Good news, enterprise technology fans: The New York Times has not only updated the look of its popular Bits blog, but they are also expanding tech coverage to include hot enterprise technology topics including cloudcomputing, big data and information security. Reuters' Jennifer Saba wrote about the changes:
Traditionally the Times’ tech coverage has had a more consumer-centric bent. But with hacking in the headlines and the term cloud computing popping up in TV commercials, for example, these issues are becoming more mainstream. “Whether they know it or not, it effects (consumers),” [New York Times technology editor Damon] Darlin said.
This is music to the ears of all those who work closely with enterprise technology companies and know about the level of innovation occurringg in these organizations on a daily basis.
Read more from Darlin in his explanation of the blog's changes here.
Are you an entrepreneur launching a new product, service or App? Are you racing against the clock to help bring visibility to your startup? Drive downloads? Raise money?
If so, please join us as we partner with Fortify.vc to present a free webinar on December 7, 2011 at 1:00pm EST focusing on PR for startups. Jonathon Perrelli and Lisa Throckmorton will share best practices for what entrepreneurs should consider when building their promotional and launch plan.
They will cover:
- Basic requirements before any promotional push.
- How to leverage social media in a productive way.
- Tips on working with the media.
- Budget versus results. What to expect.
- And more…
To learn more about the webinar and sign up please follow the link below.
It has been said before, but after reading this blog post about a company’s mistake of offering a 75% off deal on Groupon, I think it’s worth repeating: marketing tactics that work for some, may not work for you. And just because it’s trendy, doesn’t mean it’s a necessity. Case in point is a small UK bakery – the owner jumped on the Groupon bandwagon hoping to boost their sales and attract new and future repeat customers. To be fair, that might have worked, but they also found themselves having to make 102,000 cupcakes thanks to a rush of 8,500 Groupon customers. The bakery was forced to recruit additional employees to meet the unexpected demand and ended up losing nearly $20,000 on the deal. Talk about an unforeseen expense. Sadly, at the bakery’s expense, it’s a good reminder that not all avenues are right for every company. All of the popular mediums, such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, apps, etc. (including all of the location-based deal finders like the Groupons and LivingSocials of the world), are mediums that need to be carefully understood, researched and vetted on all levels. Your company’s customers may be prime users of the tools, but it will only find success if it engages with them correctly and deploys at the right time, in the right manner…if at all. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to explore all the options out there and test the waters, but be careful where you spend your money and energy. There’s something for everyone out there, but not everything is for someone.
Cupcakes are great and all, but who wants to be knee deep in them?
- Mary Evans
Thank goodness for Philip Sharp. Last week, I read this New York Times article on New York City's thriving startup scene, which included this fantastic map of the city's startups:
Of course, my immediate reaction was to think that I'd love to see a similar map of DC's own growing startups. Fortunately, when I received this morning's StartupDigest, Michael Mayernick shared the good word that Philip Sharp had taken the time to create his own map of DC area startups - an amazing resource for anyone curious about where our region's startups call home:
Thanks to Philip for investing the time to map this out. If you are a DC startup and don't see yourself on the list, Philip has instructions on this post for how to get added.
Maybe it’s the geek in me, but I couldn’t resist sharing a blog post I read the other day about web typography. We’ve come a long way (and when I say we, I’m referring to web developers, graphic designers, publishers and the like – I am no expert) in terms of fonts, characters and formatting. Long gone are the days of the basic rigid visual choices including left/right/center or Serif/Sans Serif. There’s so much more out there, and the unique possibilities are endless. However with more choices means more complications, which of course requires more education. There is a great website called Thinking With Type where you can learn about (or brush up on) all of the various visual elements that can be applied to web text, as well as that in print. Looking through the “catalog”, I’m reminded of some of my college courses where we learned the definitions of “kerning” and “superfamilies”, the difference between “typeface” and “font” and the meaning of countless, silly-looking proofreading symbols. It’s a bit overwhelming, but it’s a great reminder of just how specific you can get in terms of customizing your image, both online and off. (Besides the message itself, it’s amazing the visual implications text can have!) You may find some of this stuff helpful, you may not. But if nothing else, it’ll make you sound smarter the next time you’re working on revamping your website or publishing a book.
