Business Wire Event Recap “Meet the Biotechnology Media”

December 5, 2013
by Luis Guillen, Media Relations Specialist

On Thursday, November 21st, Business Wire San Diego hosted a “Meet the Biotechnology Media” panel in Mission Valley. With some of the top biotech journalists in the San Diego area, our panel spoke on a wide range of topics ranging from how to pitch media and current trends to the future of journalism.

Speakers:

  • Bruce Bigelow, Xconomy’s San Diego editor
  • Meghana Keshavan, San Diego Business Journal’s healthcare and biotech reporter
  • Mandy Jackson, SCRIP Intelligence’s West Coast editor
  • Kelly Quigley, life science network and brand journalist at Chempetitive Group

Moderator:

  • Erik Clausen, Managing Partner, Chempetitive Group
    SD-Media-Breakfast-lo-res

Know your media

It’s important to not only know your target media but also what they like. When discussing what makes a good story, our panel shared their tips.

Interesting Characters:

Every story needs to have someone the audience can connect with.

Different Perspective:

Go further in depth, cover it from a different angle that’s not been used before.

Be Open:

Don’t tell me how much money your company has, tell me how the money is being or will be spent. If not willing to talk about certain things, it devalues the story.

Quotes:

Speak with someone who is candid and gives the story some personality.

Pitching preferences

Social media allows new ways to pitch journalists, some embrace it, others still prefer email.

Timing is everything:

Not only does it help to know what your target media covers but also their deadline schedule. Don’t pitch on a Wednesday if the deadline is on Thursday, instead pitch on a Monday, when we’re looking for stories.

No need to follow up:

I received your email pitch. If I don’t call, I’m not interested.

Coaching not required:

PR pros: Be transparent, allow access to the source. Having an open one-on-one conversation with the client is important, beats interviewing someone reading a script.

Embargos:

Are not dead. The panel all agreed that at the very least they would look at it, not necessarily do a story on it.

Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn:

FB seems to be more personal. Twitter has become the go-to tool for journalists to look up people, story ideas and get background information on a particular individual/topic.

Future of Journalism

The truth is no one knows what the future of journalism will look like in 5-10 years. What we do know is that journalism is constantly changing. As more publications continue to go under, some will shift from print to online, following the current trend of specialized publications. With fewer reporters covering this current online, social media, 24/7 news cycle, publications will face new challenges that will reshape the current landscape of journalism again.


PR Lessons from New York City

December 3, 2013
by Erica Schuckies, Account Executive

I recently traveled to New York City for the first time and experienced the bright lights, crowded streets and unique atmosphere that only NYC can provide.

During my five-day trip, we crammed in as many activities and “touristy” sights as possible, which allowed me to leave the city with a list of takeaways applicable to my day job, working in the PR industry.

The busy streets of NY

1.     Come prepared for anything and everything.

While packing for my trip, I struggled with what to bring. The forecast called for normal November NYC temperatures, but being a Texan, I was lacking legit cold-weather attire. Luckily, I decided to bring layering options and was able to bundle myself sufficiently so I didn’t freeze. This turned out to be a fantastic decision, as it was bone-cold and even snowed! Even if I didn’t wear every piece of clothing I packed, I couldn’t have been happier for the opportunity to stay warm.

In PR, it is crucial to be prepared for anything.  Whether you are attending a client event, holding a press conference or making an important pitch, you must have all the necessary tools – and then some – at your disposal. Not everything goes as planned, and in fact, you should expect at least one wrench in your plans. Thinking twice about that spare power cord? Bring it. Extra cell phone battery? You better believe it. And while you’re at it, throw in an extra order of patience and composure. Being over-prepared is your best defense against failure. Not to mention, your client/boss will thank you.

2.     Go with the flow.

Our final evening called for a “show” of some sort, details of which were curiously lacking from my brother, who planned the evening. I had expected to sit back (off my poor, achy feet) and take in an entertaining hour or two. Our schedule had been jam-packed all day, every day and I was ready for a break. As it turned out, the show was an “interactive play,” where the set was an entire abandoned warehouse and we followed actors through different rooms and staircases to take in the story. The building was incredibly dark and spooky, neither of which I am particularly fond. Every step felt like exploring a haunted house with an axe murderer waiting around the corner. As the play went on, I was able to suck it up and roam the creepy, pitch black hallways with less fear. Eventually, I became more involved and interested in the story’s plot, wanting to know what would happen next to each character.

