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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. 


How to Write News Release Headlines Reporters Love

By Raschanda Hall, Director of Global Media Relations, and Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media, Business Wire

Every year, the teams at Business Wire look at changes in the industry that impact news release distribution and usage. We review the technical changes and the behavioral changes that directly affect the visibility and consumption of information. Once we gather this information, we make tactical suggestions that PR professionals can use to increase the success of their work. Still the most frequently asked question we receive is:  What makes a good news release headline and how long should it be? 

The key to writing a good news release headline is to be both compelling and informative. Do not just say what the project is, explain the importance to your end audience. Don’t just tell reporters you’re opening an office in a new city, highlight the effects of the move on the neighborhood, your overall business, and the industry. This is what piques their interest, the implications of their news on their readership.

While headline writing isn’t an exact science, a common formula includes the use of a number or trigger word + adjective + keyword + promise.  Trigger words can be question words like what, how or why?  They can also be persuasion words like imagine, if, and new. 

Whether you choose to use this formula or not, you want to make sure the most compelling word, or phrase, in your news release is also in the headline.  This is why, when it comes to news releases, you write your headline after you write your news release. This will ensure that you include important keywords or data in your headline because they are relevant to your news.

The Key to Selecting Keywords

Keywords are the words and phrases frequently used by your colleagues, industry peers, customers and reporters to describe specific products or services. Once you write your news release, go through and underline the words and phrases you included that are popular right now in your industry.  Pick the keywords that help explain the real impact of your news to your readers. Don’t focus on keywords that are irrelevant to your overall story goal. 

Confirming Your Keywords Have Impact

Once you have selected the keywords or key phrases from your news release that showcase why this is news, you may want to use a keyword tester to see how popular that word is with your audience. Google Trends is a free service that Google offers to show writers, content creators, marketers and PR pros what information people are looking for within Google search. By going to Google.com/Trends, you can type in and search the words and phrases in your news release to see which term or terms may be most useful to reach and activate your audiences.

How to use Google Trends:

  1. Go to Google.com/trends
  2. Set the location to match your country
  3. Set the timeline to match the last 7 days (for blog posts, try 30 days)
  4. Identify the keywords in your news release that ladder up to your headline goals
  5. Type in each of your keywords or phrases
  6. Write down which keywords or phrases have the highest search terms
  7. Add the most popular words to your headline
  8. Review your headline to ensure maximum readability
  9. Distribute your news release
  10. Monitor results and make modifications as needed for your next release

Once you have identified your most searched keywords or phrases, craft several different headlines and use a headline tester to confirm your new headline is both interesting and relevant. Here are three free, online headline testers for your files:

How long should your headline be?

While shorter headlines are preferred, it is important that your headline provide key information to your reader. Depending on keywords, your headline may be short, or it may be longer than usual.  The URL string of the Business Wire version of your news release will showcase the first 5-8 words of your announcement so make sure your most impactful words are included here.

Keep in mind, ideal headline character counts can vary by platform and news partner.

  • Many editorial systems show the first 55 characters of your news release headline.
  • Search engines showcase the first 70 characters of your headline.
  • Social channels tend to pull in the entire headline (along with your Business Wire news release summary)
  • Don’t forget about mobile devices. Keeping your headline to 40 characters may be tough, but some think that is the ideal headline length for mobile readers. 

This means you have between 8-15 words in your headline to entice your readers into opening your release. 

Tip! Let Your Coverage Be Your Guide!

One way to see if your news release headlines are working is to see how reporters revise them in their coverage pieces or how consumers translate your news in their social updates. Did they use your language or your angle? What did they change? Why? Taking the time to review your past coverage pieces is a fantastic way to guide you to crafting a better release next time.

Once you have your news release headline, don’t forget to include the other required news release elements!  Include hyperlinks to provide reporters with instant access to back up materials, add a photo, infographic or video that visually tells your story to activate visual learners and include social prompts in your news release to allow fans to advocate on your behalf.

And once your release has crossed Business Wire, monitor your NewsTrak report (clicking on the Compare to Recent button) to see how your revised headline compares to past releases.  You will also want to monitor social media channels via your NUVI report to see if your newly revised headline message resonates with individuals.

