The secrets behind press conferences, product reveals and trade show marketing

February 24, 2015

By Raschanda Hall, Director of Global Media Relations, Business Wire

Trade shows are all about product reveals, updates and, engaging media.  And by engagement I mean, “come ye media and tell the world of the things you have learned today.”  All meant to guide consumers into the conversion funnel, from awareness to action, faster and farther.  The Chicago Auto Show is no different.

Chicago Auto ShowMany exhibiting auto manufacturers will host exciting and sometimes theatrical and humorous press conferences geared toward glamming up the reveals and editorial coverage.

A successful press conference and product reveal is virtually a Hollywood production, and with sticker prices nearing $500,000, what you’ll hear from the communicators responsible for pulling off these events is that you have to nail the basics.

Birthing an automobile:
Preparation and planning are fundamental tenets of public relations. As the dust settles on one show, exhibitors are looking ahead at ideas for next year. According to Curt McAllister, Midwest public relations manager for Toyota Motor Sales, USA, “This is a little bit of Hollywood. Typically a press conference reveal [the birth of an automobile as he called it] may last all of 20-25 minutes and will probably range between half a million to a million dollars to produce. It’s the closest thing we get to Hollywood here in the auto industry. A lot of preparation is involved.  There is constant communication with our media to let them know we are going to do something big in that city so that they can save a spot on their schedules, and we can ensure a really good attendance.”

Authentic messages and messengers:
“Focus on what’s changed, what’s new, and why you did it,” says Andy Love, the head of car product marketing for Chrysler Group.  “Explain things in an easy-to-understand way.  If you have a new safety feature, help the audience relate with a story.  Explain how things matter and fulfill a need.  If it’s a high-end technology show, how it is easy to use and how it applies to their lives.”

Wendy Orthman is the Manager of the Midwest Region for Chrysler Group Communications.  She works with Chrysler

2015 Dodge Viper GTC

2015 Dodge Viper GTC

executives to get them ready to present on the big stage by first having them present at smaller shows.  “We want our executives at these shows. You want to make sure the speakers you choose have a high enough title that they attract the media. Their quotes bring authenticity and have significance and weight.  The sweet spot is when you have someone with title that can speak with knowledge and be impactful to the media.”

James Zahn, the pop culture and lifestyle blogger better known as The Rock Father, has seen his fair share of press conferences. “Excitement and Enthusiasm. It’s all about the two E’s. Don’t make us [journalists and bloggers] feel like you’re giving us the company line.  If a speaker sounds passionate about the business or product, that makes it more fun for us.”

Show up differently:

SpongeBob Inspired Toyotal Sienna

SpongeBob Inspired Toyotal Sienna

There is a lot of competition for news at these tradeshows and many of your competitors are also holding press conferences. You want to think of how you can show up differently.  Nissan of North America flipped the order of their press conference reveals. “A lot of other guys, they would do a slow build up and reveal the vehicle at the end. We do the opposite,” says Joe Gallant, Manager of Shows & Exhibits at Nissan.  “We keep the speeches short and we reveal the vehicle almost right away.”

The showbiz side of your product reveal means nothing if it doesn’t further your message. “There are very extravagant and flamboyant ways to pull a drape off a car. But don’t get over your budget, and be realistic. Make sure the message and the product is at the heart of it.  If you get so caught up in the smoke and mirrors you’re going to lose your audience,” warns McAllister.

Like this blog post? Share it with your friends on Twitter by clicking this link: http://ctt.ec/IiDd3

Stay up to date with the latest news and trends impacting today’s communications programming. Join our mailing list today!


Studies Show Reporters Rely on Press Releases — Are You Providing Them With What They Need?

February 21, 2015

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social + Evolving Media, Business Wire

In this day and age, there really should be no question on how to garner media coverage. Yet, day after day, organizations distribute news releases that lack the information needed for the reporter to initiate coverage.  In this PR Week article, Jahana Hayes, from Business Wire Atlanta, shares six ways to make sure your press releases hit, and activate, your target audience.

Read the entire piece at PR Week:  http://www.prweek.com/article/1332549/six-straightforward-ways-sure-press-releases-hitting-target

bizwirepressreleaseprefs


Business Wire Shares 5 Ways to Work with Reporters to Tell Your Story

January 27, 2015

By Whitney Cowit, Business Wire Chicago

1.  Invite the media into your “inner circle”

Reporters want broader access to both the C-Suite and employees on-the-ground. Invite the media to your facilities and yay-13478388-digitalintroduce them to employees at various levels of your organization. Additionally, connect them with your customers so they can hear another part of your story.

2.  Promote your experts

Conduct regular check-ins with reporters who cover your industry to see the stories and trends they are reporting on and to offer your unique viewpoint. Timeliness is key for most reporters and being proactive can help your team generate traction. This also establishes ongoing relationships that can benefit future coverage of your news.

3.  Build an ongoing corporate narrative with positive news stories

Journalists generally view PR pitches with a critical eye, so gaining interest in positive stories is a tough sell. Your objective should be to build an ongoing cadence of positive news to generate momentum and spike the interest of reporters. For example, sharing unconnected stories about your business will not have the same impact as correlating your CSR efforts to your corporate culture and vision for growth.

