Business Wire Gives Back: Parisian Staffer’s Portrait of Buffett to be Auctioned At Berkshire Meeting

April 29, 2011
Stephane Zovko, a client services representative in Business Wire’s Paris bureau, has long been an admirer of Warren Buffett, Chairman of  Berkshire Hathaway, the parent company of his employer.
When members of Business Wire’s Paris sales team had the opportunity to meet Buffett last year around the time that Zovko was to turn 39, he requested they secure an autograph from Buffett as a birthday gift.  They did.  Upon receiving the autograph, Zovko committed to painting Buffett’s portrait as a thank-you to his gracious boss.

Stephane Zovoko painting Warren Buffett's portraitStephane Zovko painting Warren Buffett’s portrait in his Parisian garden

It took five months to complete, but Zovko, who’s been painting since age 14,  delivered on his promise.

Now that portrait will be autographed by Mr . Buffett and sold to the highest bidder at this week’s Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder’s meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.

Bids start at $2,000 and all proceeds will benefit Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Omaha.

Business Wire Gives Back: San Fran Staffer Donates Time so Those With No Healthcare Get Relief

April 21, 2011
Imagine you’re out of work and your daughter comes home from school and says,  “I can’t see the blackboard.”  Or you have a raging toothache that won’t go away, but you have no money for the dentist.  What would you do?

While BW San Francisco staffer Sandy Malloy enjoys great healthcare benefits,  she decided to take action on behalf of those who don’t by volunteering for Remote Area Medical (RAM), a Knoxville, TN-based organization that bills itself as “Pioneers of No-Cost Health Care” and provides medical, dental and vision care services all over the world.     Hundreds of people spent the night in a baseball stadium parking lot in Oakland, California, seeking medical care and Malloy checked them in starting at 5:30 AM recently.  

“I was sleepy from having gotten up so early but it was such a minor hardship compared to all these people who’d arrived the night before, many bundled in blankets that they wore right into the Coliseum.” –Sandy Malloy

An array of volunteer doctors, nurses, dentists, hygienists, optometrists and assorted medical specialists and technicians set up the clinic in the Oakland Coliseum area usually reserved for parties.   General

Remote Access Medical Staged an Event in Oaklanda, California

Remote Access Medical (RAM), "pioneers of no-cost healthcare, staged an event in Oakland, California earlier this month.

volunteers like Malloy checked in patients, often in Spanish.  The 700 patients seen that day ranged in age from four to 60-plus.   Some had been out of work for a long time, some were recently laid off, and others were employed with no benefits.  They left the Coliseum with prescription eyeglasses (made right there, and ready in a few hours) in hand,  long-infected teeth extracted, and high blood pressure diagnosed and medications dispensed.

 “One of my favorite moments was seeing a family I’d checked in very early that morning leave with glasses for everyone, including the youngest girl, all smiling and thanking us,”  Malloy recalls. 

As she was making an afternoon pitstop before heading home, Malloy noticed a woman in the ladies’ room. “Putting yourself back together?”  she asked.  The woman gave her a virtually toothless grin and exclaimed, “Now I can get my bridge!!” 

The remark provoked a wide smile from Malloy.  “It was a very, very good day,”  she says.

Press Releases and Branding: Build Your Brand for Better SEO

April 19, 2011

With two billion active users and 130 million domains on the web, indexing the torrent of information is a challenge for large search engines and impossible for individuals. One way to distinguish your company or organization is to build a trusted brand within your niche. Press releases, done well, can play a role here.

Search engines have learned that brands are important to people making decisions in an information surplus environment and are seeking indicators of quality. Understanding how search engines judge and evaluate brands is imperative to building the trust that results in visibility.

So what makes a search friendly brand?

According to SEOMoz and Search Engine Journal as well as our own research and experience, top search “Brand” indicators include:

Company Name, Product and Service Searches   If people are searching for your company, product or service by name, it tells search engines you’re known within your niche. Measure this by checking search referrals on keyword variations of your name with tools like Google Analytics. Compare the data with what Google reports on their keyword tool. Make sure to always use your company name in press release headlines to increase brand exposure.

Media Coverage  Press release campaigns that boost coverage work double duty as a media relations tool, and by providing content to search engines, lifting brand value.

Brand Name” Links   If you see a link on a webpage to CNN, you probably know that click is going to take you to news on If search engines see a large number of brand links relative to keyword links in context, it may lead them to assume your brand is strong. These clicked-on links are viewed by search engines as votes of confidence.

Social Pages   At the least, your company should have a registered presence on the main social networking sites: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.   Even better, lock down your company name across the social web. Try a service like or better yet, interns.

