Business Wire Roundtable: Mixing with Chicago Media

April 28, 2015

By Whitney Cowit and Courtney Saltzman, Business Wire Chicago

On Wednesday, April 22, Business Wire Chicago held its first Media Roundtable and Speed Networking event featuring journalists and editors from across the print, TV and radio industry. Organized in 15-minute Q&A sessions, attendees met with reporters to discuss topics such as their role in the news cycle, how they find content and what information is most valuable to them.

Media participants included some of the biggest outlets in the industry, with contributions from:

The Business Wire Chicago team had an opportunity to participate in the sessions and share back key learnings. Below is a sampling of what they heard.

What is the best form of outreach for pitching stories?

  • Carrie Walker of ABC Chicago 7 is open to texts, calls or emails. If it’s breaking news, she wants to know about it. Additionally, she indicates that you can pitch news anchors directly. They often have influence over the stories they broadcast.
  • Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz of the Chicago Tribune recommends email. She mentions if you don’t hear back, follow up with a phone call and eventually she will get back to you.
  • Kathy Chaney of WBEZ 91.5 states she prefers email for pitches or via social media channels. Please don’t fax!
  • Mary Wisniewski with Thomson Reuters says no phone calls, as emails are always preferred.
  • Natalie Perez with Univision requests that you contact her assignment desk directly via email or phone. They also have their own social channels for outreach.

NUVI Chicago

What are some of the best ways to develop relationships with media?

  • Elejalde-Ruiz (Chicago Tribune) says no gifts. She would rather have an in-person meeting over coffee or lunch so she can hear your story idea and ask questions.
  • Walker (ABC Chicago 7) emphasizes that developing strong relationships with media is key. In her words, everyone has a job to do and if a PR person can deliver quality content he/she will make a good impression.

What information should PR communicators include in their subject line?

  • Elejalde-Ruiz (Chicago Tribune) says including the word “Exclusive” always helps. Additionally, make sure stories are relevant to the reporter’s beat. Further, if you were referred to her via another media point, include this in the subject line.
  • Walker (ABC Chicago 7) recommends including the words “Current” or “Today” as a way for her to denote pressing news from tomorrow’s stories.
  • Wisniewski (Thomson Reuters) prefers content that relates to national trends, top stories and legislation ‘hot topics.’ Be sure to include these keywords in the subject line of your email pitch.
  • Chaney (WBEZ 91.5) suggests you never be vague in a subject line. The more detail you can provide the more inclined she’ll be to open your pitch.

What information should PR communicators include in their email pitches?

  • Walker (ABC Chicago 7) loves to see multimedia accompanying a pitch since it shapes the story. She also looks for expert sources that are relevant to her beat and the stories she is covering. Finally, she suggests always leaving out one important detail. It will give her a reason to call.
  • When pitching an expert source, Chaney (WBEZ 91.5) recommends including other places your source has been quoted or recent appearances within broadcast coverage. Additionally, she suggests you include unique angles to stories that may have previously been thought of as commonplace.
  • Elejalde-Ruiz (Chicago Tribune) recommends being as straight-forward and concise in your emails as possible. Avoiding irrelevant details helps her quickly assess the news angle to see if it’s relevant to her publication.
  • Perez (Univision) prefers storylines that offer a human element and appeal to emotions.

What details should PR communicators avoid in their email pitches?

  • Elejalde-Ruiz (Chicago Tribune) does not believe surveys are a good source of information. Pitches that include these are typically ignored.
  • Walker (ABC Chicago 7) asks that PR people do not send b-roll footage or videos as ABC 7 Chicago will usually obtain their own for broadcasting. Additionally, satellite media tours no longer provide useful content for their coverage.
  • Wisniewski (Thomson Reuters) says not to include any attachments with your pitch. She also suggests avoiding repeat pitching and redundant emails since she will follow up on stories she’s interested in covering.

How do media measure the success of their stories?

  • Chaney (WBEZ 91.5) utilizes social channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Sound Cloud for metrics.
  • Elejalde-Ruiz (Chicago Tribune) relies on headline clicks as a form of measurement.
  • Walker (ABC Chicago 7) receives daily reporting on her ratings.

Reporter Metrics

Where do media find most of their story ideas and leads?

  • Chaney (WBEZ 91.5) states that press releases are her number one source for news and information. In addition, she utilizes the AP Daybook each day, but often finds the need for supplemental information as the Daybook does not offer a complete overview. She also believes that journalists cannot do their job unless they are on social media.
  • Similarly, Perez (Univision) uses press releases as her primary source of information. She states that press releases that include multimedia (photos, videos, images) are a bonus. As a secondary resource, she often utilizes social media, Facebook in particular, to find exclusive stories.
  • Wisniewski (Thomson Reuters) utilizes social media as a source for news since it’s the quickest and most up-to-date resource available.

bizwireresearch

What else do PR professionals need to know?

  • According to Walker (ABC Chicago 7), in-studio guest appearances need to be booked at least 4 weeks in advance. Weekends are often a good opportunity for “feel good” stories. When pitching this type of content, keep that in mind. She also enjoys great visuals and finding a unique approach to each story. For example, rather than merely covering a large event, Walker often follows an individual attending the event (or one affected by the cause) to gain an inside perspective and depict how the outcome of this event will impact this individual’s life moving forward.
  • Chaney (WBEZ 91.5) says that journalists want PR professionals who will advance their story and give them something that you haven’t given to other media outlets. Media are always hungry for an exclusive.
  • All of our media guests stated that whether or not news is relevant to their beat, they will often pass it along and share with colleagues to whom it would be relevant.

Reporters Prefer Business Wire

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How Business Wire Works: The Digital Journey of News Release Distribution

March 26, 2015

By Kourtney Hannaway, Editor, Business Wire

The life of a press release begins with a piece of newsworthy, specific content. It contains tight, efficient text focused around industry keywords and clear formatting. Multimedia assets, like photos and video will give it a boost, and links to social media sites spread its reach and encourage clicks.

Intel Example of a Business Wire Picture Capsule

After initial development, the release is submitted into the Business Wire Connect platform. Through this process, distribution possibilities become available, including regional and industry-focused options, translations, and specialty circuits like LatinoWire and HealthWire. The submission system includes an option to see a proof of the release before distribution, and a section for special instructions to pass along any questions or specific issues so they can be quickly resolved.

Business Wire NX Distribution Technology

When the submission process is complete, the press release pops into the Business Wire Newsroom. From there, editors carefully look over the release and its chosen distribution, making suggestions to both when appropriate. Editors add keywords based on the release content, making sure the release gets directed toward relevant media and boosting the release’s ultimate reach. They also connect relevant releases to the Business Wire tradeshow archives, when relevant, for free.

A release that has been fully prepared then gets scheduled for the time requested. When it crosses the wire simultaneously and securely through the NX network, Business Wire editors monitor the release to confirm third party sites like Yahoo! and AP are posting it correctly and on time. The release will appear on many platforms, including mobile apps and promoted stories sites like Dlvr.it.

Following distribution, the press release’s effectiveness can be measured through the included NewsTrak report, which gives information on traffic and search data. And the NUVI social media monitoring report displays social media conversation information, relevant influencers, virality, and more. These reports provide valuable info that can be used to create more press releases in the future.

NUVI Social Monitoring Tool Dashboard

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Want to learn more about crafting and distributing a press release that delivers higher results?  Read A guide to writing optimal press releases in 2015.

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Seek and Ye Shall Find: The News Release

March 25, 2015

By Neil Hershberg, Senior Vice President, Global Media

The primacy of the news release in the editorial ecosystem has once again been reaffirmed.Google adjusted its algorithms last September to include news releases among the authorized news sources used in gathering its “in the news” search results. Google’s decision had escaped notice until Reuters recently spotlighted the silent shift in search strategy: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/11/us-google-news-idUSKBN0M729A20150311

Simply put, news releases may catapult other sources to earn top ranking in searches focusing on specific companies. The impact on corporate issuers, news consumers, and media organizations promises to be profound in many ways.

Sonic Earnings in Google News

Corporate issuers stand to be the major beneficiaries; companies are now able to convey their message in their own words, unfiltered and without interpretation by others. Their official statements will play a larger role in shaping subsequent conversations, based on heightened visibility.

The biggest challenge for the PR industry is to not abuse the privilege. Following rampant efforts to game the system and artificially elevate search standings, Google introduced various initiatives, i.e. “Hummingbird,” to clamp down on the outsized presence of news releases in its search results.

Google’s release rehabilitation decision provides PR and IR professionals with the opportunity for redemption.

News consumers also stand to benefit on multiple levels. Company statements are an authoritative source of information; they remain extremely popular with many audiences, including investors, product enthusiasts, and peer group professionals.

The renewed prominence of the news release provides users with a direct and simple pathway to this invaluable information resource.

“The goal of search is to get users the right answer at any one time as quickly as possible — that may mean returning an article from an established publisher or from a smaller niche publisher or indeed it might be the press release,” a Google spokeswoman told Reuters.

An unintended consequence of Google’s action is the potential diversion of traffic away from sites operated by news organizations. Industry analysts have noted that Google’s “in the news” modules are a major driver of traffic to news sites, which may see some user slippage.

The reality, however, is that most readers are anxious to get a kaleidoscope of opinions and perspectives; they will likely seek out editorial coverage from trusted third-party sources to supplement the core release.

Bottom line: the news release is more vital than ever, at the very center of the discovery process.

Business Wire NX Distribution Technology

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Google Update Emphasizes Editorial Coverage in Mobile Search Results

March 4, 2015

Last week Google started rolling out a change to mobile search results that includes a stronger emphasis on fresh news articles featuring the company, or term searched.  In this update, Google now puts the information that persuades customers the fastest right into the top half of search results.

Blog 1

The role of Mobile in the Conversion Funnel
A 2014 study from Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and NetLine Corporation found that 62% of B2B buyers use mobile devices to seek out content to stay abreast of industry changes and 60% use them to find solutions to existing problems.  The IDG Global Mobile Survey 2014 shows that 86% of decision makers and executives use tablets for business-related research while 72% used mobile phones.

Given the increased reliance on mobile devices in the purchase cycle, communication and marketing professionals must be aware of how their company and content appear in search results. The better placement this material receives, the better chance for sales and marketing conversions.

The Role of Coverage in the Conversion Funnel
In 2014, Nielsen and InPowered studied how editorial coverage stacked up against other types of corporate marketing content such as branded content and user reviews. In each instance, editorial coverage showed to be more effective at increasing awareness, increasing brand affinity and purchase intent.

blog 2

Previously, Google search results looked like this image on the left. As you can see, Google included, when possible, a knowledge graph within the search results to provide a wider range of context to the search term.

Google now utilizes a carousel to present recent articles, videos and more on a particular topic. This format allows the search user to receive a wider array of more useful recent information, while the results appear in a clear, concise manner and fit within the size limitations of the device on hand.

We are excited to see additional emphasis on editorial coverage, without pushing other important search results farther down the page.  Of course, just like all Google updates, it’s key to remember that this change is still rolling out and will most likely evolve based on user search behavior, but we’ll continue to monitor and update you on changes as occur.


The Role of Consistency in News Releases, and Gym Workouts

February 28, 2015

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

StetchingEarlier this month, CommPro.biz published a piece by Business Wire Newport’s Kathy Tomasino outlining the seven reasons why sending out a news release is a lot like going to the gym and sharing her top tips for creating a communications fitness plan.

Click here to read this piece. Have a comment or a tip of your own?  We would love to hear your thoughts!  Just leave a message in the comment section below.


Three Reasons Why PR Professionals Rely On Newswires

February 9, 2015

By Billy Russell, Business Wire Phoenix

Corporate communications have never been more important.  In an internet era where a wealth of knowledge is available at anyone’s fingertips, consumers now have an unprecedented ability to see an entire corporate history unfold before them.  Whether a company is publicly traded or private, it is crucial to a company’s current and longterm success that they communicate initiatives, product rollouts and personnel announcements to the public.  A press release is the tried-and-true surefire method of encapsulating an important, newsworthy event with a cohesive narrative. Once it is written, what happens next?

With so many options available, the task of actually releasing the press release can be daunting.  There are many methods for press release distribution including email blasts and direct pitching to established or discovered contacts at media publications, but for the broadest audience reach possible for your company’s content and breaking news, a commercial newswire like Business Wire is the most effective tool at your disposal.

Why PR Professional Rely on Newswires:

1.  Newswires Increase Visibility – The problem with promoting your news via email is that yay-9159998-digitalultimately it limits the potential impact of your news to only those you already know. A newswire, on the other hand, distributes news to thousands of contacts at one time, via the method they choose to receive news – electronically.  These outlets include major news services like the Associated Press, Dow Jones, Bloomberg, Reuters, international news points like JiJi Press and Agence France Press, online services like Yahoo! and key financial communities like J.P. Morgan H&Q.

