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.
 

BWELA 2011: 7 Key Takeaways from BlogWorld Expo 2011

November 7, 2011

By Amy Yen, Marketing Specialist, Business Wire Los Angeles

BlogWorld LA 2011BlogWorld Expo is a daunting place to be. There are more than 150 sessions featuring more than 250 speakers over three days, not to mention the fact that the whole place is basically teeming with really smart people with really interesting ideas about absolutely everything. So, trying to sum up all the takeaways from the conference is a pretty ridiculous task. Seriously, try reading all the great tweets under the #BWELA official hashtag, which has attracted more than 36,000 tweets and more than 280 million impressions thus far.

Nonetheless, keeping in mind that the following does not even begin to cover all the great information and insights from the conference (& is in fact limited to the sessions I was personally able to attend), I wanted to share some of the takeaways I got from the show:

  1. This is the era for inquisitors. More than anything, BlogWorld was about reminding this audience of communicators of the important role they play during this changing time for business. Keynote speaker Amber Naslund talked about this not being the “era of experts,” but rather the “era of inquisitors, of people who ask questions, who are willing to be curious.”
  2. Time to drink the Google+ Kool-Aid. Although business or brand pages aren’t available—yet—speakers Chris Brogan & Guy Kawasaki say you can still be using the platform professionally now, by representing your business using your personal page and developing relationships. Use tools like Find People on Plus to find people with similar passions & use Circles to control what messages you’re sending to what groups. Chris Brogan’s #1 piece of advice for Google+ is to improve your About profile, using a good picture and including links to your website, blog and other social profiles. Finally, remember the all-important fact that Google+ remains the only social network currently being indexed by Google.
  3. Mobilize your website for user experience. By 2013, half of all web traffic will be from a mobile device. Your priority when it comes to mobile should be a mobile website, which should be a much more condensed, simplified version of your desktop site. Focus on what your customer really needs to be able to access on the go. Keep navigation simple and make sure to cross-platform test across different phones and test phones several years back, as people are still carrying those. Load time needs to be fast for people access information on their phones.
  4. Blogger relations remain a largely untapped opportunity for brands. According to Technorati’s 2011 State of the Blogosphere study, two-thirds of bloggers surveyed say they blog about brands. Less than half classified their interactions with brands as favorable or very favorable. Less than a quarter say brands provide value or are knowledgeable about their blog. 60 percent say they feel bloggers are treated less professionally by brand representatives than are traditional media. Meanwhile, blogs continue to outpace other social media as well as traditional media in terms of generating consumer recommendations and purchasing. Blogger relations thus represents a major opportunity for brands.
  5. Quality content is more important than ever in a post-Panda world. Speaker Shane Ketterman described “quality” content as content so compelling, it engages you in a topic you weren’t even interested in. Following Google’s Panda updates in 2011, having quality content & putting your content on a quality site is more important than ever. Design elements—from ad radio to breadcrumbs to optimized images—are also more important in a post-Panda world. Ketterman also recommended an interesting SEOMoz article presenting a theory that Google assigns value to passion, emotion and authenticity in content.
  6. Facebook engagement is more important than ever in a post-EdgeRank world. The fact is, brands rarely show up in Facebook users’ newsfeeds…unless they’ve engaged with brand. Speaker Dennis Yu recommended brands respond to every post on their page, whether they are asking a question or not. Responding indicates a two-way relationship to Facebook, which increases your EdgeRank. He also pointed out that most brands advertising on Facebook link to an external site, but that eliminates the all-important social aspect of the ad (where your friends can see that you’ve liked the ad or a brand in their ad).
  7. Have a plan to capitalize on success. Everybody knows to have a back-up plan in case everything goes wrong, but several speakers talked about having a plan in case everything goes right. Make sure you are able to capitalize on unplanned visibility: have your branding, contact information and links already in place on content.

Hybrid Approach: Reporters Use Social Networks, but Prefer Phone and Email for PR Pitches

May 18, 2011
 
by Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager,
Business Wire/Chicago
 
  
The PR community seems to have an insatiable appetite for information on how, why and for what journalists are using social media.  Two recent surveys suggest  a hybrid approach is preferred. 
 
According to a recent  Society of New Communications Research (SNCR) survey of 200 journalists, more than 70% use social media networks and platforms as reporting tools.  Facebook (no surprise), is the dominant player.  About 75% of journalists said they use it as a reporting tool, yet only 1% prefer Twitter as a way to be contacted.   Interestingly, nearly 90% prefer traditional communication tools like email and phone for building relationships with PR people.
 
Reporters also continue to find great value in resources like company websites  when it comes to their day-to-day news gathering, the study found. 
  
The Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) is also conducting a survey.  This one will take a look at the social media habits of business reporters.  At their Spring Conference last month, the organization held a social media tools workshop where Thomson Reuters  personal finance reporter Lauren Young  shared that she uses pitches she receives on Twitter to cultivate and tap news sources.
 
