Tag Archives: pr

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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The Five Things You May Be Missing from your Analyst Program

We talk to marketing executives everyday either bragging or complaining about the results and ROI of their paid analyst engagements.  There are five ‘misses’ we find consistently:

Gartner
Every client or prospect we talk to complains about the ‘tax’ they have to pay to impress Gartner and get inclusion in their reports. The key is to ask how often they are talking to their Gartner analysts. I had one client express his shock to me that his company didn’t move up and to the right in their MQ, while explaining he spoke to the authors only twice in 12 months.  One of my favorite Gartner analysts once told me, “You get out of Gartner what you put into Gartner.”  The Moral of the story is to make sure you are having frequent (monthly) inquiries, briefings, demos, meetings at tradeshows, coffees etc. with your Gartner champion(s).  You can’t expect them to remember every detail of your solution and competitive advantage if you talk to them infrequently.

Leverage Second Tier Analysts for Reports
Not all vendors can afford to pay top tier analyst firms like Gartner and Forrester out of the gate, especially those that are early stage.  Unless your able to take a lot of time for the care and feeding of Gartner analysts (tip above) then we suggest you engage with smaller analyst firms like 451 Group, Ovum or EMA.  These firms have shorter lead times to get briefings and will be willing to write reports on your company, especially if you are a newcomer to the market.  These reports can be licensed for as little as $5,000 and will serve as third-party credibility and content for lead generation campaigns and the sales team.

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

One of my favorite Gartner analysts once told me: You get out of Gartner what you put into Gartner Click To Tweet

Social Media
Are you following your analysts on Twitter?  Are you connected on LinkedIn?  Are you reading their posts?  Are you liking their LinkedIn posts and retweeting their tweets?  If you answered no to any of these questions you have made mistake #3.

Share Content with Analysts
Do you feel like you’re talking to your analyst champions regularly?  Do they know the specifics of your last product release, customer wins, global expansion, partnerships or new hires to your executive bench?  It’s important to share press releases with your analysts to keep your brand top of mind. This also keeps them updated on your progress both from the perspective of the ability to innovate and execute.  Creating analyst newsletters that are sent out monthly are another great source of educating analysts on your business momentum.

Analyst Lab Review
There are few media publications that conduct product reviews anymore and some solutions aren’t capable of being tested by low tech media.  With that said, technical reviews are important for the bottom of the funnel leads, especially for technical decision makers. Consider hiring Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) or NSS Labs for technical reviews. You can control the testing environment and criteria and ensure you have credible content for the sales team.  These engagements aren’t cheap (running about $30,000), so plan your budgets accordingly.

Bonus Tip
Depending on the life stage of your company, you will engage in different ways with various analyst firms. For startups, those who are in stealth, or who have yet to take series A funding, analysts can play a pivotal role in validating messaging as well as how and in which category you choose to position your company. It’s not a step you want to short-cut.

Dig InLaunching an IIoT Disruptor – FogHorn Systems

By Angela Griffo

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Five Top Ways Contributed Articles Can Drive Thought Leadership – Part II

Part I of this piece can be found here 

English novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton coined the phrase “the pen is mightier than the sword” – an adage still relevant today. Contributed articles can go a long way to increase your visibility and expand your share of voice that can give you edge over your competitors.

In Part I, we discussed how contributed articles can help you stake a claim, identify trends and boost credibility. Here are a few more ways in which contributed articles can be leveraged to help you emerge ahead of the pack as a thought leader.

Provoke Thought or Undermine Status Quo
Good enough is usually never good enough. Customers are always looking for something faster, stronger, more efficient – or a whole new way of doing things.

That said, people don’t know what they don’t know. Where you will shine the brightest as a thought leader is when you introduce ideas that no one has even considered. This might mean you throw some (well warranted) shade at some industry behemoths or question an established industry trend – one that is pretty much accepted by everyone.

For example, an article with the headline “Is Digital Transformation Killing Your Entrepreneurial Spirit?” will likely get some backlash. But it will also get page views — a lot more than an article titled “The Pros and Cons of Digital Transformation.” It will also inspire conversation and new ways of thinking.

Contributed articles allow you to ask the really tough questions – even ones that make readers a little uncomfortable – in order to move the industry from its resting place and galvanize change. Even if you get some flack from readers, contributed articles be the vehicle to turn the status quo on its head by challenging previously held beliefs and make things better.

