Frankie Flack Explains Why Newsrooms are Using Press Releases More Than Ever

July 17, 2014

By Neil Hershberg, Sr. Vice President, Global Media, Business Wire

Not only are press releases alive and well but, according to an industry insider, their role in today’s editorial ecosystem is more important than ever. They have emerged as the “exclusive information source” for many corporate developments, most of which fail to generate independent coverage.

Frankie Flack, a pseudonym for a New York-based public relations professional, authored a column for “Talking Biz News” explaining the shifting dynamics of financial news coverage in a challenging media environment. “Talking Biz News” is a popular web site that enables business journalists to track the latest media trends, developments, and personnel moves.

You can read the article here: http://talkingbiznews.com/2/frankie-flack-why-my-press-releases-are-the-new-newswire

According to Flack, a confluence of factors have contributed to the press release’s resurgent popularity, and its de facto dominance as a primary news source.

Newsroom cutbacks have sharply curtailed the resources dedicated to breaking news other than major announcements, in Flack’s view.

Beat reporters are committed to churning out “thumb-sucker” stories focusing on Big Ideas, as opposed to the nuts-and-bolts stories that news organizations were noted for in the past.

Even the larger market-moving news services have become dependent on news releases to provide context to their headlines, often in the absence of insights from analysts and academics who were relied on for perspective in the past. According to Flack, press releases enable issuers to “control the narrative.”

Flack also cites the ubiquity of press releases on the web, pointing to such popular sites as Yahoo! where releases far out number wire stories.

The middling stories that represented the bulk of a news service’s daily output have all but disappeared, Flack notes, making press releases the “exclusive information source” for most corporate events. In the absence of coverage of record, press releases have become the default archive that investors, journalists, consumers, and others will rely on in the future.

Clearly, press releases are more vital than ever, playing an ever more robust role in determining the daily news agenda, and influencing user consumption.


Learning Content Marketing From The Scarecrow

October 31, 2013
by Meghann Johnson, Sales Manager, Business Wire Chicago

They say content is king.

If that’s the case, then the story is the castle. It’s the framework, the supporting component of any good campaign.

As such, it’s the story that advertisers, marketers and PR people need to sell, and all the other pieces (press releases, photos, videos, infographics, etc.) must work together to enhance that message and drive it home.

Nowhere is this concept more apparent than with Chipotle’s latest marketing push designed to jump-start a conversation about their brand by key constituents. Titled “The Scarecrow,” this campaign has received an immense amount of buzz not only for the sheer creativity of its content, but for the way in which it conveys the company’s story. (Disclosure: Chipotle is a Business Wire client)

The campaign consists of an arcade-style game for the iPhone and iPad supported with an animated film by Oscar-winning company, Moonbot Studios. The video features a disillusioned scarecrow who encounters a world replete of fresh, sustainable foods, only to discover that he has the power to choose how his food is created. Despite the stunning graphics and the use of a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack of Willy Wonka’s “Pure Imagination,” the video would not have garnered more than 7 million views, shares and commentary without a story that resonates across audiences.

Scarecrow

What is the takeaway for those tasked with writing press releases, editing pitches, creating content and sharing on social media? Very simply that the primary focus, and time, should be on creating a story arc that resonates with and engages your audience to the point that they want to be your brand advocates, sharing your content with their core and secondary audiences. This includes:

  • Identifying the goals you want to accomplish. Are you trying to drive awareness and brand building, content sharing, inbound traffic or purchase?
  • Understanding your target audience and the types of content that compels them to engage and share, while maintaining your brand voice
  • Thinking about how and where your audience will discover and share your story in order to tell it in a way that will drive conversations
  • Crafting your message and  ensuring it stays front and center throughout the campaign
  • Building tension with the storyline to deepen the connection between your content and the intended audience. Any reporter will tell you they want to cover an issue that has two—or even three—sides
  • Ensuring you have the right people lined up to speak about your topic. This could range from a mascot to the CEO depending on the audience and message you want to share
  • Amplifying your story once it is launched and creating a consistent cadence of communications activities (e.g. speaking opportunities, bylines, etc.) to ensure it is heard

And of course, as with any thought provoking content, “The Scarecrow” has sparked a debate. With that, cheers to Chipotle for achieving the goal of igniting a conversation.

For more information about the use of storytelling in jump-starting awareness, engagement and purchase intent, please contact us!


