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August 7th, 2013

Prompt Boston launches free weekly technology PR workshops

Prompt Boston launches free weekly technology PR workshops

 Advice and insights for New England companies with practical technology PR courses in Kendall Square 

Boston, MA – Prompt Boston, the East Coast office of Prompt Communications, a technology specialist public relations and digital communications agency, has launched free weekly ‘PR and Pizza’ workshop series for New England technology companies, at the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC).

The workshops offer free ideas and advice to technology marketing professionals and entrepreneurs in start-ups and early-stage ventures to enterprise companies. Workshop topics include messaging, news creation, news distribution and pitching, media and analyst training, social media, PR measurement and ROI.

Each workshop is run by Prompt Boston’s PR, copywriting and social media consultants.

Caroline Egan, social media and content strategist, 360Chestnut said: “As a technology company that is focused on educating consumers on energy-efficient and cost-effective solutions for their homes, we understand the benefits of PR. Being able to join Prompt’s workshops has given us the opportunity to hear about fresh strategies and tactics, and discuss ideas to help us to promote our own services as efficiently as possible.”

Geoff Mamlet, managing director, Cambridge Innovation Center said: “As one of the largest communities of early-stage ventures, start-ups, innovators and entrepreneurs in the world, we welcome community members such as Prompt that are keen to share information and ideas. Knowledge-sharing plays an important role in innovation.”

The one-hour workshops take place each Friday in Kendall Square. Workshops can be reserved on Prompt Boston’s Eventbrite page.

Prompt’s CEO, Hazel Butters, said: “Prompt Boston enjoys being part of this vibrant local community. This series of free workshops helps us to share our knowledge with the community. We want to help technology companies that may lack financial resources, as well as established vendors that are keen to sharpen the marketing and promotion of technology products, services or apps.”

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Prompt Communications:
Prompt is a communications agency that enables marketers and entrepreneurs to increase their sales and marketing effectiveness. Specializing in innovative markets, Prompt helps its clients communicate effectively and authentically with core audiences online and offline through PR, media relations, copywriting, webinars, market and industry analysis, social media, video content and customer reference programs. Founded in 2002, Prompt Communications has offices in London and US offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts and San Francisco, California. www.prompt-communications.com

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July 12th, 2013

Results are in: The most creative way to ‘connect the lots’ between CIC buildings is..

Results are in: The most creative way to ‘connect the lots’ between CIC buildings is..

As we mentioned in one of our earlier blog posts, the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), our Prompt Boston home, has expanded and we’ve made the move from One Broadway to 101 Main Street. As a technology PR firm, CIC is an ideal setting to work in, with hundreds of start-ups and technology-focused companies.

While getting settled into our new office building on 101 Main Street, and frequently traveling the 200 paces between both buildings, we asked our readers to share some of their creative solutions for connecting the two CIC buildings.

CIC is filled to the brim with innovators. So the great responses we received were no surprise. Some of the best #CICWalkway replies we saw were:

– Rebecca wanted to sail through the skies with a Tramway, ‘a la Roosevelt Island’
– B-Social Law was also looking for a view, wanting to turn the well-known CIC British phone booths into ‘ski gondolas’, and also suggested Pteronodon Flyers ride for a dinosaur-themed thrill
– Geoff Mamlet, a Harry Potter enthusiast, suggested the magic of floo powder
– Mitchell Bragg suggested sled dogs during the Boston winter and then magic carpets in the warmer months

CIC Phone boothAfter much deliberation, the Prompt Boston office has made its final choice. The winner of some great local eats from our two favorite establishments on our walk between buildings – Dunkin Donuts or Firebrand Saints – is B-Social Law!

We had an office-wide secret ballot to vote for the winner. With London counterparts, and an urge to soar (plus we could make phone calls at the same time!), we couldn’t resist the idea of hopping into a phone booth ski lift to get from our office to CIC’s Venture Café. A huge thanks goes out to everybody who had some fun with us, and we look forward to hearing more of your thoughts as we settle into our new home.

B-Social Law – claim your prize today! Reach out to us via  Twitter, Facebookemail or phone at (617)-401-2717! 

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Posted in Boston, Prompt locations, Technology | Comments Off on Results are in: The most creative way to ‘connect the lots’ between CIC buildings is..

 

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July 1st, 2013

Boston technology PR team ponders: How to ‘connect the lots’ at CIC …

Boston technology PR team ponders: How to ‘connect the lots’ at CIC …

Cambridge Innovation Center has recently expanded its business location, One Broadway, to a new building on 101 Main Street, just around the corner.

