Articles Written by the Edge Marketing Team

As a business owner, you are acutely aware of the fundamental risks and benefits of thinking outside the box. You know the pros and cons of taking that leap of faith and you have done it, successfully. You have carefully crafted your company and everything that entails, and you are, justifiably, proud of everything you and your team have accomplished.

So, then what?

With so many factors to consider (your company’s reputation and longevity, and employees who depend on you for their livelihoods, to name just two), it’s no wonder successful entrepreneurs can find themselves in a tug-of-war between contentedly trucking along the same safe, well-worn road as always, or forging into uncharted territory.

Here are three ways to nurture an innovative mindset, as you consider your firm’s “then what”:

Challenge the status quo.

There is a time and place for tradition, and business is not it. Take a step back and ask, “Why do we do this, this way?” If the answer is, “It is just the way it’s always been,” then it could be time to change things up.

Remember Blockbuster Video? In 2000, they rejected the opportunity to acquire a scrappy little startup called Netflix for $50 million. Instead, Blockbuster teamed up with Enron (Yes, that Enron) to start their own video-on-demand service; however, focusing so myopically on their brick and mortar stores, Blockbuster walked away from the first major iteration of widescale VOD.

It did not take long for Netflix to start chipping away at Blockbuster’s customer base; not by undercutting them, but by reimagining movie rental in the digital age with its mail-order DVD rental service. In five years, when Blockbuster finally hopped on the bandwagon and started its own similar service, Netflix already had 3 million customers, none of the overhead incurred in physical retail, and was well on its way to launching the streaming service we know today.

According to this study by PwC, 81 percent of homes in the United States used Netflix in 2019, versus 68 percent who are pay-TV subscribers. As for Blockbuster, they’ve gone from almost 9,100 stores worldwide at their peak in the early 2000s, to one single location left in the world.

Just because it’s the way it has always been, does not mean it’s the right way, or the only way.

Don’t compete: Create.

Keeping an eye on the competition can be a necessary evil for a business owner. It can trigger innovative ideas and strategies for your own brand; however, you can set yourself apart by reframing your thinking: You are not competing with another product/service: You are creating a new solution in the existing marketplace.

What do Play-Doh, Post-Its, and the Slinky all have in common? They were all created unintentionally, by inventors who were intending to create entirely different products. Play-Doh was intended to clean coal residue from wallpaper. The inventors of Post-Its wanted to create a super-adhesive and ended up with the opposite. The Slinky was invented by a naval mechanical engineer who was developing springs to support and stabilize sensitive instruments aboard battleships.

When these innovators took a step back, they saw that their product served an entirely different purpose than they’d originally intended, and they rolled with it.

Though you likely have no intention of changing your company’s commodity from wallpaper cleaner to a children’s toy, recognizing a different need you could fulfill may help unlock your imagination.

Be a brave, lifelong learner.

Trends, laws, and technologies are changing continually, and you can use that to your advantage. Stay current by taking formal and informal opportunities to learn. Expand your opportunities for growth, both personally and professionally, by taking a class or joining a society or club (or creating one, if one doesn’t exist!). Check out inspiring or informative podcasts and YouTube channels. Don’t know any? Ask around: Everyone loves recommending their favorites. Skip the Seinfeld rerun one night a week in favor of doing some reading, or even just going for a walk. Get out there, and allow yourself to dream big!

As a business owner, you already embody the frequently-used quote with variations attributed to everyone from Nelson Mandela to Franklin D. Roosevelt: “Being brave does not mean you’re not scared: Being brave means you are scared and you do it anyway.” Commit before you know all the answers, and take that leap.


About the Author

Tanya Amyote is Marketing Assistant, database and Excel guru, and token Canadian at Edge. Tanya possesses a strong work ethic, impeccable communication skills, and a can-do attitude. In addition to their son, James, Tanya and her husband, Brian, have three rescue dogs: Luna, Gary, and Gus.

Our December News with Edge article outlined some basic principles of sales and marketing that have remained constant over time, despite modern advancements in how we reach our target markets. Knowing your audience, refining your message and using a multifaceted approach to reach the segments of your audience the way each of them wants to be reached are some of the core tenets seasoned marketers have followed for decades.

But in fact, there is much that is new in marketing today.

Customer experience or “CX” is among the most talked-about trends for B2C and B2B businesses alike, which is all about prioritizing the overall experience clients have with your company and its products or services. Emphasize a positive culture and provide great service to elevate the customer experience at every touch point to build loyalty that keeps them coming back for more and strengthen your brand to attract new clients. In addition to superior service, factors like convenience, modern technology, personalized communications and brand image are other high-value assets contributing to a positive CX.

Personalization is its own topic under what’s new in marketing. Tailored messaging helps you cut through the noise and get your audience’s attention while they are tuning out everything else. Advancements in AI-powered technology and marketing automation tools allow us to leverage data to customize communications that help both clients and prospects better connect with the brand.

