Media Favor Photographs with Press Releases

Media Favor Photographs with Press Releases.

Good Thursday morning!  A great article written by Ibrey Woodall, Business Wire VP of Web Communications Services.  The latest results from the 2014 Business Wire Media Survey indicates that nearly 90 percent of journalists referenced a press releases in the past week – and over 60 percent use one in the past 24 hours.  Have a great day!  — Pete E Cento


Media Favor Photographs with Press Releases

2014 Business Wire Survey Provides Journalist Feedback on Today’s Press Release

Image of Media Favor Photographs with Press Releases By Ibrey Woodall, Business Wire VP Web Communications Services

Nearly 90 percent of journalists referenced a press release in the past week – and over 60 percent used one in the past 24 hours, according to results from the 2014 Business Wire Media Survey. And since more than half of the media surveyed are more likely to review a press release that includes multimedia, it is important to provide the right content with the appropriate assets when distributing company information.

The asset most desired by almost three quarters (73 percent) of media participants were photographs, followed by graphics (43 percent), infographics (32 percent), and video (27 percent). The news, however, must be relevant whether it contains multimedia or not, based on several comments submitted during the March to May 2014 survey. Several journalists did refer to the need for executive headshots when it came to multimedia content, as well as the ability to be able to download images from the corporate online newsroom.

For press release content, breaking news (77 percent) led the way as the top choice, along with supporting facts (70 percent), story angles (66 percent), quotable sources (52 percent), company background (50 percent) and trending industry topics (49 percent). Responses that were submitted  included requests for geographic relevance, key hire information, pending job additions and layoffs, new business and product launches, and even exclusivity. Not surprisingly, the need for a direct media contact was mentioned.

The survey drew participation from more than 300 members of the North American media, many of whom have been in the industry for more than 25 years. To learn more about press release and online newsroom insights, download the complete results from the 2014 Business Wire Media Survey.

Image of Media Favor Photographs with Press Releases

About the Author: As VP Web Communications Services, Ibrey Woodall is responsible for Business Wire’s NewsHQ Online Newsroom and InvestorHQ Investor Center products. Ibrey holds a B.A. in Mass Communications and a Webmaster certification. She has been involved in launching online newsrooms and investor centers for Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at, or via Twitter @IbreyWoodall.

Press Releases, PR Newswire and Panda

Great info about press releases, earned media, building awareness and acquiring audience, written by Author Sarah Skerik, PR Newswire’s vice president of strategic communication, and the author of the ebook Driving Content Discovery. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.

Beyond PR

New copy quality guidelines from PR Newswire to help improve press release content quality. New copy quality guidelines from PR Newswire are designed to help improve press release content quality.

In late May, Google rolled out an update to its Panda algorithm that targeted low quality content, affecting a variety of content distributors and press release websites, including PR Newswire.   By “low quality content,” we’re referring specifically to press releases that were used in efforts to manipulate search rankings.   These releases were of little-to-no redeeming value for readers.

In an ensuing audit of the content of our site, we identified the spam press  releases which had had been generating inordinately high inbound links and traffic due to the black hat SEO tactics their issuers employed.  Those releases have since been deleted, and we’ll be monitoring our site content for unusual levels of inbound links, traffic and other red flags on an ongoing basis.

Distribution is about more than just one web site

While we’re…

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3 Important PR Lessons from 3 Biz Dev Connections

A great article written by Sarah Rose Attman, president of Sarah Rose Public Relations and former staff reporter for US Weekly, about the may ways to drum up new business and three PR lessons to be learned.  — Pete E Cento

3 Important PR Lessons from 3 Biz Dev Connections


Today we bring you a guest post by Sarah Rose Attman, president of Sarah Rose Public Relations and former staff reporter for US Weekly.

This post is presented by AirPR, a technology platform to increase PR performance. The San Francisco-based technology company is passionate about using data to show the true impact and value of PR.

As a 20-something single lady, I’ve come to realize that finding new business is strangely reminiscent of searching for a boyfriend. I want someone who I work well with, someone who is interesting, someone I believe in, and of course, someone who can afford me.

