Thursday, May 26

Customizing Media Relations

While I was in San Diego meeting with some new clients last week, I was asked how Copywrite, Ink. had expanded its core service, writing, to include creative and strategic communication services. I had provided several examples that illustrate the evolution of our company, mentioning that we often begin working with clients as writers and then provide additional services as these clients start to recognize us as trusted communication advisors.

What I did not know at the time was that we would be contracted to provide what is another example of how our company adapts to meet very specific communication needs. One of our longtime clients, a major utility, recently identified a need to provide media relations training to employees who work at offices located throughout their extensive service area. By doing so, utility management hopes their staff will be better equipped to provide timely, accurate, and coordinated responses to local media inquiries. It makes sense.

Since I had conducted several media relations workshops attended by their corporate communication team (and had the privilege of teaching two of their employees at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas), they asked if it would be possible to adapt our media relations knowledge into something they could then use to train employees in other towns and cities.

After meeting with them to conduct a situation analysis and establish objectives, it became apparent that the most effective way to meet their objective would be to co-create a custom, versatile PowerPoint presentation to be used as a guide for internal media training and, potentially, public safety presentations. Providing such a service goes beyond traditional writing services as much of the presentation material will come from our knowledge, experience, and expertise in the field.

The project will also require strategic communication skills in order to recognize and remedy any crisis communication or reputation management issues the company has yet to address as it relates to its extended service area. In short, we will apply our knowledge to their corporate environment to produce a custom training module for their company for less than it would cost to contract us to personally train employees in three states.

How does this tie into what we were asked in San Diego? Simply put, whether Copywrite, Ink. works with a corporate client direct or is subcontracted by an agency, we excel in developing custom solutions for a variety of communication challenges. The difference: when given the opportunity, we would much rather be asked ''do you think we need a brochure?'' than ''what kind of brochure do we need?'' We're happy to answer either question, but the first question almost always seems to deliver a much more interesting and effective communication solution.

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