Speaking of your brand, content marketing continues to evolve but remains an important strategy for highlighting your expertise and leadership as part of your overall identity. Revisit these tips for repurposing content to maximize the value of your articles, white papers, case studies and other assets, but don’t limit yourself to plain text materials. Advancements in voice search are changing the way content is being created and searched, with interactive, video and other visual content increasingly important parts of the marketing mix for expanding engagement.

Your 2020 plans surely include other components of digital marketing, which is really anything that uses the internet or electronic devices to connect with current or prospective customers. Know which channels offer the best opportunity to convey your most important messages to your target audience.

  • Websites – Beyond staying current with both your layout and content, ensure your site is optimized for mobile devices so visitors get the best possible first impression regardless of how they’re accessing it. Don’t forget to include video and effective visuals wherever possible.
  • Email marketing – Email inboxes today are like our mailboxes a couple decades ago: filled with junk, much of which goes into the trash before anyone reads it. Always be strategic in how email marketing is used.
  • Advertising – Even for established brands, advertising remains a viable way to keep your name and key messages top of mind among large audiences. Take advantage of opportunities that enable targeting of narrow segments of the market with tailored messaging.
  • Social media – An effective social media strategy doesn’t require a presence on every platform. Evaluate the channels available to determine which are the best fit to reach your core audiences with your key messages.
  • Blogs, podcasts & webinars – In addition to posting news and insights regularly to your blog, try sharing some of your knowledge and thought leadership in a podcast or webinar. Modern tools make it easier than ever to provide tutorials to your clients, and many travelers and commuters enjoy listening, rather than reading, to stay current on industry trends.

AI technologies and automation are changing the way businesses reach and interact with their audiences. And while smart assistants and chatbots may perform base-level customer service, they don’t negate the importance of the human aspect of marketing. Technology doesn’t replace people, but rather should enhance your marketing efforts to target and personalize communications.

As you finalize your 2020 PR and marketing plans, be sure to consider a variety of strategies and the modern tools and channels available to reach your targets that will best help achieve your goals.

About the Author

With Edge since 2007, Jennifer Marsnik specializes in helping clients develop and implement strategic plans that support their overall business goals. She lives in the Twin Cities area with her husband and two daughters and enjoys golf and cheering on the Twins, Vikings and U of M Gophers.

It’s the middle of fall with the holidays quickly approaching. It’s also the season for finalizing strategic plans and budgets for 2020, prompting many legal vendors to wonder … what’s new?

Not much, it turns out – at least not with some core tenets of sales and marketing.

Legaltech News published an article on November 15, 2019, by Frank Ready, a reporter on the tech desk at ALM Media, titled “For Legal Tech Vendors, the First Impression is Everything.” The piece acknowledges the difficulty of marketing to and maintaining relationships in the legal industry and includes insight from three different perspectives: a law firm director of e-discovery, a law firm attorney and a corporate general counsel.

What I found most interesting is that I probably could have read the same article back when I started working in this space in 1996, perhaps without the reference to email. Because it turns out that with all the technology and advancements in the channels used to reach this market over the past 20+ years, nothing has really changed with respect to basic principles of sales and marketing.

Ready highlights several insights from his subjects that, as marketing consultants in this industry, we’ve been telling clients for years …

  • Know your audience. Every organization is structured differently, so the decision-maker or influencer at one firm won’t have the same title as the decision-maker at another firm. Salespeople and marketers must do their homework to ensure they’re targeting the right individual at each firm with any direct outreach.
  • Having a message that resonates is the best way to get someone’s attention.
  • Ongoing marketing and relationship management is critical to keeping the clients you have.
  • A multi-pronged approach is necessary to reach various people in the legal market because everyone wants something different –
    • One wants relevant content she can share with her clients about something new and how/why it impacts them, but then she goes on to admit she also gets this info from conferences/panels.
    • One prefers a more direct approach but admits that even if your message is compelling enough to get him to open a marketing email out of curiosity, he’s probably not going to buy from you anyway.
    • Another wants to see evidence that your solution is uniquely able to address a specific pain point or a case study sharing how a similar organization found success with it. She wants succinct messaging but acknowledges that is hard to achieve in a crowded marketplace.

All in all, Ready’s article doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know but rather serves as a reminder of why reaching the legal audience requires a thoughtful approach. His timing is perfect, though, as vendors are revisiting their strategies and actively working to map out their marketing plans for 2020.

The real takeaway is this: Unless you have a money tree and can truly afford to market to all these segments in all the different ways they want to be reached simultaneously, the best things you can do are to prioritize your audience and messaging, be strategic and get focused.

  1. Prioritize your audiences. Know exactly who your primary targets are and tailor your outreach accordingly.
  2. Revisit your messaging. Know exactly what your differentiators and value proposition are to ensure your key messages are accurate and impactful enough to resonate with your primary audiences.
  3. Have a strategy. Outline a PR and marketing plan that leverages the available channels to reach your primary audience with the right messaging or content at every touchpoint.
  4. Stay focused. Don’t get distracted with the latest opportunity or channel that becomes available. Rather, be purposeful and make sure every activity in your 2020 plan actively works toward your goals and objectives.

