Tag Archives: 10Fold

The Top Big Data Awards You Don’t Have to Pay For

Competing for industry awards brings a multitude of benefits. Not only does it allow industry experts to provide useful feedback about your company and its technology, winning or even participating in certain awards can result in different pieces of collateral like press releases, blogs, or social media promotions. This, in return, can become a great recruiting tool for your company and can also be promoted by your sales teams.

Although there is a wide variety of industry awards to choose from, some are quite expensive – think the CODiE Awards (a total of $995 for non-members) or the Best in Biz Awards (a total of $400 per submission). Furthermore, most awards don’t guarantee you a winning or finalist spot, and there is no refund policy in place.

To lead a successful award program, one should consistently compare the value of the submission versus the cost, and to help you get started, our 10Fold experts put together a list of valuable, free-to-apply awards in Big Data:

The AI.Awards are a relatively new award program, looking to support the AI community by recognizing the hard work and dedication of those working in the field. If your company is new, and is looking to snag their first few awards, the AI Awards would be a great place to start. Last year 17 winners were announced, but this year they are planning on announcing 52 winners. Nominations are open now!

CB Insights AI 100 List
The AI 100 recognizes the teams and technologies that are successfully using AI to solve big challenges, preferably startups. CB Insights holds a strong influence in the AI market, due to the large amount of research and focus they put on the topic. Of the 100 companies included on the list of 2016, 55 of them went on to raise additional funding nearing $2B and 5 were acquired. These awards are competitive with over 2,000 entrants, but the benefits of the award could be worth the time.

Big Data
Datanami Reader’s and Editor’s Choice Awards
Do you have a solution that is worth nominating? Do you have a good social media presence or a large audience? If you answered yes to both of these questions, the Datanami Reader’s and Editor’s Choice Awards may be one of the top free awards for you to apply for. Covering a large amount of Big Data categories, the primary audience here are readers of Big Data trade publications, as well as those possibly searching for better and new solutions for their companies. Although the awards are not open yet, they should definitely be on your radar, as winning these awards could earn you some nice editorial opportunities.

TDWI Best Practices Award
Does your client have a customer willing to speak on their behalf? Does your company have solid statistics or story of the deployment or development of their Big Data solution? The TDWI Awards are looking for just those things. The Awards are designed to honor companies that have demonstrated best practices in developing, deploying and maintaining solutions for BI, analytics, data warehousing, and more. Winners are chosen by a panel of experienced judges, and we all know that people seeking out winners of these awards may definitely be looking to bring a hint of innovative technology to their practice. Winning this award can definitely position any company as a proven leader in big data. Applications are open now, and deadlines are closing on April 23rd.

Health Technology Awards

Modern Healthcare Awards -100 Most Influential People in Healthcare List
Have an influencer that you believe is of the top tier of the healthcare industry? Then look no further. This Modern Healthcare list honors individuals who are influential in terms of impact, and leadership. Readers will vote for their top choices and the honorees are published in Modern Healthcare’s popular annual ranking. Nominations close on May 8th! This list is influential in itself, and those who search for it are more than likely looking to follow thought leaders.

IET Innovation Awards
Winning an IET Innovation Award is quite the feat, with competition being high, and the award being free to apply! IET is the second largest membership organization for engineers in the world, and by winning the awards, you could place your company in the forefront of innovation thought leadership. Engineers are the primary audience of the award, and who better to impress than some of the smartest individuals in the world?

Applying for industry awards leads to benefits beyond a simple self-assessment or a logo for the company website. It also allows you to research past winners and help you get a sense of what others are doing in your industry in addition to gains in your recruiting and sales outreach. Although time-consuming and sometimes distracting, you and your team should consider applying for a select few opportunities that can be of value to you and your business.

By Anne Stanley, Kyra Tillmans, and Kory Buckley

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How Do I Build an Influencer List?

How many times have you been mindlessly digging through social media purgatory with no direction looking for someone who might, maybe, possibly, kinda sorta be called an influencer? Us, too – until we found some amazing platforms that did a lot of that work for us!

One of our favorite tactics is targeting influencers based on their Social Authority. The best tool for that is Followerwonk, which finds a Twitter account’s Social Authority. “But wait,” you ask, “what is Social Authority?” Social Authority is an influencer metric from Followerwonk (a child firm of Moz) that calculates the level of engagement a user’s Twitter account receives. While Followerwonk won’t tell us exactly how Social Authority is calculated, we know it has multiple components. These include metrics such as the number of followers the account has; their Social Authority numbers; and the percentage of likes, impressions, and clicks they receive, to name a few. The most important aspect, however, focuses on the number of retweets the user earns. Further, the number of retweets cross-measured by the recency of those tweets that are shared is especially important. They emphasize this specifically in their algorithm because the size of a user’s audience and their engagement is a true test of their influence on the Twitter platform, and retweets are consistently the best way to determine if people are listening.

Followerwonk provides a simple and user-friendly tool to track influencers from their Twitter profiles. The way it works is pretty intuitive, especially when you understand the significance of Social Authority. After you visit the site, start with the Search Bios tab.