Point Out Industry Gaps and Shortfalls
No one likes to confront their shortcomings up close and personal. So, it can be challenging to get people, companies or industries to take a hard look at what isn’t working and own it. Among the many reasons is that once they become aware of their shortcomings, they will be responsible for making necessary changes.

Yet, as difficult as it can be, it’s often necessary in order for a paradigm shift or any meaningful change to occur. And it has to start somewhere. Contributed articles can be the spark that sets that kind of comprehensive change in motion. They can be used to shed light on a problem that has been hidden or covered up. They can expose gaping holes in management, technology, processes, strategy or ways of thinking that many have known about for a long time but were too afraid to articulate.

(For example, why HAVE healthcare organizations kept regulations in place that prevent them from updating security defenses. Or why do organizations continue to entrust third parties with critical data without oversight?)

It can be harder still to get them to take responsibility and outline a roadmap for change. But no system, technology or industry has changed without someone illuminating its flaws and where it could do better, beforehand.

Thought leaders can use contributed articles to point out that the emperor indeed has no clothes by identifying gaps and failings. But more than that, contributed articles can also be used to thoughtfully present solutions and push an industry in a new direction that will be ultimately be required for an even greater paradigm shift to occur down the road.

By Stefanie Hoffman 

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Five Ways Your Contributed Article Can Drive Thought Leadership- Part I

Contributed articles are a mainstay of any successful PR program. They increase visibility. They drive credibility in your industry. They enable you to articulate your message precisely the way you want.

And above all else – they allow you to boost thought leadership. From the moment you sign with a PR agency – like 10Fold – you hear how a consistent and robust contributed article program will position you as a thought leader in your market.

Now the definition of a thought leader varies, depending on who you talk to. Though relatively subjective, Wikipedia defines thought leader as “an individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded.”

For our clients, that means that the companies that they are building and the cutting edge technology that they are offering today will be used as a platform for leading, growing and articulating the trajectory of an entire industry tomorrow.

So how can you leverage contributed content to expand your share of voice and emerge ahead of the pack as an industry thought leader? While there is neither a simple formula nor straight trajectory that leads directly to thought leadership, here are a few ways your contributed articles can be used to help put you on that path.

Stake a Claim Without Apology
One major hallmark of a leader – or thought leader – is that they drive forward with confidence. The same standards apply to your contributed article.

By definition, industry leaders charter their own path, invoke new ways of thinking and inspire new ideas – even if those ideas aren’t ready to be fully accepted in the marketplace. The contributed article is your mouthpiece for driving home revolutionary new ideas that hold the potential to spark an industry paradigm shift.

What does that look like? For example, the security industry might never defeat ransomware. Next-generation anything might already be obsolete. Certain enterprise platforms might be going the way of the dodo. It’s likely your assertions might make some uncomfortable – and that’s okay.

So — as long as you can factually support your claims — don’t be afraid to put a stake in the ground and take a few risks.

Bolster Credibility (With Strong Research)
Anyone can make a claim – that’s the easy part. But what will ultimately drive credibility and boost your esteem in the industry are claims that hold up to a lot of outside criticism – a LOT.

As your visibility and thought leadership expands, it’s likely you will find yourself under increased scrutiny by competitors and others intent on removing you from your leadership pedestal. And you need to be prepared. Making claims that are factually incorrect or arguments that are full of holes will swiftly and surely diminish your credibility and make it that much more difficult for the industry to realize your vision.

Contributed articles enable you to bolster market standing – while also extinguishing outside criticism — by giving you a palette to present rational, factually sound arguments supporting your claims. At the very least, you’ll have the ability to leverage statistics, research and forecasts from credible sources to shake off the naysayers. If you’re citing your own original research, you can rely on industry analysts and researchers that will underscore why it was important.

In any case, you can expect that your message will increasingly be placed under the microscope– especially as your share of voice increases. The real thought leaders will be able to weather the storm of scrutiny that will only intensify as they gain an edge over your competition.

Identify Trends First
If you’re discussing a trend mid-cycle, it’s likely that the most critical wave has already passed or is about to. Among other things, leaders are visionaries – and that means they’re looking two, five or ten steps ahead.

