SC’11: Welcome to Seattle.

Supercomputing 2011 returns to Seattle November 12-18. Owen Media has sent clients to SC every fall since 1997 (Cray, CAPS Entreprise, ClearSpeed, IBM, InfiniBand, Intel, HP and others). For the 250 exhibitors coming to the conference, here are local resources to pull off a successful event. Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include a few shameless promotions.

Messaging and strategy: Do you have your cloud story locked down? Owen Media works with global HPC brands on marketing strategy and messaging. We help our clients demonstrate thought leadership. We believe people are more loyal when they are inspired, not incented to act.

PR: This is what we do best. We know the editors and analysts at SC and can schedule interviews. Do you have a good story to tell? See bullet one, above.

Collateral:  We integrate design with subject matter experts to speed delivery of high production value collateral on complex subjects.

Hospitality:  There are still great venues available adjacent to the convention center if you know who to call. We’ve secured a discount from one of Seattle’s leading sushi restaurants for our SC’11 clients. We can coordinate private, VIP or all conference events to elevate your brand or engage your target audience.

Booth property:  The two leading booth property vendors in Seattle are Exhibits Northwest and Exhibit Design. If you’ve made it this far without booth property you need to hurry. There’s still time to order a pop up booth with graphics for the event. Exhibit Design offers Owen Media clients a discount if you order early.

Signage:  Supergraphics is the largest signage vendor in Seattle. Banners, booth signage, even street light banners are available. In fact, there are 500 street light poles near the Convention Center available for your banners during the month of Nov. Owen Media clients receive a discounts from Supergraphics. Ask for Zac Thorpe.

Printing: Alpha Graphics is one of the city’s largest commercial printers and has a location adjacent to the Convention Center. Ask for Timmy Brewer, the convention sales lead. No discounts but free delivery to the Convention Center.

Photocopies:  There is an on-premise FedEx Kinkos at the Convention Center. Sonya Tracey is the FedEx Kinkos contact for convention related print jobs. You will probably get better, more responsive service from Brenda Galang, owner of Golem Copies, 3 blocks from the Convention Center. She’ll provide a discount to Owen Media clients who submit their print orders three days prior to deadline.

Posted by Paul Owen on October 3rd, 2011 :: Filed under Events,HPC,Marketing,PR

Intel Developer Forum: Medfield, Ultrabooks and Ivy Bridge

Owen Media has been involved in every IDF since the conference started in 1997. Given all that has changed in the last 14 years, innovation is still the premise for conference success. Last week’s installation didn’t disappoint with Google’s commitment to x86 on Android, the coming Ultrabooks and the new 22 nanometer process technology, Ivy Bridge.

The Owen team flew in 17 global technology leaders for special events for the conference. These guys were impressed with the announcements, but also enjoyed world class hospitality in SF. All hoped to return next cycle. If so, they’ll see Owen Media there, too.



Posted by Paul Owen on September 17th, 2011 :: Filed under Events,Marketing,PR

News coverage drives more traffic than search or social.

Americans average more than 11 hours per month on Facebook. But news, not social, is the top traffic driver. Websites report that the leading source of inbound traffic is news. See the report today from Outbrain that confirms what we’ve been hearing from our clients for the past four years: Social and search are good, but good press coverage drives more traffic.

Posted by Paul Owen on August 10th, 2011 :: Filed under PR,social media

Are blogs still relevant?

Tell a story.

Blogs have lost their luster among marketing strategists. Five years ago clients were falling over themselves to start blogs. Then reality set in. Today, when I suggest adding a blog feature to a site, clients react with visible discomfort.

It’s not that blogs don’t dominate the landscape. WordPress, the most popular CMS and blogging tool, comprises more than 10% of all sites on the web. Blogs in general represent more than a third of all web pages.

I still recommend blogs to clients, not because they’re popular or free, but because they communicate a lot about a company, product and brand that static sites fail to do. The top four reasons you need a blog feature:

  1. Search engine optimization: Google, Bing and Yahoo love fresh meat. Improve your search results with a regularly updated and relevant blog.
  2. Easiest way to post, distribute updated info: CMS tools are getting easier, including the blogging features embedded in Joomla, WordPress and other PHP-based services. Why pay a webmaster at $100 per hour to post a new product announcement when you can do it yourself in a few minutes?
  3. Raise your social media influence: Your blog can drive content into your FB, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts instantly and easily. You can also use Technorati (ZN36TGJGMK4G) and feed services to syndicate your content deep into the web.
  4. Fog the mirror: Investors, partners, customers, potential employees and others are visiting your site to qualify your organization. Show a pulse. An updated blog demonstrates a dynamic, intelligent, thought leader that is engaged in the industry. It’s part of a larger strategy to take ownership of the conversation in your category.

