Last week, Deloitte published its annual list of Technology’s Fast 500, and Elizabeth Shea and I were fortunate enough to be at the D.C. area dinner when the rankings were announced.
The North American Fast 500 celebrates companies of all sizes in the U.S. and Canada that have exhibited remarkable growth. Winners span a variety of sectors, including hardware, software, telecom, semiconductors, life sciences and clean tech.
To qualify for the Technology Fast 500, companies must be headquartered in North America and have a 2008 operating revenue of at least $50,000 and a 2012 operating revenue of at least $5 million.
Deloitte shared these interesting stats about this year’s North American winners:
- Five of the top ten companies are private
- 58 percent of the companies on the list have received venture capital funding
- Software companies represent the majority of this year’s list with 241 companies
- 23 companies have growth of more than 10,000 percent, with the top company on the list exhibiting 208,897 percent growth.
Washington, D.C. had 33 winners on this year’s list, up one from last year’s list. And the local winners are….
BroadSoft, Inc., #438, business and residential VoIP software
Notable Solutions (NSI), #406, secure information collection and output management *
WealthEngine, #402, prospect research, modeling and analytics **
TEOCO, #395, telecom assurance and analytics **
Sourcefire, #392, network security solutions **
Concept Solutions, #387, technology consulting for government **
Message Systems, #366, email, text and cross-channel messaging
K12, , #364, online education **
First Line Tech, #362, emergency response equipment
Cvent, #360, event management software **
Apprio, #342, government technology solutions *
United Therapeutics Corporation, #336, biotechnology **
RKG | Rimm-Kaufman Group, #334, data-driven online marketing **
Primatics, #307, enterprise software for financial services **
Tenable Network Security, #301, cybersecurity technology **
Clarabridge, #300, customer experience management
LDiscovery, #280, legal and technology consulting *
Optoro, Inc., #278, asset recovery
OriGene Technologies, Inc., #269, biotechnology
ArdentMC, #265, technical consulting and program management
Motionsoft, #238, member relationship and club management software **
nexVortex, #215, business grade SIP trunking
Zenoss, #168, IT operations management **
CDYNE Corporation, #158, Web services
RepEquity, #106, online reputation management
CFN Services, #102, network and application delivery solutions **
Novavax, #90, biotechnology *
RainKing Solutions, #80, IT sales intelligence
WeddingWire, Inc., #79, wedding planning
Millennial Media, #73, mobile ad and data platform*
Vubiquity, #53, multiplatform video monetization
Video Blocks, #32, stock video, audio and special effects
Opower, #20, customer engagement for the utility industry
* These companies also made the list in 2012
** These companies made the list in 2012 and 2011
Congratulations to all the winners, especially SpeakerBox client Optoro, ranked 278 on this year’s list.
- Katie Hanusik
Last week, I was tasked with live-tweeting an event for one of our clients. I’ve done this many times in the past; however, I found this specific event extra challenging. With several different types of speaking sessions and complex topics, I often felt myself scrambling. Live-tweeting can often feel that way, but it can also yield great results and be well worth the effort. So, with all that said, I wanted to offer a brief look at the benefits of live-tweeting, plus some tips for optimizing its effectiveness.
Twitter defines live-tweeting as:
“Live-tweet (v.): to engage on Twitter for a continuous period of time—anywhere from 20 minutes to a few hours—with a sequence of focused Tweets. The focus can be a big live event that everybody’s paying attention to (e.g. a TV show or an award show) or it can be an event you create yourself (e.g. a Q&A session with your fans).”
That all sounds simple enough, yet I can clearly remember feeling overwhelmed when I first live-tweeted. (And I can often see that same “deer in the headlights” expression on the faces of my new co-workers as they try live-tweeting for the first time.) So why go through the trouble of live-tweeting?
- Extend reach – At any event, there are bound to be folks you haven’t met yet. Establish yourself and/or your business as a thought leader and increase your following.
- Engage conversation – Get people talking about the issues and topics that matter to you and your company (or client). Take thought leadership a step further and really establish yourself and your brand as influencers on a certain topic or industry.
