Seattle Journalists Offer Insights; Pitching Advice at Media Roundtable

January 20, 2016

Matt Allinson Bio Pic

by Matt Allinson – Media Relations Manager, International Markets

Seven superb Seattle journalists assembled downtown on a gray December day for Business Wire Seattle’s media “speed dating” event. The event provided an opportunity for those who work with the media and/or who are interested in the media to have small group discussions with the journalists who matter to them most. The goal, as always, was to foster education and understanding between the media and PR/IR community (as well as with the public at large).

Media at Event

From L to R: Garrett Rudolph (Editor – Marijuana Venture Magazine); Taylor Soper (Reporter – Geekwire.com); Michelle Flandreau (Producer – KING5); Lauren Mang (Digital Editor – Seattle Magazine); Roger Nyhus (Moderator – President & CEO of Nyhus Communications); Sara Lerner (Reporter – KIRO Radio); Ashley Stewart (Reporter – Puget Sound Business Journal); Rachel Lerman (Reporter – The Seattle Times)

The journalists varied widely in terms of the media they work for, the industries and companies they cover, and the way they do their jobs. We had a marijuana industry magazine editor; a tech reporter for a start-up; a long time public radio reporter who recently switched to commercial radio; a television producer; a digital editor; a finance reporter; and a tech reporter from the state’s biggest paper.

The journalists offered many excellent tips for interacting with media and pitching stories. Here are some you should remember:

  • Press releases are great … particularly those that include multimedia … but a personalized email pitch or a follow-up call that comes with it can make a big difference.
  • Know who you’re pitching and what they write … take the time to form a relationship if you want the reporter to cover you now or in the future.
  • Taylor Soper of Geekwire.com pulls two to three stories a week from Twitter. It’s increasingly becoming one of his favorite ways to find story ideas.
  • Radio interviews … Sara Lerner of KIRO Radio always prefers an in-studio interview, but recognizes that short notice can make that difficult. A great alternative, she says, is to use Skype, because you don’t need a microphone and it resolves the problem of cell phone quality and the scarcity of landlines.
  • If you live in a marijuana-friendly state, take note of the publications focusing on that industry. Marijuana Venture Magazine editor Garrett Rudolph said his magazine started as a 8-page black and white publication in the spring of 2014 and is now a 120+ page glossy.
  • How does the Seattle Times‘ tech reporter Rachel Lerman find stories? For one, she scans Business Wire’s daily PressPass feed. She also has various alerts set up on all the companies that she covers.Rachel
  • A major pet peeve amongst several of the journalists in attendance was lack of an available contact. Too many times, they say, have they received an interesting press release only to call the contact number on the bottom and get no answer. Lack of availability will often lead to a lack of coverage.
  • One way to ensure reporters always have access to additional information, images and company contacts is to include a link to your organization’s online newsroom. These sites are crucial for reporters, as well as analysts and other decision makers when looking for more information about your brand.

For more tips and and to better understand the tools journalists are currently using, download the 2015 Business Wire Media Survey.

Click here to share these media relations tips on Twitter:  http://ctt.ec/d5c3w

 


PR Tip: How to Work with Global News Agencies: Agence France-Presse

June 29, 2015

Last week, Business Wire presented audiences with an inside view of the global news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) and tips on how to pitch your business news to their global editorial team. AFP is one of the largest newswires in the world, behind Associated Press and Reuters, with regional offices and bureaus covering breaking and business news generated in over 150 countries.

Our panelists included David Williams, deputy editor-in-chief; Amina Ben Cheikh, marketing manager of web and mobile; and Francois Bohn, international sales coordinator. The event was moderated by Raschanda Hall.

The webinar provided listeners with a better understanding of AFP’s international reach and offered best practices in securing news coverage from AFP journalists and staff around the world.

Click here to listen to this discussion: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/7831143293398660097

During the hour-long event speakers shared key figures that depict just how many lives are reached as a result of AFP’s news coverage, including:

  • 5 24-hour regional headquarters in Washington, Montevideo, Paris, Nicosia, and Hong Kong.
  • 200 news bureaus around the world
  • 150 countries covered
  • 1,500 journalists filing news 24/7
  • 2,300 staff covering world news
  • 800 subsequent media subscribers utilize Business Wire’s news feed
  • Partnerships, such as those with CBS
  • AFP mobile app which provides instant access to breaking news, and news releases alike (in fact, news releases happen to be one of the most accessed sections of their English language news app)

In addition to the news agency’s global reach with coverage ranging from sports to business, AFP also has 1.4 million Twitter followers including nearly 400k English speaking followers.

It’s clear that Agence France-Presse has its ears to the ground all around the globe, but how does that translate into news coverage? What is the impact of AFP reporting on the world in a single day? In a single day, AFP is responsible for writing and distributing more than 8,000 pieces of news content.

AFP in a day

What was especially fascinating was the importance of Business Wire to AFP’s corporate news coverage. As Williams noted, every AFP economic news editor is required to monitor Business Wire for breaking company news throughout their day.  Why?

  • Speed: AFP relies on Business Wire’s business news feed because it is fast and efficient, and often times quicker than receiving news via a company’s website. Business Wire feeds are especially important for earnings releases.
  • Accuracy: When it comes to crafting coverage, the most important element of the news coverage for AFP is accuracy.
  • Trusted source: As David Williams noted, company news releases received from approved commercial newswires such as Business Wire provide a level of trust in the shared content.

How BW file appears in AFP

When asked how PR professionals can increase the potential of news release coverage by AFP?

  1. Write compelling news releases
  2. Include a useful, humanized quote
  3. Add compelling multimedia
  4. Distribute news releases over a trusted newswire like Business Wire
  5. Reach out to AFP’s local news bureau (Click here to find the one closest to you: http://www.afp.com/en/agency/afp-in-world/)

AFP news bureaus

The journey of a release starts as news coverage of just a single sentence, later evolving into a several hundred word piece before being developed into a full feature. Afterwards an AFP post, possibly in multiple languages, may follow to offer readers background information. Oftentimes more than one reporter will be covering a story, including translation for distribution in multiple regions.

Why is AFP an important resource for today’s local, regional, national and international communication pros?

When a company makes an announcement, it wants that information to reach the largest interested audience possible. That is the cornerstone of converting a news release into news. With roots dating back to 1835, AFP is a world leader in bringing breaking stories to the public. If you have newsworthy content crossing the wire, make sure to contact the corresponding regional headquarters and bring their attention to the release. Because they have so many journalists regularly checking BW’s feeds, there’s a good chance they’re already on top of it.


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