The Top Twenty Press Releases of 2011

January 5, 2012
by Phil Dennison, Senior Marketing Specialist, Business Wire/Cleveland

At Business Wire we pride ourselves on our consultative approach to offering our services — we try to give you the best advice on how to make your press releases successful and get the most for your money. From press release tips to measurement facts to targeting options, our account executives and editors help you execute your strategy in the most effective way.

I recently took a look at the twenty most-viewed press releases on BusinessWire.com from Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 4, 2011, to see what kinds of trends and facts might be inferred from them. What types of releases garner a lot of views? Big brand names? Photos? Raw content? Headlines?

Ultimately, each company has to decide for itself what the strategic purpose of each press release is, and how best to achieve its goals. Among these releases, here are some facts and figures:

  • Cumulatively, these twenty releases account for 1,216,513 views, or an average of 63,076 views per release.
  • Fifteen of twenty included their company logo (a free service of Business Wire). Seven included at least one photo, and one included a video.
  • On average, 59% of readers found the release directly on BusinessWire.com (while browsing headlines or via RSS feeds or headline delivery emails), 34% found it on another site, and 6% found it via a search engine. Less than one percent of traffic, on average, came via social sources.

traffic sources graph

  • Links are a key factor in engaging readers with your news. Thirteen of the twenty releases included at list one hyperlink in the body of the release; but those thirteen releases got an average of 7,798 link clicks.
  • But don’t underestimate social, especially the top sites. For the traffic which did arrive from social sources, 65% came from Facebook, 29% from Twitter, 5% from LinkedIn, and the remaining 1% from all other social networks.
  • In terms of user engagement and sharing, on average, readers shared each release on Facebook 147 times, on Twitter 103 times, and on LinkedIn 88 times.
  • Business Wire readers are very interested in news about Apple and ExxonMobil.

It’s not easy to discern any clear trends, but two facts do stand out:

1. BusinessWire.com and its list of websites and other online sources carrying our news feed continue to be a crucial part of the news distribution process, getting companies tens of thousands of views, leading to user engagement, photo downloads, news coverage and more.

2. For all the growth in social, search is still a major driver of traffic for companies working online, which is pretty much everyone. Compelling, search-optimized content continues to be key to getting your press releases in front of your audiences.

So, without further ado, here are the twenty most-viewed press releases of 2011. Take a look and see what tips you might be able to get from them to make your own press releases more successful.

AT&T to Acquire T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom

Cyber Monday:  The Season’s Best Deals – No Fighting for Parking. No Waiting in Line.  Just Lean Back, Put Your Feet up and Shop.

Statement by Apple’s Board of Directors

Statement by Steve Jobs’ Family

Adobe Delivers Technical Communication Suite 3

Comic Sans Pro Typeface Family Makes its Debut

ExxonMobil Announces Three Discoveries in Deepwater Gulf of Mexico

HP Confirms Discussions with Autonomy Corporation plc Regarding Possible Business Combination; Makes Other Announcements

ExxonMobil Speedpass Customers Can Save 15 Cents Per Gallon

The Alliance for Consumer Education Names Senator Herb Kohl Honorary Chair

Clear Channel Radio Announces Acquisition of Thumbplay’s Cloud-Based Music Business

Letter from Steve Jobs

Fisher Investments MarketMinder Re-released

Steve Jobs Resigns as CEO of Apple

Exxon Mobil Corporation Declares Second Quarter Dividend

Heinz® Dip & Squeeze® Ketchup is Available Nationally! Heinz and Chick-fil-A® Invite You to Celebrate with Free FryDay

Exxon Mobil Corporation Declares Fourth Quarter Dividend

Exxon Mobil Corporation Declares First Quarter Dividend

FDA Approves YERVOY™ (ipilimumab) for the Treatment of Patients with Newly Diagnosed or Previously-Treated Unresectable or Metastatic Melanoma, the Deadliest Form of Skin Cancer

Google to Acquire Motorola Mobility


PRSA International Conference Preview: See you in Orlando!

October 14, 2011

by Amy Yen, Marketing Specialist, Business Wire Los Angeles

Heading to the PRSA International Conference this week? So are we! We’re looking forward to meeting PR professionals from across the country and learning about the latest trends and developments in the industry.

Don’t forget to come by and see us at Booth #401/403 for fun giveaways and a chance to win an iPad2.  We’ll have our team of experts on-hand to discuss our entire suite of public relations services, including:

While you’re at the show, take advantage of free one-on-one demonstrations of our dynamic NewsHQ Online Newsroom solution conducted by our online newsroom expert Ibrey Woodall.  You’ll learn how a better online newsroom can benefit your organization. Contact your local account executive or email Conferences2011@businesswire.com to schedule your free consultation.  We have times available all day Sunday and Monday.

