Insights From Business Wire’s ...


business wireBusiness Wire captured its top 20 news releases of 2011 in terms of views.

On average, each news release garnered 63K views.

More proof that every company has the potential, doesn’t happen automatically, to be a media company.

When it comes to applying storytelling techniques to communications and driving popularity, what can we learn from the top 20 listed below?

  1. AT&T to Acquire T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom
  2. Cyber Monday:  The Season’s Best Deals – No Fighting for Parking. No Waiting in Line.  Just Lean Back, Put Your Feet up and Shop.
  3. Statement by Apple’s Board of Directors
  4. Statement by Steve Jobs’ Family
  5. Adobe Delivers Technical Communication Suite 3
  6. Comic Sans Pro Typeface Family Makes its Debut
  7. ExxonMobil Announces Three Discoveries in Deepwater Gulf of Mexico
  8. HP Confirms Discussions with Autonomy Corporation plc Regarding Possible Business Combination; Makes Other Announcements
  9. ExxonMobil Speedpass Customers Can Save 15 Cents Per Gallon
  10. The Alliance for Consumer Education Names Senator Herb Kohl Honorary Chair
  11. Clear Channel Radio Announces Acquisition of Thumbplay’s Cloud-Based Music Business
  12. Letter from Steve Jobs
  13. Fisher Investments MarketMinder Re-released
  14. Steve Jobs Resigns as CEO of Apple
  15. Exxon Mobil Corporation Declares Second Quarter Dividend
  16. Heinz® Dip & Squeeze® Ketchup is Available Nationally! Heinz and Chick-fil-A® Invite You to Celebrate with Free FryDay
  17. Exxon Mobil Corporation Declares Fourth Quarter Dividend
  18. Exxon Mobil Corporation Declares First Quarter Dividend
  19. FDA Approves YERVOYTM (ipilimumab) for the Treatment of Patients with Newly Diagnosed or Previously-Treated Unresectable or Metastatic Melanoma, the Deadliest Form of Skin Cancer
  20. Google to Acquire Motorola Mobility

Here’s my take.

  • It helps to be Apple
  • If you’re not Apple, it helps to be Exxon Mobil
  • If i-stuff and oil isn’t your core competency, then being a huge company makes a good Plan C

Fifteen out of the 20 news releases fell under one of the above descriptions.

Still, there are a couple storytelling points to glean from this exercise.

First, tying to a major calendar/industry event can trigger extra attention.

Look at how Amazon packaged its Cyber Monday headline:

Cyber Monday:  The Season’s Best Deals – No Fighting for Parking. No Waiting in Line.  Just Lean Back, Put Your Feet up and Shop.

Very savvy to NOT include Amazon’s name in the headline.

Second, the word “free” always grabs attention which explains the Heinz Dip & Squeeze Ketchup making the list.

heinz ketchup

As an aside, I can’t say I’m fond of the hyperbole in the Heinz release:

Today, the way Americans eat on-the-go will change forever.

On other hand, I liked the payoff line:

After 42 years of messing with ketchup packets, people can now eat America’s Favorite Ketchup with ease.

One final comment –

The same principles of effective media outreach apply to crafting the news release; i.e., push and stretch your story into the industry quadrant.

Note: If you enjoyed this post, the human bot claims you might want to read “Translating a Technical Invention into a Story that Resonates with the Mainstream Media” and “Too Many Superlatives in Intel’s News Release.”


  • @OffThe_Record

    Lou my friend,

    I couldn’t agree more with the points you made. Eye catching, substantive news release headlines are a key factor in getting your release noticed on the overly crowed Business Wire. So imagine my surprise to see a release that bears my finger prints, crack the list.

    Entry #10 serves as an example of my handy work, but I must admit that I was very surprise that it was included. By my own admittance, I didn’t think there was anything overly special about the release title or the contents there within. And given the fact that organization I represent in this effort is but a small non-profit, they seem not to fit in with the others among that class.

    Go figure.

  • Lou Hoffman


    Thanks for weighing in.

    I took another pass through the release #10, “The Alliance for Consumer Education Names Senator Herb Kohl Honorary Chair.”

    It could be that the broad topic of “abuse” garners extra attention.

    Personally, I thought the release makes a case for being judicious in the use of adverbs to enhance the story:

    “… a frightening 68% of first time inhalant users are under the age of 18.”

  • @OffThe_Record

    Well I’m definitely an adverb kind of guy lol. I use them when appropriate, without going overboard.


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