FILM VIEW: Video will continue to grow as a channel for marketers in 2022

As 2022 gets into gear, the useful stats are starting to be published and for those interested in video use this year’s Wyzowl stats are out.

The UK and US based company have seven years experience mapping attitudes amongst marketers.

While Ofcom is the gold standard for what UK consumers are watching Wyzowl’s stats are handy to read the trends for marketeers omn how to use video to get in front of them.

Don’t use the data as a template but instead use it as an indication of direction of travel.

Wyzowl stats for how marketeers will use video in 2022

92 per cent of marketers continue to value video as an important part of their strategy.

79 per cent of marketers who don’t use video aim to start in 2022.

48 per cent say the pandemic has made them use video more.

74 per cent of marketers create video explainers.

68 per cent of marketers create video for social media.

88 per cent expect to make video for YouTube in 2022.

68 per cent expect to make video for LinkedIn in 2022.

65 per cent expect to make video for Facebook in 2022.

33 per cent aim to make video for TikTok in 2022.

Conclusion

Video is growing as a platform used by consumers in the UK. Marketers would appear to grow their use of video.

Perhaps surprising ion marketers’ channels to target is LinkedIn with more than two thirds – twice the rate for TikTok.

For more information on ESSENTIAL VIDEO SKILLS REBOOTED workshops head here.

DREAM ON: Technology dreams that haunt us

Fishwives in Liverpool, circa 1900.

A blogger who I admire Euan Semple just this week remarked that he sometimes has odd dreams about technology and it got me thinking.

In his dreams, the BBC-trained engineer sees rooms dark and grey that used to be filled with the excitement of TV productions.

I was a journalist for 12-years and sometimes I still have newspaper-related anxiety dreams.

In the dream, I can’t scribble the story fast enough in my notebook to ring the copytaker and phone through the story ahead of the panic of an upcoming deadline. I struggle with an intro and I can’t read my words back.

I don’t know how to interpret dreams, but I reckon this is because I spent years polishing and getting good at a particular craft I don’t use anymore. My puzzled sub-conscious is asking me why I’m not using it.

The roots our early rule learning put down with us are so deep that they’re still there decades after being last used. Technology has made them irrelevant.

As I write this, a Facebook group has posted a picture of fishwives on the streets of Liverpool in 1900.

Maybe those women in old age too would dream of selling fish years after their trade died out.

And in years to come, reader, maybe you’ll dream too of struggling to get a fax machine to work.

GUEST POST: Taxpayers Alliance: Are the opaque waste police busy chasing the wrong target?

The Taxpayers Alliance are a right wing pressure who demand openness on public sector spending despite having opaque funding. As an anonymous blogger points out they’ve gone a bit shy when it comes to big ticket Government waste.

It’s been a busy few days for news, so I’ll forgive you missing this story, but did you see the Ministry of Defence managed to spend almost £5.7m on ear plugs that didn’t actually work?

Phew, £5.7m, that’s an awful lot of foam rubber buds, but it doesn’t stop there. There was more than half a billion alone on a cancelled programme to modernise the Warrior armoured fighting vehicle, easily enough to run your average local authority for a year.

There’s a moral point here, this is our money, spent on stuff that’s supposed to protect the people who serve our country, yet due to general incompetence and faulty systems it gets wasted,

Just the other day the Treasury wrote off £4.3bn stolen from its emergency Covid-19 schemes. That’s money that was stolen, not misspent, and Government has decided not to pursue it. There are probably reasons for this, it may cost more to investigate and prosecute, but it still sends out a poor message.

At the smaller end of the scale it cost £62,000 for Dr Liam Fox MP not to get a job as Director General of the World Trade Organisation, a good proportion of which was paid to a public relations agency.

As you’ll see from the links, this stuff was reported widely at the time, just swallowed up by a news agenda that was understandably concentrating on cheese and wine parties. We tend to accept waste as part of the process and it is true to say that in any complex system some money will be poorly spent.

