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SEPTEMBER - BACK TO CREATIVE SKOOL!


Hel Reynolds here, I'm delighted you're still with me for this second issue of the Comms Creative.

I was chuffed with how many of you said you enjoyed issue 1. And your sketchnotes were TREMENDOUS.

OK, there are seven regular features - here's what we have this month:


This month's article: down to busy-ness

I was going to talk about creativity in your strategy, but I decided my musings were too long for this newsletter and I blogged it instead.  

Instead, a quick one about being busy.

If there’s one thing I regularly see in comms pros as a barrier to creativity, it’s being so bloody busy that you can’t think straight.

I do remember it used to make me feel important and useful to have so much on, and I felt like I had no time to rest. “But I LOVE my work, and they need me!” I’d say.

Then I burnt-out, and made a load of awful decisions (which turned out OK, but still).


Holidays, breaks, lunches, naps, walks – they are not a luxury. They help us to refocus and recharge.  They’re fundamental to doing good work.

Remember last month, when Sarah Hall said she had some of her best ideas when she was running with the dog?

So many studies show a rested brain is more creative.

So drop everything, know it can wait, and have a rest.

My Social Media Strategy Workshop, helps comms pros plan and manage a social media plan that will boost your business and reduce your busy-ness!

Book on if you want help designing the best possible strategy for your organisation.

Next month (maybe!) we examine lessons about creativity from kids. Give me a shout if you have any thoughts or examples to share on that.

Recent creative
comms stuff I liked
  
 

Comms snakes and ladders


Sarah Yates, Corporate Communications Manager at Broxtowe Borough Council made this BRILLIANT game.

I'm a big fan of images that make information easier to digest, and the love people have for this has come in floods.




Sarah kindly guest blogged for me, and you can read the story about how and why she made it.
 

Video inspiration


This video might inspire you to add some unusual special effects to your videos. 

I think it would work if in your job if you cover events, have reason to show a physical space of some sort, or you want to add some special effects to a story you're telling.

How could you use some of the visual tricks shown in here in your comms?
This video seems to have been pinched from these people on Instagram: 5.min.crafts so credit to them

Creative tip of the month

Magical Magisto!

Magisto is one of my favourite apps, which I use on my phone and in a browser on a laptop.

If you have a bunch or photos and/or videos that you think you can use to tell a story, Magisto edits it for you with snazzy effects, music and written captions.

It makes making videos so easy! 
Their promo video
Here's a video I made with Magisto - in about 9 minutes (and 2 of those minutes were trying to decide what music to pick).
Let me know if you've had a play with it!

Or share it with us all on Twitter or Instagram with the #CommsCreative hashtag.

Special guest Q&A - Philippa Davies 

For the second guest Q&A, we have the most creative person I know, a badass friend of mine who constantly fuels my imagination: Philippa Davies.

She's a writing coach, best-selling writer and psychologist keen on community engagement.

Phillipa has written for tv, radio, created apps, built and written websites, and published 13 books. 'Irresistibility' became a best seller after The Times serialised it, and 'The Gritties' got made into a double Wales BAFTA award-winning film. 

She also had a great newspaper column in The Western Mail until she was sacked for being cheeky to the editor. 
🤣



Please tell us about yourself.

I’m Philippa Davies, smallholder; psychologist and writer; not-really-a-comms-person so also, impostor.

What are your creative strengths when it comes to comms? 

Not sure, but I am unattractively nosy, like to experiment and love to play around with software. Indeed, I find activity like animation incredibly relaxing. My view is that most comms is community building.
 

Who is your creative hero?  

David Byrne, because he is out there and constantly experimenting. 

OMG me too! I've loved him for ages and then heard him on Desert Island Discs and was more obsessed.

OK, so w
hat is the piece of creative work you’ve seen that you wish you’d done, or that you’d like to see more of in comms?

I would like to have written ‘Should’ve gone to Specsavers’. A single line of genius.  
 

What advice would you give to a comms professional to help them tap into their creativity?

‘Only connect’ is good, as is ‘Get over yourself’.

Recharge your messages by turning them into cartoons, poems, soundscapes, impressionist paintings and invented dishes.

Ask: if this message was a meal component, what would it be? (Beware too much mashed potato).

Become oddly fanatical. I am quite uncomfortable writing here as have taken a vow to only communicate via video. Next time, Helen, please offer me this option.

