What you want to know about

Given the chance to shape a conference to their own priorities, which topics would top the agenda of corporate online communications managers? We asked, and they told us.

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If you want to reach the people who run global corporate web estates, which channel should you prioritise to send them your choice content? Twitter? Smartphone? iPad app? Or that unglamorous old workhorse, e-mail?
Congratulations on reaching the largest audience if you opt for the latter. More of them prefer to consume their daily diet of work-related news and views via their in-box than all other channels combined, according to members of our Web Effectiveness Network polled last month about the most pressing topics on their ‘need to know more’ list. Of the 58 nominating a favourite reception channel, 40 gave their first preference to e-mail. While the sample may be comparatively small, the proportion backing e-mail is eye-catching. Almost half (28) gave LinkedIn as their second choice.
Don’t bank on getting through, though, even then. Anecdotal evidence from the free comments gathered by the survey paints a picture of managers struggling to get to their in-boxes often enough to keep up or, frequently, not having the time to digest anything substantial. “Only if a topic touches on an immediate issue do I tend to dig in,” remarked one. “Not an ideal approach, but all I can do these days.”
All of which may add weight to the views of those who did dig in and found the time to give a considered response to our questionnaire. So, what subjects are most likely to cause them to pause, and click open?

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Well, the future of the corporate website – has it got one? if so, how will it evolve? – is what most are ‘very interested’ in: 70.3 per cent, rising to 93.7 per cent when the merely ‘interested’ are added. Hardly surprising, perhaps. It is, after all, what pays the bills. But almost matching it for high interest (67.7 per cent) is ‘content’ – where to find it, how to generate and cultivate it, what channels to deliver it through and in what tone of voice. Bring in the ’interested’ parties and Content actually is king (95.4 per cent).
Governance, too, from getting the buy-in of bosses and multiple departments to measuring success and maintaining a coherent consistent message, has almost universal attention (93.8 per cent ‘interested’ or ‘very interested’), though with somewhat less urgency (47.7 per cent ‘very interested’).
On the new channels front, Apps and mobile command priority over social media: 50.7 per cent ‘very interested’ against 40.0 per cent. This may reflect the status of apps and mobile as ‘the latest thing’ – social media is so ‘last year’ in terms of what the CEO’s children are telling them they can’t not have. Anecdotal comments, though, suggest these are just one more concern to pile on an already heavy and expanding load of responsibilities. Asked about priorities for 2012, one manager responded: “Getting my boss to understand that I can no longer do all the new extra activities – mobile, apps, social media – on top or by ‘re-prioritising’ my normal activities”.
When it comes to coping with their most pressing concerns, managers much prefer to share the experiences and lessons of their contemporaries in the front line: 31 of 58 prefer case studies from peers above other forms of presentation. A pragmatic bunch – just six want the boost of an inspirational talk from a ‘thought leader’.
For more about how to tap into this peer group’s insights, contact Dan Drury, our WEN coordinator, on
e-mail: ddrury@bowencraggs.com
office: +44 2071 937554
LinkedIn linkedin.com/in/dandrury

First published 04 April, 2012
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