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The March edition: courage, content and creativity

Morning creative comms pro,

We have an awesome guest for the Q&A, AND we're going to do a really easy comms creative challenge together as a team!

Anyway, you're all busy people, let's get on with it.

Creative, engaging social media doesn't just require comms skills -  it takes guts.

I know I know, our jobs don't put our lives in danger, but we are prone to stress for many reasons; moving like deadlines, responsibility, huge workloads.

And with social media, it can be scary, because these thoughts sometimes go through our minds:
  • Being creative means putting your unique ideas out for the world to see and what if people think it’s crap?
  • If you get loads of feedback to a social media post, it’s going to take ages to respond to all the comments, and you just don’t have time.
  • Doing something that gets attention may well be seen by someone who hates your organisation and they might say something negative which will damage your brand’s reputation.
  • Colleagues don’t always ‘get’ comms. They may understand ‘the business as usual’ stuff you do, but when you do things differently, they might get on your case, or worse, slag you off behind your back. 

Creative social media and bravery go hand-in-hand

And I want to say a big fat: ‘NICELY DONE, COURAGEOUS COMMS WARRIOR’!

Because you know that the benefits of creating well-designed and engaging content far outweigh the risks.

It can be emotional sometimes, but you're not alone - we're all striving to be braver.

And if you want to learn more techniques for creating more engaging social media content, and ALSO have a coach and a group of other comms professionals holding your hand, and helping you find the courage to do work you feel totally proud of …

Join my Comms Creative Content Programme!

In only 2 hours a week, you’ll learn a system for designing creative, effective social media posts and I’ll be there every week to help you and give you ideas and feedback over the 12 week online course.

With support and skills building, we’ll fight any fear or imposter syndrome you may feel and grow your confidence, so you can do your best creative work.

Register now to join the 2019 cohort

Recent creative comms stuff I liked.

A few health campaigns caught my eye this month. They're both aimed at women, and since I am a fully-fledged dame, we can say they're at least reaching some of their target audience.
I love this from Public Health Wales month, partly because when I shared it, I got the chance to go onto Linkedin and write the words 'foof', 'fanny' and 'vajayjay'.

Yes, I'm childish, but this campaign is anything but silly.

Truly social in concept, this creative campaign has got so many people chuckling and sharing the many and strange names we we give our lady parts.

I love how Public Health Wales have responded to research that women aren't getting cervical screening because they're embarrassed about their vaginas, worried they've not waxed, or just generally don't want to think about it.

It serves as a reminder to get screened, and a lighthearted discussion that shows us that our bodies are not a taboo.

And this tweet from NHS England in London is a nice subtle example of creativity.

The creativity helps it stand out from a sea of corporate toned tweets.

A little pun at the end, and the logo surrounded by sanitary towels and tampons

These things show that you don't need to try to be down-with-the-kids, have huge budgets, or use shock tactics to bring a little flavour to your posts.

Bear with me, I'm loving my work!

I know I keep going on about it but it has been so rewarding researching and designing my new online social media training programme, I can't stop thinking about it.

Have you been thinking about it too?  Are thinking of joining?

It's not for beginners, it's for already social media savvy professionals, worth at least 20 CPD points and if you complete the project work, you'll be Content Expert certified.

If you register, you can expect live lessons, downloads, planners and one to one support for me on:

  • Social media strategy
  • The psychology of social media sharing
  • 20 social media formats that will get your story liked, commented on and shared
  • Storytelling
  • Effective copy writing for social media
  • Making engaging videos
  • Making images that grab attention
  • Evaluation

And loads more. All there for you to learn live or in your own time, with a social media marketing awards winner (that's me) on hand to help you.

I'll do my best to reserve your place if you let me know now that you're interested - hit reply to this email if so!

Booking has been extended to April 30th, but register by April 1st to get the bonuses.

Creative tip of the month - meme style videos.

This is a practical guide to knocking up quick video, like those you see on Linkedin and Facebook.

They take up lots of space in the home feed, so they're attention grabbing, and this app, Kapwing, is easy to use and play with and you can use it for free!

Have a look at the awesome Janet Murray, showing how it's done.

Let me know if you have a go!


Special guest Q&A - Martin Shovel.

Three years ago, I went on a cartooning for communicators course run by Martin Shovel and Martha Leyton. It was one of the best days ever, and I learned so much.

