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How to Tap into the Media Love-Affair with Data

We currently live in a digital world and almost everything can, and is, described with numbers. Data gives reporters the unique ability to tell a compelling story with the sheer scale and range of digital information available today and using data to drive stories has become a widely-adopted best practice among media professionals of all types.

Long story short: reporters love data and you should too.

Data plays a key role in any successful media strategy and can help organizations secure media coverage, develop thought leadership platforms and achieve overarching business objectives. Click To Tweet

Data plays a key role in any successful media strategy and can help organizations secure media coverage, develop thought leadership platforms and achieve overarching business objectives. In today’s global economy, there are invisible connections between products, consumers, organizations and larger industry trends. Data helps provide a credible and timely way to link these and participate at the forefront of these conversations in the media. From a PR perspective, a data-driven media relations campaign hinges closely on the theme of providing value to reporters and can be a useful tactic to develop mutually beneficial relationships. By arming reporters with proprietary data or leveraging existing data to introduce a new perspective on a larger industry trend, you’re participating in a value-based interaction vs. something that is overtly promotional.

So, how can an organization utilize data, proprietary or existing, to secure media coverage that advances its overarching business objectives? Ultimately, you want to use data as a springboard or jumping-off point to start a conversation which legitimizes a problem or industry-wide POV, and then propose a way in which your organization can provide value to the conversation.

For example, CompTIA, the Computing Technology Industry Association, recently released a study on GDPR which states that 52 percent of U.S. companies surveyed are either still exploring the applicability of GDPR to their business; have determined that GDPR is not a requirement for their business; or are unsure. Pitching reporters this data, in conjunction with an expert from your organization who can speak to the steps companies can take to figure out if GDPR applies to their business, provides reporters with a timely media angle and an expert on the topic. The desired result? A win-win situation for all parties: an educational piece for the reporters’ audience, coverage and brand awareness for your organization and a thought leadership platform for your subject matter expert.

Successful data-driven media programs involve strategy, foundational work and ongoing maintenance. There are both reactive and proactive approaches to building a comprehensive data-driven media program. The first step in implementing a data-driven media program, whether proactive or reactive, is to determine a list of topics and keywords that you will use to monitor for data. Next, use these identified topics and keywords to conduct an audit to see what studies already exist. Ask these questions:

  1. Is this study annual? If so, what is the publish date?
  2. Who conducted the study?
    NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Is this study commissioned by a third-party association or analyst firm?
    NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Was this study commissioned by a competitor or different company? Note: If it was commissioned by a competitor, avoid referencing it. If it was conducted by a different company, thoroughly vet the company to make sure there are no competing interests.
  3. Was the study conducted by credible means?
  4. Was this study covered and well-received in the media?

If your organization has the bandwidth and budget to commission proprietary data, this audit will be a useful tool to determine how your company can provide value in the current data landscape. Identify gaps and areas of opportunity to contribute new data to the conversation. Insights garnered from the audit will drive survey development. Next, determine budget and audience. Is your audience B2C or B2B? Do you have budget to engage a third-party vendor? If you do not have budget to hire a third-party research firm, you can explore cheaper options, like SurveyMonkey, to pursue. Be cognizant of the “magic number” of survey respondents or sample size that is required for a study to be considered credible by the media; these figures vary when targeting B2C and B2B survey audiences. Once you have fielded your data, create a comprehensive media strategy that takes into consideration timing, media targets, messaging, distribution and how you’ll cross promote the findings on different social and corporate media channels.

A reactive data-driven media program can help your organization capitalize on a third-party’s investment in data. Use the topics and keywords previously identified to set up “Google Alerts” and “Talkwalker Alerts” to be notified in real-time if relevant data is released and be prepared to “trend-jack”; on an ongoing basis, this is crucial to running a successful and timely reactive data-driven media strategy because it will allow you to react in real-time. The audit on the current data landscape as it relates to your organization will play a key role in the reactive data-driven media campaign.  Start by adding any reoccurring reports or surveys which are not issued by a competitor into your media content calendar. This way, you can anticipate when they will be published and incorporate the data into a larger media strategy. Identity your spokesperson in advance and storylines that directly connect to your company’s value proposition. When the data is published, you’ll be ready to execute a comprehensive and timely trend-jack campaign.

To successfully run a data-driven media program, you must first have a solid understanding of the current data landscape, how you want to participate and the new value you’ll add to the conversation. A wide range of data currently exists, so be sure to capitalize on it to maximize media coverage, advance business goals and develop thought leadership platforms.

