10 (PR) lessons from my first Consumer Electronics Show

walkman4_1436158i Last week, I attended my first CES. While I have sent numerous clients to the show and supported the PR outreach around their attendance, I had never physically attended the show.

Fortunately, I have been to many conferences, so I knew a lot about the Do’s and Don’ts, but CES is one of a kind – a show that attracts nearly 200,000 people in the tech industry. It can be an intimidating event for a first-timer like myself. My client has been exhibiting for a number of years, so that helped me to prepare, but there are a few lessons every PR-pro should know if they get a chance to attend!

1. Start outreach early.

About 5,000 media and analysts attend the show each year. The media list is available to those who are exhibiting on December 1. Thousands of contacts will not want to meet with your client, so before the list comes out, it is a good idea to identify the media you would like to meet with, based on your regular targets. Have you been trying to schedule an interview with Business Insider but haven’t had the chance? Check out the list to find out which BI writers and editors are attending CES, and see if they’d be willing to meet at the show. Seeding that conversation through your pitching, leading up to the show and even prior to when the list comes out, is a great idea.

2. Push for briefings early in the day and early in the week.

Scheduling meetings for earlier in the day will ensure that both your spokesperson and press don’t get tied up or delayed. End of day meetings will likely be cancelled, delayed or rescheduled because of delays throughout the day.

Scheduling interviews for early in the week is also a great way to ensure early show coverage. This is also critical to guaranteeing that your message is front and center. As the week goes on, people (including the media) get burnt out and conversations can get lost. Briefing your target media prior to the show and early on will ensure strong communication of your message to make certain that it is not lost in the other buzz.

3. Pitch local media who may not be attending.

CES is an enormous international show. Local affiliates run b-roll and cover the “big news” on the next, hot gadget, but they also might want to hear about what local company is on display at the international event. Package up a local pitch to secure the interest of local press in order to generate coverage for your client or business. It is a great avenue to local visibility and additional media coverage.

4. Eye candy.

CES media are looking for something to tweet, blog and share. Make sure you have something at the booth that will make them want to take a photo and that will capture the attention of those walking by. A busy booth will attract the media to stop by and ask, “what’s going on here?” Put some thought into your booth from all angles and showcase your offering in a spiffy format.

5. Tweet and engage.

Take photos of interesting displays, booth activity, panel sessions, etc., and share them on social media. Provide commentary on hot topics and new products. Engaging in the buzz around CES will increase your visibility, followers and credibility as an expert in the tech industry.

6. Find out what your press looks like.

Do some investigative Googling on the press you are scheduled to speak with. This will help you to avoid staring at every badge that walks by to see if that is the reporter scheduled for your interview. Be aware that everyone’s LinkedIn picture isn’t always up to date, but should give you a general idea of what the person looks like, so you can quickly identify them and start the meeting.

7. Get cell numbers and follow up.

While this seems obvious, calling someone’s office line when they are five minutes late to your booth is not going to get you anywhere. Some media are hesitant to provide cell numbers, which is understandable, so it is important to communicate that the number will only be used if there is an issue on the day of the show. Be sure to follow up the week prior and the morning of the interview to make sure they know where your meeting is and that they have all of the background information needed to make it an engaging, informative discussion.

8. Use real-time calendars.

We used a color-coded Google calendar to schedule briefings, and it worked out perfectly. We were able to schedule meetings without the normal back and forth around the CEO’s availability. Additionally, we were able to update new meetings on the fly, which were automatically added to the team’s calendar. This allowed us to continue pitching and follow-up during the event as schedules changed. Our spokespeople had the meeting details at their fingertips at all times, ensuring they were prepared and briefed for the next discussion. We were in-sync and updated in real-time the entire week, which meant that we were able to add in more media meetings!

9. Be comfortable, well rested – bring your A-game.

Yes, it’s Vegas. Yes, it’s the week after the holidays. No excuse. You are attending the biggest show in the industry, and your client is looking to be the star. If you are not well rested entering the show, it will catch up with you and affect your ability to be a valuable member of the team. During the event, wear comfortable shoes, stay hydrated and well nourished. The show can get cold, so dress appropriately in layers. Take breaks, but don’t wander too far from your booth, because you never know when a member of the press may stroll by!

