Top 10 Takeaways From Business Wire’s “Best Practices For Engaging The Media” Orlando Event

November 27, 2013
by Pilar Portela, Media Relations Supervisor

Business Wire Florida recently hosted “Best Practices for Engaging the Media” at the beautiful Alfond Inn in Orlando with local journalists and bloggers. Among the topics discussed were what they look for in potential stories, how to pitch them, what they are doing to keep pace with social media, the latest media trends, just to name a few.

Speakers:

Moderator:

Beth Cocchiarella, President, EMC Public Relations, @bcocchiarella

Orlando Media Event

Orlando Media Event “Best Practices for Engaging the Media”- From left to right: Bess Auer, Sean McNamara, Ned Popkins, Steve Helling, and Beth Cocchiarella

Here are the Top 10 Takeaways from the panel discussion:

  1. If you can pitch a story in 140 characters or less, it’s most likely a great story.
  2. Ask yourself this question, “Would you read this story if you didn’t work there?”
  3. The subject and first line of a pitch email often determine success.
  4. Reinforcing the value of knowing your target before you pitch. Before you pitch, know what the reporters and bloggers write about.
  5. Most newspaper reporters monitor and follow people on their beat. It’s pretty decentralized. Know their beats.
  6. Building personal relationships with bloggers is very important and social media is the best tool. Keep in mind most bloggers are not journalists and have other day jobs.
  7. Journalism is still about telling a good story regardless of the medium. The tools used to tell the stories are now different.
  8. What defines the news? News piece that’s interesting. Best with good pictures and video. Use multimedia in your pitches!
  9. Online coverage is great and easy to track. Better results and can get numbers from it. Hard copy is not as prevalent.
  10. Social media = ratings on adrenaline for news assignment editors.

Thank you to our amazing moderator and panelists for a fantastic and informative discussion!

Media Relations Supervisor Pilar Portela

Media Relations Supervisor Pilar Portela

If you missed the event you can also check out the Twitter conversation on #BWORLMedia and Storify at http://storify.com/pilarp/nov-8-orlando-media-panel-best-practices-for-engag.

For upcoming local Business Wire events or our award-winning webinar series, visit our events page or follow Business Wire events on Twitter, hashtag #bwchat.


Monika Maeckle: New Media Career Exemplified by Change Morphs to the Next Stage

November 15, 2011

by Monika Maeckle, Vice President of New Media

Today my career at Business Wire comes to an end and my first thought is that I will miss you, our clients, colleagues, webinar attendees and readers of the Business Wired blog.   I leave you in the able hands of our talented marketing team, who just picked up a fourth award from the Society of New Communications Research.

Change has been the only constant in my combined 16 years here.   When I joined the company the first time, in New York City in 1987, we considered the fax machine “new media” and the Internet was in its infancy, relegated to use by universities and computer geeks.   That was the year the domain www.apple.com came online, Microsoft gave us Works, and Compuserve (remember them?) introduced the GIF standard for images.  

Back then, Cathy Baron Tamraz managed the New York Region for Business Wire, Gregg Castano, who recruited me, served as New York City sales manager, and Phyllis Dantuono  was my fellow account executive.    This talented triumvirate now serves as Business Wire’s CEO, President and COO.    

We were the East Coast pioneers of Business Wire, planting the flag in Manhattan for founder Lorry Lokey’s budding California wire service empire.  I was sad to leave two years later, but family called me home to Texas in 1989.

Eight years later I reconnected with the New York crew when I read in Texas Monthly Magazine that the wire services were opening in Texas.   I called Cathy, and with the foresight worthy of a Berkshire Hathaway CEO, she dispatched the affable Tom Mulgrew (now Vice President of Agency Relations) to recruit me from the boutique PR agency I was running at the time.  Tom and I hit it off, and soon we opened an office in San Antonio.  Dallas and Houston followed shortly, and the rest is Business Wire history.
 
