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PR, IR, Marketing, Media and other news from Business Wire

How New Journalistic Practices Are Influencing The News Release

By Agnes Deleuse, Senior Marketing & Communications Manager

Recent studies published coincidentally by The New York Times, Reuters Institute and Business Wire Media Survey are highlighting how journalism is changing in order to survive. New technology brought in new challenges and revolutionized our relationship to media consumption.  

The smartphone is our connection to the world. 51% of consumers are getting their news from their mobile device and the trend is going upwards. We hop from one site to an app, and from one social media platform to the next. Our eyes scan thousands of pieces of information and we only stop when an image is appealing or when the news is pertinent.

Tech innovation goes so fast that Facebook Live and Google News Lab have dedicated training centers for journalists, bloggers, and influencers.

What does it say? First, that journalists must today master editorial and technology techniques, social media specifics and creativity. Secondly, that they must constantly train to acquire new competences matching the pace of digital evolution. 

For PR professionals the takeaway is this: if journalistic practices are changing, it is obvious that the news release has to change as well.

Mobile = Visual

Multimedia is not an option anymore. It is the entry door to visibility and engagement. With Business Wire, images and other multimedia included with a release are sent to photography press agencies and are posted on many news sites and social media platforms. They are available for journalists and other news consumers to download in a hi-res format. If you look at a news feed (AFP, AP…) on a mobile app, news with multimedia is news that gets the most attention.

PR professionals must accept these transformations if they want their information to perform. We now live in a digital era and crafting a news release requires new adjustments. Forget the old habits! Here are a few tips that may help:

1/ Anticipation is key - Include the press release in your communications strategy. Think about your message, your target, what you are expecting from the release….
Don’t choose your multimedia at the last minute. If you need a headshot of your CEO or a picture of your new product, anticipate to get the best shot. If you are exhibiting at a tradeshow, take pictures of your booth so that they are available for later use. Create a photo library where you can dig in at any time.

2/ Forget the text only release – A NYT report says that 800 words articles don’t do great on the web. And 63% of the world are visual learners, so why are your news releases text-only? Add multimedia because the old adage that an image is worth 1,000 words rings truer than ever in the digital age. And don’t forget to include a detailed caption of your multimedia asset. News release multimedia captions can be 100-words long so take the time to describe what your multimedia asset is trying to convey.

3/ Be creative - Innovate when preparing your news release. Utilize the latest storytelling tools, such as interactive photos and videos. There are numerous shareable multimedia options that will engage journalists and consumers.

4/ Think like a journalist - Present your message in a journalistic format. The media covers stories they deem newsworthy so offer them a story that mirrors their usual content. Give them what they are looking for: visuals and quality content.

5/ Think social media - Write pertinent and quality content; it will drive sharing and engagement. Engagement is a major goal when issuing a news release because it shows that audiences are interested in your message. The question to ask yourself is how to maximize engagement. Choose the community you want to reach and craft messages adapted to its members.

Like journalists, you should master the popular social media platforms and know exactly which one is the most appropriate for the type of message you want to deliver.

6/ Searchability - Journalists love Google when researching data and info to write an article. To make sure your press release comes on top of searches, it needs to be written for optimization. The first 5-7 words of your news release headline becomes your URL string. These words must be carefully chosen. Click here to learn how to write a headline Google will love. And don’t forget to include multimedia and captions. The distribution process by your news service provider (Business Wire for example) will post your news release on multiple sites on the web and facilitates its archive on the Internet. News release optimization and distribution by an experienced partner will ensure your news release is easily found across the web.

7/ Headlines and Sub-Headlines – Your headline can be as long or as short as you would like, but they should include all the information a reporter needs to see to open your news story. Most editorial systems showcase the first 55 characters of your headline while search engines will show up to 70 characters. This means you have between 8-15 words in your headline to entice your readers into opening your release.  Since sub-headlines are not seen until the news release is open, be sure to include the impact of your news on your desired audience in your headline.

Business Wire Releases New White Paper: Is Your IR Site a Security Liability?

The modern IRO has many areas of responsibilities. At the top of that list should be the creation and maintenance of an investor relations site, a beneficial communications tool that makes it easy for analysts, shareholders and the media to find essential financial documents and material news.

A platform offering important financial news, requiring stringent security measures, might seem like cause for stress, but the good news for IR professionals is that Business Wire just released a new white paper outlining the best practices for internal workflow, technical compatibility, and security awareness and diligence. Is Your IR Site a Security Liability?, written by Ibrey Woodall, Business Wire’s senior vice president of web communications services,  offers guidance and tactical tips for ensuring that your branded IR site is safeguarded against situations that may compromise your efforts, such as the premature disclosure of earnings data.

Download Is Your IR Site a Security Liability? now and find out how to better protect yourself against unwanted investor relations disruptions.   

One of the most important elements of an IR site is the internal workflow that makes it function, identifying how an investor relations team can efficiently prepare, publish, and protect required content.

Workflow topics covered within the white paper include:

  • Assignment of site administrators
  • Password management
  • Recommended content for publication
  • How to best streamline workflow process

With this white paper, Ibrey aims to educate the reader and bring about a stronger understanding of the technical compatibility between all of the systems used to both announce and host your company’s financial information.

Finally, learn how to protect yourself against the very real threat of cyber security incidents. Ibrey points out what questions to ask your IR site vendor and how to look for a strong information security program supported by industry standard certifications.

About the author

As SVP Web Communications Services, Ibrey is responsible for Business Wire’s InvestorHQ IR site and NewsHQ online newsroom solutions. She holds a B.A. in Mass Communications and a Webmaster certification. Ibrey has been involved in strategy and launch of websites for 3M, Bank of America, Gannett, Office Depot, Procter & Gamble, ServiceMaster, Williams-Sonoma and many other publicly traded and private companies.

Detroit TV Execs Share the Ins and Outs of What Catches Their Eye to Garner Coverage

By Cindy Hopman, Corporate Communications Manager, Valassis

Business Wire, in collaboration with PRSA-Detroit and IABC-Detroit, hosted a panel discussion with executives from the city’s three major networks to provide PR professionals insight into their world and how it has changed. We learned more about what catches their eye for not only the 6 o’clock news but news that starts as early as 4:30 a.m. for some morning shows all the way to the traditional 11 o’clock telecast.

Once upon a time, to announce big news, you either issued a press release or held a press conference.  Subsequent front page news and broadcast coverage meant PR success. Today, those are just two tools used to get the news out and by no means do they stand alone. There is pitching, tweeting and blogging to follow up a press release or press conference for coverage in print, online, TV, radio and across social networks with rich media to further enhance the story.

Despite all of these channels to get the news out as well as for coverage, there remains a strong desire to have your story told on the evening news. And today, broadcast coverage may also extend its reach online with video and via social channels. You see, broadcast, too has re-invented itself to remain relevant and capture the attention of its viewers wherever they are.

While Fox 2 Detroit averages 70 hours of news a week, there is much competition for those time slots.  The WDIV Channel 4 NBC affiliate executive indicated her email blows up each morning between 5:55 and 6:15 with an average of 25 pitches hoping to get first in line for potential broadcast coverage. So how do PR professionals get a step up?

