Preparing for Seen and Unseen Communication During Time Off

By Cassie Jo Arend

For most, the holidays provide enjoyable time off of work. However, for communication professionals, whether we are awake or sleeping, our work is being watched. Kind of like Santa Claus!

People are still consuming and interacting with your content, and for many agriculture businesses, work doesn’t cease just because the calendar says it should. No matter the situation, people still need to eat and animals still need to be cared for daily. Your communication efforts need to be handled the same. That means you need to be planning ahead and ready to handle situations properly during those times where you won’t necessarily be “on the clock.”

Tips for Professionals to Prepare for Holiday Communication

  • Set yourself up for success by preparing at least a month in advance for holiday communication. If a holiday is a bigger event for your company, you should probably prepare further in advance. Prior to joining Shift•ology, I directed the communication team for a large-scale turkey producer. We knew the media would want turkey stories the week of Thanksgiving, so we prepared 2-3 months in advance to proactively provide stories they were looking for. 
  • Use social media management tools to help you plan and schedule social media posts in advance. Put yourself in people’s shoes and understand what’s important to them and WHEN it’s going to be important to communicate. We always had customers and employees lose turkey cooking instructions, so we scheduled multiple posts sharing the instructions, and especially Thanksgiving morning. 
  • Plan ahead with staffing. Not everybody can always be on vacation at the same time, but you can plan it so that specific people are assigned to checking social media or responding where needed on specific days/times. Or take shifts on the actual holiday.
  • Plan for the unplanned. Unfortunately, there are times as a communicator where you’re going to have to interrupt your personal life for unplanned situations. We once had a derecho knock down barns and communication channels. I was on maternity leave with a 2-week-old baby and a 2-year-old toddler. Fortunately, we had taken time in advance to hire Shift•ology CEO Melanie Wilt to get a crisis communication plan in place, so we were very prepared. 

It’s a little uncomfortable to think through all the bad things that could happen for your company, but taking time to have a solid plan in place gives your team crucial training so they know how to respond. And if they forget, it’s all in writing in a book to remember the right things to do.

I saw all the nooks and crannies we had and it was very overwhelming. So I hired Melanie to help me weed through it all and get a solid plan in place. I’m still so proud to this day when I see that team take the right proactive measures and know what they are supposed to be doing.

All told, if you effectively plan for both the foreseen and unseen, your time off will be less stressful and more relaxing.

If you don’t feel like you have the manpower to handle it all, know you can always reach out to our team We are really passionate about planning ahead and using science and data to drive our choices. 

Check out Cassie Jo’s interview in our holiday episode of Shooting the Shift, also featuring Account Manager Emily Bennett and Ohio Christmas tree farmer Jeff Reese.

Need some help handling it all? Reach out to our team.

Feel the need for crisis planning assistance? Contact Melanie Wilt.