When you enter your search query (we will take “B2B Marketing” in this example), select “Search Twitter Profiles” and enter the industry in which you are looking to search for users. When your results pop up, filter your results by ‘Social Authority’ – as we’ve done below:

From here, you can choose whether the most or least influential profiles show up first and organize your search around these and other metrics. Targeting these users will give you the most engagement if they promote you or a client’s content. Additionally, you can filter by other important factors such as followers, tweets, etc. This method is generally how we like to start an influencer list, but the social authority metric is not exactly perfect for finding all your influencers.

Followerwonk is a good start, but should we rest on the Social Authority metric alone? Not quite. Although Social Authority is a strong marker for the influence a person holds within Twitter, it is inherently incapable of accounting for a person’s title or true status outside the platform. For example, if the CEO of a large healthcare organization doesn’t have a Twitter account or doesn’t tweet often, their social authority score would very likely be low and not come up as noteworthy in a search. However, this obviously doesn’t mean the CEO isn’t an extremely influential person. This is the case for many influential decision makers across many spaces: their social authority may not be high, but their actual influence in their organization or in the industry can still be massive.

Targeting influencers to grow your social authority score is always an important standard every account should hold themselves to for the inherent good it represents, but your search for influencers can and should encompass much more than solely social media influence. Social media can also be used as a way to keep up with the conversation in relevant spaces in order to better align your products and services to your customers in fast-changing industries.

Your search for influencers can and should encompass much more than solely social media influence. Click To Tweet

Let’s say your company mainly sells its products and services to healthcare organizations. It would be extremely important to target decision makers at these healthcare organizations in order to keep your company in the loop on what these people are talking about. Anyone who is a potential partner or customer should be labeled as important to your client. In this case, you would need to conduct searches for the social media profiles of the top hospitals and clinics, i.e. looking for the CEO of Aetna, the CEO of Blue Shield, and more. These people may not have a strong influencer score but are still very important to target nonetheless.

Right Relevance
Right Relevance is a free or paid social tool that can be used to find influencers for pretty much any topic or keyword. This allows you to view their area of influencer and find their top followers under that topic. The platform allows you to discover conversations involving influencers under any topic and provide an interface to interact with them. Right Relevance offers a premium version, Right Relevance Pro, which allows you to access the same features as the free version, but also adds some intriguing functions, such as:

NO FOLD ICON 15x15  Save topics of interest as feeds
NO FOLD ICON 15x15  Save articles, video for reading/sharing later
NO FOLD ICON 15x15  Deep graph-based analytics for topical distribution of following as friends, and topical influence measurement and visualization

You can access Right Relevance or Right Relevance Pro through its website, or use it as a plug-in on Hootsuite (my preferred method). You can also sort and filer by relevance, time, location, influencers and topic score. Sorting by time and location can be especially helpful if you’re searching for influencers at a specific tradeshow or conference. The free version works well, but we did upgrade to Right Relevance Pro when we were searching for influencers for our client OVH US around our VMworld social campaign. Right Relevance also lets you search for popular articles and shows you which articles each influencer has shared. Knowing which types of news your influencer cares about can help you develop a pitch or anecdote when you start engaging with them.

Right Relevance in Action
We used a few searches for influencers using various search terms: “VMworld,” “private cloud,” “public cloud,” and “hybrid cloud,” along with Followerwonk, to cross-reference our findings. All told, we followed the 65 people who were discussing these topics and had high influencer rankings.

We added them to a list on Twitter (which we also made a column on Hootsuite for) called “VMworld 2017” so we would be able to easily monitor their conversations in real-time.

Right Relevance is usually pretty good about being able to separate business accounts from individual accounts, but I still found myself having to sift through all the accounts before selecting the relevant influencers. It also is not really clear how Right Relevance determines an influencer score, and whether there is a weighted value to criteria that you would think matters more (i.e. shares, followers, etc). The last major fault would have to be the plug-in version on Hootsuite; it just wasn’t as easy to use as going directly to the RR website, despite the convenience of it being right there in the customizable platform.

Remember: Verify Your Finds!
Sometimes you just have to do things the old-fashioned way (i.e. verification through manual search). By continuing your searches to relevant conferences in the industry and sorting through the list of speakers, you might be able to uncover some people you may have never found on social media, but are still influential. Yeah, we know it’s a boring and painstakingly long process! But it’s always worth the extra effort to verify your influencers. We’ve commonly come across a well-respected industry analyst or journalist who appear to not be active on Twitter – but are still considered a top influencer.
Anyone who has tried building an influencer list knows that while the project is an important one, it can be quite a difficult process. These quick tips should not only make your results more impactful, but should also make your job a little easier – and who wouldn’t want that?

