(Image Credit: Twitter)
Ill be the first to admit that Ive always bit a tad skeptical of Twitter
, the social networking/micro-blogging site that allows users to send updates or tweets to a network of followers on Twitters website. Im not sure if its the 140-character limit or the name Twitter (I, without fail, think of Tweety Bird
every time someone mentions Twitter. Even now Im thinking I tawt I taw a puddy tat.), but Ive never been fully on the Twitter bandwagon. Ive always thought it was interesting and somewhat cool but it also seemed to be void of real content after all, how much can you really say in 140 characters? Plenty, it turns out.
Earlier this month a Cal-Berkeley
grad student studying in Egypt used Twitter
to help him secure a release from an Egyptian prison. James Karl Buck Twittered the word arrested from his cell phone as he was taken to a police station following an anti-government protest. Buck was covering the protest, which he had found out about through Twitter, as part of his multimedia thesis project on Egypts new leftists and the blogosphere. As the protest turned violent, Buck and his translator, Mohammed Maree, were arrested even though they were attempting to stay away from heart of the dangerous scene.
Bucks simple message initially written so that people would know he had not disappeared - caught the attention of several of his friends, one of whom wrote about Bucks arrest and detainment on his blog. While in prison, Buck sent Tweets every few hours to update contacts on his status, noting he had seen a prosecutor and no charges would be filed. Within 24 hours, Bucks school hired a lawyer and the student was freed. The status of his translator, from whom he was separated is unknown, but Buck is now telling his story through Twitter
and other avenues
, in the hopes of helping his friend. It would be hard not become a Twitter convert after hearing this remarkable story. Buck needed just eight letters to get his message out there, demonstrating just how powerful one word can be. So while Ill probably still think of Tweety Bird when I think of Twitter, Ill also think of how it helped one man to freedom and how powerful a social network can be.
With home base out here in Tysons Corner it is hard to get us downtown for any type of event but last nights TECH cocktail DC 2 at MCCXXIII was worth the trek. In total, 6 SBXers were in attendance and saw some local technology start ups show off their stuff. Demos were being given by AwayFind, iGala, Odeo, Voxant, WhyGoSolo and last but certainly not least Loladex.
Along with seeing demos and supporting our client Loladex, this was a great night of networking since there were over 400 attendees. Below are some photos of us at the event.
Paul Duning with Frank Gruber, Somewhat Frank / TECH cocktail
Some of the SpeakerBox attendees:
Ali Smith, John Terrill, Grace Kim and Paul Duning
Taylor Bennett, Edleman, Shana Glickfield,
Amplify Public Affairs, and Ned Irons, August Jackson
Dan Goodman, Loladex and Lisa Throckmorton
Brendan Foley and Sam Blum of Razume
Two weeks ago, I caught TEKgroup's
2008 Online Newsroom Survey results
. You have to register
to see the full results, but TEKgroup's press release
shares some of the results from the survey of more than 400 journalists:
* "Not surprisingly, the use of audio and video recordings within an organizations online newsroom escalated this year. Although audio files are still considered by only 61% of journalists surveyed to be important at some level, the percentage reflects a jump of 16% from last years survey."
* "The overall importance of viewing video files increased by 15%, and accounted for 71% of journalists who participated in the survey."
* "New to the survey were questions regarding the importance of accessing company background (97%), registering for media credentials (79%), and submitting an information request form (88%)."
Seeing the survey results brought to mind an important topic we frequently discuss with clients: what are the essential elements for your organization's online newsroom?
In no particular order of importance, my essentials are below.
: Perhaps an obvious element to include, but I've seen too many organizations forget to update their sites when they release news to not mention it here. Its also important to think about whether all of your organization's news is 'wire' worthy. SpeakerBox client Red Hat
does a good job distinguishing which announcements are appropriate for an official press release vs. placement on the company's news blog
. A news blog can be just as effective as a wire release if you turn your core journalists to the blog for more frequent news, and with effective pitching. Each announcement (both releases and blog entries) should also be available by permalink.
* Media Coverage:
Include an archive of your recent media coverage with links to that coverage.
