Brave, Rude World: Intrusive Technologies Beg Etiquette Questions for PR Folks trying to Mind their Mobile Manners

June 28, 2011

by Monika Maeckle, Vice President of New Media

Is it ever OK to politely suggest someone not text in your presence?  What about tweeting during meetings and  conferences?

These and other frequently asked questions regarding the brave–some would say rude–world of mobile technologies were explored at a recent Business Wire webinar, Minding your Mobile Manners:  Etiquette Tips for the Digital Age.  The event featured author and etiquette expert Anna Post of the Emily Post Institute.

Cellphone etiquette dominated the discussion with polite pleas for direction on what is/isn’t acceptable in today’s constantly connected universe. Post cited a Feb. 2011 Intel survey which found that 75% of those polled say mobile manners are worse than just a year ago.  Our attending group of professional communicators are obviously not alone in their need for guidance.

Mobile Manners in Austin, Texas:  Seen at the Whip-InABOVE:  Mobile Manners in Austin, Texas: Seen at the Whip-In

Some may think the answers to the questions above are obvious but as Anna Post pointed out, “It depends.  Each situation is different and it entirely depends on the context.”

Asking someone to not text in your presence–and how to frame such a request–depends entirely on the relationship between the people involved.  If in a professional situation a simple, “Monika, I really need your full attention here” might be appropriate.   Some companies have implemented a policy of having people drop their  iPhones and Blackberries at the door as they enter a conference room.  “If your attention is really not that important at the meeting, perhaps you shouldn’t attend,” she noted.

And Twitter at conferences and meetings?

Post recommends that when live tweeting a small event like a local PRSA meeting, you should informally advise the organizer or speaker to avoid hurt feelings and the appearance you don’t care about the presentation.

As for large conferences like SXSW, or the National NIRI or PRSA gatherings, ubiquitous technologies are pervasive and even expected.  Many speakers appreciate the visibility afforded when the audience shares their talking points in online communities, resulting in more book sales, speaking gigs, or qualified business leads for the speaker.   No need to stop tweeting or even to advise the speaker in this situation.

Email etiquette was another hot topic.   Post recommends always using a salutation with the person’s name, rather than diving straight into the message.  Avoid emoticons and text-message speak at all times in any type of business communications, she advises.  It appears juvenile.

As communications professionals, we’re especially obliged to know how to get our messages across even as the tools and techniques for doing so change as fast as the weather.  Good mobile manners–like good grammar and spelling–increase the likelihood of successfully communicating.

If you missed our webinar, feel free to catch the replay on the Business Wire events page.    Also, we hope you’ll take our one-question PR Peeps Poll on minding your mobile manners: What’s your biggest digital pet peeve?

Please and thank you.

Business Wire Gives Back: Teaching Piano to Share Love for the Arts

June 23, 2011

by Amy Yen, Marketing Specialist, Business Wire Los Angeles

Marketing Specialist Amy Yen teaches piano to Lourdes Mack for CoachArt

For the past 18 months, I’ve been volunteering with CoachArt, a Los Angeles based organization that improves the quality of life for children and adolescents with chronic and life-threatening illnesses by providing free, personal lessons in the arts and athletics. CoachArt students are matched with a volunteer coach and receive private lessons one hour a week for ten weeks at a time. Lessons can include art, cooking, dance, music and athletics, depending on the student’s interests.

I’ve taught computer graphics and art in the past, but for our 50th Anniversary BW Gives Back program, I’m teaching piano to eight-year-old Lourdes Mack from Culver City. It’s been a challenge since I haven’t played piano in years. In fact, my parents sold our piano when I left for college. CoachArt is loaning Lourdes a keyboard for the duration of the sessions, and I’ve been using a piano app on my iPad to prep for our lessons.

So far, we’ve been learning a mixture of classics like “Ode to Joy” and Disney favorites like “Someday My Prince Will Come.” It’s been a joy teaching Lourdes, whose positive attitude is an inspiration. I was lucky to have seven years of piano lessons growing up and am happy to share a little of what I learned, especially with a student as deserving and eager as Lourdes.

