25 things I learned from #content14 in cardiff

We took part in a rather fine event staged by the NHS in Wales this week where we looked at how to produce better content. Here's a few things about what we learned.

by Dan Slee

There’s something rather special about a cricket ground in summer with the sun shining on cut grass and the groundsman preparing the cut strip.

At the SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff there was just that for NHS Wales 1,000 Lives event to look at how to give comms people the skills to create content.

The starting point was Government communications chief Alex Aiken’s call not for a press release but better content. What’s content? Maybe it’s a tweet, a YouTube clip or something similar. It’s something that I’ve been suggesting people need to do for quite some time.

That the debate has moved from the theory to the doing is a positive step.

What was I doing there? Telling people about blogging and the benefits of blogging along with Pete Ashton (better pictures), Steve Davies (video) Miranda Bishop (better social media schedling) and Caroline Beavon (better infographics.)

Slides and other resources from the event are found here. Well done Andrew Cooper, Karen Field and everyone else involved.


  1. It’s taken me four years but I’ve finally met Pete Ashton. Although he’s modest about it, Pete had a role in working out how the social web worked in Birmingham. He pioneered social media and created the first Twitter list of people using it in Birmingham back when there was a few dozen. He teaches digital photography often now.
  2. Pictures work well on blogs and – I keep repeating it – but compfight is a good source of stock pictures to use on blogs so you’ve no excuse.
  3. There is a real sense in the NHS in Wales that people know they need to get good at these channels and are taking rapid steps.
  4. Your internet is turning into a giant TV. More than 66 per cent of the internet is going to be video in a few years time.
  5. There isn’t really a stand-out android movie editing app.
  6. You can get about 10 seconds of video now through Instagram.
  7. There are 150 million blogs in the world including Richard Branson, 1,000 Lives director Chris Lines and Glee actor Kevin McHale.
  8. There is a group of NHS PA’s who are self-organising through Twitter. That’s brilliant.
  9. I’ve realised that a pic of a picture of cake has changed my life. I tweeted it. I started a cake review blog. With those skills I started my own blog and now the doors this has opened have led to me to starting a company.
  10. The tipping point with social media and communications people has been more than reached. The next phase, embedding, will be interesting.
  11. Good things are happening in Wales.
  12. For infographics, think what you are doing, who they are for and don’t hand a pile of data to a designer. Sit down and go through the data to pick out the stories you want the designer to work with. See? Comms story telling skills comes into play.
  13. Put the most interesting stories in your infographic at the top. They’ll get more attention.
  14. Avoid clutter in your infographics.
  15. You can use piktochart to create a basic infographic.
  16. Steve Davies used to work as a TV cameraman. You should ask him about his time on Dr Who. And about his four-hour-a-day commute between Birmingham and Cardiff.
  17. Shoot, edit, post. Repeat.
  18. A lav microphone that costs about £35 is really good for recording audio onto a smartphone.
  19. Blogging helps you marshal your thoughts and helps with your digital footprint which will get you your next job.
  20. You need space to experiment. If you don’t you won’t be adding new skills as a comms person.
  21. Hootsuite is really useful for scheduling. That's programming yoiur content to appear at a certain time.
  22. Use analytics to work out when people are online and schedule stuff to coincide with that.
  23. Don't just rely on scheduling. Remember that social media is conversation.
  24. It's actually really easy to use Instagram to take a video clip and publish.
  25. The 1,000 Lives project is doing some really important things right now. Go them.


Dan Slee is co-creator of comms2point0.

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