Business Wire’s Laura Sturaitis, Executive VP of Media Services & Product Strategy, will be speaking with Greg Jarboe, president of SEO-PR, at a session called “Maximizing Press Release Performance Online” on Tuesday, October 18 at 9:45 a.m. ET in Palazzo Salon E.   You won’t want to miss their presentation of the results of an 18-month study on online press release performance and the strategies and best practices for optimizing press releases to increase traffic and engagement with key landing pages and websites.

Follow live updates from the conference on Twitter @BusinessWire.   Hope to see you there!


Tips for Effective Searching: Knowing your Defaults Results in Better Google Search Engine Results

October 13, 2011

by Sandy Malloy, Senior Information Specialist

Sandy Malloy, Senior Information SpecialistIn our recent post on free tools for monitoring your press releases, we encouraged users to revisit their Google Alerts settings.  This valuable service was established years ago.  Lots of us signed up then and have never looked back.  We hope you’ve updated your alert settings and are getting better results after a quick check-up.

The same is true for ad hoc searching.  Nonchalant typing of a phrase into the Google search box can be tempting, but a few thoughtful tips can help you get the most out of the search experience.  Here’s a few to get you started.

1)  Know your defaults.  It’s good to know your faults, but when it comes to searching, it’s even more important to know your defaults. Many of these can be changed to improve results.

For example, a search on Google Web (http://www.google.com) defaults to “everything.”   Sounds comprehensive, right?

Not necessarily.  An automatic blanket search can have drawbacks.   The information you are seeking often gets buried beneath higher-ranking but irrelevant pages.  You  may be better served searching individual Google content areas such as news, images  or Web separately.  Also, try Advanced Search (discussed below).

The order in which results are displayed can also affect your results.  The default sort order is “relevance.”  This type of sorting  works great for non-news websites.  For news, sorting by date is often better.

Unless you specify otherwise, Google will suppress apparent duplicate content.  Again, for some types of searches, that’s fine.  If you want to find a company’s website, it’s usually the first result on the page and you don’t need anything else.  Or you may want to know that a piece of news appeared and don’t care which version of the story you see.  But what if you want to see how widely that story was disseminated?  Google will show you one version of the story unless you override duplicate suppression.

2)  Searching for exact phrases is a common strategy, but did you know you can use quotes around your phrase or dashes between the words for exact matches?

If you don’t, Google will search that combination of words in any order and not necessarily next to one another.  That can result in weird returns such as this recent search for stories about Fire Prevention Week.

I added no quotes or dashes. The third result: “The State Police forensic team, State Fire Prevention and Control, A week after the fire, owners Mike and Jim Frazee said they plan to rebuild their .…”

For common combinations of words (e.g., “Barack Obama”) it’s not that critical to be more specific.  But combinations of common words can spit out irrelevant results that nevertheless rank high because all the words are present.

3)  Make Advanced Search your friend.  It will allow you to put in phrases without worrying about the format (see #2 above), combine words and phrases (hint:  a phrase using a dash, e.g. fire-prevention-week, can be used as a “word” in the advanced search form) and even allow you to narrow your search using other parameters such as source name or domain.  The domain option in Google Web is a great way to find information from non-commercial sources.  For instance, you can find health-related information coming from educational (.edu) or government (.gov) sources, or nonprofits (.org)  In News, I like to specify my time frame as well.


Upcoming Business Wire Events: Powerful Pitches in Cleveland, Crisis Comm in Florida, Meet the Tech Media in LA

March 21, 2011

Upcoming Business Wire Events

Powerful Pitches

Hosted by Business Wire Cleveland

Just about everything in a communications professional’s life involves some form of pitching. A successful pitch involves a great deal of persuasion and creativity. Join Business Wire Cleveland for a breakfast seminar featuring Jim Kukral, web entrepreneur, blogger, professional speaker, educator and author of two books – Attention! This Book Will Make You Money and The Ultimate Pitch. Jim will draw from his years of experience counseling major corporations, entrepreneurs and small businesses to provide you with the tools and inspiration to prepare powerful pitches that will grab attention and help you accomplish your goals. This event is free for all attendees.