The technology PR team at Prompt Boston used to be based in the old building at One Broadway, but we can’t resist the lure of a new, shiny building, not to mention an amazing 14th-floor view of the Boston skyline and the Charles River (see below).  Plus, we’ll be back in close proximity to some of the amazingly talented individuals and brilliant companies that we got to know while they were based in our old building.

Boston view

Earlier this week, while we were making the increasingly frequent trip between One Broadway to 101 Broadway, we got to thinking: seeing that the CIC community is all about innovation, what are the most innovative ways that the two buildings could be connected? Zipline? Secret underground passageway?

We’re open to suggestions, and the person who comes up with the most fun suggestion wins a $50 voucher to one of the eateries* we pass on our Broadway-101 commute (I say commute, it’s about 200 paces). You can add your suggestion to our Facebook page, or tweet it to us at @PromptBoston with the hashtag #CICwalkway.

* So that’s Dunkin Donuts or Firebrand Saints!

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Posted in Boston, Prompt locations | 2 Comments »

 

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June 7th, 2013

Prompt Boston hosts successful ‘Office Hours’ at Venture Café

Prompt Boston hosts successful ‘Office Hours’ at Venture Café

At Prompt Boston, we’re fortunate to work near the hub of technology and innovation, with our offices being walking distance from MIT, Harvard and more. In fact, right in our office building, the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), these techies come together every Thursday night for a networking social better known as Venture Café.

Last month, Prompt CEO Hazel Butters hosted ‘Office Hours’ at Venture Café, where an array of technology start-ups stopped by to discuss future goals, technology PR strategy, thought leadership and the nature of the press with us. Meanwhile, otVenture Cafeher Prompt team members hit the event floor – with surveys in hand to ask some of the latest hard-hitting questions in tech and PR.

With Prompt specializing in media relations and press training, we thought we’d start our round of questioning by asking attendees, ‘Who is the greatest tech spokesperson of all time?’ Not surprisingly, the most popular response was the legendary Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple. Other notable mentions included Larry Ellison, founder of Oracle Corporation, and Nikola Tesla, Croatian inventor, engineer and physicist best known for his contributions to air conditioning.

Our next question was even tougher. As part of our media outreach and news pipeline creation, we’re constantly reading the latest trends and news in technology. With so many outlets in publication, it’s hard to pinpoint our all-time favorite newspaper or magazine. But we just had to ask, ‘If you were stranded on a desert island with access to only one source of technology news, what would you choose?’  The New York Times topped the list, but a slew of other well-known publications also caught our attention, including Mashable, Engadget, VentureBeat, TechCrunch, the Wall Street Journal, and perhaps the most resourceful in real-time, Twitter.

Red pencil and questionnaireWhat we really wanted to know, though, was how these technology-invested, business-minded individuals would rate themselves on their own spokesperson skills. At Prompt, we ensure our newly-acquired clients go through media training, to get company representatives press-ready and confident. Intimately, it comes down to the age-old PR question: If the Wall Street Journal called you tomorrow, would you know what to say? So we asked Venture Café guests, ‘How good of a media spokesperson do you think you are?’

Nearly two-thirds of respondents (61%) expressed an air of confidence when speaking to the press, despite the nerves that accompany such certainty. Others believed they could handle a press interview, just as long as any “trick questions” aren’t thrown into the mix.

No matter where you fall on the spectrum, media training fortifies your public speaking abilities, which is crucial when jumping on the phone line with a journalist. Even seasoned speakers go through such training, to avoid any ‘oh no’ moments or damaging blunders. If you’re interested in media training, and transforming your company representatives into properly trained press spokespeople, please contact a Prompt consultant today.

Interested in attending the next Venture Café? Take a look at the upcoming event and speaker schedule – we hope to see you there!

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May 16th, 2013

Pitch it perfectly with Prompt: Come visit us at CIC’s Venture Café Office Hours

Pitch it perfectly with Prompt: Come visit us at CIC’s Venture Café Office Hours

Venture CafeAre you looking to spark genuine, valuable, press interest and conversation around your technology product, app or service? It’s certainly not an easy task, but we’re here to help.

On Thursday, May 23, 2013 Prompt Communications will be hosting ‘Office Hours’ at the Cambridge Innovation Center’s Venture Café event, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. We’ll be ready to discuss what you need to do to gain the media and audience visibility that your company deserves. Come along for a 20-minute tech PR consulting session with Prompt CEO Hazel Butters and get to grips with the objectives, strategies, and tactics that work best for catching the eyes of the press.

