- Why my organization still wants me to blog in 2019, ten years after blogging died.
- Whether the personal story I’m supposed to begin my talk with will actually work or just embarrass me.
- How to write a pitch for an op-ed.
- How to write an op-ed.
- Why I should write a pitch first for my op-ed instead of sending in the op-ed draft my entire organization has been editing for two weeks.
- How to keep my entire organization from rewriting my op-ed for two weeks, causing me to miss the news peg the op-ed was supposed to address.
- Why we can’t have four co-authors on our op-ed (because our paper did).
- Why I might have to rewrite an op-ed that one publisher rejected when we submit it to another publisher.
- How to feel about how I feel about media interviews: about the stupid questions; the last-minute requests; the way they only use one thing you say and leave out all the other important stuff; the way they seldom get even that one thing right.
- Why the story my communications and media staffers tell me is the real story of my new paper doesn’t seem to me like the real story of my new paper.
- What’s the difference between messaging and dumbing down.
- Why my paper didn’t get any press coverage.
- Why comms isn’t even going to try to get my new paper any press coverage.
- How I’m supposed to make time for communicating research when it’s not part of my annual objectives or work plan.
- How much time I’m supposed to spend on Twitter before I can stop.
- Why it’s so important for me to comment on Twitter on other researchers’ new work, when it feels like sniping or showboating.
- Why comms asked me to write something for the website and then beat it up in the edit and sent it back to me to rewrite when I didn’t even time to write it in the first place.
- Why we shouldn’t send out announcements about the new postdocs/fellows/interns/admin staff in our external newsletter.
- Why we even have an email newsletter when it’s all on social now.
- Why I need to tweet when I have my personal email list with the media and influencers I need to reach.
- Which social media metrics I should pay attention to.
- Which web metrics I should pay attention to.
- Why our think tank/research center/NGO science team needs positioning.
- Why a researcher who works for me should get to give that talk/appear on that podcast/do the voiceover for that video, not me.
- Why the CEO/director of research got to give that talk/appear on that podcast/do the voiceover for that video, not me.
If you’re a researcher, how many of the above vex you?
If you’re a research communicator, how many would you struggle to answer persuasively? (Not more than two or three, I’d hope.)
I’d like to turn a more comprehensive version of this list into a quick assessment of how well a research-driven organization has integrated strategic communications into its work.
After 20 years of working with research-driven organization, here’s what I think: if your research staff members persistently don’t know five or more of these things, that’s a warning sign.
I’d love to know what you think — and which questions you’d add to this list.