When you’re building out a communications strategy, there are always new tactics and channels to consider. Should we Periscope the press conference? Could a Snapchat account grow our business?
But just throwing together all the new and shiny tools isn’t the best strategy. So let’s take the opposite approach today and discuss some traditional communications tactics and when to use them.
Go old school with your communication when it’s public and on the record
As government relations strategist (and my work neighbor) Claude Ramsey likes to say, “Email it today, read it in the Tennessean tomorrow.” If your project is confidential, pick up the phone. Not only can this help you avoid confusion, but if you work in the government, it can also help you avoid having your communications be open to a request under the Freedom of Information Act. So think twice before you email out the controversial ways you’d like to solve a budget problem or discuss challenging internal issues. And don’t forget, your work email is always available for review by an employer, so think before you email that joke, share work gossip or complain about your boss.
Go old school with your communication strategy when it’s sensitive
If you are dealing with a challenging situation such as layoffs, leadership changes or awarding an expensive contract to a new vendor, it’s time to meet in person. These sorts of announcements require careful internal planning and coordination so all stakeholder groups get the information from you and not from the press or the rumor mill. A confidential meeting and set communications protocols from leadership can go a long way in setting the tone. Email feels like everyone probably already knows, and the forward button is very tempting because too many people want to be able to be the first to share the news.
Go old school with your communications to make it personal
Getting an email notification from HR saying, “You’re Employee of the Month” just doesn’t feel the same as being recognized in a staff meeting or being called into your manager’s office and given a bonus and hand shake. According to a 2012 study by Bersin & Associates, companies can reduce employee turnover and improve engagement by skipping those commemorative pins and thank you gifts. Instead, recognizing employees for specific actions like customer service and sales achievements. For the most impact, do it in person and find ways for employees to recognize each other for work well done. Read about the study here.
Include old school communications with (some) reporters
Ninety-three percent of journalists prefer to receive pitches by email, according to Cision’s State of the Media 2016 Report. Know your local market, and understand when a phone call or email is more effective than a tweet. If a reporter only periodically posts stories to Twitter, then this isn’t the best way to pitch. This is particularly true for getting on the story calendar for many smaller TV stations and newspapers. Don’t assume that sending a direct tweet to a station has the same effect as sending a traditional media advisory to the news inbox. The person checking the Twitter page may not be adding tweets to the coverage calendar or be involved in editorial decisions.
Don’t throw out traditional PR and communications just for being traditional; likewise don’t sign up for every new distribution tool because it’s new. Think about your stakeholder group, define your market, and align your communication tactics and goals. Not sure how to put this idea into action? We can help!
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Topics: Effective Communication