By Jacquelyn Daane 

10FOLD WINS THE BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE GROUP’S 2018 BEST PLACES TO WORK AWARD – PRESS RELEASE

Company’s Focus on Culture, Training, and Service Excellence Fuels Multiple National Award Wins in 2018

SAN FRANCISCO – May 29, 2018 – 10Fold, a leading B2B tech communications and content agency, today announced that it has won the 2018 Best Places to Work award from The Business Intelligence Group. 10Fold received the award based on workplace excellence, innovation, programs that support staff development, and its emphasis on community support – encouraging staff to participate in charitable ventures and community service. This award is announced just a week after 10Fold was honored with the Grand Stevie award for Most Honored PR Agency of the Year.

The Business Intelligence Group was founded with the mission of recognizing true talent and superior performance in the business world. Unlike other industry and business award programs, business executives—those with experience and knowledge—judge the programs. The organization’s proprietary and unique scoring system selectively measures performance across multiple business domains and then rewards those companies whose achievements stand above those of their peers.

“It is a particular honor to be awarded as a Best Place to Work because of the input our staff had in us winning the award,” said Susan Thomas, CEO of 10Fold. “Each year we dedicate significant time and resources to enhance our work environment and the experience our staff has at 10Fold – a program we call Crazy Good Employee Satisfaction. It’s very gratifying, and a credit to the strength of our people, to be recognized for this effort.”

“This year’s program identified an outstanding group of companies that make employee performance and engagement a central mission of their organization,” said Maria Jimenez, Chief Nominations Officer of Business Intelligence Group. “Unlike our other business awards that are judged by volunteer industry experts and business leaders, the Best Places to Work awards program puts the power of determining winners into the hands of the employees themselves. We were amazed at the sheer percentage of employees who participated in making their respective companies win. That alone should serve as testament to the success of each organization.”

“As a 25-year technology industry veteran, I especially appreciate the opportunity at 10Fold.  The company allows me to use the best of my skills and experience – in combination with my interests and passions – to support corporate growth. With that opportunity, I’ve automated the corporate systems, which resulted in a national award and a savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars in operating expense, which has been used to fuel our double-digit year-over-year growth,” said Bart Tillmans, CIO / CTO, 10Fold.

10Fold specializes in providing award-winning services – including media, analyst and influencer relations, messaging, social media and content programs – for B2B technology companies. The agency has supported more than 400 complex technology companies in the application development, DevOps, big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cyber security, enterprise software, mobile, semiconductor, cloud and storage industries. 10Fold is honored to have won nearly 40 national awards such as the PRSA Anvil Awards, Hermes Creative Platinum Award, The Stevie Agency of the Year Award, PR News Agency Elite Award, and Bulldog Media Relations awards.

10Fold thinks differently and strategically to support clients – which includes hosting events to connect clients to their buyers and key audiences. 10Fold’s next event, Media SharkTank, is an annual event taking place in October, which provides a unique opportunity for company executives to test their business pitch in collaboration with national business print, online and broadcast reporters.

About 10Fold Communications
10Fold is a leading North American integrated communications agency designed to create thought leadership and build brand value. Our agency is headquartered in San Francisco, with regional offices in Pleasanton, San Diego and Capistrano Beach, California; Austin, Texas; and Denver, Colorado. Our award-winning, highly specialized account teams consist of multi-year public relations veterans, broadcasters and former journalists who have been recognized nationally for media and analyst relations, written and video content, messaging, social media and paid digital services.

For more information, please follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Read the full press release here.

Contact:
Gary Good
10Fold Communications
gary@10fold.com
(707) 837-1718

 

Company Awards: Are They Worth the Effort?

Every company, and executive, wants to be rewarded and recognized for the challenging work completed over the course of a year. This recognition typically comes from the business awards everyone wants to showcase in their trophy case – this could be a Stevie Award, Best in Biz Award, Inc. 500/5000 recognition, or an Entrepreneur of 2018 Award – the list of awards for the marketing and communications team to consider is endless.

Researching all the awards and taking time to complete the submissions can be a heavy lift and may not give you or the company the ROI expected. Which awards are worth applying for? That is the million-dollar question. When you’re tasked with researching, or when you give your internal team the task, here are a few things to consider.

The Budget
Knowing the company budget when searching for awards is key to knowing which to pursue. While a lot of awards often don’t charge for submitting a nomination, the top-tier awards you have your eye on come with a hefty cost. If you know your annual budget, it will help you and your team decide if an award is worth the investment or not. There are valuable awards out there that don’t come with a cost and these may be more worthwhile. If you’re in the big data business, you’re in luck! We have a list to help you get started.