Need help refining your message, developing a strategy or getting focused? Call the experts at Edge today.

About the Author

With Edge since 2007, Jennifer Marsnik specializes in helping clients develop and implement strategic plans that support their overall business goals. She lives in the Twin Cities area with her husband and two daughters and enjoys golf and cheering on the Twins, Vikings and U of M Gophers.

Tips to Make Your PR Sparkle During the Holidays

Ah the holidays… the most wonderful time of the year! How do PR professionals make it the most wonderful time to maximize PR opportunities? Here are some tips to keep in mind to capitalize on the last weeks of the year.

Keep Pitching

Though November and December are the busiest months of the year when it comes to the holiday season, they can often be slow when it comes to news. The holidays can be an ideal time for a publicity push. Journalists and reporters have space to fill and are looking for fresh content, particularly newspapers and news sites. Because most PR departments scale back efforts at year end, PR pros who pitch during the holiday season find less competition for media attention.

Make Content Relevant

While the holidays may be a slower news period, it doesn’t mean that anything goes. It’s still important to pitch topics that are timely and tie into current news and events. Consider the following topics to pitch during the holidays:

  • Holiday themes
    If your business or product allows, do your best to work clever holiday themes and terms into your content. Write a how-to article that connects your company to a topic or current issue or trend, such as tactics for winter survival or making the most out of seasonal activities. Be sure to include holiday hashtags to maximize exposure on social media channels.
  • Year-in-review recap
    Write a year-end overview that recaps industry and market trends, company performance and achievements. Consider linking to videos and infographics that highlight important metrics and accomplishments. PR professionals can use year-in-review articles as an opportunity to generate buzz and reinforce their position in the market for their target audience.
  • Make predictions
    Predictions for the coming year can earn substantial media mentions. They can establish executives and clients as experts in their field. Make sure your predictions are compelling enough to matter or coincide with industry happenings throughout the year. Explore new theories, unique perspectives and edgy ideas that would cause the average industry reader to click on the headline.

Timing Matters

While timing is always important in public relations, trying to get media coverage can be especially challenging around the holidays. Keep in mind the holidays change the production schedules of some publications. You’d be better off to avoiding any major announcements during the busy weeks of November and December, unless your news plays into those holidays somehow. Many reporters are out of the office trying to enjoy time with friends and family, so you’ll be hard-pressed to get their attention. If you must make them, do time your holiday announcements wisely. Think about all the email that will be in a reporter’s inbox. Do you want your pitch stuck in that queue waiting for days to be opened? Look at the calendar and try to plan for the week before the holiday or wait until after.

Thought leadership pitching is all about strategic storytelling and positioning yourself as an industry expert. If you’ve got a great angle that can be written with a holiday news hook or event, take advantage of the opportunity. The end of the year may not be the ideal time for major news or product releases, but both news sites and their readers are hungry for tips on navigating the holidays, year-end wrap-ups, year-ahead predictions and inspirational stories. Warmest wishes for productive PR this holiday season!

About the Author

Vicki LaBrosse, director of global public relations, Edge Marketing, has more than 17 years of marketing and communications experience in both the legal and accounting industries. She works with clients to develop and execute comprehensive PR and marketing strategies that will help grow their business.

Try catching a mosquito from the bed of a pickup truck that’s bumping over soccer ball-size rocks. To many, nailing this is easier than addressing today’s cybersecurity challenges.

Law firms and accounting firms are target-rich environments for cybercriminals. A firm’s systems can provide everything from Social Security numbers to privileged corporate data – all items that can fetch big dollars on the black market.

How can organizations defend against or even stave off digital threats?

In honor of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, I (virtually) sat down with the following five technology experts:

  • Matthew Brothers-McGrew, CISO and EVP of technology of Reveal Data
  • Randy Johnston, EVP of K2 Enterprises and chairman and CEO of Network Management Group, Inc.
  • Mike Paul, CTO of Innovative Computing Systems, Inc.
  • Steve Salkin, managing editor of ALM’s Cybersecurity Law & Strategy
  • Tomas Suros, chief solutions architect at AbacusNext

Together, they shared the following advice on how best to protect organizations.

Bolster your strongest lines of defense

Firms have a built-in line of protection from digital threats: their employees. But to activate that level of vigilance, they should concentrate on security education and awareness.

“No matter the type of technology deployed, the users share responsibility for securing the system,” said Mike Paul, CTO of Innovative Computing Systems, Inc. “It is not only IT’s job to handle security. The end user is key in helping keep threats at bay, and security education should be an ongoing quarterly/annual process.”

Steve Salkin, the managing editor of ALM’s Cybersecurity Law & Strategy and a legal technology veteran for more than 20 years, echoed this sentiment in the context of current threats.