But I think there is a bit of a double standard here. Look carefully at the website of the Taxpayers’ Alliance and you won’t find any reference to the examples I gave above. There is some focus on national spending – for example Government office space – but if you looked at their version of waste you’d think the local state was the prime offender.

Take the TPA’s exhaustive work on printing costs for local authorities. By a Herculean feat of largely pointless FOI-ing they managed to work out that UK councils spent £41,610,366 on printing costs between April 2020 and February 2021 (this was a decline of £31.9 million from 2019-20, or 43 per cent).

Sounds expensive, when you realise that a lot of the spend isn’t on Basildon Bond, it was fees paid to external suppliers to print stuff that helps our citizens find and understand services.

I’m sure there is room for some savings but this is justifiable spend, not money wasted, and the figure is going down not up.

The same with the salary figures in the TPA’s annual Town Hall Rich List. I’ve been that press officer who deals with media enquiries on the back a six figure payout.

I’ve patiently explained fruitlessly that monies paid to pension funds for departing staff are not really a fair measure of incomes received and that local government leaders need to be paid well for a job of huge responsibility.

The thing is, I kind of get what the TPA argue. It is hugely important that the state spends its money wisely and transparently. Like them, I believe in a smarter, and probably smaller, state that better serves its citizens. However, I also believe that we should treat investment in local services as an investment not a cost burden.

Of course, money should not be wasted in either locally or nationally, but by focussing on the Town Hall rather than Whitehall, the TPA and others often have the wrong target.

Maybe we should just push back more?

The author is a public sector communicator with more than a decade of experience.

GUEST POST: How a new way of how you WFH can help you leave the old behind

Many people have opted for a fresh start with a new job after a long slog pf pandemic. But what happens when your WFH – working from home – office is just the same as it was before? You can make a fresh start with that space too, says Lucy Salvage. And you can do this without changing job, too.

January. It’s a funny old time. A time we reflect on how well we’ve adulted over the previous twelve months and hoping that some of the things we learned (both good and bad) will help us to have a better stab at the next twelve.

The pandemic has robbed us of this annual tradition somewhat.

The last two years appear to have merged into one hot mess of over-working from home, not socialising, and generally burning out both physically and mentally.

It has felt harder this year perhaps to see ahead to the positive change that a new year can bring and leave the old, but still ever present, behind.

For many, myself included, the new year is a time for fresh starts. New beginnings. Saying goodbye to the old and hello to the new. For a lot of people it’s cutting loose from an existing job to seek a new opportunity. Nearly 9 in 10 (89%) UK workers were looking for a job around this time in 2021, I would wager that the figure is just as high going into this year.

Out with the old: but is it?

At the end of 2021 I myself joined the hordes of millennials who continue to take part in the “Great Resignation”. Having got my feet firmly under the table at my local council for the last nine years, I was just as surprised as anyone to be handing in my notice last November.

Suddenly, I found myself in the exact same position as millions of other professionals over the last two years – I was about to start a brand-new job with a different organisation and with people I didn’t know, and all from the comfort of my own home. Yikes. At one point it looked like I might be lucky to meet my new team in person over Christmas, at one of those things called a “party” (and not the cheese and wine kind). But sadly, it didn’t happen for reasons we know all too well.

For someone who has never freelanced, I struggled to get my head around the notion that I would be downing tools on 17 December at my desk from home as Media and Communications Officer for Wealden District Council, and in January 2022 I would start my role of Digital Content Creator for the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health at that very same desk.

In the same room, staring at the same four walls, watching the same rain fall out of the same sky, landing on the same cat. Suddenly, a new year for me wasn’t necessarily going to be as new as I thought it was. I was going to have to make a real effort to make it feel different and exciting; and that itself felt quite daunting.

In with the new: some tips

So, what did I do to make the transition from one remote job to another feel fresher and newer? Well, lots of little things that may not seem significant, but together they have made a difference. I’m hoping that these small changes will also encourage some new longer-term habits:

Workspace prep

  • I shifted some furniture around – repositioning some of the furniture in the room helped to make it feel visually different.
  • I de-cluttered – I used the time between Christmas and New Year to go through all the old paperwork and “stuff” that occupied the room. What didn’t get binned was recycled or sent to the charity shop.
  • Happiness is houseplants – I resisted the urge to buy yet more houseplants, but instead gave the existing plants in this room some extra TLC. I even swapped some of the pots around to give the illusion of newness.
  • I set up my new tech the night before – saving myself unnecessary stress by getting it in situ and making sure the laptop was fully charged and working.
  • I started a new notebook – my decluttering unearthed a plethora of notebooks in all shapes and sizes. Nothing beats a fresh notebook when starting anew!

 Time management prep

  • I bought a planner – 2022’s answer to the Filofax! Planning journals are a big thing right now, and as someone who has always struggled to keep up with both my work and personal commitments, it’s been a revelation to get back to basics with a paper diary. I can have it in front of me on my desk as a constant reminder of what I’m supposed to be doing and when. Planning journals also include other features, such as daily to do lists, and space to note down goals and achievements. I also love the motivational quote and mood stickers for personalising each page.
  • I downloaded a time logging app – I’m not required to officially log my hours in my new role, but I wanted to keep track of my time. It’s also help keep structure to my day so that I’m not tempted to sit at my desk all day without taking a proper break. There are numerous free apps available; I settled on Timesheet and so far it’s working a treat. 
  • I committed to “me time” – one of the first pledges I made to myself as I started my new job. I am now consciously making effort to take regular breaks and at sensible times. No more eating my lunch at 3pm!

Morning routine prep

  • I get dressed the night before – not literally! Thinking about the night before what I’m going to wear the following day has really helped to speed up the morning routine, as does laying your chosen attire out ready for a new day (or just throwing it on the back of a chair).  
  • I set my smart speaker to work – I found a banging playlist full of motivating songs to wake-up to. Each evening I select one to be woken up by and ask my smart speaker to set a morning alarm to it. I’ve found it helps to change the song every so often, otherwise the jump start effect can soon wear off and it becomes too easy to sink under the covers and sing to it instead!
  • I sacked-off the snooze – rather than having a five-minute snooze that turns into 45 minutes of additional sleep, I now make sure that as soon as my alarm goes off, I sit up in bed. Even if I’m not quite ready to get out of it, sitting upright helps to get the blood re-circulating and resets the mind.
  • I have breakfast before starting work – I’d gotten into a bad habit, especially over Christmas of not eating breakfast until gone 10am, sometimes not until 11am. Now I make sure I have breakfast before logging on. Eating at proper regular intervals has helped me to feel more alert and energised.

Make the most of what you have

I know I am very lucky to not only have a spare room, but one that I have been able to dedicate to office space (and an extended wardrobe – see also floordrobe). Like a lot of people back in early 2020, I took root in my local Homebase so that I could prettify the space I was going to be spending a good 80 per cent of my time in. To keep the spend low, I made better use of my existing space by sourcing a lot of my furniture from Facebook Marketplace and upcycling.

Of course, if you haven’t got a dedicated space to work from and are having to work in an existing living environment, such as a bedroom or dining room, there are still things you can do to bring harmony to multi-functional spaces.

Be present

Finally, something else I am going to try hard to be this year is more present. Less dwelling on what has gone before, more living for each day, and stressing less about what may or may not happen in the future. Also, having gratitude for the smaller things and putting less pressure on myself to achieve perfection when nearly perfect will more than do. For we can do as much de-cluttering of spare rooms as we like, but unless there is also the space in your mind, we can never truly feel refreshed and renewed.

Bringing in these small changes to my workspace and my behaviours has made the transition from one job to another from home a lot easier. It has allowed me to mentally separate one from the other and feel a sense of new beginning, even in the same surroundings. How long my new good intentions will last, I can’t say; old habits do tend to die hard. However, now that I’ve told all of you what they are, I guess it’s going to be a lot trickier to not keep it up. Damn.

Lucy Salvage is digital content creator at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and social media strategist at Talking Mental Health.

VIDEO VIEW: I’ve read the TikTok for Business marketing guide and here’s what I learned

There’s no question that TikTok is the flavour of the moment on social media.

But rather than being merely a pair of fashionable for three days rain boots I think this platform is going to stay the disrtance.

One of the reasons why I think it wikll is because of the resources and assets they are pouring into TikTok for Business. I strongly recommend getting on their mailing list. One recent in-box pearl has been TikTok For Business’ Official Guide to Marketing.

The 61-page document has UK is a really fascinating read.

While its aimed at small business there’s enough there to keep public sector people interested.

Here’s a few pointers I learned.

  1. TikTok has 100 million users in Europe.
  2. Users are keen to discover and seek inspiration. If you can provide them with entertainment you’re in with a chance.
  3. TikTok users go to TikTok to lift their spirits not shout about potholes.
  4. 46 per cent of users have discovered new things through TikTok..
  5. Diversity, authenticity and self-expression are key character traits for the platform.
  6. 67 per cent of TikTok users are over 25.
  7. Sub-genres thrive on TikTok and use hashtags to find each other. Like #cottagecore or #MumsofTikTok.
  8. One of TikTok’s straplines for marketers is ‘don’t make an ad, make a TikTok.’ In other words, make something entertaining and authentic for the platform rarther than post the same video here that you’ve made for everywhere else.
  9. Telling a story works.
  10. Being authentic works.
  11. You don’t have to post highly-polished content.
  12. Explore the tools that TikTok gives you to engage. Like the Q&A functionality, duets where people can make a response video with you or polls.
  13. Show your face and be human.
  14. Entertain your audience first and your audience will grow.
  15. Use shopify if you want to sell things. This means creating a shop specifically for TikTok. But if that means you can sell tickets to the show more easily it makes sense to do that.
  16. There are 150,000 royalty free tracks you can use and re-purpose that TikTok give you for TikTok.
  17. You are encouraged to work with creators in a campaign and there’s a clearingb house where you can do just that. In other words, work with TikTok users to create the content you are after. Easier for big brands, nop doubt. But its a solid idea.
  18. Don’t be afraid to jump onto trends to reach big numbers.

Or in other words, treat TikTok like its own distinct platform and create platform for it.

The guide is useful if you’re looking to take a plunge with it.

I feature TikTok in my training and get the feeling that people are tempted but feel as though they won’t get it and that it’s for young people. I don’t think that’s going to be a fair assessment very soon.

But before you do for your organisation my advice would be to spent time on it in your own time and under your own stream.

You can find TikTok for Business here.

GUEST POST: Writing with empathy, like a human being

Human comms is something that works. We can sometimes forget to do iut as a communicator. Catherine Molloy shows how it can be easily done.

It is the responsibility of the communicator to be understood. But beyond that, it is the responsibility of the communicator to write in such a way as to evoke the desired response. Do acronyms and council-ism’s help you to be understood? Do they encourage a positive response? Referring to ‘Members’ rather than ‘Councillors’? Referring to the ‘AQAP’ rather than the Air Quality Assessment report? Many still feel that writing to customers’ needs to be a version of a 1970s formal letter….

“Dear Resident, I am writing on behalf of the Council regarding your application for…….”.

Stop! Stop! Stop!

Our written communication needs to be show we are human. We need to use ‘normal’ language, demonstrate understanding, show we care in finding a solution or listening to the problem…. ultimately, we need to show empathy.  It is only when we communicate on a human level that guards come down, anger and frustrations fade away to be replaced by acceptance and perhaps even understanding.

As communicators we know all of this and like me, you probably spend much of your time trying to explain this to others in your organisation or rewriting letters, emails, web copy etc etc.

To aid you in your internal endeavours, I offer my tips for writing with empathy.

Tips for writing with empathy

Think about how you like people to talk you

How do you feel when you receive an overtly formal email? Chances are your customers will have the same reaction. Stop, think and write as you would like to be spoken to – open, honest and not overloaded with information.

Throw out that template email / letter – how old is that thing?

How many iterations from different people has it had? Let’s not create work for ourselves but at the very least begin an email should refer to the specific correspondence you have received. Of course that is not…”I refer to your letter of 6 November 2021..” but rather “I can appreciate your frustration and I would like to help you. Let me start by recapping on the situation…..”

Treat people as important

You may have received the same query / complaint from numerous other people, but individual circumstances differ, and we should take the time to acknowledge that.

Show your personality in your writing

That doesn’t mean writing as if you were replying to What’s app message of course, but the reader should be able to get a sense of you from your writing (or your Chief Executive or Leader if you are writing for someone else).

In a world where people are bombarded by so many pieces of written communications each day, it is those written with empathy and thought that will stand out and positivity support us in our work with our communities.

Catherine Malloy is communications manager at Elmbridge Borough Council in Surrey.

GUEST POST: Three ways to re-purpose your content and grow your public sector LinkedIn page

LinkedIn is sometimes a tough nut to crack. But it can be a positive channel as Connor McLoughlin of Wokingham Borough Council says.

LinkedIn? Shouldn’t we give control to HR? That’s where people go to find a new job right?’ 

Sure, it can be used for recruitment, it’s where people go to talk about work after all.

But LinkedIn is a legitimate news feed. And it’s one where we can adjust our messages to help reach more even more of our residents and partners.

Since we opened our account at Wokingham Borough Council two and a half years ago, we’ve more than doubled our followers by repurposing content with the right emphasis. 

As this has grown, we’ve found that more people who see our content each month has trended upwards (see graph below). 

Chart, line chart

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You don’t start with a NextDoor-sized following (those generous people giving us five-figure audiences), but you’ll probably have a few thousand. We started at 2,500.

We’ll top 400,000 impressions in 2021 and that’s the kind of awareness which I’m sure all public bodies want to tap into.  

Easier to repurpose

The Ofcom Online Nation 2021 report says 27 per cent of adults aged 16 or older use LinkedIn, making it the sixth most popular social media platform. 

But crucially it’s the third most popular where the content is arguably not video-led, like Instagram (second), YouTube (third), Snapchat (fifth), and TikTok (eighth).

Your Facebook and Twitter content is more easily put onto LinkedIn than any other channel. 

If you’re lucky enough to have one of those social media scheduling tools, you might just need to tick an extra box and make a few changes to your copy.

A simple change to emphasis, or bringing something else to the fore, maximises engagement for LinkedIn. Things we find which always work are:

  • Shout about great news for your area
  • Leverage your partners on shared projects
  • Celebrate your colleagues and their successes

Example: Safe place for successes

For example, this post about the borough being a healthy place to live here.

And this post about investment.

We find LinkedIn is a place where our great news for our business and our area are celebrated by our audiences. 

New film studios in our area and our borough coming top of the ONS health index (see above) are two examples of this in 2021. Both had more impressions (6,000+) than we have followers (less than 4,500 at the time of posting).

On Facebook these items were dampened with pessimism from a few residents, the type all local authorities deal with on that channel.

But on LinkedIn we only see positivity and it helps us to higher engagement rates. Colleagues, residents and partners amplify this with their networks and help us celebrate the success.

We are always happy to be the hook people work from to promote something themselves.

Example: Celebrating teamwork

Here’s another example this time also involving video.

And also this post here.

In the public sector partnership working is essential. It’s also essential it’s celebrated. 

We find when we draw these partnerships out in our LinkedIn posts, tagging our partners in, they always perform better. 

The companies/businesses, and sometimes their staff, we work alongside want to mark these too. People are proud to work with us and bring benefits to our residents.

We’re fortunate to have several large construction projects taking place across the area, linked to additional housing in our borough in recent years.

There’s also a chance to share content, hence some of the excellent video content we’ve been able to promote in the last 12 months.

Put your colleagues at the front of the story

Our work is done by great people. LinkedIn is the right place to talk about them and what they do for us.

Look at your stories. It might work better on LinkedIn if instead of talking about the thing, we talk about the person who did the thing. 

Or we make sure we factor the people who were involved into the wording of a post in a way we wouldn’t on another channel.

