We Are Communication Architects

Building brand awareness through content creation and community engagement.

April 11th, 2016

Voce Nation Podcast Ep. 4: Medium, Facebook Live and More

Join Chris Thilk and myself for this Blab-hosted conversation of the latest news in the social media and content marketing world.

Here’s what we discussed this week:

Catch up with Voce on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Soundcloud. And follow me and Thilk on Twitter for more. Finally, find out about the PNConnect Weekly Reading newsletter here or sign-up to get it via email directly.

voce nation podcast

About the Author
Randy Ksar works on the social media team at Voce. You can follow him at @djksar on Twitter.

Filed in Voce Nation Podcast

April 5th, 2016

Voce Voices: How We Work

Learning about public relations in school is one thing. Putting it into practice is another. The many moving pieces is part of what makes an agency engaging, and the work satisfying when done well.

This week, Associate Client Executive Sammy Forth gives one example of what defines public relations for her and will be sharing more over the next few days. Stay tuned to our Instagram as Sammy gives followers an inside look at Voce!


Filed in Voce People, Voce Voices

April 5th, 2016

It’s Stress Awareness Month at Voce

It’s April, which means the sun is shining (editor’s note: It was hailing 48 hours ago in the Chicago area) and the flowers are blooming (editor’s note: many will be dead when the temp drops below freezing in the next three days) so it’s time to whip out those booty shorts (editor’s note: you know what, you get the point) and begin to welcome Spring. But how to fit into them?

With April being Stress Awareness Month, we figured it would be great to kick off a health initiative within our office and work together to find healthy ways to relieve stress! Fun fact: Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood as well as improve both sleep and self-esteem.

With that being said, we have a bunch of activities that will be happening across Voce offices throughout the month that have been laid out below! Without further ado, the month of April. That involves 5/10K runs or walks, a yoga instructor teaching a class later this month, group manicures, chips & dip staff meetings and more.

stress awareness month

Not only will we be focusing on taking care of ourselves but also focusing on what we can give back to our communities. We’re encouraging our staff to participate in Earth Day on April 22nd and putting together a list of ways for them to get involved. And throughout the month we’ll be putting the spotlight on how our staff is involved in charities and other events and organizations. Because getting involved in something bigger than yourself is a key part of a work/life balance.

Stay tuned here as well as on all our social channels for more examples throughout the month on how Voce works to destress and give back to the communities around us.

Filed in Voce Culture, Voce People

April 4th, 2016

Connect With Voce

We live in distributed times. So you may not be someone who visits this blog very often but you’re active on various social networks. Luckily there are plenty of ways to connect with Voce Communications elsewhere if that’s your thing. You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, all of which feature the same kind of insights and news that are shared here on the blog. You can also listen to our podcasts on Soundcloud, iTunes or Stitcher. And follow us on Instagram for a look behind the agency curtain at the people who make Voce what it is. Our ever-increasing number of Flipboard magazines let you see the kind of results we achieve for clients, the latest Voce Nation blog posts and more industry news. Finally, if you’re a Medium reader you can follow VoceNation there.

voce client wall

Filed in Voce Culture, Who We Are

April 1st, 2016

Voce Client Coverage: 4/1/16

Every week the Voce team works tirelessly to secure important coverage for clients. Below is just an example of the results of this week’s work and you can see more on Flipboard.


WhiteHat Security

SC Magazine, Apple vs. FBI: Too much to ask, Ryan O’Leary  – April 1, 2016

SC Magazine features a contributed column by Ryan O’Leary about why Apple should not have complied with the FBI court order to unlock an iPhone. 


micro focus

Micro Focus 

CIO.com, Why it’s time to learn COBOL, Paul Ruben – April 1, 2016

Geoff Webb joins the discussion on different programming languages, noting career benefits. 


Rook Security

SC Magazine, Apple vs. FBI: Comply!, J.J. Thompson, CEO, Rook Security – April 1, 2016

Rook Security CEO J.J. Thompson’s opinion piece on the Apple/FBI debate is featured in SC Magazine – both in print and online. 