In honor of its 50th Anniversary, Business Wire is giving back by providing each of its 500+ employees up to 12 hours of paid time off in 2011 to volunteer with the nonprofit of their choice. Read more about what BW employees are doing to give back.

Read more about CoachArt and check out Lourdes’s blog.

PR Peeps Poll: Press Release Views are Most Valued Press Release Metric

June 21, 2011

by Monika Maeckle, Vice President, New Media

Seeing is believing, apparently, when it comes to press release metrics.   According to our most recent PR Peeps Poll, communications professionals believe press release views are the most valued metric in judging a press release.

Of 179 polled, almost 53% (94)  cited release views as most important.   Hyperlink clicks rated second in importance with 16% of the vote (29).  Traffic driven garnered 12% of the votes cast (21) while times shared took 11% (19) and headline impressions 9% (16).

 With all the talk of the importance of social media sharing and engagement, we were slightly surprised by the findings.  Counting press release views is an older concept and online marketers continue to explore the intersections of  visibility and influence.   We figure influence must start somewhere–like having your carefully crafted messages being seen in the first place.Here’s the details:

Which press release metric do you most value?

  • 94, or 52%      Release views
  • 29, or 16%      Hyperlink clicks
  • 21, or 12%      Traffic driven
  • 19, or 11%       Times shared
  • 16, or  9%        Headline impressions

To those who participated, thank you for voting.  How about helping us out with our next PR Peeps Poll on minding your mobile manners:  What’s your digital etiquette pet peeve?  Please let us know and thank you.

 179 respondents via Twitter, email and Business Wire webinar polls. Poll conducted  conducted May –  June 10 2011.

Upcoming Business Wire Events: Meet the Media in Milwaukee, Discuss Newsroom Cutbacks in Denver

June 20, 2011

Upcoming Business Wire Events

Tips From Top Milwaukee Media: Meet the Media Luncheon

Hosted by Business Wire Chicago (Milwaukee Event)

We all love a scoop. We’re asking top Milwaukee media to give us the scoop on what it takes to catch the attention of their editors, reporters and producers. They will also share advice on why story pitches find success or fall flat. Join our luncheon discussion for the tips you need to have before pitching the three prominent Milwaukee news outlets on our panel: Bob Helbig, Deputy Business Editor, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Kathy Mykleby, News Anchor/Reporter, WISN-TV; President of Milwaukee Press Club; and Mark Maley, Regional Editor – Milwaukee, This event is free for all attendees.

Wednesday, June 22 at 11:30 a.m. CT
Newsroom Pub
137 East Wells Street, Milwaukee, WI 53202

To register: Send an e-mail to Seating is limited. We request no more than 2 guests per organization.

Who’s Covering You Now

Hosted by Business Wire Denver

Join Business Wire Denver for breakfast and a panel discussion on what newsroom cutbacks will mean for your company. We’ll cover how to pitch to a shrinking newsroom with a panel of Denver-area experts, including: Greg Nieto, News Reporter for FOX31 and KWGN, Channel 2; Patrick Doyle, Senior Editor at 5280 Publishing, Inc. and Gil Asakawa, Manager of Student Media, Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Colorado. This event is free for members and $20 for non-members.

Wednesday, June 29 at 8:30 a.m. MT
Denver Athletic Club

1325 Glenarm Place, Denver, CO 80206

To register: Send an e-mail to JoAnne Hirsch at

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 Follow live updates from Business Wire events on Twitter: hash tag #bwevents

Warren Buffett Gives Advice to College Students Hoping to Win a Trip to Meet Him in New York

June 17, 2011

There’s still about a month to go in our 50th Anniversary College Video Contest and we’re still looking for entries! We’re sending one lucky student to New York City to meet Warren Buffett, chairman & CEO of Business Wire’s parent company, Berkshire Hathaway, at Business Wire’s NYSE Opening Bell luncheon on September 30.