10. Understand your client’s message and value proposition and above all, smile!

Sure, you are there to handle the media. But your client has invested valuable time and resources to be at CES. Passersby don’t know your role. You are representing the Company, so be prepared, friendly, and welcoming. Once engaged, be sure to connect interested prospects to the right people within the Company if you aren’t sure of an answer to their question. At one point during my CES experience, I was handling all types of prospect questions because the booth was so busy – it was great to be able to tell the Company’s story confidently.

CES is a fun, exciting event and a great way to kick-off the New Year with your client. Have you ever been? Any additional advice for first-timers? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Post by Kathleen Fusco, Director

It’s time for B2B to get social

Untitled As B2B companies prepare their 2015 marketing plans and allocate dollars for various programs, it is important to optimize the value of social media and how far an investment in these channels can go to communicate your value proposition and engage your customers. When evaluating the best channel for your message, it is key to remain focused on your target audience. Determining which social media platforms you should allocate time and money to requires an evaluation of your target audience, your competitors, and your industry influencers social media behaviors.  These behaviors include not only presence but also engagement with specific social media platforms.  As a result of this analysis, you may choose to leverage your efforts across multiple platforms or focus all efforts on making an impact on one platform.  Social media, however, is not to be ignored.  In 2013, it was shown to produce almost double the marketing leads of trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, or PPC.

Amongst social media platforms, LinkedIn leads the pack for B2B marketing, generating the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate – almost 3 times higher than both Twitter and Facebook.  For that reason, LinkedIn should be a top priority for social media spend.

The Zer0 to 5ive Beginner’s Guide to Marketing on LinkedIn

0. Determine Your Strategy and Objectives

If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?  It’s not enough to simply start posting to LinkedIn – you need to understand what you are trying to accomplish, who you are trying to target and how you are going to measure success.  Too often, basic marketing and business principles aren’t applied to social media campaigns.  The “lets try it out and see what happens” approach is guaranteed to disappoint.

1. Create and Maintain a Branded Company Page

At its most basic level, a company page provides a brief summary of what you do and drives traffic to your website.  But, as with most things in life, there are best practices for building a company page that maximize outcomes. Check out LinkedIn’s top 10 company pages of 2014 to see what the best of the best are up to.

2. Monitor Your Company Page with Analytics

A little over a year ago, LinkedIn added analytic capabilities to the company pages.  Much like Google Analytics for your website, LinkedIn provides you with user information – both in terms of demographics and activity.  If you aren’t looking at these metrics you are missing a major opportunity to improve your engagement with prospects and convert more leads.

3. Build Your Personal Networks

The best way to share company updates, publications, and news is through personal networks.  Think of it as a warm lead – you are known and trusted by your network and likewise your network is known and trusted by their individual networks.  You can reach a lot of people with whom you have instant credibility by sharing updates within your extended network.

4. Use LinkedIn Pulse

Pulse is a LinkedIn application that allows you to follow news and insights on topics that interest you. Originally, contributors to Pulse needed to apply and receive permissions to post but recently LinkedIn opened this function to the entire community.  When used the right way, it can be a very valuable tool to gain the attention of prospects.  Topics covered by Pulse range from inspirational and leadership advice to very specific business issues. This provides a perfect solution for companies that do not have the resources to create ongoing custom content as the posts are typically very succinct and they are distributed to an already attentive audience.

5. Use Groups to Your Advantage

Identify the groups your company could benefit from being a part of or groups your company could contribute to in a valuable way.  Participate in discussions, post news of interest within those groups, send your Pulse posts out to the groups and, if the budget allows for it, advertise to those groups. People within a specific group have added themselves as a member because they have an interest in the topic so they are a particularly receptive demographic within LinkedIn. If what you share provides them with value, you can build credibility for yourself and your company, drive people to your company page or website and increase your number of leads.

Ultimately, the name of the game is creating valuable content that helps people solve a problem they are facing.  If you don’t have a great message, it doesn’t really matter how you share it.  But, on the other hand, if you have a great message and great content and insight to share and you aren’t promoting it on LinkedIn, you’re leaving leads on the table.

Post by Cole Naldzin, Director

Dear Media List: It’s not me, it’s you.

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 10.23.41 AMMedia list, media list, media list. As a PR specialist’s “life line” to reporters, a robust media list that spans multiple vertical publications, as well as mainstream outlets, is critical to a successful PR program.

Hours are spent sorting through media databases and vetting reporters to get that “perfect list.” As a result, the media list becomes the first place many PR professional go to find a reporter to pitch.

