Los Angeles Media Members Give Tips on Pitching to LA Communicators

April 19, 2010

Business Wire LA hosted a “Meet the Media” breakfast and panel discussion titled “How to Effectively Communicate Your Message” on Thursday, April 15. Local media members shared tips on effectively pitching news media and strategies for forming relationships with media and answered questions from the audience of LA area communicators.

Noemi Pollack (far R), Founder & CEO of Pollack PR, moderated the panel (L-R), which also included:

  • Russ Britt, LA Bureau Chief, MarketWatch/Dow Jones
  • Alberto Mendez, Assignment Editor, KCBS-TV/KCAL-TV
  • Eddie Chan, West Coast Financial Editor, Thomson Reuters
  • Kevin Davis, COO, TheWrap.com

Here are a few soundbites from the panel:

“Hate the Hard Sell”

“Substance Over Style”

“Mobile a Priority”

Download a full audio recording of this event here or check out these pitching tips from the panelists:

  • Be aware of what’s going on in the world & what is news right now.
  • Be aware of who you’re pitching to & understand when it’s appropriate to pitch. If it’s MarketWatch or Dow Jones, for example, don’t send something or try to contact them around market closing. It’s the worst possible time for them. However, some outlets, such as local news channels, are 24 hours. There is always someone on the assignment desk, news never stops for them. It never hurts to pitch the assignment desk. If it’s relevant, it will make it to the right reporter.
  • Panelists agree that double-pitching (sending a pitch to more than one reporter at the same publication) is okay, although it’s nice to ask if they would mind if you send your story along to someone else. Oftentimes, they will even refer you to someone who might be more interested.
  • Journalists still value accessibility, objectivity, timeliness & exclusivity greatly. Keep this in mind when pitching. Make sure to provide contact information, especially an email and cell phone, on your pitch or press release so you are reachable if the journalist needs to get in touch.
  • Although many journalists now embrace pitching through social media and find Facebook in particular to be a valuable source network, email is still the most reliable and easiest way to reach them.
  • In an email pitch, the subject line is the most important part. It needs to be straightforward & compelling enough to get them to open the email. Often, it’s actually only the first part of the subject line because the email program will cut it off.
  • A good pitch is always substance over style. Lots of exclamation points in your pitch does not make it more compelling.
  • Mobile is very important right now for every news outlet in all formats. It’s very important to be able to access news over mobile.
  • When pitching stories at major conferences and events, such as CES or NAB, it’s a good idea to find out who at the publication will be covering the event and get in touch ahead of time.
  • When emailing pitches, NEVER attach ANYTHING. This includes having your logo in your email signature. With many email programs, this comes across as an attachment & will get your email filtered into spam.
  • It’s always a good idea to offer up an expert or spokesperson, especially one that isn’t quoted all the time in that publication or one that is local so they’re accessible (it’s often hard for west coast based reporters to contact east coast based experts). It’s a good idea to provide the reporter with the expert’s bio to prove his or her credibility.

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

San Francisco Disclosure Experts Discuss Guidance, Social Media in Today’s IR Landscape

June 25, 2009


Business Wire San Francisco hosted a breakfast event June 11 at the historic Palace Hotel, where more than 30 area investor relations and media relations professionals gathered for a panel discussion on the most relevant and timely issues in corporate disclosure and investor relations.

The event, titled “An Investor Relations Survival Guide: IR Strategies for the New Age of Corporate Transparency and Accountability,” focused on a discussion of the changing regulatory environment, including how different companies deal with the issue of earnings guidance, compliance challenges and social media’s place in the IR landscape. It was part of Business Wire’s Spring Investor Relations Conference Series, which has also included events in New York and Boston.


Don Clark (far left), Deputy Bureau Chief, Wall Street Journal moderated a panel of disclosure experts and thought leaders, including (from left to right):

Among the key points discussed:

  • When discussing earnings releases, Mr. Clark identified comparisons as his pet peeve. Everything the media does is about comparing what happened to what happened in the past. He said it’s amazing how often companies will report the “net income of this or that,” but won’t have the comparison. Then the media has to dig to see the earnings drop. Mr. Clark thinks that everyone can see right through that because it’s obvious when a company is doing well since they’ll crow about it in the first sentence.
  • Mr. Schrader noted that the issue of confirming guidance is extremely sensitive and ambiguous. Once a company has issued earnings guidance, can they communicate with analysts to confirm later that the guidance is still current? Mr. Schrader believes confirming guidance is selective disclosure. Even though there’s a school of thought that says that if what you confirm is within what you’ve already put out, it’s already out in the marketplace anyway, to him, it’s a very risky policy. He believes the SEC will take action on this issue in the near future.
  • Commenting on using social media for IR communications, Mr. Hughes notes that, in his opinion, platforms like blogging make more sense on the corporate communications side. He believes financial information is too delicate to put on blogs. Additionally, because one of the great struggles in investor relations is getting investors to see the long-term business cycle and strategy, he isn’t sure that social media platforms, built for instantaneous communication, supports that goal.
  • Mr. Jelter says there’s too much “noise” in earnings releases. He says the best practice to have is to keep it simple and keep it clean. He listed what he likes to see clearly reported: “Net earnings, net loss, operating revenue, operating loss and guidance.” As Mr. Jelter put it, “write for your Aunt Virginia.” Make your release accessible and don’t bog down in a lot of terminology.
  • Mr. Schuman notes that Intel does not like using PDF for disseminating earnings releases. HTML is much more accessible, particularly with mobile devices.

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

Upcoming Business Wire Events – June 10 Edition

June 10, 2009


Join 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:

An Investor Relations Survival Guide: IR Strategies for the New Age of Corporate Transparency and Accountability

Hosted by Business Wire San Francisco

Today’s financial crisis is certain to lead to greater corporate disclosure and accountability standards. Ironically, the definition of transparency itself has become muddied as a result of considerable — and often deliberate — misinformation in the marketplace. This Business Wire Spring Investor Relations Conference Series event will focus on the changing regulatory environment, the role of technology in investor outreach, revisiting Regulation FD, and the compliance challenges ahead. Don Clark, Deputy Bureau Chief, Wall Street Journal will moderate a panel of disclosure experts and thought leaders, including Jim Jelter, Corporate News Editor, MarketWatch; Peter Schuman, Manager, Investor Relations, Intel; Stephen Schrader, Partner, Baker & McKenzie LLP; and Alex Hughes, Director of IR, Dolby Labs. This event is free for Business Wire members and $15 for non-members.

Thursday, June 11 at 8:30am PST
The Palace Hotel
2 New Montgomery Street, French Parlor Room, Second Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105
To register: RSVP to Sandy Donnelly at sandy.donnelly@businesswire.com with the subject line: “Media Breakfast: An Investor Relations Survival Guide” or call 415.986.4422 x561

Crafting an Effective Press Release: A One-on-One with Bloomberg

Hosted by Business Wire Toronto

As journalists become increasingly inundated with news and information, it is vital to understand and leverage the effectiveness of a well crafted press release to maximize your coverage in the news. Join Business Wire Toronto and Bloomberg News for a one-on-one with Bloomberg Bureau Chief David Scanlan. Mr. Scanlan and his editorial team will share their valuable insights about what it takes to help your press release stand out amongst the thousands of others that cross the wire every day. This event is free for all attendees.

Thursday, June 25 at 2pm ET
43rd Floor, Brookfield Place, 161 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M5J 2T3‎
To register: RSVP by Tuesday, June 15 to Rhianna Padamsey at Rhianna.Padamsey@BusinessWire.com

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.

Follow Business Wire events on Twitter! Hash tag #bwevents


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