It’s no secret that PR is unpredictable, but the name of the game is flexibility, even in the face of chaos. When things don’t go as planned, the key to success is to keep a positive attitude and an open mind to other options allowing you to reach your final goal. This can relate to impatient clients, uncompromising team members or difficult event/work locations. Don’t be afraid to try Plan B (or C or D) if Plan A has failed. After all, it did take Thomas Edison nearly 1,000 tries to successfully invent the light bulb.

3.     There is always someone willing to help.

The NYC subway system can appear to be a hot mess to us outsiders My brother, who had lived in the city for nearly six months at the time we visited, was still perfecting his knowledge of the schedules and routes of the many train options. One day, we must have looked particularly clueless, because not one, but two locals stopped and offered to help us get to our desired destination.

Need help? Don’t understand something? Creative mind block? Ask someone for help! While the obvious individuals to seek out are managers, coworkers and colleagues, these can also include family members, friends, significant others, or even a friendly stranger. Sometimes, an outside perspective can do wonders for a campaign, idea, problem or issue. In the end, when that advice has resulted in success, all parties involved will come out on top.

And, let me say this loud and clear: Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.  No one should consider themselves too skilled/knowledgeable/experienced/creative to need a little assistance now and then.

4.     Things are not always as they seem.

My brother lives in Harlem.  Cue every movie, television show and song you know that portrays Harlem in a bad light. Because these things were the only exposure of the area I had, my impression of Harlem was a place you should avoid during dark of night and while walking alone with sparkly jewelry and expensive clothing. My brother swore I was wrong, but I still had my doubts. Even when we visited his apartment, the outside of the building was a bit… aged. However, upon entering his unit, I was surprised to see that the appliances and cabinets were nearly brand-new, the floors were hardwood and the space was quite charming. At this point, we can cut to me apologizing to my brother, in a rather embarrassed manner. Harlem is a true testament to not jumping to conclusions. I realized I was too quick to judge from what I thought I knew was true.

The PR lesson in this will be going in a different direction than you might expect. During the initial planning for a client or product campaign/project, there is probably an obvious message and reason for the campaign. Instead of going with the easy option, give it a few extra minutes of thought. Step into the head of your audience and consider what else might resonate with them at that point in time. For a timely example, instead of the “Top Christmas Gift Ideas” pitch, try an approach that takes a look at the “Most Returned Christmas Gifts” so people know what NOT to buy. While this theory may require a bit more time, your return on your investment will be worth it.

5.     Don’t fret over missed opportunities.

On a Monday morning, my father and I decided to navigate the subway system on an early morning trip to the gym. What we did not realize was that we would be part of the Monday morning rush hour of New Yorkers heading to work. Big mistake. Not only were we newbies to the dizzying train schedule, but we weren’t exactly sure we were even going in the right direction. We were seriously annoying the locals. One train, in particular, was so jam-packed with people, the riders on the outside had to literally suck in their guts to avoid the doors closing on them. One look at my father and we both knew: We’re not getting on this train. By the way, I strongly believe that New Yorkers develop the ability to glance at a crowded train and know exactly how many people can still fit. It’s a necessary skill for survival of the fittest. But I digress…

After missing that train, I panicked a little. We started to wonder how in the heck we were going to find our way and which train we should take next. Not two minutes later, another train of the same line pulled up and opened its doors to a much less crowded interior. The train took us easily to the location we desired and I realized my minor freak-out was for nothing. #overreaction

If you’ve been in the PR industry for any small amount of time, chances are pretty good that you’ve been told ‘no.’ Chances are even greater that you’ve been completely ignored. The first thing that many of us do after a missed opportunity is to dwell on what went wrong. Instead of staying in this valley of sorrow, swallow your pride and focus on the next open possibility. DO acknowledge and fix any mistakes made, but you’re not doing yourself any favors by lingering over the missed opportunity. If you get called out for it, apologize (if necessary) and point out what you are doing to take advantage of the next opportunity, which may turn out even better than the passed chance.

