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Social Media Portal - Profiled - Lisa Davis - Marketwire

Staff (Social Media Portal) - 15 July 2009

Profiled - Marketwire - Press release distribution service

An interview with Lisa Davis, Director of Marketing at Marketwire

MarketWire logoMarketwire tells SMP about press release distribution and social media

Social Media Portal (SMP): What is your full job title and role at Marketwire?  

Lisa Davis (LD)
: Director of Marketing.  Together with my team, we are responsible for building brand, engaging audiences and adding value to every one of Marketwire’s touch points.

SMP: Briefly, tell us about Marketwire and its target audience.  

LD: Marketwire is a global newswire and communications workflow solutions provider.  Public relations, investor relations and all communications professionals look to Marketwire to connect their messages to the appropriate target audiences and facilitate relationships with their stakeholders, be it via news release distribution, social media engagement, direct-to-consumer distribution, etc.  Photograph of Lisa Davis, Director of Marketing at MarketWire

SMP: What was the most challenging part of building the service?

LD: One of the biggest challenges for those in the communications industry is technology.  From the tools we use to the outlets we reach and the myriad of ways we can reach people at those outlets, communications technology is evolving at a frantic pace. We’ve moved from communicating by fax and wire terminal, to email and FTP, to RSS and social networking.  It’s critical for Marketwire to keep up with these changes – our clients expect it.

SMP: Who are your target audience and why?

LD: Already answered above.

SMP: How did you initially attract users to your service, and how do you do it now?

LD: Marketwire was founded on the need for companies to target and reach certain audiences (media, financial analysts, regulatory and investment agencies) with their news and information quickly and accurately.  Historically, we attracted investor relations and public relations professionals, as they were typically the agencies or departments ‘tasked’ with distributing news releases.   

When the world went online, though, everything changed, and it became as important to reach bloggers, online media, social networks and consumers directly with news releases.  Today, our clients range from some of the world’s largest public companies and start-ups to boutique PR agencies and grass-roots organizations.  Our clients continue to trust us after nearly three decades because we provide them with the most innovative, reliable and efficient ways to connect them and their messages to their target audiences.

SMP: What separates your services to others out in the market?  

LD: Marketwire’s innovation and customer service set us apart.  We have a proud ‘pioneer’s’ history of introducing the most effective and innovative products and services to our clients so that they can keep pace with and stay connected to their audience.  We also have a long-standing tradition of excellence in customer service and strive to make sure that we meet (even surpass) the needs of our clients, be they Fortune 50 or not-for-profit.

SMP: What are the low moments of what you have been doing so far?  

LD: Working through two recessions has been quite challenging – it’s not easy to see friends, colleagues and clients struggle to keep their jobs and professional lives in tact.  I will say, rather selfishly, that those conditions often breed the most creative marketing ideas, because we’re forced to do more with less, and make the most out of our resources – both financial and human.

SMP: What are the high moments of what you have been doing so far?  

LD: It sounds cliché (and a bit corny) but it’s entirely true:  the best part of my job is the people; those I work with today, and those I have worked with during the last 13 years at Marketwire and in the industry.  They are more than colleagues; they’ve been mentors, friends and a second family.

SMP: What do you see as your biggest challenges and opportunities in the press distribution market?  

LD: Again, I’d have to say technology.  But challenges are opportunities, aren’t they?  For example, there’s been a shift over the last few years away from traditional print and broadcast media as sole recipients of news releases because more and more people are going online to get their news and information.  For a time, connecting to these online audiences proved difficult.  Marketwire’s Social Media 2.0 release was developed to meet that challenge and reach social networks and blogs, drive news online and start conversations.  Challenge = opportunity.

SMP: What are the dedicated social media services that you offer your clients?  

LD: Our clients are increasingly enhancing their news releases with search engine optimization (SEO) and complimentary social media tags in order to take full advantage of their news online.  Our Social Media 2.0 release combines text, digital assets, bookmarking and tagging tools, and even a dynamic online newsroom that make it easy for the reader to engage with and share the content in the release.

SMP: What are the benefits for your customers using the social media services?  

LD: Buzz, clicks, hits, calls, better page rank, Diggs, you name it.  In fact, our client just posted a great blog entry on their success using our Social Media 2.0 release.  For many clients, the Social Media 2.0 release gives them an opportunity to reach an entirely new audience online and engage with bloggers, consumers, Web 2.0 journalists, etc.  Many of our clients are not highly technical or social media savvy, so SEO enhancements and Social Media 2.0 releases are a simple, stress-free way for them to be sure their news is optimized for search and is reaching social networks.   For all of our clients, Social Media 2.0 releases make it incredibly easy to make social media part of their overall communication strategy.

SMP: What are your thoughts on the social media press release?  

