Highwire’s Official Black Hat 2017 Recap

After some time to reflect, here’s our recap of Black Hat 2017 in Las Vegas.

For two decades, the annual conference has been creating opportunities for like-minded security researchers, influencers and hackers to mix and mingle. Talented practitioners across the globe flock to Black Hat, jumping at the chance to show off their latest findings, research and hacking techniques. For this community, it’s all about street cred, and Black Hat prides itself as being the premier stage for the best and the brightest. This year proved no differently, and members from Highwire PR’s security practice had a front row seat on all the action. Here are the takeaways:

Black Hat is Evolving

In the world of cybersecurity, insight is key and, at times, absolutely critical. Navigating this dark and interconnected web is complicated, and for vendors working to develop the latest and greatest in threat protection, Black Hat certainly fits the bill. Highwire saw an increase in client presence beyond the typical, passive 20×20 booth set-up. Instead, our clients were actively looking to advance their knowledge, specialize their technique and better understand what their customers are facing. Black Hat has evolved into the catalyst for that learning. And the awareness is growing. Although hacker attendees still reign during this week, we’ve seen more and more clients’ C-Suite inquiring in curious and positive ways about the conference as a strategic investment.

WannaCry is Still Making Us…well, Wanna Cry

Rubbing elbows with more than 15,000 security professionals gave the Highwire team perspective into some of the year’s more notable cybersecurity breaches. We heard first-hand what attendees thought of the infamous “WannaCry” ransomware attack. Almost 50-percent of people we spoke to felt as though this particular headliner was the “most over-hyped security breach” over the past year. Interestingly enough however, a near identical percentage (46.8) felt as though WannaCry was the most serious breach over the past year.

These numbers left us wondering: How can a cyberattack so severe be considered overhyped at the same time? Perhaps this points to tensions between media and security researchers. While the damage may have been a serious one (WannaCry impacted over 230,000 computers across 150 countries), researchers could be concerned about about how the attack was portrayed from a technical perspective by the media. Those of us closely following that particular cycle will remember how important it was to sort through over-hyped speculations vs. actual facts.

Let’s Get Together

On the media front, we kept our spokespeople busy, whether it was an exchange with NBC’s Alyssa Newcomb on election hacking or a video Q&A on application security with CSO’s Fahmida Rashid. In total, our agency secured more than 80 media briefings for our clients, fostering new and existing relationships and giving them a platform to share their story. While Highwire we build relationships via phone and email for our clients, there really is not substitute for actual, 1:1 facetime with a journalist.

All in all, Black Hat was an important investment for us and our clients, and we’re already kicking things into gear for the next big show…which is RSA 2018 in 244 days. But hey, who’s counting?

Tech Reporters Talk ‘Off-the-Record’ about Securing Media Coverage

Pitch Advice from Fortune, Forbes, Recode and more

Ever wonder why your company or client’s big announcement didn’t make the news? Highwire NYC is hosting a media panel, Off the Record: Media Talk Tech” in partnership with Norwest Venture Partners and Button next Tuesday, June 20, at Interface NYC — putting some of tech’s most sought after journalists in the hot seat with this and other burning questions. While it’s been anecdotally known that coverage priorities have shifted, you will leave this event with the data and insights on how to best approach the media.

Come join fellow PR, marketing and startup executives to learn what you need to know to compose a compelling pitch. The New York journalists will also be talking about the city’s growing startup scene and which areas of tech are most established and on the rise.

Our panel lineup will include:

  • Forbes / Alex Konrad, Technology Reporter
  • Fortune / Polina Marinova, Associate Editor
  • Recode / Jason Del Rey, Senior Editor
  • Fast Company / Ruth Reader, Reporter
  • Button / Mike Dudas, Co-founder and CRO (moderator)

Tickets cost $10 and all proceeds for the event will be donated to New York on Tech, which works with local schools, students and parents to create pathways for underrepresented students in technology. There is still time to register, just check out the event page here.

In the meantime, follow us on Twitter @HighwirePR and send us your burning questions for the panel!

3 Things to Know Before You Pitch a Journalist

Muck Rack and Mashable team up for a tell-all on pitching 101…

Constantly refreshing your inbox? Wondering if it’s too soon to call? Stalking social media profiles?

