Wednesday, April 13, 2011

8 steps to spring cleaning for communicators

It's not about your desk. My version of spring cleaning for communicators means reviewing your plans, lists and policies, plus a quick look at your gadgets to see what needs to be kept, tossed or adjusted. Here's my short list of 8 targets for your communications spring cleanup:
  1. Media lists: Email reporters confirming changes in their beats or interests, and renew policies that govern your interactions.Reporter Ivan Oransky's Embargo Watch blog shared this good example of how one agency went about cleaning up its media lists. No, it didn't involve buying a new directory or calling everyone.
  2. Partner lists: You work with lots of external partners--some around the corner from your building, some across the world. Send them an email with your contact info, and ask for a refresh of theirs.
  3. Social media policies: Schedule time for the team to review the policy (or lack thereof) and make fine-tuning suggestions, or call in outside help. What missteps and missed opportunities can be reflected in a policy adjustment now?
  4. Other policy changesTake a look at your other policies. Will this be the year you stop acting like a news release vending machine? Should you announce that you'll be issuing press credentials to bloggers?  Figure out adjustments and share them with affected groups.
  5. Web content:  Meet Content, a new higher education web content blog, suggests you do a ROT analysis for web content that's redundant, outdated or trivial.
  6. Gadgets: You can lose the USB drives, point-and-shoot cameras and more in the New York Times's list of gadgets you should keep or toss in your spring cleaning. (But even though Cisco announced yesterday that it's killing the popular Flip video cameras, you may want to hang on to yours for the time being.)
  7. Crisis communications plan: Make a spring ritual of reviewing your crisis communications plan. Is there a better technology, backup or fix? Should you keep more documents accessible in the cloud? Does your crisis plan have its own social-media plan?
  8. Financials: Read and understand your organization's financials and meet with your CFO at least annually to learn about any forthcoming issues or issues that will be raised by recent filings. Nonprofit communicators, don't neglect thinking through these executive compensation issues.
You should be doing these types of scans more frequently (I'd say once a quarter for many of them), but if at no other time of year, make spring your cleanup time. If you want a more thorough-going look at your policies, ask me about  management coaching or facilitating a communications retreat --email me at info@dontgetcaught.biz.

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