Dealing with cyber risks: An issue becomes a crisis when the media gets involved

We live in a digital age where we have to be aware of the many cyber risks that surround us. We have to be prepared for when our cyber security systems fail to protect us – because they will fail from time to time. In 2012, the personal information and credit card information of 77 million online users of Sony’s PlayStation were hacked. LinkedIn had 6.5 million encrypted passwords published on a Russian webpage where the hacker asked for help to crack the codes. These are large-scale examples but cyber risks are nonetheless issues that companies have to be prepared for. Because if a cyber-attack happens, the company leaders will be perceived as incompetent and unable to control their businesses, regardless of the fact that the company is the victim of a crime.

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An Honest Guide to Using LinkedIn Discussion Groups

This post was first published by Manny Veiga on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.

For a long time, LinkedIn Discussion Groups have been cast as the hidden treasure trove of social engagement and as every social media expert’s secret for LinkedIn marketing success. The “big tip” has always been to post a link to your blog in a relevant discussion group, and then watch as the page views come flowing in.

I’m skeptical.

LinkedIn spam
Spam” by Janet Galore is licensed under CC BY 2.0

When I was an in-house marketer, I spent hours joining groups, participating in discussions and sharing links. Through it all, I developed a sneaking suspicion that the topics in Groups were nothing more than thinly veiled ad copy repurposed and poorly disguised as legitimate discussion. And linking to my own blog posts never yielded the results – click-throughs, page views, leads – that I wanted.

If we’re being honest, very little about the activity in Groups looks anything like actual, you know, discussion. Most topics are self-promotional and the handful of legitimate conversations that do occur are pushed down by mountains of spam.

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‘Bland’ Kills Brands: Here’s How to Find Your Voice

This post was first published by Blaise Lucey on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.

Being bland can kill your brand.When the beaten and weary buzzword of “innovative” comes up, it’s inevitable that tech companies come to mind first. Whether we’re talking about 3D printing or the cloud, social or mobile networks, tech businesses are the ones that are thought of as brave barrier breakers.

Many are also leading the way in creating distinct, value-driven organizations. Google’s famous motto, “Don’t be evil,” has guided the company down an interesting path. The search giant has taken firm stands on the FCC’s net neutrality ruling, the NSA’s cloud monitoring and, most recently, climate change legislation. Facebook has exhibited a similar tact – launching a worldwide nonprofit,, to help everyone in the world access opportunities on the Internet.

These big moves can make a big difference. One study found that 60 percent of a consumer’s inclination to buy, recommend or work for a company is driven by corporate reputation – not products and services.

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3 Ways Tech Companies Can Avoid a Boring Office Launch

This post was first published by Jenna Burpee on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.

Cambridge Consultants

Full Disclosure: Cambridge Consultants is a March client

Cambridge Consultants recently opened an office in Boston, and since the March office is just around the corner of its new location, I had the opportunity to attend and photograph the Boston launch party earlier this month. As I had seen the space in its early stages, it was nice to see how far it’s come in just a few months.

It got me thinking about the hard work and dedication that goes into hosting a successful in-house event. As the event photographer, I was able to really focus on all of the small details that helped pull it all together; but, above all, I witnessed how taking pride in what you do helps make an event that much better. Read more

How Making a Client ‘Famous’ Led to Front Page Coverage

This post was first published by Hanah Johnson on March Communications’ page PR Nonsense.

2014-09-30_1354A common challenge in PR – no matter what sector – is maintaining client visibility during inevitable news lulls, where there may not be a steady stream of announcements to work with. This is what makes proactive media relations such a key driver behind successful PR programs.

What is Thought Leadership?

According to March’s Beth Brenner, PR agencies can maintain momentum without an immediate news pipeline by “keeping a focus on industry issues, rapidly responding to a hot news story or adding a bit of controversy.” This idea of “newsjacking” is just one way PR pros can carry out proactive media relations. If properly executed, consistent and relevant news hijacking lends itself to building thought leadership for the company and its particular subject matter experts. This involves establishing clients as go-to experts on a particular topic, ideally resulting in more inbound requests from key influencers seeking the executives’ opinions on important industry issues.

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A Nod to the Podcast: Is Audio the Next Great Content Marketing Tool?

This post was first published by James Young on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.

Podcast Content Marketing

After years of listening to the same iTunes playlists and stale talk radio programs, I finally moved the purple podcast app on my iPhone from my “useless” folder (where Safari, Game Center, Compass and Apple Maps still live) onto my home screen. In the last year, that app has become one of my most-used.

“This Week in Tech” usually kicks off my work week, because you can’t work in tech PR and be unaware of what’s going on in the tech world. Midweek, I’ll tap into the Grantland network for deep dives into sports and pop culture. “99% Invisible” gives me a look at the most fascinating elements of design and architecture (Ikea Hacking, anyone?). By the time Friday rolls around, I’m usually left with NPR’s “All Songs Considered,” Slate’s “Political Gabfest” and Harvard Business Review’s “HBR IdeaCast” – whatever else I missed. Read more

How to Maximize Your Meetings in a Multi-Tasking World

This post was first published by Caroline Legg on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.

Tech PR Conference Call MeetingWe’re all guilty of it: multi-tasking on mute during a conference call, whether it’s emailing on your laptop, texting on your cell phone or – if you can believe it – even riding the stationary bike at the gym.

InterCall, the world’s largest conference call company, used by 85 percent of Fortune 100 firms, recently surveyed 530 Americans on their usual conference call habits. And the results made it clear that we’re all struggling to focus amid all of the digital noise and distractions. Approximately 65 percent surveyed admitted to doing other work on calls and 63 percent said they were busy sending unrelated emails. Read more

5 Tips for Conducting Media Interviews… on Camera!

This post was first published by Meredith L. Eaton on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.

Tech PR Media TrainingEver since Forrester Research’s 2008 report, How Video Will Take Over The World, marketing and PR pros have been all over the rise of video content, especially since Dr. McQuivey found that just one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words! So, it’s no surprise that the media has caught on to the trend, too. These days, journalists are more frequently conducting remote video interviews with expert sources via Skype, a Google+ Hangout or even FaceTime. But, have marketing and PR firms’ media training services evolved to also incorporate training for these kinds of modern interviews? All too often, firms focus on the phone interview and in-person briefings, but, now, remote video interviews need to be added into the mix as standard. Beyond the interview content and topic messaging, below are five top tips to get spokespeople started when faced with a video interview for the first time! Read more

Is Native Advertising Useful for B2B Brands?

This post was first published by Blaise Lucey on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.

Native advertising shouldn't be done in a vacuum, it needs to be part of a larger campaign.At this point, you might have heard of native advertising as either a useful new marketing tool or an evil, corrupting influence. Whatever the case, there’s no doubt that it’s going to be a huge, oddly unifying force in the world of public relations, marketing and journalism.

You don’t have to look further than Buzzfeed to see how popular the trend has become. The tech publication recently landed $50 million in venture funding – in part because the revenue from the publication’s native advertising has been so profitable. Read more

3 Lessons from Customer Service I’ve Taken to Tech PR

This post was first published by Brette Querzoli on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.

2014-08-25_1439Since I was old enough to have a job, I worked in customer service. As it turns out, all of those years serving food or selling clothes brought me more than just a paycheck – the lessons I learned directly correlated to the basic skills I would need to become a tech PR professional.

I’ve worked as a sales associate, a telemarketer and a waitress, and each taught me something invaluable that helped me find some footing at the beginning of my PR career. So, if you are looking to get a start in public relations, here are three lessons from customer service jobs that can help ease the transition. Read more