When I started my company, Sarah Rose Public Relations in 2012, I didn’t realize how important “business development” would be to my success. I was simply trying to improve my PR skills of media relations and digital strategies. As my expertise and pricing increased, I realized that attracting new businesses is a skill in and of itself.

There are many tactics people use to drum up new business, but in my experience new clients often show up in the most unusual places. Here are three of the weirdest ways I’ve gotten new business and three PR lessons to be learned.

1) “Oh, you’re Coral Tree Café girl?”


Before I had an office, I worked out of coffee shops. One day I ventured to a new spot in Los Angeles called Coral Tree Café. I was sitting alone doing work when I noticed a handsome man walk in. I thought to myself, “I hope he sits near me” and lo and behold he did! He sat at the table right next to me and we immediately struck up a conversation. Turns out he was heavily involved in the Silicon Beach tech scene, and by the time I left, he had given me three new business leads.


I didn’t know how genuine his “connections” were until he coordinated a real live interview for me with a promising new account. This company would later become one of my best clients, providing me with years of work and tens of thousands of dollars worth of income. For a while when working with this client, people would come up to me and say “Oh! You’re ‘Coral Tree Café’ girl!” I was kind of a legend.

Lesson #1: You never know where a simple coffee shop conversation is going to lead. Be smart about what your offer up, vet your connections, and never underestimate someone who is genuinely offering to be helpful. PR is about authentic connections and solving problems.

2) “I couldn’t help but overhear…”

One afternoon I was having lunch in Washington D.C with my cousin who is a Business Development Director responsible for landing his company big, new accounts.

He was giving me a pep talk about how to sign on new clients by suggesting that I get out there more and network by getting coffees and lunches with new people each week. I was lamenting about how frustrating the networking process could be when suddenly a woman nearby interrupted us.

“Excuse me, I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation….” Turns out, she had been listening to us the entire time. She owned a small PR firm in Detroit and was looking for help with work in the District. Did I appreciate her eavesdropping? No. But did she offer up a real opportunity? Yes.

Lesson #2: Watch what you say. Broadcasting your agenda or laments can lead to attention. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not so it is important to think about the story you’re telling. Remember, in PR you are in control of the narrative until you put it out in the public.

3) “Wow, your office!”

When I got my first office, I wouldn’t say that I went all out but OK, I went all out. The first order of business was painting it pink. The other tenants in my building were mostly men with early stage startups. Their idea of “decorating” was changing the background on their computer screens, so my mission to create a feminine, beautiful, and fun space was truly novel.

After painting, I bought bedazzled rhinestone supplies, framed press hits, bought bright pink desk mats, and installed a soft gray rug. My office stood out like the building’s crown jewel. Visitors stopped by on a regular basis asking for business cards and inquiring about my services.

Lesson #3: This is what PR is all about: Getting noticed and conveying the essence of your brand. I achieved all this while bringing in several new clients along the way. My office basically paid for itself.

In my experience, if you keep your eyes open and ear to the ground, business development opportunities are all around. It is important to not dismiss an impromptu conversation and to recognize the less obvious opportunities to tell your story. After all, you are your best PR.


Sarah Rose Attman is president of Sarah Rose Public Relations, a national agency that works with lifestyle, fashion, health and wellness, and technology companies. Prior to starting her business, she worked as a staff reporter for Us Weekly. Sarah is also a women’s health advocate and founded The Red Tent Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of college women.

Check out her website and follow her agency on Twitter and Facebook.

8 AP Style Mistakes Frequently Found in Today’s Press Releases

8 AP Style Mistakes Frequently Found in Today’s Press Releases.

8 AP Style Mistakes Frequently Found in Today’s Press Releases

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of PR tips tied  the AP style guidelines. To read “PR Pros, Journalists Tackle Latest AP Stylebook,” click here.

Image of 8 AP Style Mistakes Frequently Found in Today’s Press ReleasesBy Luke O’Neill, Editor, Business Wire

Associated Press style has been in the news recently, at least for journalists and public relations professionals, after announcing a rash of controversial changes. As you know, it is important for PR, IR, marketing and communication professionals stay abreast of AP style, and its iterations, so you can relate to the media on their level, write cleaner press releases, increase message adoption, and simply sound cool.