So I'm chuffed that Martin has taken the time to do the interview to give us his unique insights and the benefit, high profile experience 

1. Hi Martin, please introduce yourself!

I’m a speechwriter, trainer of speechwriters, comms adviser, cartoonist, and one half of CreativityWorks – the other half of CreativityWorks being my other half, Martha Leyton.
2. What are your creative strengths when it comes to comms?

Great communicators speak, and write, in pictures – they’re visual thinkers.

I think my strength as a comms professional comes from the fact that my writing is informed by my cartoon skills – in other words, it’s a great advantage to be able to think like a cartoonist when it comes to simplifying complex ideas and messages.

I think being able to say less, more powerfully, is a key part of being a successful comms pro.
3. Who is your creative hero?  Someone who inspires you, or has does creative work that you think is wonderful.

I have a number of creative heroes, but if I had to pick one, I’d say it’s an American cognitive linguist called George Lakoff.

The work that he, and other cognitive linguists, have done on metaphor has fundamentally changed my understanding of how our minds make sense of the world.

More importantly, it has had a profoundly positive influence on the way I write. If I’ve whetted your appetite, I’d recommend reading his book, ‘Metaphors We Live By’. You’ll be glad you did!
4. What 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? 

Back in 2014, I heard a scientist on the radio talking about the Rosetta mission, which had just succeeded in landing the first spacecraft on a comet.

He brought the enormity of the achievement alive for laypeople, like me, by saying it was like trying to land a fly on a speeding bullet.

No doubt some of his expert colleagues would have questioned the accuracy of his analogy, but they’d have missed the point.

By choosing a visual analogy that captured the public’s imagination, he was promoting the importance and value of science to the widest possible audience. 

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

Read widely. Go to the theatre, cinema, concerts and art galleries.

Challenge yourself to do things you wouldn’t normally do – anything from learning to meditate to baking bread.

Find ways of stretching yourself (metaphorically speaking!).
6. What projects are you working on right now? Feel free to plug anything here.

Variety is the spice and delight of our working life.

We’re working with a number of individual clients on speeches, across a range of sectors – trade union leaders, leaders of mental health organisations, lawyers, etc.

And over the next couple of months we’ll be working on a residential leadership programme for lawyers in Cambridge, as well as running a day workshop for professional speechwriters – on the topic of moving hearts as well as minds – as part of an international speechwriters’ conference in Oxford. 

This has been inspiring, Martin, thank you. I'm impatiently waiting for my copy of 'Metaphors We Live By'.

Comms Creatives: I can't recommend enough the Cartooning For Communicators course - take a look!

This month's #CommsCreative Challenge.

Remember 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. Do something new.

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

March 2019: The Crowdsourced Comms Poster! (5 minutes) 

Ok, this is a fun one.

Together we're going to make a fun poster for comms and marketing people.

You may have seen I did a cartoon that was lots of bits of kit people need in their bags when they're out and about.

We're going to make something a bit like this, together.

We'll each do one of the small drawings that make up the total.

The title of the poster will be 'What every comms team needs'.

I want you to think of and draw one or two things are are essential to doing our jobs.

Share them with me by April 14th, and I'll somehow find a way to I'll collect them and turn them into a crowdsourced poster that we have all made as a group!


1. A pen and some blank paper. 
2. A colour: paint, pencil, pen or anything you can colour with
2. A phone to take a picture (or scanner if you're fancy).


Think of something creative comms professionals need to to do their jobs.

It can be whatever you like! Serious or funny, concrete or abstract. For example:

  • Something serious: a strategy (draw a paper document with arrows and charts on)
  • Something funny: endless coffee (draw a jug of coffee pouring in your mouth)
  • Something concrete: a smartphone (draw a phone)
  • Something abstract: a sense of humour (draw someone laughing)


Draw the thing in black pen on white paper.

Now colour it in, in ONE colour: either turquoise, yellow, purple or orange.


Write neatly what the thing is over the top the drawing.

In small writing under your picture, sign your name.


Take a nice bright photo of on your phone (or scan it if you're fancy) and post it to your social network of choice.


Have a look for other people's posts and get a chat going with other creative comms people.

And I will find them to start adding them to our collective cartoon!

Comms training with me.

If you need a masterclass in creative communications, I am your woman.

This month I'm been training such lovely brands, including one of my dream clients - Macmillan Cancer Support, and I have a packed conference and training schedule coming up.

You can book me from mid May 2019 to come to your offices to deliver training, or have an away day at a snazzy London or Cardiff hotel. 

You get workbooks, ideas, skills and techniques and most importantly we'll bring out more of your creativity, bravery and pride to bring back to your desk.

That's all from me this month folks, see you in mid April for the next one.

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