What a fun ride we’ve shared: opening offices in Texas and abroad, yanking marquis accounts from the grasp of our rivals, learning and launching new tools and technologies too numerous to name.   I’ll never forget staging a luncheon in San Antonio in the late 90s, encouraging clients to “join the webolution” and explaining “Spam, it’s not just a meat product anymore.”  And then there was that major deal we did with Warren Buffett.  Berkshire Hathaway bought the company in 2005 and owns it to this day. 
 
The landscape keeps changing, and yet Business Wire remains constant, always out front.   
 
While it’s tempting to focus on the frustrations of the daily grind in this tough economy, I leave Business Wire proud to have been part of a team that in spite of any challenge, continues to set the pace, lead the way, and stage the industry for what comes next–whatever that is.  
 
For me, that will mean launching a strategic consulting and communications firm in 2012 with my talented former newspaper editor husband, Robert Rivard.  In the meantime, you’ll find me at the Texas Butterfly Ranch–a blog about the life cycle we all share.  Please stay in touch and feel free to subscribe.
 
Until we meet again, I wish each of you the best.
 

Happy Chinese New Year! And Make Sure Your International Target Audience is not on Vacation

February 2, 2011
by Matthew Allinson, International Media Relations Supervisor

Matt Allinson, Business Wire International Media Relations SupervisorThe wisdom of sending a news release to a country that’s on holiday is a frequent question at our news desk.  Our response?

Unwise.  And when the news is sent anyway, our clients wonder about the lackluster  pick-up by media.

A better question is why would you spend your company’s hard-earned dollars/euros/pounds/yen sending out a news release that virtually no one is going to read because they’re taking a day—or a week–off?

The practice of forcing news during holidays is predominantly an American one.  The U.S. penchant for a 24/7/365 go-go-go news cycle has made us believe everyone else in the world operates likewise.

Yet most countries and cultures work at a much more leisurely pace, often enjoying twice the vacation time as the American worker.  With the exception of New Zealand, Americans work more every year than any other industrialized nation.

What this means is that if you’re responsible for sending news overseas, be aware of what’s taking place in your target countries or regions so that your news doesn’t fall on deaf ears.

Here’s what David Lore, the bureau chief at Interfax Shanghai, had to say about doing business in China during a holiday:

When it comes to doing business in China, there are a host of “dos and don’ts” that can make or break a deal. You don’t embarrass your Chinese partner in front of his subordinates, and you do take major holidays into consideration when preparing press releases. Especially the week-long Chinese New Year holiday (CNY), also known as Spring Festival. Without question the single most important holiday on the Lunar Calendar, CNY is a time when tens of millions of Chinese are on the move, returning to hometowns to reunite with family and friends.

On a business level, top decision-makers and opinion-shapers usually depart on extended vacations that often encompass the week before and the week after CNY. For all intents and purposes, China’s economy (with a few exceptions, like retail) goes into a kind of hibernation from Feb 2 – Feb 8.

The best resource we’ve found to monitor holidays all over the world is bank-holidays.com.  This site provides information on when banks and stock exchanges are closed for public or religious holidays. Other major events (elections, planned strikes, festivals, etc.) are also listed which can help when determining the proper timing of a news release.

Other, less detailed resources include Onada, Who is on Holiday and Wikipedia.


Newport Area Communicators and Media Talk Industry Trends, Pitching Tips

November 19, 2010

by Amy Yen, Marketing Specialist, Business Wire LA

Last week, Business Wire Newport Beach held a media breakfast for more than 70 Orange County area communicators and PR professionals to discuss trends in the media industry and tips for reaching out to Newport area media.

>>Download a full audio recording of this event here.

