In late January, we held our Annual All Hands at our Denver office (insert screams of excitement from our Seattle team that had never been to Colorado!). In a day and age where virtual workplaces are more and more common, nothing can replace the relationships and deep bonds that are formed through some good old face-to-face interaction. Over a three-day period, we laughed, we debated, we brainstormed, we ate, we drank, and yes, a certain CEO even shed a few happy tears.
In past years, we focused the content portion of our All Hands on short Lightening Talk presentations from our team. This year, we decided to change things up and feature a few in-depth sessions by expert speakers including Seth Levine, Managing Director at Foundry Group; Sam Irwin, SEO and SEM master at Eastern Star Marketing; and an all-star Crisis Communications panel featuring Michelle Baum, Steve Krizman and Michele Murray (more on their backgrounds below).
PR from a VC Perspective
PR has always been centered around the art of storytelling and creating a human to human connection. While this foundation remains steadfast, we discussed how the role of PR has evolved due to the growth of social media and the widespread availability of information. Instead of selling access to reporters, PR’s role has made a fundamental shift towards communications strategy. Included in this shift is a greater focus on measurement and the ability to showcase how placements are impacting a client’s goals (customer acquisition, brand awareness, etc.). Counting outcomes, not media hits, is what matters for companies today and moving forward.
SEO for PR
Sam Irwin from Eastern Star marketing walked our team through the nuts and bolts of onsite and offsite SEO best practices. We took a look at how strategies, from link building to keyword research and development, affect a company’s traffic rankings, and ultimately sales. Sam emphasized the importance of syncing with a client’s SEO team at the end of a campaign or launch to gain a greater understanding of how PR contributed to website traffic, adjustments that need to be made on link building and keyword strategies, and successes that can be replicated for future initiatives.
Crisis Comms 101
In planning our All Hands, the Barokas PR team expressed a particular interest in taking a deep all things crisis PR. While we’ve helped clients manage several situations on this front, we also believe in the power of learning from other experiences. Michelle Baum, co-founder of Moxie + Mettle; Steve Krizman, a health care marketing andcommunications consultant and public relations teacher at Metro State University of Denver; and Michele Murray, Director of Communications for the Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation, treated us to a lively discussion on how to prepare for and manage a crisis. My favorite tip from the session was on “Containing the Timeline.” If you can keep the crisis situation to a 24-48 hour window, you can help your client minimize financial costs and damage to the brand.
And last, but not least, our fabulous HR partners at SkyeTeam led us through a Market Maze team building activity in which we had to communicate without speaking (insert look of fear on our team’s face). While we had a few slips here and there, our team came through with flying colors and learned a thing or two about each other in the process.
Let the 2018 All Hands planning begin!