5 things to do now to improve the bottom line

OWC’s president and CEO, Tracy Williams, writes about “Marketing in the New Energy Ecosystem” in the July-August issue of the North American Clean Energy magazine.

“It’s now less about influencing public opinion or changing consumer behavior and more about strategic relationship building to make connections that move the needle for technology,” Williams writes. “What’s required is a focused strategy to establish credibility and gain the trust of potential investors, partners, affiliates, and installers throughout target markets.”

Williams offers five things energy companies can do now to improve their bottom lines: engage the community, apply for awards and lists, focus on messaging, become an industry expert, and network at trade shows and beyond.

Read the full article: Marketing in the New Energy Ecosystem: 5 things to do now to improve the bottom line. (North American Clean Energy)

NACE

5 Things You Must Do in 2016

If you’re like us, January 4 wasn’t just a return to work, it was time to rev up your creative engines and brainstorm must-do marketing ideas for your company and clients in 2016.

Here are five categories to tackle in order to hit the ground running in the new year:
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Speak
Opportunities will be going, going, gone in the next weeks. They book up fast at the best conferences, like Bloomberg LIVE, Inc. Conferences and Forbes Summits, but there are also important industry events, like Money 20/20 for fintech and GreenBiz for cleantech. Get on panels that put you in front of your target market or the people who can refer business. You may have to pay to participate. Evaluate through a cost-benefit analysis. Speaking hones your thinking and messages and is a great discipline to guide your year-long marketing effort. Host a webinar. It’s not the number of people who hear you — it’s who. Alumni groups host webinars and so do trade groups. Brainstorm with your team where you need to be.

Write
What makes an industry expert? Writing. Commit to writing at least half a dozen articles for blogs, newsletters and business and trade publications that accept bylines or guest articles. Review submission guidelines that tell you how many words the article must be and don’t go beyond the word count. Don’t sell. Give readers information they don’t know and knowledge they can’t buy. No matter how limited the initial circulation, post the work on your LinkedIn page, Twitter account and share it in your eNewsletter. Frame the articles and hang them in your office. Ever wonder why some business people have a confident, immediate response to questions about their business? It’s because they’ve honed their messages through writing.

Network
Meet people face-to-face. There’s no substitute. The goal is conversation — and a relationship based on more than business and sales goals. Such relationships expand your network and your life. It may come as a surprise when referrals come in. Create a calendar of events and conferences to attend in 2016. At OWC, we’re sponsoring Ernst & Young LLP’s Entrepreneur Of The Year program, and hosting tables at various Los Angeles Business Journal and Town Hall Los Angeles events. The author E.M. Forster famously stated the secret of all success: “Only connect.”

Awards, honors and lists
Awards and lists matter — especially if you’re not included. Business trades such as Inc. and Fast Company, the local business journals and trade publications publish annual lists of the top performers in nearly every industry. There is even a list by CareerBliss for the “50 Happiest U.S. Companies.” Who wouldn’t want to work for (or with) one of the companies on that list?

Engage Your Community
Give back. Find a local nonprofit that could use your services. Volunteer as a guest lecturer at your local college. It’s not just a good thing to do, it’s good for business. Almost 60 percent of Americans are more likely to buy a product associated with a nonprofit partnership.

Commit time and money to each of these categories to keep your brand fresh, your people energized and your ideas crisp. Call us if you want to brainstorm.

 

Read the article on socaltech:
Five Things Startups Must Do to Rev Up Business in 2016

The state of media – 2016

A published article in a top-tier national newspaper can live on longer than ever before with the help of distributed news across multiple platforms. More than two million people still enjoy reading the printed version of The Wall Street Journal each day. That’s just the beginning of a story’s life cycle though with more than 18 million people flocking to the WSJ’s website each month and millions more gaining exposure to the same article through social media.

Billionaires are taking notice. Jeff Bezos purchased the Washington Post a year ago because he could see the opportunity coming as the news industry continues to evolve digitally.

