Charlotte-Area Media Discuss PR Best Practices

November 24, 2009

Business Wire Charlotte hosted a Meet the Media luncheon for more than 50 local communications professionals on November 12th in Durham, NC. The discussion, moderated by Mary Hecht-Kissell of PR Strategies, focused on the best practices for communicators in the tech/biotech industry. The panel of speakers included:

Here are some tips from the panel:


  • Email is the best way to pitch reporters.
  • Don’t call reporters when you know they are on deadline.
  • If you reach a reporter on the phone, ask if it is a good time to talk.
  • Don’t pitch two reporters at the same publication with the same story & not tell them about it.
  • Good pitches are newsworthy.  Focus on what is new, what hasn’t been done before or what is being done in a better way.
  • The larger the number of people impacted by a tech innovation, the more newsworthy it is (e.g., a drug therapy for cancer).

Working with Media:

  • Establish & foster relationships.
  • Provide information in a timely manner to meet reporter’s deadline.
  • Always tell the truth.
  • Avoid confrontation; focus on facts – not emotions.
  • Avoid industry jargon when telling your story.
  • Avoid saying anything off the record.

Leveraging Media Coverage:

  • Share media coverage with employees as a motivational tool.
  • Post media coverage on your Web site to help visitors find it.
  • Extend your media coverage by posting it on Twitter, Facebook Fan pages and Linkedin.
  • Highlight media coverage in customer newsletters.

Local Business Wire offices host several events each year on PR, IR, SEO & media topics.  Check out the Business Wire Events page to find upcoming events in your area.

Follow Business Wire events on Twitter! Hash tag #bwevents


Social Media ROI – It’s all about $$$

November 17, 2009

How do you know if your organization’s social media participation is producing a good return on your investment (ROI)?

According to a panel of Cleveland social media experts, it’s all about converting your tweets, Facebook status updates, blog posts, etc. into dollars in the bank.

Panelists at The City Club of Cleveland on November 12 included (in picture below seated from left to right):

Cleveland Social Media Panel

The panelists, moderated by “Tech Czar” Michael DeAloia, LNE Group (at lectern in picture above), explored the definition of ROI as it applies to social media and provided tips to the audience of about 80 guests for getting the most out of their social media participation.

Michael kicked off the discussion by asking the panel why so many organizations are disappointed in social media the first time they try it.

According to Jason, organizations are often disappointed in the results because they didn’t set clear goals from the beginning. The key to measuring ROI for social media is determining ahead of time what you want to get out of your social media participation and how you’re going to measure it.

John says your goal should be to measure the financial gains that result from your social media participation. Whether you want to generate increased revenue from Twitter followers who buy your products, or decrease costs by managing customer service issues from your blog, the bottom line is that true social media ROI comes in the form of more money for your organization.

Sentiment also comes into play when talking about social media measurement, which can make determining total ROI a bit difficult, says George. Intangibles such as the tone of the comments about your organization posted online contribute to the success of your social media participation but are not as easily quantified.

Dominic advises organizations to monitor what is being said about them online and get involved in the conversations. Responding promptly to both positive and negative feedback can create more positive sentiment toward your organization, which could in turn result in more people willing to do business with you.  All of this social interaction is searchable, so how you engage with people online will affect interactions later on.

Monitoring what is said about your organization online can also give you an idea of where you should concentrate your social media efforts. The people who are talking about you will determine where you will need to be, added Dominic. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time so you can engage the people who are most interested in your organization.

That doesn’t mean you should bombard your social media audience with a sales pitch. The panelists each stressed that social media should be used for building relationships and creating positive sentiment toward your organization online.

“Social media includes the word social for a reason,” said John. It’s important to spend the time to create quality content that will draw people to you and want to engage in conversation with you. Sales pitches will likely turn people off.

George pointed out that you can start to identify “brand ambassadors” online who spread good news about your organization and draw more people in. Your brand ambassadors will soon become your best salespeople. As Jason described it, “social media is word of mouth published.”

