Interesting news that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has bought privately held Business Wire. There is more here than meets the eye, because Business Wire is poised to become much more than a distribution hub for press releases. Competitor PR Newswire, no doubt, will be on a similar march.
As I recently chatted about with Media Survey's Sam Whitmore, the combination of what Business Wire has traditionally done -- now combined with RSS and such direct informational rich media avenues as B2B podcasts -- offers businesses powerful new ways to spur viral online attraction to their brands, products, and value.
Whereas Business Wire traditionally delivered text-based distribution of marketing communications and required public distribution of various informational materials, it is now poised to be a hub for rich media business communications. In other words, syndicated multimedia business knowledge distribution.
In a sense, ironically, the popularity of blogging, tagged search, and the blurring of the lines between information, opinion, and journalism, allows for Business Wire and its ilk to vastly expand their purview. A disintermediated mainstream media greases the skids not only for grassroots journalism, but grassroots B2B communications as well.
In other words, what has worked so well -- viral adoption via online discussion and burgeoning linked communities of affinity -- for open source software, blogs, and now podcasts, can be well extended across any and all business and consumer communications. Business Wire, as a well-backed wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, will work to show them how. The cost of creating and distributing such content has plummeted.
This amounts to just the kind of business Mr. Buffett likes: steady stream of recurring revenues, new growth and productivity from technological innovation, few competitors, and a strong global brand.
Incidentally, I had the pleasure last summer of moderating a well-attended panel discussion of how blogging is affecting the business of business communications. The event, in Waltham, Mass., was organized and hosted by the Boston office of Business Wire.
Business Wire at the time was explaining and evangelizing to its clients how RSS feeds and online syndication in general offered a bright new way for companies and PR agencies to reach out to and better define their core constituencies and end-user business ecologies. Business Wire smartly and correctly identified RSS as not a threat, but as a great new opportunity.
So, take it from the Sage of Omaha, now is the time for businesses to begin injecting more than press releases into the powerful distribution networks, such as Business Wire, to directly reach their customers and prospects. Start the discussion directly with those most interested, those who search and syndicate.
I also think some high-quality, low-cost, knowledge-based informational B2B podcasts about new products and technologies -- the equivalent of a deep-dive briefing but open to all interested listeners -- make an excellent addition to press releases when it comes to getting the word out on business news.