“One of the biggest cybersecurity challenges facing law firms is from within with attorneys and support staff falling for phishing schemes,” Salkin explained. “Let’s face it, many attorneys and law firm staff are still not very tech-savvy, and a well-constructed email asking them to update account information or change a password can elicit a response. I think progress is being made here. Firms are issuing warnings, telling lawyers and staff to contact IT before responding to emails asking for such information and conducting tests to see who within the organization responds to phishing emails. But the old saying about leading a horse to water applies. I think that the best way to combat this threat – and many firms are now doing so – is to send phishing tests and follow up with a training session.”

Takeaway: Invest in security awareness training so that users on the front line can identify trouble before it starts. Likewise, ensure that users know where to turn to in case they spot potential threats.

“Next-generation phishers are taking the time to research their targets – monitoring company news, identifying employees and gathering the information that will help them craft convincing, custom phishing campaigns. Criminals may pose as a company administrator or business partner and make requests like the ones you receive every day,” said Tomas Suros, chief solutions architect at AbacusNext. “When in doubt, contact your company or business partner’s support line to find out if the email is legitimate.”

Embrace agility

“It’s not a matter of if you’ll be attacked, but when. Even if your internal or external IT team does everything correctly, you can still be attacked,” said Randy Johnston, executive vice president of K2 Enterprises, a leading technology CPE provider to CPA professionals, and chairman and CEO of Network Management Group, Inc., a managed IT consulting and services company. “While firms are spending time, money and effort to address cybersecurity, they are not advancing as fast as the attackers. For bad actors, breaking into systems is a full-time job. For most system administrators, cybersecurity is only part of the job.”

Always evolving cyberthreats demand accelerated responsiveness from firms.

“Security is never set it and forget it,” said Paul. “Threats are constantly evolving and require a nimble company to navigate the changes.”

While the pace of cyberattacks may seem relentless, the innovation of the threats may be lacking – which is good news for firms and IT professionals.

“There is nothing terribly novel about cybersecurity threat actors as they are in many ways just con men, criminals and tyrants of yore with updated tactics,” said Matthew Brothers-McGrew, CISO and EVP of technology, Reveal Data, who began work in the security industry as a testifying expert focused on cases that intersected with complex computer science, software, breaches and cybersecurity issues. “With each new year, I read a lot of ‘emerging threat’ lists, and lately these have all been new takes on old cons. This is good news because it means many of the basic tools of a strong risk-based security program remain surprisingly relevant and effective even in this world of emerging threats.”

Takeaway: Johnston said a straightforward act could help protect your organization.

“Backup is the most important part of cybersecurity preparation with user training being second,” he comments. “In 2019, I’ve seen about two attacks per week. Both a CPA firm and law firm in New York City wound up paying $1 million ransoms because they were attacked with crypto-viruses and didn’t have sufficient backup.”

Brothers-McGrew endorsed revisiting security tools.

“Security teams must constantly tweak these basic tools to match the adversary’s evolving tactics. These tweaks are akin to moving to hybrid cars from traditional fuel cars. Nobody who drove a ’70s Impala is totally flummoxed when getting behind the wheel of a Prius.”

Establish holistic security programs

Sometimes, weaknesses result from incomplete visions and plans or measures that have engrained themselves into processes over time.

Suros cautioned against settings that provide convenience at the expense of security. “The default [of some firms] is to give everyone access to everything. Access to sensitive information and software tools should be limited to protect client information and company information.”

Paul agreed and stated: “The biggest challenge [organizations] face relates to an evolution of their current processes and practices as it pertains to security. A company may have had a certain way to carry out adding new users, securing the desktop/server or evaluating a vendor. However, this may have been set up several years ago, or ad hoc, with little consideration given to security.”

Firms should also avoid ranking compliance over security.

“Most firms struggle with implementing meaningful security programs rather than merely being compliant in this environment of ever-increasing regulatory regimes and breach litigation. In my experience, many law firms are naturally focused on compliance as a means to security rather than implementing a security program with a strong foundation that is built on the fundamentals,” explained Brothers-McGrew. “To understand why security and compliance are not always in alignment, one must accept that regulation is often created as a means to shift liability away from a regulating body onto their members. I’m not saying that regulations are inherently bad, but that the goals of regulation can be at odds with a security professional’s primary mission to manage and reduce real, recognized risk for their organization. I have seen firsthand the devastating consequences when companies that hold multiple compliance certificates are breached because they were prescriptive and focused on compliance.”

Takeaway: Revisit the firm’s security program and processes to enforce a holistic approach.

“The most successful security professionals are steering the conversation away from a compliance-first mentality with its endless regulation, questionnaires and auditor checklists,” said Brothers-McGrew. “With the right strategy, it can have an effective security program while being compliant by building a culture that is focused on security first.”

Many thanks to the experts that contributed their time and expertise to this article!

