Archives for posts with tag: PR

… 89 Pieces of Coverage, 13 National Hits and an interview with Reuters

At the beginning of September, Eskenzi partnered up with cyber security start-up, Redscan, for a three month contract to build up momentum in the media. Redscan decided to join us for a trial run to see what we could do, and we were more than happy to show them.

As Eskenzi specialises in cyber security, we know all the journalists and media opportunities in the industry inside out, so we were easily able to secure coverage from day one. In particular, we found that rapid responses on breaking stories worked well with this client as they were quick to respond and knew how to write snappy, insightful commentary which journalists can use as sound-bites.

The most successful rapid response was on the Dyn cyber attack which caused a huge internet outage. Robert Page’s comment on the attack achieved 28 pieces of coverage including the Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Mail and syndicated across the UK and Spain.

We also had great success with article placements, getting Redscan thought leadership right into the heart of the publications that their customers read, including the finance vertical that they were looking to target; Huffington Post, Finance DigestInformation Age and IT Pro Portal.

Today marks the end of our initial three month contract with Redscan and we are proud to have achieved 89 pieces of coverage for them, resulting in an estimated reach of 433,949,721. This included:

Redscan were obviously delighted with the coverage and we look forward to helping them further their profile in 2017!

If you would like us to do the same for your company, why don’t you follow in Redscan’s footsteps and try us out?

Last Friday our clients’ comments were published in hundreds of different publications across the UK, US, France and Germany, here is how we did it:

On Thursday morning reports started to surface that Yahoo was expected to announce a huge data breach so we notified our clients straight away and asked them to prepare comments on the information that was available so that we could jump on the story as soon as it broke. Our clients prepared comments and then it was just a waiting game.

Around 8pm on Thursday night the story broke, Yahoo had officially announced the breach. So we immediately told our clients and asked if they needed to update their comments given the new information. As many of them are based in the US, they were still at work so getting a quick response wasn’t difficult.

By 9pm we had issued the comments to national and security press. Minutes later, Al Jazeera asked for a television interview and we managed to get a client on air that same evening.

Before even getting into the office the next morning we were already getting interview requests from the likes of ITN and International Business Times UK, let’s just say it was a very busy day of rushing around trying to get clients to TV studios in ridiculously tight deadlines (it’s situations like this that a private jet would be useful). We also asked our teams in France and Germany to translate the comments and issue them out (these are regions where responding to news like this is not the norm).

200387165-001The results were pretty incredible, the Press Association article syndicated across 447 publications, so the clients that were lucky enough to be mentioned in the article achieved a year’s worth of coverage in one day! Hits included, the Daily Mail, Independent and Huffington Post. In France, Le Figaro (a big national newspaper) even covered the story and other hits included InformatiqueNews.fr and Speicherguide in Germany.

What was interesting was that the few clients who were not quick enough to give us comment on Thursday did not get much coverage at all, even though we had sent their comments out on Friday morning before 10am. This is likely to be because journalists were so saturated with comments that they only used the first batch they received and wanted to push their stories out as soon as possible. So it really paid off that we were prepared to work unsociable hours on Thursday night (although let’s hope this doesn’t start happening too often).

 

So unless you live under a rock you’ve probably heard of the new augmented reality app Pokémon GO, which has attracted huge attention across the world. However, one of the unfortunate lessons we have learned working in cyber security is that if something is popular with consumers, then you can guarantee it’s also going to be a big hit with hackers.

The App was first released in the US, Australia and New Zealand, however people from other countries didn’t want to be left out so found ways of downloading it outside of official app stores.

pikachu

This raised some security concerns which our client, Proofpoint, decided to delve into and research. Upon researching they discovered that a malicious app, pretending to be the official Pokémon GO app, was carrying malware known as DroidJack.  Proofpoint wrote a blog detailing the findings and Eskenzi pitched it out to national press, IT publications and other consumer websites. Quite frankly, the results were far beyond anything we could ever have hoped for.

We picked up an amazing 533 pieces of coverage in the UK, France, Germany and Canada in one week. These include The Independent, The Telegraph, Mirror, Express, The Guardian, Wired, the list goes on and on…and on.

