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Eight takeaway tips: content is king, video is prince

Ben Black reports from TAI 2017 on Matt Dicks session on effective communications and tips for a great content strategy.  Matt is director of CIH Cymru, the session took place at their annual conference.

Matt Dicks, director of CIH Cymru, is a former television and newspaper journalist. He previously worked in the communications team at the National Assembly for Wales.

Here are eight tips he shared with delegates at today’s session.

1. You need a strategy

Communications is a strategic function of your organisation. Your communications must be led by a strategy. It’s needed to make sure all of your efforts are working towards the same aim.

2. 121 relationships

These are at the heart of a good communications strategy. Never forget your contacts book and the simplicity of picking up the phone and talking to the right people.

3. You need more than a press release.

Matt doesn’t agree with some communications experts who say that the ‘press release is dead’ as it’s an effective way of putting information in a format that journalists recognise and can use. But he agrees that you need to think how your campaign can be summed up in a tweet, an infographic and a short video.

4. Communications is a conversation

Nowadays people are able to take part in conversations on social media with your organisation. Your strategy has to set out how you will respond to these conversations. You can’t just broadcast your messages and expect people to take them in without any questions.

5. Carefully choose your channels

Who do you want to influence and what is the best way to reach them. Think carefully so you can make sure your efforts have the most impact.

6. Don’t ignore offline communications

The CIH campaign #HandleOnHousing used a hotel-style ‘do not disturb’ door sign which was posted to members. It gave people something to photograph and share on social media. The sign had all the key messages and links to the campaign website.

Matt added: “Never underestimate the power of an advert on the back of a bus.”

7. Staff are your biggest advocates

If you produce great content for campaigns that your staff are proud of they will share on their own social media channels. Many of your staff will be linked online to the audience you want to talk to. Trust your staff and encourage them to share your content.

8. Young people only know digital communications

Gulp…think about it. This tip scared me… Young people have never known a world without wifi. They are your customers of tomorrow. Is your content good enough to grab the attention of someone who spends a lot of their time looking at an iPhone screen? Maybe you should rethink uploading that 50-page annual report as a PDF to your website…Imagine trying to read that on a smartphone.

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