OWC’s Tracy Williams lists 5 questions you should be asking about your PR firm

Best-selling author Dr. Mark Goulston caught up with OWC’s CEO and President Tracy Williams to discuss five ways to tell if you have the right PR firm. Consider these following questions when determining whether your PR firm is the best fit for you:

  1. Does my PR firm call me regularly?

Out of sight, out of mind? If you’re not hearing from your PR firm regularly, they’re not paying attention. You should be on a cell phone, text and email basis with your PR account leader. You both should enjoy working together.

  1. Has my PR firm taught me anything new?

Good PR firms bring their clients new ideas — “aha” moments that energize and show the agency is thinking creatively about your pain points and how to reach your customer. Good PR means constantly brainstorming ideas to target your customers, challenge conventional wisdom and achieve your objectives.

  1. Does my PR firm monitor results and engage in discussions about return on investment, or do they wait for my call?

Good PR firms are proud of their results. In our agency, we have cowbells on our desks and ring them when we get a “hit” — that’s an article or a good share on social media. And we can’t wait to calculate key performance indicators and ROI. Your PR firm should be the ones to call for a review about how the public relations program is working and they should be eager to discuss what’s next.

  1. Does my PR firm know when to say no?

Good PR firms challenge you with ideas and statements that take you out of your comfort zone. It’s critical that your PR firm level with you to maximize your time and resources. If not, you’re wasting money.

  1. Does my PR firm let me know when things aren’t going well?

It’s the PR firm’s job to report their bad news — just like they tell you to do in a crisis. Your firm should know right away when a project doesn’t appear to be having the desired effect and recommend adjustments or program pivots. It’s not about blame. It should be an ongoing dialogue in an environment of transparency and teamwork.

PR doesn’t have to be as mysterious and elusive, as is often the case. If you use these 5 warning signs, they will greatly help you in getting the best and most out of whatever PR firm you do work with.

Read the full article: 5 ways to tell if you have the right PR firm (The Business Journals)


Zenvoy featured as powerful business matchmaking platform

Los Angeles startup, Zenvoy, officially launches this week. The platform introduces professionals to one another for maximum networking potential. It uses secure algorithms to connect people based on mutually beneficial needs. Zenvoy asks individuals about their professional industry, experience and location to determine valuable connections for its users.

“Zenvoy aims to streamline networking for businesspeople — a practice that in the past has required fighting traffic to attend events that too often yield too few meaningful connections,” Ellingson said. “Businesspeople can use Zenvoy as an individual or in a private group created by an association, conference or other professional community. The platform can even be “white-labeled” so groups own their members and branding.”

Read more: L.A. startup launches matchmaker for business (Los Angeles Business Journal)


Beyond the booth

Trade show season heats up in the fall with promises of new business leads from a targeted pool of prospects.  The average expense of participating ranges from $35,000 to beyond $50,000 when you add booth space and construction, conference fees, travel, lodging, meals and sponsorship.  Is it worth it? Yes: It only takes one new customer to justify the investment.

Another big payoff is the public relations opportunities these shows provide.  Below is a checklist after negotiating a keynote speech or panelist position:

  1. Set up meetings with attending media.  Trade shows provide reporters with free passes to encourage them to attend.  The media list can be obtained four to six weeks in advance, allowing ample time to reach out to individual reporters and editors.  Invite them to the booth to meet and discuss industry trends with key executives who have been prepped on approved messaging.  Just sending a press release is passive.  Be active.
  2. Trade shows provide a five-minute platform to announce news during the show.  Take advantage and tout your latest news, a new client, new market, new partner or perhaps a white paper.  Give them something to remember that sets you apart from others.

    The Oberthur Technologies booth attracted hundreds of targeted prospects at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, earlier this year. Just as important at trade shows are the media interviews and other opportunities that take place beyond the booth.

    The Oberthur Technologies booth attracted hundreds of targeted prospects at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, earlier this year. Just as important at trade shows are the media interviews and other opportunities that take place beyond the booth.

