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Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Sustainability Communications Lunch: Top Tips for Success

This month’s Sustainability Communications Lunch was a hotbed of discussion and advice.  The first Lunch of 2014 focused on communications challenges and what could be learned from them.  A lively group of communications professionals were keen to share their tips for success. 

Another lively Sustainability Communications Lunch
Here are just a few of them

1/ Newsletters can still be relevant

News turnaround is now so quick that waiting a month to publish updates can be a waste of time.  So when you have news, communicate it, rather than fixing a certain schedule.  Content that is relevant and not expected will have added impact.  After all, content is king and this keeps your network engaged.

Many members of the group agreed that newsletters are still relevant.  Some organisations are using a sponsorship model with newsletters themed around relevant topics with guest editors and sponsors.

By rethinking your approach, newsletters subscribers will continue to care about your communications.

2/ Make the most of webinars

Sharing advice and tips
for communication
Webinars are a great tool to share knowledge.  Online training is a big market in the US.  Europe is lagging behind so there is potential for development.  Our experience shows that having a moderator to facilitate the question and answer session helps the webinar run smoothly. 

Making past presentations available online by posting the slides and voiceover on YouTube is another way to extend the useful life of a presentation.  Which leads us to our next point…

3/ Video press releases have great potential

Video gets great pick-up and trade press is always looking for audiovisual content.  If you can release your news by video as well as on paper, then do so.  A creative and global approach will make more of a splash. 

4/ You can use social media without bias

It can be challenging to find your voice on social media if your aim is not to lobby or push policy.  One of the group’s objectives on social media is to inform rather than lobby.

5/ Cover your bases without disengaging

Facebook works well for NGOs and consumer brands but its use is limited for policy groups and trade associations.  Twitter and Linkedin are more standard channels for professional networking and communication. 

However, some regions like Africa use Facebook more than other social networks.  If you work with stakeholders all across the globe then you should tailor your posts to suit their preferred channels.  For example, you can post an ‘Image of the Day’ on Facebook.  Frame your stories so that they jump to the top of the page.

6/ Bad communications are worse than no communications

As communications experts, we have to be ready to challenge assumptions and the Sustainability Communications Lunch is just the place to do that.  When you make a good contact, it’s not enough just to put their contacts into a database when you can follow them on Twitter as well. 

We recommend using social media scheduling systems such as Hootsuite.  We also discussed Facebook and Google ads as a great, low-cost tool.  Social media is more than a numbers game.  Shares and retweets are more important than number of followers.

7/ Be heard at events

You can stand out at events without micro-blogging on Twitter but live-tweeting is one of the best ways to develop your community.  We often find that there are still only a handful of people tweeting at events.  You are bound to get retweets and real world interactions if you can start a conversation on Twitter.

Should you tweet through a personal account or a business profile? 

A mix of both works best.  Think in terms of soundbites.  Find your voice and use a personal Twitter account to be a thoughtleader.

Many of the themes above will be the focus of future lunches.  If you would like to find out more please get in touch.

Blog by Richard Delahay, Communications Assistant at Brussels-based sustainability communications and PR agency Sustainability Consult

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