* In the words of Rohit Bhargava at the Influential Marketing Blog
, "Help your content travel":
Don't expect that all of your site's visitors will want to receive your content in the same way, so give them options that encourage them to save and share your content in a way that suits their needs. I recommend options to save press releases, blog entries and recent media coverage (as a PDF and via social bookmark sites like del.icio.us
) or share it (via e-mail or sites like Technorati
. One of the best add-ons I've seen that encourages content sharing is bookmarking and sharing button AddThis
.) You should also provide RSS feeds for each area on the newsroom, as well as a feed that provides updates for the entire page. Bhargava said it best: "When you have content that can be portable ...submitting them to relevant sites will help your content travel further, and ultimately drive links back to your site."
* Multimedia Content
: As the TEKgroup survey indicated, journalists want to see multimedia content available via the online newsroom. Include high resolution images (including logos, executive head shots, product images, etc.), embeddable videos and audio files.
* Background information
: Include executive biographies, backgrounders on company history and products.
* Upcoming Events
: Let visitors know where your executives will be speaking or exhibiting.
: Archives of corporate news, media coverage, executive information and events can be difficult to navigate. Offer search tools that gives visitors the option to quickly search the contents of the full site and only the contents of your newsroom.
* Contact Information
: Make it as simple as possible for media to request more information or interviews. Include contact information for a real person, not just an online form.
Are there other items you'd include on your list of essentials? Let me know below!
Lisa at the 2007 SBX day mini golf tournament
Here at SBX we have recently announced some great news
Lisa Throckmorton, a 6-year SBX vet, has been promoted to executive vice president (EVP). Formerly a senior vice president, she will now focus even more on running the day-to-day of the business, overseeing client services and staffing and marketing the firm.
This promotion is well deserved Along with leading the firms recent rebrand and our conversion from PCs to Macs, Lisa is responsible for staff training and development, which included the launch of SpeakerBox University.
All of us here couldnt be happier for Lisa. Our whole team works directly with her in some way, shape or form and we recognize the talented and savvy PR pro/business leader that she is. We are all looking forward to seeing her show off her skills in her new role as EVP.
As a tribute, here are the top 10 things we love about Lisa:
1. She takes the time to mentor colleagues and really cares about our professional development
2. She always knows the juiciest celebrity gossip
3. She gives sage advice on all things PR/tech
4. She throws a heck of a party, case-in-point the SBX 10 year anniversary blowout
5. She is on a never-ending hunt for candy
6. She understands how to motivate people and comes up with creative ideas and rewards
7. Her undying love of the Redskins/DC sports and Easy Mac
8. She never gets her compact car towed when she parks in reserved or oversized spaces all day
9. She always wants the best for SpeakerBox, our clients and staff
10. She is capable of wearing 4-inch heels all day long
- Ali Smith
Many times when a company embarks on a public relations campaign they forget about their most important public their employees. Almost every company Web site states, our people are our greatest asset.
Most companies write this to mean, without the innovation or dedication of our employees we would not have the product or service we offer. What many companies fail to see is the importance of employees as brand ambassadors
. They see that a bulk of new hires come from referrals and small companies recognize that early sales come from the existing personal relationships of employees, but yet they do nothing to empower employees
to become true ambassadors
for the company.Empowering your employees to become brand ambassadors
through internal communications
does not require
setting up an entirely new program; it can simply be done by repurposing the content you are delivering to audiences outside of the company. A quick aside brand ambassadors are most effective
when they truly understand and buy in to the corporate mission and messages
but that is a whole other blog post
Back to arming your employees with the tools they need...
Perhaps the easiest PR tool to repurpose is the press release. Do your employees know when you release news? Similarly, are they aware of major articles appearing in the media? Getting the word out about news internally can be as simple as an all-hands email or a quick re-write of the press release into more of a news story for publication in an employee newsletter
or blog. If you do not already publish an employee newsletter
or blog, perhaps it is time to start one.