  3. Conduct a media breakfast or dinner to build relationships.  Reporters don’t want to be grouped with their competitors, but they’ll come if you give them access to something interesting.  A CEO breakfast with customers, research analyst or the author of a relevant book can make it easy for a journalist to find news and new contacts.  It also positions the company as a thought leader with a story sense.
  4. Work with the event publication to feature your products and services each day.  Trade shows need content too — so offer them some.  Drone World Expo is one of many shows with an extensive news section.  They’ll be featuring interviews with companies and touting their news releases in the run-up to the November event.
  5. Showcase customers at your booth and in all communications with the media during the event.  Customers are the proof point, and their front-line stories offer the quotations journalists need to tell your story.
  6. Finally, always add the name of the trade show to news releases distributed through wire services such as Business Wire and PRNewswire during the show.  Media covering the industry will be on alert for news coming from the show; make it easy for them to find.  Who doesn’t want to know what’s hot at the annual Consumer Electronics Show?  Also, trade shows typically offer wire service discounts for exhibitors, a small savings.  Check with your marketing contact.

Olmstead Williams Communications is at work for clients attending the October fintech conference Money 20/20 (submit your news for the show).  ESNA, one of the top energy storage shows, is just a few weeks away, too — a can’t-miss event for our cleantech clients.  With countless shows nationwide, there is always at least one that will move your business forward.

We know the business media is interested in business. Make it your business to be interested in them.

5 Things I Learned as a PR Intern

  1. Connect With Others

Make the most of your internship by getting to know your colleagues. You can gain a lot of insight by going out to coffee or lunch with a coworker. Networking is an important part of PR, so focus on building and maintaining those relationships. Although you should maintain a professional attitude in the workplace don’t forget to be human.


  1. Stay Informed

Keep yourself current on local and international news. This allows you to brainstorm potential ideas for a client and engage in serious discussions at the office. Public relations revolve around the most recent topics, therefore staying informed is essential.


  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

Internships are the perfect way to gain hands-on PR experience. This is the best environment to gain practical skills. That being said, you should always remain open to new opportunities and absorb as much information as possible on the job. Ask questions when you need clarification or direction on a task, and exhibit your curiosity in the industry.


  1. Research Skills

Creating media lists and researching news outlets is a fundamental aspect of public relations, and will likely be a large part of your internship role. Chances are you will quickly be introduced to Cision, an incredibly useful research engine. This tool is crucial for building accurate lists and finding reporters’ contact information. While it is still critical to double check your results, Cision can help you cut through the clutter to save time.


  1. The Editing Process

Writing a news release requires creative thinking while optimizing length. Understand your first draft will probably be revised several times before there is a final version. The more you practice, the more you will learn how to effectively communicate the news.


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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)


Top talent additions at OWC

As public relations continues to evolve to include categories beyond earned media, the skillset of the team must be just as diverse. Olmstead Williams Communications is pleased to announce the addition of two highly skilled tech savvy, millennial professionals: Trish McCall, managing associate, and Paulo Acuña, associate.

Trish describes herself as a “textual predator” keenly focused on concise, effective communications, and brings a proven track record in social and traditional media. She managed the PR department at her previous agency, A Design Partnership, where she landed major news coverage and garnered significant social amplification of client projects, product launches and overall brand awareness.

Paulo writes, edits and designs across multiple platforms, both traditionally and digitally. His background includes Eisner Pediatric & Family Medical Center and BELLO Magazine. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, he is passionate about the power of communication to inspire and spread a positive message.

Trish McCall

Paulo Acuna

The evolution of 21st century public relations

The terms “advertising” and “public relations” are often confused. Until recently, the easiest explanation was that advertising is paid media — print ads, commercials and billboards — vs. public relations which is earned media or news coverage.

As technology continues to advance to help companies better communicate with customers and prospects, the lines are blurred even more. Earned media is still the bread and butter of PR, but other equally important categories continue to evolve and gain traction: owned media, shared media and paid media.