By Tyler Trainer,  Katrina Cameron, and Nathan Zaragosa

The Beginning and Ending of Time: Stephen Hawking

The Contributions the Late, Great Stephen Hawking, the renowned physicist, cosmologist, and author, made to the tech industry

This Wednesday, Hawking, who had ALS, died at the age of 76. During his lifetime, he became what many considered the world’s greatest living scientist, and was widely known for his ideas about the universe (including theories about the big bang and black holes).

Hawking and his extraordinary ideas inspired many, some of whom, including big names in technology like Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Apple CEO Tim Cook, turned to social media to pay tribute this week. But why was he so respected within the tech community? Even though most of his contributions were related to science, his clever insights regarding the future state of technology made a significant impact.

How Technology Helped Him
Hawking’s used a wheelchair to move around after his disease left him paralyzed, and he was dependent on others and technology for most everyday tasks. Hawking lost his ability to speak when he caught pneumonia on a trip to Geneva. He started using Equalizer, an innovative program by California-based company Words Plus, that allowed the user to select words and commands on a computer using a hand clicker, linked to a speech synthesizer. As his disease worsened and his ability to communicate declined, Hawking met with Intel, who applied state-of-the-art computing technology to improve his communicating speed with the use of a keyboard on the screen and a word-prediction algorithm. This system later improved with modern artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology.

His Commentary on Artificial Intelligence
According to Quartz:

“Despite the help machine learning gave Hawking in communicating, the physicist was somewhat pessimistic about the technology’s potential impact on society. He was known for his skepticism of developing “strong AI,” or general artificial intelligence, that would have similar reasoning capabilities as a human.”

Thanks to his innovative, assistive technology, Hawking could share this views on the future of computing and how technology improves the way we live. He believed that everyone played a role in engaging current and future generations with the study of science to create “a better world for the whole human race.” He predicted that technology could reverse harm caused to the planet by industrialization and help end disease and poverty, but AI needed to be controlled. He said: “computers can, in theory, emulate human intelligence, and exceed it.” Hawking’s comments were part of the escalating debate about the pro and cons of artificial intelligence, also commented on by technology innovators like Elon Musk and Bill Gates.

Stephen Hawking took the world on a remarkable scientific journey through the universe. He was a brilliant scientist, a great communicator, and his revolutionary ideas and arguments were inspiring to the scientific community and beyond. Although he will be missed, his legacy will live on forever.

 “Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.” – Stephen Hawking


10Fold salutes you, Stephen Hawking, you will be missed!

By Kyra Tillmans

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Three Reasons Video Is Increasingly Important in Demand Gen

When we talk about demand gen today, it is an ever-growing beast akin to the mythical hydra, spawning two heads for every head lost. Indeed, businesses today deal with an exponentially growing number of components in each demand gen campaign, which now warrant a dedicated team member, if not a full team, to handle. Traditionally, demand gen’s content engine relied heavily on the written word and other data-driven digital content. However, the wild popularity of video assets, brought on by a generation raised with YouTube, Vine (RIP) and Snapchat, throws a curveball into traditional demand gen content strategies.

Fear not, businesses that incorporate video into their overall demand gen strategy wager minimal risk for great reward. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then, as Forrester’s Dr. James McQuivey put it, 1 minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. So if you’re tiptoeing the diving board, unsure of whether or not to take the plunge, here are three reasons to give you that needed push to think video!

Video is digestible
Would you rather read a 2,000-word whitepaper, or watch a 90-second video? The majority of senior executives today (59 percent) lean toward the latter. Don’t get me wrong – a fleshed-out whitepaper is still a valuable asset to have and use. However, people are consuming more content at a faster rate than ever before. Instead of taking unabridged adventures into full-blown thought leadership essays, your buyers only have time for the quick and dirty version.

Video is a happy medium – excuse the pun – between in-depth storytelling and tightly packaged content. Within the span of 1-2 minutes, video can cover pain points, industry context, innovative solutions and more. Furthermore, instead of a name and title on a byline, your thought leader gets quality facetime with your prospects as what we like to call a “talking head.” While face-to-face communication still reigns supreme as the most effective way to convey a message and build a relationship, video comes in as the close second.

Video is convertible
OK, it might not do 0-60 mph in a matter of seconds, but it is most likely the best-looking and most powerful vehicle you have in your demand gen garage. According to our Tech Marketing Content Survey, video is tied with social media as the most effective medium for content. And the numbers don’t lie. Videos on your homepage increase conversion rates by 20 percent. Videos on your landing pages increase conversion by 80 percent. Better yet, videos in email campaigns result in a 200-300 percent increase in click-through rates (CTR), and 64 percent of consumers are more likely to buy product after watching a video.

As such industry research proves, video is without a doubt a fast and furious accelerator to your demand gen campaigns.

…I’ll stop now with the dad puns.

Video is scalable
Regardless of your company’s size and success, and/or where your buyers are in the customer journey, there is always a time and place for video. If you’re trying to establish brand awareness, company overviews and customer case studies can quickly establish who you are and what you have to offer. As your company continues to expand, videos that highlight your products, as well as those that promote recruitment and culture, will help you maintain momentum. Finally, once you’re ready to establish yourself as an industry leader, a healthy helping of video blogs (vlogs) and consistent sales kickoff (SKO) and Year in Review videos will do just that.