- Mary Evans
This week marked the start of Digital Capital Week (DCWEEK), where thousands of social media enthusiasts and experts, designers, developers and entrepreneurs participated in more than 200 events. SpeakerBox is a proud sponsor of DCWEEK and several of our staff took in sessions and conferences on topics like media in a changing digital world, online influencers, mobile apps and resources for startups.
Although we couldn't attend every event, there was no shortage of content and coverage across social media platforms. We wouldn't expect anything less from a tech-savvy audience where the immediacy of social media encouraged discussion and allowed those not in attendance to get a feel for the key session takeaways.
Below is a snapshot we pulled of Twitter, YouTube and Instagram posts for DCWEEK created by the greater DC tech community and our team. You can also check out recaps on the DCWEEK blog.
What was your favorite session or moment from DCWEEK?
Public relations professionals aren’t the only ones grappling with the challenges associated with the move from “old” to “new” media – the people we’re pitching are, too. That’s the takeaway from a recent discussion held at the annual DCWEEK event – a showcase for DC-area tech companies.
On a panel called “Media in a Digital World,” reporter Angie Goff from NBC Washington was one of several participants to offer some insights into the way journalists and media outlets have had to adapt to the exploding popularity of social media and online news.
Some of the key takeaways she shared included:
- Traditional media – TV, newspapers, etc. – is not going anywhere. While people love the accessibility and immediacy of online news, traditional media is still considered the place to turn to for validation on a particular story because it’s coming from a proven, accredited organization.
- News outlets are becoming far more comfortable with social media sites. Whereas before a reporter would get scolded for recommending Twitter or Facebook to their audience, news outlets are now actively promoting and directing traffic to their online news feeds.
- Everyday users have gotten into the news reporting action. TV stations – in need of constant content yet strapped for resources -- are becoming more active in soliciting video news stories from the“average Joe.”
But perhaps the most interesting thing that came up during this conversation about change is one thing that hasn’t changed: the need to build relationships with reporters, and how that’s done. Reporters still heavily rely on PR contacts for getting information. In fact, with today’s constantly changing news cycle, reporters need more info, not less. And the ways of approaching them remain fairly traditional – while following and reaching out to them via Twitter works, so does old-fashioned email and phone outreach and follow-up. Even better is networking and in-person interaction.
The moral? Yes, things are changing – quickly – but many of the old school rules still apply. Do you agree?
- Pete Larmey
Photo courtesy of Ruha Devanesan
Let me get this out of the way:
I am a 2004 Penn State graduate with a degree in advertising/public relations from the College of Communications. I am neither ashamed of my history with the school nor my time spent there. What has come to light over the past week is nothing short of an atrocity and my anger, shame and resentment towards those responsible for both the crimes and the eventual cover-up pales only in comparison to my heartbreak for the victims.
That, however, has nothing to do with this post.
Beyond serving as the platform for this heinous crime, the Pennsylvania State University has botched the handling of the crisis beyond belief. President Graham Spanier has come off as aloof and incompetent. The legendary coach, Joseph V. Paterno, has appeared at times both senile and slyly competent, neither of which are good traits to portray during a trial of this magnitude. And that may not be the worst of it.
So what did the administration at large do?
- They allow Graham Spanier to issue a statement of support for the athletic director and a university vice president charged with perjury (and alleged conspirators in the cover-up).
- They try to control, and then cancel without warning, a press conference, leaving 150 national media correspondents in the lurch.
- They enforce radio silence on Graham Spanier and Joe Paterno.
- Despite an excellent public relations program, the University does not turn to any of its experienced faculty for advice or aid.
The keys to handling any crisis are transparency and proactivity – Penn State failed at both. Beyond the horrifying nature of the crime itself, the cover-up is what caused the rain of media attention – trying to hide behind an “iron curtain” shows that there is more to hide, or at least makes it appear so.
