Tag Archives: public relations

The Future of Financial Services Communications

earlier this month,  I attended an event hosted by Business Development Institute and PR Newswire that focused on communications in the financial services industries, but included lessons most communicators can appreciate.

There were several short presentations with different speakers and topics that took place during the event. Here are some of the important topics and key points from topics each presentation:

Embracing Technology to Create Trust Among Small Businesses Presented by: Noah Breslow, chief executive officer of OnDeck

  • Technology is being disruptive to financial services.
  • Square is a form of classic disruption.
  • To gain trust with customers, you need to do the following: set the contrast; simplify your message; manage expectation closely; bring human to the online process; and engage your promoters.
  • Engage with your customers so they do not feel they are alone.
  • Use services like Yelp and build ratings to show customers they are not the first.

Big Data 101: What It Means for Business                                                  Presented by: David Ray, corporate vice president of corporate Internet at New York Life Insurance Company

  • “Big Data is data that is too large, complex, and dynamic for any conventional data tools to capture, store, manage and analyze.” (source: wipro.com)
  • Ninety percent of the data you have in your enterprise is unstructured.
  • If 90 percent is unstructured, at best, businesses are making decisions based on 10 percent of their data.
  • The present and future opportunity for big data may not be to process enormous amounts of data, but, rather, to tie together previously untied and/or isolated systems.
  • Lady Gaga uses big data. Her manager created a Gaga-centric social network by mining the singer’s Twitter and Facebook fans. This will effectively bypass other social media networks and allow them to keep 100 percent of future revenues.

Social Media and Compliance                                                                Presented by Joanna Belbey, social media and compliance specialist, and Victor Gaxiola, subject matter expert, at Actiance, Inc.

  • Social businesses can’t just use one collaborative technology to keep its      employees connected; they need to use them all.
  • Enterprises face the following challenges using social media: security, governance and enablement.
  • Successful financial advisors have been using social media all along, but now they have even more forms of electronic communications to further their reach.
  • Social media can be used to drive customer loyalty, leverage connections, and close new businesses.
  • The key is to come up with a communications policy in advance.
  • A salesperson emailed 200 LinkedIn connections and 158 got back to them. Perhaps social media will replace the cold call?

Finance: Community vs. Commodity                                                   Presented by: David Kelin, CEO and cofounder of CommonBond

  • You can’t buy a community; you have to build a community — and you need to build a community people want to belong to.
  • After someone applies for a loan with CommonBond, they will pick up the phone and call that person. It i a way of connecting on a human level.
  • Giving back is another important component to building a community.

Building Trust in a Content Rich World Presented by: Greg Matusky, president and founder of Gregory FCA

  • Consumers’ trust rate of financial services industry is at an all-time low.
  • Content bridges the digital divide between the business and consumer. It is the framework for building trust.
  • Eighty percent of consumers look for four sources of information before buying.
  • The five C’s of trusted content: compassion, credibility, creativity, contemporary, and compliance.

Allianz Global Investors Empowers Its Sales Force With Social Media Presented by: Erin Meijer, social media manager at Allianz Global Investors

  • Allianz uses social media to humanize their brand. Also, clients and prospects are on social media, so they need to be there too.
  • It is not social media — it is social business.
  • LinkedIn is the Google of the business world.
  • Your social media is your digital equity.
  • Here are some tips for social business: 1) Be visual (use charts/graphs, thumbnails with articles, infographics, etc.). 2) Create a content calendar for your social media. 3) Be authentic, and always add value. 4) Have a strong call to action. 5) Be social. 6) Use automation tools to minimize effort and maximize impact.

Optimizing for the Speed of Social                                                          Presented by: Sebastian Hempstead, executive vice president of North America at Brandwatch

  • Automation tools are absolutely crucial because you cannot manually deal with the amount of social data out there.
  • Some social media command centers are physical and some are virtual; some engage directly and some don’t; some are managed by social media teams and some are cross-functional.
  • Listening on social allows you to identify when there is a bigger problem going on, such as a system performance issue. When this issue happens, alerts are triggered among the different departments that this is going on.
  • To expand on social, engage with posts mentioning competitors, such as reviews and complaints.

