OWC top 30 PR firm for 5th straight year

largest-award-704x471

This is the fifth consecutive year that Olmstead Williams Communications has been named to the list.

Olmstead Williams Communications, a business-to-business public relations firm specializing in technology, healthcare and professional services, has been named to the Los Angeles Business Journal‘s list of the “30 Largest Public Relations Firms” in Los Angeles County.

“Our clients are the engineers, scientists, financial and business executives who are creating great companies, and it’s an honor to help meet their sales and marketing objectives,” said Tracy Olmstead Williams, president and CEO of the agency, which is ranked No. 22 this year.

This is the fifth consecutive year that OWC has been named to the list which honors firms throughout Los Angeles based on their fee income.

Read the full news release here:

Olmstead Williams Communications top 30 PR firm for 5th straight year

OWC’s Williams to moderate panel on managing crises

Tracy Williams

Tracy Williams, CEO and President of Olmstead Williams Communications

Tracy Williams, CEO and President of Olmstead Williams Communications, will moderate a panel presented by Broads Circle founder Darya Allen-Attar at 5 p.m. on April 29 at the Luxe Sunset Hotel in Los Angeles titled “4 Strategies for Managing Crises Successfully.”

The event features co-moderator Pamela Palmer, Partner at Latham & Watkins LLP; and panelists Susan M. Collins, Chief Financial Officer at Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp; Elizabeth Greenwood, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Tennenbaum Capital Partners, LLC; Mary Kasper, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary at Fresh & Easy; and Diane W. Biagianti, Vice President and Chief Responsibility Officer at Edwards Lifesciences LLC.

Tickets are $75, with an additional fee of $50 for non-members. You must purchase a ticket online if you wish to register for this event.

Read more about the event:

4 Strategies for Managing Crises Successfully

OWC intern helps keep steam locomotive running

Alex (leaning on the headlight) and the rest of the crew.

Alex Gillman recently joined Olmstead Williams Communications as an intern with a very unique passion: steam locomotives. When not building media lists or studying at California State University Northridge, you’ll usually find him on the train tracks.

This past weekend, Alex and the all-volunteer crew of the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society (SBRHS) fired up their 1927 restored steam locomotive, ex-Santa Fe 3751, and used the engine to pull a special passenger train from Los Angeles to San Bernardino and back over the course of two days. The trip was made in conjunction with the San Bernardino Railroad Days Festival, which takes place in April.

“When we roll, we affect peoples lives,” Gillman said. “These engines used to be as common as big-rig trucks on the highway, and now they’re as rare as can be.”

Santa Fe 3751 traveled to San Bernardino via Metrolink tracks passing through locations such as El Monte, Covina, Rancho Cucamonga and Rialto. The locomotive is usually only able to make one or two trips every year due to the cost.

For more information about Santa Fe 3751 and the SBRHS, visit www.sbrhs.org or their Facebook page.

2014 media outlook: Opportunities to tell your story are strong

By Tracy Williams
Tracy Williams
Much is changing in the news media, and the numbers tell us opportunities to tell your story are strong.

1,380
In 1950, there were 1,772 daily newspapers.
By 2000 — 1,480 daily newspapers.
Today — There are still 1,380 daily newspapers, and each article carries more value than ever with fewer papers reporting.

23,108,914
The daily circulation at the top 100 newspapers. That’s a lot of people who still like to get their fingers dirty.

430
Digital pay plans are now in place at 430 of the country’s dailies. Gannett showed in 2013 that success at the New York Times would work at smaller newspapers and other media followed. People are willing to pay for information and services they value.

157.7 million
There are hundreds of millions of blogs. Tumblr alone has 157.7 million blogs with 69.9 billion posts. Of course, not all blogs are great news sources. Your cousin Jimmy’s blog about turtles comes to mind. The Huffington Post is a good one, as are Gizmodo, Mashable and Business Insider, among others.

1.5 million
Cision’s Global Media Database used by thousands of PR pros includes over 1.5 million journalists, editors, bloggers, freelancers, analysts and other influencers and is updated over 20,000 times a day.

7
Olmstead Williams Communications has won 7 PRisms over the past three years from the Public Relations Society of America- Los Angeles for work with technology, healthcare, professional services firms and non-profits. OWC positions CEOs and other executives as leaders in their fields through traditional and new media, as well as speaking opportunities and networking connections.