Industry research proves video is, without a doubt, a fast and furious accelerator to your demand gen campaigns. Click To Tweet

That’s a wrap!
Content consumption will continue to trend toward smaller, faster, more visual assets. In order to keep up, and more importantly stay ahead, businesses must invest in video to bolster their PR, marketing and demand gen efforts. For a sneak peek into how this looks when put into real-world practice, swing by ProMotion Studios and take a quick look at our recent content survey to learn more.

By Webbo Chen

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Think Business Press is Mission Impossible?

Commentators and pundits in the media like to point out that times have changed, and that the way to a splashy business feature for your client is not the same today as, say, 3-5 years ago.  To some extent, that’s true, but it’s also beside the point.  There may be a few new rules to observe, and they may complicate your life, but when has that not been true?  So let’s forget all that and focus on the here and now.

Let me share a few observations from my experience with our account teams in scoring coverage in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, WIRED, and other top outlets: such as this Forbes feature on software-testing firm Tricentis, or this WIRED feature on networking technology firm Barefoot Networks.

Tell a story.  One of the top network industry editors recently told a client of mine that “At the end of the day, I’m just a storyteller.”  In fact, the best business and trade editors and reporters are just that!  Those are the folks who either:
NO FOLD ICON 15x15  Take your pitch, envision the storyline behind it and write that story
NO FOLD ICON 15x15  Take your pitch, dump your storyline and write one of their own, or…
NO FOLD ICON 15x15  Reject your pitch.  So, never forget the storyline!  A pitch without a storyline is boring.

Case in point:  too many pitches by PR practitioners neglect to state the problem their client solves, and for whom.  And yet the problem is the core of the storyline!  Neglect it at your peril.  If you don’t know the problem, or can’t articulate it, don’t start pitching until you do.

Find the beat.  The ranks of business editors and reporters have thinned in the last few years, threatening to load more beats on the backs of the remaining staffers.  Those staffers who survive end up with unimaginable loads and responsibilities, which means that fewer and fewer pitches make the cut.  It’s simple math.  Worse yet, your client’s market or technology may fall between reporters’ beats rather than squarely within one, and the inevitable reply to your pitch is “Sorry, not my beat.”  (Left unsaid is this: “And nobody else’s beat either.”)

Too many pitches by PR practitioners neglect to state the problem their client solves, and for whom. Click To Tweet

Well then, it’s time to move on unless you can refashion your story to one the editor wants.  Better yet, take a look at the publication’s roster of contributing writers, one of whom might be a specialist in a topic suitable to your client.  Then go for it!

Find supporting data.  Would you buy a car without examining its “supporting data”?  Or course not.  And you don’t have to.  The sticker on the side window is replete with data.  Nor would a business reporter buy a pitch without supporting data. In the minds of reporters, data equates to either validation or proof – and may give your pitch enough credibility to get past their pitch filter.  A pitch without data is just a bunch of unsupported claims.

But be cautious of the “Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics” rule, and be sure to check your data before publishing it.

News may be irrelevant.  We tend to counsel our clients that news is the route to coverage.  And often it is.  Network-focused trade outlets such as Network World, eWeek, and InformationWeek thrive on news, because many of their readers are product buyers or influencers.  But any respectable business publication thrives on trends.  My clients are in technology, but most business reporters are attuned to markets, not technologies per se.  They don’t have “technology” in their titles, but, to my benefit, they have it in their blood.  They see the trends, they see innovators emerging, and they’re often obsessed with Battle Royals — who’s getting ahead and will dominate, and who will be a relic lost to history in a few years.  The big question for PR pros is not how they can insert their clients into the story, but which clients they can insert.

Trendjacking rules.  Trendjacking is a technique honored by the legions of practitioners who want to associate their clients with a trend or practice that will drive a market ahead.  Will trendjacking drive major feature coverage for your client in the business media?  Not likely. But smart business reporters are hungry to find vendors who are driving trends, and not just riding those trends.  And what client does not want to be mentioned as a trend driver by Fortune, or Barron’s, or CNBC?  In an industry with a sizable TAM (Total Available Market (multiple millions or billions of dollars), even if your client is mentioned alongside five other companies in the segment, would  you turn down the opportunity?  I’d take that opportunity in a nanosecond!  Think of it this way:  Fortune just named my client as one of a half dozen companies that are leading the way in a multi-billion-dollar industry!

That’s a huge win in itself.  And could that single mention open opportunities for a feature on just your client in the months ahead?  Believe it, and make it happen.  Patience and timeliness are everything.

By Gary Good

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It Takes a Village: 10Fold’s Spirit of Giving

One of the things we are most proud of here at 10Fold is our employees, not only because they are smart, accountable and talented professionals (although they most definitely are that, too), but because they all care deeply about the community in which they live. It’s no coincidence, then, that an overwhelming number of our employees are involved with and committed to charities and non-profit organizations with a wide range of missions, including cancer research, empowering underserved populations and providing resources to individuals suffering from mental illness.