Written by Polina Opelbaum, editor of ProfNet, a service that helps journalists connect with expert sources. To read more from Polina, check out her blog on ProfNet Connect.

Drop the Mic: Even Beyoncé Uses Press Releases

beyonce PR

The tactics used to launch Beyonce’s new album: the element of surprise, hip Instagram video —  and a press release.

Mega-superstar Beyoncé  shocked millions of fans when she simultaneously announced and released her fifth studio album on iTunes over the weekend, just before midnight on December 12th. In a more surprising twist, each song on the self-titled record is accompanied by its own music video. With the help of an Instagram video and an official press release, the stunning announcement put an end to swirling rumors over when Beyoncé’s next album would be released. The risky yet successful publicity stunt posed an interesting question: why does someone as powerful as Beyoncé still need a press release to announce her new album?

It’s no secret that the press release has seen its fair share of criticism due to the rise of digital communications.  So why did Beyoncé, one of the most beloved and acclaimed artists in the world, still need a press release to announce her new album? Here’s why:

Elle Magazine Quote

According to Fuse TV, “As photos of some of these video shoots had hit the internet over the past two months, fans had waited for any announcement of where they might officially purchase any of the songs.  But Bey didn’t release any comment until now.”

Journalists and fans alike could not rely on speculation from the internet as a credible source. However, the press release was able to definitively answer burning questions such as why Beyoncé chose a groundbreaking visual approach to her album and explains how her team was able to accomplish such an extraordinary feat in the public eye.

Some may argue that these statements were also accessible on her website and social media pages, but why send journalists on an information scavenger hunt? Press releases highlight the most important information in a concise format, perfect for republishing and retweeting, and provide links to relevant pages. Additionally, wire distribution services are more protected against hacking; it’s not as simple as obtaining the right password.  The album announcement dominated the social media realm, generating over 1.2 million tweets in 12 hours and amassing extraordinary media attention.

While there’s no disputing that digital communications has created a surplus of new channels for distributing information, there is no guarantee that this information is reliable. Press releases come straight from the source and strip away any uncertainties over whether the information is factual. So until there is no longer a demand for highly credible information, press releases will remain as a vital resource for businesses, media, and the public.

Read the weekend’s most talked about release right here: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/beyonce-available-worldwide-now-235687181.html

Author Shannon Ramlochan is a member of PR Newswire’s marketing team. 

MEDIA Moves & News: Huffington Post, The Hill, The Onion and more…


PR Newswire’s Audience Research Department makes thousands of updates to the  database of journalists and bloggers that underpins our Agility media targeting and distribution platform.  Below is a sampling of recent media moves and news.  Learn more about Agility media targeting here. 

Huffington Post Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost): Kiki Von Glinow (@KikiVonGlinow) is the new Managing Editor.

The Hill The Hill (Washington, DC): The new Campaign Editor is Jessica Taylor (@JessicaTaylor) and Tristan Lejeune joins as an Assistant Editor.

Columbia Jrn Review Columbia Journalism Review (New York, NY): Former Washington Post Managing Editor Liz Spayd (@spaydl) tackles the Editor-in-Chief role at Columbia Jounalism Review (@CJR).

POLITICO Politico (Arlington, VA): Nahal Toosi (@nahaltoosi) is the new Deputy Politics Editor.

Gawker Gawker (@Gawker) (tips@gawker.com): Joel Johnson (@JoelJohnson) is the new Editorial Director Gawker Media.

Roll Call Roll Call (Washington, DC): Sara Bondioli (@sbondioli) is the new Assistant Managing Editor at Roll Call (@rollcall). Cameron Easley (@Cam_RollCall) (cameroneasley@rollcall.com) has joined the political website as the Managing Editor.

The Onion The Onion (Chicago, IL): The satirical newspaper (@TheOnion) is set to transition from print to an online-only edition. The outlet will publish its last print edition this month.

