CSR and Internal Communication … a match made in engagement heaven?

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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can often sit apart from Internal Communication in an organisation’s structure – but would both be better suited as an integrated function, woven throughout the business?

What’s the status of CSR in your organisation today and where is it heading? Furthermore, when you consider the Internal Communication function, do you see CSR integrating or transforming? We spoke to IC and CSR leaders to understand exactly how the IC/CSR relationship is playing out. At the highest level, ensuring CSR integrates itself within the Internal Communication function, and broader business, can in itself lead to driving future company strategy and prevent stagnation of CSR – so which companies are making inroads in this space and how well-positioned is Internal Communication to facilitate it?

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8 pointers for responding to negative coverage

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The way you handle a negative story can make all the difference. Here’s how to respond without fanning the flames of a negative situation:

Do respond. Don’t hide. In many cases, a lack of response will be seen as a validation of the criticisms or, at best, an information vacuum. The sooner the response, the easier it will be to control the situation. Yet a speedy reaction is often difficult. In a high-stakes situation where the facts are unclear, say so, but refute any untruths and pledge to provide supporting information as quickly as possible.

But don’t dignify baseless rumors. One exception to the above is the case of an unsubstantiated rumor, where you risk calling more attention to it by responding. The same is true of an Internet troll. In that case, let the community handle blatant misbehavior, foul language, or abusive comments.

Let your advocates defend you. In that vein, if you have trusted clients or customers willing to comment in your defense, by all means, let them. The essence of reputation is what others say about you in public, so third parties, even those who are not 100 percent objective, are your allies.

Don’t overreact. 
It’s natural to feel emotional or even use defensive language when attacked, particularly if things get personal. When accused of copying a competitor’s intellectual property, a client drafted a lengthy defense on his website that referred to “slander” and “lies.” We ultimately convinced him that the post might raise more questions than it answered, particularly for site visitors with no knowledge of the situation. If you can’t be objective (and it’s hard when it’s your business), seek objective advice.

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10 questions to ask when creating your focus group

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What better way to inform Internal Communication strategy than by talking directly to a selection of internal stakeholders and gathering priceless qualitative feedback? 

1. How many focus groups should I hold?

Unfortunately, there is no magic number. Your goal should simply be to conduct the fewest number of focus groups that will provide the widest range of input – that will use time and money the most wisely.

2. Should I also have a survey?

If you conduct focus groups before a survey, you don’t need to conduct them for each demographic subgroup – the survey will capture that data for you. Just be sure to pick representative groups that will provide insights into a wide range of perspectives to make sure that all the right issues are addressed on the survey.

For focus groups probing issues after a survey, the results can identify subgroups (for example, those with average, negative or positive results) to probe the differences in those groups. However, if the focus group research will stand alone without a companion survey, you may need to conduct more focus groups because you will have no other way of identifying variations by subgroup.

3. How should I schedule the sessions?

Depending on the complexity of the topic and the number of questions, each session should last about one to two hours. Schedule sessions to allow for time in between to review and clean up the notes from each session. Spacing the sessions also helps prevent congestion near the doors as one group is leaving and another is gathering.

Select a room that is private, with a round or rectangular table so all participants can face each other. Provide appropriate beverages and snacks for the time of day. Make sure any visual aids you’ll need are available, such as flipchart pads or overhead projectors. Videotaping or audiotaping is recommended only for consumer focus groups; employees have too much to lose to be candid when they know their comments could be attributed to them individually.

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Corporate newsrooms fail to provide what journalists want, study finds

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What do newsrooms want from PR practitioners these days?

Images. Video. Embed codes to ease video delivery on the media’s websites.

So, what are company and organizational newsrooms doing about that?

Not enough, according to a Proactive Report survey by Sally Falkow, president of PRESSfeed: The Social Newsroom. The survey found that 83 percent of journalists regard images with content as important, but only 38 percent of PR pros add images to news content.

Falkow says many corporate newsrooms are failing to provide content and links that journalists “are looking for, and things they think are important, and things that make their jobs easier for them, and that they would therefore use that content more readily.”

The report adds weight to a sense among many publicists and journalists alike that the PR industry hasn’t done enough to adapt to a new, image- and video-based environment.

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Viewers have come to expect videos, Falkow says. Twitter last fall began displaying images in one’s feed, rather than requiring users to click on individual tweets, boosting the importance of pictures.

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What all good clients have in common

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[Source] Over the past several years, I have had the pleasure of doing PR for many great clients and some that are not so wonderful. One long-term client is a brilliant communicator — she tells me what I need to know before I even know that I need to know it. She is also appreciative and actually asks me if I got my last check. I would walk through fire for her! At the other end of the spectrum, a very demanding client had such wildly unrealistic expectations, it was comical. It wasn’t so funny when I did not get paid in full.

So as I plan my new business strategy for 2014, I’ve put together a list of “best client” common denominators. These are the people we should all strive to work with in the New Year:

  • They respect what we do
  • They are responsive
  • They communicate effectively and keep us up-to-date
  • They see us as partners
  • They speak well of us
  • They pay us on time
  • Their expectations about what PR can do for them are realistic
  • They provide feedback often
  • They don’t undermine your expertise by rewriting your press releases or articles
  • They don’t expect you to work for free
  • They say “thank you.”

11 Fundamental Ingredients of a Great Blog Post

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1. Magnetic headline.

Truly magnetic headlines catch the eye of your reader and draws them into your world and gives them a taste for what the rest of the post entails. Think about what intrigues your readers most and craft a creative way to communicate it that will attract them and make them want to read the rest.

2. Open with a bang.

Pull no punches, start off with something powerful to set the tone for the rest of the post. Giving your audience something of value and quality right off the bat will encourage them to continue reading to discover what else you have to offer.

3. Use persuasive words.

Using powerful and compelling words in your posts can help direct the decision making process of your reader. Note: You should not use this to manipulate your audience but use it to guide them to the truth you are trying to convey.

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