During the past two years, Olmstead Williams Communications’ media relations campaign for Oberthur Technologies attracted substantial news coverage with millions of media impression from print articles. The digital views of the same news? Millions more.

The OWC Media Environment survey illustrates that news stories are increasing in value and reach.

 

TV – and local media – still rock

Where people get their news:

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  • Eighty-seven percent of people get their news from television, 69 percent from online, 65 percent from radio and 61 percent from print.
  • Network news viewership grew 5 percent this year while local news was up 3 percent.

 

All media is now social

  • Journalists are using social media to source articles with 75 percent researching stories through social media and 86 percent checking Twitter multiple times per day.

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  • Eighty-eight percent of millennials get news through Facebook, while 46 percent of all Twitter users follow news organizations and reporters. Make sure your company and professionals are active and connecting on social media.

Distributed news is the new buzzword

  • Media seek more ways to distribute content.

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  • Some publications, like the Washington Post, are taking distributed news to a new level. The Post made its entire paper available through Facebook’s Instant Articles app.
  • It’s not just social media. Distributed news sources like Fusion are growing, reaching 3.1 million unique visitors this month.

 

The Golden Age for email

  • Even in today’s digital/social/distributed age, email is still effective.
  • The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg, Fast Company, NBC News and more are cherry picking stories to share with readers in e-newsletter format.

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  • The average gross open rate for media/publishing newsletters is almost 40 percent — far and above the standard 22 percent.

 

It’s clear that content is king — not the platform. The number of platforms continues to grow, but the power of the medium is measured by a story that is so compelling that it is shared everywhere. We look forward to sharing your stories in 2016.

OWC wins PRism Award for work with Ice Energy

OWC's Roxanna Eke and Tracy Williams.

OWC’s Roxanna Eke and Tracy Williams.

Olmstead Williams Communications won a PRism Award at the 2015 PRSA-Los Angeles PRism Awards held Wednesday at Taglyan Entertainment Complex. The firm was honored in the Green/Sustainability Program for its work creating awareness among major utilities for Ice Energy’s cost-effective energy storage technology.

This is the eighth PRism OWC has won in the past five years. This is the second time the firm has been honored in this category. OWC also has won for its work in the non-profit, pro bono, business to business, reputation/brand management and healthcare categories.

Read the full announcement:

Olmstead Williams Communications Wins Greentech PRism Award at 51st Annual PRSA-Los Angeles Awards

Top social media questions No. 6: What is social listening? Why should I care?

This is the last in a series of six blog posts addressing the top social media issues.

Social listening is the process of monitoring everything that’s being said about your company so you can better target customers and prospects. Every time a new social media platform rises to prominence, it’s a challenge to develop the best way to track its influence. There are more than 150 social media monitoring and analytics tools for the U.S. alone. Hootsuite is one of the best all-around free social media management tools and covers multiple platforms including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, Foursquare and Google+. Focusing on Twitter? Try using TweetReach which measures the actual impact and implications of Twitter discussions. If you’re big on data and analytics, try Simply Measured which makes it easy to analyze your paid, owned and earned activity on many popular social platforms. See sample social media analysis

At Olmstead Williams Communications, we suggest most B2Bs start with the basics — Twitter and LinkedIn. Master those, then layer in Facebook, Instagram and other emerging platforms if and only if they work for your specific business goals. You can’t do everything well, and you’ll diminish impact if you spread yourself too thin. Stay strategic in all that you do, and don’t worry about the things that don’t work for you.

Happy posting.

Top social media issues No. 5: Do I even still need a website?

This is the fifth in a series of six blog posts addressing the top social media issues.

Matthew Knell, vice president of social media at About.com, made this one clear in a presentation at the LIFT social media conference in Seattle recently: Your website is the hub of all your social media content. It’s where you post your content to be shared on other platforms. That’s content that needs to bend and stretch to meet the needs of multiple sites and applications.

