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

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I’m in the Mood for a Good Holiday Story

I'm in the Mood for a Good Holiday Story

 

by Millicent Hasandras, Business Wire

Millicent Hassandras | Account Executive, Business Wire

 

Fall just started recently, but I can't stop thinking about ... Holiday Story Time. I love the holiday news cycle. Every year I look forward to pictures of kittens in silly outfits, outlandish gift guides, intriguing cocktail recipes, and crazy predictions by Futurists. When you’re in PR, the holiday season starts early with long-lead publication deadline dates and doesn’t stop until the final “last-minute gift ideas” blog posts published in late December.

 

Business Wire takes holidays seriously.

 

We’re a natural fit for holiday news – our weekly holiday recap news distributions kick off November 10 and run through the end of December. The recaps provide companies a second round of visibility for their news, and give reporters an easy-to-follow list of options to write about. If you’re looking to activate reporters to cover your holiday news, NOW is the time to write your holiday stories. 

 

Top Holiday Story Ideas

 

Black Friday:

  • Store hours, discounts, and promotions
  • New products and services
  • Special accommodations for employees to help them survive Black Friday (onsite massages, yoga classes, or meditation opportunities)
  • Tips on a successful shopping plan of attack
  • Success stories, sales figures

 

Cyber Monday news:

  • Last-minute offers lined up for Cyber Monday
  • Predictions for the holiday shopping season
  • Information on Cyber Security   
  • Success stories, sales figures

 

Corporate Social Responsibility

  • Company-sponsored charity events
  • Charitable giving programs and results
  • Toy or food drives and drop off locations
  • Stories of employees in the field volunteering for a company-sponsored charity

 

Holiday gift news:

  • Gift guides! Use Business Wire’s customized distribution options to promote gifts by age and demographic. I have a 73-year-old mother and a 92-year-old grandmother. How about a gift guide with ideas for aging parents and grandparents?

 

 Holiday food stories:

  • Holiday recipes
  • Special menus at restaurants
  • Holiday cocktail recipes
  • Seasonal product offerings
  • Holiday cooking classes by local chefs

 

Holiday travel stories:  

  • Last-minute holiday trip packages
  • Tips and tricks on travel with young children or pets
  • Ideas on celebrating the holidays away from home

 

Late December ideas:

  • Economic predictions for the New Year
  • Weight loss product launches
  • New Year resolution stories with customer testimonials
  • Predictions by futurists

 

To truly tell your holiday story, you will need to write a multimedia rich news release – this means you will want to include a photo, infographic or video showcasing your offer. Reporters need your multimedia content to create a compelling story. Humans are visual learners. They retain 65% of what they learn when a visual is added. Make it easy for reporters to tell a compelling story by adding photos, videos, and infographics.

 

And don’t forget to leverage the reach of others! Social influencers can act as sales associates for you. Work with them to create custom content or give them your assets to drive higher engagement and ROI. Give them easy content to use including infographics, PDFs, and Customer Testimonials. Include videos but keep them short. According to Vidyard’s 2017 Video in Business Benchmark report, a video less than 90 seconds in length sees an average retention at the end of 53%.

 

Once your holiday season is over it will be time to measure the success of your work. Utilize the data Business Wire provides including metrics on volume, sentiment, influencers, geographic location, and virality. These reports provide instant access to a wide range of metrics you can use to extend your outreach or highlight your PR program’s results to your management team, ensuring you, and they, have a very happy holiday season.

 

The holiday season is here! Are you ready? I, for one, can’t wait to read your news! 

How to “Play Ball” with the Media

When Business Wire’s Florida team had the innovative idea to host a baseball themed media luncheon, they didn’t know just how effective the exercise would be for all those in attendance. At the event, “Playing Ball with the Media,” communications pros were matched with journalists and asked to “pitch” their stories.

 

A special thank you to the leading South Florida journalists who attended: Rick Hirsch, Managing Editor at The Miami HeraldAmy Reyes, Editor at Miami.com – Miami Herald’s online lifestyle magazine; Kerry Weston, Assignment Editor at WPLG Channel 10Teresa Frontado, Digital Director at WLRN NewsCatherine Wilson, Managing Editor at Daily Business Review; and Terence Shepherd, News Director at WLRN News.

How to “Play Ball” with the media:

  1. Assemble several tables in a room, each featuring one journalist matched with several comm pros.
  2. Each communicator has one minute to pitch their story with their matched journalist and receive feedback.
  3. After each ten minute round, the journalists switch tables in order to hear what every table has to pitch.
  4. After the final round, the journalists vote on the best three pitches and share why they were selected.
  5. A special award and trophy are presented to the three winners. The awards are: Cy Young (for the best pitcher), MVP (for the best overall player), and the Delivery Man award (for the best closer).

It’s as simple as that but don’t be dissuaded, the educational value from this game will help bolster the impact of any issued news. Not only does it help communicators sharpen their pitching skills, it helps them better understand how to frame a story to pique the interest of targeted media. Start planning your own “Playing Ball with the Media” event and see the results yourself.

Find out what journalists have to say by downloading Media Matchmaker, a blueprint for how and when to best reach members of the media based on the survey results of over 600 journalists in more than 40 countries. 

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. 

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.”

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.

 

 

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