Evaluating comm policies and practices

How often does your team take time to step back and evaluate your communication strategy? We’re about to do that here at WCER. Many people here contribute to our communication process: a PR specialist and a grant proposal editor in the director’s office, a webmaster, a blogger, an editor, and a photographer in our technical services area, and the list goes on. We’re discussing having a communications summit as an opportunity to all get together and to evaluate our communication policies and practices across the enterprise and to plan further communication efforts.

Possible discussion topics would include:

Blogs and podcasts policy

Continuing to print and mail communications pieces vs. posting online only

How the changing use of technology is changing the nature of research dissemination (and implications for us).

Implications of changes in our technical resource capabilities for communications possibilities.

Use of in-house talent vs. external vendors

If you’ve gone through a similar process recently, let’s chat.

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4 Responses to Evaluating comm policies and practices

  1. Edward says:

    Hi Paul,

    I am currently a senior PR student at Auburn University. I am very excited to see your blog. I am very interested in PR as it relates to education. It is a unique niche that is rarely discussed in my classes.

    I read your post about evaluating your school’s communication policies and practices. I am interested to know how evaluating your team’s communication stategies turned out. Did your team learn anything new? Did your team find any errors in the policy? If so, how did you correct them?

  2. paul says:

    Hi Edward. We’re still in the planning stages. I would clarify that our team will address the communications policies not of the University of Wisconsin, but rather of the particular research unit where I’m employed.
    To get the ball rolling I have set up a PBWiki and am soliciting ideas. Because of staff travel, we may not have our kick-off meeting until late summer.
    There are lots of ways to go about something like this; just Google “starategic communications plan” and you’ll see what I mean.
    I think we’ll probably follow some modified form of the classic self- evaluation:
    1. Situation Analysis: Organizational Background
    2. Situation Analysis: External or Public Environment
    3. Organizational Goal and Key Objectives
    4. Communication Objectives
    5. Target Audiences
    6. Key Messages
    7. Strategies
    8. Tactics
    9. Timing
    10. Timelines
    11. Spokespeople
    Are you engaged in a similar project?

    -Paul

  3. Edward says:

    Hi Paul,

    Currently I am not working on a similar project. But, in my senior PR Campaigns class we did look at some of the self-evaluation steps that you listed. In your unit, how important is the role of the PR specialist to the success of your various projects? How exactly do you put his or her skills in action? Also, thanks for responding so quickly!

  4. paul says:

    As a PR practitioner I make myself available to our 50-plus research projects in a number of ways–as an editor/writer, as a photographer, as a tour guide, as a go-between with the University’s central news & information bureau, as a go-between with the School of Education’s communication team, as a fellow brainstormer, as a go-between with graphic artists. Our web team is housed in our information tech department, but I work with them pretty closely to post news and features on our web site. Some projects use me a lot–they tend to be smaller projects with fewer resources. Some larger projects with more staff manage their communications pretty well independently. So it just depends.

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