Customers and readers alike want to know where to go next, whether it’s the next technology investment, enterprise infrastructure implementation or cool new gadget. They want to know where to invest their money and resources. And they want to be the first

Contributed articles give you a way to thoroughly articulate what the industry can expect from the VC community or whether their startup should invest in cryptocurrency – not just now, but five years from now. Essentially, your article is your vehicle for mapping new directions for the industry, and then driving them there.

Find part II of this piece here.

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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Most Americans (Not Just Millennials) Get News From Social Media

Where do you find your news? From newspapers and radio, to smartphones and smart home devices – there are seemingly endless ways to stay in the know these days. As the news landscape continues to change, the primary way readers consume the news has evolved, too.

A recent study by the Pew Research Center found two-thirds (67%) of Americans reported that they got at least some of their news on social media. For the first time, more than half (55%) of respondents ages 50 or older said they got their news on social media. Guess that means social media just isn’t for millenials anymore!

Let’s take a look what else we can learn from the Pew Research Center’s report, “News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2017”:

Key Highlights From the Report
NO FOLD ICON 15x15
About one-in-four (26%) now get news from multiple social media sites

NO FOLD ICON 15x15 About three-quarters of minorities (74%t) get news on social media, up from 64% in 2016

NO FOLD ICON 15x15 More Americans now get news on multiple social media sites, as about one-quarter of all U.S. adults (26%) get news from two or more of these sites

NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Twitter and LinkedIn have the majority of college graduate among their news users – 59% of LinkedIn’s news users and 45% of Twitter’s have college degrees

NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Respondents under 50 years old still remain more likely than their elders to get news from social media (78% do, unchanged from the 2016 report)

NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Snapchat has the youngest group of of news users, as 82% are ages 18-29

Which Social Media Platforms are Popular for News?
A whopping 45% of U.S. adults get news on Facebook, making it the leading social media site as a source of news. This is largely due to Facebook’s massive user base (66% of the population), compared with other social platforms.

Although more than half of Americans use YouTube (58% of the population), a smaller portion of the population consumes its news there. At second place – but still far behind Facebook – 18% of all Americans now get news on YouTube.

Despite the fact that news often hits Twitter first, only 11% of U.S. adults get news on the social platform. Almost three-fourths (74%) of Twitter users say they get their news on the site. Its audience is significantly smaller because only 15% of Americans use the site.

What Does This Mean for PR Pros?
PR professionals are accustomed to thinking outside of the box when it comes sharing news. With a strong social media strategy, a PR pro is used to sharing client and industry news across all platforms. It’s critical to make sure the news your sharing stand out among the clutter. More than 5 billion pieces of content is posted on Facebook every day, along with 500 million Tweets.

Don’t forget to think about how social users on mobile compared versus desktop. Pew previously reported that 85% of American adults got their news from mobile devices. Keeping your content concise and engaging will increase the chances of the user to return to your client’s feed for more news. If the post is too long to read on a smartphone, you’re likely to lose the user’s interest.

Traditional Media Still “In the Mix”
Now, don’t give up on pitching to traditional media yet. Just because more people are getting news on social media doesn’t mean traditional news is being ignored. Many social users also get their news from other platforms, although data shows there are some difference among users of the various platforms.

For example, Twitter users are more likely (55%) to also get their news on news website and apps, unlike Facebook (33%) or YouTube (44%) users. Facebook news users are more likely (33%) to get their news from local TV, compared to those on YouTube (25%), Twitter (21%) and Snapchat (22%).

What About “Fake News” on Social Media?
2017 Gallup poll found that 27% of Americans say they have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of trust in newspapers than did so last year (20%). Despite the trust in legacy media growing by 7% in the last year, it’s still substantially lower than it was before getting news on social media was the norm. in 2005, when Facebook was only a year old, 50% of Americans said they had a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of trust in the mass media. The declining trust in mainstream media could be a consequence of fake news gaining more traction, especially on social media.

Fake news is defined as “news articles that are intentionally and verifiably false, and could mislead readers,” according to recent research from Stanford University. What sets fake news apart from propaganda is the speed in which is spreads and is replicated, as it is fueled by the use of social media.

Facebook is making strides toward fighting against fake news, but misinformation is still rampant on newsfeeds. As Americans stray away from traditional journalism, it’s crucial for social media users to learn how to spot fake or biased news, and to seek out information from an array of credible news sources.