2014
Make sure everything you do is repurposed across as many of your company’s platforms as you can in 2014, and don’t forget SEO. That newspaper article about your latest product launch needs to be shared on all of your social media platforms. To assure maximum SEO benefits, make certain your website and blog are optimized to load quickly and take advantage of keywords in headlines, body copy, title tags, meta descriptions and permalinks. Consider creating an enewsletter announcing the news and send to your full database of clients and prospects through a tool like Constant Contact.

Williams is president and CEO of Olmstead Williams Communications.

‘Been There, Done That, Would Do It Again’ panel

AUSB logo“A Dialogue with Leaders:  Been There, Done That, Would Do It Again” on Sunday at Antioch University Santa Barbara will feature a guest panel moderated by Jon Goodman, PhD.

Tracy Williams, CEO and president of Olmstead Williams Communications, joins other panelists Rise Phillips, CEO & President of T.H.E. Clinic, and Diana Ingram, Emerging Technology Business Development Consultant.

The panel, which begins with breakfast at 8:30 a.m., is part of the university’s “Women & Leadership Certificate Program” and concludes a weekend of activities.

OWC’s Williams named to ‘Who’s Who in LA Business’

Tracy Williams

Tracy Williams, president and CEO of Olmstead Williams Communications

Tracy Williams, president and CEO of Olmstead Williams Communications, is one of 13 public relations executives named to the annual special report “Who’s Who in Los Angeles Business” by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

The list includes executives in LA’s biggest companies and organizations across a variety of industries from aerospace/defense to software.

Williams has helped clients build their reputations through PR for 25 years. She has represented industry leaders such as Hewlett Packard, Computer Science Corporation (CSC), Acer, California Energy Commission, Ernst & Young, Greenberg Traurig, Oberthur Technologies, Dimensional Fund Advisors and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

OWC is an award-winning public relations and social media agency serving clients nationally from offices in Los Angeles and Seattle. The firm works with technology and professional services companies to meet their sales and marketing objectives, raise their brand profile, and capture mind and market share.

The truth behind the Google penalty

By Tracy Williams

google_logoThere’s confusion today about the value of using links in the news releases you upload to the wire services, and as a result, the value of the releases themselves are being questioned. Amidst changes to Google’s link schemes, some companies fear press releases can do more harm than good.

Google now penalizes releases containing excessive links when it perceives those links are just there to drive search engine optimization (SEO). The primary offenders are anchor text links which highlight numerous words and phrases throughout the article. This is a tactic SEO tricksters of yore used dozens of times in a single release. The idea was that copies of each release appeared on hundreds of websites, and each link back to your website multiplied by the number of sites was one more inbound link, driving up your search engine rankings.

Google’s link schemes are now smart enough to see these links don’t add value, and they can either drop you lower in the search rankings or remove your site entirely until you come into compliance and request reconsideration. This new development does not, however, affect direct URLs, such as a link to www.olmsteadwilliams.com included in the boilerplate at the bottom of a release.

The take away: Forget the links, but don’t forget placing news releases on the wires entirely. News releases remain an efficient tool to communicate real company news — new products, services, employees, awards and trends.

Releases give discipline to company announcements by getting all the parties involved as they work together to draft the text. And putting releases on the wires makes them easy to access for journalists across the country and indexes the news online for everyone to see. Just make sure you have real news to communicate.

5 tips for more effective news releases

Here are five tips for writing news releases that will really make news:

  • Keep it short, two pages max if possible. In this era of 140-character tweets, one page gives discipline to your news story. You want to engage a reporter, but not give them everything so they reach out to you.
  • Quote the CEO or president but no one else. Everyone wants a piece of the action when news releases are being drafted, but multiple quotes simply do not add value and create confusion with reporters and editors. Never start your quote with “We are delighted” or “I’m excited.” That’s not news and is just puffery. You can be more informative than that (see No. 3).
  • Use data — the lifeblood of journalism — to make your points. Include key figures in your quotes to increase the odds a reporter will use them. Reporters like products much better than good ideas that have yet to come to fruition, and they like quantifiable facts much better than hyperbole.
  • Know that sometimes a pitch to a handful of reporters is more effective than a news release to the masses. Ask your PR counsel which is best for each situation.
  • Opportunity this month: Take advantage of the news cycle. Reporters are looking for end-of-year stories right now, so don’t wait to draft those 2014 company and industry outlook releases.

Williams is president and CEO of Olmstead Williams Communications.