Unless, of course, there is more to hide.
What do you think? What’s your take on how Penn State has handled this situation?
It’s hard for me to resist anything David Bowie related, so when I came across this Social Media Superstardom article on Copyblogger it immediately did two things. One, it piqued my interest and two, it reminded me that I need to buy a new copy of The Labyrinth as mine has conveniently disappeared.
So, there are a few cues we can take from the futuristic Mr. Stardust when it comes to becoming a glam rock (or social media) superstar.
The main takeaways I see are:
- Talent is born, but it’s also made. Just because you’re not a musical (or social media) genius from the get go doesn’t mean you can’t get there with hard work.
- Find a hero to imitate. Take the core principles of someone you admire and apply it to your own work.
- Always work with the best. Persuade the best people you can think of to fill roles and get on board with your efforts.
Check out the article to read all seven.
– Ali Smith
(photo credit: Thuany Gabriela
Whenever we talk social media with our clients, the usual suspects generally pop up. We discuss the benefits of creating and maintaining a Facebook profile page, setting up a Twitter feed and building a list of followers, and the pro’s and con’s of LinkedIn. Interestingly, there’s one name out there that never seems to be mentioned: Tumblr. Which is curious, because, when you think about it, Tumblr may just possibly offer the best platform for sharing information in quick, easily digestible – yet still informative – bites.
For the uninitiated, Tumblr is somewhat of a cross between a blogging platform and social media site. Users can create and maintain their own personal “tumblogs,” aka “microblogs” – short (but not Twitter-short) online spaces to muse about whatever happens to be on their minds.
As Tumblr has grown in popularity – there are more than 33 million tumblogs on the site as of the writing of this post – so has its use by corporations as a means of promoting products and services. There are many big-name companies using Tumblr, including tech giant IBM. Likewise, a number of media outlets – The New York Times, Washington Post, etc. – have taken to Tumblr as a means of sharing news.
Unlike Facebook, however, which offers a very mainstream demographic, Tumblr’s user base appears to be younger…edgier…more prone to seeing through “marketing speak.” They also love visuals; Tumblr, like Instagram and Flickr, relies very heavily on images to get messages across.
That doesn’t mean Tumblr should be ignored as marketing vehicle; it just means that organizations that use it need to get very, very creative. In fact, it’s best to adhere to the following guidelines:
- Appeal to the young. Tumblr’s users tend to be on the younger side. Therefore, developing a tumblog on a solution that appeals to the 20-something set – a young developer community, for example, or a social app or trend – is a good rule of thumb.
- Keep it short. They’re called microblogs for a reason. You’ve got more space than a tweet, but still...get your messages out quickly.
- Try something pretty. If your product or service has a visual element to it, all the better. Tumblr users love pretty pictures.
Like the content on Tumblr, these are some very quick hits on what to keep in mind; there are many more ways to approach Tumblr as an online marketing tool. Just bear in mind that it’s not for every company, which is probably why it doesn’t get often get included in the same conversations as some of the other big kids on the social media block. But if you’ve got the tools, and if you’re looking to reach a very specific, young audience that can really champion your brand, it’s likely worth taking a tumble for.
- Pete Larmey
The PR News
awardrecognizes companies that provide a unique and supportive culture, and offersits employees career growth opportunities, as well as exceptional benefits,vacation time and perks. (One month paid sabbaticals, telecommuting privileges,paid healthcare
need I say more?)
The Stevies is a program that highlights female-owned/runcompanies that demonstrate dedication to its employee and HR tactics. Ouremployee retention and promotion rate is through the roof, so we couldnt beany prouder! We hiresmart, happy people. And it shows.
I think I speak for everyone when I say that were sincerelyhonored to be recognized by both award opportunities. We often joke around theoffice that SpeakerBox is one of a kind an establishment with the bells andwhistles that even our friends find hard to believe. Finding such a dedicated,supportive and fun work atmosphere is one in a million. From the clients we interactwith, the office lounges we work inside of and the staff were surrounded by,were richer than well ever know.