Why humour on social media should be part of your strategy

People tell me that they can’t do humour on social media, or any fun content, because their comms is for an organisation that does important work. “It’s very serious indeed, the tone would be way off if we were to get all jokey” “We can’t be light-hearted when our work helps people going through dark […]

Empathy – the secret ingredient in social media engagement

Empathy is one of the core elements to getting your social media content and tone of voice spot on. First off, knowing who your audience is: (it’s not everyone!) – then getting their attention by demonstrating that you know just how they feel. When you design your ideas, empathy is what separates the boring, corporate […]

Take the 31 Days of Creativity Challenge 

Take The 31 Days Of Creativity Challenge Unleash your creative side in under 15 minutes a day Our gift to you: an easy programme with 31 quick tasks that will boost your creativity. A lot of people think creativity is just for people like artists, graphic designers and authors. But creativity is not just for ‘arty’ types. […]

Punctuation: five fun facts

National Punctuation Day

It’s National Punctuation Day! So I thought I’d share five more-interesting-than-it-sounds trivia about punctuation. Because I KNOW you comms creatives have a sneaky obsession with punctuation. 1. Do you correctly use hyphens and dashes? I have discovered the difference between the three dashes: – – — Did you know this? Hyphens join words: eg. they’re […]

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 general […]

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 I […]

The top 10 of UK public sector tweets of 2017

Yes, public sector tweets can be exciting and interesting! In the public sector, we often have small, or no, budgets for social media. But our organisations do amazing work and our communications teams have bags of talent. I salute communications professionals in public services and government, and I want to say thanks for keeping us […]

Posting text and video bilingually to Facebook and YouTube

Posting text and video bilingually to social media sites is possible, but not simple! This is a practical post on posting to social media for audiences that speak more than one language. I work with many organisations in Wales that post bilingually, and I thought this may be helpful. It’s just tips from my own trial and […]

The comms manifesto

In my opinion, modern and professional communications has nothing to do with spin, lies and propaganda.

This is my idea of what we do.

Let’s play comms bingo

Do you want to cry when someone asks if they can have an app? Do you shout for mercy when a colleague tells you to make their boring story go viral? Now you can enjoy these excruciating moments, with Comms Facepalm Bingo! Gamify that pain. (If you like my scrawls, I have more of this […]

Standing up for the skills of the expert communicator

Have you ever wandered over to your head of finance and told them how they should interpret the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill of 2014-15? No? Funny how comms people often find colleagues from other professional disciplines advise us about comms subjects of which they have little knowledge or experience. Knowing how to tweet does […]

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 qualities […]

Some tips for new podcasters

A few weeks ago, I made the trip to London to do a podcasting course at the Guardian offices – this meant driving from South Wales at 5am on a Sunday morning (no public transport to get me there on time) – it was worth it. Podcasting seemed to be seen as quite a nerdy […]

The public sector has no obligation to be boring: tweets that show the funny side of gov

I’ve been lucky enough to work with people doing some pretty important, serious stuff. Social work, policing, health, public finances, planning, housing, community safety: it’s all critical work. I’ve noticed that lots of people in the most serious jobs are very comfortable expressing a sense of humour.  As my mum often says: “if you didn’t laugh, you’d cry”. Laughing […]

Council social media: forget about the price tag

A great report from business advisory and accountancy firm BDO, Direct Message, has been released this week, showing results of councils reported use of social media. According to localgov.co.uk: “Two-thirds of councils are now using social media, with 77% saying it can lead to savings if used correctly, according to a new report. …[It] found that responsibility for social […]

Public sector comms: how to not be evil

Being obedient does not equal leader or awesome

(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 touch […]

IC Space: three social media ideas for internal communicators

Here’s an article I wrote for the IC Space, sharing three social media tips for internal communicator. You can read the original posting over on the Government Communications Service website. The IC Space is a fantastic place for internal communication professionals across government to learn and network so I was delighted to be asked to […]

Seven Twitter mistakes we all have to make

The brilliant Comms2point0 guys let me post on their site earlier this week about messing up on Twitter. I’ve republished here but if you get a minute take a look at the amazing resource they have on their website for communications people. Of all experiences we have when using Twitter for our work, blunders, cock-up […]

Twitter and Facebook to the rescue during heavy snow

Lots of councils experience just how important social media is when the weather gets extreme. A week or so ago, Monmouthshire people received and shared timely, useful information, chat and photos during a snowy period. I’ve been really impressed by how effective and helpful the network of Monmouthshire people – council employees, businesses and residents […]

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. […]

Influence, not ROI, matters for local government social media

by Ribbit Voice

On the whole, UK councils are doing a nice job of using social media – possibly we caught on early because we’re used to making the most of tools that don’t cost much.  ‘Fair play ‘ as we say here in Wales, we’re doing getting better at engaging. But there’s loads of room to improve. […]

How to do Facebook REALLY well in local government (part one)

by Andalib.

[Photo by Andalib.] Here’s a case study from 2011 about how Monmouthshire County Council‘s youth service has used Facebook to revitalise the way it communicates with kids and teenagers. Profile URL: https://www.facebook.com/MonYouth Likes: 1,013 Established: Around April 2010 Moderated by: Dan Davies of Monmouthshire County Council’s youth service   The reason it’s fantastic is because it’s being used not […]

Thoughts on productivity and being boring

In my work as a communicator I’m always looking for examples of good practice and tips on how to be more effective at work. I’ve been thinking recently about what kind of communicator I don’t want to be (not thinking of anyone specific, honest!) to try to keep to the point and stop myself becoming […]

‘A Guide to Boring’ by Hilaire Belloc

Below is an essay from collected stories, essays and poems of Hilaire Belloc. I can’t find it anywhere else on the internet so I thought I’d type it out – it has a number of useful points on what is boring that could prove useful for any communicator to remember. I found the book I’ve […]

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 heard […]

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 of […]

‘Go away’ and social media

I’m aware this might make me sound like a very grumpy woman, but is there any need for anyone to tell someone to ‘go away’?    I heard somebody saying it to a man who politely asked for some spare change outside Starbucks in Cardiff today.  I was embarrassed.  It’s not really about an old notion […]