At Engage, we have the opportunity each day to work with some of the brightest minds in tech PR. We are fortunate to have a number of different personalities whom collaborate to provide excellent service to our clients. With that being said we wanted to take the opportunity to share what we are thankful for this holiday season. We believe it is important to remember how fortunate we are to have such a great opportunity to work with such remarkable people.

Ken Ozeki

Ken Ozeki, Associate Account Executive: I’m thankful for verification tools like AppAnnie and Compete.com so I can see through digital shill and fluff.

Reno Ybarra

Reno Ybarra, Account Manager: I’m thankful for an agency that provides the opportunity to get involved in so many aspects of the business. From learning how to manage people to helping develop and promote marketing materials to pitching prospective clients, Engage has provided me with opportunities that I would not have access to at another firm.

Karimah Hay

Karimah Hay, Intern: I’m thankful for the opportunity to not only learn from but also work with some of the brightest minds in tech PR.

Elise Vue

Elise Vue, Associate Account Executive: Thankful for Google and co-workers.

Anna Singman

Anna Singman, Office Manager: I’m thankful for getting to work with smart and funny co-workers. They make me laugh every day.

Leslie Cumming

Leslie Cumming, Account Director: Thankful for the opportunity to engage with a creative and dynamic team and clients.

Leslie Johnson

Leslie Johnson, VP of Accounts: I am thankful for the opportunity Engage gives me to be creative, continue to grow and learn, and shorten my commute.

Mike Tomlinson

Mike Tomlinson, Account Manager: I’m thankful for all the industry events I’ve had the privilege to attend this year—RSA, Intel Developers Forum, the Telecom Council of Silicon Valley TC3 event, and so many more! These events are great for meeting not just with industry influencers like media and analysts, but to see what cool new technologies companies and innovative startups are offering. Not to mention all the trade show swag decorating my desk!

Anne Stanley

Anne Stanley, Account Coordinator: I’m thankful to be challenged every day and for free conference swag.

Dan Rubin

Dan Rubin, Account Coordinator: I’m grateful for expanding cloud services and execs who aren’t too scared to go big.

Bob Eastwood

Bob Eastwood, Senior Account Executive: I’m thankful for the disaggregation of proprietary hardware into multiple software modules that will enable operators to pick and choose the exact functionality they need for their deployments while avoiding vendor lock-in and how this will enable new and unforeseen business models and innovative services for all of us leading to a virtuous cycle in the broadband industry. Long live SDN and NFV!

Jeannette Bitz

Jeannette Bitz, Agency Owner: As I close out my fifth year as the owner of Engage, I’m grateful for all of our clients, who are smart and bring unique approaches and solutions to the market. Most importantly, I’m thankful for this particular class of employees. I’ve been fortunate to have worked with some very talented PR professionals, but this group of employees is special beyond words. They’re dynamic and passionate about PR, our clients and the agency! All have helped me become a better strategist and agency owner.

4 Common Misconceptions about High-Tech PR

By: Anne Stanley

PR is a field that receives a scarce amount of attention, if done right. The PR that we hear about is most often negative or misconstrued which has allowed the public to develop misconceptions about the nature of PR and the people who practice it. B2B technology PR, specifically, is an oftentimes mysterious segment of PR that brings to mind images of lengthy press releases filled with technical jargon and horrible attempts at trendjacking. Here are a few of the most common misconceptions about high-tech PR:

1. PR, marketing and advertising are the same thing

The Public Relations Society of America defines PR as, “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

This definition allows for marketing and advertising practices to be used within PR strategies. PR professionals within the tech industry do tend to work closely with CMOs and marketing teams within an organization, but ultimately they are three separate practices that utilize different skillsets, tactics and overall strategies to achieve their individual business goals.

2. PR is a 9-5 job

PR is the perfect profession for natural workaholics. Sure, you might occasionally get to the office at 9 a.m. and leave at 5 p.m., but clients will often want you to be available either earlier in the day or later.

When you work in tech PR, you have to learn how to work with people across the globe, and by default, their varying schedules. This means scheduling a press release to go out at a time that is only useful for a specific region, or getting up at an early hour to host a call between a spokesperson in Australia and an analyst in the UK.

