Communicators need to be “in the know”

Originally Published on CUinsight.com, a credit union and financial news media site.

Every morning I read the local paper, and go online to check national news sources and social media sites. I like to know what has happened while I was asleep. Not because I need to be “in the know,” but because it’s important for every communicator to know what is going on in their own community, the country and in the world.

Here’s why…current and breaking news can impact your credit union in both a positive and a negative way.

Here’s a few examples:

Don’t be a Twitter mishap.
We all heard about the tragedy that happened in an Aurora movie  theater months ago. Well, a boutique clothing retailer did not. They tweeted a reference to the hashtag #Aurora, joking that it was trending because of one of their dresses. Whoa…the Twitterverse was not happy. Their response was that their “tweeters” were not US based, and did not realize what had happened. This could happen on any social network, and even something that is posted on your website. Always know what’s going on in your community, state, country and globally before you reference it online.

Be the second paragraph.
The term “newsjacking” is a recent buzz word making its rounds in the PR world. During breaking news, journalists scramble for that “second paragraph, that additional information that will provide consumers with a unique angle. This is where a communicator can work magic. When news hits, be the first to contact a local reporter and illustrate how the news will affect your local community. You know those news stories about rising bank fees? That’s your chance to promote your credit unions’ lower fees and excellent service!

Be known as a team player.
By keeping up with special projects and new initiatives in your community, your credit union can be seen as a reliable and valuable community partner and resource. Is your community launching a new city-wide festival? Consider a sponsorship. Hear about a charity who is struggling? Offer assistance in the form of volunteers or other services. Tornado ripped through your town? Assist with clean up and help out any way you can. Although it may not relate directly to your line of business, residents will remember which organizations supported their local community and it can help you in the future.

There is always “news,” and it’s a 24/7 business. With online resources and social media sites, it has never been easier to keep up with what is making headlines and why. You just have to be quick and nimble enough to react.

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