Here are just some of the takeaways from the Detroit-area Business Wire-led panel discussion with:

  • Rhonda LaVelle: WXYZ Channel 7 News Director (ABC)
  • Kevin Roseborough: WJBK Channel 2 Vice President and News Director (FOX)
  • Kim Voet: WDIV Channel 4 News Director (NBC)
  • Tom O’Connell, Business Wire/Detroit 

Consider this:

  • Pitch to reporters and producers direct – but first, do your homework and find a reporter whose beat aligns with your news.
  • Pitch your news via email – do not reach out early in the morning or prior to the evening news; be concise yet engaging.
  • Put a human face on pitches
  • Once there is interest, follow up with a call.
  • Strengthen your pitch with visuals i.e. b-roll, infographics, demos, etc.
  • Target morning shows for non-breaking-type stories/features.
  • Search TV station websites for niche opportunities/features.
  • Make your press release impactful in the headline and lead to garner interest. With the multitude TV stations receive daily, they may not read beyond the headline so put your best foot forward as quickly as possible. All three network execs indicated they are looking at press releases for potential coverage.

Broadcasters realize PR professionals/companies may be pitching the same story to all three networks; whenever possible, deliver a slightly different pitch or offer up a different spokesperson. Keep in mind that the TV stations are also competing for viewers and a different angle or brand-messenger can make a difference in coverage on multiple networks. And if the story is engaging, it may be syndicated across network affiliates and shared via the station’s social channels or on their web page. What they share on their websites and across affiliate stations is selective. TV stations too are looking for ways to attract younger viewers and those on the go. Take a step back and look at the broader appeal of the story you are pitching. With this in mind, the reach of the story can extend exponentially across the country and channels.

When assessing the value of a story, consideration is given to those that are consumer-friendly and still maintain the integrity of the show – meaning, don’t be overly promotional. As PR professionals we do follow the Cheers mantra and want “everyone to know our name,” but it’s a fine line that will factor into whether or not the story is deemed newsworthy.

Happy pitching and see you on TV!

Business Wire Receives Coveted PR Daily Video Award

Business Wire celebrates after receiving PR Daily’s Video Award for News Story Video. Although the announcement was first made earlier this year, it wasn’t until this week that the beautiful glass statue arrived at our offices honoring everything BizWireTV has accomplished. 

PR Daily is saying loud and clear that “video has become one of the fastest-growing, most engaging communication channels,” and these awards aim to bring spotlight onto video content that showcase the power of the medium.

BizWireTV launched in 2015 as a digital video-news show to bring attention to industry disrupting and trending stories crossing the wire. Hosted by Jordyn Rolling, the show airs weekly every Thursday at 6am ET on BizWireTV.com.   

News issuers looking to be featured on the award winning show now have multiple partnership opportunities including:

  • News Segment Sponsorship: Sponsor regular features such as Top of the Wire, Quick Biz Hits and VC Watch, with onscreen logo and verbal mention.
  • Branded News Spotlight: A custom news segment with creative guidance and video/image assets.
  • Branded News Feature: A custom, fully-owned 90-second episode.
  • Influencer Video Blog: A custom two minute episode featuring commentary and/or interviews with industry experts.
  • Brand Films: Custom long-form videos including extended interviews, location shoots, facility tours and more.

News issuers can also bring their news front and center with a Sponsored Headline:

  • An on-air read of a client’s headline within the show by host, Jordyn Rolling 
  • Listing on-screen via a text crawl and release screen grab
  • Inclusion in the episode’s National news release
  • Promotion across Business Wire social channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram)

Learn more about BizWireTV Partnership Opportunities and Sponsored Headlines


How the Canadian Newspaper Industry Can Adapt to Changes

By Jean-Adrien Delicano, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire

Another month, another round of layoffs and “restructuring” in the Canadian media world. In March 2017, Postmedia Network, Canada’s largest newspaper company, announced 54 layoffs at the Vancouver Sun and Vancouver Province newsrooms.

The struggles faced by Canadian news media professionals are well-documented. Declining advertising dollars, low subscription numbers, and the emergence and disruption of digital have all contributed to the financial hardships affecting many Canadian news publications.

Perhaps none have been affected more than print newspapers. Across Canada, newspapers ranging from local dailies to national media are dealing with organizational restructuring, as they layoff long-tenured journalists and make changes to employee contracts and benefits.

The Challenge

John Hinds of News Media Canada (formerly Newspapers Canada) is well aware of the issues and concerns of newspaper professionals. As CEO of an organization that represents newspapers across Canada and provides a wide range of services to their media members, Hinds knows firsthand the main challenge that the newspaper industry is facing.

“Like any news business, they’re challenged and the big challenge we all face, the real frustration, is the idea that people aren’t reading newspapers anymore and I think that’s really wrong,” Hinds says. “All the data shows that people are reading newspapers more than ever… it’s just that newspaper companies are having a hard time monetizing those readers and monetizing their content.”

“It’s a business challenge, not a reader challenge.”

Hinds likes to reiterate the message that people are reading newspapers and that media professionals should not buy into the idea that journalism doesn’t matter.

“They’re reading it and they’re reading it across platforms,” he says. “They’re just not reading it the way it used to be read and the unfortunate problem is the creators and owners of that content aren’t able to monetize it the way they used to.”

Causes for Optimism

With advancements in technology and new found ways to do things, the future of media can be bright. Hinds is optimistic that the newspaper industry can take advantage.

“We don’t have a reader problem, or a viewer problem, or an audience problem, that’s the thing,” Hinds says. “We just have to look at ways of monetizing content and there are some really interesting things happening out there.

(John Hinds, CEO of News Media Canada pictured right) 

“When you look at La Presse, with them going fully tablet, that is world-leading…there is no other major daily newspaper in the world that has done what they’ve done,” he continues. “There’s also the Winnipeg Free Press, which has a fantastic micropayment thing set up.”

Even with all of that, the fact remains that the backbone of the industry are the journalists themselves. Hinds commends them on their abilities to quickly and efficiently bring the news to readers every day.

“I admire journalists today,” he says. “It used to be that you had a 24-hour news cycle and now you have a 24-second news cycle.”

“And they’re trying to do that on 4 or 5 platforms,” he continues. “So they’re doing audio, they’re doing video, print, and I just admire the skill that is required now to do credible journalism and to do it fast.”

Dealing with Fake News

Another challenge that the news media has had to face recently is the rise of fake news. But Hinds sees this as another way for newspapers to stake their claim as the bringers of true and accurate information.

“In a funny way, fake news has been a boon to newspapers and their sites,” Hinds says. “People will see something on social media, they’ll want to fact check it and their source for fact checking is a credible news site, which is a newspaper.”

“I think that’s a real strength of the medium… to continue to deliver credible news.”

End of Mass Media?

Ultimately, Hinds believes that the future of newspaper media lies with their ability to connect with their readers and provide them with useful content that is relevant to their interests.

“Newspaper companies are being challenged to do things differently and now, community papers are much more vertically integrated…they’re doing magazines, tradeshows, and events,” Hinds says.

“It’s a much broader thing, but it’s all building on that community of interest or geographic community,” he continues. “I kind of think that the days of the mass media are over and it’s about much more niche media, identifying your audience, and having them pay for that content in some way.”

“I’m not one who says the industry is dead…It’s going through challenges, but the demand is there for the content.”

Marketers to Increase PR Spending Over Next 5 Years – New Study Says

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the USC Center for Public Relations at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism have released a new report that offers a candid look at how marketers plan to tackle public relations in the upcoming years.