Online Reviews   Check review sites such as CitySearch, Angieslist or Yelp to see if reviews exist for your company. Try to respond if appropriate. Set up Google Alerts and Twitter alerts to monitor for new reviews. Search engines often aggregate reviews from many sources on their “place” pages and positive reviews can be a good brand indicator, especially for local businesses.

Partners & Customers    Well known brands usually don’t exist in a vacuum and have public partnerships as well as testimonials on their websites. Partnerships and customers that make you proud should be prominently displayed in a descriptive manner digestible by search engines. Think Apple & AT&T… or Apple & Verizon.

Offices and Storefronts    Most established brands have offices or storefronts of some kind. Make sure yours are current and prominently listed on your sites in a way that can be digested by search engines.

Local & Business Directories   Once your locations are listed, make sure to let the search engines know by adding or updating local listings directly to Google, Bing & Yahoo. Don’t forget the countless local business directories. GetListed provides links and advice for some top national directories.

Overwhelmed?   Start by taking inventory of where your brand stands with search engines by collecting what you know. From there, determine strengths and weaknesses and where to focus your energy. Remember, search algorithms are opaque and complicated. Experiment and measure what you can to see what works.

With sustained effort, your brand is bound to benefit. Good luck building your brand!

Business Wire Gives Back: DC Staffers Give Time to Muscular Dystrophy Association Muscle Walk

April 18, 2011

Neelima Yelamanchili and Michael Toner of Business Wire’s Washington, DC office volunteered recently as part of  the Muscular Dystrophy’s Greater Washington Area chapter Muscle Walk.   Their contribution of time goes toward Business Wire’s goal of investing 5,000 hours of community service in honor of the company’s 50th birthday this year.

“I took part in the Jerry Lewis Telethon as part of a dance troupe when I was younger and wanted to do something for the organization again,” says Yelamanchili.  “While it’s easy for me to walk, climb stairs, stand and sit, I know how hard those simple tasks are for those with MD.”  

Toner and Yelamanchili cheered on the walkers with enthusiastic high-fives and kept the food and water tables stocked. Toner helped liven the crowd with his juggling skills and sharing his props and some tips with aspiring jugglers.

Michael Toner cheers on walkers at the MDA Muscle Walk

Michael Toner staffs the refreshment stand at the MDA Muscle Walk in Washington, DC

The local chapter’s Muscle Walk, a family-based event with more than 60 teams participating, serves to honor and raise funds for the children and adults served by The Greater Washington Area MDA. Many of the teams are headed by someone with a type of muscle disease, or a parent of a child with muscle disease.  It’s an opportunity for them to fight back against MD, to help raise funds for research for cures and treatments, and to fund other services through MDA.

MDA and its chapters are funded almost entirely by individual private contributions and cooperating organizations. This year’s Greater Washington Area chapter Muscle Walk raised more than $100,000.

“Getting out of bed early one Saturday morning was such a small effort compared to the physical challenges those with MD face every day,” says Yelamanchili. “It was wonderful to see families and friends walk with and for their loved ones.”

Muscle Walk FAQLearn more about MDA.

Friday Fast Links: Agencies, redundancies and more

April 15, 2011

Don’t Let Your Press Releases Get Lost Without Translations

April 14, 2011
by Daniel Blue, Senior Editor, International Desk

Daniel Blue, Senior Editor, International Desk

Daniel Blue, Senior Editor, International Desk

Businesses who want to rush their international releases sometimes ask us to skip translations. Translations take time, and if  English is indeed “the universal language of business,” why not leave out that middle step?

When clients ask this of the International Desk, we suggest they consider the following:

  • Partners in China, Japan, France, Russia, Latin America and Eastern Europe (among others) don’t accept English-only copy at all. In other words, English-only releases won’t be received by several of the largest markets in the world.
  • Agence France-Presse, the French version of the Associated Press, will not send in English to certain areas of the world. AFP is one of the world’s three largest news agencies, and when it doesn’t distribute your news, the lost exposure is significant.
  • If a release isn’t translated, it won’t show up in that language on the Business Wire website. Nor will it be aggregated into newsfeeds by the Chinese, Japanese and other non-English services that scrape our news pages. That’s another huge missed opportunity.

So who does receive releases sent only in English?

A few large markets will accept these, notably, Germany, the Netherlands, Korea, India, Spain, Italy, and Scandinavia.   Also, certain international journalists that have specifically asked for English copy will receive the feed from from Business Wire though our Press Pass program.

But how many people in those countries will actually read the release?

While some viewers will be fluent in English, many will not, and pick-up is bound to be limited by not having the release in the native tongue.

Bottom line: use translations. They’re part of the price, and if you want to look them over beforehand, we’re glad to oblige.  But don’t hobble your coverage by refusing to use them at all.


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