6.     Wear comfortable shoes.

As you may know, walking is the main form of transportation in NYC. While locals are seasoned experts at walking everywhere, a tourist can quickly go wrong by wearing the incorrect pair of shoes. Let me give you a tip: fashion should not be a major factor when dressing for sightseeing, even in New York City. After 4+ hours of walking, my body and mind were eager for more, but my feet and legs were not on par. The culprit was the pair of oh so fab boots I’d chosen for the day’s outfit. What I failed to consider was that my pain would overshadow my desire to continue our jaunt around the city. Also keep in mind that most of the NYC pictures you take will be of the tall buildings and unique scenery, cutting your footwear completely out of the frame.

I’ll reiterate here: PR is unpredictable, fast-paced and energetic. Running around a client event in wobbly, strappy heels will not benefit you or your client, no matter how perfect the shoes go with your dress. Remember this equation: Long hours + painful feet = grumpy PR pro. If you know you’ll be on-the-go, the fashion side of me reminds you not to wear sneakers with an evening gown, but my sensible side recommends that you skip the five-inch stilettos for a pair of equally good-looking and more comfortable wedges or flats.

Have you ever been to a place that inspired your career or lifestyle? I’d love to hear about it! Please comment below or tweet me at @the_erica_hour.


Journalists Offer Pitching Tips at SoCal Media Breakfast

August 6, 2012
by Kathy Tomasino, Client Services Representative, Business Wire/Newport Beach
Kathy Tomasino

Kathy Tomasino

It was a full house last month when Executives and PR professionals from Southern California attended Business Wire Newport Beach’s Meet the Media event in Costa Mesa.

The event was moderated by Daniel Rhodes, VP Public Relations at Global Results Communications, and our panel of experts included Tom Berg from the Orange County Register, Chris Casacchia from the Orange County Business Journal and Kyle Ellicott from TechZulu.

The event was focused on how to best pitch your company’s story to both local and national press and how reporters are now using social media sites such as Twitter for story leads.

Below are a few tips captured from the event:

  • Make introductions with a reporter before you pitch your story idea.
  • Reporters use social media sites such as Twitter to find story leads.
  • Email is the preferred way to pitch over a phone call.
  • Have a story and be genuine about how you present it.
  • Find a way in – use “nuggets” to grab reporters’ attention.

Although Twitter is a great resource for story ideas, Casacchia advised our audience to only tease their story ideas on such sites and to also use a wire service such as Business Wire for the full press release. (Business Wire does automatically tweet press release headlines via dozens of industry-specific feeds.)  Casacchia also recommended that you know your audience when delving into social media.  Although social sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest are great outlets to promote your story ideas, you must only use the outlets that fit your company style and business as not all may work for a bank or law firm, for example.

Ellicott mentioned that mobile ads have a huge potential especially since more and more people are using their mobile phones for news and all other things.  Luckily for our clients, all Business Wire press releases automatically feed into the AP Mobile app and other mobile applications.

Berg is a great storyteller and uses sites such as Twitter for story ideas.  He recommended our audience use social media to get the buzz going about a story, although the wire is still the first place he will look for news directly from the source.

All of our speakers may be followed via Twitter at @OCStoryteller (Tom Berg); @ccasacchia (Chris Casacchia); @kyleellicott (Kyle Ellicott) and @GlobalResults (Daniel Rhodes).

 

 

 

 


The World’s Biggest Media & Facebook – An Evolving Relationship

April 11, 2012

By Michel Rubini, International MRT Specialist – London

In 2007, Rupert Murdoch joked about Facebook overtaking MySpace as the most popular social networking site on the web.  Not long after, it was no laughing matter.

While Facebook might not be the best social networking site, or offer the best user experience, or even the most innovative solutions, it has been accepted as the standard by most internet users. Facebook has now reached the 600 million user mark, so it is no surprise that media organisations across the world are looking into ways to tap into this pool of potential readers.

At a recent News:Rewired event (a periodical digital journalism conference) in London, I listened to speakers from some of the world’s biggest media organisations explain how they are facing — and mostly embracing — Facebook.

The most enthusiastic evangelist was Martin Belam, User Experience Lead at The Guardian. Belam explained how their new Facebook application has been hugely successful. The application allows users to share Guardian content easily with their friends, and so far, six million people have downloaded it. One of the most exciting things, according to Belam, is that 54 percent of the users are under 24 – the kind of audience the Guardian has always aspired to reach.

Belam also explained that a younger audience means a younger kind of content becoming popular on the application. He denied there was any danger of a “dumbing down” The Guardian. “To my mind, if we are producing that content anyway – which we do – then why wouldn’t we want it to reach as wide an audience as possible?” he asked.