Have questions about using keyword research for crafting news release headlines? Let us know! We would love to set up a time to review your news releases and show you the small changes you can make to drive larger results. Email us at serena.ehrlich@businesswire.com to get started.

Why Newswires? The Past, Present & Future of Trusted News

Newswires have a long tradition of fulfilling an industry need for the dissemination of market moving information to a wide range of news organizations and other stakeholders. Trends and technical advancements have influenced how news is both distributed and consumed.

The stability, credibility and widespread usage of newswire distribution networks are a primary reason why communications professionals view them as the backbone of the news dissemination process.

With over 50 years of industry leadership, Business Wire has established irrefutable trust from within the news market and has proven its thorough understanding of the needs of the digital age by creating a technologically sophisticated, patented distribution network. This trust and innovation have made Business Wire the launching pad for turning company news releases into credible breaking news.


The credibility and tradition of trust earned from journalists and other downstream consumers of Business Wire content enables companies of all sizes to confidently submit press releases for distribution across the wire. Within its 22 local newsrooms around the world, Business Wire employs experienced and knowledgeable editorial teams who review this content to confirm legitimacy and accuracy. This process of vetting news content is a key feature of Business Wire’s value proposition and results in the unquestioned reliance on our service by leading journalists and investors who act upon the breaking news we deliver.

Business Wire has spent over 50 years building symbiotic relationships with media, investors and consumers by regularly delivering factually reliable and timely corporate news content.


A comprehensive global distribution system and the hard-earned trust of media and investors results in Business Wire being able to provide broad reach and visibility to its members. In addition to direct distribution of releases to the news systems and mobile apps of publications large and small on a global scale, corporate announcements are disseminated across a platform in which all relevant potential audiences have access to the information. Pushed to media and investors, and SEO friendly on the web, virtually anyone can easily find Business Wire content and move on it, from reporter to consumer, from investor to blogger. Further, all information is distributed in full text, ensuring full disclosure of all the information an issuer wishes to convey. It is also simultaneously transmitted to all end users over a private, encrypted network that guarantees that it is visible and not trapped by spam filters.

Business Wire has partnerships with 60 national and international news agencies facilitating reach to more than 89,000 media outlets in 162 countries. Industry professionals recognize our benefits as exemplified by the 92,000+ journalists who subscribe to our PressPass service, offering convenient and customized news feeds. We also offer more than 1,676 delivery options in more than 50 local languages that reach specified geographic markets and offer a choice of nearly 200 industry trade categories at no additional charge.


Every day companies spend significant dollars creating a broad array of content designed to establish credibility among, and deliver key messaging to, their constituencies. In each case, the success of these programs is tied directly to their visibility.

The more promotion content receives, the more likely it is that the target audience will see and act upon it. Rather than simply promoting the content via owned channels or social advertising and platforms, which can limit visibility, utilizing a newswire can enhance visibility, coverage and engagement and drive the traffic needed to make the program achieve its objectives.

With Business Wire distribution, news is disseminated across major global platforms including AP, AFP, Bloomberg, ThomsonReuters and Yahoo! Finance, with dual-platform posting to BusinessWire.com and EnhancedOnlineNews.com. Your press release also includes interactive hyperlinks and social sharing links to help drive engagement and content sharing, improving performance in search. The goal is to create the kind of visibility that will lead to user activity and engagement.


Business Wire’s patented, simultaneous NX worldwide network ensures that news is distributed to every outlet at the same time and in a highly secure manner. In fact, security is Business Wire’s number one priority. As such, Business Wire is currently the only newswire service to have received the Service Organization Control [SOC] 2 Type II attestation engagement report, providing independent validation that the company’s internal security controls are in accordance with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ applicable Trust Services Principles and Criteria.


One sure way to maintain visibility is to also ensure longevity.

The online archiving of news releases by newswires ensure that news can easily be discovered by interested parties by searching company names, ticker symbols or key phrases. Such archiving of information guarantees that news is visible and available for reference long after its initial release. Business Wire’s distribution includes full-text posting to thousands of websites and financial databases, such as Factiva and Lexis-Nexis, which archive news over a long period of time, increasing the discoverability of issuers’ news to researchers.