Predicting which news story takes off is out of our control, however, when we align pop culture, global appeal, solid research and strategic media outreach, the chances of success are in our favour.

But more importantly, Pokémon GO has now been released in the UK and is safe to download from trusted sources so knock yourselves out, some of the Eskenzi staff have certainly jumped on the bandwagon.

In November we gained a new client called CertiVox; a Shoreditch-based cyber security company with a big vision to change the whole structure of the internet. In what we thought would be a normal meeting to get to know our new client, we were left gobsmacked at the big ideas and goals that this start-up had. The CertiVox CEO told us that trust on the internet is broken but he has a solution to fix it, as simple as that. It didn’t take us long to realise that this would be a very exciting client to work with, they had clear goals in mind and they wanted our help to achieve them.

CertiVox wanted a makeover and rebranding to become MIRACL. Our job was to take this new name that no one had heard of before and turn it into a well-known and trusted company. As if this wasn’t a mammoth enough job, it had to be done in time for their next round of funding this February.

In the first few days of working with MIRACL, before we had even met them properly, M&S had some technical glitches. So we practically threw the MIRACL CEO into a cab to the ITV News film crew in London to discuss the breach on national television. Not a bad way to kick off work with a new client.

Once we had time to catch our breath after the excitement of ITV news, we sat down and came up with a PR strategy to match MIRACL’s ambitions. We decided on a timeline to issue press releases surrounding MIRACL’s partnerships and work with big companies such as NTT and Experian. What we found particularly interesting was that Experian had selected MIRACL’s M-Pin technology to provide secure authentication for the millions of UK citizens who use the Gov.Verify service to log into any government activity websites such as DVLA and HMRC.

This coincided nicely with the tax return deadline of January 31st which would require anyone filing their tax return online to login using the Gov.Verify service. So we came up with the idea to carry out a survey on scams around tax returns. We then turned this into two press releases which achieved 180 pieces of coverage in publications such as the Metro, Yahoo News and MSN.

While all this was happening, we were also looking out for news stories around certificate authorities on which MIRACL could comment so that their voice can be heard on the issue, and it certainly has been in publications like SC Magazine and TechCrunch. Of course we also provided comment opportunities on big news stories in the industry such as the recent report which found that “123456” was still the most popular password. This achieved 30 pieces of coverage including the Guardian, Mirror and Metro (again!).

There was also the recent HSBC Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack; terrible publicity for HSBC but great exposure for MIRACL’s CEO whose comments were included in publications such as International Business Times and Computer Business Review. On the following Saturday we had a call from a small television channel you may have heard of called BBC, asking for someone to talk about the Lincolnshire county council ransomware incident. We managed to convince the reporter to send a cameraman to Brian’s house for some ‘on the ground’ reporting and before we knew it, MIRACL’s CEO was on the evening news.

With appearance in online and print publications, television and radio and over 300 pieces of coverage for MIRACL since we started work for them in November, I think it is fair to say we have got their name out there loud and clear for the next round of funding and we don’t plan on stopping any time soon.

You may or may not have heard the news last week that a Snapchat HR employee fell for a phishing email in which a cyber criminal impersonated Snapchat’s CEO asking for employee payroll information. Worryingly, the employee was unable to recognise that this was a scam and gave the criminals the payroll information of present and former employees.

As no customer details were disclosed we knew that this wouldn’t be a huge story, yet as Snapchat is one of the most popular and wide spread apps on the market, it was a relatively safe bet to assume this would be written about. So we shared the story with our clients and Jonathan Sander, VP of Product Strategy at Lieberman Software came back with a great comment explaining that “the fact that Snapchat got snagged with this shows that being young, cool, and high tech doesn’t protect you from being a phishing target” and even millennials with their tech savviness will not be putting cybercriminals out of the phishing business.

Snapchat-flashy-features

Jonathan’s interesting comments achieved coverage in the Guardian, Computer Business Review, International Business Times and three other publications. Proofpoint also provided comments on the story which outlined just how sophisticated phishing attacks have become that even with training, people can still be fooled. These achieved coverage in Tech Week Europe and Information Security Buzz.

