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!


Denver Media Discuss the Fractured Media Landscape at Business Wire Event

September 17, 2009

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On August 27, Business Wire Denver hosted a panel of media experts to talk about “The Future of How Global News is Delivered, and the Rise of the Fractured Communications Class.” Despite the daunting title, the focus of the discussion was clear: How are people getting their news today, who is providing it, and what are the media’s new roles in this landscape?

The panel, moderated by Joe Hodas, Senior Vice President, Brand Communications at Vladimir Jones, consisted of:

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Hodas started the panel off with the proposition 

that we are a fractured communication class – that people don’t read the entire newspaper anymore, nor do people watch a full half hour of news.  Instead, people gather their news in little bits and pieces from all over the place.  He believes that this type of news gathered by consumers is making mass media less and less realistic. Their responses:

Elkins is a fan of fractured media.  He does not believe that you can get to your audiences to come to you; you have to go where they are gathering.  Where they are gathering news is constantly changing, so it’s important to stay ahead and stay aware of social media trends. 

 Booth wonders how the media can still get paid in such an environment.  The Denver Post and 9News have two of the most popular websites in the west (presumably by hits), yet only 10 percent of the Post’s revenue comes from the Web.  Mistakes were made in the past to allow people to receive writing and video and other content for free, and now it’s catching up to the industry.

 Snyder explains that Frontier’s approach to social/fractured media is a careful one.  “Because we live in a world where every single employee can also be a reporter, steps must be taken to ensure that the employees are aware of how and when they represent the company.  Frontier is retraining every single employee to address this very thing.” 

 Maher, a self-described “social media curmudgeon,” notes that when he started in the journalism business, they used glue to keep film together.  A story required a reporter, a photographer and a sound guy.  Now he, and many of his colleagues, have to be jacks of all trades.  Jack described this as the MMJ (multi-media journalist) concept.  “It is no longer practical or acceptable to be one dimensional.”  He wonders, “Is the product being diluted by going to all these places?” 

 Garcia reveals that social media has opened up many doors for her non-profit.  She mentioned that keeping content fresh on their website with a small staff and smaller budget is challenging.  Because of this challenge, there are no restrictions on using social media in their office. 

Read the rest of this entry »


SoCal Communicators Discuss Social Media and PR

July 21, 2009

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Business Wire Los Angeles hosted a breakfast event July 16 where public relations professionals from across the Los Angeles area gathered to discuss best practices for companies to engage in the social media.

The panel discussion, “Communicating Through Social Media: How to Build Relationships to Reach Your Audience,” focused on how social media is impacting the public relations industry, what opportunities exist for PR professionals because of the emergence of tools like Twitter and Facebook and what companies are doing to engage with their audiences through these new platforms.

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Karen Kovacs North (far right), Director of the Annenberg Program on Online Communities at the University of Southern California, moderated the panel, which included (right to left):

Among the key points made by the panel:

  • Ms. Jordan notes that companies tend to jump into social media without knowing why. She stressed the importance of knowing what the business objective is. The reason you should go on the social web is if your customers are there, not just because it’s an item on a checklist.
  • Ms. Scott says it’s important for a company to have an individual voice. For example, she believes it’d be more personable for a brand like the 99 Cent Store to have an individual Twitter account, like @elsie_at_99Cent, rather than just a corporate account, like @99CentStore. She thinks there’s an opportunity there for the store to show the customer a different side of the brand.
  • Ms. O’Neill says that social media is not a bolt-on, but rather a part of an integrated communication strategy. Brands should be ready to take on the expectations that come with engaging with customers on these platforms. There is an expectation that you can answer questions and help if they have a complaint. Your organization needs to be set up to communicate on a more immediate level.
  • Ms. O’Neill believes that you should just be who you are on Twitter. Not every post needs to be promoting something for your brand. She believes in tweeting about what you’re passionate about and talking about what resonates with you. Twitter is what you make of it—be who you are.
  • Mr. Mendoza says that social media has opened up so many opportunities for everyone in our field. It’s shifted our approach, giving us direct access to consumers. There are so many tools out there now to engage with our audiences, it’s just about being strategic about it. But with so many opportunities, Mr. Mendoza believes that social media is more exciting for PR than it is threatening.
  • Ms. Jordan says that social media has shown the cracks in the public relations industry, in the sense that PR isn’t known for being a part of strategic and integrated communications. In this way, PR hasn’t evolved with the industry enough.
  • Ms. O’Neill notes that we’re starting to move away from public relations, marketing, customer support, etc being in their own individual silos and starting to level out a little in communicating to the public. It’s all about talking to real people and establishing relationships now. Who is better equipped to lead the charge than public relations?

Hear some audio clips from the event:

Read the rest of this entry »


Upcoming Business Wire Events – July 8 Edition

July 8, 2009

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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 some of our upcoming events in your area:

Communicating Through Social Media: How to Build Relationships to Reach Your Audience

Hosted by Business Wire Los Angeles

With the popularity of social network sites and technology becoming more portable, flexible and available in today’s world, we are reminded of the importance of new media every day. Join Business Wire LA for a panel discussion on how companies can effectively use new and social media tools to connect with their clients in new and engaging ways. What should companies be using and why? What are the new tools and platforms that are making their way into the spotlight? How have these tools impacted traditional media? Karen Kovacs North, Director of the Annenberg Program on Online Communities at the University of Southern California, will moderate a panel of experts in emerging media, including Siobhan O’Neill, Account Supervisor, Edelman Digital; Nick Mendoza, Senior Account Supervisor, Zeno Group; Nicole Jordan, Director, Integrated Communications, Rubicon Project; and social media blogger Julia Scott. This event is free for all attendees.

Thursday, July 16 at 8am PST
The Olympic Collection Center
11301 W. Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064
To register: Please RSVP to Garrett Henricksen at larsvp@businesswire.com or call 310-820-9473.

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


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