In short, our employees reflect 10Fold’s strong culture of helping others in need and giving back — a value that 10Fold has promoted and supported since its inception. And we want to see them to continue to thrive and grow as leaders – not just as PR professionals, but in various capacities throughout the greater world. As such, 10Fold has made it a point to support our employees in their charitable efforts.

Most recently, an employee on the board of the San Francisco chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the largest grassroots organization dedicated to the education, outreach and advocacy for the mentally ill and their families, was hosting a fundraiser at a local venue. 10Fold recognized the personal connection she had to this issue, and our significant donation to her efforts was critical in helping put the project over their fundraising goal. The money went directly to programs that linked those suffering from mental illness with mental health resources that would help them thrive.

But it hasn’t stopped there. Since 2008, 10Fold has consistently been an annual donor to the San Francisco chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society when another employee lost a good friend to leukemia. As an assistant coach for Team in Training’s SF Bay Area Cycle Team, he now rides in his friend’s memory by doing a “century ride” one season each year to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in their efforts to cure for all blood cancers. His last century ride was in November at El Tour de Tucson, where the team rode their bikes 108 miles around the city of Tucson, Arizona.

10Fold also contributes regularly to the Junior League of Oakland East-Bay (JLOEB), which has been near and dear to another 10Fold employee for going on eight years. The JLOEB partners with local organizations to support efforts that help East Bay families secure food, clothing, housing and jobs.

Last year, 10Fold donated a significant amount to the Young Texans Against Cancer Austin Chapter for their PowderPuff game/fundraiser, an event launched in 2013 that has grown considerably each year. The money helped raise $30K for local cancer research and support organizations, as well as cancer patients and their families.

Perhaps not surprisingly, our employees mirror 10Fold’s own charitable endeavors as a team. Every year, the entire 10Fold team spends an afternoon sorting and boxing food at the Alameda County Community Food Bank, providing much-needed nutritious fruits and vegetables, as well as protein and canned goods, to families in need. Team members – led by our fearless CEO, Susan Thomas — have also raised money by participating in the Avon 39 Walk to Cure Breast Cancer, a lengthy 39-mile, two-day hike that extends from Marin County to the San Francisco Marina.
The list goes on and on. But safe to say, we don’t just pay lip-service to our philanthropic endeavors – we walk the walk – because we want to see the communities in which we live, work and raise our families to flourish and thrive. It not only makes us feel good, but it’s the right thing to do. After all, it takes a village – and we take that to heart.

If you would like to volunteer or donate to any of our favorite charities, more information can be found below.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness in San Francisco (NAMI SF) is the community’s voice on mental illness. The organization is part of the grass-roots, nonprofit, national NAMI organization, and also an affiliate of NAMI California. Its mission is to support and educate people with mental illness and their families and advocate for more research and awareness around mental illness.

The San Francisco Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is the voice for all blood cancer patients. Their mission is to ensure access to treatments for all blood cancer patients, find a cure for blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

The Junior League of Oakland East-Bay (JLOEB) is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.

The Young Texans Against Cancer Austin Chapter is an independent, nonprofit organization that is run completely by volunteers. The board is comprised of young men and women who have either lost or witnessed a loved one fighting cancer. The organization is focused on raising funds for local research and support organizations in Central Texas, using our member base to increase awareness of volunteer organizations and helping to educate our community on cancer research.

The Alameda County Community Food Bank distributes millions of healthy meals every year, and is on the forefront of new approaches to ending hunger and poverty. The food bank is committed to food distribution, ending child and student hunger and community education and outreach.

Avon 39 Walk to End Breast Cancer is the largest fundraising event for the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. Since its launch by the Avon Foundation for Women in 2003, more than 235,000 participants have raised nearly $620 million in the fight to end breast cancer. Funds raised at each event provide direct impact in the area where the event takes place, and also help make sure that care and research programs nationwide have adequate resources to make the most progress possible.

By Stefanie Hoffman

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How to Play Your Cards in Getting that Promotion

One of the biggest considerations most people have in their careers is when to expect, or ask for, their next promotion. Let’s face it: a promotion sounds like it solves a lot of problems. It demonstrates that your efforts have actually meant something meaningful, and it validates your successes to those that care about you, as well as to those in the industry. Most importantly, a promotion often comes with a nice bump in salary which helps you pay for an upgrade in your San Francisco apartment, makes the payment on your new Tesla, or affords the Hulu, Netflix, Spotify, or Lyft account you just opened (depending on the promotion we are talking about). Promotion criteria can change, depending on the phase the industry you work in may be in. During times of steep growth, experienced people for high-level jobs may be few and far between – creating earlier-than-normal opportunities for faster promotions. But how do you know if the time is right for a promotion? Read on…

