How Sensory Preferences Impact the ROI of The Press Release

April 23, 2014

April 23, 2014

This week, Business Wire Marketing Specialist Fred Godlash has an article featured in CommPro.biz on How Sensory Preferences Impact the ROI of The Press Release.

 

To understand the impact of multimedia within your marketing, advertising or public relations programs, you first must recognize how your audience absorbs and retains information. Did you know that recollection is more difficult when hearing things rather than seeing or doing them and that a whopping 65% of the population are visual learners. This means that the standard textual press release does not resonate as thoroughly with more than half of the world!

To be a very good communicator in a ROI-oriented environment, you now must consider how today’s humans learn and consume information.
Read the full story at http://www.commpro.biz/public-relations/science-sensory-preferences-impact-roi-press-release/

Tweet this post: https://twitter.com/fredgodo/status/458987428607320064


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.


Business Wire Media Breakfast: How to Pitch Influential Business Publications Event Recap

November 26, 2013
by Warner Boutin, Senior Account Executive & Luis Guillen, Media Relations Specialist

On Wednesday, November 20th, Business Wire Los Angeles hosted a media breakfast panel titled “How to Pitch Influential Business Publications” addressing tactical media targeting tips. The panel, moderated by Stefan Pollack, President of Pollack PR Marketing Group, asked questions to the group on numerous topics, including how they prefer to be pitched by the media, how public relations & marketing professionals should navigate through today’s glut of online media and what new opportunities and challenges face PR professionals. The panel consisted of Brian Deagon, Business & Technology Reporter, Investor’s Business Daily; Joe Bel Bruno, Deputy Business Editor, Los Angeles Times; Pat Maio, Business Reporter, Long Beach Register; and Russ Britt, Los Angeles Bureau Chief, Marketwatch from Dow Jones.

Story Pitching Tips & Media Trends

Business Wire Media Breakfast on "How to Pitch Influential Business Publications"

Business Wire Media Breakfast on “How to Pitch Influential Business Publications”

Kicking off the media breakfast, Pollack asked the journalists to share trends & coverage tips. The panel agreed that random, untargeted pitches end up in the garbage. “Reporters tend to stay with people and sources they know,” said Los Angeles Times Editor Joe Bel Bruno. Marketwatch Bureau Chief Russ Britt explained “timeliness is key.” Clarifying that their bureau’s focus is on relevant leads. Brian Deagon from Investor’s Business Daily, highlighted a creative online video pitch from the CEO of Santa Monica StartUp Dollar Shave Club. Long Beach Register reporter Pat Maio said he communicates mostly through email and texts versus phone call pitches. The panel agreed that the biggest Public Relations pitching blunder is lack of research: not understanding your audiences and/or relevant media outlets.

Attracting the Reader’s Attention
Pollack asked the panel about news discovery trends. The panel agreed on the need for stories to be brief, concise, shareable, SEO friendly and timely. “The first one to get their story out gets the most clicks,” said Brian Deagon. Joe Bel Bruno elaborated on click rates, discussing SEO news content discovery and describing one LA Times department that analyzes nothing but Google algorithms.

Full attendance at the Business Wire Media Breakfast

Full attendance at the Business Wire Media Breakfast


Leveraging social media tools

In response to using Twitter as a social media tool, Brian Deagon said “there’s nothing wrong with appealing to our vanity (on Twitter) to make an intro.” The Long Beach Register uses their blog to run polls, research data and engage their niche audiences, and because they use a subscription model the focus is more on local community rather than social media posting.

Panelists concluded the panel, answering audience questions and sharing final tips for pitching an oversaturated media environment.
From Left to Right: Pat Maio, Long Beach Register; Joe Bel Bruno, Los Angeles Times;Brian Deagon, Investor’s Business Daily; Russ Britt, Marketwatch; and moderator Stefan Pollack,President of Pollack PR & Marketing Group

From Left to Right: Pat Maio, Long Beach Register; Joe Bel Bruno, Los Angeles Times; Brian Deagon, Investor’s Business Daily; Russ Britt, Marketwatch; and moderator Stefan Pollack,President of Pollack PR Marketing Group

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.


Local Coverage Can Transcend the Community it Serves

May 11, 2012

by Molly Pappas, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire Boston

Last Thursday, over 100 PR and communications professionals attended Business Wire Boston’s media panel breakfast event focused on the ever-changing media landscape.  Panelists from the Boston Business Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Boston Herald, Patch.com and Mass High Tech discussed how news is changing in a digital environment, ways publications measure success and the differing views on paywalls.

Panelists included Frank Quaratiello, Boston Herald’s business editor, George Donnelly, executive editor at Boston Business Journal, Mass High Tech’s newest associate editor, Don Seiffert, associate regional editor of Patch.com, Abby Jordan, and Leigh Montgomery, Christian Science Monitor’s librarian.  Business Wire’s own Sanford Paek, Group Vice President of Eastern U.S. and Canada, served as moderator.

L-R: Sanford Paek, Frank Quaratiello, George Donnelly, Abby Jordan, Leigh Montgomery, Don Seiffert

Here are some of the highlights from the discussion:

News changing in a digital environment:

  • Digital formatting has changed the way in which the media address their audience.  In terms of storytelling, the visual experience online can be interesting.  Donnelly says the Boston Business Journal runs two to three slideshows a week.
  • The Boston Herald has played around with its homepage and moved the video player there, and has since seen a dramatic increase on time spent on the site.  Videos bring in about 180,000 views.
  • Digital environments have brought about a different world of immediacy to Jordan and her Patch.com team.  They do not wait for an end-of-the-day deadline like print publications; instead, they are continually updating their sites, usually five to seven times a day.  “The site is not just for people to consume, but to interact with,” says Jordan.  For example, people can upload their own events on the site for display.
  • “We need to put aside old media/new media; it’s just media,” says Montgomery.  In 2009, the Christian Science Monitor was the first international publication to drop its daily print and move to a Web daily only.  They still adhere to a publishing schedule, but she says they have more flexibility to publish throughout the day online (usually 30 stories per day).
  • Seiffert has found that the length of stories and deadlines are affected by the digital environment.  “There are losses to the digital age.  You lose the ability to report longer, more well-crafted stories,” he says.

Measuring success:

  • Patch.com is unique in that it does not have a print subscription number to base its success on.  “We are the new kids on the block.  We measure success on the number of unique visitors on the site, the number of comments on a story, how our readers interact with the site,” Jordan says.
  • For Quaratiello and the Boston Herald, circulation of print product is an obvious measure of success.  But it’s also about the visitors online, who are building a community and using the Herald as a “meeting place” of sorts.  The Herald has helped create a forum, engaging the paper and its readers.
  • As an online publication, the Christian Science Monitor can draw on a lot of online usage data, such as quizzes, to monitor success.  The core, however, is solution seeking, Montgomery says.  When a story is being discussed and you hear and see it in conversation, that is considered a measure of success.
  • While the Boston Business Journal has really embraced analytics, they try not to allow it to be the sole decision maker on the news they cover and publish.  “We want to give people as much as we can in an interesting way,” says Donnelly.
  • For Seiffert, there is a constant struggle between balancing context and ‘hits.’  “We measure success on Tweets, join/follows on Facebook, the most read and most emailed articles.  But there is a danger of losing the personal connection,” he says.

Paid content vs. free:

  • “Readers aren’t tired of free news, the newspapers are tired of giving out free news,” says Seiffert.
  • “I do not think paid online subscriptions will be successful.  It’s just not going to pay the bills,” says Quaratiello.  Donnelly, however, disagrees.  He sees the tide turning in the other direction, and believes that it’s necessary. “Newspapers are realizing that readers need to subsidize revenue.  Newspapers are dispersing news worth paying for.  Valuable news shouldn’t be free,” he argues.
  • Patch.com has not looked at a paywall.  They use metrics to get advertisers, thus bring in revenue.
  • Because of the Christian Science Monitor’s multiplatform model (Internet first and paid print subscriptions), Montgomery believes the publication will be self-sustaining by 2017 because of the revenue they bring in.

The panelists ended the event with a few quick pointers on how they like to be pitched:

  • Seiffert always likes to talk to someone directly.  However, if that isn’t possible, provide links or pointers to other primary sources he can contact.
  • “When we get information, our day begins.  It’s frustrating and annoying when someone sends in a release at 5, then leaves and we can’t get them on the phone,” Quaratiello says.
  • Both Jordan and Donnelly are happy to accept photos, but he advises that they be no more than 1 megabyte.  Editors and reporters are weary of opening photo attachments because they can cause computers to freeze or shut down.

For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit our events page or follow Business Wire events on Twitter, hashtag #bwchat.


Local Bureau, National Media: Four Major Outlets Tell PR Professionals How to Get Their Attention

May 9, 2012

by Andrea Gillespie, Account Executive, Business Wire Chicago

With Chicago being the third largest media market in the US, many national media contacts call The Windy City home. Whether their beat is the entire Midwest or specific industry groups, knowing who’s who in the Chicago national media scene can earn you more placements. In April, Business Wire hosted some of these national news gatekeepers to learn what types of pitches stand out and how to get national attention for your company or client.

Cheryl Corley, National Desk Correspondent, NPR

Based in NPR’s Chicago Bureau, Cheryl Corley travels primarily throughout the Midwest, covering issues and events from Ohio to South Dakota as a National Desk reporter.

Pitch tips:
  • Cheryl is interested in stories that have a national or at least a broad Midwestern scope.  If a story is too focused on one specific state or city, she will refer the person to the local station.
  • Because of the radio format, she is not as interested in video. Adding still photography is helpful to create interest in your pitch, but no attachments.
  • The librarians for NPR are frequently called upon by NPR correspondents to do research for stories, so they are good contacts to have. They regularly scour and post queries to social media sites for experts.
Jason Dean, Chicago Bureau Chief, The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires

Jason Dean oversees coverage of subjects including economic, political and cultural developments in the Midwest; national education issues; the agriculture and foods business; the airline and aerospace industries; and key financial exchanges.

Pitch tips:
  • Jason prefers personal pitches – just plugging his name into an email that went to a large group of people doesn’t fool him.
  • He also suggests doing research to identify which WSJ/Dow Jones reporter covers your industry. The Chicago Bureau does not cover all Chicago companies. For example, Chicago tech companies are covered by the San Francisco bureau.
  • Pitch visuals. With every story they cover, they consider what type of video component can be added to it. While they prefer to shoot their own video, it’s helpful to include a link to b-roll or your spokesperson in action in your pitch. He requests links only – no attachments.

Andy Fies, Producer, ABC News

Great crowd at the BW Chicago event!

Andy Fies is one of two producers based in ABC’s Midwest Bureau covering stories for World News with Diane Sawyer,Good Morning America, Nightline and ABCNews.com. His primary area of responsibility is news of national interest from the nation’s heartland.
Pitch tips:
  • Andy is interested in covering stories from all Midwestern companies, but he is mostly drawn to those that show how people on the street are being affected. They want to put a personal view into every story they cover.
  • As ABC recently merged with Yahoo! News, consider the digital version of your story. This means photos and visuals of your story are necessary.
Greg Stricharchuk, Editor, Sunday Business Section, The Chicago Tribune

As an editor in the business news section, Greg Stricharchuk works with reporters and helps conceptualize and edit their stories. He’s also specifically responsible for the Sunday business section.

Pitch tips:
  • While you can copy Greg on your pitches to reporters, it’s best to read the paper and know who writes about your topic. Pitch them directly first.
  • Greg is mainly interested in publicly held companies – not so much private companies or organizations, unless they are starting an industry trend or obtaining significant funding.
  • Don’t pitch experts 2-3 days after a story breaks. Oftentimes, stories are starting to form days before the actual news breaks. Get your expert pitches to the appropriate editor before that happens.
  • Remember that the Tribune is comprised of six newspapers, online sites and TV stations. Pitches that show how the story can cross all mediums are typically well-received.
Thanks again to all of our clients and the communications professionals who were able to join us.
For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit our events page or follow Business Wire events on Twitter, hashtag #bwchat.

Upcoming Business Wire Events: Olympics in London, Katie Paine in Dallas, Meet the Media in Boston, Denver and Charlotte

April 30, 2012

Upcoming Business Wire Events

Business Wire’s Media Breakfast: The Olympics, Media & PR

Hosted by Business Wire London

With the biggest sporting event in the world at our doorstep, join us for a discussion about how the Olympics affects the media landscape. Panelists include: Matt Ball, Editor-in-Chief of MSN UK, Scott Dougal, Deputy Sports Editor, the Press Association, Duncan Hooper, Managing Editor, News & Sport, MSN and Darren Waters, Head of Devices & Social Media, MSN / ex-BBC journalist. This event is FREE for public relations and communications professionals.

Wednesday, May 2 at 8:45 AM BST
St Bride Foundation
Bride Lane, Fleet StreetLondon , EC4Y 8EQ, United Kingdom

To register: RSVP by Monday 30 April to uk@BusinessWire.com

Meet the Boston Media

Hosted by Business Wire Boston

Join Business Wire Boston for breakfast and a panel discussion with members of the local media. Learn about current trends in journalism, what kind of news editors are looking for, and how to effectively pitch a story. Panelists include: George Donnelly - Executive Editor, Boston Business Journal, Abby Jordan – Associate Regional Editor, AOL’s Patch.com, Leigh Montgomery – Librarian, Christian Science Monitor, Frank Quaratiello – Business Editor, Boston Herald and Don Seiffert – Associate Editor, News, Mass High Tech. This event is FREE for all attendees.

Thursday, May 3 at 8:00 AM ET
Westin Waltham Hotel
70 Third Avenue, Waltham, MA, 02451

To register: RSVP to http://www.eventbrite.com/event/2184174926?ref=ebtn

Meet Denver Journalists and Public Relations Professionals Specializing in Targeting the Hispanic Market

Hosted by Business Wire Denver

Learn Tips for Reaching and Pitching Hispanic Media, a Critically Important and Growing Segment of the American Community. Daniel Montano, President/CE) of Elevation Creation International moderates a panel, including María Rozman, News Director, KDEN Telemundo Denver; Roberto Martínez-Maestre, General Director, El Hispano; Kim DeVigil, Senior Director, Communications, University of Denver; and Luisa Collins, News Director, Univision Colorado. This event is FREE for Business Wire members and $20 for non-members.

Thursday, May 3 at 8:30 AM MDT
Denver Athletic Club
1325 Glenarm Place, Denver, CO, 80204

To register: RSVP by May 1 to JoAnne Hirsch, (303) 861-8833 or joanne.hirsch@businesswire.com

Pitching to Pickup – Tips from Local Media on Working with Newsrooms

Hosted by Business Wire Charlotte

Local media professionals will discuss how to effectively pitch news to the media. Panelists include Dion Lim, News Anchor, WCNC; David Harris, Managing Editor, The Charlotte Business Journal and John Arwood, Business Editor, The Charlotte Observer. This event is FREE for Business Wire members and $20 for non-members.

Tuesday, May 22 at 7:30 AM ET
Dilworth Neighborhood Grille
911 East Morehead St, Charlotte, NC, 28204

To register: Please RSVP by Thursday, May 17 to Penny Sowards at penny.sowards@businesswire.com

Measuring What Matters: New Rules for 21st Century Communications Measurement

Hosted by Business Wire Dallas, with NIRI, PRSA, IABC and Critical Mention

What metrics really matter? How can metrics drive strategy? Join IABC, PRSA, NIRI, Business Wire & Critical Mention for the annual joint communications lunch, as Katie Paine, CEO of KDPaine & Partners, provides measurement insight on “best in class” measurement programs for 2012, best measurement tools today, where measurement is headed and more. Standard Luncheon Fees apply: Full-time Student $25.00, Guest $50.00 , Member $40.00 and Table of 10: $500.

Thursday, May 31 at 11:15 AM CT
Thanksgiving Tower (Tower Club)
1601 Elm Street, Dallas, TX, 75201

To register: Please RSVP by May 28 at 10:00 pm on this page

Business Wire holds dozens of local events every year. We bring local media members and industry thought leaders to your market to discuss today’s most relevant topics, from trends in today’s newsrooms to writing for SEO. Events are usually free of charge to members. For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit BusinessWire.com. Follow live updates from Business Wire events on Twitter: hash tag #bwchat


Raleigh-Durham Media Discuss Journalism Trends, Press Release Tips

March 28, 2012

by Penny Sowards, Client Services Representative, Business Wire Charlotte

Business Wire hosted a “Meet the Media” luncheon at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel & Convention Center in Durham on March 15.  Panelists included Rick Martinez, News Director, NewsRadio 680 WPTF; Rick Smith, Business and Technology Manager, WRAL-TV, and David Bracken, Assistant Business Editor, The News & Observer. Kristi Lee-John, Principal at Crossroads Public Relations, was moderator.