Armor

D Magazine, Cybersecurity Firm Armor Appoints Diana Massaro as CMO, Danielle Abril – March 30, 2016

The hire of C-level executive Diana Massaro is covered in a local Dallas magazine. 


sandisk logo

SanDisk

CNET, SanDisk Extreme 900 Portable SSD review: An extremely fast, versatile drive, Dong Ngo – March 30, 2016

SanDisk’s Extreme 900 SSD receives an overall rating of 8.3/10 and 4 out 5 stars for CNET editors’ rating. 


Workday

ZDNet, Workday’s Phil Wilmington: Cloud vendors’ customer win claims murky Larry Dignan, March 29, 2016

In his interview with ZDNet’s Larry Dignan, co-president Phil Wilmington decried the trend among enterprise cloud companies touting customer wins without revealing the details behind the deals or whether another rival platform was really uprooted.


palo alto networks logo

Palo Alto Networks

Huffington Post, Cybersecurity Education: An Interview Roger Connolly of Palo Alto Networks, Ruth Starkman  March 25, 2016

Roger Connolly, Palo Alto Networks director of education, sat down with Ruth Starkman to discuss cybersecurity education.


Want to find out more about Voce and what it can do for you? Visit our Services page, then meet the Staff that makes all this magic happen. Finally, contact us today to learn more about Voce’s capabilities and operations.

Filed in Voce Clients

March 31st, 2016

Insights from PRSA’s Inside the Newsroom Event

Tuesday night I attended a PRSA “Inside the Newsroom” event with Bloomberg Tech. The editorial team has gone through a lot of change in the last six months alone – but this slew of new players is a seemingly good change for the publication, and cross-platform teams seem more connected than ever (i.e. Bloomberg TV and Bloomberg News now rely on each other to double dip on story ideas and features to stay ahead of competitive news orgs).

Panelists Included Jeff Taylor (San Francisco Bureau Chief and Editor-at-Large at Bloomberg News), Brad Stone (Bloomberg Global Tech Lead), Mark Milian (Tech Editor) and Danielle Culbertson (Managing Editor of TV & Radio).

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The many divisions of Bloomberg News has historically made it confusing and challenging to know who to approach first with a story idea – the new interconnected structure will hopefully solve for that as well. In theory, you should be able to go to whoever is the most appropriate fit to pitch an angle for both print and TV. It’s also worth noting that each subdivision of Bloomberg News exists on various platforms, meaning one editorial contact should be able to navigate whether that story is a fit for online, TV, radio, print (in one of the three magazines) or across multiple platforms.

The desire for “exclusive content” was also re-iterated multiple times throughout the evening – so that’s clearly a focus, and something communications pros need to keep in mind when pitching Bloomberg.

Insights on PR pitches:

  • All participants resoundingly echoed that we need to do a better job of “watching what reporters do” in order to send informed pitches
  • Think about what headlines we as readers would click on, and approach the pitching process that way
  • For TV especially, it has to be visual first and foremost
  • Pitches should be
    • Short and sharp
    • Impactful
    • Exclusive, when possible
  • Pitches should NOT
    • Be misleading, especially with executive titles or prior expertise
    • Take a blanket approach; instead read the reporter’s coverage and customize your approach
    • Be done social media – we assume our competitors will see it, and it’s no longer personal or exclusive

More key quotes from the panelists:

“When you pitch a few of us at once, you run the risk of no one taking ownership to respond – it makes it easier to ignore. If you pitch me directly, I’ll likely pass it on to the most appropriate writer, if it’s relevant for us.” – Brad

“Don’t tell me the whole story of your company or its founder, focus on what’s new and the story I should focus on; I can do that research on my own” – Mark

“Take the approach of ‘I read your story on X OR I read your last five features on X company, and I have a story idea that I think will resonate with you’ – that’s an email that’s hard for us to ignore.” – Jeff

Filed in Media, Pitching

March 30th, 2016

Beyond March Madness: What Numbers Mean to Vocians

People in the communications profession sometimes get a bad rap when it comes to numbers, and math, and quantifiable results. “You can’t put a number on the value of a New York Times article” is a phrase you’ve probably heard more than once.