- Encourage networking – Live-tweeting provides the perfect outlet for introducing yourself and your company to possible new business partners. Retweet, respond and favorite other tweets (with the same event hashtag) to get a conversation started.
- Show speakers/sponsors some love - If your company is hosting the event, live-tweeting is a great way to show appreciation to your speakers and sponsors for their support. Promote profound quotes or simply thank participants.
- Document great moments - Take advantage of speakers and presenters (especially non-company employees) saying awesome things about your products, company, service or solution.
So, how can you make it easier on yourself and get the most out of live-tweeting? Here are some suggestions:
- Prep beforehand – If you have access to the agenda, look up speaker Twitter handles and relevant hashtags beforehand, and have the info easily accessible. Most importantly, don’t forget to use them. Include the event hashtag in each tweet..
- Use the buddy system – Events often have multiple sessions or panels happening at once. If possible, have more than one person assisting with the live-tweeting. This allows you to cover more ground (and also gives you two sets of ears for important talks, like the keynotes).
- Retweet and engage – Take some of the pressure off and avoid hogging the feed by interacting with others’ tweets. Miss something big? Don’t make it a habit, but don’t panic. See if someone else took note and retweet it.
- Tweet photos - Tweeting photos is a great way to break-up a monotonous feed, and sometimes you can stockpile photos in advance. Take advantage of networking time to snap a few pics of the event space or speakers.
- Don’t be afraid to be casual - The tweet I remember most from our event last week compared one of the speakers to Captain America. It was relevant yet witty. Don’t be afraid to break away from the seriousness of the event topic and have some fun. Whether it’s noting the delicious lunch spread or pointing out that one the panelists’ chairs look incredibly uncomfortable, personal interjection is often appreciated by your followers.
These are just a few tips to get you started in your live-tweeting adventures. Just keep in mind that every event will be unique, and your social goals may change from one live-tweeting undertaking to the next.
Just because the holiday season is approaching, doesn’t mean its time to slack off. Being a PR specialist means that we need to be on the top of our game regardless of the season. What better way to keep up with the latest and brush up on your skills than by attending some of the DC area's PR-focused events? Not sure where to go? Check out our list of local events in the last two months of the year:
Event: Doing Digital Right. Developing an Effective Customer Engagement Strategy
Host: Women in Technology (WIT)
Location: Eggspectation, 5009 Westone Plaza, Chantilly, Virginia
Time: 7:30AM - 9:30AM
Cost: Member: $25/Non-Member: $45
Description: Join this breakfast event to hear from a panel of digital strategists and marketing experts to learn the latest in digital engagement strategies. You’ll hear about long-term trends vs. short-lived fads, what technologies you should be paying attention to and how all of this can help with acquiring, retaining and engaging customers.
Event: Third Annual Public Relations Issues of the Day for Nonprofits and Associations
Location: Pepco Edison Place Gallery, 702 8th Street, NW, Washington, DC
Time: 8:00AM – 10:00AM
Cost: Members: $35/Non-Members: $55/Students: $10 ($10 more at the door)
Description: Another morning event, this one will feature roundtable discussions focused on best practices for non-profit and association PR. Attendees can attend 4 of our 11 discussion topics, including:
- The Intersection between Branding and PR: Making your Association Memorable
- Positioning Your Association as the "Go To" Resource
- Creating Infographics that Convey Key Messages on One Page
- Crisis Communications
- Search Engine Optimization
- Embracing Mobile Technology: Connecting Effectively with Members
- Keeping Out of Litigation: Legal Issues of Social Media
- To Censor or Not to Censor: Strategies for Handling Negative Comments on Social Media
- Online Video Strategy
- Nonprofits and Partnerships
- The Five Things You Must Know when Revamping Your Association’s Website
Event: Trend Outlook: Adapting PR to the Technology (R)evolution
Location: Embassy Suites, 8517 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, VA 22182
Time: 11:30AM – 1:30PM
Cost: Members: $28/Non-Members: $38 ($5 more at the door)
Description: This lunchtime talk will focus on the role technology plays on PR practitioners – where should our focus be to get the most out of the advances in technology for ourselves and our clients?
