Gearing up for Rock Health Summit: Digital Health Q&A with TechCrunch’s Sarah Buhr

Next week leaders in technology, medicine and policy will come together at Rock Health Summit’s digital health conference to discuss healthcare’s most challenging problems. In anticipation of the event, Highwire sat down with TechCrunch’s Sarah Buhr, whose inbox is flooded daily with digital health pitches from PR pros. Sarah is moderating the panel “Virtual Reality: Just What The Doctor Ordered?” and we asked her what she’s excited about leading into the show and what’s hot and what’s not in digital health.

What are you most looking forward to seeing at Rock Health Summit this year?

One of my passions is biotech. I’m looking forward to hearing about thSarah Burhoughts on genomics and how microorganisms are being used to grow different things. I also want to hear how creative people can get with pharmaceutical drugs and materials. I think another interesting topic is telemedicine, or how we can move medical care inside the home. Right now there are so many solutions where you can speak to your doctor and not go into the hospital, and I want to see how those solutions can evolve.

Are there any digital health industry trends that you expect to be big in five years?

Like I mentioned, biotech is exploding – specifically in the areas of genetic manipulation and gathering data. In the future I think we’ll be able to pull insights out to identify the things that contribute to cancer and testing for diabetes in your genetic makeup. Right now nothing really does that and there are so many problems and cures to find.

What trends are you tired of hearing about?

I’m not interested in B2B enterprise SaaS solutions or HIPPA compliance. Right now everyone is trying to create their own platform rather than fix the bigger problem.

What’s the biggest challenge in digital health?

One of the biggest problems is that people don’t have enough information on medical costs or medicines that might be better for them. Basically there isn’t enough information shared with patients from doctors.

Do you see any rising hotspots for digital health innovation in the U.S?

There is no other place like Silicon Valley. Think about it, there are scientists, programmers, inventors, investors etc., all at “ground zero” for innovation. However outside of Silicon Valley other hotspots that are on the rise include San Diego and Boston which both have a booming biotech scene.

If you’re attending Rock Health Summit make sure to say hello to our Highwire folks on the ground and let us know in the comments what you’re excited to see at this year’s conference.

Written by Morgan Mathis, an account director in Los Angeles and Lauren Kido, a senior account associate in San Francisco

AppSec USA: The Place to Be for Web Application Security

It’s no secret that cybersecurity is a top concern for the enterprises, government and consumers. And what do hackers target to steal sensitive information? The application layer. According to Verizon’s 2015 Data Breach Investigations report, 61 percent of attacks happen at the application level. From mobile application flaws—such as Stagefright Android—to Web application vulnerabilities—such as the WhatsApp hack—now more than ever, it’s time to educate yourself on application security.

So where can you meet the best application security experts? AppSec USA.OWASP-AppSecUSA2015-logo

Hosted by Highwire client Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), AppSec USA is a four-day conference where developers, security experts and technologist meet to discuss cutting edge approaches to securing Web applications. This year’s conference is in San Francisco September 22-25, 2015.

Highwire PR will be at AppSec USA and is thrilled for this year’s keynotes from Facebook CSO Alex Stamos, Microsoft MVP Troy Hunt and Department of Homeland Security’s Chief Cybersecurity Official Dr. Phyllis Schneck. Not to mention Fireside Chats with Uber, Twitter, Netflix and Salesforce.

To get the most out of this year’s AppSec USA, here are the top three must-do’s from OWASP global board member Michael Coates:

1. Hands on Training

There is a massive shortfall in the industry for quality security engineers. If you’re technically inclined, learn application security fundamentals from the best-of-the-best to secure your organization through hands on training opportunities.

As cyber threats become pervasive, everyone from developers to incident responders need to stay up-to-date on the latest threats and best practices and tools needed to keep sensitive systems safe.

The trainings range from application vulnerability evaluation to a malware crash course that includes hands-on malware dissection, software debugging, malware analysis and more.

2. Listen, Learn, Discuss

Learn, listen and discuss about pertinent, cutting edge security topics, such as how to address cloud security for your Web applications, how to handle security at scale, and real-time event detection and response. Experts from security companies like WhiteHat, iSec Partners and Denim Group; technology providers such as Docker and Akami; and enterprise security teams like Netflix, Salesforce and LinkedIn will all cover a variety of security topics and enable discussions that address security experts’ burning questions. Additionally, learn about the state of security, its most pressing issues and what it will take to secure them from keynote speakers Facebook CISO Alex Stamos, Microsoft MVP Troy Hunt, Chief Cybersecurity Official of DHS Dr. Phyllis Schneck and more.

3. Build Your Network, Find the Right Talent

A crucial aspect to any conference, network and connect with the brightest security minds in the world at the most concentrated event for Web application security. Discuss the leading topics with people from all parts of the security process including software developers, information security professionals, incident responders, computer security researchers, and corporate investigators.

