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Archive for the ‘Publications’ Category

For a company publication, there are a few “typical” departments who could lead your publication. Choosing one is an important decision and can play a large role in the success of the publication and the overall direction the publication takes. Here are a few departments who naturally oversee your publication.

1. Employee Relations / Human Resources. When creating an employee publication, your employee relations / human resources department is an obvious choice. This group of people is already focused on your employees. It will keep the employees’ best interests at heart.

2. Corporate Communications. The great thing about the corporate communications team running the publication is that its team members should already be great writers. They understand grammar and punctuation. They get the details, which can help make the publication a great one. Also, they typically know the company news, thus story ideas should be readily available.

3. Marketing. The marketing team will typically think of the multiple ways the publication can be used. Even if it is an employee publication, the marketing team will add its spin to the publication to make it worthwhile to advancing the company. Plus, they will know what information needs to be included in the publication to help gain new customers.

Now, I have worked with numerous editors from these different departments who have been able to combine the benefits of each group to their publication’s benefit. Ideally, that is what you will find. Someone who can keep the employees’ needs at heart, help advance the organization and keep the quality of the publication high through strong editing.

As I said in an earlier post, I believe the best situation is to let an out-of-house organization (like a PR firm) run your in-house publication. However, any publication still has to have a company department and / or editor in charge. Picking the right department, in a way, confirms how you want your publication run and what purpose you want it to have, so choose wisely.

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Write-me-a-letter

By Linda Cronin

I’ve had this conversation with a few people lately, so I thought it was time to expose everyone to the world of editing.

When I edit anything — ad copy, press release, bylines, articles, etc. — there are two ways I edit. The amount of time I have dictates which way I edit.

Method 1: Grammar and punctuation

The first time I look over anything I go through word for word and edit for grammar and punctuation. I have to do this first or I can’t really even concentrate on what the words are saying. I don’t want to be caught up in the misspelled words, misplaced commas and wrongly used semicolons.  When people ask me to do a quick read, this is typically what they get. It is down and dirty and just gets the basics done.

Method 2: Content

When I am given the time, I then reread the writing for its content. This is when I can tell if thoughts are conveyed well, if the introduction ties to the main point and if a conclusion wraps everything together. For RFP reviews, this is when I can add my own ideas or challenge the ones presented.

So, when I am editing, I always try to find out what my colleague / client needs. Do they need method 1, 2 or both? People usually don’t take offense to method 1, but 2 is where you can easily start ruffling some feathers. However, I believe it is important for every writing to be analyzed in both ways. This allows for clean, strong copy to be presented, which is ultimately good for you and for your client.

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I’m only a few posts in to the new direction of this blog, and I already feel like I need to make a clarification. I’m talking here about publications. Now, I realize that the automatic reaction when I say “publication” is to think of a printed newsletter or magazine, but this is only one piece of the puzzle.

In today’s Web 2.0 world, social media is a buzz word and companies keep asking how they can use blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc., to connect not only with their customers but with their employees as well. Online publications are one way.

You can have a publication solely online. Don’t restrict yourself to printed items that have to be mailed. While there are some industries that definitely need the latter, as the population becomes more tech savvy there will be more companies that can successfuly achieve the purpose of an internal publication through an online publication. Future posts will get into more of the details of strategies and functions an online publication can have, but for now I just want to ensure your mind is open to a publication world beyond the printed word.

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When companies start thinking of employee publications, they often believe it should be an in-house product. It makes sense when you first think about it. Who knows your employees better than you do? However, there are huge benefits to letting a public relations / marketing firm write and manage your publication.

Mainly, a neutral / outside voice is important and key. When employees write their own publication, it is almost impossible to remove each person’s biases from their writing / coverage. For example, if the HR department runs the publication, it is easy for more HR articles to make it into the publication, which may upset the Accounting department or the Marketing team. It is human nature. You write what you know, so you write about your department.

An outside team of writers can help prevent bias claims because they have no bias. They can provide the third-party point of view to keep the writing neutral and keep everyone happy.

Also, when things are run in-house, it is common for them to be pushed aside and forgotten. Again, it is our nature — take care of your customers first, deal with your in-house stuff second. An outside agency can help keep the publication moving on schedule to ensure it hits mailboxes when it is supposed to.

Finally, when it comes to writing, let a professional do it. We know AP style and grammar. I’ve seen numerous engineers, doctors, lawyers, etc., try to write copy for various publications. It isn’t pretty. I guarantee you’ll be happier with your product if you let a team of professionals handle the writing. We don’t try open heart surgery. You don’t try writing a publication.

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Many in-house publications are targeted at employees, which can serve a number of purposes.

1. Be a megaphone. An employee publication is an easy way to communicate a lot of company information on a widespread scale. If your company has a lot of news, this is one way to disperse it that you can ensure everyone will receive (as opposed to an intranet site that everyone might not log into).

2. Instill pride in your employees. An employee publication is a great way to show off the successes of your company and communicate them to your employees.  Show that your company is winning awards, receiving new contracts and recording high customer satisfaction. This will show your employees that the company is here to stay and has a bright future, which can lead to …

3. Retention and recruiting. Many industries are known for high employee turnover. An employee publication is one way to constantly remind your employees about your organization.  For instance, if your main office is in New York but many employees work in California, it may be hard for those California workers to maintain a connection with the company. An employee publication would constantly remind them of the organization and help them stay committed to your mission and goals.

4. Document your company’s history. Hopefully your company is here to stay and will be around for the next 25, 50 or 100 years. An employee publication is one way to document your company’s history. You’ll be amazed 50 years from now when you look back at all the great things your company did in its first few years in business.

5. Recognize your employees. All companies look for some way to recognize their employees’ good work. Whether it is that front parking space, a raise, new office or an Employee of the Month plaque on the wall, employee recognition is an important part of maintaining a successful company that people want to work at. An employee publication can be a great way to recognize your employees and their hard work through employee spotlights and features.

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