Event: One-Day Boot Camp for Emerging PR Stars
Location: The National Press Club, Washington, D.C.
Time: 9:00AM – 4:30PM
Cost: $795 - $2015 (bundle packages available for Boot Camp and Media Relations Conference)
Description: This event is a one-day intensive workshop that will provide emerging PR stars with the critical tools, strategies and insights needed to take their careers to the next level in today's communications environment.
Event: Media Relations Conference
Host: PR News
Location: The National Press Club, Washington, D.C.
Time: 8:30AM – 4:30PM
Cost: $895-$2015 (bundle packages available for Boot Camp and Media Relations Conference)
Description: This event will focus on best practices for building relationships with journalists and bloggers. It will also address reporters and influencers on social media who should you should be talking to and how to keep your message straight in a crisis.
In a time crunch and looking for ways to brush up on your PR skills on your own schedule? Check out SpeakerBox’s on-demand webinars, whitepapers and tip-sheets here!
In all my years working in public relations, it seems as though one thing has not changed—the belief from many outside of the PR world that if they are planning or hosting an event that media relations is a silver bullet to encourage or increase event attendance. Specifically, there is a feeling of “if I can just get the word out—be it through a press release or a media advisory—then the media will cover the event in advance and voilà, event attendance will increase.”
There are some events where this can be the case. Notable keynote speakers, newsworthy annual events and launches are examples of events that can garner pre-coverage.
Now I’m not suggesting that you exclude media relations in your event promotion, but it needs to be part of a larger outreach strategy. For the bulk of events, the media will see its role as attending (if it’s compelling and newsworthy) and reporting on the event after it happens. The pre-event media relations should be done to build the awareness with the media and encourage their attendance to your event. It can also open doors for other coverage opportunities (maybe they are working on articles about Open Source software development, startup trends or applications in the cloud).
So, if pre-event media coverage is going to be minimal and leave you disappointed, what are the ways you can maximize exposure on your event and get the attendance that you are aiming for? Successful event promotion should include the following tactics:
- Leverage social media. Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ to promote your event. Hopefully you have already cultivated an appropriate following on these platforms and by promoting your event on social media you are reaching out directly to people who have already opted in to hearing what you have to say.
- Use the power of your Rolodex. Hopefully you, or the organization hosting the event, have a good database of contacts that would be interested in attending your event. Put your email to good use and send out invitations directly to the people that you want to attend your event.
- Get others involved. Ask others who work for the organization, who serve on the board (if applicable) or who have expressed an interest in the event, to help promote it to their contacts. Sure, there may be some overlap but by including others in event promotion you greatly expand the number of people you are able to reach.
- Identify other groups or organizations that can help. If you’re hosting an event for undergraduate students, research universities in the area you live and reach out to appropriate student groups. If you’re hosting an event for other PR/marketing professionals, engage other PR/marketing groups – just as the local PRSA chapter – in promoting the event. If you’re hosting an event for startups, ask the incubators in the region the event is taking place to help promote the event to their contacts.
- Include your event in the events calendar of your local news outlets. Most local news outlets, whether it be a major national newspaper, a weekly community paper or the local TV station keep a calendar of upcoming events. Submitting your event to these calendar listings is a great way to inform readers without a hard news hook.
Creating a well thought out and inclusive event promotion campaign, and not simply relying on a press release sent out en masse to the media, greatly increases the chances of the right people hearing about, and attending, your event. And, if securing media coverage of the event is of importance to you, absolutely work with a PR pro to do some targeted outreach to specific and relevant media outlets. The good news is that once you have a successful event under your belt, media relations for subsequent events may be easier because there is a history of interest and data to pull from to provide some advance newsworthiness.
You know why I love PR? You’re never bored.