A recent study by USC’s Annenberg Center for Public Relations surveyed PR firms and in-house communications professionals, and compared the breakdown of these four categories now and projections for 2020. Today, earned media is just 41 percent of the total PR resources allocated, followed by owned media (26 percent), shared media (17 percent) and paid media (13 percent). The numbers are expected to shift even more dramatically by 2020 with earned media sliding to just 31 percent, followed by owned (28 percent), shared (24 percent) and paid (15 percent).

Companies must embrace these additional categories and challenge their PR firms to deliver balanced communications programs that take advantage of all opportunities. Like a good investment portfolio, you must diversify to manage risk. A balanced PR portfolio also helps you weather the storm and stay relevant with all audiences while you’re waiting for that Wall Street Journal article to run.
Even the term PR is changing to include these other categories. Instead of standing for public relations, PR now encompasses four categories of publishing and relations (P+R):

Earned Media — Earned media cannot be purchased and will always carry the most credibility — estimated at 10 to 1 vs. advertising. Profiles on your business and articles that include you as an industry source remain key for driving bottom-line business results.
Taboola helps extend the reach and lifetime of the best articles about your business.

Owned — Blog postings, long-form LinkedIn posts, online newsrooms and shorter posts on all social media platforms allow you complete control of the message with anyone actively engaged in digital platforms.

Shared — Think of social media in terms of shares and engagement. It’s important to build followers, but how you interact with those followers is key. What’s your engagement percentage and how is that flourishing over time?
Paid — This can be as simple as distributing your news releases through a wire service such as Business Wire or include paid guest articles, radio news releases, print article services like NAPS, Twitter ads, boosted Facebook posts, etc. The Los Angeles Times has paid online ads that look like news articles and can reach 100,000 or more people. Taboola and Outbrain are services that take earned media that has already appeared on another site touting your business and extends its reach and lifetime. Instead of just appearing on one site, the article appears on sites throughout the Internet. These are those stories you can’t help but click on at the bottom of your favorite sites.

The proliferation of platforms and need to engage appropriately keeps us on our toes and always looking forward. Like Einstein said: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

Bone Biologics announces $5.75M funding for bone graft substitute development project


Bone Biologics has just announced the completion of a $5.75 funding venture in collaboration with Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation, OrthoFix Holdings, Inc. and Hankey Capital, LLC. The proceeds will be geared toward further development and synthesis of a potential bone graft substitute product focused first on bone regeneration in spinal fusion procedures.

“We are pleased with the completion of this round of funding in a challenging investment environment which will allow the company to further execute on its development strategy,” said Steve La Neve, CEO and President of Bone Biologics. “The confidence that these equity investors continue to show in our technology platform, the management team and the professional partners we have assembled is encouraging.”

Read more:

Bone Biologics completes $5.75 Million round of financing (Medical Design and Outsourcing)

Bone Biologics Completes $5.75 Million Round Of Financing (OrthoSpineNews)

Bone Biologics closes $5.8m round (Mass Device)


The Usefulness of Twitter

For OWC, in the world of public relations, Twitter is a 140-character news feed. For public relations practitioners, this billion-dollar social media platform has become a lifeline for making news and in times of crisis, becomes our go-to for reaching our clients and reacting in a timely manner.

According to Joanna Stern of the Wall Street Journal, “it’s OK to use Twitter only as a real-time news wire, and only launch the app when you want to keep up with live events like the Oscars, presidential debates or the NCAA tournament. You’ll likely find it to be faster, franker and funnier than Facebook.”

Read the full article: How to Make Twitter Actually Useful. (The Wall Street Journal)


OWC’s Tracy Williams publishes column in The Recorder

OWC CEO and President Tracy Williams authored an article in this week’s issue of The Recorder, California’s leading legal trade publication. Her expert counsel on marketing strategies for attorneys includes five pillars of business development to establish credibility, stand out from the competition and improve the overall bottom line of the practice.

“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,” said Williams. She also recommends building brand recognition, increasing referral sources and energizing the team through award and list opportunities, speaking engagements at industry conferences, networking in person beyond typical business events and engaging communities through nonprofit and pro bono work.

Read the full article:

Five Tips for Networking and Building Business (The Recorder)

Olmstead Williams Communications Tracy Williams