4.  Be ahead of the trendsyay-14998652-digital

Journalists are drawn to trend pieces and want to know how organizations provide solutions that address the issues facing their industry. Demonstrating how your products are being used in innovative ways could increase the potential of being part of the story.

5.  Explore new outlets

Create a new audience by with journalists who have never covered your news. Are they writing about your competitors? Can you offer an alternative view on a recently published article? Part of doing your homework on these editors should include commenting on and sharing their work in advance of your pitch. Showing interest in their work may create relationships that can lead to future opportunities.

Business Wire’s dedicated media relations and sales staff are always happy to help with best practices and tips for reaching media.  Got questions? Send them our way! Or click below to read more tips from Business Wire’s editorial team:

Like this piece? Click this link to tweet it out:  Tweet me!

Stay up to date with the latest news and trends impacting today’s communications programming. Join our mailing list today!

Macedonia Media and Press Freedom: Q&A with Dragan Sekulovski

December 22, 2014

By Kai Prager, Senior Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire

If you visit Skopje, Macedonia today, you will be surprised. The central spots in Macedonia’s capital are crawling with enormous fountains, museums and bridges laced with statues over the Vardar River (which divides the city in two parts). Wondering when they might have been built, I learned that they were all quite new, produced within the last 10 years. The construction of these monuments is part of the project Skopje 2014 — the idea being to enhance a city that was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1963. However, the project is controversial, not only due to its high costs, but also because it is viewed as nationalistic historicist kitsch by many Macedonians.

Macedonian media can also be viewed as new and somewhat controversial.  Most publications were first published after the declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Under the promise of a free press, newspapers and magazines were printed and new broadcasters took to the air. But today, there is not much left of that free press. In 2009, Macedonia was ranked 34th on Press Freedom Index (by Reporters Without Borders). Five years later, it has dropped down to number 123.

A Man, Staning On A Bridge, Thinking About His Ex

(Skopje, Macedonia – Photo by Kai Prager)

When I visited the South East European Media Forum in Skopje this year, I had the chance to speak with Dragan Sekulovski, who works as Executive Director at the Association Of Journalists Of Macedonia.  He kindly agreed to answer some of the questions I had about the media in his country and about the aforementioned drop on the Press Freedom Index.

What caused Macedonia’s fall on the Press Freedom Index?

Unfortunately, Macedonia is setting new records with a drop down of 89 places in less than 5 years on the Reporters Without Border’s Press Freedom Index. The main difference in the media back in 2009 and now is the level of criticism of the journalists and the media. Nowadays there is almost no critique in the mainstream media towards the ruling parties and the governmental reforms. In a society where the politicians are not able to stand a critique and where critical media are shut down, journalists are imprisoned for writing a text. The government is the biggest advertiser in the private media and journalists are sued by officials … we cannot expect, with all this, for Macedonia to have a better place on the Press Freedom Index.

Dragan Sekulovski big(Dragan Sekulovski)

 The media market in Macedonia is small. Does this also have an effect on the media landscape?

Macedonia has almost 200 media outlets and they all compete in a small, distorted market and cover about 2 million citizens. They cannot survive financially unless they align their interests with the governing parties and politically connected large businesses. Apart from the public broadcaster (MTV), the vast majority of the country’s press is in private hands. However, the government comes out on top among the 50 largest advertisers in the country. In 2012 and in 2013, the government was in first place with twice as many campaigns in the private media than the larger local mobile operator T-Mobile. You cannot expect to have a free media market when there is so much influence by the government.

Other countries in the region (Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, etc.) have a small media market as well. Do you think they have similar problems?

I would not say that the problems are similar since the pressure points that are creating chilling effects and self-censorship in Macedonia are far more drastic than in neighboring countries. Two recent cases illustrate this negative trend:  the first one is the case of Kezarovski, a journalist who in 2008 wrote a text and published in local small print media. In 2013, he was arrested and convicted for alleged reveling identity of a secret witness, and at the moment, he is more than 18 months detained waiting for the final word of the Appeal Court in Skopje. The second case, as of this autumn, is about a court verdict for defamation where the plaintiff is the Director of the Secret Service and the defendants are [the] editor and journalists from the local printed weekly Fokus. The court here judged a compensation of non-pecuniary damage in amount of 9000 EUR, including court expenses, for the editor and the journalists of Fokus to pay. These negative examples that influence the freedom of expression and independence of media are unique for this part of the world.

How does the move to digital media (internet, mobile devices, social media, etc.) change the media landscape?

Following the global trend, the online media in Macedonia are becoming more influential and are being followed by large percentage of the audience. Based on the assessments of the regulator, 44% of the audience is being informed on a daily basis from web portals. These media can offer some criticism, media pluralism is generally present, and some investigative journalistic stories can be found.

What sources do Macedonian journalists usually use to access information?

Mainly from press conferences and releases from the state media agencies. Interesting to note is that journalistic questions are rarely present during a press conference. Some journalists are using the Law on Access to Information of Public Character, but the information is not always satisfactorily received or delivered in the desirable time frame.

