Tracy Williams speaking at Chapman Univeristy on crisis communication planning

CUlogoBgOlmstead Williams Communications’ CEO, Tracy Williams, will be speaking for two classes at Chapman University on the importance and relevance of crisis communications planning for individuals and their brand. The graduate students in Robin Moore’s Principles of Crisis Management class have discussed major headlining crisis management events such as the BP Spill, Papa John’s deliveryman rant and Carnival Cruises ill employees, and will now dive into the personal side of crisis management. The same principles apply, crisis is not a matter of if but when. Tracy’s main focus will be helping the students understand and plan for these moments in their lives.

 

Putting plan into action: The story of how I created my own website

By Marie Ebenezer Logo-TKC

About three months ago, I had to get an MRI for a knee checkup. Anyone who has ever had an MRI knows that you have to lie completely still or else the scan will be blurry. So I found myself with 20 minutes of nothingness – no movement, no phone, no internet, no book – it was just me, my thoughts and the numbing sound of the machine. My mind started to wander and it quickly ended up at the question that hovers over any soon-to-be university graduate: what should I do after I finish school?! I would like to work in PR, this much I know. My internship at OWC was a valuable first step for me, but where to go from there? It has been almost two years since I went to Los Angeles, so I’ve been feeling like I have to do something to get back in the game. Well, it was while I was lying in the MRI scanner that I figured it out: I should do a recipe website. It all made sense: I love to cook and bake, I enjoy writing about things that interest me, and if I created my own website, I could also gain some valuable PR know-how. This seemed like the perfect plan, and I eagerly went home to start working on my little project.

food-TKC001The first thing I did was to decide what I wanted my page to be like. There are countless of recipe websites, let alone food blogs, so it was important for me to find a niche that had not yet been explored. I came up with a concept that reflected who I am, and that I thought could be successful: fun family style recipes from Europe and beyond, accessible to Europeans as well as Americans (and others, of course!). I also debated for a long time whether I should do a blog or a regular website. I went for a mix between the two! What I like about blogs is that people can see right away what the newest posts are, but I find that websites are often more clearly laid out, with a distinct menu bar and a more user-friendly setup.

Having a concrete idea of the website in mind, I then thought about a name for my “brand”. Obviously, the name had to be catchy, but I also wanted it to be “transparent”, which means that people intuitively understand what a word or phrase means. I decided to call it “The Kitchen Corner”. Intuitively, people will know that The Kitchen Corner has something to do with food, and the simple name with a positive ring is in line with the easy and tasty dishes I want to write about. I checked online to make sure that no website called The Kitchen Corner already existed, and I was in luck. Now that the name was settled, it was time to get serious!

To create your own website, you have to get a domain. A domain is basically an address, or a piece of “internet land”, that you buy the rights for from a web hosting service. Because I am not an apt web designer, I chose a web host that allows you to use WordPress (WP) for the domain you bought. This is great because as soon as your domain has been activated (which usually only takes a few hours), you can get started with designing your website using WP as a framework. WP has hundreds of different themes and customization options, so you can create a personalized layout that meets your needs exactly. For the layout of The Kitchen Corner, I chose a clean and feel-good look with recognition value. It took me about 6 weeks until I was happy with the layout of the website – 6 weeks of intense googling and watching video tutorials with the occasional verbal assault against my laptop! And then, I could finally start writing and “PR-ing”!

Marie-TKCBefore going public, I wrote an about page, as well as five recipes as a starting point. This way, first time visitors of the page could see right away what the idea behind the website was, and what kind of recipes they could expect to see in the future. I also created a Facebook page to go hand in hand with the homepage. The purpose of it is that people who are interested in The Kitchen Corner, can “like” it on Facebook, where they will be informed when a new recipe goes online. Social media are a must if you want to maintain an online presence, and users are much more likely to comment on the links posted on social media platforms that on the website itself. In addition, I downloaded an SEO plug-in to my website, which helps you write your posts with a certain SEO key word in mind. The aim of that is to increase potential traffic and to decide yourself what the snippet preview of each page should look like on search engine result pages. And, finally, I also went old school and ordered some business cards with my logo and a slogan on it: “Simple, tasty, family style recipes – from my kitchen to yours…”

I am glad I put my plan into action, and seeing the result is very rewarding, even though running the website is taking up a lot of my free time. For the The Kitchen Corner to keep growing, I am always on the look for new ways to make it stand out. I have many ideas, but first, I should probably finish my degree!

P.S.: If you are curious about The Kitchen Corner, check out the website at www.thekitchencorner.net. And don’t hesitate to share this if you like the page!

Ebenezer is a former OWC intern.

Ice Energy and Geneva Healthcare select OWC

Ice Energy

Business-to-business public relations firm Olmstead Williams Communications has signed contracts with energy storage solution firm Ice Energy and healthcare technology platform maker Geneva Healthcare.

“Both of these companies are providing advanced technology solutions to improve efficiency, reduce costs and save the planet. It makes us proud to be a part of their success, and this is the area where we thrive,” said Tracy Williams, CEO and president of Olmstead Williams Communications.

Read the full announcement below:

Olmstead Williams Communications Selected By Ice Energy and Geneva Healthcare

OWC signs five new clients

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OWC’s Trent Freeman plots strategy for one of the business-to-business PR firm’s five new clients.

Olmstead Williams Communications has signed contracts with five new clients: Bruin Biometrics, Cynvenio Biosystems, T+ink, TRUCKAST and the USC Marshall School of Business.

“We’re always excited to work with companies that are passionate about disrupting the status quo, and each of these new clients is a true innovator with products and solutions that make all of our lives better and more interesting,” said Tracy Williams, CEO and president of Olmstead Williams Communications, which has won seven PRSA-Los Angeles PRism Awards in three years.

Read more about the new clients in the full announcement:

Olmstead Williams Communications signs five new clients

OWC top 30 PR firm for 5th straight year

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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.

‘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.