Association of Cable Communicators, CPR Facts


July 24, 2009 - About ACC / Membership / FORUM / Beacon Awards

Inside This Issue:



Last Chance to Honor Your Peers with a Cable Communications Achievement Award Nomination!

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, but hurry—nominations are due July 31!

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 sjones@cablecommunicators.org or visit the ACC Web site for detailed policies and procedures.

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Blogging Best Practices

Blogs are one of the oldest forms of social media. In the world of 140 character tweets and constantly updated Facebook profiles, is there a place for the “weblog” as it was once known? Absolutely. Once the virtual soapbox for anyone with an opinion or story to share, the blogosphere has evolved, becoming home to many trusted news sources. Far from outdated, blogs can still be a valuable resource to your social media communications campaign.

ACC assembled four communicators who are utilizing social media in the field for the June 17 chat, “Communicating Cable’s Story with Social Media,” and as the conversation began to take off, blogs emerged as a still relevant tool. Here are a few tips from our panelists and participants on maximizing blogs in your social media campaign. For the full transcript and more useful advice, visit ACC’s
Online Education Portal. You must be logged into the members-only area to access this portal; 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.

· Treat Bloggers Like Reporters
If you want your product mentioned on a blog, consider courting the blogger as you would a reporter. The same rules of courtesy and respect apply, but, according to Shauna Causey, public relations manager for Comcast, the relationship is a bit more casual due to the nature of social media. “It is relationship building with bloggers,” Susan Anable, director of public affairs for Cox Communications in Arizona, said. Reaching out to bloggers in a traditional way, such as special screenings, incentives, and getting to know the blogger personally as you would a beat reporter helps to communicate the message that you respect them as a legitimate news source. In fact, Chris Berry, public affairs and communications manager at Bright House Networks, has also found that many established reporters are also bloggers.
 
· Proceed with Caution: Everything is on the Record
The informal nature of interaction with bloggers should be taken with caution. Unlike traditional media, any information you send a blogger is often game for posting—according to Jim Maiella, vice president of media relations, cable and communications for Cablevision Systems Corporation and ACC Board vice president. “Take some extra time when composing those e-mails and ask yourself, if any of this text showed up in a post as an 'official' company comment or response, would I be comfortable with that,” he advises. “Don’t get into informal shorthand unless there is a clear understanding that the exchange is not going to be repurposed in print.” Causey affirmed Maiella’s caution, adding the possibility of interviews with bloggers being recorded and broadcast. Though you can’t control how the information you provide is disseminated, you can control what information you give out. “They need content, and posts, and there’s much more pressure on a blogger to publish than a conventional newspaper reporter, so they are more likely to grab a line or a comment out of an e-mail and run it,” Maiella said. “That’s just the way it is and as long as it’s expected and you are prepared going in, the dialogue can be positive and constructive.”
 
· Tie To Social Media
Twitter and Facebook dominate the social media scene and blogs can benefit. “Blogs are still relevant, but need to be interconnected with the other social media tools,” Anable said. By promoting blog content through the other aspects of your social media campaign, you harness the instant nature of micro-blogging with Twitter and the ready-made community of Facebook. “I’m seeing that Twitter and Facebook are great tools for drawing people into blogs,” Causey said. Use other social media to direct and create an audience for blog posts or mentions of your product on other blogs.
 
· Monitor Your Blog Reputation
Beyond disseminating information, blogs can be a source of feedback for your company. “By monitoring the blogs, we are able to alert the team to any inaccuracies and get them fixed virtually immediately,” Nora Ellish, Director, Communications for NBC Universal TV Networks Distribution, said. Berry suggested using a newsreader and bookmarking several key Web sites. Causey uses Google keywords to keep track of blog mentions and another user advised using Technorati.com, a site that monitors blog content and stats.

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Join us for “Internal and Employee Communications”—An ACC Chat, August 13

Positive employee morale leads to customer satisfaction. When employees understand their role in the overall strategy and success of the cable company, they perform better at their jobs and they stay in those jobs longer. This, in turn, can increase customer satisfaction as some of the greatest ambassadors a cable company has are its employees. How can cable communicators craft effective internal and employee communications campaigns that inform all employees about business goals, inspire them to improve the customer experience, and connect frontline employees to senior management and vice versa?

Three leading cable communicators will share their best practices in internal communications during "Internal and Employee Communications," an ACC online chat, August 13. Some of their secrets to success have included the use of social media, effectively communicating brand/reputation transitions and other change management efforts, and crafting email that cuts through the clutter. Christine McCafferty, director, communications for Comcast, Monique Peyser, director, internal communications, Time Warner Cable—Carolina Region, and Susan Warner, senior director, public affairs, Time Warner Cable will be on hand to advise you on how to run effective internal communications campaigns.

ACC's next, online chat will be accessible to all on its Web site: http://www.cablecommunicators.org/ on August 13, 2 PM EDT. If you have a question that you would like to ask the experts participating but will not be able to participate in the live chat, please email Michelle Butler your question. ACC will post a transcript of the chat in the members-only section of its Web site.

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Six Biggest Mistakes of Managing Up: A Career Connections Feature Series with Executive Coach Esther Weinberg

Recently I had a conversation with John, an executive vice president of communications in the digital media industry, who pointed out that one of the most common mistakes employees make today is not managing up properly - “It’s everything.  It’s not talked about often, however if you don’t do it well, you simply don’t rise through the ranks.  That may sound a little harsh, but it’s true.” 

Managing up is an art and a skill that is rarely discussed.  Consider some of the most common mistakes that affect managing up and how you can remedy them: 

1.  Thinking you know your boss’s needs because you get along personally

Truth:  Most people make assumptions about their bosses’ needs.  Eradicate speculation and start communicating.
 
Word from the coach:  Ask your boss how he/she wants to be communicated to and what materials does he/she need.  Schedule meaningful one-on-ones with clear agendas and expectations.  Ensure your meetings handle core issues clearly and honestly.  Create agreements that outline how you will communicate in times of bliss and crisis.

2.  Not keeping your boss in the loop

Truth:  Our bosses probably need to know way more information than we think they do.
 
Word from the coach:  Is there a piece of information you have that your boss needs?  Always offer updates, even if you believe the information is trivial.  If something should ever become unimportant, count on your boss to tell you (make this an agreement between you both).

3.  Being reluctant to ask for feedback

Truth:  Hardly anyone likes to hear brutal honest feedback.  It’s tough to hear the real truth.

Word from the coach:  Growth requires some degree of discomfort.  Showing a willingness to become uncomfortable, hear the truth and act swiftly on it will be what differentiates the good from the great. 

4.  Bringing problems and no solutions

Truth:  Problems or “issues” brought to your boss without solutions simply look like complaints.
     
Word from the coach:  Whenever there’s an issue, offer up at least three solutions.  If you get stuck, ask for help from your peers.  If you still find yourself completely void of ideas, be transparent with your boss.  Lay out the issue and brainstorm together. 

5.  Not managing your boss’s perceptions

Truth:  All bosses have inherent perceptions about how work should be done.  Some of these perceptions may be from their own past work experiences.
 
Word from the coach:  Most of these perceptions are implied, instead of stated.  Get them out in the open, talk about them and negotiate them.  Sharing with your boss the process and progress of your work product helps to eradicate unspoken perceptions. 

6.  Avoiding conflict

Truth:  Conflict brings growth, fosters development and airs misperceptions.  There's a difference between confrontation and conflict.  Confrontation involves hostility; conflict merely arises from a difference of opinions.
 
Word from the coach:  Before speaking in opposition, set your intention.  If your intention is to provide maximum value to the organization at all times, then the words you speak will echo this sentiment.  If your intention is to “set your boss straight”, then be prepared for a harsh exchange of words.  It’s up to you to determine the starting point.

Editor’s Note: MindLight Group will offer a free teleseminar on trade secrets of the biggest mistakes affecting managing up and how to remedy them on Friday, August 21, 2009, Noon-1pm PST, 3-4pm EST. Email esther@mindlightgroup.com for more details.

About the Author:
Esther Weinberg is the founder of MindLight Group.  A 20-year cable veteran, her management consulting company is focused on people centric leadership, change management and effective communication.

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ACC Panel “Web 2.0 Today & Its Impact on the Cable Industry” Heads West!

ACC’s taking its popular panel topic “Web 2.0 Today & Its Impact on the Cable Industry” on the road to the 2009 Mid-America Cable Show in Overland Park, Kansas! Join us September 23 at 10:00 AM 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, these two innovators in the world of Web 2.0 will overview the social media landscape and explore ways that you can advance the cable industry online.

For more information, visit http://www.cablecommunicators.org/ or the Mid-America Cable Show’s Web site.

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Comcast Donates Cell Phones to Support Troops

Comcast’s Eastern Division donated 7,500 cell phones last month to Cell Phones for Soldiers, an organization that works to connect troops serving abroad with their families. After a year-long internal collection campaign, the operator amassed enough phones to provide soldiers with 450,000 minutes of pre-paid calling time.

Comcast’s support of Cell Phones for Soldiers builds on a pre-existing engagement with military causes through Troops On Demand, filming military school graduations, and other on demand programming. “My father, who is now deceased, was a Captain in the Army and a decorated Vietnam Veteran, so I have a special affinity for the military and military families.  I am very fortunate that Comcast is just as vested in supporting the military community,” Jaye Linnen, senior manager, public relations, for Comcast’s Eastern Division, said. “When I heard about this program over a year ago, I shared news of it with Comcast and they jumped all over it.”