Differentiating Promotions from Raises
It may be obvious to most of you, but let’s start with the basics: a promotion is different than a raise. A raise is recognition for doing a good job – and perhaps a bit of an incentive for continuing to do a great job. A promotion means you will be taking a new job, with new (and sometimes added) responsibilities. When asking for a promotion, carefully consider what you are asking for. Sure, you would like the additional cash associated with the next level – but are you ready to deliver the work at that level? One common “myth” that I sometimes find people adhering to is that time is the marker to identify someone who deserves a promotion. I’ve heard on more than one occasion, “I’ve been here two years, I deserve a promotion.” My contention is that time has little, if anything, to do with it (that’s the good and the bad news). Time often suggests you have been assigned a task a certain number of times – but does not indicate your level of success or the quality of your work, nor does it suggest the initiative you have put into your job. The good news about not using time as the primary measuring stick is that if you demonstrate repeatedly the ability to do something successfully, even after only a short period of time, you may be ready to move to the next level. The point is, don’t let yourself be bound by time.

Are You Ready?
Admittedly It’s hard to be totally objective about your own work – but before you have that conversation with your manager, it’s good to think through your personal readiness for the next job. Here are a few tips that should help you:

1. Read your current job description (and if your company doesn’t make that easily accessible to you, you should ask that they do). How many of the objectives have you met? Try to differentiate the things you have done successfully once or twice from the things you have done successfully on a repeated basis. If you have accomplished 80 percent or more of the items on the job description, that’s a good thing! Onto step two!

2. Read the job description for the level above your current position. How many of those objectives are you successfully meeting? Pay special attention to whether you can demonstrate that you have done those several times, without assistance.

3. If you feel you are not only doing the job you currently hold successfully, but are doing 25 to 30 percent of the job above yours successfully, it’s time to sit down with your manager and make sure that his or her opinions align with yours. In this conversation, check for qualitative differences, which are typically the basis of any misalignment. Ask for training or a mentor to help you work on those things. Most importantly, get specific on what success does look like and ask how long they think it will take you to get to the point of being successful at whatever is holding you back. It is really important that you have a trusting relationship with your manager, and the manager above him or her. They should definitely be advocating for you in this process.

Is it Worth the Wait?
It’s easy to get discouraged when you are waiting on a promotion. The important thing to understand is why your company is also waiting. Sometimes promotions are not made at the time people are “ready,” but instead made when it suits the business. Some businesses plan only a specific number of promotions per year, and the other people who are ready for a promotion simply have to wait until the next time the business is ready – which sets up an unhealthy competitive dynamic, a la Hunger Games. For example, some European PR firms promote only every 16 months – and have only a few promotions to offer based on profitability goals. And some small PR agencies simply cannot afford the higher salaries associated with promotions, because their revenue stream is unpredictable. If these are the reasons given to you about the wait on your promotion, then my advice is to seek another employer. This type of system is unpredictable and the owners or key executives are putting profit before staff – and you deserve better.

Another consideration is how long you have been waiting. As mentioned earlier, while time is far from the only factor in determining a promotion, let’s face it, it does take a certain amount of time to repetitively accomplish a task successfully. If your job is to do tasks that require only a short time frame to complete (such as a few hours to a couple of days), then a promotion in less than a year is feasible. When the tasks become more complex and take longer to measure success, you might have to wait 18 months to two years.

Finally, when seeking a promotion within your place of business, or if you are looking to take a higher position in a new company than one you’ve had in the past, make sure your references align with your title aspirations. A couple of years ago I had an account executive interview for an account manager position. His only references referred to his work as an intern. They couldn’t speak to his work quality at the account manager level – only that he was a nice guy. Recent examples and references that speak to you doing some or most of the job you are going after are really important.

Are all the Boxes Checked?
What is most important is that you can demonstrate readiness for the promotion you are seeking. This will demonstrate that you are thoughtful, strategic and not impatient (which makes a big difference to your perspective employer). Demonstrating that you’ve spent time to devise an ambitious yet realistic career path will create even more trust with your current or future employer. Talk to your manager, make sure they are advocating for you, and have a realistic (and as objective as possible) perspective of your strengths and your gaps, and practice talking about both comfortably.
Good luck as you climb the career ladder!

By Susan Thomas

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Top Five Elements of a Good Contributed Article

Contributed articles are a by far one the handiest tools in the client’s arsenal. Among other things, they’re a way for clients to position themselves as industry experts and thought leaders, achieve credibility among peers, reach desired audiences and truly get their message across exactly the way they want.

These days, it’s becoming increasingly easier to get contributed articles placed – even in top tier publications. Major technology shifts in the media industry have driven numerous publications to cut costs by slashing reporting staffs, and force media outlets to do more with less. That means now more than ever, editors are relying on – and even soliciting – contributed content from industry experts to fill in the gaps.

For clients, it’s an enormous and growing opportunity. However, editors still have pretty tough editorial standards for the written material that appears on their pages. And no doubt competition for that real estate is only going to become more fierce between industry peers.