OWC wins 2 PRisms: Gay inclusion campaign and inner city police program

Derek Houck and Stephanie Harnett of Olmstead Williams Communications

Olmstead Williams Communications won two PRisms at the 2013 PRSA-Los Angeles PRism Awards held Wednesday, Nov. 6, at The Beverly Hills Hotel

The firm was honored for helping the Western Los Angeles County Council of Boy Scouts support inclusion for all gay Scouts and troop leaders (Pro Bono Program category). OWC also was recognized for its work with the Police Orientation Preparation Program (POPP) which helps inner city kids join the middle class by preparing them for jobs in law enforcement (Non-Profit Campaign category).

Over the past three year, OWC has won seven PRisms. Last year, the firm was honored for Ongoing Product or Service Program, Reputation/Brand Management and Healthcare Programs.

The Los Angeles Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America annually recognizes outstanding programs and materials created by public relations professionals who work in the Greater Los Angeles area or have completed assignments for LA-based clients.

Content marketing should drive business, not create confusion

content marketing quiz_Olmstead Williams CommunicationsBy Tracy Williams

Many companies have a tendency to get caught up in tactics aimed at “overcoming” the latest Google algorithms. The key has always been relevant content — “news you can use,” counterintuitive research or new products that make everyone perk up. That’s what encourages the search engines to take notice.

New terminology like “content marketing,” an alternative to “integrated marketing,” creates a mystique, and that’s not effective communications. Whatever the name, customers and clients care about content and context. That means taking another look at your studies, surveys, news releases, photos, commentary and more — and reworking, shortening/ expanding or even illustrating with infographics. Then publish and share with the audiences most likely to move the needle for your business.

With that in mind, below are six critical content marketing tips to utilize the latest tools and more importantly, drive new business:

  • Get senior staff involved. Don’t leave everything up to the unskilled intern who knows more about the “Breaking Bad” finale than they do your business.
  • Embed links to social media platforms in everything you do. This one sounds so simple, but often companies don’t even have email signatures with contact information, especially among senior executives. Not only should every email that ever leaves your company include the name, title and phone number of the person sending it — so it’s super easy to contact them — it should have links to their LinkedIn, corporate Facebook page, Twitter handle and any other platforms the company is actively using.
  • Stop shooting videos of everything you do and thinking anyone cares. We all have video cameras on our smart phones. You don’t want to watch our videos either. Learn to use video smartly. Educate yourself by studying the most successful videos on YouTube. What did they do differently that works? And remember, the only time there should be a talking head is when the CEO has breaking news to report.
  • Crack the code on blogs. There are different kinds of blogs. Some just want free stuff. Others expect you to pay them for media coverage. And then there are blogs that are legitimate, independent news sources offering the same third-party credibility of other earned media such as newspapers and TV news. Not all blogs are created equal. Target the credible ones.
  • Make sure everything you do is repurposed across as many of your platforms as you can, and don’t forget SEO. That newspaper article about your latest product launch needs to be shared on all of your social media platforms. And, to assure maximum SEO benefits, make certain your website and blog are optimized to load quickly and take advantage of keywords in headlines, body copy, title tags, meta descriptions and permalinks. Consider creating an enewsletter announcing the news and send to your full database of clients and prospects through a tool like Constant Contact. (We used it for this email.)
  • Embrace the power to measure everything, from Google Analytics that track your website and blog, to insights from Facebook that tell you new likes, the number of people talking about you and your weekly total reach, to Net Promoter scores that help you zero in on only the most loyal customers. Even Cision, a popular database of reporters and editors, has an Influencer rating for all reporters and editors to help you target the most important contacts for your business.

So, what really matters for your business? What platforms are the best for you, and how should you be engaged?

That’s all part of your content marketing strategy. If you need help figuring that out, feel free to let us know. We can develop a comprehensive program or assist with an extremely specific project. See “Boosting a Post on Facebook” as an example that worked well for one client wanting to increase traffic at their tradeshow booth.

Forrester Research predicts U.S. marketers will spend $4.8 billion on social media tactics alone this year. Make sure you spend it on the right ones and take full advantage of leveraging your content throughout all relevant channels.

We’re easy to find. Just call, email or direct message us on Twitter.

Williams is president and CEO of Olmstead Williams Communications.

OWC finalists for two PRism Awards

0027674 PremiumMarket_aOlmstead Williams Communications has been named a finalist in two categories for the 2013 PRSA Los Angeles PRism Awards.

The firm is being honored for helping the Western Los Angeles County Council of Boy Scouts support inclusion for all gay Scouts and troop leaders (Pro Bono Program category).

OWC also is being recognized and for its work with the Police Orientation Preparation Program (POPP) which helps inner city kids join the middle class by preparing them for jobs in law enforcement (Non-Profit Campaign category).

The PRism Awards Dinner and Show will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at The Beverly Hills Hotel.