Specifically, SABEW wants to take a look at business journalists’ use of social media for “reporting and disseminating business news,” said Kevin Noblet, SABEW’s president, with the intent of conducting the survey annually to establish benchmarks and track changes in usage among its membership.    Results will be made public on the organization website before the end of June.  
 
If you’re a business journalist, we encourage you to take this one-minute survey today.
 

What can Public Relations Professionals Learn from TBD.com?

August 9, 2010

by Cecile Oreste, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/DC

TBD.com, which launched today, is taking a unique approach to providing hyperlocal news.  Unlike AOL’s recently launched Patch.com, which hired reporters to cover local communities in California, New York and other states, TBD.com will partner with more than a hundred community blogs to provide the most comprehensive coverage of the DC Metro area.

TBD.com Homepage

TBD.com, a hyperlocal news site which launched today in Washington, DC

That’s not to say that TBD.com won’t have a reporting staff of its own.  The TBD.com editorial team is comprised of several journalists from a number of traditional media, including The Washington Post, as well as new media platforms like local blog DCist.com.  What makes TBD.com different from other competitors that are also looking to provide news down to the ZIP code is its willingness to admit that no one news outlet can cover it all.

“Aggregation will play an important role.  We’re not just producing content, but will be linking to traditional media outlets and our community of blogs when they have content we’re not covering,” said Jeff Sonderman, Senior Community Host of TBD.com. “We’re taking an approach that is almost the opposite of legacy media by not keeping the traffic all to ourselves.”

In addition, TBD.com plans to use an editorial style that mirrors the format of its community blogs, which cover news about a variety of topics including neighborhood issues, food, sports and entertainment.  “Our reporters will have more of a blogger mindset.  They’ll be focused on talking to a community of users, creating short dispatches, constantly updating stories and linking to other sources,” Sonderman said.

According to Sonderman, there are a number of reasons why the blog movement has developed as much as it has.  Blogs tend to engage readers with a more personal perspective versus traditional media which adhere to a specific formula.  Blogs are also infinitely customizable and can appeal to even the smallest group of readers.

Sonderman gave the example of Allergy Life in Loudoun – a blog about child food allergy issues, written by a mother raising a daughter with life-threatening allergies.  “You’re never going to find a reporter who covers allergies in Loudoun County,” he said.  “But there happens to be a blog for that niche audience.”

What can public relations professionals learn from TBD.com’s approach to hyperlocal news?  First, we take a lesson from TBD.com’s model of aggregation.  Although you can provide journalists with valuable information, you don’t have all the answers.  Providing resources or additional credible contacts can help build relationships with journalists.

Second, engage your reader.  Press releases don’t always have to follow the same format.  Write with voice, humor, wit and get a journalist’s attention by breaking through the clutter.

Finally, find your audience – even if it’s a community interested in a girl living with allergies.  Identify who you’re trying to reach and go where they are even if it’s a small publication or local blog.


Silicon Valley Experts Discuss Communications in the Conversational Age

February 1, 2010

Over 160 PR and IR professionals joined our Business Wire Silicon Valley media breakfast panel at Advanced Micro Devices’ (AMD) Conference center on Thursday, January 14th, in Sunnyvale, CA for an engaging discourse on best practices in public and media relations. Here is a video from the event:

Moderated by Anthony DeRico, Director of Digital Media at Nielsen and co-founder of Think Communications, the thought leaders and panelists included:

Here are some of the key insights provided by our panelists:

Read the rest of this entry »


When Press Releases Go Global, Timing Important: All Things Press Release Podcast

January 28, 2010

Timing is everything, especially when press releases go global, says Marianne Pohl, an editor in Business Wire’s London newsroom.

All Things Press Release launches a “Going Global with Your Press Release” podcast series today with an episode on timing. Marianne shares tips on what to consider when sending press releases across time zones around the world.

Simultaneous?  Play to the local market’s time zone and work day?  What about local holidays and celebrations?   Take a listen and learn–and let us know what you think.

If you like what you hear, subscribe via RSS or iTunes. You can enjoy all our podcasts by clicking on the All Things Press Release tab at the top of this page (third tab from left).

Have ideas for a future podcast?   Please let us know. Email blog_group@businesswire.com or connect with us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/businesswire


PR Peeps Poll: 32% say 2009 Social Media Efforts “Good not Great”

January 20, 2010

The December 2009 PR Peeps poll results are in–better late than never, folks–and 32% of respondents rated their social media efforts for 2009 “good, not great.”

Regarding the question, “How would you rate the success of your social media efforts in 2009?” 174 answered as follows:

  • Fantastic–22, or 13%
  • Good, not great–56, or 32%
  • Fair–41,  or 24%
  • Still debating if  it’s worth the time–40, or 23%
  • Terrible–15, or 8%

We’ll leave the commentary on this poll to the social media evangelists.

To those who participated, thank you–and hey, how about helping with the January 2010 PR Peeps Poll?    Do you monitor news and press releases on your mobile device? Please let us know.

Happy New Year!


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