About the Author

Melanie joined Edge Marketing in 2010 after an in-house career focused on marketing, public relations, and communications for private and publicly traded technology companies. Since then, she’s helped close to 50 technology companies make lasting and beneficial impressions in the legal and accounting communities. Her guiding mantra: “It’s not about results. It’s about the RIGHT results.”

As senior account manager for Edge, she creates cohesive PR and marketing plans formulated to help businesses reach their goals. A typical day includes anything from strategic planning, brainstorming and writing content, and delivering new ways to engage the media and target markets.

Known for her “helium hand” (but she likes to call it leadership), Melanie is a past president of the Austin chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA) and a former board member for the Houston chapters of AMA and the Public Relations Society of America. She lives in Austin, Texas, and actively spoils her two dogs every day.

The European Union General Data Protection Regulation, better known as GDPR, came into effect in May 2018. Just a month later, the state of California passed into law the California Consumer Privacy Act, nicknamed California’s GDPR. The CCPA, scheduled to take effect in January 2020, creates sweeping new rights for Californians and onerous transparency and other obligations for businesses handling their information.

While it’s natural to make the comparison, calling the CCPA California’s GDPR may be a bit of a misnomer. The two laws share some key components, yet differ in several aspects. If your company created a compliance program for GDPR, you may be a step ahead, but you’ll still want to take a thorough look at the new CCPA, adapt internal processes where needed and train employees to understand and appropriately handle information requests from California contacts.

CCPA in Short

The CCPA was created in response to high-profile data breaches, as well as the increasing trend of mishandling personal data by brokers and marketers. Designed to protect consumers from the mishandling of their private data by giving the consumer control over what data is shared or sold, the law will take effect January 1, 2020. By that date, qualifying businesses need to make their data protection and user privacy policies compliant with the new regulations or risk stiff penalties.

Under the CCPA, consumers have the right to:

  1. Know what personal information is being collected on them.
  2. Know if their information is being sold and to whom.
  3. Opt out of that information being sold.
  4. Obtain a copy of their personal information.
  5. Receive equal service and price regardless of whether they exert the above rights. A common example of this would be loyalty programs, which often require customer registration to earn benefits.

Will CCPA Impact Your Business?

The CCPA applies to any business operated for the profit or financial benefit of its owners, which:

  • Has annual gross revenues in excess of $25 million.
  • Derives 50% or more of its annual revenues from selling consumers’ personal information.
  • Buys, receives, sells or shares for commercial purposes, alone or in combination, the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households or devices.

If one of the above is true, and the organization collects the personal information of anyone in California and controls the purposes and means of processing that information, then that business is subject to the CCPA.

The owners of a small or regional business outside the state of California might initially conclude that they are likely not subject to these rules. However, the definition of “personal information” under this law is fairly broad. Any business with a website will likely have information on visitors’ IP addresses, browsing information and/or geolocation data. These data elements are considered personal information under the CCPA, so having an active website accessible to Californians can make your company subject to the law.

Comparison to GDPR – A Few Key Differences

If your organization is already compliant with GDPR, it may be easiest to think of the CCPA in terms of the elements that are different from that regulation. An important caveat here is that the CCPA is still evolving, and amendments currently under consideration may change the ultimate form of the regulation.

  • CCPA is not in its final form. GDPR is fairly well-established, detailed and in active use. The CCPA is not complete, and some legal experts say it’s overly complex. Debates on several amendments are ongoing. On September 6, the California legislature passed amendments to the state’s data breach notification statutes and information security statute. Amendments in process will require an up or down vote of both the Senate and Assembly before they can move to the governor for signing. So it’s important to keep an eye on the evolution of the law and pending amendments, some of which may impact decisions on data governance that companies need to make soon.
  • Processing vs. Sale of Data: For data collection and processing to be compliant under GDPR, one of six legal bases for processing data must apply: consent, contract, legal obligation, vital interests, public task or legitimate interest. Consent and contract are “opt-in” bases. The CCPA does not have a concept equivalent to “basis for processing.” It provides consumers with the right to opt out to prevent businesses from selling their personal information. “Sale” is defined as selling, renting, releasing, disclosing, disseminating, making available, transferring, or otherwise communicating orally, in writing, or by electronic or other means, a consumer’s personal information to another business or a third party for monetary or other valuable consideration.”
  • Nonprofit Organizations: GDPR applies to any organization that collects the data of EU residents, irrespective of whether payment is required. The CCPA is different in that it applies specifically to businesses. The CCPA defines a business as any legal entity (e.g., corporations, associations, partnerships, etc.) that is “organized or operated for the profit or financial benefit of its shareholders or other owners.” U.S. nonprofits are exempt from many data privacy and security regulations, including the CCPA, experts advise.
  • Consumers and Households: While GDPR is specifically focused on all data related to the individual EU consumer or citizen, the CCPA considers both the consumer and household entities. The CCPA doesn’t clearly define the word “household.” Until that term is clarified, providers should consider it broadly in compliance efforts. For example, a business may assume that two unrelated individuals sharing an apartment are considered to be in the same household for the purposes of the law (though in many cases that information won’t be known to the business). The challenges of compliance are evident here, and amendments to it – or removal of the term – have been suggested.
  • Fines: Under GDPR, an offending business may be fined up to 20 million euros, or up to 4% of its total global revenue of the preceding fiscal year, whichever is higher. Depending on the offense, civil penalties under the CCPA may be up to $2,500 per violation or $7,500 per violation for intentional violations. The law states that damages will be calculated on a per-capita basis. Each user whose profile is illegally processed, sold, etc., will represent an independent violation. So, for example, the sale or disclosure of a database with information on 10,000 California residents could incur a fine of up to $75 million. However, enterprises have 30 days after receiving notice of noncompliance from the California attorney general’s office to cure it, and only thereafter are they subject to an enforcement action for violating the law.

