Don't Let Decisions Linger, Innovate and Think Bite Size, Leaders Urge

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Decisions can be intimidating, until you make them. Then you can move on and adjust when needed. When it's time to make a decision, stop wasting time, former CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Meg Whitman said in an interview with Forbes.

"I take in all the data. A fast no is better than a long extended no or long extended yes. It helps knowing that when you make mistakes, you can always fix mistakes... you have to be prudent. People can get frozen. If you think about every bad thing that will happen, you freeze. This is where pattern recognition is really helpful. I've been doing this for so long; I've seen the movie before."

Here are more pieces of advice from media executives:

Reward a creative culture, CEO Rajeev Kapur of 1105 Media, told an SIIA audience: "I tell everybody that works for me that I'd rather have them try and fail than not try. And that I want them to make a decision. We can fix a bad decision; we can't fix a no-decision. "No one will ever get fired for trying something new or for failing at something they tried to do. I reward people who try, people who think outside the box. I am doing everything I can to empower my team all the way down the chain to say, 'Look, this is what we need to do for the customer.'"

"As companies, we need to innovate to provide new experiences," added Kapur. "If you [don't] embrace marketing automation in the next 18 months, you will be left behind. Traditional media is no longer the gatekeeper. Today, clients can directly reach customers without our help. Everyone is a content producer today. How do we keep our audience coming back to us? Content will always be king but content drives community and community drives commerce.

Start something new on a clear beginning. "Managers shouldn't start a corporate change initiative on a Thursday—start it on the day after a federal holiday, or at the beginning of a quarter, or on a Monday," best-selling author Daniel Pink says. The basis of this is similar to research that says that we are twice as likely to run a marathon at age 29 than age 28 or 30. "Endings have this power to galvanize us."

Justify your launch into a particular social channel. Once there, leverage your existing content. "We didn't just jump in and start our Instagram account," said Dorea Reeser, audience engagement editor for the American Chemical Society. "We wanted to justify starting it." They did a soft launch with existing content and in a month gained 1,000 followers. Then they created features like chemistry in pictures and chemistry comics. The hard launch followed, and they started asking for feedback on other content that readers desired. "They wanted to see inside people's labs, real people in the field like grad students. And it all started from this Instagram post. We weren't expecting these conversations."

For webinars, "educate rather than sell," advised Hyon-Young Kim, webinar producer, Education Week in a session on webinars. "Product pitches often fall short. Think about how you want to frame it. Don't let your webinars leave your audience disappointed or feeling duped. We want our customers to come back." For social media, tailor the webinar language to the platform. Experiment and see what gains traction. Incorporate social sharing in the platform. Consider offering closed captioning services—it's a good resource and they provide a written transcript... And don't let the trail end with the webinar. Post the next webinar and/or links to related articles.

Think mobile and bite size. "In alignment with the revenue-first strategy and trust efforts, news organizations will focus on projects that allow them to own niche audiences and drive traffic and engagement with short-form, mobile-friendly content," wrote José Zamora, vice president of strategic communications for Univision News. "We will see a stronger comeback of 'retro' formats and distribution platforms that range from newsletters like theSkimm to mobile micro reports to video explainers, podcasts, bots and bite-sized content that is easy to digest on your mobile device."

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…