The Award Categories
As you’re looking through an award, make sure the award categories line up with your goals and objectives. Is it a customer service award? A corporate social responsibility award? Is it a ‘best company’ award? If you don’t see a category that fits what you’re looking for, but know the award is one worth pursuing (i.e. the award is for AI companies, but there isn’t a category that exactly fits what your company does), give the award organizers a call and ask how open they are to creating a new award category – you might just secure an award for your company this way.

Understanding your company’s goals and objectives will help you position the company for the awards that will best get in front of your key target audience. Click To Tweet

The ROI
Before you present an award opportunity to your boss, understanding the ROI the company may see if they win, or are named a finalist, is important in getting them on board to pursue. If the award costs money to submit, do they provide a press release template if you’re named a finalist? Do they market the winners to your target audience? Is there an awards gala you can attend and network with potential and current customers if you’re a finalist?

If there is a gala to honor the finalists and winners, ask yourself a few questions before deciding if it is worth attending:

Are potential customers attending?

While these awards look great for you and your company, what’s even better is the face time you can get with current and potential customers in a more social business setting – if you they will also be attending. If you’re selected as a finalist, be sure to check out the winners from all the other categories to get a sense of the companies who may be in attendance. If other companies fall into your target audience, then this is also a great networking opportunity. If there isn’t, you may not want to spend the money to attend the gala.

Does the award call for c-level executives to attend?

You’ve decided the award gala is worth attending – but do you know who from the company will be attending? This is important because if you don’t know, you may be at a gala where you’re the most senior level attendee, or you may have sent another colleague who isn’t senior enough. Typically, these will be attended by executives at the VP level or higher, but make sure to double check, as you don’t want to send a manager to a gala attended by C-level executives by accident.

Does the award have time set aside for you to network before and after?

The actual awards ceremony itself doesn’t offer too much time for networking. Often, an awards gala has a celebration portion where all the attendees can socialize, congratulate each other, and get to know a bit more about other companies. If you or your company were named a finalist but didn’t end up winning the award the night of the gala – don’t write it off as a loss. Use this time outside of the awards ceremony itself to make a connection that could lead to a more worthwhile return for your company down the road.

The Deadline
This one is obvious – know the deadline of the award before you present the opportunity. You don’t want to bring up an award, have your boss on board to nominate the company for it, only to find out the deadline was missed. It doesn’t make you or your team look good. If you don’t see a deadline on the website or within the nomination form, shoot the organizers an email or find a phone number to call and confirm the deadline. If you happened to miss the deadline, ask for an extension. Often, they will typically give a few days to turn around a nomination – especially if the award costs money to apply.

The right award can elevate your company amongst your competitors, give you and your company third-party validation, generate new business leads, and more. These are all things we consider when vetting an award before we nominate our clients and 10Fold – ensuring we have the best chance for the greatest return. Good luck!

By Jake Kasowski

10FOLD HONORED WITH STEVIE® AWARD FOR PR AGENCY OF THE YEAR (PRESS RELEASE)

Also Garners Grand Stevie Award as Most Honored PR Agency of the Year.  Awards Recognize Agency for B2B Communications and Video Excellence

SAN FRANCISCO – May 16, 2018 – 10Fold, a leading B2B tech communications and content agency, today announced that it has won the 2018 Grand Stevie Award as Most Honored PR Agency of the Year and the Bronze Stevie Award for PR Agency of the Year. 10Fold received the awards for overall excellence, innovation, execution and results in campaigns; a corporate culture that promotes staff growth and development; and charitable and community service. These awards come on the heels of the Hermes Creative Award and the PR Daily Best B2B Campaign Award that 10Fold has won in 2018.

The Stevies (American Business Awards) is the U.S.A.’s premier business awards program.  More than 3,700 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted this year for consideration in a wide range of categories. More than 200 professionals worldwide participated in the judging process.  Stevie Award winners will be honored on June 11 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.

“It’s a true honor to be named a winner of two Stevie awards,” said Susan Thomas, CEO of 10Fold.  “Now in our 24th year, we have held true to our drive to deliver what we call Crazy Good Client Satisfaction.  But the Stevies place a premium on excellence in every aspect of an agency’s operations, and I’m honored to be acknowledged as meeting those high standards.”

“The nominations submitted for the 2018 American Business Awards were outstanding,” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards.  “The competition was intense, and those recognized as Stevie Award winners should be immensely proud of this accomplishment.”

10Fold specializes in providing award-winning services – including media, analyst and influencer relations, messaging, social media and content programs for B2B technology companies.  The agency has supported more than 400 complex technology companies in the application development, DevOps, big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cyber security, enterprise software, mobile, semiconductor, cloud and storage industries. 10Fold is honored to have won nearly 40 national awards such as the PRSA Anvil Awards, Hermes Creative Platinum Award, PR News Agency Elite Award, and Bulldog Media Relations awards.