Just Because We’re in Communications Doesn’t Mean We Don’t ‘Do’ Numbers

But the reality is, at Voce, numbers matter. It starts with our analytics department, which is dedicated specifically to finding new and innovative ways of measuring the real business impact of our programs. But the rest of us don’t simply sit back and pass it off to the analytics nerds every time we see a number.

Instead, each of us embrace numbers in different ways. From measuring business impact to media briefings, from impressions to work-life balance, below is a small sampling of perspectives from Vocians on the topic of numbers

Alex Alias, Client Executive

Numbers, they’re everywhere. The number system dictates everything from the binary functions of a computer to the 40-hour work week. The beauty is you can manipulate certain numbers such as how to spend 24 hours in a day. The tough part is being able to balance everything in those 24 hours. During the week, I balance time between clients and coworkers with time carved out to read news and think of new ideas. My weekends are balanced with friends, fun and fitness that way I’m refreshed for Monday. Whether it be hours in a day or the change in your bank account it is important to make numbers work the best for you!

alex alias

Brittany Dixon, Senior Client Executive

I have a love/hate relationship with numbers. I hate seeing high numbers when they are in the form of calories on my favorite ice cream jar, or on the price tag of a shirt I want. I love numbers when they are in the form of pay day, in the form of puppies (the more the better), and when they are in the form of social results. Working on many social programs at Voce, high numbers are gold. Being able to quantify the content we are creating in numbers (high numbers) to the client, is an amazing feeling. Numbers are a universal language, but numbers in the form of analytics are the cherry on top when justifying your hard work, ideas, and creativity.

dixon 0415

Becky Edwards, Senior Client Executive

For someone who disliked math class more than anything growing up, talking about numbers in a positive tone is a big one for me. Impressions, UVMPs, circulations – all extremely important in my day-to-day role at Voce and all deal with numbers. When numbers can be controlled – even numbers are everything to me. Some might say OCD, but I just call it consistency. Four briefings instead of three, six talking points instead of five… you get the drill. You can always count on numbers.

becky edwards new

Andy Stoltzfus, Vice President

In our industry, it’s easy to get caught up in numbers for the sake of numbers. Clicks, impressions, Likes, comments, article count. To me, though, it’s about finding the right number to look at, and finding opportunities to increase those numbers exponentially. I thrive on connecting our communications programs directly to business numbers – to conversions, downloads, or purchases. When it comes to impressions, I sometimes thrive on small numbers – but only when we can identify that those impressions are with the people who matter and who will take the action we want them to take. And I thrive on exponential numbers – such as activating advocates and employees who have networks of their own and can exponentially increase the impact of our communications activities.

stolzfus 1215

About the Author
Andy is responsible for developing and implementing social media and digital publishing programs for Voce clients.

Filed in Voce Culture, Voce People

March 28th, 2016

Voce Nation Podcast Ep. 3: Twitter’s Algorithmic Change, BART’s Response Strategy, Chipotle and More

Once again Christopher Barger, Chris Thilk and myself got together on Blab to discuss recent news. Watch the show below.

Here’s what we discussed this week:

Catch up with Voce on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Soundcloud. And follow me, Barger and Thilk on Twitter for more. Finally, find out about the PNConnect Weekly Reading newsletter here or sign-up to get it via email directly.

voce nation podcast

About the Author
Randy Ksar works on the social media team at Voce. You can follow him at @djksar on Twitter.

Filed in Content Marketing, Marketing, Social Networks, Voce Nation Podcast

March 25th, 2016

Blogging and Other Social Media Usage Slips Among Fortune 500

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research is out with its latest update on social media usage by Fortune 500 companies in 2015 and there are some big surprises here.

umass fortune 500 2015

First, far fewer companies maintained active blogs last year, just 21% , or a little over 100 companies. That makes two years in a row that usage declined, with this tactic peaking at 34% in 2013 and beginning a decline in 2014. That means fewer companies see the value in long-form content, though the study doesn’t make it clear whether it’s counting blogs that may be hosted on Tumblr or Medium. Many brands have migrated their content publishing to those platforms in the last couple years and it would be interesting to know if those are included in these stats.

