PRWeek asks: What is the Impact of Panda 4.0 on Today’s Press Release?

July 2, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media

Earlier today, PRWeek tackled a topic on the minds of communication professionals around the globe – the impact of Google’s Panda updates on the press release.

logoSmallIn this piece, they ask experts from newswires and agencies alike whether this change will kill or enhance the press release.  Every respondent agreed – the press release is not dead.  In fact, thanks to this change, which effectively removed low quality content from mingling with high-level content, PR professionals have a terrific opportunity to reach and activate key audiences.  Today’s PR pros are in fact seeing greater success and visibility within key audiences with highly targeted, well-written, multimedia enhanced news.

Read more about Panda 4.0: Good news for content, bad news for link-stuffing at PR Week.  Curious on the best ways to craft a release in 2014?  Check out our free guide.

The Daily Dog Interviews Marketing SVP Tom Becktold on PR’s Role in the Marketing Process

October 25, 2012

The Daily Dog, as part of their “Exhibitor Insights” video series from this month’s PRSA International Conference, spoke with Tom Becktold, our SVP Marketing, about how PR pros are in a perfect position to drive companies’ greater marketing messages, how social media has given PR a bigger presence in C-suite decision making, and how PR should be guiding marketing and advertising. Check out Tom’s interview with Richard Carufel below:

NYSE Opening Bell with Warren Buffett: A Day in the Life of SVP of Marketing Tom Becktold

October 10, 2011

Here’s a glimpse into one of the best days I’ve experienced in my 23 years at Business Wire. This is a recap of my experiences planning and participating in the Business Wire 50th Anniversary NYSE Opening Bell events on Friday, September 30.  (Learn more about Tom Becktold)

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We had planned for months – event details, contests, timing, logistics, media interview scheduling.  When the most famous investor in the world accompanies you to the NYSE Opening Bell under the gaze of media, employees and clients to honor the 50th anniversary of your company, you want to get it right.

It was an incredibly exciting day as dozens of our staff were on hand as Warren Buffett joined Business Wire on our big day.

The NYSE hosted a breakfast for the Bellpodium guests in their historic board room, which has played host to heads of state and business leaders for the past century – impressive to say the least.  Joining us were executives from Barclays Bank, including Berkshire Hathaway market maker Jimmy Maguire, who’s been on the trading floor for more than four decades.  NYSE CEO Duncan Niederauer welcomed us and presented Business Wire with a framed proclamation honoring our 50thCathy Baron Tamraz and Warren Buffett each made remarks, with Warren pulling out a copy of the letter Cathy sent to him that started the process of Business Wire being purchased by Berkshire Hathaway in 2006.

To the Bellpodium we headed at 9:20 am, where we saw BW colleagues and traders cheering us on.  It was a tremendous honor to be among the group on the podium representing the amazing Business Wire team around the globe. Duncanput us all at ease by demonstrating some entertaining clapping styles.

We then headed to the trading floor, which was a frenzy of activity.  Traders wanting Warren Buffett’s autograph or to shake his hand – really everyone there was in awe of him, and he couldn’t have been more gracious.  A trip to the Barclay’s trading desk, and then to a photo op for wire service and news photographers quickly followed, along with a video interview by the NYSE, conducted by their senior media relations manager (and former BW colleague!) Annmarie Gioia.

From there, we split into teams.  Most BW folks headed up to the Board Room or luncheon along with many of our trade press for interviews that have or will be appearing soon.  I stayed with Cathy,Warren and a couple NYSE reps on the floor as we did four live and one taped interview in about an hour – Fox Business, CNBC, Bloomberg, Nightly Business Report and CNN.  Cathy did a fantastic job summarizing our anniversary and fielding questions along side Buffett (see links to coverage below).

Our luncheon then took center stage, with more than 225 in attendance, including BW staff, Berkshire colleagues, executives at our top clients and agencies, executives and reporters from our trade media and major media – Fortune, CNBC, industry influencers like Jeff Morgan, head of NIRI, among others.

The luncheon opened with remarks by Cathy where she introduced our College Video Contest winner, Jenna Marie James.  Jenna has become quite the celebrity as a result of winning our contest to come to NY to meet Warren Buffett.  She’s been interviewed by newspapers and radio stations in her home state of Indiana (she’s a senior at Ball State University), and did a live interview with the CBS Early Show on the morning of the event.  She’s pretty amazing and her videos are great fun to watch.

We then played our 50th Anniversary Video, produced for the event, featuring interviews with BW execs, and followed with a toast by Gregg Castano.

After lunch, Cathy did an interview with Warren Buffett and then opened the floor to questions from the audience.  The subjects covered were timely and Buffett’s comments were informative and in his disarming style.  He touched on the European debt crisis and his thoughts on the Euro surviving (they need a more unified monetary policy or need to break up) to the “Buffett tax” (he jokingly said he always wanted a tax named after him) to our economy (watch housing starts – we need to the number of households, which will take time, to absorb the available housing; when we have a million new housing starts a year, the economy will be back).