Of course, you must consider the style preferences of your company or clients, but you also have an obligation to the media – the end user – to craft a well-written story. With that said, we at Business Wire see our share of AP style blunders in press releases. Here are 8 of the most common style bloopers to avoid:

  1. Image of 8 AP Style Mistakes Frequently Found in Today’s Press ReleasesCapitalizing job titles after a person’s name – a no-no… AP recommends that you only capitalize a title used before a person’s name, not after. The AP’s titles entry is long but worth a look since this is such a common element found in press releases.
  2. Dates and times – eliminate redundancies. Too often, we see dates written as “Wednesday, June 4, 2014” when writing simply “June 4” would suffice. Also, write dates as “June 4” and not “June 4th “ and times as “9:30 a.m.” and not AM. Always be careful with EDT vs. EST; simply using ET is a nice failsafe.
  3. Trademark symbols – avoid them. Trademarks and other symbols are not, and actually never have been, meant for use in PR and news copy. Remove these symbols to make it easier for reporters to utilize your releases.
  4. Percent vs. % – in most cases, spell it out. Standard AP style suggests you write out “percent” in news releases, while utilizing the % symbol in tabular information such as financial tables.
  5. Entitled vs. Titled – Can you spot the difference here?  The survey was titled “Top 100 AP Style Gaffes.” Let’s just say you’re entitled to make a few mistakes, just not AP style mistakes. In short, do not use “entitled” to refer to the title of something.
  6. Acronyms come later – when referring to organizations: Do not put an acronym in parentheses after the first reference to the organization. Easily recognizable acronyms, by themselves, can be used on second reference without spelling out the organization’s name a second time.
  7. The dreaded –ly – avoid hyphenating these words: Do not hyphenate a compound modifier when using adverbs that end in -ly, such as commercially-available products. The correct style is commercially available products, no hyphen.
  8. Write it out – don’t use shortcuts when referring to numbers: As the AP points out, spell out numerals one through nine and use figures for 10 or above.

Looking to create a stronger relationship with today’s journalists?  Correcting these small mistakes in your press releases will help reporters and other key constituents read, adapt and share your news.

About the Author:  Luke O’Neill, formerly a newspaper reporter and copy editor, is an editor at Business Wire Boston. He has nearly 15 years of communications experience and a master’s degree in journalism. 




Your Name: 5 Reasons To Change It On Your Resume

Your Name: 5 Reasons To Change It On Your Resume.

Your Name: 5 Reasons To Change It On Your Resume

Image of Your Name: 5 Reasons To Change It On Your ResumeAccording to new research in the “European Journal of Social Psychology,” using middle initials can make you seem smarter to people.  In fact, adding more initials continues to boost the perception that you are smarter.   How you present yourself on your resume starts with your name.   Are initials the way to go?  Or should you use a first initial or spell out your entire name?   In the past, first/middle/last name was the formula to follow.  Today, there are many more options:

1.  If you go by a shortened version of your name (Jon/Jonathan, Bob/Robert) use that on your resume.

2.  If you have a common, John Doe, type of name, add your initial or your whole middle name.

3.  If you prefer to use your middle name, go with  J. Victoria Smith.

4.  Junior, III etc. can seem pompous to some hiring managers, so drop them from your resume.

5.  It’s perfectly acceptable to shorten a hard to say name, to use initials or to add a nickname in quotes.

Your resume is your marketing piece.  It should reflect who you are.  When filling out a job application form, use your formal names and suffixes.  Otherwise, be your name!

PR Pros, Journalists Tackle Latest AP Stylebook

PR Pros, Journalists Tackle Latest AP Stylebook.

Image of PR Pros, Journalists Tackle Latest AP StylebookBy Luke O’Neill, Editor, Business Wire

June 4, 2014

Earlier this year, The Associated Press style editors created quite a disturbance in the journalistic Force when they announced changes to their stylebook. AP style purists, myself included, were aghast.

The word “over” is now acceptable in all cases to indicate greater numerical value. Previously, the phrase “more than” was the preferred term. So you can now write: “Salaries went up over $20 a week“instead of “more than $20.”

The “over” vs. “more than” decision, announced at the American Copy Editors Society conference in March, reportedly elicited gasps from the audience. The reactions since then have ranged from outrage – some of it tongue-in-cheek – to a get-over-it mentality.