Because most PR practitioners bring their work home with them via laptop or cloud computing, a big issue they face is learning to disengage from work at the end of the day. Some have found success in implementing a “cut off time” when they stop checking emails or merely turn off their work phone on weekends.

3. PR people only know about PR

Since most PR professionals study journalism, communications or other related fields in school, it’s to be expected that writing and communications strategies are what they know best. But as representatives of their clients, PR practitioners are expected to have more than a superficial understanding of their clients’ industries.

When it comes to working for technology companies, PR practitioners have their work cut out for them. Although not all PR people are expected to be able to write a complete whitepaper about their client’s technology, they should be able to hold an intelligent conversation with industry thought leaders and digest acronym and jargon-filled collateral.

4. An organization only needs PR once it’s in hot water

Any organization that stands behind “we only need PR when times are bad” is in for a rude awakening. Companies are actually more likely to get into bad situations if they don’t have an up-to-date PR plan that’s founded from continuously monitoring current relationships with external audiences, such as media and analysts, and internal audiences, such as investors and employees.

Tech companies in particular benefit from ongoing PR plans that allow for the creation and management of campaigns between product launches and quarterly earnings reports. Maintaining social media accounts, pitching contributed content ideas and engaging in analyst briefings are all part of a strong PR plan. Effective PR allows an organization to maintain its good reputation and mend weakened relationships, both which are known to prevent potential crises.

Since I started my position at Engage, the nuances of the B2B tech PR space have revealed themselves to be both obvious and ambiguous at times. While my PR experience in other industries has allowed me to manage the day-to-day tasks of the job, the rules that govern overall strategy have changed. The challenges that come with working in high-tech PR allow me to come into work ready with a plan of action, and leave at the end of the day with a sense of accomplishment. While my perceptions of what is and is not “PR” have not changed, per se, they have definitely expanded to include a set of skills and tasks that have allowed me to become a more well-rounded PR professional.

Engager Spotlight: Dan Rubin

By: Engage Staff and Dan Rubin

Dan Rubin

Dan comes to Engage after eight years as a broadcast journalist. His highlight reel showcases the on-air talents that helped him forge a career at multiple outlets, including the Bay Area staple KRON 4. Surprising to some, journalism provides Dan with a quality foundation for being a great PR professional. Whether it’s knowing the process of pitching a story and how a newsroom sifts through pitches or simply the fact that neither is a nine-to-five job, Dan is prepared to handle the grind of PR agency life.

Engage welcomes Dan to the technology PR world as his experience, curiosity and technical aptitude will see him go far in this new path.

Follow Dan on LinkedIn and Twitter.

  1. What’s your favorite part of working at Engage?
    Aside from having talented colleagues, I enjoy working with companies that are truly innovative and poised to shape our future.
  2. What’s the best part of working in Oakland?
    It feels like home. I was born in San Francisco, but I was too young to remember any part of my childhood that predates my family’s move to Oakland. I’ve always been proud to say “I grew up in Oakland.” That statement used to put me on a lonely island, but now I enjoy the company. I love seeing more and more people coming to realize how truly special “The Town” is.
  3. What’s your favorite word?
    That’s tough. There are so many great ones! Perhaps borrowed from Seinfeld, but “extemporaneously” is always fun to bust out.
  4. What’s your favorite color?
    I take it blue, like my music.
  5. One bit of advice to clients
    Take care of your people, and your people will take care of you.
  6. What do you enjoy the most about working in PR?
    I’m all about targeted messaging and content creation. I love language, and embrace most of its iterations.
  7. What PR will be like in 10 years?
    Omnipresent. We’re seeing it already. The permanence of the internet and the prevalence of social media forces everyone to run their life like a campaign. It’s nearly impossible to avoid the profound effect of public perception. What you say and how you present yourself is critically important for corporations and consumers alike.





Trick or Treat may be in season, but at Engage PR, we are experiencing the ghostly “Boo” of Halloween. Blood-curdling bizarre décor mysteriously materializes from the crevices of our desks and cubicle dividers. It’s caving in on all of us! Cobwebs, creepy crawlers, kooky edifices, and wicked goblets deluge our now daunting workspaces. For frills or thrills, something spooky is haunting our agency like a reaper. Each day, we are oblivious to the eerie “Boo,” and unbeknownst to all of us is when he will strike again. But, it keeps our spirits high and our creative juices flowing and perhaps, when engagers are masked in Halloween attire, and bring out the savory edibles at our potluck, he will reveal himself. Until then, a phantom of mystery *he remains.