The luncheon wrapped at about 2:30 with Buffett signing autographs and posing for pictures with our clients.  The feedback, tweets and blog posts we’ve received indicate that Friday was a resounding success!

Happy 50th Business Wire!

Television Coverage Highlights

CNBC Squawk on the Street (CNBC link)

CNN Newsroom (CNN link)

Fox Business News (Fox Biz link)

Bloomberg In the Loop (Bloomberg link)

PBS Nightly Business Report (PBS link)

CBS The Early Show (CBS link) interview with our College Video Contest Winner Jenna Marie James, also covered on local television stations, including ABC-Channel 8/Omaha, CBS-Channel 5/San Francisco, CBS-Channel 8/Indianapolis.

Trade Coverage Highlights

IR Magazine/Inside Investor Relations

Warren Buffett and Business Wire bring cheer to Wall Street

Happy 50th anniversary, Business Wire

PR Newser

Warren Buffett, Business Wire Celebrate 50 Years at the NYSE

PR Week

Great Partners: Warren Buffett Helps Celebrate Business Wire’s 50th Anniversary at NYSE

PRSA Tactics and NIRI IR Update are planning pieces for their print editions.

Feintuch Communications (client/guest, Henry Feintuch)

Orange County Editors Discuss Business Trends and Online Tools

August 18, 2009


On August 12, Business Wire Newport Beach hosted a media breakfast on business trends and online tools enhancing local news publications and their websites. Business Wire Senior Vice President of Marketing Tom Becktold kicked off the discussion with a presentation on the new PR toolbox: how social media and other emerging strategies are affecting how brands communicate with their audiences.


An in-depth look at three of Orange County’s major media outlets followed, presented by a panel of editors, including (left to right):

Among the tips and key points brought up by the panel:

  • Ms. Allen says that the Register is very much focused on the web first. Its reporters post breaking news and updates on stories as it happens online, then the print team pulls from those stories at the end of the day to craft the story for the newspaper itself. Since it began this strategy, has doubled its page views year over year.
  • Ms. Allen also pointed out that, because of the focus on online, the OC Register has become very multimedia-oriented. Its photo desk is much more open to accepting photos and video from the public than it has been in the past, because while the paper has its team of photographers, they don’t produce enough photos for online use.
  • Ms. Borgatta presented some do’s and don’ts for pitching editors. Her don’ts included:
    • Don’t cold call an editor and launch directly into a pitch.
    • Don’t pitch an editor a story that has no relevance to the publication. Spin the story with an angle that may work with the publication.
    • Don’t, whatever you do, call an editor or publication by the wrong name.
  • Her do’s included:
    • Do start off a phone pitch by asking if the editor is on deadline.
    • Do be direct & to-the-point, whether it’s an email or phone pitch.
    • Do be a hero to the editor. If an editor needs to fill a hole, become someone they can count on to give them everything they need to supply a last minute story.
  • Mr. Lyster says that the OC Business Journal think of themselves like the Wall Street Journal of the Orange County area. They run similarly, with the largest companies based in the area receiving most of the coverage in the front pages.
  • Mr. Lyster notes that the OC Business Journal has found that, interestingly, the reason why local executives and CEOs is because they look at the Business Journal sort of like a community newspaper. While they can get their industry news from the national papers, trade publications and market research, they like to keep up with their fellow local company executives that live and work where they are. It almost feels like a high school newspaper, where the students are the CEOs and other executives.

Here are some audio clips from the event:

Rebecca Allen: “The OC Register is very web-focused.”

Michael Lyster: “Local executives look at the Business Journal like a community newspaper.”

Click here to download a complete audio recording of Tom Becktold’s talk on the new PR toolbox and here for a recording of the panel discussion.

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

No Joke: Fighting PR Tomfoolery on April Fools’ Day

April 3, 2009

As much as we enjoy playing spectator to the fake news circuit, we appreciate the mention of our April Fools’ policy in PR Newser’s round-up of this year’s tries in headlining gotchas. Business Wire continued its strict vigilance against April Fools’ related joke releases crossing our wire this April 1st. As our senior vice president of Marketing, Business Wired’s own Tom Becktold put it:

“For Business Wire, April Fools is a pretty high-alert day. Our newsrooms and staff are on the lookout to block April Fools press releases from getting on our wire. We ask our clients not to send us fake press releases tied to April Fools campaigns…Our users trust us for legitimate copy.”

It doesn’t sound like many mainstream sources fell for the Lawn Mower Racing Hall of Fame & Museum of America from the US Lawn Mower Racing Association (the museum is fake, but the organization is real) or The Guardian newspaper’s switch to a completely Twitter-based platform (okay, that one was pretty good). Still, we’re sticking to our policy of leaving releases not marked as an April Fools’ item off our wire on April 1st. Sorry, jokesters.

Search Engine Strategies NY 2009: Get the News

March 24, 2009

Not only is Business Wire the official wire service for Search Engine Strategies NY 2009, but our own Tom Becktold, SVP Marketing, is on the scene and tweeting his impressions.  Follow Tom’s Twitter feed to get his on-the-ground thoughts from SES, then visit the show news archive  for up-to-date press releases from exhibitors and others.


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