Sunday, January 26, 2014

Top UK Communicator Planning Canberra Visit

IABC is working to bring Russell Grossman to Canberra
 It's tough times ahead for content marketers in Australia's Public Sector

Four months into office and the Abbott Government is scrutinizing staffing levels across the public sector in a bid to cut government expenditure.  

That means bad news for government communicators of all persuasions as well as other staff.  Facing the Treasury scalpel Departmental leaders will be looking at ways to trim the ranks of employees, motivate the teams that survive and and exhorting bureaucrats to do more with less.

That's a tough task for executives at all levels.  In the coming months cool-headed, strategic management and internal communications will be at a premium across the Capital.

Top UK communicator Russell Grossman is someone familiar with engaging and motivating public sector staff in times of change. And he is certainly worth listening to.  A polished speaker, he currently leads a UK Government program to strengthen internal communications for the 440,000 staff who work in the UK Civil Service and Government bodies. He is also the Director of Communications at the UK’s Department for Business and a former Head of BBC Internal Communications.

Grossman is planning a visit to the National Capital in early March to share insights with his Canberra colleagues. 

He will most likely talk on ground breaking UK research on employee engagement and how the UK Civil Service is embedding an engagement mentality among its staff for competitive advantage.  He has also been asked to reveal UK Government efforts to improve the performance of Whitehall communications teams, strengthen communications as a profession within government and move bureaucratic thinking from ‘press release by default’ to ‘digital by default’.

The Canberra Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators is finalising arrangements for Grossman's visit. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Strut Your Stuff Gold Quill Style

Last year Canberra communicators created some outstanding content marketing campaigns so how should we recognise that Aussie excellence?  

It's time to enter the IABC’s 2014 Gold Quill Awards which celebrate the best of the best communications and marketing practices from around the world. Entering the Awards can bring international acclaim to a local campaign success.   

Winning a Gold Quill boosts your resume, earns global recognition for your team and is a source of personal pride in your accomplishments.

Entries close on 10 March 2014 so start today by visiting IABC.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Media Relations Is Not a Dying PR Skill

Peter Hilmer leads Flatiron Communications
"...we must be mindful that a great “placement” in and of itself no longer has the capacity to drive a contemporary communications campaign. Stand-alone news stories are simply too ephemeral or lost altogether in the vast ocean of dynamic content. For a story meme to take hold today, it must reside and be amplified across multiple news and social channels even if that means using alternative (e.g., sponsored) means for achieving it."
Peter Himler

You hear a lot about the death of traditional media.  

But I have yet to meet a client who does not want to be on TV, score favourable print coverage or hear the Boss on radio. Few, if any, demand more Facebook and less conventional coverage.

So, it was refreshing to read a recent post about media relations continuing to be important and no way is it a dying PR skill.  

New York-based PR pro Peter Himler says old school media is still critical for success but must be part of a broader engagement program.  He claims many PRs have failed to keep up with changes in journalism which means they are not earning the coverage they previously did in less digitally challenging times.

It's tougher than ever to get media coverage, so Peter suggests a good way to boost your chances is to avoid making the 25 mistakes that drive reporters nuts.

Read Peter's very thoughtful post.

...and while we at it ... a recent Neilsen Poll shows US consumers are more likely to trust traditional media advertising over other forms. So hold the funeral notices for traditional platforms.

Infograph courtesy of Statista Inc.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Celluloid Cowboys and PR People

Yesterday's Hollywood cowboys - Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers - thrilled a generation of kids at Saturday matinees.  

Every week we cheered wildly as we watched them on the silver screen bringing villains to justice. To us kids they were authentic - plain talking and fast acting heroes living by simple frontier values where you helped neighbours and those in trouble. 

Hopalong, Gene and Roy never sought out trouble but they were quick to act if trouble found them. They used their horse riding, gun toting, two fisted skills to right wrongs and restore things to how they should be back at the ranch or in the town. Often they fought outnumbered when those around them had given up.  Yet week after week they prevailed and then rode quietly into the sunset. 

These 50s Hollywood portrayals of good versus evil were highly romanticised and politicised. Yet while the myths of the Old West are no longer be relevant, the essential message of these cowboy heroes - having simple values and sticking to them - are as valid now as when they rode the range.  
Honesty, promptness, balance and a willingness to listen and act in others' as well as our own interests should be our compass points
Solid, positive values underpin all enduring relationships with the people who matter most to us.  That applies especially to professional communicators.  Honesty, promptness, balance and a willingness to listen and act in others' as well as our own interests should be the compass points that guide our communications efforts in the coming year.  

In 2014 there may be circumstances and individuals who challenge our ideas of right and wrong.  Perhaps the silver screen examples of Hopalong, Gene and Roy might help us decide how we should act. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Abbott Ranks # 26 on Twitter's Leader Board

The December 2013 report of the Digital Policy Council shows 123 out 164 countries or three out of four heads of state have now embraced Twitter.

The biggest mover in the Twittersphere was US President Obama.  He occupies # 1 spot and gained 16 million followers this past year.  This pushed the number of people who follow him north of 40 million. 

Starting with the 2008 Presidential Election Obama has always been comfortable with social media but a noticeable upturn in his numbers occurred when the US Government shut down in September 2013.  Obama joined other politicians and citizens to tweet his frustrations about the situation.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) made the most spectacular debut onto the Twitter stage. SBY only joined Twitter in 2013 but 4.2 million followers quickly followed him. 

The Indonesian leader is a quick leaner. 
 He strategically took to Twitter to chastise Australia over allegations the Australian Government spied on Indonesian officials.

The Australian Prime Minister comes in at # 26 in the global Twitter rankings, a drop from his # 20 ranking the previous year.  Abbott has been tweeting since November 2011 and has 270 000+ followers. The PM is an infrequent tweeter.  Recent posts serve up mainly feel good content with little apparent effort to interact with others or converse on issues.

Still our PM is streets ahead of leaders from China, Denmark, Sweden and some Gulf countries who are yet to get on to the micro blogging platform.

While the adoption rate among some world leaders may have slowed, the number of people following political leaders continues to grow.  In 2013 83 million people  followed a world leader up from 10 million people just three years ago.