Belam also noted that there is growing evidence that the Facebook application alone is producing as many views for articles as the guardian.co.uk site, in practice doubling the amount of traffic a story gets.

Liz Heron, former social media editor of The New York Times and current director of social media and engagement with The Wall Street Journal, seemed to agree with Martin. “In the new landscape, the question is no longer whether we do social media, the question is how. How can we make our social media experiences stand out?”

She went on to note that fifty New York Times journalists offer Facebook subscription streams; and that all reporters have been encouraged lately to try Facebook, especially foreign correspondents. The advantage of Facebook, she said, is that it offers great crowdsourcing opportunities and can yield insightful comments and debates. However, the majority of New York Times journalists are still using Twitter. This is due to the fact that most journalists are aware of the dangers of mixing personal profiles with professional lives.

Nate Lanxon, editor of wired.co.uk was very clear about the importance of Facebook. He admitted that for 5 years WIRED had ignored Facebook.  That has recently changed. He has now printed a big photo of Mark Zuckerberg which is passed around the office. The person with the photo is the editor of the WIRED Facebook page for that day. The physical presence of the photo has helped the newsroom embrace Facebook in its daily publishing routine.

Lanxon said one of their key discoveries was that having a presence on Facebook wasn’t about driving fans to WIRED, it was about driving WIRED to fans. Lanxon also noted that Facebook follows its own news cycle. Facebook items seem to increase in traffic around the late afternoon and evenings, when users log in to check their latest feeds.

These three examples seem to show a clear shift in how well regarded (and global) news organisations are fully embracing the enormous readership potential offered by Facebook.


Is The Next Big Thing a Lot of Smaller Things?

March 7, 2012
by Chris Metinko, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/San Francisco
Chris Metinko

Chris Metinko

Remember MySpace?

Remember when Facebook was going to be the next big thing?

In social media — just as in everything — there always is the “next thing,” and many are pointing to the exploding popularity of niche social networks as exactly that. Many such sites have seen tremendous growth in the past year, as they cater to specific interests, hobbies and likes.

According to the online data measurement firm comScore, the online virtual pinboard site Pinterest saw the third largest percentage jump in unique visitors from December 2011 to January 2012 — behind only the IRS’s and the Department of Education’s websites. Also according to comScore, it became the fastest user site ever to hit 10 million monthly visitors.

As Business Wire media reps attended programs held in San Francisco during February’s Social Media Week, some of the talk was not on the titans of social networking — Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter et al. — but rather these niche sites that seem to be taking up more and more of social networkers’ time. According to some officials in the burgeoning new category of social media, the migration of users is easily explained.

“There’s a lot of noise in the system right now,” said Oliver Hsiang with StumbleUpon, a search engine that creates virtual communities to rate and rank search results. “People want something to filter through the stuff you don’t care about.”

Niche sites allow users to focus on certain subjects and likes instead of Facebook’s all-encompassing style, which some can find hard to navigate. Sites such as Reddit, a social news site where users post, rate and rank news stories, have gained increased notoriety and users. Jena Donlin, business development manager with Reddit, said the site even allows users into different communities and subcategories to more narrowly focus on interests.

Such niche sites also can potentially be gold for journalists, because they reach a specific, targeted audience. For instance, if a reporter is writing about weight-loss and wants to talk to someone trying to lose weight, going to the uber-popular social network DailyBurn seems logical. If someone is writing about the public’s take on a new, hot restaurant, going to food-obsessed network Foodspotting should do the trick. While these sites may not reach the audience numbers Facebook does, a journalist knows the site’s members are extremely interested in their specific topic or beat, and the site can let writers know what people are talking about on a more regional or national level — not limiting reporters by geography.

Despite the current popularity some of these sites, they still face obstacles in their battle for users’ time. One, obviously, is they are exactly what they are suppose to be — niche sites — meaning they are not going to interest everyone.

Donlin said increased popularity also can bring issues, as it can become increasingly difficult to “keep up with the conversation” on sites. Hsiang added niche sites also face the same problem nearly every website eventually confronts — coming up with fresh and new content to keep users coming back and spending time on the site instead of doing other things like watching television, reading or using other social media.

“You compete for discretionary time with everything,” Hsiang said.