Now that getting news on social media is more popular than ever, it’s time to start thinking of new ways to convey your client’s stories and ensure that it stands out among the noise. How do you plan on sharing their news? Let us know in the comments below.

By Katrina Cameron

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The Intern Experience at 10Fold

Far from just a lame B – Lister movie trying to prove that Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are still relevant and it’s these crazy millennials that are the ones out of touch with reality, internships are actually a critical step to success in the PR.

Unfortunately, internships have kind of a bad rap. Think cliché intern and what comes to mind? Coffee? Menial grunt work? Free labor? All too often that’s exactly the case.

But not all internships are created equal. At 10Fold, we pride ourselves on our internships and really believe our program to be a cut above the rest.

So what exactly sets an internship at 10Fold apart?

It’s paid. Always.

No not in experience, or possible college credit, but in cold hard bimonthly direct deposits. Because 10Fold understands you can’t pay your landlord with a glowing letter of recommendation.

You get real world experience.

We don’t bring in interns to be coffee fetchers or kitchen cleaners; if that’s all we thought you could do we wouldn’t want to hire you in the first place. Our interns are paired directly with a senior staff member on day one and immediately get started on real work. Bad news for aspiring pencil pushers, but great news for those driven to succeed.

You’re part of the team.

Interns aren’t some expendable resource that we renew every couple of months. At 10Fold we really believe that everyone we hire is becoming part of our team and we treat them accordingly; no intern coordinator that buffers the interns from the rest of the company, no exclusive training sessions for full time hires only, no battle royal where we pit all the interns against each other in gladiatorial combat to see who among them will earn the full time position (although we can all agree that would be the best way by far).

We care about our employees, and we celebrate when our interns are successful. Literally. Every Friday, in a meeting with everyone in the company from the CEO down, we make sure to let everyone know exactly how well our interns are doing. Sometimes we even do a little cheer.

Maybe that’s why we end up hiring 70% of the interns we employ.

But hey this could all just be some corporate sales pitch right? Well listen to what intern Nathan Zaragosa has to say about his time at 10Fold:

“I personally wanted to really grow from my internship, and gain skills I didn’t have before. From the moment I came into 10Fold, I’ve been assigned real projects that make impacts such as client social media content creation, event and award searches and outreach, and most recently pitching reporters. 10Fold went as far to ask the intern team to come up with ideas to improve training in the intern program! These projects not only help you grow your skillset, but make you feel like you’re making a difference in the company.”

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Inside the Newsroom: Media Talk Tech with VentureBeat, Wired and Fast Company

Organized by PRSA

On July 26, a handful of 10Fold crew members joined the Silicon Valley and San Francisco Chapters of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) for the “Inside the Newsroom: Media Talk Tech” panel event with Fast Company, Wired, and VentureBeat.

Panelists included:

 Jason Wilson, Managing Editor, VentureBeat

 David Pierce, Senior Staff Writer, WIRED

 Sean Captain, Tech Editor, Fast Company

Below is a collection of insights, trends, and other interesting thoughts by 10Fold’s own Drew Smith, Jordan Tewell, Webbo Chen, Katrina Cameron and Kyra Tillmans following the event.

Artificial Intelligence, Digital Transformation, Virtual Reality…What’s Next?

These buzzwords are top-of-mind in today’s technology landscape, and it was no surprise that the first panel question regarded these hot topics. When Jason Wilson of VentureBeat called for a show of hands on how many audience members regularly used voice assistance, the number of hands was noticeably few. Despite all the buzz surrounding AI (i.e. in voice assistants, like Siri or Amazon Alexa) there is still a long way to go. The panelists noted that, for example, voice assistance users tend to use those features for only the things they know work well, showcasing the disparity between where the day-to-day benefits of AI voice assistance currently stand and where they could/should be.

Another salient point that David made was the different growth trajectories of augmented reality versus virtual reality. AR will improve quickly, he noted, while VR is more likely to just chug along. This might come as a surprise, as VR is typically viewed as the more “futuristic” innovation.

Trends of the Media-scape

The panelists agreed the intersection of technology and politics is a big trend on everyone’s mind. It was much easier to separate the two in the past, but now reporters who cover cyber security are often times writing about national security too. The intersection of technology and politics matter now more than ever, and we should address this when talking strategy internally and with our clients.

