The comms approval process

  If you’ve been through the comms approval process a few times, you’ll know: the pain is real. Getting through layers of people to edit and sign-off a piece of content – whether it’s a video, a design, a press release or other copy – it can be excruciating. They’ll drain all the life outContinue reading “The comms approval process”

The ‘commsplanation’: duff advice from the non comms colleague

I made up a word: “commsplanation’. Have you ever been commsplained? It’s where someone who is less qualified than you, or less experienced, explains something to you. They get hold of the tiniest amount of knowledge, and suddenly they’re giving you opinions so misinformed, so utterly clueless that you want to boot them up theContinue reading “The ‘commsplanation’: duff advice from the non comms colleague”

The future of PR & communications: 2020 & beyond

As a creative PR and comms trainer, I’m often asked, ‘What is the future of PR and communications?’ It’s a fun and daunting topic to explore. Will tech advances change the industry completely? Will robots steal our jobs? How can we change to future-proof our careers and our companies? The truth is: I haven’t gotContinue reading “The future of PR & communications: 2020 & beyond”

My advice for a career in communications

I’m sharing some advice for a career in communications as part of the second #CommsCreative challenge: to blog useful tips for other communicators (read more about the challenge here). I’m now old enough to have enough bags of experience to fill all of Louis Vuitton’s shops. I started as a press officer, took on more generalContinue reading “My advice for a career in communications”

Communications strategy, snakes and ladders style

Ever have that feeling when you see something so nifty, and simple that you wish you’d thought of it? That was me when I saw this very creative communications strategy template from Sarah Yates, Broxtowe Borough Council’s brilliant Corporate Communications Manager. Very kindly, @haribohats has made this awesome #comms planning guide available to download and print! Brilliant #commscreativeContinue reading “Communications strategy, snakes and ladders style”

Ten tips for comms pros from the NHS Communications Conference 2018

It’s amazing how invigorating it can be to get out of the office to learn and network with other communications professionals. Yesterday I loved hosting the NHS Confederation’s Communications Conference 2018, and I’m so grateful to share some excellent insights into comms and life, from a delegate at the event, Katie Stephenson. It was great to meetContinue reading “Ten tips for comms pros from the NHS Communications Conference 2018”

2018 survey: Comms in the UK housing sector

Busy UK housing communications professionals rarely get time to meet other comms teams to compare teams and work experiences. So in early 2018, I asked PR and comms practitioners in the sector to take a short survey, where they could honestly answer how work is for them right now. Some patterns have emerged, and IContinue reading “2018 survey: Comms in the UK housing sector”

What should be in your communications kit?

The modern communicator is asked to turn their hand to lots of techniques, and if you want to be prepared for all sorts – here’s my guide to the 13 things you need with you at all times in your communications kit. To save that TLDR feeling, I just drew them to save you readingContinue reading “What should be in your communications kit?”

Dealing with negative social media comments – dos and don’ts

The subject of dealing with negative social media comments crops up in almost every social media training course I run, so I thought I’d share my simple dos and don’ts to make things easier. So, this is how to handle unfavourable posts people might tweet your organisation, leave on their Facebook page, or any socialContinue reading “Dealing with negative social media comments – dos and don’ts”

Is your fear stopping your social media comms from saying anything?

Communicators often confide in me that they don’t really like using Facebook (and other social media) for their organisations because people will probably post snarky things in the comments section of each post. Especially if they’re communicating potentially controversial work. The general gist of what I hear is this: ‘If we talk about this, we’ll haveContinue reading “Is your fear stopping your social media comms from saying anything?”

A comms guide to the ‘sorry not sorry’ statement

Is it ever OK to respond to a breaking story about a mistake your organisation has made – with a joke? A BBC story about Cardiff Council I read this week, demonstrates that sometimes, using humour can be a great way to diffuse tension. Somebody at the council found the Christmas tree they had ordered wasContinue reading “A comms guide to the ‘sorry not sorry’ statement”

The most important social media measure? The ‘ex-haters’ number.

I’ve been developing a course on social media evaluation, and one metric stands out to me as most important. I call it the ‘ex-haters story’: the number of people you’ve won-around. In this post I outline: What the ex-hater metric is; Why it’s one of the most important measures; and how to make your ex-hater figuresContinue reading “The most important social media measure? The ‘ex-haters’ number.”

Writing statements: avoid clichés like the plague

If you write media statements, advise colleagues or clients or speak to the media regularly yourself – it can be comforting to fall back on familiar phrases and reassuring sayings. But try to make your statement sound like it wasn’t composed by a cliché-bot. In this scribble, each item of clothing is made up of myContinue reading “Writing statements: avoid clichés like the plague”

Just how social is your social media?