If it seems like pitching a reporter sounds a lot like dating, that’s probably because it is. And as a PR professional, you don’t want to come off too clingy, especially in the beginning of your “relationship.”

Mashable reporter Jason Abbruzzese (left) recently joined Muck Rack CEO Greg Galant (right) for a webinar on how to pitch journalists. So the next time you build up the courage to make a move on your desired journalist, consider the following:

Think long and hard about how to make your move

When it comes to pitching a journalist, first impressions are everything. You want to make sure your pitch is appealing, visually pleasing and relatable. Most importantly, you have to make sure the timing is right and start things off slow.

Journalists will be more responsive to those who take the time to get to know them rather than those who are just looking for coverage. Abbruzzese says, “I don’t care about who’s pitching me, but I tend to respond more to those who take the time to form a relationship with me.”

As for timing, most journalists prefer to be pitched mid-morning between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.—after they’ve had time to declutter their inboxes. But, of course, there’s always the exception to the rule.

“If you have a targeted pitch for a specific reporter, monitor when journalists are active on Twitter to get them while they’re online or taking a break,” Abbruzzese said.

Journalists like attention, but keep it subtle

According to Abbruzzese, journalists like when you follow them on social media, particularly Twitter. Not only is Twitter the most-valued social network, it serves as a way for journalists to let their readers know what they’re thinking and when. It can be a huge aid to pitching efforts.

“It’s fine to pitch a reporter you recently followed but be subtle,” says Abbruzzese. “Don’t ‘like’ my last 10 tweets, but interactions are key.”

It’s also good to keep in mind that journalists—just like you—are constantly checking their social media to see who’s giving them the most attention and who’s giving too much attention to too many journalists.

“If you’re a PR professional, you don’t want journalists to see you’ve been tweeting multiple people,” Abbruzzese said. But “journalists feel validated when they see their stories being shared [on Twitter].”

Accept that maybe they’re just not that into you

Maybe you got lucky and secured some initial interest from a journalist. Maybe it seemed like things were going well. But sometimes you just have to accept that the feeling wasn’t mutual and move on to the next.

For those who need some closure, the top reasons journalists tend to reject PR professionals are:

  • There’s no connection. “Personalized [pitches] or not doesn’t matter,” Abbruzzese said. “But PR pros should at least have an awareness of the publication and the journalist’s beat.” Simply put, you need to make an effort to get to know the person you’re pitching if you want a media relationship that will last.
  • You called one too many times. Journalists are (very busy) people too, with most receiving upwards of a few dozen pitches a day, according to Abbruzzese. The sad reality is most pitches don’t get a reply. Carefully read your situation to understand whether it’s OK to follow up.
  • You talked way too much. Before you make your move, make sure your pitch is as concise as possible. Abbruzzese says starting an email with, “Hey, saw your story and thought…” or “loved your piece on so and so” are immediate red flags.

So the next time you consider starting a new media relationship, remember to take things slow, show interest and don’t take it too personal if you get a rejection.

Interested in more pitching pointers? Follow us on Twitter @HighwirePR.

Note: All data is from Muck Rack’s Webinar “How Journalists Prefer to be Pitched” hosted by Greg Galant on Aug. 30, 2016.

Inside The Newsroom: Bloomberg’s Pitching Playbook

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 11.33.12 AM

Bloomberg editors share their thoughts on how pitch successfully

As one of the most influential business publications in the world, reaching millions of people from 150 bureaus around the world, Bloomberg looms large in the world of PR. Securing a thoughtful and strategic business story in Bloomberg can make your client’s day. Unfortunately, every other PR professional knows that too. With so much competition, it can be a challenge to convince a reporter that yours is the story that will interest their readers.

At a panel discussion in Bloomberg’s San Francisco Bureau last Tuesday, three Bloomberg editors – Brad Stone, the senior executive editor heading up Bloomberg’s Technology reporting; Mark Milian, a tech editor overseeing startups and venture capital; and Danielle Culbertson, the managing editor of Bloomberg TV and Radio in San Francisco – shared their thoughts on how to capture a reporter’s attention. Here are the three main takeaways from their discussion.

Informed, Short and Sharp

When asked about pitching, all the panelists agreed that the best pitches share two common traits: they are well researched and concise.