As a result of Regulation Fair Disclosure, it is key for today’s public companies to simultaneously disseminate their market moving news to as wide of an audience as possible. It is important to allow analysts, reporters and interested consumers to find company news, and act upon it, as quickly as possible, with no unfair advantage given to any one party.

Business Wire’s simultaneous disclosure network, included in every US geographic wire circuit distribution, simultaneously reaches all key disclosure media including the Associated Press, Bloomberg, Dow Jones, Reuters, Investor’s Business Daily, Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, as well as full-text posting to financial databases, such as Factiva and Lexis-Nexis.

A newswire is a trusted method to meet Regulation Fair Disclosure, which ensures all interested parties have access to your 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. As such, the vast majority of public issuers utilize newswires to ensure broad and simultaneous reach to the investing public.


News consumption is at an all-time high and recent studies show that potential purchasers are spending more time online researching products and services before ever contacting the company directly. Using a newswire helps ensure that news is easily found in the research phase of the buying cycle. The existing interest from potential purchasers coupled with the high visibility provided by a newswire distribution, positions information to both be seen and acted upon in a timely and efficient manner. The news is available in full text as the issuer intended, providing an additional layer of certainty that the consumer has access to full, unfiltered information.

According to a media survey conducted by Business Wire in 2016, 53% of the responding journalists use a newswire service daily. Newswires are a vital utility in the news industry and as a result of Business Wire’s veracity and innovative practices, media professionals routinely rely upon our service.

Business Wire has spent over 5 decades deeply rooted in the news industry and recognizes that a new age has arrived. It is with optimism and enthusiasm that we embrace this new digital age and we look forward to building on our foundation of innovation in order to continue to provide the media, the investment community and the public with a comprehensive, transparent and irreplaceable mechanism for distributing vital corporate news.


International Perspectives on Making News with Edda Schlager

By Kai Prager, Senior Media Relations Specialist

Business Wire is an international newswire, catering to the needs of organizations, companies, journalists, reporters and other media professionals around the world. The needs of our clients and partners varies from region to region making it important to keep our finger on the pulse of changing trends. There is no better method for identifying the needs of a journalist than by listening to what they have to say. Edda Schlager works as a journalist and photographer based in Kazakhstan’s former capital Almaty. As she writes for audiences in Europe and the US, she has to find a special touch to introduce new themes with a relevance to the market she’s writing for. 

To find out how she manages to discover the right stories for the right audiences, we asked her some questions about her work as a journalist and foreign correspondent:

You mainly work in Central Asia, which is an area that is not very present in European and US media. How do you select stories that are interesting for such an audience?

I always have to find a twist, which makes a story relevant for readers in Europe or the U.S. – such as a Kazakh German who was born in Kazakhstan, left it in the 90-ies for Germany and returned for business. I also use international politics or anniversaries to deliver background stories from Central Asia.

How do you find engaging stories?

I am in close contact with local colleagues, analysts, authorities or companies; I read local media and I am active on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram which are very popular in Central Asia. When travelling, I talk to people getting a sense for their daily problems or concerns. I use international news alerts like Google alerts or special interest services. Business Wire offers PressPass for journalists. So these international services give me the opportunity to monitor the broader setting of a current news mainstream and the demand for certain topics where I can place my local or regional stories in, which is quite important for me.

Which topics are the most popular from Central Asia?

In this year, of course, the Expo 2017 in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, will be one of the main news items from Central Asia. Central Asia is always good for exotic stuff of all kinds – rising fashion labels from Kyrgyzstan, the astonishing wildlife of the High Pamirs in Tajikistan, superlatives like the new luxury airport of Turkmenistan’s capital Ashgabat which can hold 17 million passengers a year.

Do you think there also is an audience for news and stories from Europe and the US in Central Asia?

Absolutely! The internet and especially social media are the main source for information in most Central Asian countries. People are looking for alternative sources. More and more people in Central Asia are studying abroad, after returning home they like to stay in touch with the world. As only few people know foreign languages most international news is consumed in Russian – made by Russian media. So, other point of views, are highly welcomed, even if it’s not simple to enter the Central Asian news markets.  

