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This week's chat

July 2, 2013 Transcript of #CommsChat on niche sectors

Last week, @ncardwell led a discussion about communications in niche sectors. The chat explored the challenges that communicators face in these sectors and the way that companies perceive communications. Some highlighted tweets are below.

 

  • @ncardwell T1: Comms people bring a fresh perspective but, most importantly, our experience and confidence in communicating to niche sectors
  • @DanielArda A1) Communicators can help tell stories; translating complex info into plain language so that more people understand key messages
  • @samontheweb in my experience only way to turn a non believer into a believer is to prove it through results
  • @ncardwell T5) My ‘top tip’ – tell stories, make it relevant. Almost everything is designed or build for people. Bring this out in comms
  • @DaveThackeray A6 funny: in the thralls of all this digital confusion, I’ve discovered being a gilded generalist counts for much.

Read everyone’s thoughts:

 

 

  1. Will post the transcript tomorrow AM. has article on professional services coming up in July for any interested.

  2. Time’s up. Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Thanks to for the interesting topics!

  3. A6) Recruitment is horrendous in any sector. Simply the age of the Job Description is dead.

  4. A6) Do they want niche – or do they simply not know what they need?

  5. I think so – important for communicators to go out of their comfort zone too sometimes

  6. I think the key – like has shown – is being able to offer a niche skillset to the niche sector

  7. breaking down complex information is a transferable skill

  8. T6: I would’ve thought experience of communicating different types of messages to audience the issue rather than sector specific

  9. As long as you understand the client and know how to communicate effectively any comms experience counts

  10. T6) Really interesting to hear people’s experiences. Do we sometimes get credit for taking ‘road less travelled’ professionally?

  11. T6: my experience:i used to do security comms exclusively-employers liked that I effectively communicated a hard topic – was adv

  12. More than one actually! >> RT : There’s a RUBBER magazine? Amazing

  13. A6 funny: in the thralls of all this digital confusion, I’ve discovered being a gilded generalist counts for much.

  14. T6) Yes, especially when crossing from private to public sector or vice versa. Candidates suffer from stereotypes

  15. not necessarily, journos do it. Husband went from editor of airport mag to rubber mag!

  16. A5 make it relevant to them – case studies they can relate to or feel an emotion about

  17. …when applying for new roles or seeking career progression?

  18. T6 in two parts: Can it be difficult to make sector-specific comms experience relevant …

  19. T5) My ‘top tip’ – tell stories, make it relevant. Almost everything is designed or build for people. Bring this out in comms

  20. Sorry arriving late to T5 I’d say make tech subject human & less jargon try to relate to everyday life & maybe a bit of humour

  21. Couldn’t agree more! Very important distinction, and one I think, we as prof communicators need to advise on

  22. I agree. You know journos better than me. I’ve noticed though that certain audiences eg. academics prefer jargon

  23. I”m sometimes conscious of creating referenceable ‘body of work’ rather than just a one-cycle news story

  24. Two to go. T5: What are your top tips for making technical subjects relevant and interesting to a wider audience?

  25. T4: and identifying what experts think people need to know and what they actually need to know

  26. simplification and widening appeal of their content for wider reach

  27. T4: making it interesting and relevant to the audience with often a very small budget

  28. A4) Getting to grips with technically complex information and how to broadcast it in layman’s terms. eg. law, finance et al

  29. to play devil’s advocate, sometimes trade journos have to go beyond jargon to explain to audience what’s going on

  30. T4) A challenge for me has often been quickly developing knowledge (and, from there, credibility) in the particular topic area

  31. Yes, and sometimes audiences prefer that we use specific terms because they already know the lingo

  32. A3 yes. To get best, needs original, detailed material. They already have understanding (bonus) – & read by industry

  33. trying to make that niche subject of interest to a wider audience

  34. T3) One adv of trade media i’ve found is stories can often be about future e.g. new technology, rather than what ‘has happened’

  35. A4: expressing themselves to a largely unknowing audience. Key is targeting lowest common denominator.

  36. Here’s a good one. T4: What challenges do communicators in niche sectors face?

  37. The days of the ego-driven trade press editor are gone, in the main. They have learned lessons the hard way.

  38. it’s all about understanding what people want and relationship building

  39. Could be. As we work w/ a specific sector often, we know the language/jargon of that sector

  40. I’ve found sometimes the trade press react better to simplification of issues than you would imagine. Their audiences like simple

  41. true – wished I’d unpacked the shopping quicker now!