David made an interesting comment about video journalism. At Conde Nast (parent company of Wired), they want to ensure that video isn’t treated as a bolt-on, and they’ve started to consider video as one of the primary channels when they’re determining what goes where during their editorial meetings. Instead of slapping on video at the end of everything, reporters are putting significant thought into which platform is best – i.e. a 2,000-word feature, a photo essay, or maybe even a Snapchat video. It raises the question for PR pros to determine which avenue is best to take for which story and set expectations accordingly. Not everything will be a full-length feature story these days.

Via the Twitter hashtag #MediaTechTalk, attendees posed a question about non-Silicon Valley tech hotbeds. The panel agreed on Pittsburgh as a favorite, which wasn’t wholly surprising, because the Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Tri-State region is becoming widely known as an area of innovation. However, Fargo came as a surprise. And David made a good point of thinking about the world outside of the U.S., because all too often we have proximity bias – especially when you’re based in Silicon Valley like we are!

Tips by the Media for the Media

Sean from Fast Company continually reiterated the importance of clicks/views in judging how successful an article was. He and his editors clearly pay a lot of attention to this in a rapidly changing media landscape. Ultimately, what readers think is most important for both reporters and PR folks alike. Reporters approach stories they’re pitched by gauging whether their readers will care in order to gain as many eyeballs as possible. In tech PR, companies like to focus on news developments and its impact on the broader landscape rather than the personalities behind the tech. Instead of product launch stories, technology reporters are interested to learn about the human side of the story. As an example, David brought up a feature story on employees who were affected by Dropbox dropping AWS. The topic was very dry, and David didn’t expect it to do as well as it did. Yet, by adding in the human element, the story became one of his most popular reads to date.

As PR professionals, we can help orchestrate these stories by doing background interviews with our clients to develop a narrative that will resonate well with readers. Who is the main character in the story? It’s important to remember that if you have interesting execs, you should flesh out their bios/background and occasionally lead with that when approaching media.

As a final takeaway, all the panelists mentioned that they’d love to have more conversations with both PR folks’ clients – and the PR people themselves – that have no agenda whatsoever. Not many PR people would propose a “no agenda briefing” to a journalist – if only because that’s not likely to hook the journalist – but I’d be interested to see the results from the brave PR pro who does this.

Journalists and PR professionals agree that the media landscape is changing actively and dramatically. Events like the Media Tech Talks are a great way to engage with the media, understand their thinking and likewise share your own. A big “thank you” to PRSA for putting it together! 10Fold is looking forward to the next one.

By Kyra Tillmans

(Contributions from Drew Smith, Jordan Tewell, Webbo Chen, and Katrina Cameron)

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PR Intern’s Guide to the Galaxy: Making Relevant Media Lists

Media lists can be considered the secret weapon of the PR pro. While they’re a relatively simple tool, they’re arguably the most important to PR success. Without an updated, accurate and beat-tailored media list — sucess is hard to come by. Your reputation as a PR practitioner can also be tarnished if you constantly are pitching the wrong media contacts (you might also find your misguided email screenshotted on Twitter under #PRFails).

Media lists are used to:

  1. Secure media coverage for your client
  2. Reach a target audience
  3. Keep a history of dialogue between your client and a reporter to ensure pitches/conversations are more useful for both parties

Audience – The first thing to consider when building a media list is your client’s target audience, this will help you determine the types of publications that need to be included based on their readership. It’s also important to identify the coverage of your clients competitors. It is likely that media covering your client’s competitors will be interested in covering your client as well. A well rounded media list will include trade reporters, reporters from vertical outlets (government, healthcare, retail, etc.) and bloggers.

Keywords – When searching for the right media to include, it is crucial that you search the right keywords. In some cases, it is easy to only include the phrases categorizing your clients technology, but only if it is unique enough that your search results will bring back specific, relevant coverage. It is rarely that easy. More likely, there are instances where your client’s keywords are very generic and search results for the technology classification alone will bring back irrelevant results. Other keywords include the name of your clients competitors.

Tools – The tools most commonly used when searching for media are Google, Cision, Meltwater, IT Database. You will want to use these tools to search multiple combinations of your clients keywords as well as your clients previous coverage, and competitors previous coverage. Once you find the coverage, you will need to organize the information and create your media list using Excel.