With years of experience in the technology sector, Prompt consultants know how to perfectly tailor your PR approach to garner the best results. Are you struggling to identify your target audience? No problem. Would you like to ramp up your core messaging? We’ve got you covered. Simply don’t know where to start? We’ll help you take those first steps.

After just 20 minutes you will walk away with valuable resources from our very own tech PR toolkit, which you can then customize to fit your exact PR needs. Please come equipped with any and all questions you can think of – we can’t wait to answer them!

To put us on your calendar or to learn more information about the Prompt Communications office hours, please visit the Venture Café website.

*This event will take place at the Venture Café, located at the Cambridge Innovation Center, One Broadway, 4th Floor. Visitors must comply with Venture Cafe attendance policies (see http://bit.ly/vc-credo for more details).

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March 18th, 2013

Prompt’s content marketing Monday tip #7: Partner up!

Prompt’s content marketing Monday tip #7: Partner up!

Most marketers know all too well that one of the biggest challenges of great content marketing is developing that great content.

There is always high demand for compelling content, and while we would naturally recommend partnering with a professional PR and content creation agency such as ourselves, we know that outsourcing isn’t always an option for everyone. However, we also realize that internal bandwidth in any expanding businesses is generally limited, and any wishes you may have for a few more hours in the day – or for a time machine – are probably falling on deaf ears.

Business partnersSo where to turn? How about to other like-minded businesses? Partnering up for the exchange of ideas and content will not only expand your ideas and your audience, it should also prove a fun thing to do. At the end of the day, business is about exchanging ideas and opportunities, and you should never be too shy to collaborate.

For example, we’ve been working with MarketMeSuite, a company that we met just by chance – a benefit of working in a space like the Cambridge Innovation Center, located right in tech-savvy, booming Kendall Square. We really liked the company, its product and its vision, so we got to know them better. We talk about the markets we both work in, areas that interest us, and trends that we both see.

Recently, we decided to work together on some mutually-benefiting content. We completed a post for MarketMeSuite’s blog, which we called ‘Tweet The Press: Prompt’s Guide to Twitter Media Relations’. Our new friends shared our post with their audience across social media and their newsletter, and we posted a really great article from them on our blog, shared it over social media, and published it in our own Impromptu newsletter.

From experience then, here are a few tips on how to create the perfect content marketing partnership:

  1. Find a good partner. Think of people and companies that you like, respect and are sure would be fun to work with. MarketMeSuite has a really engaging team with great ideas, so we knew it would be enjoyable, and mutually beneficial
  2. Think about what you each bring to the table, including content ideas, company visions, ideals and audiences. You need to make sure that any content you are developing is relevant to your partner’s audiences. Yes, it’s an opportunity to expand horizons, but not to alienate
  3. Set deliverables. Just like any business partnership, it’s best to have it all agreed and laid explicitly. If you think that you’re writing something for a partner’s newsletter but your partner doesn’t plan on including your content, then you’re going to run into problems. Keep things clear from the outset
  4. Consider how to approach numerical goals: This is business, so it’s not out of the realms of possibility that one party may be thinking strictly in terms of the number of unique views, downloads or even sales queries your reciprocal arrangement might generate. Be clear and realistic – if you’re just starting a content partnership then you need to get content out there, see what the reaction is and then determine your next steps
  5. Be collaborative. Brainstorm and share ideas, look for overlap
  6. Have fun. These are great opportunities to exchange fun ideas, new ways of thinking and to engage with someone new. Have fun with it!
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Posted in Boston, Communications consultancy opinion, Content Marketing, Copywriting, Social Media | 2 Comments »

 

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January 15th, 2013

Why your business should hire a Cambridge teenager in 2013

Why your business should hire a Cambridge teenager in 2013

Here at Prompt we’re all big fans of innovation, of being active in our community, and of all the opportunities that are created when innovation and communities come together.

Yours truly with Dr. Jeffrey Young and Cambridge City's Mayor Henrietta Davis

Yours truly with Dr. Jeffrey Young and Cambridge City’s Mayor Henrietta Davis

At our @PromptBoston office, overlooking the Boston skyline from the inspiring Cambridge Innovation Center, being part of a community expands beyond the scope of our own building to the broader Cambridge community. This manifests itself in many ways, one of which includes our support of Cambridge youth projects, including the Cambridge Challenge. This multi-year initiative led by the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce’s Community Outreach Committee, brings businesses and youth together. Just last week we were invited by the Cambridge Challenge to a guest reception, where we were able to meet Cambridge City’s Mayor Henrietta Davis, as well as Cambridge Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Young.