The panel of Orange County/Inland Empire media members included (left to right, pictured with Business Wire Newport Regional Sales Manager Tasha Huang, far right):

Here are some of the insights provided by the panelists:

Gillian Flaccus, The Associated Press:

  • On trends in the news industry: Social media, interactive and mobile remain on the rise. The AP is active on all three of these fronts. They’ve trained their reporters to get video and also supply footage to broadcast media. Multimedia is very important to them, and while they often have their own photographers in the field, photos with press releases are especially important if they are images the reporters cannot easily get themselves.
  • Mobile has revolutionized the news industry. The AP has been extremely aggressive about adapting to mobile. AP Mobile is a very popular news app for BlackBerry and iPhone.
  • The AP is on Facebook and Twitter and has also been experimenting with blogging. Many of their beat reporters have their own Twitter accounts and that is one way to find them.
  • When pitching to the AP in Southern California, your best bet is usually to send it to the Los Angeles bureau, as the Orange County bureau is very small. Their reporters share information all the time with each other, so if it’s relevant to a specific region, it will be passed along to them.

Lisa Liddane, Coast Magazine & OrangeCounty.com:

  • Reporting is starting to be very personality-driven. The lines in objective reporting are blurring as trends like blogging become more popular.
  • The best way to reach Coast Magazine is email. Be very clear in your subject line. It’s very helpful to you to find a local angle and include it in your pitch.
  • Know who you are pitching to and what their publication schedule is. For example, a print magazine versus daily newspaper or broadcast news.
  • Print publications like Coast Magazine need high res photos at 300 DPI. If you don’t have a high res picture, sometimes they can still use a lower resolution one for online.

Jerry Sullivan, Orange County Business Journal:

  • Do the research to find the right reporter to target. For the OCBJ (and many publications), you can find reporters by the beat they cover on the publication website.
  • Look for trends or a local angel to incorporate your company or news into. For example, the OCBJ is interested in stories about media companies buying smaller companies, or stories involving local executives.
  • Press releases can lead to media coverage in roundabout ways. They might just call attention to your company and cause a reporter to look into them when they otherwise wouldn’t have thought to.
  • When including photos with your release, identify the people in the photo left to right whenever possible.

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! Hash tag #bwevents


Phoenix-Area Media Discuss Popularity of Social Media

September 30, 2010

by Heidi Mayer, Account Executive, & Billy Russell, Client Services Representative, Business Wire Phoenix

On Friday, September 24, Business Wire Phoenix hosted a lunch seminar that provided local companies with an opportunity to meet the media and discuss how reporting has evolved amid the popularity of social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook.  Chad Graham with The Arizona Republic, Keith Yaskin with FOX 10 and Shawn Martin from ABC15 News discussed how social media has affected traditional news reporting while Cindy Kim of JDA Software provided her own unique insight on pitching stories from a public relations perspective.  The seminar was moderated by our own Regional Manager Grant Armendariz.

L-R: Grant Armendariz, Cindy Kim, Shawn Martin, Chad Graham & Keith Yaskin

Here are some key insights from the discussion:

Why they use social media
Both Kim and Yaskin said that they use social media as a tool to build relationships. According to Kim, it’s a way for her to not only reach the decision-makers – analysts, bloggers and journalists – but also to raise brand awareness with her clients and prospects. Martin talked about a new show on ABC 15 that will experiment with integrating social media and news, with the goal of giving the audience a voice.  His greatest challenge is to get viewers to interact on three screens: TV, computer and mobile. Graham mentioned that AZ Central has been using this year to develop a strategy for using social media and train reporters on its use. He’s found social media an effective means for the immediate exchange of information, and has also discovered benefits to geo sharing.

Changing the way people approach the media

In today’s environment, Martin pointed out, the PR professional who has to make a pitch is often at a loss: social media is so new that there are no rules or guidelines to using it effectively. However, there are many right ways to go about it. Graham made the point that good stories are always going to be good and will get coverage no matter what. He considers social media as more of a tactic than an overall strategy, and sees it being used to make an end run around reporters to get word out on a particular topic immediately. Kim said that social media has broadened her approach and allowed her to be more creative with traditional channels. She added that it’s also created some great relationships and made possible good conversations to create better fits for stories. Yaskin agreed, saying that relationships matter. He’d be much more likely to help out someone he’s made a connection with through social media than a random pitch off the street.