The most eye-opening data found in the report is that 75% of respondents answered that they plan on increasing PR budgets over the course of the next five years. When it comes to internal PR staffing, 79% said that their numbers would stay the same in the next year with 13% saying they would moderately increase. When the same question was asked but in the timeline of the next five years, 54% said it would moderately increase.

Learn more about the report on Adweek

This study exposes just how public relations is evolving and its growing importance within the marketing landscape. A lot of this can be attributed to the digital technological revolution and the speed with which communication now takes place between businesses, clients and the public. The result is a convergence between PR and marketing and a shared use of specific tools aimed at building a bridge with potential clients and customers.


Needless to say, the future of PR looks very bright. 

“Digital has put PR front and center, as it allows immediate outbound communication and inbound feedback,” said ANA group executive vice president Bill Duggan.

When asked how PR programs can best demonstrate their value, there was a strong consensus with 89% saying they can achieve measurable business objectives. Industry lines are being blurred and industry leaders are well aware of this phenomenon. The only question now is how far will marketing and PR grow together.   

Find out how to best track inbound traffic from a press release. 

How to Write a Professional Press Release

This article details exactly what content should populate a press release and where it should be found within the release. Use the following as a template and make sure to amplify its message through the use of a commercial newswire such as Business Wire.

It's important to remember that while subheadlines are terrific for outlining your news release’s key points, they are not seen by the reader until the news release is clicked on. Make sure your news release headline showcases the full impact of your news to increase the open rates and usage of your release.


Create an Intriguing Headline That Lets the Reader Know What the Release is About

Subheadlines are not seen by readers until the news release is opened so include all pertinent information in the headline










CITY, STATE (or CITY, COUNTRY) – Start the release by stating the brand making the announcement and the news being announced. Make sure to include hyperlinks to all official websites. Journalists rake through countless emails every day so it’s important to fill them in on the newsworthy content of your announcement right away to let them know if this release fits in with their beat.

Explain the industry effected by the announcement and what the targeted audience can expect from this news. 

“Include a quote that highlights the benefits of this announcement for the brand’s targeted audience and what the brand hopes to accomplish,” attribute this quote to a decision maker at the organization who had influence in the news being announced and state their role.

Offer background details about the brand behind the announcement, some recent accomplishments and brief details sourced from the company’s mission statement.

“Include a second quote that goes into more detail about the announcement and what led to it, expected results,” attribute this quote to someone with the brand who intimately knows the details surrounding the announcement.   

 OR, if the announcement is regarding a partnership:

“Include a quote describing the benefits of this partnership both for the two organizations as well as clients and customers,” attribute this quote to someone from the other brand.

Conclude the release by including final details such as websites, social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and other accounts.



Include a company boilerplate describing the company history and highlights.



Include contact information of someone who will be responsible for handling media inquiries.


This is what a press release should look like and standard lengths range from 500-1000 words. It’s important to also include multimedia such as images and video and a logo that links to the company page. Digital technology has transformed the way people consume news making multimedia an expected asset. Providing a high quality image or video will help amplify your message and impact reach. A press release is news and journalists need to be engaged in order to cover your story so focus on the newsworthy aspects of your announcement. With the right targeting and distribution you’ll be reaching interested parties covering your beat so give them what they’re looking for.  

Also make sure to utilize Business Wire's included social media tools as well as selecting applicable hashtags and cash tags. 

What Are the Real Consequences of Fake Financial News?

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, or AICPA, released the results of a new survey revealing the startling impact that fake financial news is having on Americans' ability to make retirement, investment and healthcare decisions. Fake news is no longer a simple distraction or nuisance, it is a dangerous tool subverting investing habits and people are concerned. 

Learn more about the AICPA survey from the release issued on Business Wire.

There is a proven antibiotic to treat exposure to fake news, unfortunately it’s time consuming and involves vetting and verifying information. To the casual news consumer this solution treats the fake news epidemic successfully, turning it into nothing more than an inconvenience and at most temporary embarrassment in the form of a social media post. To the investing community that relies on quick transactions based on constantly changing trends, however, fake news is becoming a serious problem. 

While more than 63% of Americans say that the spread of fake news has made it more difficult to make critical financial decisions, the real red flag is that only 14% expect the fake financial news epidemic to subside and become less prevalent in the next few years. This pessimistic outlook is a reflection of today’s media landscape. However, tools do exist to ensure consumption of quality, factual news.

One consistent bright spot is the trusted news content provided by commercial newswires, which publish news directly from thoroughly vetted sources - brands, corporations and organizations whose announcements move the markets.

To further narrow the field, a long-tenured commercial newswire such as Business Wire has earned the hard-won trust of journalists and other downstream news consumers – credibility that took decades to establish and almost a foreign concept in today’s pop-up digital media environment. This proud tradition enables companies of all sizes to confidently submit press releases for distribution across the wire and allows those reporting on and consuming the end product to be equally confident in the veracity of the material being disseminated. 

A commercial newswire is a widely relied upon method used to meet Regulation FD, which ensures all interested parties have access to corporate news and financial data at the same time. While the SEC has amended its guidance on disclosure to include social channels under certain circumstances, in reality, social channels were not designed or positioned to be disclosure vehicles. Twitter, Facebook and other services modify the visibility of all content to maximize their own advertising revenues. Social media platforms are also plagued by fake news, making it more difficult to discern fact from fiction.  As such, the vast majority of public issuers utilize commercial newswires to ensure broad and simultaneous reach to the investing public.

While fake news is believed to be here for a while, the platforms that have spent decades developing trust from both newsmakers and news consumers continue to service the public with valid information. It’s easier to focus on where to look for real financial news when you know where it’s coming from. 


Best Bets to Get Featured on BizWireTV

By Vilan Trub, Marketing

BizWireTV is a sleek digital news show that reaches audiences around the globe. For a brand looking to amplify their latest announcement, there is no doubt that being featured on the program creates greater access to wider audiences, making a strong visual impression on potential clients and customers.

Here are some great tips from Executive Producer Amy Feller that will increase the chances of your news release being featured on BizWireTV:

Write a compelling headline

Headlines don’t just attract readers, they entice viewers as well. A succinct and intriguing headline is the perfect lead-in to a digital news story, sucking in viewers’ attentions. It’s not by accident that local televised news broadcasts offer a taste of the stories coming after a commercial break, what can be considered a form of a headline. A great headline should offer enough details to allow the viewer to know that the story is relevant to them, but at the same time create mystery and offer the opportunity of enlightenment. A great headline that garners interest from readers will also garner the interest of BizWireTV’s staff and enhance the chance of the story being featured in the show.    

Include HD video files that help tell your story

We live in the multimedia age and today’s news releases have the capability to take full advantage. Sending out a smart news release, featuring a video, makes it easier for the featured news to travel around today’s most popular platforms, all quickly transforming into multimedia platforms. Scroll down a Facebook page, or Twitter and see how much content is visual. Today’s tech is designed to be smart, so a news release should be as well. Visual news highly increases a brands chances of landing on a visual news show.   

Include large hi-rez images

For the same reasons that videos are an important asset to the news release, hi-resolution images are as well. It’s not enough to just tell audiences your story, you need to show them who the story is coming from. When audiences see the people behind the stories or see the products being described, they have a stronger connection and interest to the brand issuing the news. These are vital aspects to a news broadcast and BizWireTV looks for these assets in the news sourcing each episode. 