10Fold thinks differently and strategically to support clients – which includes hosting events to connect clients to their buyers and key audiences. 10Fold’s next event, Media Shark Tank, is planned for October and is an annual event for company executives to test their business pitch in collaboration with national business print, online and broadcast reporters.

About 10Fold Communications
10Fold is a leading North American integrated communications agency designed to create thought leadership and build brand value. Our agency is headquartered in San Francisco, with regional offices in Pleasanton, San Diego and Capistrano Beach, California; Austin, Texas; and Denver, Colorado. Our award-winning, highly specialized account teams consist of multi-year public relations veterans, broadcasters and former journalists who have been recognized nationally for media and analyst relations, written and video content, messaging, social media and paid digital services.

For more information, please visit our website or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Read more here.

Contact: Gary Good

 

The CMO’s Customer Conundrum and Why You Should NEVER “Ask for a Favor”

We hear almost daily from our clients that they are challenged with converting customers to become marketing and PR advocates. Common cries from CMOs and VPs of Marketing include: “They will never talk!” “They were interested in helping us out, but now they are upset due to integration issues.” “The sales guy won’t even give us their contact information to start a conversation!”

Why is this such a universal problem that seems to only be getting worse? Logic would say that if you have a great product — and it’s consistently delivering value for your customers — that those content customers would be happy to assist by participating in a webinar, talking to an industry analyst, or contributing a quote in a press release. After all, humans are wired to genuinely want to help one another, so why don’t customers “do a favor” and assist their vendors with marketing and PR requests?

Customers = Gold (a coveted commodity meant to be guarded for dear life)
A customer reference is like gold for emerging technology companies – and established ones for that matter. The challenge is the sales team wants to hang onto such “gold” like aggressive miners from the days of the California Gold Rush of 1849. Salespeople see their customers as their customers – and rightfully so, carefully restricting access to such prized possessions and almost always reserving them for their next big deal. The typical “closing” sales scenario reaches its final critical phase near the bottom of the funnel when the only thing left for the prospect to do to “seal the deal” is to speak to a happy customer who will sing the company’s technology praises, resulting in the prospect moving forward with a purchase order.  But when you have a type A salesperson on a mission to hit their year-end quota to earn President’s Club recognition and a luxurious trip to Paris, the game changes. Truth be told: most coin-operated salespeople are motivated by commissions and maintaining the primary relationship with the customer, and not “playing nice” with marketing.

It’s Not a Zero-Sum Game
We like to think about customer references on a continuum – on one side you have the very cautious customer from a risk-averse Fortune 500 company who faces internal “corporate communications police” on a daily basis and may only be available to participate in a very minor capacity; whereas on the opposite end of the continuum, you have a very ebullient, customer champion who wants to see her or his “name in lights” and use the positive publicity to build their own personal brand and to advance their  career  – not to mention, enjoy an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas to speak at a major event like CES.

Find the Win-Win, but Never Ask for a Favor!
Regardless of whether you desire customer advocate is at one of these extremes or in the area between, you should never ask them to do a favor for marketing or PR purposes.  You have to find “what’s in it for them and their company,” and then find a win-win scenario where they would also realize value when they give up their precious time to become a mouthpiece for you.

Bigger is Not Always Better
Many companies – especially Series A-B funded start-ups – want to appear bigger than they are so they can improve their chances of selling into large enterprises and move beyond the SMB market (where deal sizes are much smaller). One strategy to elevate your brand is to associate your company with bigger brands – such as Goldman Sachs, Nordstrom, or Mercedes – as you target vertical buyers in financial services, retail, automotive or other industries. But bigger is not always better when it comes to leveraging brands for marketing and PR, because the larger the company, the bigger the obstacles in converting a customer champion to sing your product’s praises. All things being equal, you want a household name Fortune 500 customer, with a senior executive spokesperson who is as ebullient and smooth as a silver-tongued politician to conduct media interviews, do a video case study, and participate in a webinar.  And, good luck with that – you would have more success finding a unicorn or winning the lottery!

Beggars can’t be choosers, so “think small” when kicking off your customer reference program. It’s perfectly fine to utilize a relatively unknown brand who might actually appreciate “riding your PR coattails” to generate some visibility for their company and their career while promoting your company along the way – a win win!