The rise of citizen journalism

While the rapid rise of citizen journalism is sometimes considered a threat to traditional sources of news, the three journalists on the panel all agreed that they see it as a positive change. Martin said that AZ Central is embracing the trend, allowing audiences to drive the news. Because reporters can’t be everywhere, ordinary bloggers and tweeters can play an important part in bringing stories to the public’s attention. Yaskin, meanwhile, finds himself becoming a citizen journalist. People aren’t willing to wait for the news anymore, with so many platforms available to them, so he acts as a “mobile newsroom,” reporting on additional aspects of the story (i.e.  A reporter was being mocked by a fireman for wearing too much makeup). From the PR perspective, Kim said that her company sees this trend as an opportunity as well. When a cyberhack story broke, JDA started a “lessons learned” blog which was then covered as part of the story. However, Graham, while excited about “man on the street news,” warns that it should be taken with a grain of salt. Journalistic standards still apply, which means: always check the facts.

What not to send through social media
All four panelists had suggestions for anyone using social media to disseminate information. Kim recommended thinking about personal branding when posting, because how a person communicates is just as important as what that person communicates. The three journalists talked about the kinds of stories they didn’t want to be pitched through social media: immediate, breaking news, which should always be called in (Martin), anything that’s already been covered (Graham) and any legal information (Yaskin). Yaskin also cautioned about tweeting story ideas that others can figure out and pitch for their own benefit. Other than that, he said, anything can be sent.

Here’s a terrific video clip from panelist Keith Yaskin at FOX 10, speaking on how social media has changed the way he interacts with public relations professionals:

Thank you to all those in attendance and especially our panel for a lively and entertaining discussion about this new trend.  We look forward to our next event in Arizona, Business Wire Holiday Open House, which gives everyone an opportunity to meet our newsroom and learn about our product offerings while enjoying a festive holiday breakfast.  Look for your invitation and don’t forget to RSVP!

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! Hash tag #bwevents


Business Wire Opens Office in Austin, Texas

September 10, 2010

by Monika Maeckle

Business Wire opened its doors in Austin, Texas this week, planting its flag just south of Ladybird Lake at 510 South Congress and Riverside. 

A team of four veteran Business Wire staffers are delighted to have a foot in the Live Music Capitol of the World, a city we have been working from our San Antonio location for more than 10 years. 

Christye Weld, Austin-San Antonio Sales Manager for Business Wire

“It’s about time we planted the flag in Austin, too,” said Christye Weld, Austin-San Antonio sales manager.

Business Wire Austin staff is looking forward to lunchtime bike rides around Ladybird Lake, foraging the food court at Whole Foods Market headquarters, bonding with our Austin clients, and generally doing what we can to “keep Austin weird.”

For full details on our move, see the press release that ran on our favorite wire service.


Upcoming Business Wire Event: Chicago – August 4

July 21, 2010

Upcoming Business Wire Events

Join Business Wire experts in your area for media breakfasts, panel discussions and other insightful events. We bring local media members and industry thought leaders to your market to discuss today’s most relevant topics, from writing for SEO to marketing with social media. Best of all, Business Wire events are usually free of charge. Check out this upcoming event in your area:

Chicago’s Media is “Transforming”: Discover New Placement Opportunities

Hosted by Business Wire Chicago

Our companies and clients understand that the reductions in local newsroom staff can mean less opportunity for pitching and placement, but are we missing opportunities with local news organization start-ups with rapidly growing audiences that can give our properly-crafted pitches a new place to call home? Join Business Wire Chicago as we speak with the editorial management staff behind some of Chicago’s newest media outlets.  They will talk about how professional communicators can best work with their staff and what kinds of untapped PR opportunities exist within their organizations. Speakers include Kyle Leonard, Managing Editor at Triblocal and Tracy Schmidt, Editorial Director for ChicagoNow.com. This event is free for all attendees.