LD: It’s vital to understand that the social media press release is a tool. Its success, like that of any communication vehicle, relies on a newsworthy, well-written and composed message, appropriate supportive material and an understanding of how these components suit your target audience.  While it is an incredibly effective vehicle for connecting online audiences and social networks to your content, if those audiences are not appropriate for your messages and your content, then this kind of release is not suitable. The goal of a social media press release, like any press release, is to get the right message in the right way to the right people.

SMP: Many bloggers don’t like receiving press releases, how do you help your clients connect with bloggers?  

LD: You’re right. Many bloggers don’t like receiving press releases. That is why we provide company- and industry-specific RSS feeds and distribution of our Social Media 2.0 releases to the Pheedo blog ad network.

SMP: What other support services do you offer clients?

LD: Marketwire offers its clients media monitoring, webcasting, list management, online media management, editorial assistance – really any service that fits within the day-to-day workflow of communication professionals.

SMP: What’s the next big step for social media and networks and what impact is this having upon press releases?  

LD: While I wouldn’t dare speculate as to the next big ‘technological’ step, I believe that from a communicator’s point-of-view it will be attaching sustainable ROI to social media campaigns.  With the rise of social media and online communication, it’s often difficult for the PR and MarCom departments to show real value from their efforts to the CEO and CFO.  

Social media press releases need to continue to adapt to their environment and provide a vehicle for more content to reach more people, regardless of the social network they are active in, where they blog, etc.  Again, at their core, social media press releases are no different than their traditional counterpart, and as a communication vehicle, they need to grow and change in order to stay connected to their audiences.  

SMP: What are the next moves for Marketwire, particularly regarding social media?

LD: Following social media, the technology behind it, the trends, how it affects the industry and our clients…all of this continues to be important to us.  Undeniably, social media is here to stay – it’s a legitimate form of communication and not the ‘fad’ many thought it was just a year or two ago.  Like everyone else, we’re anxious to see what the future holds.

SMP: What’s going to be the most interesting aspect regarding social media / technology throughout 2009?  

LD: Ah, if only I had those answers!  As I said earlier, attributing ROI to social media efforts is growing in importance, as is monitoring social media penetration.  And it’s always interesting to speculate on the next Facebook or Twitter.

SMP: How does this fit into plans at Marketwire?  

LD: Similar to Question 16, social media and its trends and technologies will continue to be followed closely here at Marketwire, and where it allows for advances in the ways we can help our clients communicate with their stakeholders, we’ll continue to provide products and services that are social media-friendly.

SMP: Top five tips businesses using press releases services should consider? 

LD replies with:

1. Provide solid content in various formats that offer multiple opportunities to engage audiences: don’t just communicate in words, use photos, video, audio and don’t just communicate to mainstay audiences, take advantage of new media.   

2. Practice good writing.  Yes, your message and how your message is crafted still matters.  

3. Know your audience.  If you do, then chances are good that what matters to you also matters to them.  

4. Embrace SEO.  You don’t need to be a technical whiz, but you do need to understand the value of keywords and optimization for online audiences.  

5. Think outside the box.  Strategically distribute to new and niche audiences.  The world is online and they are 24/7. You can reach just about anyone, just about anywhere, and from bloggers to investors, new opportunities present themselves every day for you to reach more people with your message.

SMP: Best way to contact you?  

LD: Email (ldavis @ and telephone (+1 416-362-0885).

Now some questions for fun

SMP: What did you have for breakfast / lunch?

LD: Breakfast was coffee and a muffin, lunch was pizza.  Cheese pizza.  Nothing exciting, I’m afraid.

SMP: What’s the last good thing that you did for someone?  

LD: Treated my family to dinner.  My extended family.  Paid the entire bill.

SMP: How many hours to you work a week?  

: More than I should, but don’t we all?

SMP: If you weren’t running Marketwire what would you be doing?  

LD: Ha!  Actually, I’m not ‘running’ Marketwire (smiles) but if you mean ‘what would be your dream job’ it would be a professional writer.  I know, I know, many people already have this dream job, but I can be a bit slow with my writing, so I’d go hungry a lot of the time!  And if your question was ‘what would I be doing if I was not working at all’, it would be taking gourmet cooking classes, all day, every day.

SMP: When and where did you go on your last holiday?  

LD: Disney World for March Break 2009.  Mickey, Minnie and the whole gang…it was absolutely wonderful (especially for my 5-year-old daughter).

SMP: What’s the first thing you do when you get into the office of a morning?  

: Drink my coffee and read the front page of every section of the newspaper (yes, the paper one).

SMP: If you had a superpower what would it be and why? 

LD: Super strength.  I can never, ever open jars.

SMP: Are there any other sites/s that we should be aware of that relate to the above?  

LD: Sure

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