PRSA 2010: What To Do Around Town

October 12, 2010

by Danny Selnick, Vice President, Public Policy Services

Attending the PRSA 2010 International Conference? If you’re not from “inside the Beltway” you’ll surely find Washington, DC a fun-place for this year’s annual convention.

Sure, we’re all here to learn, but try to find some time to experience Washington after hours by taking a self-guided tour at night of the national monuments that line the National Mall and environs.  Beyond the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington Monument and The White House, check out some of the newer and equally interesting moments including The WWII Memorial, The FDR Memorial, and the Korean War Memorial.

Not far from the Washington Hilton Hotel is the Adams Morgan neighborhood, which hosts some interesting ethnic and standard-fare restaurants in an area that’s so “un-Washington”  — from Ethiopian to Mexican and more.  You can also visit Ben’s Chili Bowl (a favorite of President Obama) that’s open into the wee hours.

South of the hotel is the Dupont Circle neighborhood, home to lots of interesting architecture, shops and several foreign embassies and missions housed in historic buildings.

Getting around in DC is easy: The Dupont Circle Metro Stop is just a few blocks from the hotel, where the Red Line can take you to Metro Center for a quick walk to the National Mall, or to catch trains to other parts of the city.

At the conference, our own Laura Sturaitis will be presenting a panel on Tuesday morning, along with Greg Jarboe, president and co-founder of SEO-PR. The session, titled “What’s the ROMI of Social Media, Online Video and Press Releases?” will take a look at which of the new PR tools delivers the highest return on marketing investment, and how to get the most from all of them.

Don’t forget to stop by and see Business Wire at Booth 201 in the Exhibitors Hall where we’ll be happy to talk to you about the latest in news distribution services and technologies, including Public Policy Services, NewsHQ (our state-of-the-art online newsroom service) and more.  While you’re there, drop your card in our fishbowl to register to win a free netbook. And we’ll even be doing some magic to entertain!


DC-Area Tech Journalists Offer Pitching Tips

October 1, 2010

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

Business Wire/DC hosted a “Meet the Technology Media” Event at Marriott Tysons Corner in Vienna, Virginia on Wednesday, September 29th.  The panel discussion, moderated by Cecile Oreste, Media Relations Specialist, featured five technology journalists from some of the area’s top media outlets:

About 120 public relations and communications professionals were in attendance to learn how to increase your organization’s chances of securing media coverage. Attendees joined in the conversation during a question and answer section and also by live tweeting the event using the #BWEvents hash tag.

Here are some of the key points from the panel discussion:

  1. Headlines are important. Nick Wakeman said to think about your press release headline as a headline in a newspaper. Just as media outlets compete for readers at the newsstand, public relations professionals must compete for the attention of journalists in their inbox. The headline should tell reporters why they should care. For The Hill, you should have a clear link to politics or policy issues, said Gautham Nagesh.
  2. Include your organization in the e-mail subject. Paul Sherman noted that e-mail subjects are key in a mobile environment. Rob Pegoraro added that including a client and product name in the e-mail subject makes it easier for him to find the message later on.
  3. Know who you’re pitching. Every journalist has his or her own preferences when it comes to being pitched. Paul Sherman noted that he prefers texts over voicemails. Nick Wakeman likes when you follow up your e-mail with a phone call. There is no secret formula to media relations. You just need to do your homework.
  4. Consider your audience. Bill Flook pointed out that the Washington Business Journal reaches two different audiences through its online and print editions. Think about how your story fits in and remember that exclusivity matters for print while immediacy is more important for the web.
  5. Go beyond the pitch. According to Gautham Nagesh, Twitter can be an effective way to generate interest. If his followers are interested in your message, he will be more inclined to pay attention. Rob Pegoraro noted that commenting on articles online is a great way to provide information that was not included in the story. Bill Flook suggests setting up informational interviews with your CEO. Often, meetings like these can result in story ideas.

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.


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.


Technology Journos Share Trends and Tips in DC

April 13, 2009

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Business Wire/Washington, DC hosted a panel discussion last Thursday with five distinguished DC area journalists who discussed methods of reporting technology stories that emerge from the Metro area. Watch as they share forward-thinking trends that may emerge from recent changes in the news industry.

The panelists (from left to right)

  • Paul Sherman – Editor-in-Chief, Potomac Tech Wire
  • Gautham Nagesh – Staff Correspondent (Technology) NextGov.com and Government Executive magazine
  • Mark Kellner – Freelance Technology Columnist, incl. Washington Times
  • David Hubler – Associate Editor, Washington Technology
  • Darlene Darcy – Technology Reporter, Washington Business Journal
  • dsc_2614

    Read more about the event from some of the attendees themselves:

    Becky Sheetz-Runkle outlines the “Top 8 PR Mistakes you may be making” in her write up of Thursday’s event.

    Chris Parente takes a look at the tips and tricks that every PR person should know in “Meeting the Local Tech Press.”

    Mayra Ruiz is taking a 3-part look at the “Pounds of Wisdom” shared by the panel in her blog.

    For more information on similar events and webinars be sure to check out upcoming Business Wire events.


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