Hello again, it’s your man in the North. Great to be back guest editing comms2point0 again from 55th parallel.
by Ross Wigham
At the start of the excellent film Nebraska we see a dishevelled lone figure walking alone up a busy highway somewhere in North America. He’s got a destination in mind but no idea of how he’ll get there or cover the hundreds of miles between him and his mythical prize.
Watching it on the train the other day offered up some inspiration for my guest blogging spot and it’s also shot completely in black and white - so totally ‘on brand’ for this blog (stay with me here).
The film is essentially a bitter-sweet road movie about the need for connection, a distant extended family and the way our memories all construct a different reality of our own experiences of past events.
The story’s anti-hero also thinks he’s won a big prize despite everyone else telling him it’s just a run-of-the-mill marketing scam, which got me thinking about how we’re all now on a quest for (real, non-fake news) information online.
Back in 2011 Dan from the comms2point0 cajoled me into writing a blog about our use of social media at Northumberland council to help residents during a time when it snowed continuously somewhere in the county for more than 30 days. I took some persuading and it felt pretty pointless and remote from my ‘proper day job’ heading up comms and marketing in local government.
The response to that first foray into blogging about work was a revelation though and inspired me to start following loads of others across the country and eventually start my own blog.
Since that first post six years ago blogs have become a key part of building networks, learning new skills, comparing notes and understanding how the profession is changing at a time when shrinking resources make travel and training much less easy to access. In this world blogs like comms2point0 are a vital tool to everyone in the public sector.
For communicators in the public sector this makes blogs more important than ever, so this is my ode to the power of sharing and finding some of the best practical information out there.
It’s not just about learning from others though, writing a blog can be a hugely cathartic process even if you never actually post it. The writing process can help you sketch out ideas for work, put random thoughts into some sort of coherent plan or just get things out of your head and onto the page in a much less formal way.
It can also help bring together PR people from across a whole region to talk about the challenges they face and offer advice to others like we did in the North East a couple of years ago.
Aside from the clear benefits for comms folk in our own development, blogs are also a neat tool in the organisational box that can help get key messages to your publics in a more shareable, personal way.
At work we’ve just launched a series of blogs from around the hospital called QE Stories designed to give people an insight into the jobs of those who they don’t normally see in the NHS and provide a voice to some of the lesser known occupations. Starting with a biomedical sciences student talking in her own words about pathology it’s helped people (including other staff) better understand how the jigsaw of acute services all fit together attracting more than 2,000 views since start of the month.
But finally, to help us all in the quest for information here are some of my key indispensable links for comms:
· Comms blogs from a global perspective
· The irrepressible Wadds
· More a newsletter but still the go to source for tech/social media
· The definitive blog for internal comms
· PR blogs from across all sectors
· More a book of blogs (if that makes sense)
More about Nebraska (which also has an amazing Mark Orton soundtrack) here.
Ross Wigham is head of communications and marketing at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Gateshead
He has an excellent blog site here.
image via Ken Lund