How do you do that? For starters, make sure each page has a social friendly title that people want to share. Would you click on the story if it appeared in your news feed? Don’t forget about meta descriptions that aren’t visible until you share the page (ask your web guy), and always include an optimized photo which will appear when your content is shared on social media channels and make it inherently more shareable. Images that are at least 1200 x 630 pixels display the best on high resolution devices, and anything under 600 x 315 will show up much smaller on Facebook.

Top social media issues No. 4: Why aren’t our website traffic and visitor counts going up?

The image on the left shows a typical post from Buzzfeed which has been mobilized with bolding, paragraph spaces and photos to make it easy to read. The image on the right is just plain text and is much more intimidating.

The image on the left shows a typical post from Buzzfeed which has been mobilized with bolding, paragraph spaces and photos to make it easy to read. The image on the right is just plain text and is much more intimidating.

This is the fourth in a series of six blog posts addressing the top social media issues.

Although your website may be mobile friendly, doing the minimum gets you … minimal results. It’s all about creating “content snacks.” Meaning, we must mobilize each article and video. Reading a giant text block with no bolding, paragraph spaces or photos looks daunting on desktops and even more so on cell phones.

Break up your copy into easily digestible content. Videos should include text that make it easy to follow even if the audio is turned off. In fact, just assume the audio will be turned off and develop your videos accordingly.

 

Top social media issues No. 3: Should I send out eNewsletters? Or, is that too old school?

This is the third in a series of six blog posts addressing the top social media issues.

eNewsletters are arguably just getting started because brands are beginning to produce more sharable content. For every dollar spent on email marketing, $40 is made. Yes, we all get too many emails, but as with all social media, if the information is compelling, people respond.

If you already publish content on a regular basis, flag the most compelling materials in an eNewsletter that you send to clients and prospects interested in a niche topic. You’ll have higher open rates and conversion rates while fostering better relationships.

Top social media issues No. 2: How do I drive traffic to our website through social media?

This is the second in a series of six blog posts addressing the top social media issues.

The question of driving website traffic from social media efforts is another constant query of new media specialists. Answer: Create content worth sharing, worth “liking” and worth the investment of your time. Think “Added Value” not “Selling.”

The tweet below from Cisco is designed to show support for Breast Cancer awareness while fostering the relationship with Twitter fans by sharing stories about their employees. It shows Cisco is sensitive to other initiatives besides those directly related to itself. The link doesn’t go to a Cisco homepage or blog. Instead, it goes to a newsfeed of tweets about breast cancer awareness.

Cisco Example

Top social media issues No. 1: What does a successful social media campaign look like?

Trent and Roxanna standing 03

OWC’s Freeman and Eke

This is the first in a series of six blog posts addressing the top social media issues.

Roxanna Eke and Trent Freeman from Olmstead Williams Communications joined hundreds of social media and marketing professionals this month at the first LIFT conference in Seattle. Keynote speakers and panelists from companies like TechCrunch, Forrester and Microsoft shared how they’re addressing the constant barrage of advances and hurdles companies face as they expand their brands. One of the most frequently asked questions is: What does a successful social media campaign look like?

Smoke comes out of Roxanna’s ears when she gets this question from earnest clients and colleagues. Why? Because clearly it’s completely dependent on what you want to achieve. A major consumer campaign for the latest sports drink might require 20,000 new followers to be considered a success, but a B2B campaign for a law firm or accounting firm that attracts the right 50 followers (or even the right 5) might mean even more to the company’s bottom line. Similarly, a trendy clothing store might expect over 1,000 likes on any given post, but for a healthcare company, 1 to 5 likes from industry leaders may be more than enough to position them as relevant with top targets.

Perfect your voice, master scheduling posts and solidify campaign ideas. Be as relentless with social media as you would any other marketing tactic. Test, execute, assess and start over until you reach your objectives.