Haha, OK. What projects are you working on right now? 

My students get this: https://mindnotes.net/. Lust, loathing and licentiousness in rural West Wales are also on my radar…

Yes, you’ve sensed right: I experience non-stop twitching!

@CommsCartoons


All hail the comms unicorn!  But what should the horn do? 

Post your suggestions using the #CommsCreative hashtag.

 

This month's #CommsCreative Challenge


The three rules of the #CommsCreative challenge

 

1. The thing you create doesn’t need to be brilliant, it’s about playing.  Van Gogh was probably rubbish the first time he tried painting.

2. Taking part is fun, but also a good opportunity to think about things a bit differently.

3. Share your efforts on Twitter and Instagram and chat with people who have shared theirs!  We’ll keep each other motivated and inspired. 
 

September: Write a ‘idea brew' post-it blog post (30 minutes)


Let me turn this 'resting for creativity' concept into a weird metaphor.

I think our ideas are teabags.


You know how a good cuppa works. It has to brew.

You have got to put the teabag in the water and do nothing for four or five minutes. Doing nothing is vital to the process.

Let's try it out.


What you need

  1. A stopwatch or timer on your phone
  2. Post-it’s and a pen
  3. Don’t worry if you don’t have a blog.  We’ll get to this in the last part of this challenge.
This is your subject: three pieces of advice for anyone starting a career in comms

Now create a blog post using my 7-step quick blog-writing method.

Most people I know who want to blog but don't - because they overthink how brilliant it has to be, and how much time it will take.

The key with this is to use the time given and be comfortable with imperfections. 

 

STEP 1. IDEAS

For 5 minutes think of things to do with this subject and write each idea on a separate post it note (or scrap of paper).

Put EVERYTHING you think of down, we’ll edit later.


STEP 2. REST

Take a 5 minute break, not thinking of anything to do with this challenge, or work.

Do one of these things:

 

🚶‍♀️ Take a little walk or jog emoji

🥪 Make a pot of tea or a delicious sandwich

📄 Do some origami

🧘 Meditate

🎶 Listen to music 

🎤 Sing a song

✍️ Draw whatever is in front of you

😶 Just sit for 5 minutes staring out of the window
 

STEP 3. REFRESHED MIND

Have 5 more minutes of ideas!

Add more post it notes with anything else you can think of.

STEP 4. ORDER YOUR IDEAS AND THEMES

For 3 minutes move the post it notes to cluster ideas that go together, and create a hierarchy. 

STEP 5. POLISH IT UP

Take 10 minutes to use this structure to write you post.  It can be as short or long as you like.

STEP 6. BLOG IT BABY

Publish it for other comms people to find.
  • You can post it on your blog if you have one.
     
  • You can post it as an article, or a normal post, on LinkedIn
     
  • You can tweet it as a thread
     
  • You can post it up on Facebook in my CommsCreative group (you can join here).
If you’re feeling blogtastic, you can do all of the above!

STEP 7. DON"T FORGET TO TAG IT WITH #COMMSCREATIVE

Have a look for other people's posts. How does their advice compare to yours?

Get a chat going with other creative comms people.

 

Comms training with me


What if you could do a £1,450 course for £299?

It costs £1,450 for me to deliver in-house training for comms teams, but each year I also do five or six public courses that you can book on.

Especially for smaller teams, it can work out as a super-cheap way to access professional development and comms practical skills.

There are only three dates left for the foreseeable - so book soon!

How to create more engaging content masterclass:

🔥BIRMINGHAM, October 24th in the Fazeley Studios.

🔥GLASGOW, October 25th in the House for an Art Lover.

Write your social media strategy:

🔥MANCHESTER, October 26th in Manchester Convention Centre.

Free 35 minute video learning module!




Do you ever have feeling that your Facebook page is getting like a ghost town?

I had it at the beginning of last year - it felt like nobody was interacting with my Facebook posts!

So I researched and tried as many cool ways to get people to be more interested in your Facebook comms. 

You CAN get more likes, shares and comments.

In this video I teach great tips about how to:
  • Make more creative content
  • Get LOADS more likes, shares and comments
  • Get your audience excited to see your next post
And you get it for absolutely free, because I'm terribly generous like that.
Watch the video tutorial
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