Share your news socially

A core component of BizWireTV is news-related data analysis powered by Business Wire’s NewsTrak reports and NUVI social media tracking. Sharing your story on social platforms increases its chances of landing on the top 5 trending stories of the week.   

Include your official logo 

There is no more important branding than a logo. It’s how the public recognizes a brand and that’s why BizWireTV looks for news releases that include official logos. Logos are just as important for startups and other new companies as they are for more established corporations because the logo will become how audiences will come to recognize the brand.    

What kind of stories does BizWireTV look for?

  • Launch news of new product and services 
  • "firsts" in whatever industry you're in
  • Startups, Kickstarter/Indiegogo campaigns/young companies with fresh VC funding
  • Entertainment stories

Sponsored Headlines

BizWireTV features a Sponsored Headlines segment allowing clients the opportunity to have their story featured in the show.

BizWireTV Sponsored Headlines include:

  • An on-air read of a client’s headline within the show by host, Jordyn Rolling 
  • Listing on-screen via a text crawl and release screen grab
  • Inclusion in the episode’s National news release
  • Promotion across Business Wire social channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram)

Learn more about BizWireTV’s Sponsored Headlines

Al Roker Visits Business Wire for BizWireTV Event

By Vilan Trub, Marketing

BizWireTV was born when Business Wire partnered with Al Roker Entertainment to create a video news show with stories sourced from announcements crossing the newswire’s patented distribution network. Two years later and the show is a huge success with millions of views. To celebrate, Business Wire put together an event giving some of today’s leading communicators the chance to meet and learn from Al Roker as BizWireTV host Jordyn Rolling led a livestreamed fireside chat.  

You can view a replay of the livestream here

Al Roker touched upon many subjects, starting by explaining that he initially had no intention of a career in television. It was during college while taking a class on television performance, Roker joked, that he was told by a professor that he has a face for radio. A class he shared with fellow icon, Jerry Seinfeld. He did, however, land his first job as a weatherman at the time in Syracuse after submitting a tape.

Jordyn Rolling, host of BizWireTVAl then touched upon an event that entered him into the record books, Rokerthon. After hearing about a Norwegian woman who set the world record for longest continues weather cast, the unimpressed Roker joked that he could top the tally with ease. Following the taping of the live episode, his crew inquired as to when the record breaking event would take place. Al, forgetting his braggadocios claim, had gotten himself into a corner and took the challenge head on. The result was a 36 hour live marathon, a precursor, he points out himself, to the live streaming culture prevalent today. In usual Al Roker fashion, he joked that when a microphone was accidently left on during a restroom break, the world got to hear him actually “live streaming.”


While most attendees admitted to starting their days at 6 or 7 in the morning, Al admitted that his duties force him to rise at 4am. He’s hard working and ambitious and with Al Roker Entertainment and Al Roker Lab he’s creating content seen around the world. His goals, however, are inspiring in their humbleness. “I don’t want to change the world,” Al said wholeheartedly, “I just don’t want people to feel like they’ve wasted their time.”     

Partnering with Business Wire gives Al Roker a unique opportunity to create factual, news driven content. The conversation turned to the current trend of fake news, but Roker wasn’t distraught, instead having faith that majority of people can identify the veracity of the news they’re consuming. He then explained what it was about the newswire that piqued his interest, “When people see news from Business Wire, they know they can trust it.”

New episodes of BizWireTV are available Thursday’s on BizWireTV.com with apps available for iOS and Android devices.

Learn more about BizWireTV and Sponsored Headline opportunities. 

Journalists Want (and Need) Your Images

Benefit: Business Wire Provides Them Rights and Royalty Free

By Sandy Malloy, Manager, Licensing & Content Development

We frequently tell our clients that including a photo or other multimedia increases release views.  Here are a few findings that reinforce the power of images to reach an audience:

  • BuzzSumo found, in a study of over 100 million Facebook updates, that updates with images had 2.3 times more engagement than those without.
  • A different study by a consulting firm found that using images on Twitter increased the rate of retweets by 150%
  • Our own research has shown three times more activity on releases with multimedia than on text-only releases

What you might not know is that by using Business Wire to transmit your photos and videos, you are making it much easier for the media to take advantage of them. Images on BusinessWire.com are available for journalists to download in a variety of formats, already rights-cleared and free of royalties (though they do frequently ask the Licensing Department for permission.) This ease of use encourages the media to enhance their stories with visuals – your visuals.

Amazingly enough, Licensing has been asked for permission to use images that are months or even years old if the image suits the purpose. For instance, a good head shot accompanying a personnel announcement can be extremely useful for at least a couple of years.

When you use images on your site or in news releases, marketing materials and the like, it’s best to use the ones your company or client has created. You might not have to start from scratch, as companies often have content commissioned for another purpose (e.g., an annual report) available to re-use in other ways. Or, you might be able to buy an image from a stock photo company, as long as you have the budget and are able to comply with the license terms that will apply.

If you try to find images online, be aware of the usage rights. Google image search has guidelines that are very helpful.

Be creative, think outside the text box, and make your releases memorable with the right multimedia elements.

Tempo Presents: The Future of PR with Sandra Fathi, President of Affect

Business Wire recently had #CommPro Sandra Fathi, president of Affect, stop by and offer some insight into the current and future trends in public relations. An ardent entrepreneur, Sandra has spent the last 20 years helping technology, healthcare and professional services companies achieve their goals.

Communicating in the digital age requires an understanding of today’s rapidly evolving popular platforms. From issuing and amplifying content to tracking the impact of that content, Sandra covers the tools currently in use and how they might change in the years to come. She offers her thoughts on platforms such as Twitter and the recently discontinued Vine, as well as predictions on how users might be engaging with social media in the future.

Fathi covers some of the toughest questions facing today's PR and marketing professionals:

  • What are some of the tech trends you're seeing that will have the biggest impact?
  • How do you think social media is going to evolve over the next 5-10 years?
  • What role do traditional tools of communication such as newswires have today and what role do you feel they will have in the future?
  • The digital age has dramatically changed content and content marketing - how does that impact communicators?
  • What will PR look like in 10 years?

Watch the full video and see what Sandra (pictured left) has to say and learn more about Affect.


What Do Journalists Want? Agility PR Solutions and Business Wire Find Out

Business Wire and Agility PR Solutions want communications pros to find their perfect media match. After surveying over 600 journalists in more than 40 countries, the results were analyzed and compiled into the Media Matchmaker, a blueprint for how and when to best reach members of the media.

Creating and distributing news is only part of the equation when it comes to amplifying a branded message. It’s the media that delivers your communication to their audiences, audiences that tune in expecting trustworthy content. Media relations is as vital as the news being issued in the first place and for this reason, understanding the habits of journalists and reporters goes a long way in getting your news to its intended target audience. So what kind of information did Business Wire and Agility PR Solutions set out to uncover?  

Respondents were asked questions on a wide range of topics including:

  • Integrating more interactive multimedia online
  • Press release elements most beneficial to reporters
  • The role of long form and short form news produced by platforms such as BuzzFeed and The New York Times
  • Reporters’ increased usage of video

What kind of key findings can communicators find in the blueprint?

79% of surveyed media expect a PR practitioner to know their beat. 

No journalist wants to be just another contact on a long media list. The first step to better media outreach is to only contact journalists and reporters whose beat matches the news being forwarded. This would usually involve strenuous research, however, with Agility PR Solutions, filtered lists are compiled based on input criteria. Just let the platform know what kind of journalists you need and in return, expect an accurate media list.

