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four gems of learning from #uncampaign

We staged a campaigns masterclass last week. We learned loads ourselves. But what is much greater is when people who come learn. The first step is to get out of the rut and get out of the office.

by Louise Fisher

I don't know about you, but I sometimes find it all too easy to avoid getting out of the office for training or for an interesting-looking event (assuming the budget allows, of course...) That looks great, I think - but we've got so much on at the moment. We're just too busy. I'll never catch up.

Last week's @comms2point0 #uncampaign masterclass - on the art of running an effective campaign - reminded me how important it is to fight against that instinct.

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review: trust me, pr is dead by robert phillips

Robert Phillips has published 'Trust Me, PR is Dead' a book which is more than just a provocative title. It can't be ignored.

by Dan Slee

If PR sat down and gave some PR advice to PR it would be that the term ‘PR’ was broken.

Stop people in the street and ask what they think of when they hear the term. Chances are that Max Clifford and spin would feature. Do people trust the phrase? Not, really.

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how effective is your home page?

Every year SOCITM publish their Better Connected report into how local government websites are faring. Spending all your effort on your homepage?  

by John Fox 

The way that website visitors are led to the tasks they require is fundamental to achieving a successful website design. Better connected 2015, published today by Socitm Insight, includes an analysis of the effectiveness of council website home and landing pages.

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ten things internal communicators can learn from wales

To mark St David's Day we thought that it would be rather good to have a Welsh post and a Welsh guest editor. Over to you, Nat Corney...

by GUEST EDITOR Natalie Corney

Please indulge me here, I wrote this for St David’s Day. Yes, there is some stereotyping, yes, it could apply to other countries and areas etc., but go with it – I think it has some important points...

1.Be proud

Welsh people are incredibly proud of where they come from – and not just the country – their actual town or village. There is a great affinity to home. Whether people still live there or whether they’ve moved somewhere else in the world, Wales is still home. It doesn’t matter if it’s the smallest village or the biggest city.

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how a fire brigade newsjacked 50 shades of grey 

It was a book that many people were a bit intrigued by. It then became a film that many people were intrigued by. Fifty Shades of Grey promised to be a rather racy film that could lead to some people experimenting with handcuffs and all sorts. So, what better place for a fearless fire service comms team to cut loose.

by Rob McTaggart

Should you jump into bed with Fifty Shades of Grey? That’s what lots of PRs will have wondered ahead of the world launch of the film - how can we get involved?

We’ve a good track record for newsjacking and thought we could successfully resurface our #FiftyShadesofRed campaign.

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six challenges faced by housing professionals

Every sector has challenges that it needs to overcome. Housing is no different.

by Bethan Davies

I’ve worked in communications for Community Housing Cymru for seven years, ever since I was a fresh faced graduate. Although my role has developed and progressed significantly during this time, some challenges have remained the same throughout.

Comms2point0 recently asked me to blog about six challenges faced by housing comms people. Let me know if you agree.

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101 potential solutions in search of a problem

A couple of years ago we produced a newspaper for an event. We had an open Google doc people could contribute to. We found it again recently and were struck how this hadn't dated at all. So, here it is.

by Catherine Cuthbert, Sarah Jennings, Kate Hughes, Charlotte Stamper, Steph Gray, Dave Briggs, Nancy Corbin, Bridget Aherne, Alun Ireland, Stuart Harrison, Elaine Walton, The Current Mrs R, Andy Mabbett, Tom Phillips, Dan Slee, Stuart Williams, Si Whitehouse, Philip John, Emily Turner, Adrian Short, Steve Finegan, Paul Hayes, Carolyne Mitchell, Ben Black and Sasha Taylor.

1. Let your staff talk to each other through something like Yammer.

2. Don’t think that residents are always wrong. Sometimes they won’t be.

3. Call it a cut if its a cut. Not a weasel word like downsizing.

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why pitching well to journalists still works

It's often the most badly handled part of PR. The phone call to sell-in a story to a journalist. Done badly it ends with the phone slammed down. Done well and it can help you hit the bullseye. Here are some thoughts from a master of the craft.  

 by Russ Cockburn

Call me old fashioned, but I still love the cut and thrust of the ‘pitch’ to journalists.

Admittedly, I seem to be a rather shrinking breed if recent articles and twitter conjecture is anything to go by.

And I know from experience, a lot of younger PRs view picking up the phone as appealing a prospect as relying on a London Midland train to get you to your appointment on time.

Don’t get me wrong I can understand the apprehension. I’ve been given many a ‘short shrift’ by experienced hacks, been embroiled in heated exchanges when an embargo has been broken and been left exasperated at the choice of photo the picture editor chose to be a bit ‘different’.

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mastering the art of campaigning

Campaigning. It’ll be one of the most talked about comms activities over the next few months in the run up to the general election. Battle lines will be drawn and those with the smartest, best executed campaign stand a chance of coming out on top in what is a tight and hard to call contest. Mastering the art of delivering great campaigns is a key skill in the armoury of any communicator.

By Darren Caveney

No matter how much digital has changed the comms and media landscape, the importance of a well-planned and effectively targeted campaign is still hugely important to communicators across all sectors.

That is why we are really rather excited to be hosting our first ever Campaigns Masterclass this month so that we can learn more – first hand – from six organisations who have deliver memorable and effective campaigns which have changed behaviours, created an impact and won some awards along the way.

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what’s the hype over hyperlocal? 

If you’re in comms, PR, or marketing, you shouldn’t be asking that question...

By Rachel Moss

The media landscape is changing. It’s something I blogged about last year in a post called ‘Regional News is Dead’.  And, as a former TV news broadcaster, turned PR pro, I find it absolutely fascinating.

Well established local newspapers, radio stations and TV newsrooms, are being axed or cut right back to the bone.

Meanwhile, 100’s of nubile little hyper-locals are springing up all over the place, eagerly plugging the gaps to give local communities the info they so desperately need and want.

It’s a riptide of cross currents that, as comms professionals, we really need to dive into.

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why we are adding digital to the comms team

Adding digital skills to the comms team is the long term ambition of many. But one authority is making it a reality.

by Clare Yau

Considering what digital skills and types of digital roles we needed was a key issue in both planning and delivering our ambitious Digital First project, to transform our website, online customer journeys, use of social media, staff intranet and more.

From the outset, we knew that the critical issue – after getting organisational approval and backing for the project - was ensuring we had the right people with the right mix of skills.  

So, we set about researching what types of digital expertise and roles were out there. We found some interesting results.

Our research included participating in a Digital Leaders webinar on digital talent, reading Smart Insights information on structuring a digital team and considering Government Digital Service’s range of digital job descriptions.

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this is local comms – for local people

Some people and things in life just punch way above their weight. Orkney Islands are one. They never ceases to amaze with their greatness - like the Spartans of the comms world. Here's another example to show why...

by Kirsty Groundwater

Coming from a remote island community you get used to the good humoured “League of Gentlemen” comparisons – this is a local shop, for local people and all that.  But from a local government communications perspective, how much truth is there in that kind of statement?  Is local best?

In late 2013, local councils across the UK were in the midst of encouraging their residents to nominate their community heroes to be ‘baton bearers’ for the Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay.  It was a challenge, not least in Orkney where Orcadians, although renowned for their immense community spirit and pride, are notoriously reticent to put themselves in the limelight.  This coupled with a tendency towards  a laid-back last-minute attitude to these processes led to a worried phone call from the Glasgow 2014 relay team concerned over the lack of nominations coming in from Orkney.

A well-meaning PR bod from the relay team ‘doon sooth’ suggested that perhaps they could send us a nice picture of Clyde, the Games mascot, standing (over 300 miles away) next to the Clyde in Glasgow for distribution to our local media.

Thanks, but no thanks.

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chuck norris and pre-election survival tips for comms people

If there's an election coming and you work in local government - or elsewhere in the public sector - here's what you need to do. Quick.

by Dan Slee

Every year the swallows who nest in the eves of our house head off back on a flight that lasts thousands of miles.

Nobody tells them to do it, but off they head travelling 200 miles a day with just the urge to head south.

Swallows, ladies and gentlemen, are rather like politicians.

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28 survival tips for a bad day and only one of them is booze

We've all been there. A shocking boss. A hopeless client. A journalist that gets the facts round their ear. It's the easiest thing in the world to have a bad day. But how to cope. One evening on Twitter we asked the questions and collected some interesting responses.

by Dan Slee 

You've had a shocker. Your boss is an idiot, your colleagues are numpties the person who you are working for don't get what you do. It's been a bad day at the office. Literally.

So, how do you cope? What do you do? How do you get over this hill without dragging everyone else in your life with you?

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up for the cup: how #foxnewsfacts stormed the charts

Our post on the exceptionally brilliant response to the exceptionally stupid Fox News commentator stormed the chart this month. But what came second, third, fourth and fifth?

by Dan Slee

It was a typically Birmingham response. When an entire city was faced with slander it responded not in a fit of North Korean pique but with wit.

Fox News screened an interview with a 'terror expert' who claimed that the Midlands city was a no-go area for non-Muslims. The response? The #foxnewsfacts hashtag of bizarre and blatantly wrong facts that tweet by tweet took down the reputation of the Rupert Murdoch-owned TV channel.

We will, of course, send the special silver cup to Dan Wainright on the Express & Star whose tweet of Mecca bingo in Kingstanding was widely shared. Evidence that the city was a hotbed of Islam. And bingo.

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