As an internal campaign, the collection drive utilized Comcast’s internal communications team to encourage donations and keep the cause on employees’ minds over the course of a year. “We worked with our internal communications teams to distribute reminders to employees about the donation and that worked well,” Linnen said. “We also posted stories about the collection effort and its impact on our internal news sites so that employees could track progress of the program.”

When deciding on an internal campaign, such as this, Linnen suggests deciding on a cause that employees from all walks of life can rally around. Other Comcast divisions have picked up on the idea and are looking to replicate the Eastern Division’s success.

Cell Phones for Soldiers is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that has distributed more than 500,000 pre-paid calling cards to troops. The organization recycles donated retired cell phones and uses the proceeds to buy pre-paid calling cards. In the future, the organization hopes to create new programs to provide video phones to soldiers as well as fund research programs that will utilize technology in aiding veterans’ transition back into the work force. For more information, visit Cell Phones for Soldiers’ Web site or contact Jaye Linnen at jaye_linnen@cable.comcast.com.

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Travel Deals for FORUM 2009!

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
American Airlines: A15H9AG
Continental Airlines: ZFTEDFKSF-6

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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WWE Concludes Successful Reading Program

More than 12,000 kids and 500 libraries participated in the inaugural year of WWE’s SummerSlam Reading Jam literacy event. In partnership with the Young Adult Library Services Association, WWE encouraged kids between the ages of 10 and 18 to check out two books from participating libraries to receive prizes and a chance to attend the company’s SummerSlam PPV event in Los Angeles.

The first 25 kids to check out books during the program’s duration from late June to mid-July received a numbered poster and were entered in a drawing for prizes that included the WWE Encyclopedia and trip to Los Angeles. Building on the success of the company’s Wrestlemania Reading Challenge program, the SummerSlam Reading Jam was considered a very popular summer program by many participating libraries. “It did bring in kids who were not typically coming into the library,” Gary Davis, vice president, global public affairs for WWE, said. “[The libraries] felt that it gave them something a little different to offer that would attract a different [type] of teen.”

The campaign reflects WWE’s longtime commitment to literacy. According to Davis, early on the company sought to reach “reluctant readers” or kids who were too embarrassed of their weak reading skills to pick up a book. What began as a once a year partnership with Teen Read Week has evolved into two massive reading programs with more than 60,000 kids and 18,000 libraries involved. “I think we’ve demonstrated we have the brand power to get the attention of teens and tweens and get them to pick up a book and read,” Davis said. Next year, WWE plans to open up the program to more libraries and reach more kids. For more information, contact Gary Davis at gary.davis@wwecorp.com.

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Atlantic Broadband Provides Local Events On Demand

Atlantic Broadband has expanded their video on demand offerings to include “Local Zone” a channel devoted to local events. “[T]he new delivery technology that makes 'Local Zone' possible has the potential to empower schools, civic, cultural and sports organizations--helping them easily, reach a wide audience through the most powerful medium available TV,” David Dane, Atlantic Broadband senior vice president and general manager, said in a statement. “This has the potential to bring our entire community much closer together.”

Content currently includes local events, such as motorcycle rallies and theater productions, and will expand to cover regional sports. Subscribers can also get in on the act by filming and uploading their own videos to Atlantic’s servers with technology provided through a partnership with Clearleap, a tech company that offers next-generation content acquisition, delivery, management, and distribution capabilities. “This service is one more in a long list of services we strive to implement that we think will be valuable to our customers. [W]e hope it will further our reputation as a good corporate citizen, and help make us an even more integral part of the communities we serve,” Donna Garofano, senior vice president, government and regulatory affairs for Atlantic, said.

Atlantic Broadband serves more than 150,000 customers in central Pennsylvania. For more information, visit http://www.atlanticbb.com/.

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Thank You, Corporate Members!

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 sjones@cablecommunicators.org or 202-222-2373.  For membership details, go to http://www.cablecommunicators.org/cmember.php.

Golden Benefactors
A&E Television Networks
Bright House Networks
Cablevision Systems Corporation
Charter Communications
Comcast
Cox Communications
ESPN, Inc.
NBC Universal TV Networks Distribution
Rainbow Media Holdings
Time Warner Cable
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

Benefactors
Lifetime Television

Friends & Associates
ARRIS
Bresnan Communications
Cable ONE
CableLabs
California Cable & Telecommunications Association
Cisco Systems, Inc.
C-SPAN Networks
Discovery Networks
Florida Cable Telecommunications Association
Gospel Music Channel
Hallmark Channel
HBO
Insight Communications
Midcontinent Communications
Mediacom
Ohio Cable Telecommunications Association
Scripps Networks
Showtime Networks
Starz Entertainment
Suddenlink Communications
Texas Cable Association

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