Outside of the newswire’s proprietary list of media and journalists, many news aggregators utilize newswire feeds to provide relevant content for its desired reading audience.  This means company news can now be discovered and acted upon by thousands of investors and consumers—instantly and on demand.

2.  Newswires Provide Legitimacy – A news release distributed electronically by a newswire will be posted on multiple sites and media sources as opposed to just one company website’s news section, or social channel.   Every media outlet receiving a newswire feed understands that this content has already yay-8022260-digitalpassed through strict publishing guidelines to ensure accuracy and legitimacy.  The efficacy of using a newswire to distribute company news announcements is to live on the web as an official piece of breaking news, to not simply be a single-source announcement.

Distributing your news through a newswire allows you to reach out to the media as a whole (newspapers, magazines, TV and radio), thus inaugurating a company’s name as an official, recognized brand that has a placement in news around the country and in the web.

3.  Trusted Name Recognition – There is nothing more trusted than a familiar name.  Some names become synonymous with products—heck, some corporate names become verbs.  A trusted source is one with a name that is familiar, a name that has become familiar due to reputation and a history of legitimacy.

The media relies on newswires for reputable, vetted company news content.  With an established database of contacts and a unique delivery platform, a newswire can easily deliver a company press release to a media outlet. With thousands of news releases being shared every day, newswires ensure yay-15034446-digitalthat journalists and editors are provided with the content that they need in order to do their jobs.  To make their lives even easier, journalists can use keywords to make sure they receive only the news they are most interested in, by subject and region.

Company news releases are no longer considered to be just a media pitch requesting coverage.  Today’s news releases are viewed as the key source of originating data with more and more media outlets linking to the release to provide readers access to the raw data provided within the press release.

There is an entire world of options to consider when it comes to amplifying your company’s news.  Amplifying your content with newswire distributions ensures you have left no stone unturned in your quest to increase coverage, engagement and sales.

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How do Millennials Consume News (and Why You Need to Care)

January 13, 2015

By Molly Pappas, Media Relations, Business Wire

Millennials-Heart-UGC-InfographicMillennials (ages 18 – 34) comprise the largest demographic in the United States. So, it comes as no surprise that this generation also spends most of their days (18 hours each day!) consuming media and provides the loudest voices to be heard within social media platforms, according to recent research by social-influence marketing platform, Crowdtap.

A whopping seventy-one percent of Crowdtap survey participants listed social media as a top priority in their lives, engaging in it daily.

What’s more, 60 percent of these same Millennials depend on social media to keep up-to-date on current global and local news.  But what publications do they read?  This  audience prefers to consume news and world affairs content created by those they perceive to be their peers – flocking to platforms such as BuzzFeed and Huffington Post instead of traditional news outlets such as The New York Times.

The information gathered from user-generated content sites and sources is trusted 40 percent more than information gathered from other types of sources.

The remaining 33 percent of Millennials still cite more traditional media sources – print, radio and television – as a way they consume media. However, studies show that user-generated content shape this generation’s lives much more than any other form of media, and they remain the only generation where digital media exceeds traditional.

Millennials spend the majority of their weekly media time using digital devices (especially smartphones), and 43 percent access the internet via their phones more than through their computer. Three out of four Millennials own a smart phone and use social media as a source for current affairs, apart from networking. They tend to rely heavily on HuffPost, Yahoo-ABC, CNN and BuzzFeed (all media that Business Wire reaches on a daily basis!)

So why should you care? Well, according to research by InkHouse and GMI, while the press release is the most trusted source of company-driven news, nearly half of Americans simply don’t trust any source of company-produced news. So while releases are still a very important PR tool, it appears that you can expect better bang for your buck by getting media to directly cover the story.

inkhouse_ig_press_release_sectionAccording to the same survey, TV and online news should be your top targets for earned media placement. Traditional media placement still carries the most weight in terms of reach and influence, but studies suggest an integrated media program (online news, broadcast and social media) is the best way to go.

And yes, Millennials are social-media obsessed, but they are realistically aware how much information can be modified and edited, and are thus returning to trusted newspapers and sources of news for information.

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