Wednesday, August 4 at 8:00 a.m. CT
Maggiano’s Little Italy – Chicago
Amarone Banquet Room
516 N. Clark St. (banquet entrance is on Grand Ave.), Chicago, IL 60654

To register: Please RSVP to Abbie Sullivan at abbie.sullivan@businesswire.com by Thursday, July 29. Please include your name, company name and phone number.

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! Hash tag #bwevents


Media Relations in the Digital Age Event Recap

July 15, 2010

by Cecile Oreste, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire DC

Members of the Business Wire/DC team were in attendance at Media Relations in the Digital Age held at the US Navy Memorial & Heritage Center on Wednesday, July 14th.  The event, which was organized by the Professional Development Committee of the PRSA – National Capital Chapter, welcomed four journalists – Ceci Connolly, Nancy Marshall-Genzer, Greg Ip and Jordan Rau – to discuss “how to fearlessly pitch big-league media and get big-time results.”

Ceci Connolly

Ceci Connolly

Ceci Connolly is the national health policy correspondent for the Washington Post.  She has been a staff writer at the Post for over a decade and has covered politics, health care and several major disasters.  Prior to joining the newspaper in 1997, she covered politics for Congressional Quarterly and worked at the Washington bureau of the St. Petersburg Times.

According to Ceci, public relations practitioners need to think strategically about which news organizations they are targeting.  “The more you can be targeted, the more you can be effective,” she said.  Assist reporters by providing factual information with credible sources, understanding deadlines and knowing what beats they cover.

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for the Washington bureau of Marketplace.  Previously, she worked as a newscaster for NPR and WAMC in Albany, New York, as well as an anchor at Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Nancy reminded the audience that “the early bird gets the worm.”  Send pitches with plenty of lead time and plan events around days when journalists may not be as busy.  Mondays, Fridays and holidays work best.  Marketplace will generally be seeking out stories during these times.

Greg Ip

Greg Ip

Greg Ip is U.S. Economics Editor for The Economist and also contributes to The Economist’s blog Free Exchange.  Before joining The Economist in 2008, he served as chief economics correspondent of the Wall Street Journal and created the paper’s online blog Real Time Economics.

According to Greg, reporters at The Economist are generally looking for experts with deep knowledge about the subjects they are covering.  He suggests inserting your organization into the context of a story.  “Describe why something affects you in a positive or negative way.  Examples are very valuable,” he said.

Jordan Rau

Jordan Rau

Jordan Rau is a reporter for Kaiser Health News.  His KHN stories have been featured in publications such as the Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as news sites including NPR.org and MSNBC.com.  Prior to joining Kaiser Health News, he covered government and health care politics for the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Concord Monitor.

When it comes to public relations, Jordan recommends focusing on “people, data and dish.”  Find people who are affected by the issue your organization is concerned about and truly illustrate the story.  Provide quantifiable data which can easily be used in a story.  Finally, don’t be afraid to dish out information about your competitors.  “Some of the most successful people in public relations are the experts in opposition research,” he said.  Pitches that suggest conflict with competitors often get more attention than stories that highlight your organization’s own products, services or success.


Bulldog Reporter’s 2010 Media Relations Summit Recap

July 1, 2010

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

Business Wire was on-site as an anchor sponsor at Bulldog Reporter’s 2010 Media Relations Summit held on Monday June 28 at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York. More than 20 top public relations and media executives shared insight and vision about how PR professionals can survive a challenging, yet exciting, future in communications.

BW Director of Global Agency Relations Tom Mulgrew Introduces Keynote Speaker Tina Brown of The Daily Beast

There were five provocative keynote sessions during the Summit. Tom Mulgrew, Director of Global Agency Relations at Business Wire, did an outstanding job introducing the second session titled “The Future of Media: Digital Changes Everything.” Keynote speaker Tina Brown, founder of The Daily Beast, gave her perspective on how consumers’ needs are changing and which business models will sustain media going forward.

