Serena Ehrlich from Business Wire sets the record straight



Posted: In: Blogs Interviews

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Back in the fall of 2013, I wrote this blog post where I equated the press release to that annoying guy nobody wants to invite to a party, but for some reason everyone feels obligated to invite.

This type of behavior (inviting unwanted guests) entirely eludes me – probably because I’m not nice. Or something like that.

Truth be told, however, being nice has its distinct advantages. Namely: you tend to have a higher quality of life and meet people you wouldn’t otherwise meet. These people, the ones you may have otherwise ignored while clinging for dear life to your bitchy resting face, can end up being great advocates for you…if you take the time to get to know them, understand where they’re coming from, and ultimately relinquish your propensity to thinking “hey, I’m usually always right.”

In a moment of weakness, niceness, and extroversion, I accepted an invitation to a PR gathering in San Francisco hosted by Paul Wilke (whom I adore), the founder of @UprightComms. While there, over an assortment of wine and charcuterie, I met a woman by the name of Serena Ehrlich – who just happened to be the very friendly Director of Social and Evolving Media at Business Wire.

Oh, and she was also named the “top 25 women in mobile to watch”, “25 women who rock social media”, “best social media blogger for PR”, and a various assortment of other titles that tend to intimidate-slash-excite me.

In true social media culture fashion, we spoke to each other briefly in person at the little gathering but quickly launched a rather heated Twitter affair – which is entirely appropriate given her skill sets. We have serendipitously run into each other at PR-related events over the past year, the last of which was the “PR News’ PR Measurement Conference” in Washington DC – where Serena graciously gave me her perspective on why newswires are still relevant (despite Google’s algo updates and my seeming disdain for press releases) and how we can measure their impact more effectively.

Video summary: why we need news releases?

  • It still the fastest, easiest way to get your content out
  • The trick for 2014 is to stop writing general press releases
  • General info should be for your blog
  • The focus should be on crafting highly  targeted releases tailored to the audience you are writing for
  • You want to activate and get them excited, get them to share
  • Add CTAs, click through tweets, and multi media (releases with multi media get 3xs the coverage rate)
  • Summed up: Write for smaller, more targeted audiences, make releases highly interactive with multi media, and include CTAs

Video summary: how did Google’s Hummingbird  update affect the news release?

  • PR’s BFF
  • Issue: How can I find my PR in search? This solves it
  • Forced SEO responsibilities are off your shoulders
  • You get 1-2 copies in search
  • Want higher in search? Use multimedia that has its own search parameters
  • Write for what your audience is searching for
  • Include terms in press releases
  • Your own properties are what coverts people

Video summary: what should we be measuring in PR?

  • How far your release went out, what action was taken on it?
  • URL builders
  • Track the actions of each user within your website

Follow @Serena for insights and updates on the changing social media and PR landscape. Let us know what you think about her insights by tweeting to @AirPR.