At a global publication like Bloomberg, each reporter writes on a specific beats but also has his or her own specific interests. Even though it takes time and effort, reading their stories and identifying the reporter’s interests goes a long way towards capturing their attention.

“If you say ‘I read these five stories you wrote and I think you’ll be interested in this story because…’ no reporter can resist,” said Milian. “You’ll at least get them to read your pitch.”

The other point to remember is that reporters get a lot of pitches. Getting to the point quickly will go a long way towards getting a reporter to read your pitch. It is easy to fall into the temptation of trying to share your client’s whole life story in one email, but this creates an intimidating body of text that a time-restricted reporter is likely to delete/ignore, and often buries the most interesting point. There will be time to share key messages and background later in the press release or during an interview. Panelists said that using bullet points instead of paragraphs can go a long way towards breaking through an email triage test.

Unfortunately, even a precise pitch will fail if it can’t meet one major benchmark.

Is It Interesting?

Though it is hardly a new rule, the panelists said the benchmark to keep in mind when reaching out to a reporter is: “Is it interesting?”

As extensions of our clients’ teams, it is easy to get invested in their story. So sometimes it helps to take a step back, forget everything you know about your client and ask yourself who will take the time to read this story if it gets published. If you do not immediately include yourself (among others), it may be time to brainstorm a new angle.

Also remember that it is not just the reporter’s interest you have to capture, but their readers’. In the case of Bloomberg, the readers are informed businesspeople and investors. When considering what story you want to tell, the panelists recommended keeping it broad enough to appeal to people who may not have specific technical knowledge.

The Role of Editors

While it differs from publication to publication, at Bloomberg the editors view their role as focused on supporting the writers rather than dictating content.

“I see my role as more developing story ideas and reviewing copy,” Stone said.

While the panelists said that they are usually more than happy to forward a pitch to right person, it is the writers who are interacting with the breaking news and proposing stories. Reaching out to and building a relationship with the reporter who most closely aligns with your company is the most likely path to success.

Do these tips align with your experience when working with media? Connect with us on Twitter and let us know your thoughts on building enduring reporter relationships.

No News? No Problem

Tips for Driving for Driving Press Coverage On and Off the News Cycle

Just because you don’t have hard news doesn’t mean you can’t be active in the news cycle. By creating your own news team and developing a unique and compelling point of view, you can generate a steady cadence of news and relevant commentary between major events like funding, product launches or new hires.

Write the article you want to read. Contributed articles are a great way to gain executive visibility and brand awareness—plugging you directly into top tier publications. Not only does it build a reputation for your executives it also allows the company to strengthen its brand voice with a strong stance or opinions on topical industry happenings. To gain even great visibility, be sure to amplify and distribute these contributed pieces via your social channels.

For best results, ensure your approach is tailored. Identify three top trends that matter for your business and develop a unique and compelling point of view on each subject. This is helpful beyond editorials because social media and positive media relationships can be leveraged to insert your company’s voice into bigger industry news. More importantly, in addition to a unique perspective, timeliness is key, so create an editorial calendar with expected news cycles you can tap into.

Lastly, you have to make the information and insights from your organization work harder. If you have recurring data releases or research, turn that into a quarterly campaign that hits home with broader market trends. If there’s a unique, creative element to your company, use it as a way to gain attention and build relationships with revered journalist. Media relationships can go a long way when the news front is quiet. For examples of this approach in action, check out our recent SlideShare:

No news, now what? from Highwire PR

In all, the takeaway is simple. Don’t depend on expected news, create your own. Be in the driver’s seat of your company’s story.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can make news with no news, reach out to us at hi@highwirepr.com or follow us at @highwirepr.

How to Set Yourself Up for Success and Rock Your Reddit AMA

Reddit is a great tool for engaging with a community. With over 195 million users, Reddit provides a platform for users to engage and interact with their community in real time. My favorite Reddit feature? The AMA (subreddit r/IAmA)—especially as part of a PR campaign.

Highwire client OWASP recently hosted an AMA to answer questions about application security and to raise awareness for their conference AppSec USA.

Reddit AMAs can position your company as a passionate industry leader and provide an honest, valuable connection with an engaged audience—whether you are gearing up for a product or company launch, or even an industry event. And you don’t have to be President Obama or Amy Poehler for it to be successful. Redditors host a variety of AMAs ranging from competitive Pokemon players to Six Flags ride operators.