Which information or topics are the most popular in the media?

News and propaganda that promote governmental policy and reforms; chronicles; news about celebrities; critiques of opposition political parties and civil society organizations/individuals; and global news. Very rarely we can see in the mainstream media TV debates from guests which are having different opinion[s] of governmental policy.


Business Wire 2014 Media Survey Wins Top MarCom Award

November 17, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media

Last week, the winners of the 2014 International MarCom Awards were announced on http://marcomawards.com. Business Wire is pleased to announce receipt of the Platinum-level selection in the Writing/White Paper category for the 2014 Business Wire Media Survey Results.

The MarCom Awards are a creative competition for marketing and communication professionals, organized by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP), http://amcpros.com. Entries are gathered from corporations, advertising agencies, public relations firms, design agencies and individual freelancers.

Business Wire 2014 Media Survey

The 21-page document, written by Business Wire’s VP of Web Communications Services, Ibrey Woodall, outlines best practices in media relations, press release distribution and online newsroom management for leading communicators. The contents of the white paper are based on results from Business Wire’s media survey of over 300 North American editors, reporters, and bloggers, and how they engage with corporate news and websites.

“This recognition emphasizes the importance of this paper to all levels of communications professionals, as well as evidence of Business Wire’s close connection to the media,” said Woodall.
The award-winning paper, selected from over 6,500 global entries, reflects on how today’s reporters continue to rely on press releases distributed by newswires, as well as company online newsrooms for supporting information and press materials.

Click here to download a copy of the 2014 Business Wire Media Survey Results white paper: http://go.businesswire.com/business-wire-media-survey-results

Click here to read more about how to implement best practices in media relations and online newsroom development:


Business Wire Promotes 3 Top Media Relations Experts: Raschanda Hall, Pilar Portela and Matthew Allinson

November 13, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media

Earlier today, Business Wire announced the promotions of three media relations experts, Raschanda Hall, Director of Global Media Relations, Pilar Portela, Media Relations Manager, U.S., and Matthew Allinson, Media Relations Manager, International.  Business Wire has the most media relations experts in the newswire industry.  Each day, this team works with large and small media outlets across the globe to ensure the widest visibility and usage of our client’s press releases.

Picture 002

Meet Raschanda

Raschanda has spent the last 14 years leading Business Wire’s global media relations team through the fast-paced, changing media landscape, utilizing her formidable communication skills, understanding of emerging technology, and pioneering social media presence to expand Business Wire’s reach to media and influencers worldwide. Raschanda’s focus is on strategies to further establish and expand Business Wire’s circuit offerings and targeted delivery using the latest technology and communications tools. Her work provides Business Wire the advantage in reaching both traditional, online, trade and specialty press and social media audiences around the world.

Raschanda is an active member of many journalism and PR industry organizations including the Online News Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, the Publicity Club of Chicago, ColorComm and the National Black Public Relations Society where she serves as Vice President of the Chicago chapter.  She is based in Chicago and is a graduate of Dillard University in New Orleans. You can follow Raschanda on Twitter at @RaschandaHall.

PilarMeet Pilar

Pilar has been with Business Wire for 18 years and joined the Media Relations department 6 years ago.  In her current role, she oversees the U.S. Media Relations team and is responsible for developing, maintaining, and expanding relationships with the Southeast and Multicultural media, especially U.S. Hispanic. In recent years, she has been a key player in developing Business Wire’s LatinoWire circuits, speaking on industry panels and cultivating relationships with Hispanic journalists and media properties.

Pilar is an active member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists where she has served as Officer At Large for 4 years. Based in Miami, Pilar is a graduate of New York University (NYU) with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Florida Atlantic University (FAU) where she earned an MBA.

Matt 1Meet Matt

Matt has spent the past 12 years in various roles within Business Wire’s International Media Relations Department. He has endeavored to enhance Business Wire’s global reach by coordinating licensing agreements, developing partnerships with international news outlets, cultivating relationships with journalists in all corners of the globe, and directing a staff of media relations professionals in Canada, Europe, and Asia. Matt is also an active member of the Western Washington chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and regularly organizes media events in the Pacific Northwest.

Originally from Colorado, Matt has spent the past 4years in Seattle. He has a degree in Journalism & Mass Communication from the University of Colorado and a certificate in Social Media Implementation from the University of Washington.

Business Wire’s media relations team covers the world from Business Wire offices in New York, San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Boston, Los Angeles, Toronto, Paris, Frankfurt and Tokyo.


Case Study: Utilizing Press Releases to Reach Canadian Media and Consumers

October 14, 2014

Earlier this month, Business Wire spoke with HOOPP, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan about their use of press releases.  In this CommPro podcast, Martin Biefer, the Director of Public Affairs at HOOPP to discuss HOOPP’s press release success story and his opinions on how to rise above the news clutter.

In just 8 minutes, learn how a single press release caught the attention of an entire country.  Click here to read the article http://www.commpro.biz/public-relations/media-relations/wire/ or watch the video below.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 40,594 other followers

%d bloggers like this: