Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Anniversary PR: Gr8 ideas for communicators

Handling communications for your company or organizational anniversary has never been a favorite project for communicators. But new tools and options abound for having fun with--and being more effective at--sharing your anniversary story. Here are my best tips, ideas and finds for those of you doing celebratory communications:
  • Consider a situational stylebook: If your anniversary is significant enough, or your organization has a lot of moving parts--chapters, divisions, affiliate groups of all kinds--you may want to create a special stylebook for your entire organization to keep anniversary facts and references consistent. This example is from last year's 10th anniversary coverage of the September 11 attacks, used by the Associated Press, but if your anniversary is significant, there's no reason you can't issue a stylebook as a source organization.
  • Use social media creatively:  When you communicate anniversaries social-media style, you can get creative with dates, perspectives, visuals and more. I think social media has single-handedly made archival material cool again, so break out the blogs, Twitter, and more for your special occasion.
  • Everything old isn't news, so consider using a blog to fuel attention for anniversaries, archival material and other hard-to-pitch non-news. My favorite is still the blogging of George Orwell's diary entries, which describe what daily life was like in the run-up to England's entry into World War II.
  • Don't forget context: When you're prepping speeches for your leadership, consider giving them speech inserts that describe what else was going on in the world at the time your company or group was founded. What else was discovered, accomplished or feted in your founding year? Put your anniversary in context in that timeline to give today's audiences a sense of how far you've come. This works even better when your leader's giving a talk about someone else's anniversary. You can let that organization describe its accomplishments--who better?--but have your leader take the role of describing what else was happening in history at that point. Bonus points if you can theme the shared anniversaries most meaningful to your group, as in citing other scientific discoveries that happened in the year your scientific group was founded.

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