So, how do you determine if a Reddit AMA is a worthy component for your next PR campaign? Here are some things to consider:

Think before you act. Why do you want to host an AMA? This channel isn’t about raising awarCKYlZqYUsAAPo-deness of a brand or product, and redditors don’t care about the new features to your CRM platform. But if you want to elevate a company’s thought leadership and executive voice—and your executive is willing to share his or her thoughts on a hot topic or industry trend without bringing up their brand—your head is in the right place. Research is an important part of this step as well, so you’ll also want to familiarize yourself with Reddit as a platform. Spend time looking at past AMAs to learn what items typically get more “upvotes” than others, or where Redditors tend to lose interest or resort to the site’s characteristic snarkiness. It’s important to understand the language your audience uses and what topics they care most about.

Develop a plan.  Planning for an AMA takes longer than you might think. When developing the plan, outline each step on a detailed timeline that the spokesperson can follow, as there are several things they need to do that you can’t. Your plan should include:

  • – Detailed instructions on how to submit to Reddit’s AMA Calendar (submissions must come directly from spokesperson’s Reddit handle)
  • – How to submit spokesperson proof—proof is a way to verify that your spokesperson is actually who they say they are. An easy way to do this is to have your spokesperson take a picture of themselves holding a piece of paper with their Reddit username, then have them post it to Twitter. See Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston’s proof here.
  • – Promotion timeline with pre-drafted content for social channels
  • – Detailed instructions on how to submit and begin the live AMA

Promote it. Tweet your heart out. Start Twitter promotion and engagement a month in advance wCKYbqykUAAAxqICith a unique hashtag that you know will map back to only your own content (#owaspAMA is what we used for our OWASP AMA). Once the AMA post is live, start driving attention by sharing the direct link to the AMA on social channels. Another way to interact with an even larger audience is to live tweet the top questions and engage with those mentioning your AMA with the hashtag. You can also send “Save the Date” email invitations to encourage attendance. Including an “Add to my calendar” button/link in the email can be helpful to drive attendance.

Extend its life. You hosted an AMA —now what? Depending on its content, you could consider turning the information that was uncovered through the signature Q&A format into a bylined article. However, it can be hard to place repurposed content that’s already been published to social channels, so a better option would be a LinkedIn Pulse post authored by your spokesperson highlighting the top questions and providing more in-depth answers. Recognize the overarching problems Reddit users asked questions about and tie them to larger industry trends. Focus on what items your respected industry colleagues should pay attention to, and what’s troubling users—again without mentioning your brand or product. Use this as an opportunity to provide deeper perspective on trending issues, and keep the AMA alive!

Prepared now? Ready. Set. Reddit!

Beyond Email: 9 Tips for Pitching on Twitter, the Phone and at Events

These days, most pitching, the backbone of public relations, starts with an email. You spend hours fine-tuning a pitch with your team, before sending it off to a reporter with your fingers crossed. Often it’s a hit, but sometimes it falls flat.

No responses to your initial email doesn’t necessarily mean that you made a bad pitch or that your announcement isn’t newsworthy. Whether you get a response or not often depends on factors that are out of your hands: a crowded inbox, a misread subject line, poor timing, etc.

Clearly, you can’t solely rely on email, because it isn’t a perfect communication tool. You have to reach the reporters where they are (always keeping in mind that some reporters prefer email-only interaction).

Below, are some strategies from Highwire Walkers on how they like to get in front of reporters, and what to do when you get ahold of them:

Phone Pitching — Andrea Torres, SAE

Public relations and sales have one thing in common – phone calls. Just like salespeople, PR people need to be friendly and get to the point quickly to do our jobs well. When pitching reporters, keep the following in mind:

Do your research: Have you taken the time to dig into your contacts? Have you read or at least skimmed recent stories? If not, stop what you are doing – you are not ready to pick up the phone. Before dialing, spend the time to know whom you are calling and what they are writing about. This step will make sure you make a good first impression and that you are prepared should you have to think of news angles on the fly.

Have a plan: Researching your targets beforehand is one thing, but it won’t get you very far if you haven’t gotten your thoughts and key conversation points organized. This might mean creating an outline to guide you or writing out an entire script. The takeaway is here is to set yourself up for success so to that you can get your point across.

