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Playing to Your Audience

In any kind of communications planning there’s one universal truth: it’s always about the audience. Wherever you work and whatever your public environment, audiences should be the gravitational pull that guides your communications directions, messages and tactics. As you’re identifying key audiences, remember that a strategy requires focussing on the best use of finite resources….

What to Do When ‘An Issue’ Arises

Issue management is one of the most high-profile elements of strategic communications.  It’s about forging a deliberate response to a challenge facing your organization, ranging from a relatively minor day-to-day incident to a full-blown crisis. But it’s not, strictly speaking, just a communications function. Rather, it’s an activity in which communications leadership marshals many different…

A Penny for your Thoughts

It’s easy, when you’re planning a communications strategy or project, to get caught up in the reams of material to read and the plans to be written. But there’s no substitute for leaving your desk and going to talk to people. By consulting your colleagues and audiences, you’ll feed ideas, perspectives, opinions and (if you’re…

Where Alignment Matters Most

Organizational alignment is one of the central goals that communicators should strive for in their daily activities.  Driving alignment means taking a strategic perspective on communications that sheds light on the broad context of an initiative at issue: what is the initiative about? What’s its purpose? Who do we want to reach? Why are these…

Why You Should Clear Out your Dance Card

Thinking strategically as a communicator is a matter of taking a step back and first considering where you want to go—and only then which approaches, messages and tactics will best get you there. Putting this simple principle into practice has many challenges, of course. Often one of the hardest consists of breaking unproductive patterns of…

The Top 10 Truths of Social Media

There’s no question that social media is the darling of communications tactics at the moment, and with good reason. Social media gives communicators a direct, immediate and highly targeted way of engaging with our audiences. It’s a profound and permanent game changer. The thing I find fascinating about social media is that getting in the…

Adventures in Project Management: the Project Update

While most of my blog entries focus on juicy topics in communications, occasionally it’s wise for me (and you too perhaps?) to focus on the nuts-and-bolts realities of preventing bad things from happening. And so, the need for effective project management always rears its head. Whether you’re planning a communications strategy or executing one, it’s…

Why Communications is Your Business

Some communicators are unhappy seeing communications as a business enabler or a support function to their organization. Perhaps they feel that the art of messaging is so verbal, so creative or different from everything else an organization does, that it must be a stand-alone, autonomous function. Whatever the rationale, this attitude is factually misguided and…

The Communicator as Researcher

It may seem odd to consider the proposition that as a communicator, you should be a researcher. After all, aren’t the researchers those folks in other parts of the building, or outside your organization altogether? Isn’t your job to communicate what those people come up with? Well, yes, of course it is. But no, it’s…

Objects in the Mirror are Closer Than They Appear

All of us strategic communicators know the importance of keeping on top of advances in social media and figuring out what they mean for our work. It’s not enough just to know what’s in the current mainstream of our field. With social media advancing by the day, it’s about keeping an eye on what’s coming…