So what makes for a great contributed article – one that will stand out yet satisfy even the most scrutinizing of editors? Here are five top guidelines:

Keep it (Vendor) Neutral
This is usually a pre-requisite for any publication that accepts contributed content – largely because they cannot openly promote one vendor’s products or services above another. That means, depending on the publication, you might not be able to even mention your genre of technology, let alone your product.

That said, your article can speak volumes about your company, your vision and your position in the market without ever specifically mentioning a product or what you do. Contributed articles provide fertile ground to develop thought leadership, analyze trends or discuss relevant issues. If you have a next-generation security solution, talk about threats and new malware that your product addresses. Launching a networking product? Discuss the causes of latency and bottlenecks that are driving organizations to find new ways to accelerate productivity and avoid disruptions.

Being seen as industry experts and market leaders for your ideas will go a lot farther to raise awareness and establish credibility with desired audiences than openly promoting your product.

Take a Stand
It’s natural to err on the side of caution, especially when trying not to step on customers’ toes or say anything that could be deemed controversial. However, the most compelling and interesting content often takes a stand on a topic – even if it’s to assert why you think that subject is important.

For example, you might think that some industries are inherently bad about adhering to and enforcing compliance regulations. Or that the industry push for organizations to adopt AI and machine learning technologies lacks focus and direction. Good content also provokes discussion, even if it means that some might disagree.

And that’s a good thing. Industry thought leaders – by definition – incite new ways of thinking. They often defy convention. They introduce new ideas – many of which are rejected, resisted or haven’t even been considered. That is, until they become accepted.

So – as long as your assertions can be backed up with facts – don’t be afraid to be bold and take a few risks.

Put Ideas in a Broader Context
In your role as thought leader, you see the big picture. While talking about a new technology or concept can be exciting, both your audience and editors alike need to see what it will ultimately mean for them. A new ransomware attack? A perfect opportunity to discuss how cybercriminals are changing their tactics and how organizations need will need to change their defenses. New cloud storage technology? A great segue into how and why data storage capacities are changing and what organizations can do to rein in their data.

Placing new ideas into the context of a broader trend not only highlights your expertise, but it shows foresight and big-picture thinking, as well as your comprehensive understanding of the entire industry. And, of course, it goes a long way with editors.

Clean, Concise Writing is Key
With contributed articles, few things can compensate for good writing. If the most exciting and innovative technology concepts are poorly written, you’ll lose your audience (not to mention your editor if it even gets accepted in the first place).  Conversely, strong writing can compensate for topics that have the potential to be very dry or uninteresting.

Grammar and spelling, of course, need to be solid. However, strong pieces of writing also need to articulate concepts and ideas cleanly. Ideas need to be broken down and organized in way that is digestible to readers – especially if the article is technologically dense. Avoid clichés. And while use of industry terms is expected to some degree, try to use buzz words and jargon sparingly (really, a little goes a long way).

Create a Visual
Safe to say that many contributed articles contain a lot of concepts – some of which are pretty abstract.

With the exception of the most tech-savvy audiences, relying too heavily on abstractions without introducing a concrete use case will ultimately lose the very people you’re trying to reach. Good articles illustrate these concepts with a real-world visual. This could be as simple as writing an anecdote showcasing an adaptive marketing technology that tailors personal ads to you on airport billboards or a vulnerability in connected IoT home devices that people use every day.

In short, readers like to know how technology applies to them – how it makes their lives easier, better and more efficient. Because ultimately, that’s why they read.

By Stefanie Hoffman 

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The First Rule of Gartner’s Cool Vendor is Not to Talk About Cool Vendor

It’s hip to be Cool. If there’s one thing all technology startups would love to get their mits on shortly after publicly launching their company, it’s a Gartner Cool Vendors recognition. Cool Vendors research examines disruptive vendors that help companies solve long-established problems and stay ahead of the competition in a rapidly changing world. Last year, Gartner profiled 330 Cool Vendors in 76 reports. Each report represents a unique market segment that they feel is worth watching. For example, a few of this year’s reports looked at digitization, blockchain, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT).

To be recognized, a cool vendor should be a small company/startup that offers a technology or service that is innovative, impactful and intriguing (i.e., has caught Gartner’s interest in the last six months). In my tenure at 10Fold, I’ve helped to get a couple of my clients be considered for a Cool Vendors award; TrapX and Veriflow and over the years, more than 50 10Fold clients were cool vendors.

Sounds easy, right? So, how do you get one?

It’s not as hard as you think, but there are a few steps and notes that I’ve shared below that will help you in your journey. This is a journey you need to get moving on NOW, because the first reports start to roll out around the April/May timeframe.

The first thing you should do is research previous Cool Vendors reports in the technology domain you’re currently competing in. If you can’t find an exact report match, it should be at least somewhat close technologically.

Next, research the analyst(s) who contributed to that report, because it’s likely that if they did a report on your market segment last year, there’s a good chance they’ll revisit it again this year (or at least slightly modify it to accommodate for market evolution). In some cases, you may find your technology is split across more than one Cool Vendors report and that’s okay. Make note of all the analysts in all of the reports you think you would qualify for. During your research, you’ll probably find a few of those analysts appearing in multiple Cool Vendors reports. Also, you should know that analysts do talk to each other when they’re hashing out who should go into which report.