Most are not serial killers – in fact psychopaths are more likely to find their way into politics, boardrooms or media organisations than be jailed for murder.” Will Black In this post, I want to show how some of the behaviours that have become standard or accepted in the world of social media communications, share qualitiesContinue reading “Just how social is your social media?”

Why Awards Matter – Communication, Leadership and Rhetoric

Note from Helen: It’s such an honour to share a guest post on this blog from a communicator I have admired for years, Laura Davies. As a judge and a winner of awards, I’ve experienced how outside recognition helped individuals and teams improve their work by boosting their confidence to make bolder decisions in theContinue reading “Why Awards Matter – Communication, Leadership and Rhetoric”

Public sector comms: how to not be evil

(Or, ‘How social media helped me get my heart back’) I’m going to keep this quite short considering this is post about obedience, public sector managers, the nature of evil and social media. I’m going to argue how findings of a few psychological studies suggest the modern communications person needs to be more in touchContinue reading “Public sector comms: how to not be evil”

How to respond when rumours start to spread on Facebook

‘Rumour Cascades‘, a  joint study from Stanford University and Facebook, provides some fascinating insights that can serve as advice for public bodies on halting the spread of misinformation. This was first published on the Guardian website in mid May. A new study, jointly conducted by Facebook and Stanford University, has shed new light on how rumours spread on theContinue reading “How to respond when rumours start to spread on Facebook”

Five interesting ways councils are using infographics

This article was first published in the Guardian, you can read the original on their website here. We are in an era where we get our news and entertainment in increasingly brief chunks and on smaller, mobile screens. Councils, like other organisations,  are in the race for people’s attention. Whether interactive, beautifully designed or creativelyContinue reading “Five interesting ways councils are using infographics”

Isn’t it time ALL employees were encouraged to use social media?

I’ve been banging this drum for years now – organisations should be encouraging all employees to use social media. At a conference I spoke at yesterday, two PR legends, Professor Anne Gregory and Jørn Madslien referred in their presentations to the Edelman Trust Barometer and what some of the fascinating insights in the report meanContinue reading “Isn’t it time ALL employees were encouraged to use social media?”

Seven social media headlines of 2012 and what they teach us

Last week when the awesome Nick Atkin of Halton Housing and I talked to some clued-up housing sector professionals* we looked at social media in 2012 and what’s in store for next year. Here are just some of the social media stories from 2012 we looked at and what they teach us for 2013. 1.Continue reading “Seven social media headlines of 2012 and what they teach us”

Finding my voice – why I blog

This month I was honoured to be interviewed for a new book on blogging available now on Kindle. Author of ‘Your Blog Voice‘ the fabulous Philippa Davies asked me questions about my blogging for inclusion in the book and she’s kindly allowed me to reproduce my interview here. For interviews with bloggers of all varietiesContinue reading “Finding my voice – why I blog”

Making mistakes and giving staff access to social media

Some very clever people I’ve learned lots from over the past few years have let me publish guest posts on their blogs. They are all about social media and based on my experiences so I thought I’d group them here. They all touch on the following subjects: giving staff access to social media what thatContinue reading “Making mistakes and giving staff access to social media”

Twitter: more than talking about your breakfast

There are still a load of people out there who dismiss social media sites like Twitter as being where young people LOL and ROFL and talk about their breakfast.   Janet Street Porter was taking pop at Twitter on a TV show last week and repeated lots of the same arguments we’ve probably all heardContinue reading “Twitter: more than talking about your breakfast”

Public sector people – do you want a place to talk social media?

Anyone who works in PR has probably come across unflattering assumptions that our job is to cover up bad stuff and pump out good news. We know though that we want to inform and engage, particularly in public sector PR. We work using our personal ethics, a commitment to be non-political, the CIPR code ofContinue reading “Public sector people – do you want a place to talk social media?”

To follow or not to follow on Twitter? Are you part of a community or are you aloof?

One of the hundreds of things that are great about using social media is the capacity to build communities – it’s one of the useful elements I’ve found while managing a twitter account for a local authority.   An organisation has an opportunity to find out what people think about what it does, what interestsContinue reading “To follow or not to follow on Twitter? Are you part of a community or are you aloof?”

My waffly first blog about Opentech 2010 & being a PR amid techies

As a public relations officer for a Welsh council my role is about, of course promoting and maintaining the reputation of the authority, but our focus is about true engagement. I’m really interested in opening up channels of communication between ‘us’ and residents, partner organisations and all stakeholders really.   Which is why Opentech 2010Continue reading “My waffly first blog about Opentech 2010 & being a PR amid techies”