It’s Not Who Says It, But What They Say
While you may covet a relationship and reference from your biggest customer, don’t let that blind you to the power of a smaller customer.  We once cultivated a relationship for one of our clients with a spokesperson from Associated Food Stores – which provides wholesale distribution services for independently-owned retail supermarkets – and we placed him on the cover of multiple magazines! Why? Because he saw the customer/vendor marketing partnership as mutually beneficial, where he was willing to invest his time to conduct several media interviews to generate the most powerful sales tools (feature articles) our client had ever seen, and he felt very proud to have his face plastered on magazine covers and get some “free PR” for Associated Food Stores.

Imagine if we had pursued Target or Wal-Mart as a customer reference – we would still be in the checkout line. The bottom line is you are better served having a very passionate champion from a lesser-known brand than a guarded spokesperson – fearful of getting reprimanded by their boss – be your focus when kicking off a customer program.  Over time, as you land more big-brand customers, you can evolve your strategy to lure some whales as customer champions – but it takes a long time to reel them in, and you need special “bait” and a process to be successful. Contact us to learn more.

The ROI of a Las Vegas Boondoggle – No, this is NOT an Oxymoron
As mentioned above, it’s important to view your customers on a continuum – from the ultra-reserved or constrained “never going to happen” customer ,to  friend and  ally, to  effusive champion.  There are a plethora of possibilities when considering how to tap your customers as PR and marketing references. There are several to consider, including very conservative approaches – such as a once-a-year industry analyst briefing under NDA (where nothing would ever leak into the public domain); to a middle-of-the-road approach where you can byline an article on the customer’s behalf and be able to control the message and every word in an article; to a more aggressive approach where a customer might consent to conducting media interviews, participating in a webinar, and doing a video case study.

We have executed a number of  creative customer advocacy campaigns over the years, and for customers who are “tough to budge,” here are a couple of ideas we have found to be successful.  “You have just won an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas for you and your spouse!” No, this is not the sketchy offer in the snail mail or the robo-dialer leaving you a cheesy voice mail to go to Disneyworld; this is YOU making a genuine offer to submit your customer to deliver a case study presentation at a key vertical-focused conference where your prospects convene and you will pick up the tab for all travel and lodging expenses for her/him and their significant other!  Who wouldn’t want a free boondoggle to Vegas – talk to a group of 100 or so attendees, play a round of golf while the spouse enjoys a spa day, then enjoy a nice dinner and see a show — Viva Las Vegas and Viva PR ROI!

When All Else Fails, Throw a Party
“Loose lips sink ships” and they also sell millions of dollars in product when red wine-induced happy customers sing your praises when accepting their award in front of a room of prospects. Such is the typical outcome of VIP customer award dinners which have proven to be a very effective strategy for wooing customers into a controlled environment – not in the public domain – where they are comfortable sharing their “love story” in a private room in front of a room of prospects and fellow customers.

We have had great success co-locating such events in conjunction with industry trade shows where your customers and prospects are already in attendance (and looking for a gourmet dinner and fine wine one evening during the conference, rather than ordering room service and being a slave to their laptop all night).  These awards dinners are a great way to honor big brands – who are under corporate communications gag orders to never speak publicly as mentioned above – and genuinely recognize them for such awards as “most innovative use case of 2018” or “fastest deployment and ROI.”

We recommend limo service from the conference venue, so you can start the evening in style and whisk away your customers and prospects to a swanky restaurant with a private room. After a hosted cocktail hour, you proceed with the awards program during dinner where you invite 2-3 customers to accept their respective awards. You present them with a beautiful Tiffany crystal award and ask them to say a few words, which ends up being a glowing case study about how much they enjoy working with you and the incredible value they have realized from the product – all in front of a room of prospects who are also on their third glass of wine by that time! The old adage now becomes: “Loose lips convert customers!”

Cheers to converting more customer champions – and if you need a chef to cook up a recipe for success, give us a ring and make a reservation!

By Ross Perich

Ross Perich Selected as Judge on Project Kairos Panel at IoT World

Internet of Things World is the largest IoT event in the world and it features some of the most innovative technologies and strategies in the industry – as well as the companies at the forefront of this technology phenomenon. More than 12,000 executives, innovators, and thought leaders in the IoT ecosystem will gather in one place to discuss the latest trends and developments, creating the ultimate opportunity for networking, partnership building, and learning more about the industry and its growing importance.

This year, 10Fold VP Ross Perich will be participating in the Project Kairos event in conjunction with the broader IoT World conference. With a career of experience supporting companies in this IoT-connected world, Ross was chosen as a judge to select the best emerging IoT companies and provide guidance on their strategies. Contestants will have the opportunity to hear invaluable feedback on their company pitch, showcase their products and services, and build their business acumen.

