Mayor Garcetti appoints Peter Marx as Chief Innovation Technology Officer

Peter Marx
Mayor Garcetti today appointed Peter Marx as the city’s first Chief Innovation Technology Officer. A key part of Mayor Garcetti’s back to basics agenda, Marx will oversee the implementation of new tools and technologies across L.A. city government better solve problems for residents and make City Hall work more efficiently and effectively. In addition, he will partner with L.A.’s growing tech industry to deploy innovative technology and promote local job creation.

Among his first projects will be improving MyLA311 for one stop customer service; revamping the City’s scores of web sites to make them more useful and user-friendly; and capitalize on sharing and analyzing data to upgrade performance throughout City government in the same way LAPD’s COMPSTAT system has been used to drive down crime.

“Incredibly talented, a force in the tech community, and an L.A. native to boot, Peter was my top choice from a very strong pool of applicants,” said Mayor Garcetti. “I’m thrilled to have him on the team and look forward to working with him to better serve Angelenos and foster the already strong tech ecosystem here in the City of Angels. Harnessing technology is critical to the future of our economy and improving city services.”

Read the full news release

February 6th, 2014|Categories: Commentary|Tags: , , , |

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.

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.

December 12th, 2013|Categories: Commentary, OWC News|Tags: , , , , , |

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.

October 18th, 2013|Categories: Commentary, OWC News|Tags: , , , , , |