Thursday, March 24 at 8:00 a.m. ET
The City Club of Cleveland
850 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44114

To register: Please RSVP to Melissa Chambers at melissa.chambers@businesswire.com

CRISIS! Expect the Unexpected: Plan, Manage, & Respond

Hosted by Business Wire Florida

Join Business Wire Florida & JM Family Enterprises, Inc. for this in-depth panel discussion with South Florida media and crisis communications experts. Amy Wagner, former SVP of Investor Relations and Global Communications of Burger King Corp hosts the panel, which includes Laura Vann, Public Relations Specialist, Lynn University Marketing and Communication; Don Silver, Chief Operating Officer, Boardroom Communications; Elianne Gonzalez, Hispanic Press Officer, Insurance Information Institute; and Wayne K. Roustan, General Assignment Reporter, South Florida Sun Sentinel. This event is free for all attendees.

Wednesday, March 30 at 11:30 a.m. ET
JM Family Enterprises Inc.

111 Jim Moran Blvd., Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

To register: Please RSVP by Friday, March 25 to Julia Sotelo at Julia.Sotelo@businesswire.com or call 954-474-8833.

Meet the Media: LA-area Technology Journalists Discuss Reporting Trends and how to Pitch Tech Media

Hosted by Business Wire LA

Join Business Wire LA for breakfast and a panel discussion featuring technology journalists as they share their thoughts on what makes a good story and learn how your organization can increase its chances of being covered by the media. Panelists include: Natalie Jarvey, Reporter (Technology), Los Angeles Business Journal; Kevin Kelly, Features Editor, G4tv.com; and Brian Deagon, Business and Technology Journalist, Investor’s Business Daily. This event is free for all attendees.

Thursday, March 31 at 8:00 a.m. PT
The Olympic Collection
11301 West Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064

To register: Please RSVP by March 29 to Garrett Henricksen or Heather Hardge at (310) 820-9473 or email larsvp@businesswire.com.


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
#bwevents


Google Algorithm Changes Reward Best Practice SEO and Pay Off for Press Release Visibility

March 15, 2011
Matt Albers, Director of Web Services

by Matt Albers, Director of Software Engineering, Web Services

In an effort to find more high quality sites for its many users, during the week of Feb. 24th, Google rolled out their Panda update (aka Farmer).

This update was said to touch nearly 12 percent of all Google search results in an attempt to weed out or de-value content farms and “low quality” sites.  Wired.com offers more in depth coverage with Google engineers Matt Cutts and Amit Singhal weighing in on specifics about the change.  If you’re an engineer like me, you’d already heard complaints in the tech sector for a while now.

So how did this change affect the visibility of your press releases?  We’re glad you asked, because in the case of Business Wire, we’ve noticed a positive change.  That’s correct: since Google tweaked their indexing algorithm, Business Wire has seen an increase in traffic, and higher rankings for our client’s press releases.

Meanwhile, according to Sistrix, a German search research company, our competitors have not fared as well, some losing nearly 70% of their keyword rankings.  In addition, our rival says they lost 20% in traffic, showing a Hitwise graph of search clicks.  But look closely and you’ll see the only site on that graph trending UP is Business Wire.  Yes, quality rises to the top.

We don’t know specifically why some press release services were dinged.  We can only confirm that Business Wire was not affected negatively by the Panda update based on our analytics analysis.  Why the difference?  I suspect it’s because we’ve been following “best practice”, “white hat” SEO for years.

Business Wire has been known for excellence and customer service for 50 years now, and we have deliberately avoided SEO gaming, allowing our highly vetted content to speak for itself.  As an engineer and Director of Web Services, you can bet I place a high value on technology, but good decisions and people behind them are what really make a difference in the quality our clients enjoy at Business Wire.  It turns out taking the high road and considering long term over short term success results in excellent SEO outcomes for us and our clients.


Upcoming Business Wire Events: Meet the Media of Richmond, Learn About Powerful Pitches in Cleveland

March 3, 2011

Upcoming Business Wire Events

Meet the Richmond Media

Hosted by Business Wire Washington, DC

Join Business Wire DC for breakfast and a panel discussion with Richmond editors and reporters. Jon Newman of The Hodges Partnership will moderate the panel, including: Scott Bass, News Editor, Style Weekly; Rachel DePompa, Richmond Reporter, NBC12; Gregory Gilligan, Business Editor, Richmond Times-Dispatch; and Susan Winiecki, Editor in Chief and Associate Publisher, Richmond Magazine, RHome and RBride. This event is $10 for all attendees.