In my first three months as a full time SpeakerBoxer I have gotten to dip my toe in to just about every element of PR, and there are many. That’s probably why public relations is number seven on the list of the top most confusing professions. But PR pros are lucky because they’re never done finding new things to try.
Before last weekend I had been to fashion week once. I spent an hour just walking around Lincoln Center in awe and not just because of the outrageous clothes, chic vendors, or the fact that I was in the same room as Anna Wintour.
I was amazed by how much work it must have taken to choreograph hundreds of shows with a revolving door of VIPs and a constant stream of press that knows no boundaries.
Everywhere you looked there were PR pros running around with headsets and clipboards checking off lists and making sure everything was perfect. It looked stressful, exhausting, and demanding. But really it looked like so much fun.
Last weekend I had the opportunity to be a PR volunteer during Fashion Week in NYC at a VIP event. It was exactly as exhausting and intimidating as it looked. All of the sudden I was one of the maniacs running around with a clipboard trying to get things perfect. Here are a few things I learned from my time at NYC Fashion Week:
1: Know what’s going on around you.
There is no faster way to annoy a VIP than not knowing who they are. If you’re working an event – and this goes beyond just the world of fashion - do some research and know who you are working with. Being able to have a casual conversation about their latest project will make you look more professional and put them at ease.
2: Even if your job isn’t so glamorous—smile.
When people think of PR they think of parties and red carpets. But let’s face it, at the entry/volunteer level you’re at the bottom of the barrel—and that’s fine. Take every job that is handed to you (or more accurately thrown at you) and be great at it. At the end of the day people will notice that you did all the work they didn’t want to and they’ll appreciate it.
3: You don’t know everything so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
People in the PR world understand how eager and willing you are to get experience. That being said, no one expects you to know everything. It’s better to clear up any confusion you have right away than to make a mistake later.
So basically here’s my message to all the PR students/recent grads out there: I was recently in your shoes and PR is awesome but your career is going to go only as far as you push it.
Get out of your routine and try something different. You never know who you'll meet and what new opportunites you'll find. I never thought my first job would be at a tech PR firm, but every day I’m challenged to learn something new and push the boundaries of what I know I can do.
A few PR Volunteers from Fashion Week
I have been involved the capital chapter of the Entrepreneur Organization (EO|DC) for a little over a year now, and one of the more exciting programs I've seen them lead is an awards program recognizing student entrepreneurs: Global Student Entepreneur Award Program (GSEA).
ASK THE INFLUENCER: We asked the EO|DC Board Member for Emerging Programs who is in charge of the DC regional GSEA event this year, Michael Goldstein, to share his perspective on the program. Also founder of SwitchPitch, Micheal is a big believer in entrepreneurs, particularly in the DC region, and believes this is a great year for the DC community since this is the first time DC will host the regional competition as well as hosting the global awards for finalists, attracting young entrepreneurs from all over the world!
The global organization of EO has hosted this program for over ten years, where student entrepreneurs have a chance to compete through local, regional or virtual competitions all over the world to win their shot at going head to head against the best student entrepreneurs at the Global Finals.
This year's regional competition will be held in Washington, DC at Atlantic Media's HQ at the Watergate on September 16th, with a deadline for students to submit applications by September 2nd. If you know of a student, or are a student entrepreneur, don't wait! Pass along this flyer, spread the word. Make sure to get your application in by registering here.
The Global Awards, also held in DC for the first time, will award a US$10,000 cash prize, plus tens of thousands in business products and services donated by EO members, including Web services, printing, PR, consulting and more, to the global winner. Last year's global winner was Chelsea Sloan, University of Utah student and founder of Uptown Cheapskate, a teen/young adult fashion exchange franchise.
Here's a little more perspective from Michael Goldstein:
SBX: Can you share an example of an amazing entrepreneur that really caught your eye?
Michael: I've been involved with GSEA for three years. I am continually amazed at the quality of students and how much they've accomplished as undergrads. To give a comparison - when I was in school at Boston University, I sold cinder blocks to students to raise their beds. I thought the logistics and distribution were fairly sophisticated.