Hiring? Job searching? AppSec USA also provides the opportunity to network with a wide range of security professionals and find your next gig or next great hire at the career fair. Some of the hottest companies will be participating including Netflix, Twitter, Airbnb, Palantir, LinkedIn, NetSuite, MobileIron and Tableau.

OWASP’s AppSecUSA is the largest application security conference in the world. You won’t want to miss out!

Register now for AppSecUSA and win 4 sold out Giants baseball tickets. If you’re already registered you can Retweet this to enter to win!

If you’d like to get in touch with Highwire PR at AppSec USA, please email

*Top Three Things to Know originally published by OWASP Global Board Member Michael Coates.


Power Rankings: Highly Subjective Best (And Worst!) Ideas to Generate Trade Show Buzz

Huawei-Booth-CES-2014In PR, we talk a lot about the “death of things” (DoT, I should probably trademark that). Email is dead! Press releases are dead! Fill in the blank legacy technology – DEAD. I’m getting a bit morbid here, but despite all of these changes in the way we do PR, there’s one thing that will never die: the trade show.

Yes, the trade show will always be around, no matter what shifts in the market we experience year after year. For many of our clients, there’s no better way to get in front of all of their customers and prospects. Hackers flock to Black Hat and RSA, consumers take over Vegas every January for CES and HIMSS transports healthcare professionals to the most glamorous cities in the U.S.A. – Orlando, Houston, even Cleveland, or as I call it, “The Big Apple.”

All jokes aside, we love trade shows. And while they’ll never go away, what does change with time are some of the tactics you can employ to make an impact on the show floor. Strategically tying back booth events, parties and messaging to your business will not only help increase your sales pipeline, but it can actually help with PR too. With that, we’ve put together a “Trade Show Power Rankings” highlighting some of the best (and worst) ways to draw attention to your booth and make sure you’ll leave Cleveland, or whatever magical city your next trade show beckons you to, with a long list of new leads. Here we go:

10. Clowns497597816_38c728c144_n

This is a terrible idea. Clowns are creepy and under no circumstance should you ever bring them to your trade show booth. Next.

9. Magicians

C’mon guys. Magicians are not cool, but time after time, there are always two or three vendors at every trade show that think somehow they can attract new business leads- we’re talking actual adults- with magic.

8. Massage tables

There’s nothing less comfortable or more vulnerable then laying face down on a massage table in the middle of a trade show floor, with no knowledge whatsoever of what colleagues or industry friends might be having a laugh at you nearby. That being said, massages are great, but realistically, anybody who comes to your booth for a massage likely won’t turn into a lead. Sure, it’s great for traffic, but probably not the most business-savvy idea.

7. Book signings

OK, this is the part where we move on to ideas that are actually good. I myself specialize in security PR, and every year at RSA, there are at least 2-3 smart vendors that bring a notable hacker or researcher to their booth to give away free books and meet with attendees. If you’re really smart, you’ll find an author who has written about a problem that will map back specifically to your company- “we fix that!”

6. Pizzapicjumbo.com_20140314-DSC_0138

Everybody loves pizza. Just imagine how bonkers your trade show will go once they get a whiff of a fresh cheese pie. People will flock to your booth as they think “Am I in Cleveland, or did I get transported to an Italian villa?”

Editors note: might not work at the Pizza Expo, which is a real thing/what dreams are made of

5. SWAG and giveaways

For all you trade show noobs, SWAG = Stuff We All Get. We could probably do a whole separate power rankings on our favorite trade show SWAG, but branded t-shirts and stuff you can actually use at the conference- notebooks, pens, laptop cases, backup mobile power supplies etc. – will help keep your brand visible and top of mind for conference attendees. Beer and coffee is always a winner too.

4. Something interactive

A welcoming environment is key to a strong trade show booth. Interactive games- skeeball for example- gives attendees the opportunity to stop for a fun break, and open up the opportunity to have a meaningful conversation once they are drawn in.

3. Partnerships with media

At huge consumer shows like CES, PR folks will often find themselves wading through 1,000 different reporters on a media list- more than half of which might not even be relevant to each clients’ target audience. But every once in a while, you’ll be able to not only work with that outlet, but actually partner with them on a mutually beneficial demo/campaign. Take for example Highwire’s client Edyn, who partnered with Refinery29 at CES this year to showcase the “Garden of the Future.” Refinery 29 ‘s Apartment of the Future, showcased interesting IoT devices that could soon play a role in our everyday lives. Filled with gadgets that did everything from monitor how you sleep to feed your fish for you, Refinery 29 focused on the design and function of the smart home. For the Edyn team, this was the perfect place to highlight their product, a garden sensor that uses collected data to provide smart recommendations for how to best care for your plants.

