Communicate Without Corporate Jargon & Doublespeak

I just read one of the best blog posts ever at lostremote.com. Before I get into that, I have to say that I just discovered lostremote.com today and love it. It is definitely on my must read list now.

The post is by Steve Safran and it is a worthwhile read for any communicator – whether in house, agency or consultant. In this piece, Steve talks about the importance for PR people to develop a good pitch: “signal not noise.” It goes on to talk about how we, as communicators, deal with the challenge of perception. If the CEO believes being on TV is a good thing, then it’s our job to get him or her on TV… or is it?

In yesterday’s post, I talked a bit about the information my friend and colleague Della Smith presented at the CPRS event this week. One of the key points she made was the value of establishing your credibility with the senior team. I think that Della’s point fits well with Steve’s. I see our role as helping to inform our clients – or if you’re in house, your CEO or senior executive – of the value of certain types of coverage from online to TV to newspaper. It’s not always an easy thing to do. Let’s face it, we’re in a shifting world, one that we’re still learning about. That makes for a challenge when you are presenting the rationale to your client or senior executive about why being profiled in a blog or doing video blogs is of value, compared to say, being profiled on the local morning news.

My interview with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key at TRENZ 2009.

I have an example of doing exactly this that might help to put it into context. Tomorrow morning, I head to New Zealand to execute a social media campaign for our client, Tourism New Zealand (TNZ).  I am going to travel to several areas in the country and then head to TRENZ, New Zealand’s largest and most important tourism trade show. I will blog throughout my travels and from the trade show. We will also channel this information out through Twitter and Facebook. This is the second year for this campaign.

When we first proposed it to TNZ last year, social media wasn’t as popular for mainstream organizations as it is now. However, we put forward a strong business case for it. TRENZ is an important event in the tourism industry, but not all travel trade professionals or travel media can attend the show. Last year, part of the rationale included the challenging economy. We believed that there was a solid opportunity to provide up-to-date information to the travel industry through a blog.

This was one of the first social media initiatives like this for TNZ and to their credit and the credit of Tourism Industry Association (TIA), the organization that produces TRENZ, they saw the potential for value. We were straightforward and open with them. This was a pilot project and while we were optimistic, we didn’t know how this business demographic was going to respond to this type of outreach.

The project delivered good results. There was a strong readership of the blog and there was a solid buzz at TRENZ with exhibitors. Our objective was to reach travel trade professionals and media – a very specific audience and one that, we hoped would then take the information and share it through their communities. This worked very well and we had several requests from media for us to leave the blog up, even though it was no longer “active” so that they could refer to it for research and to link to in online articles/blog posts.

One of the areas that didn’t work as well as we expected was the interactivity of it all. We did not get as many requests for information as we had hoped. We provided both the positives and negatives of the campaign to our client and had a good discussion on what we could do differently.

We are about to launch this campaign again. Things are different today, even before uploading my first blog post. I am getting more interactive response through Twitter and my email in announcing that we’re coming back. It seems that our audience or community is more engaged online now than they were 12 months ago. There is a different, more connected feel to this campaign and I think that will show itself in blog comments and requests for more information. We’ll know in a couple of weeks.

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