Los Angeles Tech Reporters Offer Tips for Pitching Tech Media

April 6, 2011

by Amy Yen, Marketing Specialist, Business Wire Los Angeles

Last week, Business Wire LA hosted “LA-Area Technology Journalists Discuss Reporting Trends and How to Pitch Tech Media,” a media breakfast and panel discussion with technology journalists discussing what makes a good story and best practices for pitching tech media.

Sallie Olmsted (far right), Executive Vice President of Convergence at Rogers & Cowan, moderated the panel, which included (left to right):

  • Brian Deagon, Business and Technology Journalist, Investor’s Business Daily
  • David Sarno, Staff Writer, The Los Angeles Times
  • Natalie Jarvey, Reporter (Technology), Los Angeles Business Journal

Here are some key takeaways from the discussion:

  • Journalists are extremely busy and have little time to look at each pitch they receive. Be succinct and get to the point immediately.  Don’t try to set up the story. In a press release, the point of the pitch needs to be in the headline or first paragraph; in an email pitch, it needs to be in the subject line. David Sarno says to think of the headline and first paragraph of a press release as the entirety of your release, because most people don’t read past that.
  • In pitches, press releases and all corporate literature, journalists value clarity and authenticity over flowery language.
  • Stories are rarely just about one product. They usually have more to do with a trend or how people are doing things differently. Think about that as context for your pitches.
  • Reporters still like face-to-face meetings, demos, visits and webinars, but just don’t have much time. Trade shows are one place where you can meet face-to-face, particularly for tech companies. Get in touch with reporters who are attending in advance.  If you’re doing a demo or webinar, make an archive available so reporters don’t feel like they only have one chance to see it. Transcripts are also helpful and should be provided promptly.
  • Although many reporters are on Twitter and Facebook, pitching by email is still generally more reliable.
  • If you are pitching over the phone, make sure you know what you’re talking about and are able to answer questions! This is especially applicable for low-level PR professionals and interns who are asked to pitch.
  • Quotes in press release do get used, especially if the reporter doesn’t have time to get a quote on their own. However, to get used, the quote must give insight and not just be a generic “this is great” type quote.
  • Most reporters will honor an embargo, but the panelists say they don’t see it as an indicator that something is important. Embargoed items get treated like any other news item.
  • If your company uses a general media inquiries mailbox (such as a press@abccompany.com type address on your website), make sure it’s monitored regularly.   If a reporter sends an inquiry to that address, it should be responded to promptly. Better yet, list your media relations person.
  • Great tech/business news sites: TechMeme, TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, Bloomberg.

For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/business-wire-events.

Follow Business Wire events on Twitter! Hashtag #bwevents


Business Wire New York Hosts Howard University Journalism Students

December 2, 2010

by Nikelle Feimster, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/New York

Howard University Association of Black Journalist (HUABJ) hosted their third annual Multimedia Tour November 11-12, 2010 in New York City. The journalism students visited several news organizations for a chance to tour their offices and speak with professional journalists.

The students were divided into two groups. The broadcast group visited media outlets including ABC, WBLS, WABC-TV, and Radio One Interactive. The print group visited NYU Graduate School of Journalism, HarperCollins Publishers, The New York Times, Amsterdam News, The Wall Street Journal and Business Wire. Both groups visited CBS Interactive and CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

HUABJ Print Group

Overall, the students learned so much from the professionals on their visit. “Seeing the tour turn out so well was such a rewarding feeling,” said Mary Godie, President of HUABJ. “It was evident that the students got more out of it than they expected. We changed a few elements up this year so that students were able to get a well rounded view of the industry. And, I know they got that and so much more.”

Business Wire was very excited to be a part of the tour this year. Led by Mike Maguire, Northeast Editorial Supervisor at Business Wire, the students were given a step-by-step overview of Business Wire’s news distribution process. Following the presentation, the group witnessed the day-to-day operations of the editorial newsroom and saw how press releases are formatted and transmitted over the wire.

HUABJ Broadcast Group

“Business Wire has always had an interest in educational efforts that are happening at universities across the country,” said Maguire. “One of the ways Business Wire gets to show off what we do and act as teachers has been hosting students and faculty members at various colleges and universities. The students of Howard provided an audience that was keen to take in the opportunity we presented.”

HUABJ is a student chapter of the National Association of Black Journalist (NABJ). HUABJ was chartered in 1998 with a mission to cultivate, teach and prepare students for careers in journalism.


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