The Pitchfork Review The Pitchfork Review (Chicago, IL): The newly launched magazine (@thep4kreview) will explore independent music and culture, past and present. For additional information, go to http://thepitchforkreview.com/ (info@thepitchforkreview.com).

Wis. State Journal Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI): The daily (@WiStateJournal) has named John Humenik (@JohnHumenik) as Publisher, replacing William Johnston, who previously announced his retirement.

Mashable Mashable! (@Mashable) (news@mashable.com): Jason Abbruzzese (@JasonAbbruzzese) has joined as a Media Reporter.

Cliff Brunt Associated Press – Oklahoma City Bureau (Oklahoma City, OK): Cliff Brunt (@cliffbrunt_isl) has signed on as the Sports Reporter.

Bleacher Report Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport): Dave Lozo (@DaveLozo) is the new head Hockey Reporter.

Cumulus Media Network (New York, NY): The Mike Huckabee Show on radio aired for the final time Thursday, December 12.

Real Simple Magazine Real Simple Magazine (New York, NY): Former Editor-at-Large Danielle Claro (@clarodanielle) has been named Deputy Editor.

CNBC CNBC (New York, NY): Former Forbes Magazine Correspondent Morgan Brennan (@MorganLBrennan) is now a General Assignment Reporter @CNBC.

Harper's Bazaar Harper’s Bazaar (New York, NY): Charlotte Cowles (@CharlotteCowles) is the new Senior Features Editor.

Deportes Telemundo Deportes Telemundo (Miramar, FL): Joining @telemundosports is Ana Jurka (@AnaJurka ) as a Reporter.

Univision23DFW Univision – Noticias 23 – KUVN-TV (Dallas,TX): As of 2014, Sam Belilty (@Samilty)  will be the new News Director for @UnivisionDFW

Lucky Magazine Lucky Magazine (New York, NY): Christa Lee (@christajlee) has joined the magazine as Digital Beauty Editor.

Foreign Policy Foreign Policy (Washington, DC): Mindy Bricker (@mindykaybricker) joins the team as a Senior Editor.

National Journal National Journal (Washington, DC): The new Energy Reporter at NJ is Ben German (@Ben_Geman).

Sporting News Sporting News (Charlotte, NC): Editor-in-Chief Garry Howard (@SN_GarryD) has left the online sports publication (@sportingnews).

L.A. Daily News Los Angeles Daily News (Woodland Hills, CA): Education Reporter Barbara Jones has departed the newspaper.

Variety Variety (Los Angeles, CA): Blogger Jon Weisman (@jonweisman) has left to work full-time as Director of digital/print content for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Alexandra Cheney (@alexandracheney) joins the publication as a Senior Film Reporter from Wall Street Journal.

The Modesto Bee The Modesto Bee (Modesto, CA): The Bee (@modbee) has named Mike Dunbar  Editorial Page Editor, replacing Judy Sly who has retired.

The Press-Enterprise The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA): Michael Coronado returns to The Press-Enterprise (@PEcom_news) as the new Editor for the paper.

Cliff Brunt Associated Press – Oklahoma City Bureau (Oklahoma City, OK): Cliff Brunt (@cliffbrunt_isl) has signed on as the Sports Reporter.

Kiplinger Kiplinger’s Personal Finance (Washington, DC): Chicago Tribune Business Reporter Carolyn Bigda (@CarolynBigda) takes on extra duty as a Contributing Editor at Kiplinger’s (@Kiplinger).

Des Moines Register The Des Moines Register (Des Moines, IA): The new Business Reporter is Matthew Patane (@mattpatane).

Daily updates on Twitter (twitter.com/PRNmedia).

Detailed outlet and contact information is available at Agility (agility.prnewswire.com).

Do Newswire Services Work? PR Newswire Does.

In the wake of the recent conversation about the value of newswire services, I thought I’d share an email I received from an old friend, who works at a major print outlet in Chicago.

 Hey Sarah!

