The industry needs to work smarter not harder in communications

As I read David Blackmon’s article, “Shale, Fracking Require Smarter – Not Harder – Industry Communications,” I found myself nodding along in silent agreement. The article took a look at the communications from the natural gas industry to the public and the approach to complicated and often emotional topics such as fracking.

My favorite gems of wisdom from the article:

  • “They are also increasing realizing that, if they don’t tell their own story, no one else is going to do it for them.”
  • “Industry doesn’t necessarily need to spend tons more money in its public education and communications efforts, it just needs to spend the money smarter.”
  • “It means spending more time getting out into local communities to educate citizens on what oil and gas operations really look like, what the benefits and impacts are, and to answer every question anyone wants to raise.”

Each of these points resonates loudly and I could not agree more with each one.

In my role of Director of External Affairs at Cabot, I am responsible for overseeing, managing, and planning outreach with a variety of groups of individuals. From elected officials to industry trade groups to media outlets to individuals in the community – the idea of truly practicing open and honest communications has been a driving force behind our outreach over the past several years.

We realized early on that one area that was lacking in communications with the community was an overview and understanding of our operations and what they could expect to see around their area. We conducted focus groups to get an idea of people already knew – or thought that they knew – and what they wanted to learn more about.

We also gave people several ways to give us input: directly talking to us in person, emailing us using the Ask Cabot feature to get an answer to a question they may have had, joining us for rig tours of our locations and operations, and attending the Cabot Community Picnic which served as a way for individuals to ask any question they had directly to the men and women guiding our operations.

While Cabot has been conducting continuing outreach over the years, Mr. Blackmon’s article highlighted an issue we were having. Through educational booklets or social media or this very blog you are currently reading, we had worked hard to establish these platforms to help educate. But where we are failing to work smarter is in the disconnect from one component to another – who really knows all of the resources we have out there?

So with the “smarter not harder” mentality in mind, we will be launching an ongoing series aimed at highlighting the various resources that Cabot has made available from our informational brochures to the Frac or Fiction series on Well Said. And most importantly, we’ll show you the various ways that you can provide feedback to help us shape our outreach to the community.

We hope that you enjoy reading more about opportunities to connect with us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Helping Veterans near and far
George Stark

George grew up in Western PA, graduated from Dickinson College and has been involved in Public Policy matters since then. He has worked in Harrisburg and Pittsburgh on energy issues with a focus on Local, State and Federal matters. As the Director, External Affairs at Cabot Oil & Gas Corp, George directs the media, community and legislative relations for the company.

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