Bottom line, before jumping into social media it’s important to set clear goals and to understand that it takes time to build up good relationships with your audience. When you choose to invest the time it takes to engage your audience and connect with them personally, your return on that investment will be significant.

Panelist John Heaney has made video of the entire session available, which you can watch via the embed below or visit

For more information about social media ROI, the panel recommends that you visit

Delicious New Ways to Find Niche Story Ideas

November 11, 2009

A tried and true technique in the world of public relations is to hook your news to a popular story.  Many experienced PR practitioners are great at this, but in today’s media world, narrowly targeted and easily accessible ‘hit’ stories are often overlooked.  However, building off these hits or using them for PR inspiration can be easy if you know where to look.

Take this page on, for instance.  If you are an experienced Delicious user, you can gather a lot of information on what to expect simply from the URL: Screenshot

Translated into plain English, this page is composed of recently popular web pages that have been tagged with ‘Public Relations’ by Delicious users.  One article that immediately jumps out to me is the AdAge piece about PR Managers converging on Marketing.  Perhaps we can reference it or build off of it in a future press release, webinar, blog post, or newsletter item.

You can browse Delicious’ popular listings for any relevant tag and find inspiration and topics that people are interested in right now.

Another great place to look is  Tweetmeme collects and categorizes ‘tweets’ across Twitter to determine what webpages are getting popular or have been popular in the last day or week based on the number of ‘tweets’ and ‘retweets’ including the same webpage.  You can either browse by category or search based on keywords, but be sure to select ‘Top in 24 Hours’ or ‘Top in 7 Days’ to see the most popular stories.  Below is a recent screenshot of the Technology News category. Screenshot

Other useful aggregation sites include,,, and along with countless others focusing on different niche and vertical markets.

New England Communicators Discuss the News Pitch for Companies in the Emerging GreenTech Industry

November 10, 2009


What’s the best way to pitch your news to media covering the ever-evolving green technology industry?

According to Stephen Lacey, a journalist with Renewable Energy World, you should “think of the journalist as an investor.”  Indeed, the media invests time and effort in a company’s endeavors and projects the same way an investor would contribute funding.

This and other questions about the emerging green technology industry in New England and throughout the U.S. were discussed at a Business Wire Boston media breakfast held at the Westin Hotel in Waltham, Mass. on Thursday, Nov. 5.  About 75 public relations professionals from across New England attended the event, entitled “GreenTech, CleanTech and Pitching New Energy Technologies.”  Participants also collected hats, scarves and mittens for Cradles to Crayons, a Boston-based non-profit organization that distributes goods for children in need.

The panel included media professionals from print, radio and new media, as well as a market analyst to offer a more big-picture perspective.  The panelists, working in the renewable energy, green technology, and business spaces included (L to R):

Moderating the panel was Susan Vaillancourt, an accomplished PR professional in her own right.  Vaillancourt comes from great experience in the industry, having worked with large companies including GT Solar, a world-wide solar technology manufacturing corporation headquartered in Merrimack, NH.

Bottom line of the discussion?  The media is most definitely following companies working in biofuels, hydro power, wind and solar energy, and new efficiency technologies – but reporters need something to chew on.  Panelists agreed that directing them to a company’s news via an email with a personal touch, including a sentence or two about why the story is important, is generally the best way to get their attention.  This gives the journalist the opportunity to filter out their news angle from the press release text.  “Sometimes people are sitting on the story and they don’t even know it,” said Fitzgerald.

Also discussed were the wide range of coverage possibilities under the green/clean tech umbrella, including obvious “gee whiz” technologies, consumer product innovations, and new business ventures which have the added benefit of bringing jobs to the New England region.