 I’ve got a work-related problem and wonder if you can help me find a solution:

I’m a digital news editor at XXXXX. For years we’ve had access to PRN releases through our subscription to the [major paid wire service] wire. It’s been a great source of business news, particularly before the markets open, and our early morning editor depends on it. But we’re about to end that [major paid wire service] subscription and switch to [another major paid wire service] — which offers PRN through its terminals, as you probably know, but not through the web-based portal we’ll be using to access the wire service.

 I’m wondering if there’s a way to get direct access to PRN releases right on our desktops. We’d be interested in filtering the tons of releases you move to focus on Chicago and Illinois and a universe of our top companies — but that might get into more detail than you care to know at this point, so I’ll stick to the primary question: How can we keep getting our PRN fix?

 We’re ending our [major paid wire service] sub at the end of the month, and our early morning editor is already getting the PRN-withdrawal shakes. Let me know what you think about this.

 Significant base of media subscribers

Across the US, and the rest of the planet, for that matter, thousands of media outlets devote technical resource and computer space to receiving PR Newswire press releases.  We know the technical and newsroom contacts at each outlet, and we work with them to tailor the news feed to fit the outlet’s needs.

In addition to the news feeds that are hardwired into news rooms as described above, more than 30,000 credentialed journalists and bloggers access PR Newswire for Journalists each month, where they tally more than a million press release views monthly.

Why do professional media & bloggers use PR Newswire?

So why is the PR Newswire feed of press releases still used by so many journalists and bloggers?  There are a few reasons why:

  • Efficiency:  It’s easier for an outlet to get a streamlined feed of news releases filtered by topic and geography from a company like PR Newswire than it is to manage individual messages from all the agencies, brands and organizations reporting news.  Press releases are coded and formatted using according to news industry standards, making it as easy and efficient for news editors to manage their press release feed as it is for them to manage their paid news feeds from sources like the AP, Dow Jones and Reuters.
  •  Credibility:   Every press release PR Newswire runs to its media circuits is authenticated – only people who are authorized to do so can issue a press release on behalf of their organization.   Additionally, we have stringent standards around attribution, requiring sources and contacts on every press release.  Receiving media know that the copy they get from PR Newswire is reliable and trustworthy.  As a result, major wire services frequently re-run press releases we issue in full text over their circuits and their spot news editors rip headlines from our wires to run on theirs.  Press releases received via email or found on the web have to be first verified, which takes valuable time in today’s deadline-every-second news environment.
  • Quality:   PR Newswire has a variety of copy quality standards, to ensure the press releases we issue contain newsworthy content our receiving media and bloggers can act upon.   Advertorial copy and stories about threatened (but not actually filed) law suits are two examples of the sort of content that doesn’t pass muster for distribution to one of our media circuits.

The audience is bigger than the media

Real time tweets of PR Newswire press releases.

Real time tweets of PR Newswire press releases.

We all know that the media environment is far different today than it was five, 10 or 15 years ago.  One reason why PR Newswire still delivers results today is the fact that our press releases are consumed by audiences directly.

  •  About 15% of the traffic to PR Newswire.com comes from people researching products and services via search engines.
  • Press releases are widely shared on social networks.  (Live feed on Twitter of tweets of PR Newswire press releases: https://twitter.com/search?q=PRnewswire&src=typd&f=realtime )

To get a better handle on audience behavior, I embedded trackable URLs within the press releases I issued to promote blog posts in the month of November.  Those links, which were all embedded in the third paragraph of the release (meaning people had to open the release, and really read it to get to the link) generated almost 1,000 clicks.  And think about it – by the time someone finds press release, reads it and then clicks on the link you offer them in the release text – they’ve demonstrated some real interest in your message.   The click-through numbers represent enormously valuable traffic.

So, press releases – and newswire services – still work.  That said, they both work better when the organizations issuing press releases make a point of developing the sort of interesting, visual and interactive content audiences appreciate today.  I’ve written an ebook detailing new approaches to press releases that are generating results, and it includes real-life examples and tips.  Here’s the link: New School PR Tactics  .

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of  the newly-published ebook Driving Content DiscoveryFollow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.