The other sessions were:

  • The Future of Public Relations: Seizing the Opportunity
  • The Future of Journalism: Transforming the Fourth Estate
  • The Future of Media Relations Technology: New Tools for Greater Impact
  • The Future of Social Media Marketing: PR’s New Paradigm

The event also included intimate roundtables, which was my favorite part of the conference. Journalists, bloggers, editors, and producers gave insight into how their professional world is changing and how they prefer to work with communicators. I had the opportunity to talk one-on-one with some very impressive writers and editors from The Daily Candy, Crain’s New York Business, Newsday, Epicurious.com, and Food & Wine Magazine. They discussed the media they cover and suggested the best ways for PR professionals to pitch their publications. Sarah Shepard, Director of Sales, New York Region, Christine Corey, Account Manager, New York and Tom Mulgrew each did a fantastic job leading their own roundtable sessions which sparked great discussions. Sarah moderated sessions with Inc.com and Self Magazine,  Christine moderated a session with Bloomberg Television and Tom led a roundtable discussion with Popular Mechanics.

Here are some highlights from the roundtables discussions I participated in:

  • Brook Siegel, Entertainment Editor for DailyCandy, says that DailyCandy “prides itself on covering what’s new and undiscovered or makes life more fun and stylish.” When it comes to pitching, Brooke is most annoyed when someone pitches a story that has nothing to do with what they cover. Another pitch peeve: sending pitches in the mail. If you send her something via email, there is no need to send it via snail mail too.
  • Food & Wine Senior Editor Christine Quinlan thinks that photos with stories are great. 300 dpi is a good size for print, and 72 dpi is good for online.
  • Sylvia Carter, Food Columnist at Newsday, says that PR people should read the publications before pitching them and research the reporters to see what they wrote about in the past. Also, she suggests placing food stories in other sections of the paper. Business sometimes covers food trends from a business angle.
  • Lauren Salkeld, Associate Editor at Epicurious.com, also stressed the importance of being familiar with the publication or website. She finds it insulting when she gets a pitch that is not relevant. She also finds blanket emails insulting. She likes when emails are addressed directly to her.

Minneapolis Media Give Tips for Communications Professionals

June 10, 2010

by Paul J.F. Bowman, Editor, Business Wire Minneapolis

On May 27th, Business Wire Minneapolis hosted a Meet the Media breakfast at the Graves 601 Hotel, across the street from our Minneapolis office. Attendees included Business Wire clients and cohorts of all backgrounds.

Our panel included employees from a wide variety of local media points, including print, online, TV and radio. The panel, which offered many tips on pitching to local writers and reaffirmed the necessity of announcing company news in an effective manner, included:

by Business Wire Minneapolis Editor Paul J.F. Bowman

One of the panel’s hot suggested topics/trends is company volunteerism (i.e. companies offering paid employee time for volunteering during the 40-hour work week). On the other hand, one editor’s staff is “greened-out.” To them, corporate social responsibility articles are cliché and overused in today’s media.

Another major trend is the vanishing of embargoed copy. The press agreed that it is very difficult to sit on a hot lead for a story; another journalist might be willing to forego the embargo just to claim the scoop. The only exception is study or research: reporters appreciate receiving this copy in advance so there is time to analyze and interpret the data.

Some key points about media in general:

  • Most general rules about media still apply regarding pitching, targeting, and writing.
  • Print newspapers are not all dying; some have maintained their growth despite advances of Internet media.
  • Details, details! The more specifics you are able to provide, the better the story. For example:
    • quotes from those involved to help lengthen and “flesh out” the article
    • full names and titles of those involved (businesses/contractors, architects, lawyers)
    • specific locations (headquarters, where contract was signed, new facilities)
    • use experts for analysis within the content—make sure you provide titles, applicable degrees, etc.
  • Make sure your contacts on the release:
    • are primary experts on the release content.
    • are available 24 hours a day. If only one is, specify who is the after-hours contact.
    • are prepared to serve as ambassadors between the company and the public.

Read the rest of this entry »


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