conversation is an engine

A lot can happen in a conversation

Posts Tagged ‘social media strategy

Forget Content Strategists: We need Village Storytellers.

with 5 comments

Begin the Begatting!

“Content strategy” has such a corporate feel to it. Such strategized-promotional-content-puzzle pieces, dreamed up in isolation, will move forward whether or not anyone cares. But here is exactly where strategy and art must date, marry and get busy begatting fecund stories.

No human will be interested otherwise.

No amount of strategizing can actually make that happen. Art must take over. Art connects with emotion. Art is a human meaning-making activity not easily controlled by a corporate agenda. If controlled too-tightly, art quickly becomes something less than art.


I’m working with a group of writers who need to understand this. Their task is to pull people into the causes they have begun to champion. They will identify their mission and purpose, complete with telling details about their target audiences. They will strategize about content and assemble editorial calendars, but in the end, it is the art of storytelling that has the power to pull anyone forward.

My theory is that strategy works best as a beginning point. You do your best to get a strategy in place, but then you move forward. As a writer, I know from experience that stories and strategies grow up best together. Each talking to the other. That is because the weaving of the story actually makes new strategy elements available (and vice versa). Elements appear that would not be apparent except that the artist has accessed that deep subconscious, chaotic place where connections are made and much foolish talk swirls around very bad ideas before anything worthwhile appears.

Sometimes when I get stuck in the analytical side of strategy, I set it aside to tell stories just to open possibilities. I am not alone in that practice.

There is a push for strategists today. But I would rather work with their more human cousins: story-teller strategists.


Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Abby Klanecky: Helping Scientists Tell Stories

leave a comment »

Sharing wants a room in your house

One rapidly changing perception is that only the PR people in your company or the C-suite folks should communicate with the rest of the world. That notion is swiftly falling away. Why? Because anyone looking can see the entire workforce is already in conversation with a whole lot of people.

We’ve been tracing social technologies backward to see where they bump against command and control strategies. We’re starting to see a sort of containerization of messages: we see multiple channels of communication goodness overlayed and overlapping through the relationships already present in our employees and partners. This effort is not about exploiting those relationships by pushing out selling messages (always a disaster with social media)…but simply recognizing there is mission-driving energy available when we help our people tell their story in their way.

That’s partly what is behind Abby Klanecky’s presentation about her work with Dow scientists. Part of her work is training in how to talk about science in a way anyone can understand. Part of her work is helping these scientists see exactly what is at stake with broadening the scope of their communication. Part of her work seems intent on aiding exploration—through involving others. Attaching social media wings to research may pay back in lots of ways. Part of Ms. Klanecky’s plan also has to do with connecting scientists with students—ensuring future researchers are queued. See her entire presentation on Vimeo here. Slides here.

I like Ms. Klanecky’s approach because of how it broadens an organization’s mission. More people become key people. I also like it because it gets at the changing nature and opportunity of communication today.

Say, for instance, you are a university and you just built a multi-million dollar research lab. It’s entirely unique and there is nothing like it in the world. In this research lab you intend to partner with industry. You will not share industry secrets, but you will help deepen the conversation about the processes and technologies used. In your communication strategy you will focus on producing research and presenting that research through the traditional channels of publishing research papers and speaking at conferences. But what if, in addition to those traditional strategies, you trained your scientists, researchers, even those in charge of the lab to locate and engage with people interested in this very thing?  And what if your employees found the social media aspect actually sharpened their questions and their research communication? And what if the result was genuine collaboration that helped further cement your lab and universities leadership position?

Training helps make this happen: training in communicating with an awareness of legal, regulatory and industry guidelines. These must be clearly communicated. But the most important thing is setting the expectation from the beginning so that researchers are already thinking along these lines.

The end result may look a lot like humans speaking to humans rather than PR people unspooling an endless stream of press releases.



Hat tip to Ward Tongen (@wtongen)

Written by kirkistan

February 25, 2014 at 5:00 am

Can We Talk About Incontinence Now?

with 2 comments

You are running a clinical trial and you need to build up the base of patients participating in the trial. Let’s say the trial is for an innovative incontinence product.

Along with the traditional tools and methods for recruiting patients, you set up a social media strategy that includes an editorial calendar for a set of blog posts—an awareness campaign. Your want the blog to become a destination or an RSS feed. Part of your strategy is to regularly discuss findings from current research into incontinence, methods for treating the condition and general information (minus claims and promises) about the research you are actually recruiting for. Naturally you include the requisite regulatory, legal and privacy caveats, along with the full disclosure information that helps build authenticity. This is how the conversation starts.

Start a Twitter account so that as new blog posts come on line, people are led to them. But the Twitter account also opens a way for passing along other information that is relevant to the audience. Because it isn’t just information you are passing. You are passing on humanity. One of your primary tasks is to present a human voice. A human voice is authentic, knowing and wins reader’s loyalty. You also have a Facebook account—you want to be easy to find.

Pretty standard stuff. Key to the endeavor is creating and managing content with an eye on making it searchable and accessible for the right patients. Also key is providing a service to those patients in need by passing on useful information.

What other elements would you include?


Written by kirkistan

November 11, 2009 at 10:52 pm

%d bloggers like this: