I just picked up this recent post from Helen Dunnett (disclaimer: she is a client of ZN and we think she is great) on some feedback she received from various audiences in political communication when approaching the internet as a core communication tool. Over the past year she has been sharing her experience and enthusiam about the web and it’s power to transform communication with her rapidly growing network.
Her comments will be very useful for those trying to find the best way to explore the web as a core strategic tool in getting the right message out to the right audience. We have, in the course of our many meetings with a number of players in the Brussels political scene been confronted by many similar questions so it is great to see them put from a client perspective, from someone who has been able to make the case for this and seen the benefits for her own organisation follow.
After reading the objections she has faced my suggestions to the bold communicators interested in taking this further are the following:
1) Everyone now accepts that the internet is an important and powerful tool in shaping perception on critical issues. The key problem is they don’t know how to act on this knowledge.
2) A personal and direct exposures to the tools and the social networks that are driving this change is key to enable communicators to form the correct strategy. So like or not, you need to sign up to a number of online networks (linkedin.com – which most people do passively, facebook.com, and others that you find interesting) and actively use the tools (by posting on forums in linkedin for instance).
3) The right tools for you and your organisaton keep on evolving so it is best to do some background reading of ebooks and follow some blogs (Helen’s own called learning curve or the one written by my colleague Steffen could be a good starting point).
4) Meet regularly with people (agencies, consultants, colleagues) so you can learn about what works and gain insights from other people who have faced similar situations than you.
5) Get started. Take some small, below the radar, steps with some online initiatives to get comfortable with the territory. Start a blog, take it personally and see for yourself how it can help to get your message accross.
6) Get help. Once you have decided to move forward in this space, surround yourself with a strong team with the right advice and experience as well as technology, create a plan and sell this to your management. Then go forward and start learning.