A large part of the work of communications professionals is to determine the scope, edit and place media articles written by teachers and administrators. Unless teachers are willing to give their time and expertise and work with us, we cannot do our job well.
There are many people who don’t want to participate for various reasons-too busy, bad past experience in the media (or communication team), too nervous, not enough confidence. To get the support of these faculty, staff and managers, you must first establish relationships and trust; without this connection, your job would be impossible. Find out their experience in communication and media and their expectations of working with you.
Sometimes, professors will interact with you, but their methods may undermine your ideal process. Maybe the timing is wrong, or their writing is more suitable for academic audiences than mainstream media. Or maybe they were hung up during the review process, which made it difficult to move forward. When this happens, handling the interaction with extreme care will greatly help maintain the relationship. Here are some tips to help you deal with some difficult situations.
When we receive a written article from a faculty member that we did not expect and have high hopes for fast placement, we like to start by calling the professor; it is easier to tell things than to reply in an email. Because the text and punctuation in the email may be misunderstood. Find out what the goal of the work is, who the audience is, and whether the angle is as it is or needs to be adjusted. Set realistic expectations for the work; if it does not appeal to national commercial publications, but suits your local newspaper, please state in advance.
Many times, we will open a draft linked to a news event a few days ago. The story has not progressed, so what can you do with the outdated column? If there is a way to move the story forward, and there is an angle that is not covered, you may be able to remake this article, but if it is already old news, please tell this person honestly. In this never-ending news cycle, it may be a segment you save when the next news event occurs, you only need to update the introduction.For example, we worked with a faculty member to write an article about President Trump’s criticism Yamiche Alcindor of PBS During the press conference; although this news event was a bit late, a few months later, Ida B. Wells won the Pulitzer Prize after his death, and we were able to Adjust the introduction and run the work.
Some teachers find the transition from academic writing challenging. But when they teach, they regularly break down complex materials for students; they can do the same for the general public. Help your teachers identify the audience they are writing for and encourage them to cater to this group. Send them the clips that the media channel is running in the background.One channel we like to work with is conversationWhen teachers write for them, one of the tools they use is a color-coded dashboard to let them know if their words are understandable or too academic. This is great for teachers who are just starting out as well as for experienced writers.
For managers, faculty and staff who have shown interest in writing but may still refuse any feedback, you can take some steps when reviewing their work. First, make any minor formatting changes without tracking changes (think incorrectly spaced dashes, double spaces after periods, inconsistent fonts or sizes). These small changes usually overwhelm the document-and the author gets revised versions-if someone really needs to view them, they can still be accessed in the document’s history. Similarly, you can choose to send back two versions for review, a clean copy and a copy with your mark; you can also suggest to review with only simple marks, so as not to overwhelm the draft with the details of the editing.
We like to post comments with suggestions and reasons for changes, rather than just making changes in a document, especially when we are working with someone for the first time and we are still building a relationship. If you’re dealing with people who decline feedback, this may also help, as it will put the revision back in place and let them make changes in their own language. As you build their trust, they will be more likely to accept your suggestions and be more open to your direct editing.
Although your goal is to make the draft as strong as possible, it is also important to understand your limits. Some works will not work, some suggestions and edits will be ignored, and some people just don’t want to work with you. But there is no shortage of potential partners on campus. If you can get support from the top down and ask the principal or dean to thank the faculty and staff and share it with colleagues, this will help encourage future participation because it treats the partnership with communication as something to the university and It’s worth it personally. Although faculty, staff and administrators may be immediately angry at your open and honest feedback, if you can build a strong relationship and gain trust while demonstrating the value of working with you, they will over time. Express appreciation. After all, your job is to help the land with solid parts to make them look good.
Cristal Steuer is a senior strategist and Ali Lincoln is the thought leadership director of TVP Communications.