Ross has an extensive background in IoT marketing for both public and private IoT technology companies – helping them build their share of voice and thought leadership – which has led to a significant increase in brand value for these organizations. With more than two decades of experience in tech PR, Ross leads the Enterprise and Mobility divisions for 10Fold, one of the largest independently owned integrated communications agencies strictly focused on complex B2B technology companies.   Ross will leverage his unique marketing insights to assess and advise on market readiness, company narratives, and strategies for building brand value through share of voice.

10Fold’s IoT clients include FogHorn, an IoT application deployment platform; Qylur, an intelligent systems company providing secure and safe access to public venues and attractions; Itron, a public smart cities and resource management company; and FreeWave, a manufacturer and designer of industrial and secure machine-to-machine wireless networking and communications solutions.

The Internet of Things World and Project Kairos events are sure to be eye-opening experiences for all attendees, so we encourage you to check them out! Looking for more information? Learn more here.

By Tyler Trainer

Move Aside, Silicon Valley? Tech Stories are Everywhere

For decades, the Silicon Valley has had a de-facto monopoly on technology innovation, causing a highly concentrated startup and investor community to spring up in the region to chase the dollars (real or imaginary) generated by that innovation. But over the past few years, there has been a growing sentiment across the rest of the United States that the Silicon Valley has gradually become an exclusive – yet unappealing – club that’s closed its doors to outsiders. And rather than trying to strongarm their way into this increasingly insular clique, regions across the country have decided that there’s no reason they can’t themselves become innovation hotbeds to rival Silicon Valley.

One of the individuals fueling this innovation movement outside of Silicon Valley knows the machinations of the valley as well as anyone: former co-founder of America Online (AOL) and entrepreneur extraordinaire, Steve Case. With his AOL days long behind him, Case has launched Revolution, an organization whose goal is to invest “in people and ideas that can change the world.” Dig a bit deeper into Revolution, though, and you’ll find that it’s placing an emphasis on investing in “off-the-beaten-path regions where the rest is rising.”

Case has taken this regional focus one step further by launching an ongoing tour called the Rise Of The Rest Road Trip, as well as a Rise Of The Rest Seed Fund. The goal of both is to find the most promising startups outside of Silicon Valley, as well as outside New York City and Boston (two other markets that have become quite saturated with startup activity). The Road Trip visits cities across the American heartland – including Louisville, Memphis, Indianapolis, Green Bay, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania – and our client, Aspire Ventures, served as the host of the tour’s Lancaster stop last year. And Case is putting his money where his mouth is by awarding $100K to the most promising startup in each region his tour visits.

Beyond Case’s efforts, all you need to do is run a quick Google search to find countless articles citing the appeal of Silicon Valley’s regional rivals:

NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Fortune recently detailed why the Rust Belt – a region spanning the Eastern and Midwestern U.S. – is building on its industrial manufacturing past to collaborate with local universities, government bodies and businesses to become a series of “brainbelt” innovation hubs.
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Fortune is clearly all over this trend: last week it ran an article previewing topics to be discussed at its Brainstorm Reinvent conference this September, with one of those topics being which kinds of companies are best positioned to succeed in the heartland, and another being how non-Silicon Valley companies can compete with their Bay Area-based rivals.
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 The U.S. Chamber of Commerce published a piece on why Durham, North Carolina – a city historically known for its tobacco and textiles output – is “in the midst of an entrepreneurial renaissance” that led to CNBC recently dubbing it the “Startup capital of the South”; notable Durham residents include IBM, Sony Ericsson and Cisco.
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Head further west and you’ll find that Salt Lake City is staking its claim as a hotbed for STEM (Science, Technology, Education, Math) innovation and jobs – eclipsing metropolises like Chicago, New York City and San Jose.

Another dynamic at play here is the fact that today’s digital age has enabled companies to transcend physical borders to directly reach anyone, anywhere, at any time. Since anyone with an internet connection can now become their own publisher, a Minneapolis-based company, for example, no longer needs to rely on local Twin Cities publications to get its message to its audience. Following that same line of logic, a startup doesn’t need to be embedded in the Bay Area to reach those vital potential investors and customers. A de facto borderless society helps even the playing field.

Finally, with this even playing field, startups based in regions that aren’t Silicon Valley have a massive opportunity to tell a unique entrepreneurial and innovation story. Just as startups in the Rust Belt are re-positioning themselves as members of the “brainbelt” innovation hub, startups based outside of the Bay Area can draw on their region’s strengths and/or areas of focus to tell a new story. Aspire Ventures, for example, is at the nexus of healthcare technology innovation taking place in and between Pennsylvania’s biggest cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and this innovation is happening in Amish country in Lancaster – one of the unlikeliest places you could imagine for tech advancements.