At the most recent GSEA competition, a nuclear physics undergrad developed a smartphone attachment that replaces the Geiger Counter to detect radio active nuclear material - now that's sophisticated!
Most of the GSEA businesses are closer to cinder blocks than Geiger Counters - an air filter ecommerce business with subscription delivery; edible bug farm with restaurant clients; a breathalyzer attachment for smartphones. The commonality is they are all very talented entrepreneurs combining an education with growing a business.
SBX: The global awards are in DC this year! There is a terrific ecosystem for entrepreneurs here locally, how can people get involved?
Michael: EO|DC members can volunteer to judge the event - a very rewarding experience! Undergrads with revenue-generating businesses should apply to the DC regional competition by Sept. 2 at www.gseadc.org.
SBX: Tell me a little bit about the upcoming regional competition. How many entrepreneurs do you expect to participate?
Michael: We have six slots for entrepreneurs at the competition. Judges come from the entrepreneurial community and provide great feedback and networking opportunities for the participants. Also, the entire EO membership is invited to attend and network with the student entrepreneurs.
SBX: How do students get more information if they want to participate?
Michael: Check out the website www.gseadc.org and register!
--Elizabeth Shea, @eliz2shea
“I don’t always travel to conferences and pose as a co-worker. But when I do, I prefer to impersonate Ali Robinson by pretending to have converted to Islam.”
Major jetlag happening from the long Boston flight, so just a few quick-twitch, waiting-at-the-airport thoughts after two days of inbound marketing education, opinion, and general hoopla:
1. Being an outbound marketer these days seems a lot like being a smoker. It’s embarrassing to tell people about it, and you’re no longer welcome in the state of California.
2. In the eternal struggle between content quantity and quality, quantity is winning—but it shouldn’t be. Voluminous, low-quality content does more harm than good for most brands. Think about that for a second.
3. Entertaining keynote from Nate Silver on the high probability of marketers learning the wrong lessons from their data. If you ask me, measurement and analysis are two very different activities. The former is a process; the latter’s a skill.
4. Strange keynote from Arianna Huffington, in which she seemed to depict technology—presumably electronic technology—as the enemy of physical wellbeing. Then, she suggested we all visit huffingtonpost.com to learn more about sleep.
5. Make your content modular, say the content gurus. It’s the only way you’ll generate enough content to feed the inbound beast. One presenter was even bragging about how his book was so modular, none of the chapters had anything to do with each other. Wait a second...
6. Not as much SEO talk as I'd expected. As search engines and networks get smarter, SEO experts seem to be getting a bit more marginalized.
7. Regina’s Pizza in Boston is delicious. The fact that Papa John Schnatter has a million locations worldwide and Regina’s has like 5 (in New England only) makes me question the market economy.
There is a long standing sentiment that DC is dead in August. The networking calendar for the month certainly reflects that. NVTC and Women in Technology's calendars were literally blank. Never fear, the good people that host Tech Breakfast and DC Tech Meetup have made sure that those of us who stay and enjoy a quiet city have a few events to attend - and without the normal traffic, getting to each should be a breeze.
Here's what I have on my radar for the month:
Tech Breakfast (http://www.meetup.com/TechBreakfast)
NOVA Tech Breakfast, 8am, AOL, Dulles, VA
Featured companies: Foundation DB, Rugged.io, Hy.ly, Milestone Pod, SafeMonk
Columbia Tech Breakfast, 8am, Columbia, MD
Companies include: Infoduce, Crowdvance, Urban Delivery, Nettadonna, 1100 Energy
DC Tech Breakfast, Microsoft, Chevy Chase, MD
Companies include: EasyWebContent, SimpleTix, Silica Labs, Trip Tribe, HiQualia
DC Tech Meetup - Summer Drinks Edition
Buffalo Billiards DC
"No big talks or demos. Just a cool venue, cold beers, icy cocktails and you."
They will also use it as a fundraiser for their Fall line-up too.
What did I miss? Where will you be networking this month?
At some point during the first two-thirds of an NFL season, each team gets an extra week off for rest and preparation.