Actions to Take Now

The CCPA may change shape a bit before January 1, but it’s a good idea to get on top of it now and identify any data management processes, or even application changes, that may need attention to be compliant by January 1. First steps include:

  • Determine whether your business is subject to the CCPA.
  • If the CCPA applies to your company, get executive-level support and begin an internal education program to help employees understand the new laws.
  • Consult with in-house legal, compliance or outside counsel for advice on meeting requirements.
  • Take an inventory of existing data: know what personal data your company is collecting and why, where it is stored and which people (partners, third parties, vendors etc.) it is shared with.
  • Identify existing methods for customers to make data requests. The CCPA requires two means of access for consumers: a toll-free number and a web form request. Create or update these to be compliant.

Keep up to date on amendments and changes to the CCPA. Some good resources include the following:

  • The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) offers many resources, including an Amendment Tracker on CCPA amendments.
  • The state of California attorney general’s office website offers background on the law, timelines and public information on data privacy.
  • Am Law 100 law firm Norton Rose Fulbright offers Data Protection Report – a series of posts on evolving law and compliance topics in data privacy.

At Edge we help technology and service providers build brands and grow client relationships. While we are not legal consultants on GDPR or the CCPA, we help clients meet their own compliance efforts by supporting marketing communications, public relations, marketing automation and website design.

Creating good content is hard. Not only is it difficult to set aside time from your busy day to write, but it can also be a struggle to come up with topics that are interesting, compelling and appealing to your target audience.

Great content can drive more traffic to your website, enhance your company’s reputation and convert more website visitors into prospects. Good content can help move prospects through the marketing funnel and turn them into leads for your sales team.

That’s why, when you strike upon a good piece of content, you should try to recreate it in several different formats so it can get in the hands of more prospects – in the format in which they prefer to receive information. Here are 10 ideas to get you started:

  1. Webinars – Make sure the “record” button has been hit at the start of your next webinar. Once the webinar is complete, send that recording to a company that will transcribe the discussion. (Good news! GoToWebinar now offers transcription services.) Spend a few minutes writing an intro and a conclusion, then present the transcribed webinar content as an article available for download on your website. You can also take large sections of dialogue, edit them for readability and add a title for instant blog posts. Remember that the webinar recording and the associated slides can be two separate pieces of downloadable content on your site as well.
  2. Articles in the press – Did you recently contribute an article to an industry publication? Take the topic you covered, but expand on what you wrote to meet the publication’s length limits. Most likely, you were restricted to 1,500 words, but don’t you have so much more to say? You have just created a new article for download on your website.
  3. Articles on your website – So that article you just created? It can also become a series of blog posts. Break the content up into logical and shorter sections. Add a title, introduction, conclusion – being sure to say this is post one in a series on the topic! – and a call to action and you have several weeks of new blog posts.
  4. Blog posts – Review your past blog posts for evergreen content. Is a topic still relevant and fresh? Simply repost the blog. At the end of every year, look at your website analytics and create a “Top 5 Blog Posts of the Past Year” blog post, which includes links to and a sentence about the topics of the best of your blog posts.
  5. Presentations – Did you recently create a presentation for a client that uses industry statistics and information to help explain your company’s products or services? Gather those facts and now put them into an infographic using one of the many online creative tools like Piktochart.
  6. Graphics – Take those stats from your presentation and infographic above, then use a tool like Canva to create a single graphic for each stat. Eye-catching and informative graphics can be coupled with hashtags on social media to generate awareness for your content.
  7. E-books – Have you written several articles and blog posts on the various aspects of a single topic? Organize them logically into a larger piece and you have just created an e-book that can be downloaded from your site.
  8. Emails – The copy from your highest-performing blog posts can be copied and pasted directly into your email tool – for instance, MailChimp – and blasted out to your prospect database with a call to action to download a related piece of content.
  9. White papers – An extended white paper can be edited to remove information specific to your product or service and turned into a much shorter article that can be pitched to industry publications. It can also be broken down into shorter blog posts that include a call to action to download the entire white paper.
  10. Never stop promoting your best content. Track your website analytics to verify your most-used pieces of content and continue to promote them via social media, email, calls to action on your website and blog posts.