As a tech PR agency always on the hunt for exciting companies upending the status quo, we couldn’t be more encouraged by the wave of innovation that’s sweeping these lesser-known regions of the country. And our client roster reflects this trend: PrecisionHawk in Raleigh, NC; OVH in Reston, VA; Aspire Ventures in Lancaster, PA; and iQor in St. Petersburg, FL, to name a few. So, while we’ll always love Silicon Valley for being the first bastion of tech innovation in the U.S. and a region that’s helped our company grow tremendously, we say bring on the competition from across every corner of America!

By Drew Smith

THE INTERN WISH LIST

What do interns want? I feel like this question is rarely asked within companies (except for 10Fold of course – they practically force this answer out of you) In fact, ‘what do you want out of me?’ seems to be the real question.

I went into the real world with that mentality: what can I do for you? What do you need out of me? How can I be better? Being so fresh in any industry is scary. You can prepare yourself all you want, but until you have real-life scenarios in front of you, it’s not the same.

What do we want?
We want a company who wants to invest in us. We want a boss and people around us to want us there, we don’t want to feel like we’re bothering anyone or not learning. The whole point of interning is to be a sponge, to learn as much as we can so we can determine if this is the career for us. If we can actually do this and do it well. No intern wants to go into a job, and leave feeling useless or unwanted. We want a company to show us the ins and outs and make sure we’re getting as much out of them as they’re getting out of us. It needs to be a two-way street of investment.

We want to grow 
Whether that’s with the company or apart from the company. No intern wants to wake up every day and realize this career wasn’t for them, or that person, for that matter. We want to be that generation who loves going to work every day, so much so that we wouldn’t mind coming in on the weekends (don’t quote me). Growing with our company would be the ultimate goal, however, because we really do not want to waste our time or yours. 51% of interns want the full-time offer letter.

We want real work and real results
We want a chance to do real work, that’s meaningful and impactful. We don’t want to feel like we took that extra year of trigonometry, and will never use it again. We’ve already taken the unnecessary classes to get where we are now. We want work that is going to be helpful to us later. Things and knowledge we can actually share with the real world.

In the end, interns just want to be loved and trained; like a puppy. Take us for those walks, train us, love us and we promise to be good and make you proud.

Interested in the intern experience here at 10Fold? Learn more about the program and apply here.

By Racheal Geremew


Securing a Speaking Slot: Five Things You Should Know

All clients want their 15 minutes in the spotlight. Often it comes in the form of an article or a press interview, but it can also come in the form of speaking engagements. However, it’s is often up to us PR practitioners to make that on-stage opportunity happen. While it’s not always easy, it is possible to see regular success in a speaking program. Here are five points to keep top of mind for your event speaking strategy.

Know the audience
There are countless events, covering even more topics. Meaning there is a lot of noise in the events market. As you’re digging into specific events, do your due diligence in understanding who the event targets. One of the worst things you can do for a client is put a CEO on stage at an event where the audience is nowhere near their core customer base. You then have a client that invested a lot of time, and often money, into a presentation that has no benefit for their business.

Understanding how your client best shares their story is key to knowing how to position them in the nomination process. Click To Tweet

Ask yourself these questions when deciding on which conferences to present at:
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Are potential customers attending?
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Does the audience include appropriate decision makers?
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Is there an opportunity to meet with relevant media and analysts at the show?

Also, make sure the topic you’re nominating will resonate with the event audience. Clients can even use their customers as a focus group for this, by asking what pain points they’d like to see covered for specific topics.

Know your presenter’s strengths
Understanding how your client best shares their story is key to knowing how to position them in the nomination process. This will help you to categorize their presentation appropriately. If the presenter does not easily speak to a large room, a round table or breakout session would be a better option for them. Keeping personality traits in mind will make sure your presenter is comfortable in the environment they’re presenting in.

And, although it should go without saying (but we’ll say it anyway), make sure the presenter’s title and the opportunity and topic are appropriately aligned. For instance, you wouldn’t want to put a CMO on a panel discussing engineering best practices, nor would you want to put an engineer in a keynote session discussing business impact, or in general pitch a CEO on a round-table with a number of mid-level executives.

Know what topics the event is looking to include
As you’re in the planning stages of the nomination, try calling the organizers to get a copy of the preliminary agenda. Additionally, while you’re on the phone with them, find out what topics and industry trends the event is focusing on and if nothing seems like a perfect fit, test to see how open they are to additional ideas. This will help you craft a targeted nomination, as well as potentially gain your client access to an event they really hope to address. You might even pique their interest during the call and secure a speaking slot right then and there. (Trust me. It’s possible.)