At Eskenzi we also get tens of phishing emails each day and we also received emails impersonating our CEO asking us to transfer money. Luckily, we were able to spot the scam however if we had fallen for it, it could have been detrimental to our agency. So while the Snapchat story resulted in good coverage for our clients we urge businesses to provide appropriate and ongoing training on how to spot even the most sophisticated attempts and plead everyone to be alert to suspicious emails.

By now, the media has been pretty well saturated with the news that the FBI has asked Apple for help in decrypting data from the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters under the All Writs Act of 1789.  Under the 227 year old law, the US Federal Court is authorised to issue any writs it sees fit.   Without getting too much into the technicalities (there is some uncertainty about what the FBI is actually asking of Apple – i.e is it really a “backdoor” or is it simply help in unlocking one phone belonging to a terrorist?)

  • applefbi

Apple hit back at the FBI with an open letter to customers saying that it is a “dangerous precedent” to set because “the government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location…” and so forth.  This could be a stretch in this particular instance, but it’s brought to light serious issues with regards to technology manufacturers and national security – issues that have been around for a while now.  Teresa May suggested a bill four years ago (nicknamed the Snoopers’ Charter) that is still being discussed in Parliament and David Cameron even advocated for weakening encryption in order to tackle terrorism and crime something that has had the security professionals raging. 

So here’s the kicker – it’s taken a singular case involving Apple to finally get regular people to sit up and care.  Suddenly it’s real because it’s a big brand, despite the technology industry shouting about it for years.  Friends and family of mine were talking about Tim Cook’s open letter to customers, posting to Facebook – people who have never cared about this kind of stuff before.

Makes you wonder though – did Apple see this as a chance for some publicity?  Ask a pen tester or someone in the know, and they’ll tell you they hack iPhones all the time; it’s not a big deal.  Does the FBI really not have the resources to do it themselves?  I’m sure they could if they wanted to.  So was the request to Apple a mere courtesy that Apple has taken advantage of?  There are lots of questions around this that seem to be unanswered, but the main thing that sticks out is how Apple has managed to capitalise on the situation.

But hey, anything that makes the public consider their data security and privacy ought to be a good thing, right? Or is that spoken like a true PR person? ;0)

Last week, password management firm, SplashData released a report announcing the most used passwords of 2015 and the results were shockingly bad with “123456” and “password” at the top of the leader board. The results showed that people’s terrible password habits have hardly improved since 2011. Although this is terrible news fo
r the poor souls that will have their data stolen this year d
ue to their lazy password choices, this was a great opportunity for our security experts to rant on a national stage.Login Box

On Wednesday we received a request from a journalist at Press Association
asking for comment on the password report; which is really hitting the jackpot in our line of work as it means that the story will likely get

syndicated across tons of publications across the country and maybe even
overseas. So, we forwarded the request to our security experts and they were quick to provide commentary on the story, then we all did our rain dance chanting for coverage, which seemed to work for our two lucky clients, ESET and MIRACL.

Throughout the day we eagerly watched the coverage rolling in, from BT, the Mirror and Metro to local papers such as Yorkshire Post and Wigan Today. Both clients achieved coverage in around 30 publications from this story which is a great start to the year! However, we weren’t done just yet. We sent the comments out to further journalists and the Guardian also used them their own article. To put the cherry on top, a journalist from BBC World Service radio also called us asking for a quick interview. Of course, we dropped everything we were doing, and so did MIRACL’s CEO, to take the interview within half an hour of the request.

The end results were 7 pieces of national coverage and 21 pieces of regional and technology publications.

We really are grateful to have such influential journalists coming to us for comments and we are lucky to have such great clients willing to drop everything for a good PR opportunity, it certainly makes our job easier. So a massive thank you to them all, and here’s to a 2016 filled with more success stories than our blog can handle.

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So, week two of 2016 here at Eskenzi was most definitely no shrinking violet compared to last week’s phenomenal results!

This week, Microsoft released its final patches for Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 along with an “End of Life” notice, to encourage users to switch to Internet Explorer 11 and Microsoft Edge, currently only available on Windows 10.