So why the heartburn among clients? They don’t have the time, desire or skills to post regularly. While blogging is free, the time and capacity to write isn’t. There are easy fixes for this. Find the leading news outlets for your category and simply respond to the hot topics of the moment. Confab with your PR manager and gin up a list of the top 5 industry topics. You don’t need a white paper, you just need a point of view.


Posted by Paul Owen on August 8th, 2011 :: Filed under Marketing,PR,social media,web marketing

Do you want to work in PR?

Good. We need you. The industry continues to outpace the labor market average in growth. There are more than 5,000 PR firms in North America. Add APAC and EMEA and the number increases by at least 400%.

US Dept. of Labor says there are more than 60,000 PR managers in the US. Seattle accounts for about 2,000 of those people.

There are three basic skills that we look for:

1. Writing. Have you written for publication? Do you understand the inverted pyramid and what makes a great news story?

2. Bulldog. Can you get on the phone and pitch editors and analysts on a great story idea? Are you extroverted, outgoing, passionate and well spoken? We don’t sell stuff, we sell ideas to very skeptical, very smart and very busy editors.

3. Leadership. This is the most important skill, by far. Can you own the client relationship? Maybe not as an entry level employee, but eventually you need to be responsible for your account’s success. Can you present with authority? Can you understand and present complex marketing strategies? Will you go to your client unsolicited with creative and strategic ideas?

More broadly we look for personality traits that are hard wired into our candidates: Listening, attention to detail, organized, responsive and a sense of humor. It helps if you like dogs.

We’re not hiring every week, but we’re always talking with highly qualified candidates. If that’s you, please send us your resume.



Posted by Paul Owen on August 1st, 2011 :: Filed under Journalism,PR

30% of tech journalist’s stories come from PR.

In the era of news 2.0, information is easy to get, context and relevance are hard. Wade Roush, xconomy editor and former editor at MIT Technology Review makes his case today in his weekly column. Thirty percent of his story leads come from from PR people. His biggest challenge is time.

The lesson here for tech and new energy startups is how to make life easy for editors and analysts. Can you deliver a great story on a silver platter? Does it include quick references that back up your claims? Is it clear why this relevant to his audience? Have you read his work and found specific pieces that make your pitch relevant to him? Is there some sense of urgency? In other words, he’s slammed with work, why should he drop everything and talk to you now?

There it is, the secret to PR. That will give you something to do in your free time.

Posted by Paul Owen on July 29th, 2011 :: Filed under Journalism,PR,Startups

Why quit your job for a startup?

Why aren’t more startups getting funded in Seattle? In the past 5 quarters there were only 13 early stage deals in Seattle. Seattle trails Bay Area and Boston startup investing. VCs, entrepreneurs and the local tech industry in general wring their hands over explanations and solutions.

GeekWire stirs up the debate every two weeks or so. Here’s the latest installment.

F5 and Isilon, two of Seattle’s hardware darlings, haven’t spun out many startups. It makes one wonder what’s keeping tech executives from leaving their day jobs. Is it lack of funding? Is it lack of a visible startup industry model, which undoubtedly has greater visibility in the Bay Area, possibly Boston?

I think there’s value in highlighting how and why senior executives leave MSFT, AMZN, Isilon, F5 and others. Owen Media works with Corensic, SpaceCurve and other Seattle startups. Watch this space for more insight on why their founders made the leap.

Posted by Paul Owen on July 17th, 2011 :: Filed under PR,Startups,Venture capital

Hamsterization arrives.

Is there less good journalism or just insanely higher volumes of news filler?

When journalists must post a half dozen variations on the same pile of research, or link to a compeitors’ coverage it dilutes the product and diverts editors’ attention from more important matters, like investigating bailout recipients.

The Columbia Journalism Review refers the news cycle imposed on journalists by the Internet as Hamsterization, as in running on a hamster wheel. The “Hamster Wheel” is about motion for motion’s sake… volume without thought. It is news panic, a lack of discipline, an inability to say no.”


Posted by Paul Owen on June 15th, 2011 :: Filed under PR,Uncategorized
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