Also, use this opportunity to learn their recommendations to make your nomination stand out. They might suggest including a video of a previous presentation or a ranking of the proposed speaker’s social and industry influence. In recent years, we’ve seen videos become a bigger part of speaking submissions and have assisted a number of clients with developing videos and producing submissions through our award-winning Pro-Motion Studios.

As well, keep in mind that event organizers are looking for impactful, educational content. So, leave the sales pitch at home, and speak to industry-wide topics that are vendor neutral.

Know the deadlines
It seems pretty obvious, but deadlines are the one thing that determines whether or not your nomination will even be considered. Conferences have extremely long lead times on speaker nominations, and the larger the event, the longer the lead time. Just as an example, SXSW in Austin, TX, closes nomination in July for the Interactive conference that takes place the following March. That’s a full nine months in advance. Strata New York closes their call for speakers six months in advance, as does RSA.

However, if your nomination does not get chosen, stay in touch with the event content organizers. A speaker might drop out at the last minute, leaving a hole in the agenda that will need to be filled quickly, and they’ll look to speakers and nominators that have been engaged with them throughout the nomination process.

Additionally, keep your client’s internal calendar in mind and work with them to prioritize nomination deadlines with their own user and customer conferences and internal board meetings.

Know that sponsorship is still an option
While we’d all like to position our clients for free, that’s not the only way for clients to get their message out. Sponsored panels and sessions at key events are still an excellent way to position clients and enable them to communicate directly with their target audience as well as network with fellow peers and presenters.

For a sponsored presentation, make sure to take full advantage of the included benefits. Some of these benefits could include:
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 A featured blog post on the event site
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Synopsis inclusion in the conference newsletter
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Executive feature at the event.

With the right person presenting on the topic that resonates with the event audience, 15-minutes in the spotlight can turn into countless sales leads and industry influence. We’ve used these five points to secure presentations for our clients time and time again and now you can, too.

By Kathleen See

4 Things You Can Do to Engage Influencers Online Right Now

Influencer marketing should be a part of every marketer’s strategy in boosting their brands credibility and reaching new audiences. If you’ve kept up with our blog to this point, you know we’ve talked about this before (and if you haven’t, subscribe below so you stop missing out!). While locking down an influencer may take some fancier maneuvering (See: Reciprocal Relationships: The Key to Influencer Partnerships that Work for the lowdown here), keeping a consistent eye on the high-profile players in your target market and building awareness with them over time, is foundational.   

Keeping a consistent eye on the high-profile players in your target market and building awareness with them over time, is foundational. Click To Tweet

Engage with their social media accounts
Yes, following the individuals you are seeking to build relationships is important. However, most of the pool of people we call influencers often maintain thousands of followers, and without further action they certainly won’t notice you. Consistently liking favoriting, sharing, or retweeting (respective to the platform, or course) their content – especially their original content- still goes a long way. Over time, this shows that you care about their perspective, and they are more likely to respond to your questions, comments, and other requests in the future.

Dig In: How Do I Build an Influencer List?

Follow, share, and (most importantly) engage with their blogs and articles
As above, consistently engaging with an influencer’s original work doesn’t go unnoticed if you keep at it. Commenting on blogs gives you the opportunity to personally ask questions and establish your own credibility and that you are worth speaking to. Hint – don’t just say “nice post” or “Agree” – add to the conversation! Doing your best to make sure your followers also see their content, can help further build a relationship, so make sure to reference and mention their work and share your own insights!

Join the discussion in their webinars and Tweetchats!
Participating in discussion forums is a good way to personally interact with influencers. Selecting those events that the hosts present as Q&A sessions are a particularly good idea to attend. Most influencers have a preferred platform they work with, but it’s always a good idea to make a habit of scanning Reddit, LinkedIn groups related to your industry, and developer forums are all great options to keep an eye on and in your to-do list. Tweetchats are great for this as well. These are essentially made for direct contact with influencers, and further, allow you to showcase your thoughts to a wider audience at the same time!

Dig In: Building a Social Media Plan – Content is King

Contact them directly
Sometimes simply reaching out can be the most effective! If you take this approach, make sure to have something to present so you spark their interest and can reciprocate their time with your valuable insights. Further, demonstrating that you’re willing to communicate and linking to your content or content stream gives them an idea of how to best approach you with content and opportunities that may interest you or further your relationship.

Ready for more?
Looking for more ways to build your influencer marketing strategy? Check out our blog here and stay tuned for more content by subscribing to our newsletter below as we delve into our series about why influencers matter and explore different ways to target them.

By Tyler Trainer