To find out more about Edda Schlager and her work as a journalist and photographer, please visit her website, or follow her on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Learn about Business Wire’s global distribution circuits reaching more than 100 countries in 19 languages


Is Your News “Public Policy” News?

Right now is a time of transition and a lot of the news developing around the world, and consumed by vast audiences, is “issues-focused” news. These stories are about more than just elections and laws, they’re about the policies that affect the public on a daily basis.

Who makes public policy announcements?

In addition to government bodies and agencies, Business Wire’s public policy wire is used by associations, advocacy groups, non-profits, unions, embassies and even corporations. Any organization issuing news that potentially affects the public, from news announcing a development project in a community to the launch of charitable program, is issuing public policy news that deserves the correct amplification. If an organization or company is impacted by public policy, any newsworthy ramifications are public policy news as well because they are related as a result of chain of circumstances.     

Business Wire has reached out to thousands of newsrooms across the country and the consensus is a desire for news stories of national, state or local interest for their readers.

Who Does the Public Policy Circuit Reach?

Business Wire’s Public Policy circuit can send your news nationally, to a particular state, or just to the Washington press corps via the DC Capital Circuit. News issued over this unique circuit reaches particular news desks and reporters using the same routing systems as the Associated Press. Public Policy news releases are part of the larger news feeds to the White House, Congress and other government agencies, whose staff flag stories of interest by keyword. Not all issues-focused stories are national, in fact, many are local stories effecting specific communities. On a state level, news releases are sent to governors’ offices and legislative leadership.         

The Public Policy circuit also allows the issuer to send a position paper or invitation only to members of Congress or to particular committees.

Is Your News “Public Policy” News?

If the news you’re issuing can potentially impact a community, local, regional or national, you’re issuing public policy news. If your news is the result of public policy influence on your organization, company or brand, the announcement you are issuing is also an issues-based release. These stories are unique to all other news and deserve distribution to outlets that are most interested in your announcement.

Learn more about Business Wire’s Public Policy services and how to better amplify your news       

Start Off the New Year with the Top Trends in PR, Search & Social Media

The MediaLeaders Team didn’t wait too long before putting together a trends report for the New Year. With 2017 being projected as the year of news content visibility, the goal for any communicator will be generating the most impact through the use of PR tools and solutions. MediaLeaders compiled the information found within the article based on a breakout session at the Digital Marketing Conference in Los Angeles hosted by Serena Ehrlich, Business Wire’s director of social and evolving media.

Read the full article on MediaLeaders

What do the trends look like? The infographic below offers a visual roadmap of how to amplify your news and achieve your goals in the New Year. 

Business Wire’s Top Ten Tips from the 2016 Media Blueprint Survey

Business Wire’s 2016 Media Blueprint Survey puts a magnifying glass to the work habits and preferences of today’s leading journalists and reporters. Knowing how to best reach and engage the media is a vital tool in a communicator’s arsenal, and Business Wire’s media survey offers the data needed to amplify branded news.

The following are the top ten tips found within the Media Blueprint Survey and if you’re looking for editorial coverage, there’s no better place to look.  

  1. 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.

  1. 53% of surveyed media use newswire services daily; 39% use it weekly or monthly.

Reporters rely on newswires because the news is vetted before distribution. Wire services are also a great resource for reporters as it provides usable content, copy can be pulled straight from the release.

  1. 91% of surveyed media prefer to receive news via an email alert linked to the press release.  65% of reporters look for supporting facts in a press release.

Include hyperlinks to all related information in a news release and one-click access to content features.

  1. 63% of surveyed media state that early in the week (Monday or Tuesday) is the best day to receive pitches.

Issuing news when the media is most likely to engage with it is a best practice for achieving editorial coverage.

  1. 61% of surveyed media prefer to receive pitches in the morning.

Like most consumers, reporters prefer to have as much news at their fingertips first thing in the morning.

  1. 33% of surveyed media rank photographs as most important supplement to a press release.

Photographs were the #1 release supplement and it tells us that multimedia is no longer an optional asset, it’s expected.

  1. 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.

