Time to Chill

It’s the sixth of July and the first, full-fledged heat wave is upon us here in the Northeast. The temperature is expected to reach 102 degrees in New York City today – or at least that is what the local meteorologists are predicting. It’s hard to tell what is driving their breathlessly excited forecasting – heat prostration or just the opportunity to have a “big” weather story to tell. I simply want the facts. I can add my own emotional spin.

Isn’t that what we all want? Information. Delivered clearly, promptly, and with a little knowledgeable perspective if available. If you don’t have the knowledge to offer a valued perspective, that is okay so long as you stick to the facts. That is why I have mostly given up on getting news from television, radio (NPR excluded) and print. I still read my New York Times and Wall Street Journal in newsprint (I know it’s all online too, but old habits die hard) but no longer to get the news of the day. I read newspapers more selectively today for the more in-depth stories on subjects that I either already have an interest in or that peak my interest and curiosity.

I also still read my local Jewish newspaper but again, more for interesting features and insights not for the latest information about Israel.

So, if you are in the communications field how do you set a strategy that gets people reading your content when the old, tried-and-true channels just aren’t working the way they used to? If you are in the Jewish communications field, where do you fit? What do you offer that adds value, is insightful, useful, not being covered elsewhere, is funny, provocative, fresh and worthy of sharing? And remember as representative of your typical audience member, I will give you less than 30 seconds to prove that you are worth my time. So please don’t try to impress me, don’t embellish the facts, don’t get fat and lazy with too many words that communicate nothing but your self- importance, don’t send me stuff that is old, been said a hundred times by writers better than you or that is irrelevant to my world or worse yet is naked marketing dolled up to look like useful information.

Chill out. Take this hot summer as a time to stop trying so hard to reach me and just figure out how to make your communications smarter, better and really useful. I promise if you do, to give you my full attention.

Gail Hyman is a marketing and communications professional who currently focuses her practice, Gail Hyman Consulting, on assisting Jewish nonprofit organizations increase their ranks of supporters and better leverage their communications in the Web 2.0 environment. Gail is a regular contributor to eJewish Philanthropy.