2. Integrated campaigns

A closely-knit partnership between agency and client that expands what most consider to be “traditional PR” can have an impact on “traditional marketing” (trade show booth planning falls squarely into the latter.) By making sure you are integrating key messages for media with your broader messaging strategy, you’ll create a lasting impression at the show. For example, Highwire PR partnered with our client Shape Security at RSA- the company, who makes the world’s first and only “botwall,” created a massive two-floor booth, complete with a “wall” that was filled with quotes from journalists about their product, secured through engagement with Highwire. 


1. Puppies

We actually haven’t seen this one done yet, but it’ll work. Somebody please take us up on this.



Simple Tips for Tweet Chat Triumph

SONY DSCSocial media has become a powerful component of PR and communication campaigns for brands big and small.

Twitter, in particular, offers a huge opportunity to gain visibility—companies can share their news, voice their professional opinions and even participate in or host specialized discussions, known as tweet chats or Twitter chats. By simply participating in these chats, brands can gain both social exposure and followers.

As a PR professional, I encourage you to take it one step further by hosting a tweet chat of your own. In doing so, brands can further strengthen their voice within their niche communities and directly engage with other thought leaders in their fields. These chats can be recurring (monthly, quarterly, etc.) or spontaneously tied to client news or events.

Ready to get started? I’ve outlined a few key steps to ensure a successful tweet chat.

Pre-chat prep to ensure a lively conversation

Most of the work that goes into hosting a tweet chat happens before the event actually occurs.

First and foremost, you should pick a chat topic for which your internal thought leader can serve as an expert. Anything too broad could result in too long of a chat session, so a specific angle or subtopic works well. For example, an email marketing company might want to host a chat on the basics of A/B split testing.  

Next, decide if your brand wants to partner with an outside expert or influencer in the field. This tactic will bring higher visibility to the chat and also add an extra layer of legitimacy to the session. Not sure who the right person is for your topic? You can use Twitter itself to find viable influencers and approach them about co-hosting a chat.

Once you have an expert co-host on board (or if you choose to proceed without one), you can get started on the basics. When scheduling the chat, aim for 30-60 minutes. Make sure your date is at least a month out so you have ample time to promote it. Additionally, create a unique hashtag for promotion and participation purposes. The hashtag is how your participants engage with you throughout the chat, so take the time to ensure you come up with something short and memorable.

When these tasks are out of the way, focus on the structure and content of the chat. In addition to the outside expert, determine who on the brand’s side will participate and what role they will have during the chat. One suggestion is to have two people on the brand’s side involved—one operating the brand’s handle, running the chat and posing the questions, and another (the one you are leveraging as the thought leader) on their personal handle, responding to the questions.

For content, draft the questions the moderator will be asking and responses the thought leader will be offering ahead of time (keeping in mind the 140-character rule, including the hashtag). Tweet chats can move quickly, and this trick will help participants stay up to speed. For a one-hour chat, draft around 8-10 questions. If time allows, it’s a best practice to create images that include each question. This makes the chat’s questions prominent in participants’ twitter feed, ensuring questions don’t get lost in the conversation.

Lastly, promote promote promote. Take to Twitter to communicate save-the-date messages. Create a simple image with the basic chat details and hashtag to catch followers’ eyes. Write a promotional blog and post it on your website. Send e-invites to friendly media folks so they can either participate or monitor the chat in real time. Identify individuals who are active in similarly themed chats and directly tweet at them inviting them to your chat.

Managing mid-chat

Once you’ve laid the groundwork, the chat can practically run itself. That said, one piece of advice is to have all participants dial into a conference number a few minutes before the chat is set to begin. This will allow for quick intros of the influencer to the brand participants, and the ability to address any last minute questions. Have everyone stay dialed in with their phones on mute for the duration of the chat; if the need for direct communication between you, the client or the partner expert comes up, you’ll have a means of instant access.

At the top of the chat, the moderator should thank attendees for coming; directly tweet them if you have time, but don’t wait too long to get the ball rolling. Have the moderator pose the first question and allow for the “experts” to weigh in with their pre-scripted responses. Give ample time for chat attendees to ask or respond to questions, and be sure that the moderator favorites and retweets some of the responses in real time. Allow for about 5-7 minutes between each question before asking the next.

Encourage your chat hosts to not just stick to the script but to also offer off-the-cuff responses to some of the questions—they should feed off of the conversation as it flows in order to not sound too groomed.

Post-chat repurposing

Lastly, the value of a tweet chat is not limited to only the 30 or 60 minutes in which it occurs. You can extend its shelf life by using the material to create further content, such as blog posts, infographics or SlideShares highlighting the top takeaways from the chat.

For instance, Highwire client Corvisa recently teamed up with customer service expert Shep Hyken to host a twitter chat, “Today’s Customers: What Do They Really Want?” Afterward, Corvisa repurposed the content of the chat for a recap blog.

If you are ready to engage with your brand’s audience and fellow thought leaders like Corvisa did, get the creative process started by checking out some upcoming chats to see what’s trending in your industry’s social spaces. Whether it’s a first and only or the first of many, tweet chats are a must-try for any brand.