Organize – Media lists can sometimes get very long but no matter the size, keep them organized! This ensures that you will be able to find the right contact, the first time, every time. Begin by opening an excel sheet and in the first row, place a filter on publication, first name, last name, title, email, phone number, twitter handle and a link to the reporters most relevant/timely story. Under each column, you will either fill in the information by hand or copy and paste it in from an Excel sheet generated by one of your previously used tools. Once you have all of the information filled in, check for duplicates and fill in anything that might be missing. Finding this missing information consists of research and can sometimes be time consuming.

Update – Keeping an updated media list is important, because there are many reporters who move from one publication to another and sometimes, a media contact will even change the topic that they report on, known as their beat. When you have a media list that is up to date and accurate, you avoid situations where reporters get frustrated with you because you mistakenly pitch them a story that they aren’t covering. Reporters are easier to work with if they know that you are paying attention to their current beat and reading their most current stories. Pitching the wrong media is a waste of their time, yours and the client’s.  

By Kory Buckley

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10Fold – Security Never Sleeps – 55

Your daily digest of “All Things Security” gathered, collected and researched by your very own 10Fold Security Practice team.

Big items to consider: Cancer treatment provider 21st Century Oncology Holdings has warned 2.2 million patients and employees that their sensitive data may have been stolen in a cyberattack. Home Depot Inc agreed to pay at least $19.5 million to compensate U.S. consumers harmed by a 2014 data breach affecting more than 50 million cardholders. According to the first-ever Dell Data Security Survey, nearly three in four (73%) of decision-makers are somewhat to very concerned about malware and advanced persistent threats (APTs)—despite the fact that most have anti-malware solutions in place. Guests who recently lodged at Rosen Hotels & Resorts properties in theme-park destination Orlando, Fla. must hope their data hasn’t been taken for a wild ride, after the hospitality company announced its properties have suffered a long-undiscovered payment card data breach.

Cancer Clinc Warns 2.2 Million Patients of Data Breach – Publication: ZDnet – Reporter name: Charlie Oborne

Cancer treatment provider 21st Century Oncology Holdings has warned 2.2 million patients and employees that their sensitive data may have been stolen in a cyberattack. The breach was revealed on March 4, but the Florida-based cancer clinic chain was informed of the cyberattack and information theft on November 13, 2015, by the FBI. The data breach may impact up to 2.2 million patients and physicians.


Home Depot Settles Consumer Lawsuit Over Big 2014 Data Breach – Publication: Reuters – Reporter name: Jonathan Stempel

Home Depot Inc agreed to pay at least $19.5 million to compensate U.S. consumers harmed by a 2014 data breach affecting more than 50 million cardholders. The home improvement retailer will set up a $13 million fund to reimburse shoppers for out-of-pocket losses, and spend at least $6.5 million to fund 1-1/2 years of cardholder identity protection services. Home Depot has said the breach affected people who used payment cards on its self-checkout terminals in U.S. and Canadian stores between April and September 2014.


Dell: Cloud, Mobility and Malware Keep Execs Up At Night – Publication: InfoSecurity – Reporter name:Tara Seals

According to the first-ever Dell Data Security Survey, nearly three in four (73%) of decision-makers are somewhat to very concerned about malware and advanced persistent threats (APTs)—despite the fact that most have anti-malware solutions in place. In fact, only about 20% of respondents said they are “very confident” in their ability to protect against sophisticated malware attacks. The report uncovered a clear trend of employers feeling that they have to limit mobility in order to protect data. The majority of respondents from mid-market companies (65%) said they are holding back plans to make their workforce more mobile, for security reasons.


Extended Stay: Data-Stealing Malware Hides On Rosen Hotels’ Payment Card Network For Over A Year – Publication: SC Magazine – Reporter name: Bradley Barth

Guests who recently lodged at Rosen Hotels & Resorts properties in theme-park destination Orlando, Fla. must hope their data hasn’t been taken for a wild ride, after the hospitality company announced its properties have suffered a long-undiscovered payment card data breach. Rosen confirmed that an investigation of its payment card network turned up malware capable of reading cards’ magnetic stripe data as it is routed through affected systems. Rosen did not indicate how many guests were likely affected; however the malware resided on its systems for well over a year, from Sept. 2, 2014 to Feb. 18, 2016. The company was finally alerted to the presence of malware in early February after receiving unconfirmed reports of fraudulent charges involving past guests.