Wednesday, February 21, 2007

What should the newbies know?

I'm running a session for internal communication practitioners in a large global company next week. Most are young, very bright and on the upward curve in their careers. Some have come into the roles from university; others from sales, marketing and HR - but none has a background in corporate communication. They've been handed communication portfolios to manage for discrete parts of the organisation and operate fairly autonomously, providing a service for their functional or market 'top teams'.

The scary thing is that while they're most likely very competent managers, none yet regard themselves as competent in the craft skills of communication.

That's no problem when you first take on a comms role - but some of these managers have been in place for a year or more. My take is competence in writing for internal audiences is the start point for an IC career, but the reality is that it's a skill that's learned on the job by many in the new generation of communicators.

So what pearls of wisdom can I share in a couple of hours? Fortunately, my task is made easier by focusing on newsletters, print and electronic.

I'm going to run through the basics:

  • When is it right to use a newsletter
  • Where do newsletters fit in your comms strategy
  • How to define outcomes and use the newsletter to deliver them
  • What makes a good story
  • News v Features
  • The importance of accuracy
  • Who, what, where, when how....and why?
  • Simplicity, active language and compelling writing
  • Audience shoes
  • Sign-offs and approvals
  • Structuring for maximum impact.

So, I need two days not two hours - but this is a first scratch at the surface.

I'm after hints and tips on good newsletter writing to share - and have already put out a request through both CiB's Freelance forum and the IABC's memberspeak.

But if anyone passing through here has a 'must have' tip to share, please take time to leave a comment below.

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