If you cant find the time or resources to launch a newsletter or blog, an often overlooked resource for reaching employees is the corporate Intranet
. Many times these sites are simply portals to timesheets and other administrative services. Take a look at your site can it be formatted so that corporate news (including press releases, recent promotions, new hires, corporate event announcements, etc
) appears on the homepage?
In addition to press releases, look at other stories floating around your company. One gripe of PR people everywhere is, I have great customer stories, but my customers dont want to do a press release or talk to the media. Take a look at these stories and see if you can share them with employees to give some insight into what other parts of the company are doing. Write up these stories for newsletter and Intranet
These are just a few small steps you can take to make sure your most important public
is part of your public relations program.
- Piper Conrad
Loladex, a new client here at SpeakerBox, launched its public beta last week - and if you haven't already, you should check them out. Loladex is a local search engine that helps users tap their social network for recommendations. Search results are based on personal relevance, meaning that recommendations from your friends or trusted sources (sites like OpenTable.com and Washingtonian Magazine) are weighted to appear at the top of Loladex's results. Have a favorite restaurant, flower shop or dentist? Hate your mechanic or tailor? Let your friends know.
Here's a recap of some of the great coverage they've received so far:
o Washington Post (1 & 2)
o Washington Business Journal
o Social Times
o Somewhat Frank
o East Coast Blogging
o Kelsey Group (1 & 2)
o Local Onliner
o Local SEO Guide
o Marketing Shift
o Digital Media Wire
We're excited to be part of the Loladex team and encourage you to keep up to date with founders Laurence Hooper and Dan Goodman via the company's blog or on Twitter. Add the Facebook application and start voting!
Location: Leesburg, Virginia, United States
Founded: March, 2007
Started by two ex-AOLers, Loladex adds a social layer to local search. Users can ask friends on Facebook to recommend local businesses and can add their own ratings to results. The restaurants, shops, and plumbers rated most highly by your friends
Information provided by CrunchBase
(Photo credit: FOSE)
This week, for the first time in my DC public relations career, I attended the granddaddy of government technology expositions: FOSE. I know that the show tends to get a bad rap in many contractor and vendor circles, but I went in with an open mind to see just how 1105 Government Information Group's much hyped spectacle works.
The first thing I found hard to ignore was the attendee swag poachers. I know that exhibitors come armed with branded swag for attendees to take, but I witnessed a significant percentage of attendees going from booth to booth, taking every piece of swag they could grab without stopping to look at any products, take some literature, have a conversation or even let the exhibitors scan their badges. Honestly, is that Cisco superball or Google yo-yo that big of a deal? I stood guard over my clients box of t-shirts to prevent the whole lot from being snagged by overzealous attendees, and I can't imagine I was the only one acting the role of a security guard. Attendee swag grabbers are part of FOSE's reputation, but considering the investment exhibitors make to be there, I think it is a shame to see. Exhibitors attend conferences like FOSE to have meaningful conversations with potential buyers. While there are many of those people there, it is hard to navigate the sea of folks just out to collect free stuff. (Good to see that I'm not the only one to walk away with this observation.)
Now that I have that out of my system, I should emphasize that I was also very impressed by the technology on display. As I was there on behalf of SpeakerBox client ScienceLogic, most of my time was spent in their booth,helping to manage traffic and administer a survey (more on that on a later date...). But the technology surrounding us was fascinating, including a highly impressive document imaging solutions from Kirtas Technologies. They had a large, complicated-looking machine in front of their booth (obviously their product), which was cradling a book. The machine would carefully turn a page in the book, scan it, then turn to the next page and repeat. If I had more time, I probably wouldve spent the whole show watching the machine slowly digest its book. Its shocking how far we have come since tabletop scanners.
One final issue that I think I have to address: exhibitors tend to say that FOSE is just for the spectacle, and that very few leads come out of it. My client ScienceLogic, however, has had a far different experience, with successful contracts almost always coming out of the show during the years theyve attended. And judging by the number of leads they generated and meaningful conversations I saw taking place, this will prove to be another good year.
My final verdict? For the little guy, at least, FOSE is still a great show to attend. And for the POLITE attendee, its a great place to catch a sneak peek of the latest, greatest and the next big thing in government technology.
- John Terrill