CIC’s Tim Rowe greeted everyone at the event, including companies and organizations like us that had recruited Cambridge teenagers over the previous year, as well as representatives from the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce. Tim then introduced Mayor Davis who explained how being introduced to business at an early age – particularly in Cambridge’s hotbed of science, technology, engineering and mathematics – can really give teenagers a feel for what is possible in life. The Mayor’s comments were complemented by thoughts from Jeffrey Young who talked about the immeasurable gains for youngsters participating in programs such as the Cambridge Challenge, as well as the many benefits for the businesses involved. From Prompt’s experience of working for a number of years with local Cambridge teenagers, we couldn’t agree more.

One of the talking points that really resonated with me personally was the broader opportunity for the Cambridge community. Working at this unique confluence of world-leading universities – including MIT and Harvard – businesses with cutting-edge technologies have a huge opportunity to make a real difference in teenager’s lives; inspiring and shaping them for the challenges that lie ahead.

It’s not the first year that @PromptBoston has been involved in the Cambridge Youth employment program, and it certainly won’t be our last.  We encourage other companies – within the CIC and in the wider area – to really participate in this. You can sign up by emailing teenjobs@cambridgema.gov

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Posted in Boston, Events, Hazel Butters: Opinion, Innovation, Opinion, Prompt locations | 1 Comment »

 

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November 2nd, 2012

Can I get some PR with my coffee?

Can I get some PR with my coffee?

Earlier in the week, one of our favorite neighbors in CIC, CEOExpress, sent us a link to this story about British department store Debenhams offering a ‘plain English coffee menu’, or a list of drinks that describe caffeinated goodness in the simplest possible terms.

It prompted (geddit?) much discussion in our Boston, London and San Francisco offices, and across the Atlantic, as from @PromptLondon to @PromptBoston we have varied coffee drinking tastes. Debenham PR coffee menu

From a copywriter that, regardless of the menus in coffee shops, always orders a black coffee and not an Americano – because if he does he is then asked if he wants milk.  He says a black coffee is a black coffee:  it’s direct and descriptive.  Although if he wants an espresso, he’ll order an espresso, as that’s what it is called, and the most understandable term for what he wants.   Meanwhile we have Boston-based PRs that love the range of lattes available at Voltage, the awesome local coffee shop near the CIC. Some of our favorites at Voltage are the ‘Paper Plane’ (cardamom-flavored and rosewater), ‘Atticus Finch’ (vanilla with burnt sugar) and ‘Beyond the Sea’ (caramel with a hint of sea salt).

Then there’s the coffee station on every floor of the CIC. Take your pick of flavor shots – from the standard hazelnut and French vanilla, to seasonal pumpkin and Irish cream. As if that weren’t hard enough to choose, then you have the choice of coffee to drink – 50/50, Columbian, or café mocha. Yum, one of each please!

Whatever our coffee preferences are, I think we’re in general agreement that the repeat of ‘really’ in Debenhams’s new coffee signs could be interpreted as a little, well, patronizing.

You could argue that this is also very clever PR on Debenhams’s case – from speaking to PromptLondon-ers, a lot of Brits remember going to town centre department stores like Debenhams, C&A, British Home Stores, and Co-Op as children, and stopping halfway through a tiring shop to get a cup of tea or coffee in the in-store ‘caff’.  And renaming products may ring a chord for Brits, and garner some sympathy (and custom) for the shop.

This could also be seen as a reaction to the continued drowning influx of global coffee shops brands into the British retail segment.  If you go to any town centre today the reality is that you’ll find a Starbucks where once you would have found ‘Poppy’s Coffee Shop’, and although it’s just one more inevitable change in a global retail world, it doesn’t mean that everyone in small town Britain, or anywhere else for that matter, sees it as progress or evolution.

It’s not all about the half-and-half vanilla skinny mocha latte than it is about friendly service, a smile and a chat with a familiar local face over a cuppa.

One of the biggest changes we’d like to see in coffee shops is the refusal to serve people who say “Can I get a…”  – it’s not self-service. It’s “May I please have…” – and don’t forget to say thank you. Take that for a personal PR tip.

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Posted in Boston, Communications consultancy opinion, Copywriting, London, Media, Opinion, PR Practices, Prompt locations, UK press | Comments Off on Can I get some PR with my coffee?

 

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October 2nd, 2012

Boston meets Bulgaria: An international feel to Friday

Boston meets Bulgaria: An international feel to Friday

As an international media relations and copywriting firm with offices in Boston, San Francisco and London, the team at Prompt Communications is always interested in meeting notable leaders and business professionals from around the globe.