Full-time U.S. and Canadian students attending two- or four-year colleges are invited to submit a video answering the question, “What is the future of public relations and communications?

During the recent 2011 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting in Omaha, we asked Warren if he had any advice for students looking to enter the contest. Check out this video to see what he had to say:

For contest details, visit & see sidebar for contest page. Deadline for entries is July 15.

Social Media Analysis: is Twitter Measurement Given More Importance Than it Deserves?

June 16, 2011

by Sandy Malloy, Information Services

Articles like this one in PR Daily  make me cranky. 

It’s not that I have anything against companies that sell social media analysis services. I do marvel, however, at the misguided emphasis on data that is debateably important (if not completely unnecessary, as I commented  recently.)   Just because software can measure a particular parameter does not mean it’s a key metric.

For example, social media analysis services often dwell on Twitter.  In a recent study called The Social Habit 2011 conducted by Edison Research and Arbitron,  researchers found that Twitter is as well known as Facebook in the U.S, (with 92% and 93% familiarity, respectively) yet only 8% of Americans use it.  Other interesting insights:

  • Facebook is not only more popular among Americans ages 12 and over, it reaches 51% of this group vs. just 8% for Twitter.  (“Reaches” is defined as those who either “use” or “have” a profile page.)
  • When it comes to interacting with brands and companies on social networks, Facebook rules with  80% reporting it as their preference vs. 6% for Twitter.
  • The vast majority (72%) of those polled cited “none” as the social network they use for making buying decisions.   Of those who turn to social networks for help in buying decisions, 24% use Facebook while only 1% use Twitter-a stunning 24-to-1 advantage.

So why is Twitter often emphasized in social media analysis?  Because counting retweets and mentions is such an easy undertaking.  It’s much more “do-able” than monitoring and analyzing Facebook posts because Twitter is open and Facebook is restricted (perhaps not restricted enough for some users). If a Facebook post is private, it is not captured by typical monitoring and analysis software.

Bottom line: at the moment, Facebook is much more influential than Twitter.  Rather than simply accepting metrics skewed toward data which is a distant second in importance, use your own critical judgement and, as much as necessary, your own internal analytics, to create a realistic social media picture of your brand’s influence.

Bloomberg Canada Shares Tips on What News Agencies Want from your Press Release

June 14, 2011

A group of IR, PR and business professionals recently attended a panel discussion in Toronto hosted by Business Wire Canada, featuring editors from the Bloomberg Canada team. The editors offered tips on making the most of your press releases.

Bloomberg Canada and Business Wire

Professional communicators gather in Toronto for a Business Wire event featuring Bloomberg editors.

David Scanlan, bureau chief,  Sean Pasternak, a reporter for the banking and financial services sector, and Steve Frank, commodities industry editor, shared their  insights based on the reality that they see an average of 300 press releases per day.


• Your press release may be long and full of useful information, but be sure to put the most pertinent content in the first paragraph of your release.

• Know who you’re pitching. Call ahead or send an email to the news organization asking the name of the most appropriate person to receive your press release.

• Be time sensitive. You may have the lead story of the day, but if it reaches the newsroom at 4:59 p.m. on a Friday, don’t expect much.

• Want to follow up with your press release? Email the editor and ask for five minutes on the phone at his or her convenience. If you promise five minutes, deliver five minutes.

• Be clear and concise.  Avoid jargon or complicated industry terms.

The prevailing theme of questions posed to the panel by the audience was “How do I get your attention?” Each editor shared his personal preferences.

Sean Pasternak responds favorably when coffee is involved. David Scanlan appreciates scheduling time to chat in advance, and Steve Frank likes conciseness in your press release.

We’ve archived a webcast of the event for those who couldn’t attend.

NOTE:  Special thanks to Katrina Bolak and Rishika Luthra for contributing to this post.


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