Get to the point: If you want to lock in that briefing, don’t waste a journalist’s time; make your point quickly and concisely. This step is easier if you’ve followed step 1 and 2.

Be Nice: PR is all about relationships, so be nice. When talking to journalists on the phone, ask about their day and smile. It might seem odd, but smiling helps you relax and sound more pleasant.

Twitter Pitching — Ben Noble, AE

Twitter is a high-risk/high-reward platform that can help quickly catch a journalist outside their busy inbox. Journalists who frequently use Twitter are likely to engage in conversation and/or acknowledge posts from their followers. I recommend grabbing the journalist’s attention online with an eye-catching message and then shifting the conversation to email.

Don’t jump headfirst into a pitch: Nobody wants unsolicited pitches clogging up their timeline. Instead, offer insight into an article or post presented on the journalist’s feed. Share your perspective, ask them for their thoughts and offer counterpoints to topics of discussion. Building Twitter relationships starts with a courting process. Once you have a proper cadence of back and forth, indicate that you may have someone who can further address the topic (your client) and offer to send an email.

Avoid pitching several reporters at once. Twitter is an open forum and your tweets are public. Spamming journalists will be noticed and frowned upon.

Follow up – but not the same way as you would through email. If a journalist doesn’t reply to your first attempt at conversation, don’t be dissuaded. Feel free to follow up by prompting another discussion. Don’t remind the journalist of your initial post. Instead, start a new conversation to show that you are legitimately interested in the journalist’s perspective. Again, Twitter relationships involve courting. Prove that you are a committed follower rather than a one-off attention seeker.

Pitching In-Person — Lauren Kido, SAE

For PR pros, seeing reporters in-person is like a celebrity sighting: you usually know so much about them, have the perfect conversation scripted out in your head and are a little hesitant to approach them at first. But, whether the sighting happens at a networking event, conference, tradeshow or at your local coffee shop, here are a few things to keep in mind when pitching reporters in-person:

Make it a conversation: Meeting in-person is an excellent way to build relationships for your client, but it shouldn’t all be business. Strike up a conversation about non-work related topics, and if you’re following a reporter on social media, now’s your chance to ask about the new puppy or how relaxing that beach vacation was (just be sure first to note that you saw their tweet).

Ask questions: You’ve emailed, called and tweeted and now you’re chatting face-to-face! Use this valuable time to get a better sense of what the reporter is working on by asking what they’re interested in covering, tired of hearing about and what thoughts they have on industry trends. It’s also helpful to understand how they might like to be pitched in the future so you can pass this information along to the rest of your team.

Have business cards handy: Business cards should always be kept on hand at any networking event. Make sure to write your client names and websites on your business cards so reporters can easily jog their memory when they are sorting through cards at the end of a long night.

Pitching on Twitter, in-person, on the phone — it can all be daunting. But, with some practice, you get the hang of it, and the coverage will start coming in.

Happy pitching!


Written by Ben Levine, an Account Associate in San Francisco, with help from Lauren Kido, Ben Noble and Andrea Torres

Highwire Talks Contributed Content with Entrepreneur

Jayson Gaignard felt like he’d been sucker punched.

That’s the opening line of one of the most talked about contributed articles on Entrepreneur.com, according to Entrepreneur’s Articles Editor, Andrea Huspeni.

For nearly 30 years, Entrepreneur has served as a guide for both the ambitious entrepreneurs and the top executives of today. At Highwire, it not only serves as a reference for news and helpful tips for our own careers, but also a top target for our client’s thought leadership articles.

Highwire recently spoke with Andrea Huspeni, who helps handle the ever-flowing pipeline of contributed content for Entrepreneur.com, for an insider’s perspective on the do’s and don’ts of pitching contributed content to the publication.

What’s the best email subject line to use when reaching out with a contributed content idea?

Something eye-catching. Entrepreneur focuses heavily on “news you can use,” or advice experts or entrepreneurs can provide to others looking for insight into a certain topic. So, the best subject line for me is what I would imagine the headline to be. For example, I would be more likely to open an email with the email subject line being: “Contributed piece: The 5 Social Media Hacks No One Is Talking About” as opposed to this email subject line: “Expert looking to write about social media tips.” It needs to be compelling.

How long should a contributed content abstract be?