Repurposing exceptional content gives you a way to quickly and painlessly reinforce your message and strengthen your thought leadership position on a topic. You’ve already created great content… now go forth and repurpose!

If you’re like most people, doing media interviews isn’t on your list of favorite things to do. With the right mindset, though, interviews don’t have to be a painful experience.

Of course, it’s important to do your research to learn about the media representative and their publication, so you can go into the interview with a well-thought-out message you want to present to the readership audience; however, preparation isn’t the only trick to showing the world that you’re an expert in the field. It’s equally important to exude confidence and professionalism, and show that you’re taking the interview seriously.

When it comes to interviews, some basic etiquette will go a long way.

The following tips will help ensure that you’re putting your best foot forward on your next interview.

  1. Speak slowly. It’s easy to start speaking too quickly when you’re nervous. If you know you tend to be a fast-talker, make a point of slowing down your words when speaking to your interviewer. Not only will you make sure you’re getting your point across, you’ll also seem more confident while doing it.
  2. Don’t mumble. In addition to speaking slowly, it’s important to speak clearly. When you mumble your way through an interview, you’ll seem nervous, unconfident, unprepared, or all the above. Be sure to enunciate clearly when answering questions.
  3. Don’t ramble. While you rarely want to just give one-word answers, rambling is another common side effect of nervousness. Silence may seem uncomfortable, but there’s no need to fill the space with unnecessary words. Once you’ve said what you want to say on a given point, stop speaking so your interviewer can go on to his or her next question.
  4. Don’t fidget. If you’re doing the interview live or via webcam, fidgeting is another signal that you’re nervous and lack confidence. If you know you tend to fidget in interviews (or in general), remove possible temptations that might make you unconsciously do so: Don’t wear uncomfortable clothes or dangling jewelry, and pull your hair back if you have a habit of playing with it. Settle into a comfortable, attentive position and stick with it.
  5. Watch out for “uh”s and “um”s. Filter your responses of these sounds and other filler words. If you feel that you are at risk of using these excessively, do a few mock interviews and record yourself. Listen to your responses closely, and practice again and again until you no longer fall back on these filler words.
  6. Make sure your connection is good. These days, many interviews take place online or over the phone rather than in person. If you have an interview coming up, make sure you have a quiet place to take the interview where your connection is strong, and test the connection with enough time to spare if you need to adjust. The last thing you want is to be disconnected in the middle of an important interview.
  7. Avoid speaker phone. Putting the phone on speaker is second-nature to many people at this point, but it’s a bad idea when you’re on an interview. Not only does it make your connection less clear; it opens up the possibility of unexpected interruptions. You don’t want to have to explain odd sounds or have to repeat yourself because your interviewer can’t hear you.
  8. Don’t eat while talking. We live in a multitasking world, and it may be tempting to try to squeeze in an interview over your lunch break. While that may be fine timing-wise, make sure your lunch and interview don’t actually overlap. Even if your interviewers can’t see you, they will definitely be able to tell if you’re eating on the other end of the line, which will call into question how seriously you’re taking the interview.
  9. Ask questions. If you don’t understand something your interviewer asks you, be sure to get clarification. It’s wrong to believe that asking questions makes you sound dumb, and asking for clarification is far better than answering the wrong question.
  10. Ask if they need anything repeated. You want to leave an interview feeling confident that you’ve answered all the questions and given your interviewer everything that they wanted. Asking if they need any more information or need anything clarified before you wrap up is the best way to ensure that they have the right information for the article.

Interviewing doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. By following basic etiquette, you’ll feel more relaxed, come across as confident, and wow the world.

Corporate public relations is a critical and ever-evolving function, but its foundation remains focused on creating and maintaining a favorable image for your organization. While that effort includes several areas of discipline, communications and media relations are among the most important. The rise of social media and digital technology that advances one-to-one contact via data-driven ad targeting, email campaigns and other direct marketing channels has left some companies forgetting how important and valuable more traditional mass communication is for getting their message out.

In the current political climate, the phrase “fake news” is often applied to unflattering coverage and those who produce or share it. But in fact, journalists take a great deal of pride in fact-checking and certifying the credibility of their sources before publishing anything. Their reputations are among their most valuable assets because they need credibility in order to be trusted by sources in the future. Most journalists do not have a lot of incentive to manufacture news they cannot stand behind.

Those who are trusted to deliver news and information with integrity are important partners in your corporate public relations strategy. Earned media coverage is valuable to organizations seeking to expand brand awareness or change public perception. In professional services markets like legal and accounting, we rely on the media to share information about relevant news and events and to educate the audiences about the latest industry technology, innovations and trends.

When an objective third party covers your news, cites company leaders or specialists as sources or subject matter experts or publishes content authored by those experts, it adds a level of legitimacy to the message beyond what is typically achieved through self-promotion. The media can be a great friend, so it’s important to know how to make the most of the opportunities offered through this communication channel.