These changes were originally announced back in August 2014, and it is estimated that these older, legacy browsers could account for more than 20% of web traffic. Computerworld reported that as many as 340 million Internet Explorer users are still using IE 8, 9 or 10! NetMarketShare estimates that Internet Explorer accounts for 57% of the browser market, compared with 25% for Chrome, 12% for Firefox and 5% for Apple’s Safari – That’s a lot of people using browsers that are now potentially unsafe, and can no longer be patched.

This means that Internet Explorer won’t receive any more security updates, or other patches. Those still using the browsers could be vulnerable to security threats and even hacks; depending on what other (if any) security software is installed.

A story of this type throws open the rapid response doors for Eskenzi clients, many of which had sound advice on what users, who still use Internet Explorer 8, 9 or 10, can do to ensure they stay protected, despite this news.

Four Eskenzi clients commented on this story – ESET, Tripwire, AppRiver and Bromium – and one from our sister agency, SmileOnFridays – Tenable, which resulted in over 250 pieces of coverage across National newspapers, business publications and trade press.  The coverage obtained was truly global, with publications in the UK, United States, France, Germany, Kenya, Japan, Ghana and Argentina (and many more!) reporting on the news with commentary from our clients included.

Hits include the BBC, The Metro, Business Reporter (included with The Daily Telegraph), BT, SC Magazine, Dark Reading and Yahoo! News.

Several journalists reached out to Eskenzi for specific commentary, as we are so well known to those who report in the security and technology space, knowing they would get great quotes to use in their stories, as well as sound advice for businesses and consumers alike.

We’re lucky to work with so many amazing clients who can, at the drop of a hat, pull amazing quotes and advice out of the bag. I wonder what week three will deliver.

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will pr for food

Saul O’Keeffe – PR Executive @Saul_Eskenzi

PR is a notoriously competitive and popular career path for graduates. There’s any number of ways people manage to get on the PR ladder, but as a graduate with little or no experience, it can seem a daunting task.

The reason I chose PR was because I knew how to write and research new subjects quickly, as well as being an easygoing person who doesn’t mind being out of their comfort zone on a regular basis. In short it was a career path where I’d get to test my skills to their limits, while having a real chance of career progression. But the difficult thing is getting that foot in the door, then through said door and on the first rung of that butter-coated ladder.

I had never worked in PR before – I’d never even worked in an office before. So how did I get a job in PR? Some of it was down to skill, some of it to luck and a large part of it was just patience and hard graft.

My experience comprised of charity projects with the Houses of Commons, a degree in political science and a few years working as a violin maker’s apprentice. Speaking to my rivals at job interviews, it was clear that competition was tough and knowing how to build a cello probably wasn’t going to impress someone who wanted me writing press releases and scoring media interviews for their clients.

So I did what everyone in my position did and applied to as many roles as I could – but saw no success. I then tried applying prospectively to companies where no positions were advertised, again without success. Consistently being told I had to do an internship first or hold a PR degree was somewhat disheartening. Then I got some excellent advice – build a strong relationship with a recruiter and be as open and honest with them as you can. Tell them your true likes and dislikes and where you sense your weaknesses lie. That way, they respect your honesty and know how to find the right position for you.

The recruiter then suggested I look at tech PR. It fitted my goals as the industry moves fast, requires consistent effort and creativity and enables me to learn about an area where I had little working knowledge before. It felt like the perfect challenge for someone looking to cut their teeth in PR. I’d had a couple of interviews by this stage and was starting to learn what PR directors are looking for in their teams. It was not long after this conversation I was off to my first tech PR interview – and luckily for me it was at a company where I felt instantly at home!

So my path from university to Eskenzi was hardly a doddle, with some disappointments along the way and interviews that were a complete waste of my time. There were 3 main lessons I learned on my journey into PR:

  1. Make sure you’re applying for PR in the sector that’s best for you – play to your strengths and ask for career advice about where you need to be.
  2. Blanket applications do not work – trust me. Be focused and targeted rather than throwing the whole pot of spaghetti at the wall.
  3. Do not be daunted by rejection or failure – it is all part of the learning experience and it is something to be relished rather than regretted.