It depends. If it is someone that has written for me before, I usually just ask for a few sentences. If the person writes regularly for us and we don’t need to send back for edits, the contributor can just upload the piece. If it were someone new, I would ask for a quick outline: two to three sentences plus what the subheads would be (if applicable).

What are the key elements you must include in a contributed content abstract?

As mentioned above, I would say two to three sentences about what the piece is about and why this person is writing it (why should our audience trust this writer?) and then the advice/tips/insight that are going to be addressed in the subheads.

Are there any contributed content topics you are tired of getting pitches on or would like to see more of?

At the moment I can’t think of topics that I am tired of receiving. But there definitely have been times. For instance, big data was huge for a while and everyone was pitching us stories about this subject, which is fine as long as the contributor can provide a new angle. I would love to see more topics pertaining to management, failure, funding, legal and growth strategies. But again, I am definitely open to other topics.

After you agree to review the abstract’s full article, what’s the ideal timeframe you would like to see the full draft by?

We have such a backlog of stories that it is more beneficial for the contributor to turn around stories than it is for us. There are times when stories can go up one week after submission and other times it can take five weeks. So the quicker you turn it around, the better.

What kind of balance is needed in a contributed content article to address the market in which the expert is a part of, while still being vendor neutral?

I understand that the piece is to provide some sort of marketing for the expert or his or her company but if it comes off as PRish, I will edit it out. For format, I usually like people to begin the piece with a general sentence or paragraph (“funding can be a huge pain but often a necessity for entrepreneurs”) and then go into why we should trust this person (“as an investor to more than…”). Also, if the expert points out a product or service that is theirs, make sure they state it. For instance, if a piece was about the 10 social-media tools that save time and one happens to be a product the expert founded, let the audience know.

Do you have an example of one of your favorite pieces of contributed content on Entrepreneur? If so, what made it stand out?

Here are a few pieces that I edited that did extremely well. One piece was advice that hadn’t been reported on our site and the other was a longer feature that was very well written.

The Top 7 Media Briefing Spots in San Francisco

Congratulations! You’ve secured some awesome in-person meetings for your client in San Francisco. But, you’re located in New York or Los Angeles or Boston and aren’t exactly sure of where to recommend that your client takes those important meetings.

If your client takes a briefing at a less than ideal location, then you could frustrate the reporter, frazzle your client and completely undo all of your hard work.

Below, we’ve compiled some of our favorite spots near a sampling of the publications that you are likely pursuing for your San Francisco media tour:

1. Philz Coffee (201 Berry Street) — If your client has meeting at TechCrunch, they are in for a treat. Right around the corner from TechCrunch’s office is a Philz Coffee, one of the most beloved coffee shops in the Bay Area. The Berry Street Philz has indoor seating, which can get a little noisy, but there are outdoor seats if inside is too noisy or if your spokesperson wants to enjoy the California sunshine during the interview. We recommend ordering Philz’s medium roast.


2. Two Embarcadero (2 Embarcadero Center)– Next up is the Wall Street Journal up on California Street. Nearby are the Embarcadero Center towers. Connecting them is a raised walkway, which has some grass and benches. Upstairs from the Banana Republic on Embarcadero Two are tables and benches ideal for a discussion of the Internet of Things.

embarcadero two

3. Transamerica Redwood Park (Between Clay St. and Washington St.)– Close by, in the shadow of the TransAmerica Pyramid is the New York Times’ office. On the other side of the Pyramid is a quiet park called “Transamerica Redwood Park.” The park is a slim piece of real estate with trees, a fountain and a sculpture of children playing. Around lunchtime, the park becomes full of Financial District workers, but in off-peak hours it’s rarely crowded.

redwood park






4. Heyday (180 Spear Street) — Bloomberg’s San Francisco office is located in SOMA, a section of the city that is booming particularly due to the tech sector flourishing. Next door to the business publication’s offices is Heydey, a stylish café with an organic menu (so San Francisco). There is ample seating inside the café, but in case of crowds, there is the Spear Street Plaza outside.








5. InterContinental (888 Howard Street) — If your next stop is the San Francisco Chronicle, the InterContinental is across the street. If you and Benny Evangelista are in the need of a place to chat, try the chic lobby or bar.