Our position has always been that an owned, on-domain blog is always a good idea. Going all-in on other networks, whether it’s Instagram or Medium or anything else, means you are subject to terms of service and a user experience that can change at any moment. As we’ve seen in recent months as Facebook continues to kink the hose of organic reach and Twitter and Instagram adopt algorithmic feeds, the only way to manage the experience is to own it. While distribution on other platforms can benefit a program, on-domain publishing brings long-term value in that it’s not subject to content decay, allows for better search rankings and more.

Moving on, there was a 5% drop in the number of Fortune 500 companies actively publishing on Twitter, down to 78%. The number of companies with an active Facebook page also dropped, dipping 6% to 74%. YouTube usage is also dropping, down to 64% in 2015, as is Pinterest, which is only used by 23% of the companies on the list.

The one network that’s growing? Instagram. That shows companies are seeing more value in visual storytelling, but that conclusion is somewhat suspect by the decline on Pinterest. So if a platform that’s visual but has no click-through value is growing while a platform that’s visual and has a ton of click-through value is declining, where are the priorities of the companies using them? It will be interesting to see if the recent introduction of a filtered algorithmic feed on Instagram impacts that growth, which is in at least its second year.

So why is almost everything – even LinkedIn – dropping in usage? The study says that a good portion of the reason is that the companies that are new to the list aren’t using social networks at the same rate those being replaced were. So the question then becomes, why aren’t those new additions to the list using social networks?

The study doesn’t offer a reason but it’s easy to assume that in some manner or another the companies simply don’t see the value in maintaining them. Maybe the audience they’re trying to reach is no longer on those networks, maybe program goals are ones that won’t be achieved through content publishing.

Of note that this is at least the third year of Twitter being more popular among Fortune 500 companies than Facebook. And yet we can’t go a month without discussions of why Twitter is failing. But if so many companies are using it, what’s behind that perception? The company still struggles with adding and retaining active monthly users, which means that it’s not selling the value of connecting with these companies – or watching as Neil DeGrasse Tyson debates random rappers about science or Robert Downey Jr engage in a little smack talk with Ryan Reynolds and Chris Evans – to those new and inactive users. That’s a real problem but it seems like one that can be solved.

Have questions about how Voce can help you figure out how to use a blog or other social network? Drop us a line.

About the Author
Chris Thilk works on the Client Services team, part of Voce Connect, developing and executing social media strategy. You can follow him at @christhilk on Twitter.

Filed in Blogging, Content Marketing, Social Networks

March 24th, 2016

Remembering Andy Grove, 1936 – 2016

andy grove timeEarlier this week, the tech industry lost a titan with the passing of Andy Grove. The man had a profound impact on technology, business, philanthropy and the culture of Silicon Valley.

For the average person not steeped in tech history, the name Andy Grove probably doesn’t mean much. But I guarantee you that same person is pretty familiar with this little ditty. And while we know Intel has become synonymous with microprocessors, many of us don’t know that it was Andy Grove’s vision that made Intel the processor powerhouse it is today.

Prior to 1983, Intel was mostly known as a manufacturer of DRAM computer memory. However, when Japanese memory chip suppliers entered the market and started a price war, it was Grove who made the push to refocus Intel’s R&D efforts on designing and manufacturing microprocessors. Seen as a pretty big gamble at the time, Grove’s decision to focus on MPUs led to the development of the x86 processor architecture, which became the dominant processor technology in computing.

Rather than spend time here listing his many accomplishments, a much better summation of Grove’s life and work was presented in a video presented at The Churchill Club when the organization honored him with their Legendary Leader award last year. If you’d like a better understanding of how Grove’s work and vision helped make Silicon Valley what it is today, I recommend you watch it.

On a personal note, I’ve been building and modding PCs for the past 20 years and all of my machines have used Intel processors. So thank you, Mr. Grove, for your vision and leadership. The fruits of your labor have given me countless hours of entertainment (and quite a few skinned knuckles). RIP, sir.

Filed in Technology

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