Here are some tips to increase earned media coverage:

  • Do research before outreach. Know your media targets, their publications or platforms, their audience(s) and the type of content and topics in which they’re interested.
  • Be respectful of the media. Their time is valuable, so don’t overshare or inundate them with information that isn’t of interest to their audiences.
  • Share relevant news. This includes mergers or acquisitions, company updates such as financial reports, expansions, product and service introductions or upgrades, significant milestones, key new hires and other news and events of consequence.
  • Keep earned media educational, informative and objective. Save the sales pitches for marketing materials, advertising and other paid media coverage.

Take of advantage of any invitation to be interviewed by editors or reporters, whether for them to learn more about recent news, to serve as a resource for a story they’re working on or perhaps to perform a product demonstration. These are great opportunities for your organization, but there are some additional things to remember:

  • Always confirm meeting logistics including dates, times and places to ensure you don’t keep them waiting.
  • Make sure all technology and connectivity are in proper working order so there are no delays during a demo or a bad phone connection. If either party indicates difficulty hearing during a call, offer to dial in again to improve the connection and limit the possibility of any misunderstanding.
  • Prepare, prepare, prepare. Know your key talking points and have a polite and professional response ready for any questions that cannot be answered for any reason.

Most importantly, know that you are always on the record! When talking to the media, whether in person or by phone, email or another channel, unless otherwise indicated everything shared is assumed to be on the record. So do not overshare or say anything you or your boss wouldn’t want published and attributed to you!

When in doubt, consider enlisting the help of a qualified public relations firm. In addition to having expertise in communications and messaging, PR professionals will leverage their media relationships and work on your behalf to secure coverage that will expand your brand and create the market perception you seek.

Tips for increasing the click-through rate of your enewsletter campaigns

We all know that email newsletters are a key component of any business’s sales strategy. We carefully determine our enewsletters’ design and cohesion within our other marketing collaterals; however, what we may not consider are the finer details of how to make our enewsletters yield the most response. How can we increase the likelihood that our enewsletter will be opened, read, and relevant enough to our readers that they actually engage?


Be mindful of including too many hyperlinks in your emails, as this acts as a trigger for many spam filters to deliver your message, not to the Inbox, but to the dreaded Junk folder.

Enewsletters that include buttons for sharing on social media have a 158% higher click-through rate vs 115% the previous year, according to a study by email marketing specialists, GetResponse. Including links for sharing your content on social media makes it easy for your readers to disseminate your information for you, broadening your reach, and increasing the likelihood of engagement.

Also, according to Dean Levitt, Chief of Culture at MadMimi Email Marketing, the first link in an email gets the most clicks in more than 90% of emails. Make it count; don’t bury the lead! What is your ultimate goal in sending this email? Ensure that that first link aligns with your goal.


Be mindful of your email’s intro. In Outlook, for example, you’re able to view the first few words of an email without clicking on it. Preview the email yourself, to ensure that what you see is engaging, and isn’t something your readers will scroll past or, worse, delete unread, such as the alt text of a header image or logo. It’s easy to personalize a greeting with any number of email merging tools; there’s no longer any excuse for generic salutations.

Previewing the email also gives you an opportunity to view the email on multiple platforms: iOS vs Android, mobile vs desktop, MAC vs PC, Google Chrome vs Safari, etc. Take the time to optimize your reader’s viewing experience and decrease the chances of them scrolling on by.


According to a compilation of data from 14 studies by email marketing experts such as MailChimp, the best days of the week on which to send emails and have them perform are, in order, Tuesday, Thursday, and Wednesday. The best times of day are somewhat surprising: The emails that receive the most clicks are sent at 10 a.m., between 8 p.m. and midnight, 2 p.m., and 6 a.m. For me, this definitely checks out: Right or wrong, I know that the last thing I do before I go to sleep is putz on my phone, checking email and socials, and it’s often the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning as well. Yes, this is poor sleep hygiene, but that’s a whole other topic. The point is that taking the time to read emails is often how we start and end the day. Experiment with A/B testing, to determine what yields the best response from your readers.

A few last things to consider when determining your company’s enewsletter strategy:

  • Aim for quality, not quantity. If you’re unable to swing a quality enewsletter once a week, consider moving to a bi-weekly schedule, or even monthly. It’s better to be proud of your content than to just push something out for the sake of doing so, and it will be obvious when your content is padded with filler. Consider outsourcing this if need be, to someone whose sole responsibility is to create compelling content for your customers, based on your direction.
  • Create an editorial calendar: Include a list of previous topics, so you can see what you’ve already covered, and ideas for future topics. Assign accountability for each issue, and determine the resources and reference material necessary for fulfillment each month.
  • Ensure your email campaigns are in compliance with anti-spam legislation, such as GDPR and CASL, and include your company’s contact info and an option to unsubscribe. Yes, that is required.

While there’s no “secret sauce” to ensure your email campaign will accomplish your goals 100% of the time, keeping these suggestions in mind will help your odds!