The panelists also engaged in a discussion about how governmental policy effects the growth and direction of the industry, and how the U.S. stacks up against other world leaders such as China, which Lacey said currently has the largest solar market by far in the world.  The consensus was that the U.S. is on the way to the leader board, but further investment and leadership through policy is needed to increase the nation’s clout in the green space.

Local Business Wire offices host several events each year on PR, IR, SEO & media topics.  Check out the Business Wire Events page to find upcoming events in your area.

Follow Business Wire events on Twitter! Hash tag #bwevents

Business Wire at the PRWeek NEXT Conference

November 10, 2009

Tomorrow, PR professionals from across the US will gather at the Waldorf Astoria in New York for the PRWeek NEXT Conference, where they’ll hear about the latest strategies for building and maintaining a successful campaign.  This year’s conference, “Leadership from Social Media to the C-Suite,” includes speakers from the most successful and innovative companies in America.

Business Wire’s Neil Hershberg, Senior Vice President, Global Media, is a member of the NEXT Conference Advisory Board and will be moderating a panel at the event, “The Changing Media Landscape.”  Speakers for the panel include:

  • Sree Sreenivasan, dean of student affairs, Columbia Journalism School and contributing editor, 
  • Gordon Crovitz, founder, Journalism Online  
  • Brian Stelter, media reporter, The New York Times

Tom Becktold, Business Wire’s Senior Vice President, Marketing, will also be on scene participating in roundtable discussions and other events.  If you’re attending, please be sure to say “Hello” to Tom and Neil and get their views on the future of PR.

Upcoming Business Wire Events – November 9 Edition

November 9, 2009

bwupcomingeventsheader2Join Business Wire experts in your area for media breakfasts, panel discussions and other insightful events. We bring local media members and industry thought leaders to your market to discuss today’s most relevant topics, from writing for SEO to marketing with social media. Best of all, Business Wire events are usually free of charge. Check out some of our upcoming events in your area:

Social Media ROI: Being Seen is Not Enough

Hosted by Business Wire Cleveland

Your organization has started blogging, tweeting and updating your Facebook status, but is it working? Get ready to throw out your clips, circulation numbers and impression statistics and join us for an exciting panel discussion on social media ROI measurement. Our panel of Cleveland’s most savvy social media experts will provide you with advice on setting goals for your social media campaign and arm you with the tools you will need to generate both quantitative and qualitative results. Michael DeAloia, “Tech Czar”, moderates a panel including: John Heaney, Vice President, NESCO and Principal, Orange Envelopes; Dominic Litten, Senior Account Executive, Fathom SEO; George Nemeth, Chief Blogging Officer, Brewed Fresh Daily;  and Jason Therrien, President, thunder::tech.

Thursday, November 12th at 7:30 am ET

The City Club of Cleveland
850 Euclid Ave., Second Floor
Cleveland, OH 44114
To register: Please RSVP to Melissa Chambers at or call 800-769-0220

Meet the Media Luncheon

Hosted by Business Wire Charlotte

Mark your calendar to join Business Wire in Durham for lunch and a panel discussion regarding the best practices for corporate communications professionals within the tech/biotech community. Meet Frank Vinluan from the Triangle Business Journal as well as Tyler Dukes from News 14 Carolina and learn tips on how to pitch your company’s news. Frank Vinluan’s coverage includes Biotechnology, Life Sciences, Technology, Telecom and Utilities. Tyler Dukes is Web Producer and a freelance reporter specializing in multimedia stories about science and technology.  The panel includes: Tyler Dukes, Web Producer, News 14 Carolina; Frank Vinluan, Tech/Biotech writer, Triangle Business Journal; and Allan Maurer, Editor, TechJournal South. This event is free for Business Wire members and $10 for non-members.

