Coming in March – Change Communications workshop

It’s not too early to register for Communicating change: The vital role of the business communicator.

Based on Managed Change™, a model that has been proven effective in all parts of the world, this course lays out the foundational principles and process of a well-managed change, and positions the communication element as a key component.

Learn how to

  • identify the core change communication principles based on a proven change management model: Managed Change;
  • position change communication in the change management process as a tool to prevent or reduce the risk of resistance; and
  • demonstrate the use of change communication tools and templates to build a comprehensive communication strategy for changes of all size and impact.

The course includes

  • The Managed Change e-lesson – a six-hour stand-alone course broken into weekly one-hour real-time online web sessions for review and discussion.
  • An eight-hour facilitated face-to-face workshop, on March 26, in Atlanta, Georgia.

To find our more information or to register, visit IABC.com.

CW evolves from print to digital

After reviewing content consumption habits of communication professionals across different industries, gaining feedback from IABC members, and researching how traditional print media outlets (e.g., Newsweek) are making the switch to digital, IABC has decided to move its bimonthly magazine CW (Communication World) to a digital format beginning in May.

The change in format will allow us to publish more frequently: We’ll switch from a bimonthly to a monthly publishing schedule. In addition, the changes will entail more than simply posting a .pdf version of a traditional magazine online.

The new CW will be more dynamic with videos, slideshows, infographics and all of the rich content to which you’ve grown accustomed. It will also be formatted to read on your smartphone, iPad or other tablet. You’ll be able to read it anytime, anywhere. Further, if you still want the print version, you’ll be able to print a copy.

Discovery Premium content now available to all members

All Discovery Premium content is now available to all IABC members at no cost!

The last IABC member survey indicated a greater desire for more content. In response, the headquarters team has made the logical step to fulfill that request by opening more elements that may have been available to a smaller audience within the organization.

Discovery is IABC’s online collection of content resources – best practices, templates, in-depth analysis, research, how-to manuals and more. Visit IABC’s Discovery, which provides you a powerful tool to access the information you need.

Early bird registration now available for 2013 IABC World Conference

You can take advantage of early bird registration for the 2013 IABC World Conference until Friday, Feb. 1, This year, the conference will be held at the Hilton New York, June 23-26. More 1,500 communications professionals from around the world are expected to attend.

The conference includes multiple general sessions with more than 70 breakout sessions in seven categories or tracks. Speakers already confirmed include the following experts:

  • Jake Katz, General Manager of Ypulse
  • Richard Torrenzano, author of Digital Assassination
  • Robert Reiss, host of The CEO Show

The welcome reception, the Gold Quill awards dinner gala, the IABC Research Foundation luncheon and a number of hospitality events including a dine-around evening, guided tours and more will provide plenty of opportunities to socialize.

Take advantage of early registration now.

New Year’s resolution: This year, win a Gold Quill!

Don’t let the great work you did in 2012 go unnoticed. It’s not too late – or too early – to begin work on your Gold Quill entry. The webinar recording and handouts from the Gold Quill webinar The Midas touch: How to prepare a Gold Quill entry are still available.

The Gold Quill Awards Program has undergone extensive improvements and expansion with features to make it easier to apply and to more accurately represent the communication field. Among the changes are these:

  • All entry materials can now be downloaded to our Gold Quill online system.
  • A longer entry period allows an extra four weeks to prepare your entry.
  • Written feedback is provided to every entrant.
  • Blue Ribbon panels held in five countries judge the entries.

You can find full details of the 2013 Gold Quill Awards here.

Don’t miss IABC Pacific Plains Region’s crisis communications webinar – Feb. 1

IABC Pacific Plains Region will present an hour-long webinar on crisis communications with seasoned pro, Michael Freitag, a partner with strategic communications firm Joele Frank of New York, on Friday, Feb. 1, 10 a.m. Pacific time.

At a moment’s notice an organization can find itself facing an unexpected, out-of-the-ordinary event that threatens a company’s operations and public and internal perception. As communicators, how do we best take control of our message when our company’s back is seemingly up against a wall?

Plan to join Michael Freitag as he dissects how to manage communications in a time of crisis. He will discuss his experiences and present case studies where he provided invaluable counsel to companies facing activist investors; allegations of insider trading, fraud and accounting irregularities; government investigations and regulatory actions; bankruptcy or restructuring; product recalls; litigation; and management changes.

Fee: $35 for IABC members/$50 nonmembers. Register now for this informative event.

CW Radio No. 31: New roles for PR professionals – an interview with Deirdre Breakenridge

In this episode of CW Radio, Deirdre Breakenridge, CEO of Pure Performance Communications, talks with Executive Editor Natasha Nicholson about the changing PR industry and the new role for PR professionals. Breakenridge discusses the three skills she thinks are most important for today’s PR professionals and offers tips for incorporating these skills into your day-to-day activities without feeling overwhelmed.

Bios or no bios on a company website?

A member of the group seeking advice on whether or not to include bios on small companies’ websites received an overwhelming yes for a response. Answers varied on which bios to include – some felt the entire staff should be listed while others opted for only executive bios – but everyone felt that including bios and a picture is a nice touch to any website. A company seems more human and interconnected when you can go on their website and see who you are actually working with. Companies can also gain trust with potential customers and by providing more background information, can help customers determine whether or not the company’s experience and talents fit the customers’ needs.

To access the threads for these conversations or to see other topics, please visit the IABC LinkedIn group.

Each month we highlight popular discussions from IABC’s LinkedIn group. Join the conversations.

What does a communication plan look like?

A communication plan looks very much like a strategic plan or a marketing plan.

Remember, to be called strategic, it must share some of the same elements and methodology of accepted planning formats. My model for a strategic communication plan contains the following sections:

  1. Executive summary.
  2. The communication process (a description for instructional purposes). Not all decision makers are trained in communication, PR or integrated marketing communication. This section builds the business case for using communication as a strategic management tool. Omit it if your decision makers get it. From my experience, few do.
  3. Background. How did you get to where you are today? What are the major milestones in the organization’s history? What has led the organization to its current situation?
  4. Situation analysis. This includes an analysis of current issues – problems and opportunities – plus an analysis of publics/stakeholders/audiences. This is your research component. Included should be a SWOT analysis, a strategic planning tool that documents strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats the organization faces both now and in the future.
  5. Strategic summary. In this section, you set goals and objectives – the expected outcomes of your communication activities – and formulate your message strategy for each public/stakeholder.
  6. Schedule. This section documents the implementation of your tactics, your specific communication tools and activities that touch each stakeholder.
  7. Budget. Enough said.
  8. Monitoring and evaluation. This section documents how you will monitor implementation and measure success in achieving goals and objectives.

This eight-step model is ideal for an annual communication plan or for a shorter duration plan that deals with a specific issue, such as planning a major trade show or a nonprofit’s annual fundraising event. It also works quite well for a plan containing internal, external and other components, such as some advertising/promotional tactics or community relations activities. The planning model works equally well for internal communication.

In the reality of day-to-day use, you will probably use many of these steps in combination, without using the complete model step for step. That’s okay. The beauty of strategic thinking is just that – you think strategically, that is, you know the purpose of your organization; you examine the environments in which your organization operates and the issues it faces; and through this systematic analysis, synthesis and evaluation, you develop a plan of communication action to help the organization achieve its mission. You may frequently use only five elements – issues, publics/audiences/stakeholders, message, media and evaluation – in counseling and advising the people you support. If you use them in that order, you are still practicing strategic communication management. You are recognizing the cause-and-effect relationship of communication and the achievement of your organization’s mission. Consider the issues (cause) and what they are making happen (effects), then develop communication activity that will help the organization achieve its goals.

Excerpt from The Communication Plan: The Heart of Strategic Communication, third edition, by Les Potter, ABC, IABC Fellow.

Cafe2Go No. 86: Tim Buckley on the 2013 Gold Quill Awards

In this Cafe2Go interview, Neville Hobson, ABC, interviews Tim Buckley, 2013 Chair of the IABC Gold Quill Awards, about the program. Tim outlines some of the significant changes now in place including new divisions and categories that open the Gold Quill program to new audiences; and the move to an online entry process that saves time, eliminates shipping and better meets the needs of today’s communicators. Additionally, all entries will be evaluated by one of five trained and highly qualified global Blue Ribbon panels, designed to give entrants expert feedback on all their entries.