“Engage works with some of the most cutting edge technologies and companies at all stages from startup and product launches to publically traded firms and this provides an excellent learning environment, not only in the area of PR but for staying abreast of new and emerging technologies.”- Bob Eastwood

Beyond all the holiday tricks of the ghostly “Boo,” there are plenty of treats at Engage PR too. While clients are our first priority, Engage PR ensures that the staff is taken care of as well. The agency recognizes our work and time and the perks are bountiful. Both exceptional individual and team work are rewarded by management, either through bonuses, team lunches or company field trips. No work goes unrecognized.

Year-round, we have access to America’s favorites: decadent chocolates, soft drinks, fresh brewed Peet’s Coffee, and essential fruits. Like every working professional, Fridays are esteemed days for us at Engage PR. We are treated to scrumptious bagels and spreads prepared by Panera Bread. And on occasion, in the heart of Jack London Square, the team “wines” down at local happy hours.

Work Life Balance is our mission. We have a phenomenal work life balance provided by the generosity of management. Engage PR is one of the few workplaces where it is OK to leave early every Friday! Engage PR truly provides a unique experience for its work family. Trick or Treat.

“Engage PR is a very open collaborative environment.” – Ken Ozeki

*Boo- Each October, an anonymous Engage staff member decorates selected cubicles with horrifying Halloween ornaments and fixtures. Those affected must continue the ripple effect until everyone’s workspace has been “boo-ed”.

The Quick and Dirty Public Relations Guide to Wikipedia

By: Mike Tomlinson

If you’re in public relations, a client has probably asked you to create or make changes to its Wikipedia page. This can be a scary thought, as strict rules and guidelines govern contributors. The Wikipedia guidelines on conflicts of interest explicitly state that updates made by a PR agency or on behalf of a paid client are strongly discouraged. So how do you satisfy the client’s needs while still respecting Wikipedia’s rules?

We recently sat down with Paul Wilkinson, a U.K.-based PR practitioner who literally helped write the book on this topic for the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)—Wikipedia Best Practice Guidance for Public Relations Professionals—which is available as a free PDF download via the CIPR website. This guide should be mandatory reading for all PR professionals, and at just 18 pages it’s a quick and easy read. We spoke with Paul about how PR people can get involved with Wikipedia while still preserving the sanctity of the platform.

“Some technical skills are needed—for starters, having your own free Wikipedia user account and being comfortable with editing using wiki markup,” he said. “More than anything, it’s learning about the conventions of the Wikipedia community—understanding that articles emerge from a process of developing consensus. You can’t take ownership of an article, especially a company article. You simply make contributions; ultimately, articles are a reflection of the wisdom of the crowd.”

Just because you are a company doesn’t mean that in editors’ eyes you deserve your own Wikipedia article. Think of your company as a band: just because you’re together, make music and sell albums doesn’t mean you are encyclopedia-worthy. Many bands exist, but not all are notable. Notability is a key factor editors consider when determining if a page deserves to exist, according to Wilkinson. PR and marketing professionals are encouraged to review Wikipedia’s entry on notability as it relates to organizations and companies here.

Below are two factors regarding notability to keep in mind:

  1. No company or organization is considered inherently notable, and no organization is exempt from this rule. If there are no independent verifiable sources on a topic, it is not notable.
  2. An organization is not notable merely because a notable person or event was associated with it. For example, a corporation is not notable because it owns notable subsidiaries or does business with notable customers.

As Wikipedia’s popularity has increased, more individuals seek to create or modify pages about organizations with which they are affiliated. The WikiProject Companies community addresses this groundswell; volunteers worldwide work to “improve the depth and breadth of coverage in Wikipedia of notable companies and to bring as many of these articles to good/featured status as possible.” Adding {{WikiProject Companies}} to a company’s Wikipedia article Talk Page flags the article for review by the community editors. Someone with a conflict of interest, such as a PR rep, can use the Talk Page to suggest changes or updates to that entry.


While it may be possible for a PR person to edit a page, it is certainly unethical to do so without disclosing the client relationship, and it is out-of-bounds when it comes to Wikipedia’s official guidelines on Conflicts of Interest (which is also worth a read).

In particular, Wikipedia’s paid-contributor disclosure clause states:

“If you are being paid for your contributions to Wikipedia, you should declare the COI on your user page, on the article talk page using the [template], and during any discussion about the topic elsewhere. You can also make a statement in the edit summary of any paid contribution. […] The Wikimedia Foundation’s terms of use require that you disclose the employer (the person or organization who is paying for your edits); the client (the organization or person on whose behalf the edits are made, such as the subject of the article); and any other relevant affiliation. […] Public-relations professionals may be further required to abide by a professional code of ethics, such as the GA code of ethics or PRSA code of ethics.”

The consequences of breaking the rules are never worth it to the client or to the agency.

What makes an article good?

According to Wilkinson, “A good article reflects the subject covered across all sources brought together by multiple Wikipedians. Their different perspectives balance out their different viewpoints, potential biases, and so on—so the article faithfully reflects a neutral perspective.”
If the tone of the edits/content is too promotional or akin to advertising, the article clearly is not as neutral as Wikipedians aim to be. “’Global leading provider of XYZ’ is not the kind of tone that meets Wikipedia’s approval. We’re looking for all articles to have a neutral voice and neutral point-of-view,” he added. Company press releases, blog posts or whitepapers are examples of sources that should not be used in a company’s Wikipedia article. If something is truly notable, it will be mentioned or covered elsewhere by a credible third party.

Wilkinson’s advice for companies trying to get a Wikipedia article created about them? Be patient.

“If your business is truly notable, someone may write an article about it if the subject hasn’t already been covered. If nobody has, and you feel it is an oversight, there are routes you can take to suggest someone start an article, or discuss if it is a suitable subject for an article,” he instructs. “You can go the route of Noticeboards, or talk to someone who has edited an article related to the same topic, such as a competitor company’s article. Talk to that Wikipedian on their Talk Page, and ask: Is this a subject worthy of inclusion, and if so, could you help me develop content on this if time allows?”

Patience is key, urges Wilkinson. “Wikipedians are volunteers—they don’t commit full-time to improving the content of the encyclopedia. You may need to wait days or even weeks before someone replies to your inquiry.”

Working with Wikipedia
Anyone can join the Wikipedia community and edit and contribute content on the site. Register a personal rather than a corporate account and disclose your conflicts of interest on your user page.
If you are concerned about the accuracy of a Wikipedia article but have a conflict of interest, you must address this via the community. Don’t edit any page you have a conflict of interest on, except to remove vandalism.
Head to the ‘Talk’ page for the Wikipedia article concerned and draft your response. This works in almost all situations, however if you don’t get a response then raise it on the relevant noticeboard.
Escalate with kindness and don’t be an idiot. When faced with a situation where you have a choice to be an idiot or not be an idiot, choose to not be an idiot. Following this rule will mean you will very rarely get into difficult situations.
You can freely contribute articles related to your profession, hobbies and interests, where you do not have a conflict of interest. In fact Wikipedia actively encourages this and it’s a great way to get to know how Wikipedia works.

Source: CIPR Wikipedia Best Practice Guidance from PR Professionals

Ultimately, the best way to become an effective Wikipedian is to get involved with articles in which you have no conflict of interest and help make them better. You can also become directly involved with other Wikipedians by attending Wikipedia events like Wikimania.

“There’s a huge opportunity for more people to contribute to Wikipedia,” said Wilkinson. “I would encourage more people to contribute to Wikipedia about subjects that they’re interested in personally—that they have a passion for. But anyone making contributions is well advised to learn what constitutes minimum standards for an article and to work with and learn from other Wikipedians when they start out so they can be guided on some of the conventions of Wikipedia editing.”

This article only touches on the basics of how PR people can get involved with Wikipedia. For more information, read the FAQ on editing entries for organizations here, as well as the pamphlet linked toward the beginning of this article, Wikipedia Best Practice Guidance for Public Relations Professionals. This pamphlet addresses questions such as how to engage with the Wikipedia community and how to deal with disputes, and includes several valuable case studies.

Are you a Wikipedia wizard? Have a cautionary tale to share? Tell us your thoughts via Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn!