November 2011





Recently, at the AHA office, we have been working on communications audits for several clients. One of the areas that we review is their use of social media. (We also research and analyze how other organizations in the same field use social media and provide them with best and worst practices during this process.) In our research, we discovered an interesting trend: many organizations have reverted to a more traditional approach of pushing information out through social media channels rather than engaging and starting or participating in conversations.



Of the five communications audits we have done in the past few months, four of the organizations are dealing with challenges in that their social media networking communities are not growing and there is little or no engagement or interaction.



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Today is American Thanksgiving and in honour of our U.S. family, friends and clients, I thought I would use football to make my points today. We have TV sets in our AHA office and usually they are tuned in to news channels; today they will be on football.



What we do as communicators can be compared to football. In the sport, there is an offence and defence; we have proactive and reactive. Each person on the football team plays a key role in their success. Some show their abilities on the field (the players), others in the background (the coaches, trainers, front office staff).



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Technology makes it easy to share content. Your website, blog, Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites provide the ability to publish your content. Where you publish depends on where your stakeholder group spends time and it is important to identify how they want to interact with your organization. But how do you create engaging, relevant, timely content?



Create an Editorial Schedule

Do you have a schedule of the content you will upload? A little forethought goes a long way when you are busy and need content or an idea in a hurry.



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Our AHA blog is listed in Cision, a media database. It’s pretty clear, even if you only read a couple of our posts, that we write about communications: brand journalism, public relations, media relations, social media, positioning and messaging. It’s all related to strategic communication.



It seems pretty straightforward to me what to pitch to us. Which makes us shake our heads in wonder when we get pitches from random PR agencies and independent PR practitioners that have nothing to do with what we write about here. It looks to me like some people just grab any email they can find and send out a news release or pitch, whether it is relevant or not. We suspect they might then go to their clients and say, “We developed a database of 10,000 journalists and bloggers and have reached out to them.” What the client isn’t hearing is that if they are sending useless (and sometimes annoying) information to journalists and bloggers. It’s not good for the organization’s reputation or the agency’s.



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