But that was only one of many recent changes, some of which were accepted more easily than others. One approved change was in the format of state names within articles. AP style editors announced in April that state names would now be spelled out within the body of stories to ensure consistency in domestic and international stories.

And, in case you missed it, the AP Stylebook 2014 print edition just launched May 28.

Style Matters

If the (over)reactions to the style changes has taught us anything it is that style matters and is deeply valued by news editors.

As we at Business Wire frequently discuss, public relations professionals who speak the media’s language continue to garner greater credibility among journalists. AP style is important for both writer and reader as it encourages consistency and clarity.

AP style is a “foundation to which communicators can refer when creating content,” Mark McClennan, senior vice president at PR firm MSLGROUP Boston and Public Relations Society of America national treasurer, wrote in an email.

It is important to note that although  AP ruled the word “over” as  acceptable to indicate greater numerical value – its usage isnot mandatory. You can still use “more than.” I suggest you turn a blind eye to the AP’s change and reserve “over” for spatial relationships.

The AP said “over” is acceptable because it evolved and became common usage. The change is noteworthy since it is a style element that appears so often in editorial copy.

In a blog, McClennan urged the AP to reconsider its “over” ruling. He does not agree with the reason for the change and encourages PR pros to keep using “more than.”

“I am very disappointed with the recent AP Stylebook changes,” said McClennan,. “AP was clear in many of these changes that they were broadening what is acceptable, not eliminating past practice.”

Getting Over ‘Over’

The Columbia Journalism Review noted that “over” has been in use for centuries when referring to quantities.

A Poynter blog noted the style change is a sign of the times – then the author threw this painful yet truthful haymaker: “As the volume of content available for consumption has grown, it seems logical that we have altered the precision with which we use our words…. And if you want to remain a relevant and effective influence, you cannot insist on enforcing standards that large numbers of people ignore or misunderstand.” Ouch.

Fred Vultee, associate professor of journalism at Wayne State University and an American Copy Editors Society board member, said he likes the “over” change.

“The best thing about the ‘over’ ruling is it doesn’t tell writers they should or shouldn’t do anything,” Vultee wrote in an email. “It just tells people not to worry about a colloquial usage that has made perfectly good sense for centuries.”

Vultee said he’ll still write “more than” in most cases. And he suspects most people he knows, who approve the “over” change, will also still write “more than.”

Create Your Own Style(book)

One way to ensure adoption of these changes is to create your own in-house stylebook featuring AP best practices particular to your commonly used words.

“A style guide is part of the rulebook for the conversations your organization has with its audiences, whether you’re in news or in PR,” said Vultee. “If a change in the rulebook helps you and your audience have that conversation more clearly, or if it fits better with your mutual understanding of how culture and society work, it’s a good change.”

About the Author:  Luke O’Neill, formerly a newspaper reporter and copy editor, is an editor at Business Wire Boston. He has nearly 15 years of communications experience and a master’s degree in journalism. 

GM CEO Barra’s Crisis Management Failure – What NOT To Do During A Press Conference

GM CEO Barra’s Crisis Management Failure – What NOT To Do During A Press Conference.

Editor’s Note: Crisis communications expert David Johnson shares his latest analysis of the ongoing GM recall crisis.  To gain more insight on the situation, click here to read David’s post, “GM’s Crisis Management Scorecard.”

Image of GM CEO Barras Crisis Management Failure – What NOT To Do During A Press ConferenceBy David E. Johnson,CEO, Strategic Vision, LLC

Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors has been attempting to give a new face and brand identity toGeneral Motors since taking her position.  In her initial response to a crisis that had resulted in 13 acknowledged deaths and the recall of over 2.6 million vehicles, Barra had scored high marks with the media, stockholders, employees, and consumers by showing empathy, taking responsibility, and reaching out to all key stakeholders in her initial response.  That is why her announcement of the results of an internal investigation that led to the recall and her answers to reporters’ questions seemed lacking and unable to shake the crisis.  In many ways, Barra, the new face of the automaker resembled the old General Motors.

What did she and General Motors do wrong with the press conference and her answers to reporters regarding the company’s internal investigation?


What we think, we become. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world. – The Buddha

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