They call it the "bye-week"
Supposedly, Bill Belichick likes to use this time for self-scouting, which basically means scrutinizing his own team's tendencies and mining that data for insights.
"This is interesting, Bill. The data shows that Hernandez does most of his killings between weeks 2 and 6."
I was thinking about this yesterday as I read through some of the stats from our agency's own CMS dashboard. (For the uninitiated, that means Content Management System.)
Personally, we use Hubspot. And I like to mention Hubspot in my posts because every time I do mention Hubspot, Hubspot sends me a check for 50 Spot Bucks, which are units of Hubspot currency that can be used at Hubspot to collect Hubspot-themed merchandise. (Total value of the previous sentence: 350 Spot Bucks. Ka-ching!)
If you're not using a CMS for your Web content, you really should be. But that's a topic for another webcast, namely this one:
Instead, I want to use this post to reveal the top 5 things that SpeakerBoxers care about, as evidenced by several years of company blogging and keyword tagging.
Drum roll, please.
At #5 (with 90 total blog tags) -- Marketing
Take that, people who still think of us as just a PR firm.
At #4 (with 94 tags) -- PR Industry
When things happen in our industry, we pay attention.
At #3 (with 98 tags) -- PR Strategy
The only PR element we care more about than the industry itself? The strategy. And frankly, that makes pretty good sense.
At #2 (with 133 tags) -- Events
SpeakerBoxers like going to things, mostly when there's breakfast.
And finally, at #1 (with an astounding 236 tags) -- Social Media.
Wowzers! It seems we are, collectively, obsessed with social media. Like... Kathryn food obsessed!
Now some of this is likely due to the fact that social media is always changing. In fact, the whole landscape of social media can turn on its head in just the time it takes for MySpace to clean out their fridge for the open house.
Another explanation is that we're a digital communications agency specializing in technology. And social media is driven by... you guessed it... Vanity. I mean technology!
But I've got a third explanation that might very well be the most accurate: Social Media exists to perpetuate itself.
See, social media is kind of like Skynet, the misanthropic computer system from the Terminator movies. Once you get it online, it just starts replicating and proliferating until everything on the Internet is a self-referencing link.
"Finally killed John Conner. I should tweet about that."
Now the good part about this is that you can get information fast.
The bad part is, what we're mainly getting information about is social media.
So that's your million-dollar take-away, courtesy of a blog post on blogging.
You won't win any Lombardi trophies with that insight, but at least we don't have to play the Steelers this week.
If you're a member of the Technology Marketing Alliance, we hope you'll join us for our next event, "Growing Your Company, Changing Course and Exceeding Client Expectations." Our speaker will be Joe Mechlinski, CEO of entreQuest and author of Grow Regardless.
You can register here. Event details are as follows:
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
The Tower Club - Tysons Corner
7:30 to 10:00 a.m.
In this presentation Joe will share the four steps to grow your organization regardless of its size, industry, the economy, and despite the government. He will explain the importance of motivating your team to own the direction they are moving, and help you understand the four dynamics that are changing the world today: distraction, disconnection, distrust, and debt.
Our society is more complex than ever before. Technology has revolutionized virtually everything about the way we do business and the way we interact. To grow regardless, we must accept these new realities and draw upon that understanding to develop a fresh mindset. We can harness the power of the eQ Growth Methodology and use these new realities to our advantage going forward.
Joe Mechlinski is recognized as a nationwide authority on U.S. small business growth; Joe is a popular speaker, entrepreneur, community activist and bestselling nonfiction author. His debut book, Grow Regardless, debuted on The New York Times Bestseller list, as well as the USA Today, Barnes & Noble and Amazon lists. Joe is also CEO and Co-Founder of entreQuest, Inc., a Baltimore management consulting firm that has helped hundreds of companies prosper through some of the worst economic times in history.
You can read more about Joe, and his book, Grow Regardless in this Q&A.
All attendees will receive a complimentary copy of Joe’s book.
Hope to see you there.
-- Katie Hanusik