75% of surveyed media use an organization’s online newsroom for research.

The online newsroom, along with Google and an organization’s main website, are the top 3 destinations for research by media. It is vital that content within the online newsroom is updated frequently. Not only does this provide fresh material for reporters, but also helps with search engine optimization. Business Wire’s NewsHQ and InvestorHQ offer direct posting of material news and coupled with Business Wire’s distribution network, provide a secure, safe and efficient way to disseminate regulatory disclosure information.

Download Media Matchmaker for full survey results on how to best reach the media

If You Wouldn’t Click On It, We Won’t Either… Seattle Media Shares Tips for Getting the Attention of the Press

By Matt Allinson, International Media Relations Manager

Earlier this month, six journalists from a variety of Seattle media outlets joined Business Wire for a media speed-dating session. The session allowed attendees the opportunity to engage in small group discussions with journalists and learn more about how the media works; current challenges facing the industry; how journalists like to be pitched; and other useful information about interacting with the press.

Dispensing knowledge from the journalist side was Taylor Soper (Reporter at Geekwire.com), Emily Parkhurst (Editor in Chief of The Puget Sound Business Journal), Rachel Lerman (Reporter for The Seattle Times), Michelle Li (Reporter for KING5), Lauren Foster (Managing Editor of 425 Magazine, 425 Business, and South Sound Magazine), and Anika Anand (Co-Founder of new media venture, The Evergrey). The event was moderated by Bryan Cohen, Owner/Partner of Colehour+Cohen.

From L to R ... Rachel Lerman, Emily Parkhurst, Lauren Foster, Anika Anand, Michelle Li, Bryan Cohen, Taylor Soper, Matt Allinson

Over 70 attendees gathered for the event and all took away many useful tips from these journalists over the course of an hour. Here are some that stand out:

  • Make sure the news/information you are sending to the press is compelling or interesting. “If you wouldn’t click on it, we won’t either,” said Emily Parkhurst.
  • Keep it Simple … When it comes to press releases, all Rachel Lerman wants is the 5 Ws (who, what, when, where, and why). Keep it straightforward and full of useful information.
  • Details matter … Taylor Soper looks at the area codes in email signatures. If you’re pitching local, it helps to have a local area code.
  • If you’re sending a reporter an email, give them a subject line that lets the reporter know you’re a human being and load the first sentence or two with as much pertinent information as possible. Emily Parkhurst has 20,000 emails in her inbox. Yours better stand out.
  • Michelle Li says to never forget the morning news programs. Since local stations generally air four to five hours of news in the morning, “You get more bang for your buck since your story is likely to be repeated four or five times,” she said. She also noted that morning news is the only time segment where viewership grows as the broadcast proceeds.
  • Don’t make us find multimedia,” pleaded Lauren Foster. “Include headshots/photos and do your homework before you actually make a pitch.”
  • Look for potential partnerships with new media. Anika Anand says The Evergrey wants to drive subscriber growth and are currently partnering with Brooks Running as part of a referral incentive program. It’s tough out there for new media outlets, so creative partnerships are possible. 

Lauren Foster speaks to attendees at Busines Wire's March 1 media event

  • Don’t get frustrated if you don’t hear back from a journalist right away. All the journalists acknowledged that due to smaller staffs and greater demands, they are busier than ever. It’s always okay to follow up if you don’t hear back, but do so with the understanding that the journalist is probably being pulled in a thousand different directions.
  • Don’t forget your #hashtags … Michelle Li actively pays attention to hashtags on Twitter to find stories (#seattle #pacnw #washington). She also sources the majority of stories herself or via pitches.



[Webinar Recap] Here are the Top 2017 Social Media Trends to Watch by Black PR Wire and Business Wire Part II

By Vilan Trub, Business Wire

The following is Part II of Business Wire's article providing insight into the top social media trends for 2017. Access Part I to learn what insight Lashanda Henry, SistaSense and Dr. Erica Taylor Southerland, Ph.D. had to offer.    

Be Authentic. Alfred Edmond Jr., Senior VP/Executive Editor-at-Large of Black Enterprise

The key takeaway from Alfred’s presentation was “don’t play yourself.” We live in an era where there are more tools available than ever to build our own brand, but it’s important to be mindful that communicating with audiences is self-representation. Build a brand that represents you, the authentic you. Don’t waste your time creating an image online that does not reflect who you are offline and could possibly alienate your intended audience.   

Every status update is a window into how audiences will see you. Brands need to protect their credibility.  Every organization has issues and every social media manager needs to know these issues and public perceptions before creating their social program.  They should think and verify before tweeting/retweeting, posting, reacting or aligning with a hashtag. Every update should align with the organization’s voice and brand.

Edmond Jr. also discussed best practices of live-video streaming. Live-streaming events, providing exclusive behind the scene’s sneak peeks is one of the best ways to draw in an audience. Use live video to bring your viewers into places where they can’t access themselves. This discussion lead into the concept of “celebrity.” Each industry has their own “celebrities” or “influencer.” Consider exclusive interviews with these thought leaders as a way to co-opt their audiences to promote your message. This is another great use of live-streaming to connect with your audience.

Tip:  Don’t Forget Email Lists

As social media evolves and transitions into a more pay-for-play role, email lists will become more important. On social media platforms, the audience you accrue is owned by the platform and they will charge you to reach them. The only audience you own is the one you can reach on your own, such as an email list. The strongest marketing programs are ones that use all the resources available to a company – include email amplification in your programs to ensure you reach and activate your most loyal fans with your news and information.

Don’t Sleep on LinkedIn

When looking to drive sales via social channels, Edmond Jr. pleaded with viewers not to forget the power and reach of LinkedIn.  LinkedIn offers access to high income decision makers, those with access to budgets. While Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great for reaching audiences, LinkedIn offers a far more unique, targeted reach. People expect to be pitched on LinkedIn, making them the perfect prospects. A great way to get acquainted with the content on LinkedIn is to check out their marketing pages blog.LinkedIn.com and LinkedIntoBusiness.com.


Drive Social Advocacy Stephanie Tavares-Rance, Director of Digital Marketing, PR and Social Media at Boston Market

Stephanie’s tips centered on three key goals: share, educate and motivate.

Content should tell a story, deliver information and solve a problem for the audience that’s being targeted. Don’t waste your time reiterating issues that potential clients might have without offering plausible solutions. This work doesn’t motivate them to act on your brand as a beneficial partner, a key component for increasing social advocacy.

Stephanie also offered some tips when crafting content for social platform distribution:

  • Know your platforms. Develop content and copy with a mobile-first point of view. Have a clear understanding of image dimensions required and maximum character count.
  • Vary your content. Content should change with each platform to best suit the platform’s capabilities. Image dimensions, character count, and understanding unique audiences to each platform will help tailor craft your messaging.
  • Use CTAs. Calls to action should move audiences to go beyond the view to action. Getting audiences to consume your content is the first step. Get them moving down the sales funnel by encouraging they take further, proactive steps in learning more about your brand or product.
  • No words needed. Video content should be able to tell a story without sound. Social platforms are often mobile platforms and engaged with on the go. Create video content that tells a story visually because you don’t know when audiences will or won’t be listening to audio, if they find themselves in public spaces.
  • Be interesting. Posts should engage the reader to share, comment and provide their own stories. Posts should be conversation starters, opening two-way dialogue.


