24/7
  • 2,300 staff covering world news
  • 800 subsequent media subscribers utilize Business Wire’s news feed
  • Partnerships, such as those with CBS
  • AFP mobile app which provides instant access to breaking news, and news releases alike (in fact, news releases happen to be one of the most accessed sections of their English language news app)

In addition to the news agency’s global reach with coverage ranging from sports to business, AFP also has 1.4 million Twitter followers including nearly 400k English speaking followers.

It’s clear that Agence France-Presse has its ears to the ground all around the globe, but how does that translate into news coverage? What is the impact of AFP reporting on the world in a single day? In a single day, AFP is responsible for writing and distributing more than 8,000 pieces of news content.

AFP in a day

What was especially fascinating was the importance of Business Wire to AFP’s corporate news coverage. As Williams noted, every AFP economic news editor is required to monitor Business Wire for breaking company news throughout their day.  Why?

  • Speed: AFP relies on Business Wire’s business news feed because it is fast and efficient, and often times quicker than receiving news via a company’s website. Business Wire feeds are especially important for earnings releases.
  • Accuracy: When it comes to crafting coverage, the most important element of the news coverage for AFP is accuracy.
  • Trusted source: As David Williams noted, company news releases received from approved commercial newswires such as Business Wire provide a level of trust in the shared content.

How BW file appears in AFP

When asked how PR professionals can increase the potential of news release coverage by AFP?

  1. Write compelling news releases
  2. Include a useful, humanized quote
  3. Add compelling multimedia
  4. Distribute news releases over a trusted newswire like Business Wire
  5. Reach out to AFP’s local news bureau (Click here to find the one closest to you: http://www.afp.com/en/agency/afp-in-world/)

AFP news bureaus

The journey of a release starts as news coverage of just a single sentence, later evolving into a several hundred word piece before being developed into a full feature. Afterwards an AFP post, possibly in multiple languages, may follow to offer readers background information. Oftentimes more than one reporter will be covering a story, including translation for distribution in multiple regions.

Why is AFP an important resource for today’s local, regional, national and international communication pros?

When a company makes an announcement, it wants that information to reach the largest interested audience possible. That is the cornerstone of converting a news release into news. With roots dating back to 1835, AFP is a world leader in bringing breaking stories to the public. If you have newsworthy content crossing the wire, make sure to contact the corresponding regional headquarters and bring their attention to the release. Because they have so many journalists regularly checking BW’s feeds, there’s a good chance they’re already on top of it.


How Has Digital Changed Communication

June 25, 2015

The internet changed almost everything. Most facets of life are now either shaped or directly dictated by the internet, especially the way we communicate. How has the internet changed communication? Cathy Baron Tamraz, CEO of Business Wire, answers that question with one word: multimedia.

“My prediction is that multimedia will be a part of every single news release,” Cathy said to Tim Bahr, CEO of Nextworks, during a conversation on the future of business news communications. The conversation, taking place during this past SXSW, touched upon the Smart News Release (SNR), a news release enhancement first launched by Business Wire in 1995. The ability for a commercial newswire to embed graphics into a news release and transmit it to news media outlets via the SNR was the first marriage of multimedia with text. It wasn’t just a news release with an image or video, it was an entirely new and unique asset for media recipients. What are the benefits of this marriage?

A recent study by Microsoft finds that human attention spans have dropped to 8 seconds. That means by the time you’re reading this sentence, you’re probably ready for some visual stimulation. Today’s constant stream of multimedia might be a cause for society’s diminishing focus, but it can also serve as the cure. A picture has long been touted as being worth a thousand words, making video exponentially more valuable. By including a video with a news release, you are intriguing the audience on multiple senses. According to Northern Michigan University’s Academic & Career Advisement Center, approximately 30% of people are auditory learners. By incorporating video with audio into your news release, you are reaching a larger audience than by just including images alone.

The importance of video to public relations is not a surprise. Tamraz elaborated on her comments about multimedia explaining that, “people think visually.” Videos provide the public with news in an easy to consume and engaging format.

It’s been twenty years since the launch of the Smart News Release. How have communications assets evolved in the age of Web 2.0?

PR pros are always looking for ways to amplify a news release – a tool that raises visibility of a company, and encourages engagement of the news within key audiences. And, as Tamraz says in the video, assets such as News Capsules provide that very boost to any news release. A News Capsule is a tool that allows a brand to tell a story using interactive multimedia. It’s the gamification of the news release and it boasts an average reader engagement time of 6:12 minutes. That number really jumps out at you when you compare it with the 20 to 30 seconds it takes to read a text-only news release.

Why are capsules so effective in increasing the impact of a news release? Tamraz describes this multimedia asset as the “crossover between news, corporate communications, and marketing.” Advances in internet connectivity continue to blur lines for every industry, whether it is multimedia, communication, or distribution. By offering information in a way that can be learned both visually and kinesthetically, the News Capsule is a tool that blurs the lines between varied forms of communication. This makes it an ideal asset for amplifying a company message on a multitude of platforms.

The future of public relations and audience activation is interactive content. For Meghan Gross, president of Gem Strategic Goulston StorrsCommunications, a picture capsule was the best way to tell a year’s worth of stories. She recommended using a picture capsule to a professional services client of hers as a way to reach their core audience. In this case, the client wanted to showcase the importance of climate change by bringing attention back to all the great content they created that year. The News Capsule allowed Gem to create one single asset that hosted all of the client’s created content, allowing them to present their entire story in one outreach. Of course, once a capsule goes out, as Cathy Baron Tamraz says, it “travels.” Capsules are sharable and embeddable allowing users to embed it in stories, social channels, websites and more.

The internet proved to not be a trend and neither will mobile platforms. The digital revolution succeeded and we now find ourselves in the digital age. And now, every aspect of life revolves in some way around the era we live in, just like during the Industrial Age that preceded it. How are you adapting your communication practices for the growing needs of today’s digital, visual society?

To learn more about digital influence on news distribution read the following articles:

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