Inside This Issue:
Join ACC for “How ESPN Built a Stellar Internal Communications Team and Intranet in Less Than a Year,” the latest webinar, July 15, 1 PM ET. ESPN employees demanded it, and the communications department delivered. In a company-wide survey, employees requested better communication about all aspects of ESPN. ESPN executive management responded and asked the communications department to formally launch an internal communications team. In a little less than a year, the communications department has built a vibrant internal communications area within corporate communications and launched a very popular Intranet entitled ITK (In the Know). There is more to come.
How did the communications department succeed in such a short time? What lessons did they learn along the way? All this and more will be revealed in “How ESPN Built a Stellar Internal Communications Team and Intranet in Less Than a Year,” July 15, 1 PM ET.
During ACC’s July Webinar, ESPN’s Chris LaPlaca, senior vice president, corporate communications, and John McCloskey, senior director, internal communications, will answer these questions and give you tips on how you can improve your company’s internal communications efforts.
Only ACC members may attend this webinar, and it is free of charge as a benefit of ACC membership. ACC members can register for this free webinar via the association’s online education portal in the members-only section of ACC’s Web site. You must be logged into the members-only area to access this portal, and you can log in through the member log in box in the left-hand corner of each individual page of the Web site. Your username is your work email address, and the password is your last name all in lowercase letters.
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Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, blogs: whatever your social media preference, there’s no denying that online networking sites have become a force in communications. “We 'communicators' need eyes in the back of our heads these days, and being involved in social media can only help keep you on top of the latest news [and] trends,” Nora Ellish, Director, Communications for NBC Universal, said in ACC’s recent online chat, “Communicating Cable’s Story with Social Media.” Social media provides an essential sharing and listening tool for communicators—allowing them to tap into the buzz around their product as well as influence the dialogue by becoming participants themselves.
ACC assembled four communicators who are utilizing social media in the field for the June 17 chat, but as the conversation began to roll participants provided some helpful tips on navigating the world of social media as well. Here are a few hot topics on the minds of your fellow cable communicators and a sampling of their strategies for social media success. For the full transcript and more useful advice, visit ACC’s Online Education Portal.
1. Determine which tool suits your message.
Social media can be used to both listen and share. It’s important to determine why you are using social media and which tool works best with your objectives. Each tool has different strengths. Facebook is helpful for sharing information and encouraging dialogue. Linked In can be used to establish business contacts. Blogs utilize a more informal method of reporting. Twitter allows communicators to engage in the conversation as well as keep track of what the public is saying about their product. “Explore several social media tools and decide which works best to achieve your goals,” Chris Berry, Public Affairs and Communications Manager at Bright House Networks, said.
“Social media is built on trust. People chatting are in it for love of topic. You must trust that others are in it for the same thing,” Ellish said. To establish trust, and a good reputation, with social media users, it is important to avoid promotional speak and instead engage in conversation. Ellish suggests sharing privileged information, tidbits that fans won’t be able to get easily or from other news sources, to give value to following or friending you. Rather than hard pitching an upcoming event or product, this method of sharing keeps social media users engaged and interested in what you have to say.
“You have to be authentic when you engage. Nothing kills you more than corporate speak,” Susan Anable, Director of Public Affairs for Cox Communications in Arizona, added. Providing a presence in the conversation, for your company, gives the indication that you are listening and paying attention to consumer’s concerns and desires—which can go farther in the relational world of social media.
3. Blend the professional and personal aspects
Creating relationships is essential to social media success, but the line between professional and personal use can be hard to define. Many participants on the chat use their personal Twitter and Facebook accounts to communicate their company’s message. “I think that a Twitter presence almost has to be a combination of personal and company. If you are on there only to flack company announcements or respond to customer service issues, you are not really using the platform fully, and really shortchange the 'social' element of social media,” participant Jim Maiella, ACC Board Member and vice president of media relations, cable and communications for Cablevision Systmes Corporation, advised. Using a personal profile to share company information can become an extension of your own interests. "Sharing work info on your personal page can be very effective and a great tool if it's something you're personally excited about sharing," Shauna Causey, public relations manager for Comcast said.
Personal investment in your profile humanizes a company voice. “When tweeting, remember to say please and thank you, give credit to the source, be personal and remember you are in public, be transparent, add value, fill out [your] profile and update [your] picture,” Ellish said, “Auto follow is considered lazy; remember that it’s not about you.”
While blending corporate and personal information can create rapport between communicator and social media user, be cautious with what and how much you share. Peppering personal commentary with corporate updates and information can be helpful and engaging, but monitor the appropriateness of personal content. Maiella offers the following standard for evaluating the personal content in your social media presence: “if my boss was reading this, would they be comfortable with what I’m putting out there?”
It is important to monitor the messages circulating about your company. Our participants suggested a few monitoring strategies for the different types of social media:
Blogs: Technorati is a popular blog monitor. It gathers information from blogs around topics and provides a search engine.
Facebook and LinkedIn: Keeping track of developing dialogues and new groups concerning your product allows you to evaluate the size of your fan base.
For more tips, visit the Online Education Portal of ACC’s Web site. You must be logged into the members-only area to access this portal, and you can log in through the member log in box in the left-hand corner of each individual page of the Web site. Your username is your work email address, and the password is your last name all in lowercase letters.
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ACC is looking for the best of the best cable communications innovators and it’s up to you to make sure we find them! Every year ACC recognizes up to four cable communicators for their outstanding contribution to industry communications and public affairs. As an ACC member, this is your opportunity to honor your fellow communicators with a Cable Communications Achievement Award nomination.
Judged by ACC leadership, winners are selected for their innovative techniques, achievements, industry recognition including the Beacon Awards, and service to ACC. Nominees must be members of ACC for a minimum of three years and worked in cable a minimum of five years. Every year, one of the four winners may be named a “Rising Star” in the industry, with a maximum of two years in cable communications and no minimum requirement of ACC membership. The deadline for nominations is July 31. To make a nomination, contact Steve Jones at email@example.com or visit the ACC Web site for detailed policies and procedures.
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Comcast, in partnership with McAfee, hosted a national media tour last week in support of their Cyber Summer Safety Challenge. The tour included on-air and online promotion of the Web initiative designed to foster dialogue about internet safety between parents and children.
“It’s important to find that creative hook,” Jamila Patton, manager, corporate communications for Comcast, said of putting together the campaign. In this case, timing was the perfect hook. Comcast and McAfee have partnered in the past, and have looked for a way to work with McAfee’s chief cyber security mom Tracy Mooney to promote youth cyber safety. The month of June provided a unique and relevant time to launch an initiative dealing with cyber safety issues: as summer begins kids are more likely to have spare time to spend online. June is also Internet Safety Month; the media tour was directed toward parents, during this time when the internet and their kids are already on their minds.
Mooney worked with Comcast’s senior director of security and privacy, Jay Opperman, to develop the Challenge, which features a pledge concerning online safety between parents and youth. Both developers were utilized in the media tour to give interviews that provided clear, useful information for parents and to drive them to the Challenge’s Web site. The national satellite media tour took place in Comcast’s Philadelphia headquarters, with interviews going out to TV and radio affiliates around the country, as well as local news coverage from the city’s Channel 10.
The media campaign also utilized Comcast and Mooney’s pre-existing social media presence in addition to traditional methods of promotion. Mooney wrote a blog post on discussion points for parents concerning social networking sites for Comcast’s blog, Comcast Voices. She also mentioned the Challenge on her own blog at McAfee and tweeted about the initiative on her Twitter feed. Comcast is looking to create a Facebook presence and has reached out to blogs targeted toward moms, such as Blogher.
“Another thing we feel [is important] with these kinds of campaigns is to create a sense of urgency,” Patton said. In pitching to bloggers and traditional media, Patton created urgency by presenting statistics and providing useful tips. Utilizing research from Harris Interactive and McAfee, Comcast presented statistics, such as 52% of teens have admitted to giving out information online, to draw awareness to the issue and in turn the initiative.
“The overall point is to have these conversations, and have them early on,” Patton said of the dialogue the Challenge was created to spark. The Cyber Summer Safety Challenge consists of pledges for parents, kids, and teenagers concerning how they will use the internet and keep accountable. For more information, visit Comcast’s Security Channel.
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ACC’s taking its popular panel discussion “Web 2.0 Today” on the road to the 2009 New England Cable and Telecommunications Association Convention & Exhibition in Rhode Island! Join us July 16 at 12:30 PM as NCTA’s Paul Rodriguez and Mike Turk explain the evolving world of Web 2.0 and how you can use it to communicate the industry’s message.
Are blogs boring? Is Secondlife a ghost town? Can a 140-character message on Twitter really make a difference? Is Facebook better than MySpace? Has anyone besides Wikipedia been successful with wikis? What is the state of Web 2.0 today, and how can cable communicators use it to tell the industry’s story?
NCTA’s Paul Rodriguez and Mike Turk launched CableTechTalk.com, cable’s blog on technology. During the panel Web 2.0 Today, these two pioneers in the world of Web 2.0 will overview the social media landscape and explore ways that you can advance the cable industry online.
Bresnan Communications and Starz Entertainment have partnered to bring free, family-friendly movie screenings to five communities in Wyoming and Montana this summer. “Bresnan Under the Starz,” will feature screenings of “Daddy Day Camp” and complimentary child fingerprinting and photos as a part of the Bresnan Safety Net community relations campaign.
“We are very pleased to use 'Bresnan Under the Starz' as a vehicle for furthering our Bresnan Safety Net campaign as another way of giving back to these communities,” Patrick Bresnan, senior vice president for Bresnan, said in a statement.
The partnership also gives Starz an opportunity to impact their viewers by providing the family-friendly fare Bresnan needed. “The experience as a premium channel is so different from an ad supported network,” Eric Becker, Executive Director, Corporate Communications for Starz, said. “We tend to work behind the scenes.” According to Paige Gist, Director of Affiliate Sales and Marketing for Starz, working with Bresnan gave the premium channel a chance to be in front of their audience.
Though Bresnan handled most promotional efforts, the two companies collaborated on a press release—a move Becker calls “almost a forgotten tactic” in communications. By working together on the press release, the companies were able to put together a distributable piece that was cleared by both legal departments and presented a uniform message. The collaboration was part of a strong relationship built between the two participants, a key tenant to operator-network partnership, according to Gist. She advises establishing the needs of your partner in any collaboration and keeping a dialogue open. “Figure out what they’re focusing on and what you can bring to the table,” she said.
This is the second year Bresnan and Starz have partnered for the event. For more information, visit www.bresnanmovies.com.
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Being a part of cable communication’s premiere professional development event just got easier. The program outline, registration and hotel information for FORUM 2009 are now available online. Join your colleagues for educational sessions and networking opportunities to further your career, October 26-28. Simply visit the Cable Connection registration site for ACC events. Once there, you can register for FORUM, other associated events, and book your hotel room in just a few easy steps.
Denver has affordable hotel rates ranging from $195 at the Denver Marriot up to $349 at the Ritz Carlton with many options in between. The ACC preferred hotels are the Marriot, Brown Palace ($210) and Ritz Carlton. Additionally, airline discounts are available on United, American Airlines, and Continental. Use the following codes while booking online or through your preferred travel agent to receive up to 15% off applicable classes of service for tickets purchased prior to the meeting on United and Continental or 5% off American Airlines tickets:
United Airlines: 510CK
Registration is $800 before September 23 for all three days. Beacon Awards ceremony only tickets are priced at $150. This year, FORUM opens with the Beacon Awards on Monday evening, October 26th, and continues on Tuesday and Wednesday with a full range of educational sessions. For more information, visit http://www.cablecommunicators.org/forum.php.
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Cox held the National Teen Summit on Internet and Wireless Safety, in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, on June 24 in Washington, DC. Teenagers and parents from around the country gathered in the nation’s capital to discuss internet safety with America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh and release the findings from Cox’s new survey of teen online behavior. Teens who participated in the summit also visited Capitol Hill to bring awareness of internet safety issues to their respective representatives and senators. The summit is a part of Cox’s ongoing “Take Charge!” initiative, created to help parents and kids make wise decisions concerning media.
Results from the survey conducted in partnership between Cox and NCMEC was released during the summit and shared by virtual media conference on BlogTalkRadio. Walsh shared the results of the survey and took questions from callers. The survey presented information on how teens use the internet and wireless devices and covered topics such as cyber-bullying and sexting, sending nude or semi-nude photos by text message. It also examined how parents police their child’s web activity. Key statistics included nearly 1 in 5 teens have bullied via social media, 72% have a social networking profile, and 44% of teens are not given any limits by parents or guardians when accessing the internet or using cell phones.
Cox has conducted the survey for the past four years under its “Take Charge!” initiative. “Take Charge!” provides parents and guardians with resources to understand how their children use the internet and how to keep them safe. This is the fourth year “Take Charge!” has partnered with NCMEC, a nonprofit organization that helps locate and stop the exploitation of missing children. The organization works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice’s office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. For more information, visit http://www.cox.com/TakeCharge or www.missingkids.com.
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Join and support ACC by becoming a 2009 corporate member. For more information on how your organization can join ACC as a corporate member, please contact Steve Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-222-2373. For membership details, go to http://www.cablecommunicators.org/cmember.php.
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