Once you’ve identified the analyst(s) responsible for the Cool Vendors report(s) you think you’re a fit for, it’s time to get them up to speed on your company and its product(s). And this can be done through Gartner’s Vendor Briefings Request Page.

Note: From a timing perspective, once you submit a briefing request, it can take 2-3 days for the analyst to get back to you. And, if an analyst is interested in a briefing, they’ll typically schedule two to four weeks out from the initial request. Beware of trying to schedule multiple analysts at the same time for the same briefing. Trying to coordinate multiple analyst schedules is difficult and could push your proposed briefing dates out even further. We suggest briefing one at a time to start with. Briefings can be scheduled for 30 or 60 minutes. We recommend using the full 60 minutes to allow you ample time to get your story across.

After your briefing(s) are scheduled, it’s time to wow them with what you’ve got. In terms of what the analysts want to hear, be sure to include in your deck:

NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Who you are

NO FOLD ICON 15x15What your company does why is it worth investigating

NO FOLD ICON 15x15 What services and products you offer

NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Why customers buy your product or service

NO FOLD ICON 15x15 What business problems it solves

NO FOLD ICON 15x15 What differentiates your product from existing products and services

NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Where you fit in the market relative to your top competitors

NO FOLD ICON 15x15 When you will complete your next important milestones (such as your go to market strategy, your product roadmap, etc.)

If you have a Gartner subscription, they do have PPT deck experts in house free of charge who will listen to your presentation and give you valuable feedback. If you’re not a Gartner subscriber, we recommend hiring a third-party company that specializes in corporate messaging. They’ll be able to help guide you in terms of story flow and the most important elements analysts will be looking for. For example, we have done that many, many times at 10Fold.

If possible, try to squeeze two vendor briefings out of each of your targeted analysts. The first one should be used for a company/product overview and the second should be reserved for a product demonstration (which can be done over WebEx or other screen sharing application). Because, for many analysts, seeing is believing.

For our last piece of advice…. Stay cool. When you do get the analyst on the phone DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES ask them what it takes to get a Cool Vendors award. This is absolutely forbidden. Doing so will not only turn the analyst off (it’s tantamount to grade grubbing), but they can actually remove your company entirely from Cool Vendors consideration. Good luck out there!

By Rick Popko

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The Intern’s Guide to the Galaxy – Three Paths to a Successful Internship at 10Fold

Have you ever wished for an Intern’s Guide to the Galaxy? Well, you’ve come to the right place. You will learn how to navigate your internship at a PR agency like 10Fold through the lens of the one and only Eric Bolin. Actually, there are a lot of Eric Bolins, but this dude works for 10Fold, so you’re stuck with this awesome guy.

Let Groot Grow
Anytime I step into an internship, my end goal is to learn. Instead of just bringing your bag of laptops, shrink rays, gravity guns, and highlighters, always prepare to soak in as much information as possible. Even with a little bit of an engineering background, I needed to learn acronyms and tech terminology that I had not encountered. Take the time to research your clients and their applications to the tech industry. Then, take a look at the 10Fold ship and observe the many tools available. Like any true venture through the galaxy, you will want to prepare to take on all the asteroids thrown at you with pre-“Cision” in a “TechCrunch” before you “Meltwater”. Ok, enough PR puns.

42 is Not the Answer to the Universe
Did you really think this was the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? 42 is not the answer to anything. Yet, managing the 42 things you have to do for clients is the answer to one of agency life’s biggest challenges. When you master your time, then you will be able to rule the galaxy*. Before you start mulling over how you will rule your subjects… I mean manage your time, please note that there are many options for managing those 42 media lists and briefing sheets. You can use a planner, excel sheet, electronic calendar, or any other organization tool under the sun. Just make sure you organize everything and be prepared for the jump to light-speed. In an exhilaratingly fast environment, you will need to be flexible within your schedule. Most importantly, you should prioritize your deadlines and action list through daily updates and consultation with your manager.

Life, the Universe, and People
At the end of the day, remember to have fun and treat everyone with integrity. I have been impressed by the people that work here at 10Fold. My coworkers are part of the reason I come to the office every day. Supported by a great team of people, I always know they have my back. If you truly want to get the most out of your experience, then you should connect with the people around you. There is only so much time we have, so constantly worrying about the next client meeting or ten briefing docs you have to do will not help. Stay in the moment. Enjoy your coworkers and the environment you have at 10Fold because not many places and jobs will be like this.

There are many opportunities in the galaxy, but this experience will make you stronger by ten-fold. If you can strap yourself into hyper drive and enjoy the process of creating content, media lists, and briefing docs, then you will not only be a huge asset to the team, but your future will shine brightly.

*No refunds are given to galaxy travelers who follow this rule and fail to become said ruler of said galaxy.

By Eric Bolin

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