Opinion Valley France Writing for Impact Media Relations Writing Skills for Alstom

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PROJECT TITLE: WRITING FOR IMPACT MEDIA RELATIONS WRITING SKILLS FOR ALSTOM
AGENCY: OPINION VALLEY – FRANCE
CLIENT:  ALSTOM

Project of the Year 2013 Finalist of Business-to-Business Category
Background

World leader in transport infrastructure, power generation and electrical grid. Present in around 100 countries with 92,600 employees (as at 31 March 2012). Sales 2011/12 €19.9 billion

Objectives

• To launch a training programme to harmonise and improve globally the know-how of the media relations network.

Response

• A series of 2-day practical training for 6/8 personnel at a time. Aim to de-dramatizing the act of writing so allowing Alstom PR officers to achieve consistency when writing for the media.

Challenges

• Language barrier: The training was carried out in English but the trainees had to respond in their mother tongue.

• As the training was on Alstom’s reputation the guidelines were by necessity very strict.

• The editorial style of communications was very technical, and journalists were in danger of not totally understand the material they were receiving.

• The writing exercise was individual and so it was necessary to ensure that the others in the group were engaged too.

Timing

 

 

Strategy

• Utilise the NetCast Method of writing techniques to develop strategic positioning that is in tune with media expectations.

• Split the 2-day training session into Theory, Practical Exercises and Self-evaluation.

• Theory: Encompassed a reminder of journalistic techniques; what media relations means and covers; techniques for writing press releases; how to enhance press relations.

• Practical Exercises: Linked to Alstom real-life stories and linked to NetCast method.

•  Prior to training: Self-evaluation in three steps: A self-assessment questionnaire sent. They had to give their objectives, experience, acknowledgement of areas where they could progress plus submission of previously written work with their comments.

• During training: A handbook provided for use during the workshop and beyond. Designed to track individual progress. Sharing of individual key areas of progress with the group at the end of day two so that further objectives can be formulated. The trainer moderated the formulation of objectives based on attendees’ feedback.

• Three months after training: Participants were asked to report on what they’d noted in their handbooks following the workshop (opportunities to use lessons learned, progress and remaining areas of improvement requiring support or training). Provision of an example of a recent press release or other relevant document that they may have drafted.

• Opinion Valley provided a report on the feedback to the Alstom communications team that highlighted achieved progress.

Results

• Satisfaction rate 83.8%

• An additional three training sessions have been requested.

• Client has requested Opinion Valley to enlarge the training to online communication)

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