NEO Public Information Officer quarterly training with WKYC 

Great to see the leadership at WKYC (NBC affiliate) for hosting our quarterly NorthEast Ohio’s (NEO) Public Information Officer (PIO) training!

Photo credit: K. Hyson, Cincinnati Health Department

Lots of discussion based around media relations focusing on timely and accurate reporting. Additionally, lots of conversation with good stories vs bad stories – which challenges the typical paradigm of news media’s “If it bleeds, it leads!” mantra.


“Off the record” conversation as well as immediate notification of incident dominated the early part of our conversation.

We moved into how strategy sometimes gets in the way of real emergencies and of course how our PIO narratives sometimes conflicts with how the story is produced.


To me, I was also surprised at how many reporters wanted txt msgs as compared to phone calls. In fact, desk assignment editors wanted a mention as well as a follow-up txt or notification of ongoing emerging issue.


I am very greatful to be able to have candid conversation with our partners in the media. And yes, sharing success stories as well as challenges will allow us to do a better job with our local media to communicate our safety messages. Very glad to hear that getting the story right is still the main drive of our local news agencies.

Many thanks to the pros at WKYC (NBC affiliate) Cleveland for the hospitality and generosity.


Reporting live from WKYC…

@rusnivek

Safety-PIO-SM 15-002: Tornado or ICBM launch? #Instagram

15-002: Tornado or ICBM launch?
Agency: ReadyOC Topic(s):         Picture and hashtag use
Date: 02-13-15 Platform:        Instagram

Pictures are such an important part of every social media post. Instagram is mainly based on pictures and hashtags to engage all users. This was evident when Orange County’s Emergency Preparedness team posted this on their Instagram feed.

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To the untrained eye, it does seem like a severe microstorm/cloud/tornado. However, the picture shows a launch of a rocket pulled from google images or desktop computer wallpaper. Furthermore, this post could also be misconstrewed as a missile/ICBM launch or an attack on US soil.

Finding original content is tough, but professionals take the time to discern the little details in the pictures to showcase the safety theme and share actionable information. It is our duty to correctly inform the public on dangers that we encounter. We also must strive to provide actionable information with our engagement digital strategies.

If ReadyOC used the correct picture of a tornado, adding safety tips to the post (like those featured below) could have enhanced their theme.

“Monitor weather reports provided by your local media. #NWS #NOAA #Tornado #Prepared2015”

or

“If there is a power outage, have extra batteries for a battery-operated radio and your cell phone including your cell phone charger #Tornado #Prepared2015”

or

“Consider buying a NOAA Weather Radio/All Hazards receiver, which receives broadcast alerts directly from the National Weather Service #NWS #Tornado #Prepared2015”

Right now, the hashtag #photography is unnecessary because it doesn’t relate to the post. Remember social media, especially Instagram, is a visual medium. Your reader’s Instagram feed space is at a premium.

By laying it out this way:

  1. The correct picture will draw readers into the picture and (possibly) click the link in the profile.
  2. You don’t cause panic by showcasing a missile launch and calling it an #emergency.
  3. You incorporate a preparedness action phrase to your audience for #tornado safety on Instagram
  4. You use Instagram’s prime digital real estate to share good hashtags to find great information.

Time is valuable, so gram good stuff.

@rusnivek

To download the one-pager, click on the link here: Safety-PIO-SM-15-002-TornadoOrICBMLaunch

 

A lonely shortened Facebook link on Twitter – Safety-PIO-SM-14-004

14-004: A lonely shortened Facebook link on Twitter
Agency: South Central Sierra Interagency IMT Topic(s):         Shared information/update
Date: Summer 2014 Platform:        Twitter

 

Speed is primarily the reason why everyone loves social media…especially Twitter. Many agencies use social media to provide updates and information when assigned to certain incidents. That’s what the South Central Sierra Interagency Incident Management Team did during the French Fire in California when they pushed this lonely shortened Facebook link out on Twitter.

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I get that 140 character max on Twitter is short…and you have lots to say…and you don’t have time…and blah blah blah. Everyone else doesn’t have time too. But pushing a non-descript link, does raise a concern that perhaps your account has been compromised by spam bots. Your agency has worked diligently to establish solid working relationships. During an emergency is the WORST time for your audience to question and/or ignore your official accounts with trusted reliable information.

 

If your social media plan calls for directing all efforts to Facebook as the primary source of information, a Public Information Officer (PIO) should still take the time to provide a little information (like a short description) on other platforms driving the traffic to that primary source. Providing just a link is not enough.

In the PIO business, we are forced to be precise, however just providing a link pertaining to a dangerous situation or disasters will not be enough to satiate the Twittersphere’s social interest.

 

Audiences change on various social media platforms, however, many agencies *think* they are all the same.

Knowing your audience is the hallmark of success. If you pair your Facebook and Twitter accounts to save time and to pass the exact same message – you should consider separating them now. Remember, you write/post/share information differently on various social media platforms.

 

A more effective tweet could have read:

Still assigned to the French Fire here in California-Check out pictures frm @BLMNational Interagency Fire fb.me/1BV35Tytx #CAWildfire

By phrasing it this way:

  1. You have more visibility by informing your followers that your team is still assigned to the incident.
  2. The link looks less spammy and readers know what the specific content is in the link.
  3. Your #hashtag will give more information about the current overall disaster/emergency.
  4. Your readers are likely to click on this hyperlink because it will take them to a picture. People love pictures.
  5. Your agency shows coordinated efforts with national response agencies when you use @mentions on twitter.

 

Time is valuable, so tweet good stuff.

 

@rusnivek

 

***To download this as a single-page printable format, click this: ALonelyShortenedFacebookLinkOnTwitter-Safety-PIO-SM-14-004a

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