A record number of professionals from the public relations, marketing and advertising fields gathered on Nov. 3 for the combined Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit, PR Summit DC and ADWKDC conference, #Summits22, at the Capital One Hall in Tysons, Va., located just outside Washington, D.C.

The day-long conference, hosted by Capitol Communicator, attracted 450 attendees from around the region and also outside the Washington area.

(L to R) Paul Sherman, co-producer, Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit; Paul Duning, executive producer of the Summits; and Robert Udowitz, co-producer, PR Summit DC
(L to R) Paul Sherman, co-producer, Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit; Paul Duning, executive producer of the Summits; and Robert Udowitz, co-producer, PR Summit DC

Participants enjoyed networking opportunities along with 27 informative sessions with more than 80 speakers. The 30 exhibitors showcased the latest high-tech products and services.

This was the second year the event was held at the Capital One Hall, with ADWKDC added this year. O’Dwyer’s was again a media partner for the conference.

Robert Udowitz, co-producer of the PR Summit DC, asserted that the gathering featured a “wonderful turnout of the marketing, public relations and advertising industries.”

He added, “The 27 sessions really pertain to any of the three disciplines and that’s what makes it unique.”

He continued, “No other conference does that.”

Timely Sessions Presented

Some of the many session topics included, “Marketing Leaders and Communications Directors Roundtable: The Big Picture,” “Keynote Intro by Applecart,” “Keynote Speaker: Seth Goldman, founder, Just Ice Tea (and Honest Tea), “Social Media Directors Round Table,” Rishad Tobaccowala on “Restoring the Soul of Business: Staying Human in the Age of Data,” “In-Housing Paid Media: Opportunities & Obstacles,” “More than Whiskey: The Story of Jack Daniel’s Advertising,” “Influencer Marketing: Promoting Messages Not Products,” “Evolving Social Platforms & How to Maintain a Strong Brand with Channel-First Content Creation,” “Misinformation, the Capitol Insurrection, and a Winter Storm: Using Real-time Data at Critical Moments,” “Taking a Corporate Stand on Societal Issues: Where Do We Draw the Line?,” “SEO: Trends, Developments & Best Practices,” “The Power of Creativity in a Digital World,” “Are You Ready for Google Analytics 4?,” and “What I Wish I Knew: Insights and Advice from Young Marketers.”

PR Pros Valued by Reporters

In the session, “Muck Rack’s State of Media Relations & Journalists Round Table,” Andrew Mercier, Muck Rack’s editorial director, highlighted findings of the company’s State of PR 2022 and State of Journalism 2022 surveys.

Among some of the results were that journalists prefer to receive pitches from 9:00 a.m. to late morning or noon. The best pitch length is about 100 to 200 words and Twitter is one of the most valuable platforms for communications professionals.

Muck Rack's State of Media Relations in 2022 - And Journalist Roundtable -- (L to R) Andrew Mercier, Sophia Can, Maria Glod & Vandana Sinha
(L to R) Andrew Mercier, Sophia Cai, Maria Glod & Vandana Sinha

During the session, Vandana Sinha, editor-in-chief of the Washington Business Journal, explained that her mission is to serve her readers. She said that while PR pros and journalists can have different interests, “We can have great relationships.”

One of the best ways to form a relationship with her is to get to know her organization and what sets it apart. She added that of course, “Honesty and transparency are critical.”

Maria Glod, deputy Metro editor at The Washington Post, asserted, “We are always looking to expand our expertise,” and she added that PR pros can assist her with getting in touch with experts for her stories.

Sophia Cai, national politics reporter for Axios, agreed and said she turns to communications pros to “get in touch with experts on a topic.” She continued, “I value access to your principal.” Cai added that she likes to talk to experts in a field and likes to be introduced to experts. She is “always happy to pick up the phone,” and likes to hear a voice.

The WBJ’s Sinha also emphasized the importance of making sure the contact person listed on a press release be available, either immediately or to get back to her as fast as possible. And in crisis, she asserted, “Don’t shut out the media. Even if it is to say, ‘no comment.’”

Regarding Twitter Cai, of Axios, said that she does Tweet her stories and she uses Twitter to look up information on her subjects. Sinha concurred and said that Twitter is “a great information source.” She added, “It’s a great way for us to disseminate our information.”

The Post’s Glod explained that for her Twitter is a starting point for stories, but she cautioned against false or fake Twitter accounts. Post editors, along with Cai and Sinha, are always verifying any information on Twitter.

When the three panelists were asked to describe the DC media scene with one-word, they responded, “vibrant,” “complicated,” and “chaos.”

Importance of Keeping Communications Brief Emphasized in Session

Mike Allen, co-founder of Axios
Mike Allen, co-founder of Axios

Mike Allen, co-founder of Axios, emphasized the importance of being brief and getting to the point in written communications. Allen, co-author of Smart Brevity: The Power of Saying More with Less,” explained when trying to communicate with your audience to always think about, “What is the Tweet?” He asserted, “Twitter is the ultimate Smart Brevity.”

Allen explained that the Axios HQ software uses the Smart Brevity formula to help companies relay their messages more effectively. Communicators need to think about “What would someone grab on to.” The best way to convey an idea he said, is to “Boil it down.” This concept can be used for all industries, from politics to business and more. When discussing writing and the Smart Brevity concept, Allen continued, “Less is more.”

Allen revealed of utmost importance when communicating with an audience is to “Tell me something I don’t know and why does it matter.” He explained that less words show the reader, “You respect their time.”

Other key hallmarks of the Axios communications methods are to include visuals with an “elegant simplicity.” Also, to always tell readers where they can get further information on your topic.

Allen emphasized the importance of using hyperlinks in today’s communications for an additional explanation of terms, topics, original reports, polls, news stories, academic papers, and much more. Hyperlinks can be very useful to readers so that additional information “is there if people want it.”

Ultimately, he asserted, “Say what people need to know.”