  1. 81% of surveyed media expect to access press releases in an organization’s online newsroom.

Press releases continue to be the most desired content type within an online newsroom year over year. Verified news is more important than ever to today’s media, with HTML being the preferred format over PDF for press releases.

  1. 54% of surveyed media expect a minimum of 1-5 years of historical press releases in an organization’s online newsroom.

Although the average amount of press releases that surveyed media expect to see is 1-5 years of releases, more than 30% of surveyed media still want to be able to access the entire historical archive of press releases. Make sure that all “milestone” releases are available within the online newsroom. Milestone releases recorded major happenings within the company or organization such as mergers, acquisitions, a new CEO, a new product, and more.

  1. 60% of surveyed media expect to search news by type and/or date in an organization’s online newsroom.  

Reporters are on deadline. They need to search, filter and access desired information quickly. Make it possible for reporters to get as detailed as possible in their search queries.

Bonus tip!

58% of reporters create more than 6 articles a week. This tells us that reporters are busy! Give them complete news releases – ones with facts, multimedia, and one-click access – so they can cover your story fast and accurately.  

Download the survey!

Received Editorial Coverage? Here’s How to Amplify It

Your news received editorial attention and coverage giving you reason to celebrate. Although you should celebrate the identifiable ROI, the amplification of your news, generating interest amongst potential clients and customers… remember not to cheer for victory too soon. This is the digital age and there is still more work to be done if you want to maximize the impact of your PR campaign. The real impact of editorial coverage is directly related to its visibility, and what you want to do is increase the visibility even more. That is true amplification of your news.


In the newly released Social Media Amplification Guide, Business Wire outlines the role of editorial coverage in the customer-consideration and purchase journey, and presents a series of strategies and tactics designed to increase the visibility of news stories across social channels.


Why is editorial coverage important?


Nielsen’s 2015 Trust in Advertising study revealed that consumers trust editorial coverage (66%) and this trust was increased greatly when this same content was shared by a friend or family member (83%).


Combine this data with the results of the 2016 Business Wire Media Survey in which reporters noted that inbound traffic was a key success metric for their editors (a metric communicators can help meet by broadly sharing their secured coverage across their owned networks) and it becomes easy for today’s public relations practitioners to understand why editorial coverage is so important and why they must create a social media news amplification program to promote this content.


Business Wire’s free social amplification guide outlines:


  • Best practices in crafting updates that meet each platform’s user aspirations.
  • Best time to share and encouraging coworkers to participate in the share process. 
  • Features valuable insights into Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Reddit.


Download your copy of Business Wire’s free Social Sharing guide


Know a fellow communicator who would benefit from this guide? Click here to share it with your Twitter followers now.

What Business Wire and Agility PR Solutions Partnering Means for Comm Pros

With the announcement that industry giants Business Wire and Agility PR Solutions are partnering comes the question of what benefits will clients and partners see regarding the amplification of their news. Business Wire clients have specific needs that are wide ranging. Currently, they have access to a wide set of communications tools, and now that toolset expands even more. This new partnership offers clients a seamless and cost-effective solution to integrate media outreach and multi-outlet monitoring into their communications campaigns.

With the strategic partnership of Agility PR Solutions and Business Wire, customers can:

  • Identify Influencers: Search the AgilityTM media database of almost 800,000 verified contacts in over 200 countries and create and save custom lists. Additional information, including how journalists like to be pitched and what they cover, will help Business Wire clients strategically target the press and follow up on news stories crossing the wire.
  • Amplify Messages: Augment Business Wire’s services with personalized outreach to key influencers, with Agility’s integrated email sending and engagement tracking tools. Quickly identify contacts for follow up by seeing who opened or clicked on emails.
  • Monitor Coverage: Business Wire’s new relationship with Agility PR Solutions provides a breadth of self-service and full service media monitoring capabilities. Track trending topics, customer sentiment, share of voice, competitors and social media activity.
  • Measure Impact: Clients can evaluate the success of communications efforts with integrated reporting capabilities and gain actionable insights into the effectiveness of their communication efforts with pre-made or custom reports.

The reasons behind the new partnership, and its goals, are simple: to provide communications professionals with enhanced distribution, monitoring and media analytics capabilities. Additionally, a critical component of this new relationship is both Business Wire’s and Agility PR Solutions’ commitment to providing exceptional customer support and service. Communications tools are most effective when used to their maximum potential. Both Business Wire and Agility PR Solutions make it a priority to assist clients and partners in understanding each tool and how these tools can best be implemented into a communications campaign.

The new strategic relationship between Business Wire and Agility PR Solutions is effective immediately and is designed to help customers as they build and create their communications strategies in 2017 and beyond. 

[PODCAST] Optimizing Press Release Headlines for Search from Business Wire

Business Wire’s Serena Ehrlich dropped by the Arketi Group to join in on an episode of their podcast series, one they self-describe as This American Life for the B2B marketing set.

Serena, Business Wire’s director of social and evolving media, gave some strong tips on how to craft better headlines and increase the impact (visibility, accessibility and engagement) of a press release.

The headline is often the audience’s first contact with an organization’s content, and could very easily be the last if the reader isn’t engaged enough to keep reading. A good headline offers enough information to let the reader know the basis of the underlying story and the impact of that story on their life. A headline shouldn’t be a mystery, it should lead the reader down a path they want to go down, a path resulting in key findings, data and facts. A successful headline is also a searchable headline, containing trending keywords that reporters and news consumers use when seeking out a story.  

The podcast covers key aspects to crafting a strong headline, as well as several other tips from Business Wire including:

  • Why headlines are important
  • When to write the headline
  • Subheadline do’s and don’ts 
  • Using Google Trends
  • Importance of using click-to-tweet and hyperlinks

Ask yourself, do your news release headlines hurt or help drive media coverage? If your headline isn't optimized for search, then your release may be buried among a sea of forgotten news releases. 

Listen to the full podcast now: Episode 9

[Webinar] 10 Tips for Sharing News and Social Content in an Online Newsroom

Ibrey Woodall, Business Wire’s VP of web communications services, recently held a webinar disclosing her top 10 Tips for Sharing News and Social Content in an Online Newsroom. An online newsroom serves as an owned-media resource, giving reporters and journalists access to information they need in order to tell a company’s story. Maximizing the impact of an online newsroom should be a must for any brand looking for accurate coverage.

This webinar follows the successful release of a Business Wire guide by the same name, outlining ten key opportunities that will help expand an online newsroom’s presence on digital platforms and social media. The guide also offers points on how to better reach interested parties such as reporters and journalists by using features already available within the newsroom.   

Some key points include:

  • Post icons/links to social networks
  • Incorporating feeds from social networks
  • Supplying RSS feeds
  • Offering automatic email alerts

During the webinar, Woodall offered a detailed explanation of the content found within her guide, using visual examples from actual online newsrooms making it clear how to maximize their impact. Emphasis is placed on knowing what to share and how to present the content. It’s important to simplify the process required for locating specific news. This is achieved by categorizing news releases by subject matter. Woodall specifically mentions having content in HTML text format as the primary source, and offering complementary PDF versions so people have the option of printing without the risk of tables or other formatting breaking in the process.

Other tips include:

  • Keeping fact sheets updated
  • Having press kits available for each product
  • Including executive bios
  • Providing company history and a timeline of company milestones
  • Including an events calendar with associated links

”The online newsroom is a company’s centralized communications center,” stated Ibrey Woodall in advance of the webinar.  “That makes it a fundamental tool for any plan or strategy that includes preparing, integrating and sharing content.”

View Ten Tips for Sharing News and Social Content in an Online Newsroom or download the guide now

Don’t Leave Journalists Wondering: “How Do I Pronounce That”

By Vilan (vē-län) Trub, Marketing Content Lead

As we find ourselves looking to generate positive news coverage in the rapidly evolving digital era, we learn more about its defining features. Companies are transforming how we see the world, how we consume, learn and socialize. For a creative brand seeking media coverage, it’s important to distribute interesting news along with engaging multimedia. Although helpful advice, this is a tip that gets suggested often enough to no longer be considered an insider tip. To really tip the scales and leave a memorable mark on the media and news consuming audiences, we need to look closer at how brands can better acquaint themselves with journalists and reporters. Today’s companies exude creativity in all of their decisions, first and foremost with their corporate names. A great way for companies to familiarize their target market with their brand is to announce their name clearly, in a memorable way. Don’t leave journalists and reporters asking, “How do I pronounce that?” Tell them with a pronunciation key!    


How it works:

Using a pronunciation key, spell out your brand name using characters that will allow the reader to understand how each letter and section should be pronounced. For example, Bacchus, the Greek God of Wine, would be written out as: (ba-kəs). The reader will have a clearer understanding of how each vowel is pronounced and how the word should be said when spoken aloud. By encouraging the reader, and providing an opportunity to learn how to properly pronounce your company name, you work to create a memorable impression of your brand.

As for where to include the correct pronunciation of your company name, that can depend on several factors. If you’re a startup, a new brand looking to make a strong impression, it might make sense to include the pronunciation along with the first mention of the company in the release. If you’re a publically listed company, including a pronunciation along with your ticker will bring added attention to both. A neutral location within the release is the boilerplate. Readers look to this section to learn more about the company and their goals.

A tool for whenever necessary:

Using the same pronunciation-key, you can provide pronunciation accurate spellings of people’s names and locations pertinent to your company announcement. When issuing a news release always ask yourself, what questions will journalists and reporters be asking? Sure, they’ll be asking about the content of your announcement, details and data points. The one question you don’t want to leave them wondering is how to correctly pronounce a bit of information when presenting your story on air. 

The ROI of News Releases: Business Wire Stands Above the Rest

By Gregg Castano, President, Business Wire

A news announcement’s value is only as effective as the measured impact it has on the intended audience. For publicly traded companies, the biggest impact is typically financial, to influence individuals in how they invest in and analyze the markets. University of Chicago doctoral candidate Eugene Soltes conducted a study in 2009 aiming to find a correlation between the dissemination of company issued news and beneficial fluctuations in capital markets. His research, including the analysis of 9.3 million articles, indicated that, “greater dissemination causally leads to lower spreads, increased share turnover, and lower idiosyncratic volatility.”

Identifying the best avenue for news issuance is a vital decision that can dictate the future of company communications. Business Wire has a vested interest in being the optimal avenue and made it a priority to define the unmatched benefits our services provide. With the help of News Quantified, we decided to put Eugene Soltes’ theory to the test by setting out to measure the impact of company issued news on financial markets by the top newswire services. The report was based on an assessment of key financial elements including bid-ask, volume, and volatility.

The execution of this study was intended to paint a definitive picture of how company announcements issued via a newswire, specifically Business Wire, affect market activity. The results were significant and they were consistent. The beneficial impact of a Business Wire issued news release on stock market activity is second to none.

The data for the report was compiled by a first-of-its kind research initiative conducted by News Quantified that leveraged a sample size of over 211,000 press releases issued between January 2014 and April 2015.The releases were for companies whose stocks trade on the NYSE and NASDAQ and were disseminated by Business Wire, PR Newswire, GlobeNewswire and MarketWired.

What were the results? Releases issued through Business Wire had a 4x bid-ask spread improvement over the combined average of the other tested newswires. This means that Business Wire issued news releases influenced easier conversion of stock to cash. Other metrics assessed showed similar results. Business Wire’s influence on trading volume showed to be 24% greater and volatility saw a 16% reduction when compared to the combined average of the other wires. For news releases issued through Business Wire the result was more stock being traded with more stable fluctuations in price change. All across the board the numbers show that investors are not only paying attention to, but also acting upon the news stemming from Business Wire’s patented distribution network.

An analysis of the difference between asking price and the price a buyer is willing to pay for a stock on the day company news is disseminated illustrates a direct cause and effect. How does a news release influence the liquidity of a stock? The same applies to measuring the amount of stock being traded in a given amount of time and the amount of uncertainty or risk regarding the size of changes in a stock’s value. These bid-ask spread, volume, and volatility figures, as well as the other metrics provided in the report, pinpoint the beneficial influence a Business Wire issued news release has on investor sentiment.

This data is significant because it exhibits a consistent pattern.  These findings are based on the foundation of a bridge between public relations and investor relations. When financial ROI is tied to company issued news, one distribution method stands above the rest. A news release issued through Business Wire will have the strongest impact on trading activity around your company stock.

News Quantified is an industry leading innovator in measuring news’ impact on stock market activity. Founded by Oliver Schmalholz, News Quantified utilizes a specially developed software system to monitor daily news releases and the trading behavior of specifically selected stocks. The extensive measurements provided facilitate a clear understanding of the type of investors being reached by company issued news and how their trading behavior is being influenced.

Business Wire has a long tradition of earning trust from both media and communications professionals.  A measure of that trust and the value we bring to our partners can been seen in the News Quantified analysis that identifies Business Wire’s superior market benefit on company issued news. This is a new benchmark of influence and we look forward to continuing to drive innovation in market-moving news dissemination for our customers.  For news results that matter most in the C-Suite, there is no more effective “wire” than Business Wire.

Learn how Business Wire’s Market Impact Report facilitates access to data attributing tangible ROI to communications management for US publicly traded companies listed on the NYSE, NASDAQ, OTC, and now for Canadian companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and TSX Venture Exchange.

Business Wire: Takeaways of WWPR Media Roundtable

By Ana Pinilla and Liz Ballantine

On Friday, Oct. 21, Business Wire had the honor of sponsoring the Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR) Annual Media Roundtable at the American Chemical Society.

Moderated by Lisa Matthews, Hager Sharp Vice President and former Planning Editor for the Associated Press, the event featured a distinguished panel from top news outlets: Eleanor Clift of Daily Beast, Laura Helmuth of The Washington Post, Michelle Remillard of C-SPAN, Fay Sliger of Vox Media, and Melinda Woolbright of NBC4.

Throughout the event, two overarching themes emerged: the impact of technology in reporting and best practices for pitching to journalists.

Undoubtedly, journalism has experienced a digital transformation over the years. When asked about the impact of technology, panelists agreed it has helped evolve their reporting efforts. The digital transformation has simplified their news gathering process. Woolbright said she uses social media as a main source of news. Clift noticed a decrease in her phone traffic, and most of her reporting is now dependent on email and social media. Sliger explained how the company doesn’t even have phone lines and relies on new media as their form of communication. Despite the heavy dependence on technology, Remillard still reads a stack of papers every morning for the Washington Journal segment at C-SPAN.

The panelists discussed some best practices for media pitches and ways communicators can connect with journalists.

Keep Your Pitch Mobile Friendly

Swiping through too many pages on a phone screen can cause journalists to lose interest. They simply need to know the story topic, how it relates to their current coverage, and contact information. Journalists typically don’t have time to read through a whole pitch so make sure your pitch fits on the screen of a mobile phone and is brief and to the point.

Building Relationships Through Social Media

Social media, especially Twitter, is a great place to build relationships with journalists and to stand out. Helmuth said “keep it fun and goof around -- not making it all about work.” She occasionally enjoys when PR professionals engage with her through social media. Now that journalists know you through Twitter engagement, they will pay attention and respond back to pitches. 

Tailoring the Message

It is crucial for PR professionals to do their homework and tailor their pitch to journalists. Receiving an irrelevant pitch is a waste of journalist’s time and will less likely be considered for any future press releases. According to Business Wire’s latest Media Blueprint, journalists were asked what their number one pet peeve was and a staggering 73% said their biggest pet peeve is when a PR professional does not do their research on their beat.  To provide an example, Helmuth, who covers Health and Environmental news, explained her confusion at receiving a story about pet Halloween costumes – something obviously was not geared to her news coverage.

Timing of the Press Release

As PR Professionals, it can be difficult to determine when the best time is to send a pitch to a journalist especially when it comes to special events. Woolbright and Remillard suggested sending the pitch two weeks prior to when they would run the story. Also, it’s crucial to pitch stories that go along with current events, holidays, seasons, etc.

We encourage you to use these takeaways to help your pitches break through the clutter. Remember to do research on your targeted journalists, work to build relationships, be aware of their deadlines, and keep your pitches short and sweet.

Happy pitching! 

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