Every year, our team analyzes the current state of the media, where our goal is for OWC clients to shine. Tracy Williams, CEO and Founder of Olmstead Williams Communications, shares five lessons to take into 2023.
Stay on Social – Despite the commotion, social media platforms continue to play a key role in every communications strategy. Reporters need sources more than ever, and businesses derive recognition every time they “earn” a post. Facebook is the platform professional journalists use most often “for sourcing information, interacting with their audience and publishing or promoting content,” according to Cision’s State of the Media. 70 percent of reporters in North America turn to Twitter for their day-to-day browsing…at least for now. To establish and maintain reputation, these outlets remain invaluable.
Take a Stance – Customers turn to business leaders over politicians to influence policy decisions around climate change, healthcare and social issues. Why? Misinformation may float election campaigns in the short term, but it’s guaranteed to sink companies in the long haul. Therefore, key messages and strong talking points that don’t evade the big picture are effective business communication tools. The 2023 USC Relevance Report found that “60 percent of consumers surveyed believe corporations should help advocate for the causes they care about and donate money to the nonprofits who work on them.” More than half of those under 30 who contributed to the report said they would take a pay cut “to work for an organization that actively supports the causes that are important to them.”
Provide Visual Content – Journalists say that PR professionals do them a favor by including multimedia content in outreach. Cision’s report says 54 percent of reporters agree “they would be more likely to cover a story if provided with multimedia.” That means images, videos, fact sheets, infographics and executive bios. Every company needs an up-to-date media kit ready to share, with visually appealing materials and in-depth content on the organization’s history, capabilities and workforce. Send as a link, not an attachment.
Support the Press – The Pew Research Center predicts newsrooms will continue to shrink with further layoffs. That trend, however, has increased the importance of public relations, as PR staff are increasingly relied on for research, guidance, context and introductions to knowledgeable executives worthy of being quoted. Business communication has a growing media role, and opportunities to be heard are everywhere for businesses with something to say.
Update Your Crisis Plan – Got one? It’s not just Twitter, Meta, Disney and Amazon whose words and actions set the internet ablaze. Every company can face a cliff tomorrow. Critical missteps are most often caused by failure of preparation and alertness to what makes news. KPMG’s 2022 CEO Outlook reveals that reputational risk became more of a concern among CEOs as the year progressed (3 percent were concerned in February and 10 percent by August). A fool-proof crisis plan with holding statements and actionable steps is more than a good idea—for key execs, it can also mean a good night’s sleep.
Be smart and get prepared to make the news.