While this is a great first step, it is equally important to remember that every reporter that could be targeted for your story may not be in your list.  Having an exclusive relationship with your media list may actually be hindering you from securing your next great article.

Reporters are constantly changing beats and many even contribute to multiple publications, so it’s beneficial to take a break from your list and look through the publications you are pitching to see if there may be a more appropriate contact to target.

To ensure you are targeting the best reporters with each pitch, challenge yourself to get creative and explore new ways to find the perfect reporter to contact.

Here are some key opportunities to take advantage of “a break” from the database and explore new contacts:

  1. Repeated absence of responses. If you combine an interesting topic with a well-crafted pitch and receive absolutely no feedback from the media you are targeting, it’s a potential red flag. If this is the case, visit different publications’ websites to ensure the reporters on your list are actively publishing relevant articles. Reporters change beats and publications faster than media databases can keep up with.
  1. Niche pitching. With a majority of Zer0 to 5ive’s clients in the technology space – be it education, healthcare or software development – I often find myself creating a variety of media lists consisting of “technology” reporters.  In this instance, I find media lists to be especially foundational, or rather a jumping off point, to all PR efforts moving forward.  While I reach out to those core “technology” reporters, it is also important to take a step back from the media lists, visit the targeted publications, and search for reporters covering the specific niche topic that resonates with your story.
  1.     Rapid response pitching. Being well versed in your clients’ industry news will help you expand your targets.  Spending 10-15 minutes each day reading relevant industry news can provide excellent insight into not only hot topics being discussed, but also more importantly, who is writing about these topics. Sending 3-5 “reactive” pitches to contacts not on your media list is a simple activity that can be very rewarding over time.

The bottom line: there are core reporters that should know about your client and that you should be establishing a relationship with on a regular basis. However, in order to continue to push the creative envelope for the bigger story or new approaches, it’s an extremely valuable exercise to take a break from the list and reach new contacts. Try it – your next big story may be around the corner!

Post by Sarah Manix, Strategist

Common Image File Formats and When to Use Them

File-Format-Challenge-shutterstock_108312266-480x360Why do I need to know image file formats?

Whether you are a junior designer or a non-designer charged with exchanging files with a design staff, web development staff and/or commercial printer, knowing the basics will help you quickly get the right kind of file into the right hands. This will reduce the wasted time and frustration of unnecessary back and forth, costly printing errors and poor-quality images that demonstrate a lack of professional standards.

The following is an introduction to image file formats without getting into all the overwhelming technical detail.

What are common image file formats and how do they relate to their content?

Image file formats are a standardized way of storing graphic digital information. Digital graphics can be split into two categories: raster and vector.

Raster graphics employ a rectangular grid of pixels with assigned colors. Raster graphics are optimal for photography, web graphics and images for the MS Office Suite.

Vector graphics employ scalable elements (points, lines and shapes) with assigned properties to represent information. Vector graphics are optimal for printing crisp logos, type, computer illustration and large-scale graphics like tradeshow signage.

Image file formats are optimized for one category or both.

Common raster image formats are:





Common vector and compound (containing both vector and pixel data) are image formats are:

• AI




What is image resolution?

Raster graphics cannot scale without some loss of quality. They have a property called resolution that specifies the level of image detail. A higher resolution has a larger amount of detail and vice versa.

What resolution do I need?

Resolution standards in pixels per inch are as follows:

• 72 ppi for web graphics (LOW resolution)

• 144 ppi for MS PowerPoint and retina screen graphics (MEDIUM resolution)

• 300 ppi for print graphics (HIGH resolution)

Low-resolution web images will print poorly at 100% of their original size. Even images saved at print quality will show degradation when scaled past 130% of their original size. Best results are achieved by scaling down an image rather than scaling up; removing detail vs. adding in “fake” detail with random pixels. Therefore, it is recommended to supply designers with either vector graphics or raster graphics at the highest resolution and at the largest dimensions available in your archive. If you lack the software to open graphic files, a general rule of thumb is that the larger the file size, the more likely a raster graphic will have a high resolution and large dimensions.


Which image file format is best for web?




Which image file format is best for print?



• AI


Which image file format is best for Microsoft Word?

• TIFF at high resolution (for printable docs)

• JPEG, PNG and GIF (for docs to be viewed on screen)

Which image file format is best for Microsoft PowerPoint?

• JPEG at medium resolution

Armed with these simple basics, you can help your client and your creative team get the best results possible!

Post by Claire Holroyde, Senior Designer