Panelists discussed current trends in journalism and tips on effective pitching.

L-R: David Bracken, Rick Smith, Rick Martinez. Kristi Lee-John, moderator at podium

Important points made during the discussion:

  • Make sure someone from your company is available by phone or email at all times after making an announcement
  • Keep the lead information at the top
  • Have all answers available if possible
  • Pitch should always be professional and go to the appropriate reporters
  • Subject line on emails should be “to the point”
  • The company website is very important to journalists for gathering information
  • Blogs are a great tool and have great potential provided quality is there
  • Make an effort to contact the media before 3 p.m.
  • No jargon-filled releases

The journalists all agreed that press releases are important and relevant in conveying news to the media. Specific guidelines were discussed on what the media deems a good press releases:

  • Headlines should be clear and to the point
  • The focus of the news should be at the beginning of the release
  • Bullet points are a great tool to create a clear and concise message to the reader
  • Multimedia and web links are great added features to make the release more informative and interesting.

For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit our events page or follow Business Wire events on Twitter, hashtag #bwchat.


Tips to Give Your Best Media Pitch in Under 45 Seconds from the NABJ Convention

November 17, 2011
by Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager, Business Wire/Chicago
Media pitching is indeed an art form.  Vying for the attention of busy journalists who must fill news holes with limited resources requires precision.  PR practitioners and freelancers had less than a minute to pitch a panel of top editors and reporters from leading national news outlets during the “Pitch Me with Your Best Shot” workshop at this year’s recent National Association of Black Journalists’ (NABJ) convention in Philadelphia.

ABC Good Morning America, The Huffington Post, People and Essence Magazine staff were all part of the panel.  American Idol style, they critiqued those who seized the opportunity to stand in-front of more than 75 workshop attendees which included PR pros and journalists and deliver their impromptu 45-second pitch.

Here are a few practical tips you can use to cut out the fluff when you craft your next pitch.

Trymaine Lee, senior reporter at The Huffington Post, Catherine “Cat” McKenzie, senior producer at ABC’s Good Morning America, Tatsha Robertson, senior editor at People and Bob Meadows, deputy editor at Essence take questions at NABJ annual conference

Have a tie-in and know your media - 45 seconds is fast. Lead with the specific area related to your pitch: What segment would it fall under, what monthly column focuses on your topic or what time of the year is best for your story (ex. Black History Month)?  Show those you’re pitching you follow their media outlet and understand their audience and what they are seeking.  Don’t pitch the producers of The Wendy Williams Show your awesome chef and cookbook.  They don’t do cooking segments.

Embrace the nerd in us and give statistics.  Everyone’s got a little nerd in them.  Statistics can help sell a story.  Journalists want to feel like they’ve taught the audience something new.

Numbers are great but people are better.  Can you provide the reporter or producer access to someone impacted by your organization, get them an interview with the founder of the non-profit or offer a celebrity who has close ties to your issue?  Be sure to let them know if  they can be available immediately.

Show a little passion.  Enthusiasm can be faked but it’s no substitute for passion.  Passion infects and when combined with authenticity, it shows.  One of the publicists in attendance pitched a story on the number of missing and abused African-American women and children who get only minimal news coverage everyday. Her pitch evoked a standing ovation from the crowd and nearly brought members of the panel to tears–probably not her goal, but impressive nonetheless.  Passion moves people to take action.  When you’re crafting your pitch don’t cut out the passion.

Raschanda Hall


Info Plus Data Equals Credibility: Toronto Star Editors on How to Pitch

October 18, 2011

by Rishika Luthra, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/Canada

Rishika Luthra

Rishika Luthra

Ever wondered why your press release didn’t get the traction you felt it deserved? Or why a specific newspaper ignored your announcement? The answer is simple: the best way to “be heard” is to first know the publications you’re pitching.

Andrew Phillips

Andrew Phillips, Toronto Star -- photo by Richard Arless

In a candid discussion with Business Wire Canada, Brandie Weikle, Editor for healthzone.ca and parentcentral.ca; and Andrew Phillips, Editorial Page Editor at The Toronto Star; shared some useful tips on  do’s and don’ts for pitching their publications.