Melissa Kimble, Founder of #blkcreatives and Senior Social Media Manager at Ebony

Melissa kicked off her portion of the webinar by posing several intriguing questions:

  1. Are you resting on utilizing social media as the “face” of your business or are you using it as a tool to leverage your business?  
  2. Are you utilizing social media to create noise or to create necessary relationships? How can you create a more well-rounded brand offline?

Strategy starts with intention and the goal is to utilize social media platforms to maximize the visibility and impact of brand communications. With all of the noise that social media creates, people are hungry for more substantial, real life experiences. They are authentic and tangible and they crave likeminded content. These experiences include in-person events, face-to-face meetings or even phone calls and allow social media to supplement what the brand is creating offline.   

Melissa explained that social media is a game that changes but brands need to keep doing what makes sense for their business and bottom line. The best way to approach social media, she suggested, was by staying focused on managing a few platforms well.

Creating a successful social media program starts with a deep understanding of your organization, your goals, your positive traits and your flaws.  Understanding who you are, and who you want to be is the first step in building an online branding program that connects with intended audiences and ultimately drives to your business goals.  Once you know what your organization stands for, you can select your platforms, create your brand voice and the content you need to translate your organization into a tangible brand online, and off.

Interested in learning more about using social media to amplify your news and content? Email us now!

This webinar is available for replay here:  http://bit.ly/2lAeZRQ and you can view the event Storify here: https://storify.com/serena/business-wire-and-black-pr-wire-2017-social-media-

Business Wire and Workiva Partner to Reduce Risk and Streamline the Disclosure Process


By Matt Van Tassel, Manager, Global Disclosure Services

The age-old saying goes “time is money” and for publicly-traded companies, regulatory disclosure is the apex of time-consuming requirements, both in weight of importance and resulting impact on business decisions.

The disclosure process requires material information be managed during an often complex and prolonged undertaking. Specifically, material information is often input into multiple platforms, thus introducing the potential for version control issues.  

Therefore, based on feedback from of our customers, Business Wire has decided to streamline the material information disclosure process by partnering with market-leader Workiva. Users of Workiva’s Wdesk platform will soon be able to securely submit earnings press releases and other financial disclosures directly to Business Wire via a secure file transfer process. This integration will improve efficiency in the disclosure process by eliminating the need to export your disclosure file from Wdesk before submitting to a newswire for distribution.  Wdesk users will be able to seamlessly locate their files in Business Wire’s order-entry system Business Wire Connect, enabling mutual customers to disseminate their messages to the capital markets quickly and securely all from one controlled environment.   

Why Workiva?

Business Wire sought out, and found in Workiva a brand that comprehensively understands the needs of publicly-traded companies. The Wdesk platform aids organizations in collecting, linking, reporting and analyzing business data, and now it feeds directly into Business Wire Connect, strengthening both companies’ ability to provide solutions to clients and partners. Our version of an ideal partnership lies in two brands, already industry leaders, coming together to create something never before available.

Workiva is easy to identify as a leading force, regularly ranking above all other available solutions for collaborative work management platforms. A recent case study conducted by Workiva showed that an Airline client using Wdesk completed their 10-K report three weeks earlier and their 10-Q report two weeks earlier than in previous quarters. That same client realized a 187% ROI and payback in less than three months. 

Customer Benefits

  • Reduced Risk: Wdesk will offer a secure connection to Business Wire’s Connect Portal
  • Time Savings: There will be no need to export and resave the file from Wdesk before submitting to Business Wire
  • There will be no charge for the integration to Wdesk customers

Business Wire’s Security

Business Wire is the only newswire in receipt of a SOC 2 attestation engagement report confirming its adherence to the AICPA’s security standards. The receipt of the SOC 2 report reinforces Business Wire’s continuing commitment to the most stringent security policies and procedures in the industry. Additionally, Business Wire is the only industry service provider with a proprietary, patented distribution platform for your important corporate news.

The new functionality will be available to customers in the first calendar quarter of 2017. 











Learn more about Workiva and Wdesk and the benefits of Business Wire’s new partnership. 


[Webinar Recap] Here are the Top 2017 Social Media Trends to Watch by Black PR Wire and Business Wire Part I

By Vilan Trub, Business Wire

There was a time when CBS, NBC and ABC dominated people’s attention, but in today’s world we find ourselves glued to the constantly updated timelines of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other unique and highly engaging platforms. For an organization, these platforms pose an immense opportunity to reach potential clients and customers to maintain an open line of communication, and amplify brand awareness. However, these digital platforms are rapidly changing and keeping up is difficult.

Many questions arise when determining how to maximize impact when sharing on the most popular social platforms. Business Wire’s director of global media relations, Raschanda Hall, had the opportunity to co-moderate a conversation with today’s leading communicators on what the current trends are in social media. The webinar, hosted by Bernadette A. Morris, president/CEO of Black PR Wire, offers listeners insight into the best practices for utilizing social media as a communications tool.


Increasing Video Impact with MORE by Lashanda Henry, SistaSense

Lashanda introduced listeners to the MORE strategy. An acronym, MORE stands for Master Originality Reach Engagement. MORE needs to be applied to brand storytelling by creating videos that present authentic messaging. Videos are today’s key piece of social content. Not only do they drive deeper connections with viewers, social networks are emphasizing video content, giving it broader reach than any other type of update.  

“You can’t go wrong by constantly showing your content on social media,” Lashanda emphasized. 

There are multiple kinds of videos organizations can produce today to meet their goals. These include live streaming video, video conferencing and video podcasting. Which one is the right one for you?

Although incredibly popular, live streaming isn’t always applicable. It’s a great tool to use when on location at a conference, during an interview, or other situation where the audience can’t physically be present at the scheduled time of the event. Other situations might call for pre-recorded video, such as a video podcast, that is relevant at any time the viewer chooses to watch the footage. Organizations must look at their end goal first, then decide which video type will achieve it.   

Lashanda’s tips for creating videos that drive sales and revenue:

  • Create a publishing schedule. This is key for budgeting purposes, but will also help you connect your videos to your sales goals
  • Video length will vary from 60 seconds to 60 minutes, depending on content and platform.
  • Being professional doesn’t’ cost a lot.  Don’t prop your phone against a book! Use a tripod and other equipment to create production value for your videos
  • Stop including “inbox me” or paypal links in your video. Create easy short links that send people directly to your own sales page (not your homepage).
  • Include customer photos for testimonials. Visual storytelling allows viewers to connect with the story, deepening loyalty and ultimately driving more sales


Social Media Takeaways for Non-Profits with Dr. Erica Taylor Southerland, Ph.D.

Dr. Southerland provided social media tips and trends that can benefit organizations in the non-profit sector such as best practices for social media management on a small budget. The easiest tip to implement is to have a social media plan. Know what kind of content you want to be putting out and have a schedule so that content is created and published regularly. Scheduling content for automatic posting on platforms such as Facebook creates the opportunity to plan ahead and develop initiatives for the future.    

Another great tip provided by Erica was to leverage your partnerships to increase the visibility of your content. Share content with other similar organizations and social media influencers who are talking about the same issues. Build reciprocal content sharing relationships with likeminded organizations to increase the overall impact of your messaging.  Within the social world there is a community element that should be taken advantage of to maximize outreach efforts.