Thursday, November 12th at 11:30 am ET
Sheraton Imperial Hotel & Convention Center
4700 Emperor Blvd.
Durham, NC 27703
I-40 at Exit 282 (Page Rd.)
To register: Please RSVP to Angela Hayworth at or 704-347-1590

Press Releases: The Road Not Taken

Hosted by Business Wire Nashville

Need to add more life to your press release?  Since most press releases do not venture beyond plain text, the “road not taken” can earn you big media results.  Join Tonya Bowen, Regional Manager of Business Wire in this enlightening workshop where you will learn how partnering your release with multimedia, stylistic elements, and SEO techniques can make your press release live BEYOND the day trip! This event is free.

Wednesday, November 18th at 11:30 am ET
McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant
719 Shades Creek Parkway
Birmingham, AL 35209
To register: Please RSVP to Brent Blackburn at or 615.661.6123

High Performance Press Releases: Getting Your Release Found, Seen & Shared

Hosted by
Business Wire Austin
Business Wire San Antonio

Get more mileage out of your PR efforts by filling your press releases with power-boosted SEO gasoline. Join speakers Bill Leake from Apogee Search, Charla Adams from Sweet Leaf Tea and Clint Howell from Business Wire for a discussion and tips on how you can optimize your press releases to make them search engine friendly and easier to be found, seen and shared.  This event is free for Business Wire members and $20 for non-members.

Wednesday, November 18th at 12:00 pm CT
the Gallery at Chez Zee
5406 Balcones Dr.
Austin, TX 78731
To register: Please RSVP to Barbie Dunn at or 210.527.9100

Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 12:00 pm CT
The Quarry Golf Club
444 East Basse Road
San Antonio, TX 78209
To register: Please RSVP to Barbie Dunn at or 210.527.9100

Social Media: Your Questions Answered

Hosted by Business Wire Seattle

Learn how today’s savvy experts got started in social media and what advice they have for beginners. You’ll learn valuable lessons on interacting in social mediums like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  The panel is lead by moderator Hallie Janssen, Vice President, Anvil Media, Inc. and includes Carri Bugbee, Owner, Big Deal PR, Inc.; Marshall Kirkpatrick, VP of Content Development and Lead Blogger, ReadWriteWeb; and Imelda Khoo, E-Marketing Manager of Tektronix. This event is free for Business Wire members and $20 for non-members.

Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 11:30 am PT
Governor Hotel
614 SW 11th Avenue
Portland, OR 97205
To register: Please RSVP to Lauren Linscheid at

Press Release Battle Groups: Lessons Learned from the USS Midway

November 9, 2009

The PRSA’s International Conference held its opening ceremonies on the deck of the USS Midway last night.

From 1945 to 1992, the USS Midway patrolled the world’s oceans with an entourage of support vessels. Destroyers, submarines, shipsanti-aircraft & anti-sub ships, tankers, and supply ships were all part of a battle group designed to support the success and well-being of the Midway and her crew.

In today’s PR world, social media is an unavoidable reality. But it must be viewed as one of many tools that work in concert to satisfy an overall communications plan.

Imagine a press release playing the part of the USS Midway. The Midway has gone through many overhauls to bring it up to speed with emerging technology and to satisfy the demands of modern warfare.

Press releases have also evolved (they are NOT dead, contrary to the beliefs of many). They have moved away from being plain-jane text documents and have literally become mini-web pages that can, with creative and audience appropriate formatting & layouts, provide readers with a visual & interactive entity designed to satisfy the needs of modern information consumption..

As the “carrier” of content, the press release alone is a powerful tool. But in today’s ever changing communications world it is not enough.

Enter the press release battle group – Twitter, Digg, Facebook, etc. All have vital roles to play in today’s b2b and b2c corporate communications environment. They support the success & well-being of the release by expanding the reach, stickiness, and visibility of the content.

As formidable as they are, aircraft carriers need their battle group to maximize their full potential. Social media offers up similar support for the press release.

What do you think?

-Malcolm Atherton, Account Executive/New Media Specialist, Business Wire Phoenix

Follow Malcolm at PRSA 09 on Twitter: @businesswire


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