6. District (216 Townsend Street) — Wired’s offices, which are new and must be kept clean, are down the street from The Chron. Coffee is great, but it can get kind of boring. If you’re in San Francisco, you should probably get some of the fine wine from the Bay Area.






7. Credo (360 Pine Street) – Near the offices that contain The Verge (and SBNation, Curbed, Eater, Racked and Vox), is a great Italian restaurant: Credo (“I believe” in Italian). The décor is very cool — on the wall are famous quotes related to beliefs” – and the food is great.








8. The Station (596 Pacific Avenue) – Here’s a bonus one – the beloved Station down the street from the Highwire offices. While you’re in the neighborhood, give us a shout!

the station





Where do you like to hold briefings in your city?


Get to the Point: Media Training Basics

When you first begin building your brand, your story is everything. It’s how you appeal to customers, build new relationships and get across your company’s key messages. But you alone can only spread the word so far, and that’s where sharing your story with the right media can be a huge help.

speech-bubbles-310399_640Media interviews span subjects from a new product to a company launch or a round of funding, and are also conducted in a variety of ways—from a telephone call to a broadcast interview. While an interview can seem intimidating, it’s important not to think of it as an inquisition, but rather a conversation. It is a bit of a shift in perception, but with some simple preparation you can be as comfortable in any interview situation as you would be catching up with a friend over a cup of coffee.

How to prepare?

It’s simple. Prepare with expected key questions and write down notes to create a “briefing page” with the core points for your interview. For example:

Ask Yourself Why. Why are you doing this interview? What is the larger goal of the interview—will it help you educate a new audience or gain customers?

Think about the Audience. Hint, it’s not the reporter.  Ask yourself who is this reporter’s key audience? Make sure your talking points address the audience at hand. If you have an enterprise startup but you’re talking to a general business publication, relate your story to overall business issues felt across the industry. It will make your story compelling to both the reporter and the publication’s readers, establishing trust and authenticity.

Know Your Story. And let’s not forget the most important question: what are the main points of the interview? Key messages are essential and contribute to the larger goal of the interview, such as new customer inquiries, buzz before a big announcement or investor interest as a result of the published article. As a reporter would look at it, they are the who, what, where, why and how of your story. You need a simple description of what your company does, how it’s different and why it matters.

Be Memorable. Remember not be boring in the process. People remember narratives and stories, make sure you use them to illustrate your points or showcase how something works. Challenge yourself to use a minimum of two “for examples” during the course of your interview.

Sound out Your Sound Bites. What are three key messages or easy-to-quote messages that describes the main idea of your content or expertise? Reporters can help you tell your story, but it’s up to you to give them that winning sound bite.

Do Your Research. Finally, don’t be afraid to cyber-stalk. Know as much as you can about the reporter. What school did they go to? Do you have mutual LinkedIn connections? What have they tweeted about recently? It helps to connect on a personal level to build your relationship, and sprinkling a personal twist could make your story interesting to them and their readers.

Now that you are prepared, nail the interview. 

Reporters are the gatekeepers to your key audiences, so get it right.

Focus First: Be comfortable. You don’t want any distractions and make sure your simple key messages are bulleted and in front of you. Read up on current news before beginning – you don’t want to be a deer in the headlights if they bring up recent news that affects your industry. And at the start of the interview, take the lead and offer to give an introduction to your background and why you are talking to them today. This isn’t just about you— show that you’re excited about their audience and hope you can be a resource for both this reporter and their readers.

Make it a Conversation: Avoid industry jargon and don’t assume the reporter knows just as much about the industry as you do—always offer to explain and ask for feedback. When closing the interview, determine what are next steps. Have you summarized the key points for the reporter? Do you need to send over additional information for their story, such as a headshot or FAQ sheet?

Go the Extra Mile: Take notes on what the reporter found interesting throughout the conversation or on details they revealed to you. These notes will be useful in any follow-up conversations.

A Word of Caution: You are always on-the-record unless otherwise indicated. Don’t mislead a reporter, ever, or offer up “between you and me” sensitive information. The point is to tell your story and get to know the media, but don’t try to build a relationship by spilling insider secrets.

Take the opportunity to get to know the reporter across the table, on the other end of the phone or through the camera, as a person. Be considerate of their time, learn what they’re passionate about and always get to the point quickly.

Originally appeared on Creator:  https://creator.wework.com/knowledge/get-point-media-training-basics/