Tuesday, March 15 at 8:00 a.m. ET
Ramada Plaza Richmond West
6624 West Broad St., Richmond, VA 23230

To register: Please RSVP to Neeli Yelamanchili at 703.243.0400 or email neelima.yelamanchili@businesswire.com by March 10.

Powerful Pitches

Hosted by Business Wire Cleveland

Just about everything in a communications professional’s life involves some form of pitching. A successful pitch involves a great deal of persuasion and creativity. Join Business Wire Cleveland for a breakfast seminar featuring Jim Kukral, web entrepreneur, blogger, professional speaker, educator and author of two books – Attention! This Book Will Make You Money and The Ultimate Pitch. Jim will draw from his years of experience counseling major corporations, entrepreneurs and small businesses to provide you with the tools and inspiration to prepare powerful pitches that will grab attention and help you accomplish your goals. This event is free for all attendees.

Thursday, March 24 at 8:00 a.m. ET
The City Club of Cleveland
850 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44114

To register: Please RSVP to Melissa Chambers at melissa.chambers@businesswire.com by March 18.


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
#bwevents


Editor’s Corner: Tips for Writing Great Photo Captions

February 28, 2011

With 31 bureaus around the world and more newsrooms than all of our competitors combined, Business Wire is proud to provide local expertise and superior service, backed by the most accurate editors in the world. In Editor’s Corner, we ask some of our best to chime in on how to get the most out of your press release, based on their years of experience in the industry.

Captions: Get Your Photo Ready For Its Close-Up

by Lori Brown, Business Wire Phoenix

Adding a photo to your press release is always a smart idea. Photos grab the attention of readers, making your news stand out from the crowd. When you send a Smart News Release through Business Wire, your photo not only reaches major web portal sites like Yahoo! and Google, but also hits the desks of photo editors who want eye-catching, interesting content for their publications. And the first thing those editors look for is a good caption.

Photo editors with the Associated Press or other agencies won’t look at a photo without a caption; they need to know context and details. Your caption should answer, in a couple of sentences, questions like:

  • Who or what is it? Identify everyone and everything of interest in the photo. If it’s a product shot, give the full name of the product. If it’s a group photo, list the names and titles of everyone in the shot.
  • Why is it important? What’s the occasion for the photo? Maybe your company rang the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange or unveiled a new, faster, more powerful version of your product. Include a brief summary of the story behind the photo, so that readers understand the significance of what they’re seeing.

Your caption should also be able to stand on its own, without being accompanied by the press release. Photo editors are often looking for “standalones,” photos and captions that can tell a story by themselves. If you’ve got a compelling photo and an informative caption, it’s a great chance to get some extra visibility for your news.

Remember, having a good caption is just as important as having a good photo. Your picture may be worth a thousand words, but with another sentence or two, you can turn it into something that will really shine.

-Lori Brown, Senior Editor, Business Wire Phoenix


Importance of Writing Good Headlines Magnified as Attention Spans and Space Decrease

February 3, 2011
Free “How to Write A Good Headline” Webinar to Offer Headline Writing Tips
by Monika Maeckle, Vice President, New Media

Gawker rolled out its redesign this week, provoking an echo chamber of speculation on what it means for blogs, Twitter and new media in general, and the blogosphere in particular.

One theme was constant in the online nattering:  headlines have never been more important.

With our miniscule attention spans, a firehose of content, and search engines that systematically weigh the first 70 characters of any content page, headlines today carry an unprecedented burden to deliver readers.   And with Twitter and Facebook referring so many pageviews, we no longer enjoy the luxury of the lead paragraph to tell our stories.

The headline stands alone.

“Headlines on websites—particularly those found on news websites with content heavy homepages—carry a very heavy load,” wrote Jake Brooks, Chief Strategist and Project Director of Hazan+Company, in a February 1 blogpost. “For these types of sites, the difference between 10,000 pageviews can rest entirely on the quality of the headline and how well it sells a story.”

No kidding.  And when it comes to press releases, a great headline can make the difference between your carefully crafted news release flying high or detouring to the delete heap.

If you can use some help with headline writing, please join us February 16 for a FREE educational webinar on How to Write  a Good HeadlineRegistration is free.

We’ll look at headlines from both sides of the aisle–from the perspectives of readers and robots.   Our guests will be veteran journalist Terry Scott Bertling, niche/products editor at the San Antonio Express-News; and SEO-meister  Greg Jarboe, President of SEO-PR.

Hope to “see” you there.

How to Write A Good Headline
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
10 AM Pacific/ Noon Central/ 1 PM Eastern
FREE
Register Now

 

 


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