So good luck in your applications! One final thing: do not feel pressured into working for free just to get “experience” – experience doesn’t pay the rent! If you work for free, you’re conceding your time isn’t worth any money, which is just not true. Right?

 

Actually, that isn’t the question, it’s the challenge

While some bay for the death knell to sound, I still firmly advocate that the press release has its place in the communications portfolio –but only if it’s done well.

The problem is that, in my experience, repeatedly it’s not! tips and hints

To be valuable the press release has to be carefully constructed. To do that takes a perfect blend of elements. Get it wrong and your prose is unlikely to see the light of day but, get it right, and you’ll generate interest and ultimately coverage.

With that in mind, here’s my tips for effective press release writing:

Grab the attention: The headline, and subject line if sending via email – which we all do, are the most important things to get right when writing a press release. You should use no more than 10 words that scream how interesting your release is to the recipient.

Journalists have hundreds of press releases flooding their mailboxes every day – or hour in some cases! Your release has to shine out against all the other dross. But that doesn’t mean you should be flippant, nor gimmicky – the journalist has to understand that a) it is a press release, b) what the release is about, and c) deem it relevant, if they’re going to open your message and read on.

Assuming you’ve passed this first hurdle, your opening sentence too has to keep the reader’s attention if the remainder of the release is going to be read. The golden rule here is that the opening sentence summarises what’s in the rest of the release, in less than 20 words, and reads like the opening line of a news report. Simple really – actually, that’s quite a skill.

It has to be newsworthy : There is absolutely no point writing a press release if you don’t have any news. Regardless of the demands a client, or even account manager, may make – if the subject isn’t genuinely new, interesting, innovative or surprising then a press release is not the best tactic. Instead, either combine this announcement with something that is newsworthy, or use a different PR tool.

Find your hook: Every editor needs a hook to pin your story around.  The best press releases will include this – ideally in the opening paragraph. For example, is a journalist interested in Company A’s new whitepaper? I’d wager not. But, if Company A has uncovered a previously unknown vulnerability in Software X and has published a paper on its research – then the hook is the vulnerability with the whitepaper referenced.

The Five W’s: In the opening paragraph it’s imperative that you cover the five W’s – the who, what, where, when and why that this release details. If you can get this into the opening sentence then perhaps you should consider a career as a news editor 🙂

Don’t waffle: While it might be tempting to put everything you know on the subject into a press release, don’t! The ideal length is one A4 side – approximately 400 words, or four paragraphs. Any more and you’re not writing a press release, you’re writing an article. Pick up any newspaper and look at the news section – short and snappy is the typical style and that’s what your release should emulate. If the journalist is interested, and needs more information, then they’ll ask for it.

Include a quote: And don’t say ‘we’re delighted/excited/pleased or thrilled ….’ of course you are but that’s not insightful. I also recommend that you read a quote out loud – if it sounds like you’re reading then it’s not a quote – you’re aiming for something that sounds natural and flows easily.

Complete the package with an image: Publications are screaming out for images to brighten up their pages so include one. Make sure, if you’re approaching a print publication, that the resolution is high enough, and try to make it interesting – a head shot of a spokesperson is not going to cut the mustard.

However, don’t attach the file to your message as this will annoy journalists struggling to keep their mailboxes a manageable size. Instead, a simple ‘Notes to Editor’ at the end of the release stating its availability will suffice. While on the subject of notes, you could include additional background material for the release in this section.

Include your details: There is nothing more frustrating to an editor, who’s fast approaching a print deadline and needs to verify a fact in a story, if they can’t immediately reach you. Include all the ways you can be reached, and that includes out of hours numbers.

One Size won’t fit all: So, you’ve got the lot – the interesting news hook, eye catching headline, and perfect quote. While that’s 95% of the secret formula, the bit that’s missing is the tailoring for each publication on your list. Take the time to write to each contact individually, detailing why the release is relevant to the publication’s audience, and highlighting the salient points. Again, keep it succinct and use bullets if it helps.

Get it proof read: There is nothing more frustrating then something littered with typos – it’s unprofessional and some journalists claim that they will delete releases with spelling errors and grammatical mistakes without reading them. get-it

So there you go, my top tips to effective press release writing.   logo-date+slogan(banner)