Membership

An In-House Newscast Keeps Messaging Under Control

By / Feb 16, 2021 (Tashi/E+/Getty Images Plus)

Hearsay posted on social media about association announcements before their official release can cause headaches. One association came up with a solution to counter misleading chatter and reassert itself as its community’s official news source.

Leaks, misinformation, and misguided interpretations—just another week in politics? Not quite. The ramifications of social media overshare are everywhere, including in associations.

No association executive wants to see information shared on social media by members who are eager to spread what they hear through the grapevine before it’s been vetted and approved.

Rick Harris, CEO of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals, found himself in that position late last year when he learned that members sometimes took bits of information and spread them on social media before APMP’s official releases, which caused people to form opinions before the organization had a chance to properly frame the issue, he said. In such cases, Harris’s team had to quickly play catch-up to quash the misinformation and set members straight with the facts.

Harris knew APMP needed to better control the messaging around major announcements. His team came up with a way to do that—without offending members who had posted information prematurely.

“We thought, we’ll take control of it, but we’ll do it in a humorous way,” he said.

They created “APMP Action News,” a program presenting information on the association’s own terms hosted on Zoom once a day for a week. “We want to mimic a news broadcast so we can talk directly to members about new APMP programs and initiatives, instead of them being introduced or commented on before we release them,” Harris said. The show was billed, tongue in cheek, as “No Sports. No Weather, No Traffic. All APMP News.”

The program launched live the week of February 8 for 15 minutes each day, beginning at noon Eastern Time. Members received a daily email with a Zoom link to join each day’s show. “We’ve noticed that our livecasts have so much more energy than anything else we put out there,” he said.

Harris’s background is in radio and TV news and so he coached his staff in some of the finer points. His main piece of advice? “Just be yourself,” he said. Everyone is so used to being on multiple digital platforms. “We’ve got a pretty savvy group right now,” he said. “We’re used to getting our message out there in an unfiltered way.”

Harris served as the main anchor and cut to APMP’s chair, Krystn Macomber, on the West Coast—and then to different staff members in Europe and Asia for updates on conferences and other relevant information in those parts of the world. Harris also brought in member guests to serve as experts to discuss topics more in depth.

Last week’s series of newscasts served as a pilot, but Harris said APMP could return to the pop-up format anytime it has a major announcement. Members have become accustomed to looking for live updates, he said. Last year during its awards program, APMP announced two winners online live every day for a week, and members eagerly logged on to get those announcements.

Members responded immediately when the link for APMP Action News went out. They got the concept right away and wanted a little advance information, but Harris said the team didn’t reveal much in advance and encouraged members to watch the news program in real time.

“We’re treating it like a news show,” he said. “And they get a kick out of that.”

Lisa Boylan

Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now. More »

Comments