Top non-profit social media trends

  • Building your reputation:  Utilizing executive blogs, such as posts on platforms like Medium, gets your voice out as a sharable asset.   
  • Finding passionate audiences Hashtag activism is a great tool to tap into and engage large audiences.
  • Use humor. Smartly. Use humor but maintain cultural awareness and authenticity. Use facts and supplement those facts with a relevant joke.
  • Use data to create a smart “clap back.” Today’s top social commentary is filled with brands utilizing the “clap back” to make their point. As with all communication though, brands need to be careful of the potential “clap back.” There are a lot of opposing opinions and alienating potential clients or customers is counterproductive. The goal should always be what’s best for your organization, the bottom line.
  • Go big. Crowdsourcing and social fundraising are great ways to get potential and current donors excited. 


Check back next week for Part II featuring insights from Alfred Edmond Jr., Senior VP/Executive Editor-at-Large of Black, Stephanie Tavares-Rance, Director of Digital Marketing, PR and Social Media at Boston Market Enterprise, and Melissa Kimble, Founder of #blkcreatives and Senior Social Media Manager at Ebony 

Everything PR Pros Need to Know About Influencer Marketing Part II

Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media, Business Wire


The following is Part II of Business Wire's article providing a closer look at influencer marketing and how it can help you amplify your message. This section covers working with influencers, measuring your success, and maintaining the best communications for your brand. Access Part I to learn about why influencer marketing is important and how to identify the appropriate influencers for your message.   


Working with influencers:  Now what?

Once you have identified your influencers and established communications, it is time to determine if you want to work together. 


First, you must build out your own program. What is your goal, what do you want influencers to do, how long do you want this program to last, what are the results you expect? Determine how you plan on compensating your influencers – can you afford to pay them? Do you have product that may be of interest, or can you provide significant visibility to their work. Once you know your goal and the influencers you need to achieve it, it is time to start the outreach.


Read the influencers’ websites in advance to see if they provide an overview of their influencer programming. This will tell you if they want to be paid, the type of reach they have and more.  You may want to ask for a screen shot of their analytics to confirm their reach and activity claims. Next, craft and send a short outreach note asking if they are interested in new partners and what their programs consist of, their reach and average results and how they prefer to be compensated. Do not expect influencers to write for free.


Once the influencer has agreed to be a part of your influencer program, it is time to write and sign a contract. Do not forget this step! Contracts are very important because they outline the goal of the program, the length, the content expectations, content points that must be included in the output, the use of disclosure language such as #spon or #ad, distribution platforms, launch and completion dates, how the program will be measured and, of course, payment terms. How long do you want the content to live? Who has the rights to pull it down? You will want to make sure that your contract includes explicit language in case your influencer does not fulfill their side of the bargain, goes rogue or partners with a competitor while working with you.


Amplifying the influencers’ work

The last thing you must do when launching an influencer program is to design your content amplification support system. When you have outside parties creating content on your behalf, you must take your own steps to amplify this content even further.  Create blog posts that point to the content, consider amplification via newswire services, use social channels to increase views and of course, don’t forget about contextual ad networks that can place your influencer content in ad blocks around the web.


Influencer content is exactly the kind of information an organization should promote. Don’t forget this final step!


Measuring the success of your influencer program

As we noted earlier, it is key to establish the goals of your influencer program well before you launch. This ensures you are able to establish and track the success of your program.  Key questions to ask at the end of the program include:


  • Were deadlines met?
  • Were contract guidelines met?
  • Were FTC #spon/#ad disclosure guidelines met?
  • How high was the quality of content the influencer created?
  • What was the amount and quality of brand mentions/discussions?
  • What was the amount and quality of inbound traffic?
  • What was the amount and quality of leads?
  • What was the amount and quality of conversions?
  • How did this content make the audience feel about your content?


You may need to use technology to track these metrics. Work with your analytics team to create conversion pixels, UTM codes and more tracking links to ensure you capture as much data as possible within your programs.


But don’t just measure the success of your program. Monitor your influencer partners as well. Has their brand voice changed recently? Are they working with competitors? Are they using their platforms in an unexpected manner? Even if you use influencers for a short-term program, you are co-opting their brand. You must monitor all outputs to ensure they stay consistent to ensure the strongest connection possible between the influencer, their audience and your organization.


Costs associated with influencer marketing

As we noted earlier, paying for influencer marketing programming can be done with money, goods, visibility and access.  To ensure there is no confusion, always use a contract to ensure both parties are held to the same clear standards.


The 2016 Linqia Influencer study shows that in 2017, costs for influencer programs have increased, averaging $50,000-$100,000 per influencer. The bigger your goal, the bigger your budget will need to be. If you cannot afford this kind of pricing, consider offering other options to your influencer such as:


  • Free product
  • Exposure via cross promotion
  • Compensation per post or content piece (flat rate)
  • CPE: Compensation per engagement (likes, shares, comments) per piece
  • CPC: Compensation per click by the consumer (link clicks)
  • CPA: Compensation per acquisition


There are many ways to compensate a blogger or influencer – and the choice you make will depend heavily on both your goals and the influencers you choose to work with.


Righting the ship: When influencers go rogue

Let’s face it. Even the best planned programming can go rogue. So what do you do when your influencer acts out in a manner that you didn’t expect? Can you do anything?


The answer is yes. Refer to your contract! If your partner isn’t meeting their end of the bargain, make sure you cover this in your contract. You want to spell out penalties for both parties when the contract isn’t met, including withholding of final payment or the deletion of created content.  This is especially key in created content and in the use of FTC disclosures.


And if the influencer goes rogue and you determine that the content is no longer aligned with your brand, ask them to pull it down. Sometimes it is better to walk away vs. allowing your brand to be dragged down by a 3rd party.


Influencer marketing is a great way to increase the alignment between your brand and your targeted audiences, but it can come with pitfalls. Take a smart, organized approach to identifying, outreaching and aligning with relevant audiences to reduce potential issues and increase the opportunities of achieving your goal.


Want to learn more ways to increase the visibility of your organization’s content? These articles are great! Or email us with questions!

PR Measurement: How to Track Inbound Traffic from a Press Release

By Serena Ehrlich, Business Wire, Director of Social and Evolving Media


What good is a news release if you can’t track the results?


Hyperlinks in news releases are extremely important as they lead readers to your website to find additional information about your organization, product or service directly from your news release. Tracking this inbound traffic is a great way to see if your website content is aligning with your news content, ensuring you are meeting your business goals. 


While Business Wire’s NewsTrak reports tell you how many times a tracked link is clicked, you can get much more useful information if you append your hyperlinks with a URL builder (sometimes called a UTM link).


What are URL builders?

Provided by your analytics program, URL builders or UTM links are lines of text you add to the end of a URL that allow the program to track the inbound traffic activity you are generating. 


URL builders allow you to connect the dots between your reader and your website, tracking the impact of your communications program directly on your business goals. 


When should you use a URL builder?

Don’t limit your data gathering to just your news releases. Create extensions for blog posts, social updates, advertising and other marketing collateral to keep your program’s activities separated. You can create new URL builders for every release and identify traffic by platform (one builder for all news releases vs. blog posts) or topic (one builder for all earnings vs. products).  Email marketing services like Pardot allow you to track actions within distributed emails as well as landing pages, providing even more data you can use to tweak or update your program.


How to create a URL builder in under 5 minutes:

If your company has a team that oversees analytics, email them and ask for a URL builder you can add to the end of any URL.  If you manage the analytics yourself, here are the instructions for creating a Google Analytics URL builder.


Click here to open the URL builder creation page: https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/


  1. Enter the complete URL of the link you’d like to track (required)
  2. Enter the Campaign Source (required, e.g. “BusinessWire”)
  3. Enter the Campaign Medium (required, e.g. “PR”)
  4. Enter the Campaign Term (usually to identify keywords or topics, e.g. “earnings,” “product”)
  5. Enter the Campaign Content (usually for tracking versions or tests, e.g. “newsrelease”)
  6. Enter the Campaign Name – this can be any name you want (e.g. “Q3,” “PR” “IR”)
  7. Click “Submit”
  8. Now you have an expanded URL that contains all the analytics tracking data.
  9. Hyperlink this expanded URL within the Business Wire news release
  10. Work with your analytics team to create a weekly report to send you the data these URLs are gathering so you can use this to correct your landing pages, conversion concepts and more


What are the limitations to a URL Builder?

Not all of your inbound traffic is going to come in to your website from your appended link. Some websites hosting your Business Wire news release will strip that appended data out. Also, some consumers still enjoy typing a company name into the search bar vs. clicking a link. It is best to view this data as a snapshot of all the traffic you are driving in, not a reflection of all the traffic and activity you have initiated.


Reading your URL Builder Data

Every time someone clicks on your appended hyperlink, you can now track their actions across your website, such as:


  • Is your landing page working? Many times news releases drive traffic to home pages without realizing the home page is not showcasing the information needed to convert the visitor to a customer. How long are visitors staying on your landing page and within your website? Are they leaving your page in under 30 seconds? Or are they going deeper? Make the changes needed to convert your inbound traffic.
  • Who are you reaching and activating? Are you reaching new audiences with your news releases, or are you decreasing the consideration time it takes for someone to buy your product?
  • Where is your audience? Are you activating the right markets? Are they on their smartphones or on a desktop?
  • What actions are they taking? Are your news release readers downloading your promoted content?  Are they subscribing to your marketing channels?
  • Which news release topics are driving the most inbound activity?


Few departments generate as many discussions as your PR team. Capitalize on these discussions and the traffic they generate by tracking the activities your news has on your website. With URL builders, you can see if you are driving in the right traffic and if your audience is taking the actions you want. This will provide you the hard data needed to increase the ROI of future marketing efforts such as landing page revisions, keyword research needs and more.


Click here to learn more about Google Analytics’ URL builder or email us today to set up a meeting to discuss this further.




Everything PR Pros Need to Know About Influencer Marketing Part I

Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media, Business Wire


There are about 1,209,803,094,832 articles on the web today related to influencer marketing and how it will revolutionize PR and marketing in 2017.  Knowing how important it is for an organization to activate key audiences, we at Business Wire wanted to provide a closer look at influencer marketing, why it is so important and how it works.


Why? What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is the identification of, and outreach to particular individuals because of their existing reach within a particular market or demographic audience segment with the hopes they will share your content, or create their own, to educate their audiences about your business or product line.


This is exactly what PR pros do every day! Every day they identify publications and writers that their audiences trust, and reach out with the hopes of securing media coverage.  The difference between an influencer pitch and a media pitch is usually found in the output and the financial incentives influencers require to share your content with their audiences.


Influencers offer companies new lines of communication. They provide the opportunity to reach smaller, highly targeted groups with authentic and trusted content designed to drive action or meet a specified goal. Most influencer programs in 2017 are paid programs, with access to content and goods as secondary payment options.


Why would a company initiate an influencer marketing program?

Every two years, Nielsen releases its Trust in Advertising Study. Over and over, the results show that consumers place high trust (66%) in editorial/expert content. But when that content is shared by a friend or someone they know? The trust in that content jumps to 83%. Imagine consumers trusting your company’s information at a rate of 83%! That is huge!


Influencers work hard to build their audiences, to create friendly relationships with their readers. Their goal is to create content pieces that their audience not only will read or watch, but that will activate their readers to take an action – to share the content, to click the link, to buy the product.  If you are looking to reach a particular audience, it makes sense to work with someone who is already a trusted source to your end audience.


What are the rules surrounding influencer programs?

The most important rule in influencer programming is related to disclosure. The Federal Trade Commission is responsible for truth in advertising. In 2009 the FTC issued guidance on influencer programming – requiring influencers who were compensated for posts to make it clear to readers that they were working with the brand as a paid or compensated spokesperson.  These are guidelines not laws, but are considered a key part of truthful, transparent influencer engagement. This information should be provided in the body of blogs, as a footnote in videos, a spoken sentence in audio content and via social updates utilizing the hashtags #spon or #ad plus the name of the sponsoring organization. 


What kind of influencer programs are there?

There are many times an organization can use influencer marketing. It can be to support a new product launch, or to extend the visibility and reach of an existing product.  You can leverage influencers to share out your created content, or to create their own content based on your specifications.  Influencers also do a great job of reporting and extending the life and impact of events. But influencers can do more than just share a product release – they can be invaluable in a crisis, providing another avenue for you to reach end audiences when misconceptions or mistakes are dominating news headlines.


What are the features of a good influencer?

A good influencer is one that has a strong reach within your target audience. Influencers are not meant to be used broadly – they are meant to activate small segments of your overall audience.  A good influencer will be someone who actively participates in your target audience sphere, online and offline.  Another hallmark of a good influencer is someone who creates content that activates others. You want to find influencers who encourage action, not one that simply promises visibility. 


Another thing to consider is the influencer’s own brand voice. You may want to find influencers that align with your existing brand voice and values, or you may choose influencers with a completely different type of style if looking to reach completely new audiences.


Influencers can be famous. Or not. If you have a large budget, you may want to consider partnering with a celebrity or a mass influencer (someone will more than 1 million followers). But this is not a requirement for a good influencer program.  Many companies have found strong success in activating influencers with smaller audiences. Their followers may be more passionate and more likely to act upon the shared content as they feel more connected with the influencer.


Influencers can also be reporters and writers! They may be industry professionals such as the head of your industry association. Employees are wonderful influencers and can be activated with little out of pocket costs with a strong employee engagement program. Company partners and customers can also help share out important content pieces and news with a simple ask.  When launching an influencer program, it is key to identify internal and external industry experts.


How do you find your influencer?

84% of marketers identify influencers manually and most marketers agree identifying the right influencer is the hardest part of the entire program. 


To get started, first identify who is currently sharing your company news out across their social channels, publications or blogs.  Are they employees? Journalists? Analysts? Partners or brand fans? Who is currently advocating for your company? 


Next, look to see who is advocating for your competitors and your overall industry. Who has the largest voice, one that most aligns with your own organization’s tone and goal?


Then, it is time to turn to your tools.  News release distribution services like Business Wire provide organizations with a complete list of who socially shared out their news releases. This is an influencer list! Simply go through it and see who you want to add to your list. Social monitoring services like NUVI identify who is tweeting out support for your business and industry. Don’t forget that media databases like Agility PR now include influencers who want to work with brands as part of their service.


You can outreach to influencers via email (usually found on their website on the contact page) or via their social channels to initiate the discussion.


Check in next Tuesday, March 7th at 8am for Part II of this piece, offering additional insight into "Influencer Marketing" and what to do once you've identified your relevant influencers.