According to Brandie, five key points to consider while targeting top Canadian newspapers are:

1) Dovetail your press release with market trends

The Toronto Star might not run a company profile or a news story just about what your company is doing. Try to consider your promotional needs in the context of broader issues and news. For instance, suggest a story that examines what your company or organization is doing in the context of a trend, market need or societal issue.

2)  Beef up your credibility

Make sources besides your own company contacts available. Ensure that your contacts are well-prepped with relevant talking points. If possible, try to get an outside source for an unbiased perspective.

3) Be media wise and stay ahead of the game

Research the types of articles run by the publication you are pitching. For example, if you pitch a pure product story and the publication does not have a product-related section or history of running that kind of story, your press release won’t get lucky. Tailor your pitch to the sections they DO have and the article types they favour. Browse the publication’s website to learn more about the news sections.

Brandie Weikle

Brandie Weikle, Editor for healthzone.ca and parentcentral.ca

4) Relevance is directly proportional to pick-up!

Suggest your ideas in the context of ongoing coverage of stories that are already being developed. If your idea can further the story in some way, and you can show that you have been reading our coverage closely, your chances of success are greater.

5) Information combined with data: A winning duo

Lastly, websites do very well with headlines that have numbers in them — for instance: “7 things you need to know about XXXXX,” “5 secrets to XXXXX,” and so on. If suitable, consider structuring your pitch to provide these kinds of winning lists that readers enjoy.

As a final word to the wise, Andrew has this suggestion: “In an industry characterized by continuous change, the most essential attribute for any news content is relevance. Sometimes it is a prestige issue for companies; however, they need to understand the importance of getting their message out by leveraging social media and bypassing the bigger media. For example, announcements about management changes within companies, unless they involve corporations such as RIM or Apple Inc, do not qualify as being newsworthy for our publication.”


Denver-Area Journalists Discuss Newsroom Cutbacks, Pitching Tips

August 23, 2011

by JoAnne Hirsch, Senior Client Services Representative, Business Wire Denver

Business Wire Denver recently hosted a media breakfast, “Who’s Covering You Now: What Newsroom Cutbacks Mean to Your Company and How to Pitch Stories to a Shrinking Newsroom.”  The media panel discussed the changing landscape, best practices for pitching and the impact of  mobile.


David Sloan
, Account Executive for Business Wire Denver, moderated the panel, which included (L-R):

  • Gil Asakawa, Manager of Student Media, Journalism & Mass Communication, University of Colorado
  • Greg Nieto, News Reporter, FOX31 and KWGN, Channel 2
  • Patrick Doyle, Senior Editor, 5280 Publishing, Inc.

Tight budgets, shrinking newsrooms

Nieto responded to seemingly endless media consolidation by finding a silver lining.  “I have a lot more leeway to bring stories to the table,” he said. “When we have editorial meetings they used to ask for five or six story ideas and that number has probably grown to about 10.”  

Asakawa added that in recent years the Denver Post has shrunk drastically, resulting in reporters  juggling multiple kinds of stories.  One of the biggest changes, he said, has been the PR community’s outreach to social media and individual bloggers.

Know your audience, do your homework

The panel was unanimous in the sage-old advice to PR pros:  despite technology, it’s all about the relationship. “Watch some of the program on TV and see where your topic might fit in,” counseled Nieto.   Doyle requested no attachments in email pitches and Asakawa advised: “Find new hooks and plan new hooks every year so you have something to go to the media with.”

Nieto offered a lesson in selling reporters on your story:  “When I pitch a story I’m already thinking about the hook. What’s going to be the tease? A pitch should be multi-layered.  The more ammunition I have, the better opportunity it’s going to stick and someone in the editorial meeting is going to assign your story.”

Regarding timing, the journalists recommended keeping production schedules and editorial calendars in mind.  A monthly magazine works far in advance, with editorial calendars set a year out. Newspapers have a more timely window.  “You need to know that to get in the Friday section it’s done at most papers by Tuesday,”  said Asakawa.

Mobile technologies a game changer

The panel agreed that mobile is here and the future is uncertain.   “If I’m out on a story they have me shoot a little tease with my Droid that we’ll send to our website,” said Nieto. “Over the past three years there’s been a huge push to write our Web script. I find more and more I get feedback from people who read my scripts from across the country who haven’t viewed the broadcast.  That’s fascinating to me.”

For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit our events page or follow Business Wire events on Twitter, hashtag #bwevents.

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