This past Friday, @PromptBoston had the chance to sit in on an informational speech given by the president of the Republic of Bulgaria, Rosen Plevneliev. President Plevneliev visited the Cambridge Innovation Center (a workspace we’ve raved about in some of our past posts), as he was in the Kendall Square area to visit the Bulgarian Consul in Boston and attend the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York the following week.

The day was topped off with savory Bulgarian food and a musical performance by Divi Zheni, Boston’s own Balkan women’s chorus, directed by Tatiana Sarbinska – an acclaimed Bulgarian folk singer, instructor and conductor.

It was a Friday for Prompt’s memory book – meeting the leader of a southeastern European country and diving into the traditions and culture of the land.

For the most recent updates on all of Prompt’s activities, follow us on Twitter at PromptBoston or PromptLondon. For more information on how our professional public relations and copywriting services can benefit your international business, please email info@prompt-communications.com.

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July 30th, 2012

Things we love about the CIC: The Wellness Expo

Things we love about the CIC: The Wellness Expo

Here at @PromptBoston, we have the privilege of working in the Cambridge Innovation Center – a space where pie is served around Thanksgiving, Lego blocks are readily available to play with and interaction is encouraged amongst the growing start-ups and technology companies in the Greater Boston area.

Last week, the CIC spoiled us some more by hosting its first ever Wellness Expo.  Sponsors from TruNourish, Vita Coco, Weight Watchers, Whole Foods and many others lined the walls of the CIC’s fourth floor kitchen, as they exhibited the latest snacks and drinks to improve one’s overall wellness.

Which got us thinking – what exactly is wellness?

Ashley Heffernan, a Vita Coco exhibitor, said: “Wellness improves your overall quality of life.  Being physically well means having more energy at work, and doing things you normally wouldn’t have the energy to do.  It changes everything, for the better.”

As if the healthy (and delicious!) samples weren’t enough, music, yoga, massages, raffle prizes and presentations were also available to the crowd – a refreshing boost to the typical office workday.

We look forward to attending more Wellness Expo events in the future, and to improving our overall well-being – thanks for the inspiration CIC!

Vita Coco was one of the many exhibitors at the CIC's first ever Wellness Expo.

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June 14th, 2012

Things we love about the CIC: Lego wall

Things we love about the CIC: Lego wall

Prompt team members made their mark right next to a Mario brother.

As we’ve mentioned before, there are many reasons why we love working at the Cambridge Innovation Center. As a copywriting, content creation and public relations company, the CIC provides a great environment to interact with similar companies, meet new people and perspective clients, and simply get our creative juices flowing. But, one of the best features about the CIC is that it’s constantly changing.

For example, after a fairly in-depth brainstorm last week, a few Prompt team members stumbled upon a new edition to the fourth floor kitchen—a floor to ceiling Lego wall. By the time we had found the wall, it had already been populated with exact replicas of Mario and Luigi, as well as a very intricate (and difficult) maze, among other things.

After staring in amazement at the very precise Lego designs, we left our own mark on the Lego wall—although not quite at artistic as the rest, we were pleased with our handiwork.

And after a good laugh and some fun towards the end of the day, we couldn’t help but discuss the meaning of Lego’s slogan, ‘play on’, and its seamless connection to the CIC – a place that encourages every one of its tenants to take a moment out of their busy day to do something enjoyable and just keep playing on.

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January 6th, 2012

Venture Café: a small part of the CIC world

Venture Café: a small part of the CIC world

While most cafés advertise fresh food and warm atmosphere, the Venture Café boasts fresh conversation and an atmosphere of innovation. Located in the Cambridge Innovation Center (conveniently one floor beneath Prompt), Venture Café is a hub for techiess and networkers. The Venture Café encourages those in the tech realm and those interesting in innovation to get together for a drink and community collaborations.

Open on Thursday evenings, the Café offers a chance for entrepreneurs to meet one another and develop relationships, whether personal or professional. Many in the CIC head down to the Café on Thursday evenings to chat with the neighbors and newcomers alike after a long day’s work.

Having recently joined the Prompt team, I visited the Café for the first time this week. Walking into the Café you can expect an array of CIC business people looking to converse and collaborate on business ideas and plans. The experience is a fun mix of business and pleasure, allowing residents of the CIC and Kendall Square residents to mingle and network.

If you’re nearby the CIC next Thursday night, stop by the café for a quick drink. You never know who you’re going to meet

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