  42. Admittedly I’ve not dealt directly with journos or trade media directly… perhaps audience and language are key

  43. Bit late to join in but having a quick scroll through, tonight’s topics look really interesting.

  44. Thoughts on trade press? As a member of said group, I can safely say I like you all just fine!

  45. But ultimately it’s a huge step forward. I’m helping upskill social champions quickly. We’re now in a solid position for growth.

  46. A2 either raising their head above parapet or opposite – can’t keep up with expectations for future success

  47. Shall we move on? T3: Is working with trade media, academic journals etc different from working with mainstream media & journaos?

  48. in a challenging way. My job is 1m times harder because before they saw social as a nice to have – now an opportunity.

  49. That’s interesting. In a good way or a bad way (or a bit of both)?

  50. The great awakening has been a catalyst for new relationships and partnerships. Few realise this key opportunity in T2 world.

  51. With my org being in T2 world right now, I’ve discovered showing my bosses what peers are doing here is opening Pandora’s Box

  52. definitely we also have a role to help put them in the shoes of colleagues so they can address ‘what’s in it for me?’

  53. Not at all, Sam. We’re on T2 at the moment!

  54. Indeed! Can it be a challenge to establish what metrics/results niche sectors value?

  55. Think I’ve jumped the gun & answered no. 2 not 1! They’ll throw me out the convo at this rate!

  56. I agree. It’s also highlighting the risk to the organisation’s reputation and the consequences if they don’t share info

  57. T2:…when intheir minds people should just want to do it

  58. I think that you have to refer to case studies and research and how similar orgs have benefited to influence niche

  59. T2:challenge when it’s an area that’s often mandatory i.e. security/legal is helping them understand why communicate…

  60. in my experience only way to turn a non believer into a believer is to prove it through results

  61. Those who don’t believe in the value of comms to niche sectors may not have experienced the benefits

  62. A1 problem is getting niche to realise they need comms support – and comms wider than niche industry

  63. I think we add value bybeing a sounding board as non-experts i.e. do we understand the message?if so others prob will

  64. I think last tweet answers this, highlights our external perspective, which has value to whole business

  65. Time for T2: Are there challenges introducing comms into sectors that previously haven’t had to talk about or sell themselves?

  66. agree -i think our distance from the subject matter can be our strength – it gives us a more objective view

  67. MT agree – i think our distance from the subject matter can be our strength – it gives us a more objective view

  68. Sorry to have to miss tonight! Will catch up with you soon.

  69. Anyone think communicators don’t have added value to niche sectors beyond being…communicators

  70. I couldn’t agree more. This is such an important part of the comms role in niche sectors for me

  71. A1) Communicators can help tell stories; translating complex info into plain language so that more people understand key messages

  72. Absolutely. It’s often seen as a weakness but I think breadth of experience of many comms people is a strength

  73. T1: we are able to bring creative ideas to subject matters often aren’t the most exciting!

  74. I think they also have a wider framework of knowledge from experience outside the sector

  75. T1: Comms people bring a fresh perspective but, most importantly, our experience and confidence in communicating to niche sectors

  76. Good evening everyone. I’m Neil and i’ve worked in Comms roles in different niche sectors, from engineering to legal services

  77. Our first topic tonight is: What benefits can comms people bring to niche sectors?

  78. Tweetchat is down tonight so make sure you use the tag when posting.

  79. Hello and welcome to with guest . Tonight we’ll discuss comms in professional services/niche sectors.

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