We’ve all had to re-nose a news story or press release, apply the same to your social content for LinkedIn and you’ll see the engagements jump up.

And if you are using LinkedIn for recruitment, no potential staff member is going to be deterred by a workplace that shouts about the great work of its colleagues. 

But what does the data tell us?

These points of focus have helped us more than double our following in two years, with consistent growth in the number of people who see our content and engage with it. 

In the last year, we’ve seen total engagements alongside audiences of local authorities with followings five times ours (see table below). LinkedIn provides this data for ‘competitors’ in its native analytics if you’re interested. 

There’s no competition for audience but it helps to know if what we’re doing is resonating and providing value to those who do see our content relative to similar organisations.

CouncilFollowersPostsEngagementsAverage engagements per postEngagements to followers ratio
Wokingham Borough Council5,6402888,39329.141.4881
County council 126,1112168,54339.550.3272
County council 226,6741958,77745.010.3290
New, large unitary4,9834887,01614.381.4080
Similar sized unitary6,5362412,84811.820.4357

Data correct as of 13 December 2021

Make it work for you

If it’s a channel you’re already using or one you’re looking to unlock, these are a great place to start with adapting some of your content from other channels. 

Lift and shift. Repurpose with purpose. It won’t involve a 9:16 video. 

You could bring lots more eyeballs on some of your biggest projects and get to highlight your perfect partnerships or celebrate your colleagues. After the last few years, we could all do with a bit of the latter. 

Connor McLoughlin is senior communication, engagement and marketing specialist at Wokingham Borough Council.

NEWS NUMBERS: Reach plc websites reach more UK people than the BBC

Here’s something public sector communicators need to know.

Reach plc’s combined websites reached more people in the UK than the BBC.

The figures were announced by Ipsos Iris which form the new UKOM audience data.

Here they are in the list as the highest UK channel in 5th behind global brands Alphabet (i.e. Google) Meta (i.e. Facebook), Amazon and Microsoft.

Why is this significant?

It’s significant because it represents a reminder of the importance of traditional media and that they are re-inventing themselves.

It’s a reminder to take local media seriously.

Reach plc have more than 100 print newspaper titles and more than a dozen web presences like Staffordshire Live. They also have national titles The Daily Express and Daily Mirror.

Reach have done some great work with changing from the traditional print focussed model to the hybrid of print and web.

The flipside is that I’ve questioned Reach plc’s lack of policing of online comments in the past and the BBC remain the most trusted news brand in the UK.

LONG READ: Predictions for public sector comms in 2022

The most critical time in any battle, Craig D. Lounsbrough once wrote, is not when you’re fatigued, it’s when you no longer care.

Fatigue is certainly something familiar to public sector communicators but no-one can accuse them of not caring.

If anything, I think those in NHS, local and central government, police and fire care a little too much.

Here is a list of predictions for 2022 after two years of pandemic.

Predictions I got right for 2021

It’s going to be a tough year. Up there with death and taxes this is the most obvious thing to get right.

There has also been an avalanche of mental health problems. Almost two thirds of public sector comms people have reported their mental health deteriorating.

Disinformation and misinformation has been vital. It’s a battle that against anti-vaxxers has been won. On Facebook, bright teams across the UK did start to recruit an army of volunteers. Locally-made content did in the end prove more effective than the generic national message.

Equality in PR did fail to improve. Social media teams did face the brunt of online abuse. The age of comms teams did continue to age without there beinga flow of new younger talent.

Media relations did become more important as people looked to traditional news for pandemic updates.

Predictions I didn’t get right

Given the numbers, I thought they’d be more WhatsApp for Business use to tackle disinformation. Deepfakes remains a fringe issue not mainstream as the tech improves. The knowledge gap with AI and PR in the public sector didn’t close despite best efforts. Issues surrounding Brexit remained local or regional as the pandemic took priority.

PREDICTIONS FOR 2022

WORKPLACE

  • Yes, it will be harder still. Sorry.
  • Health and Safety. Communicators will wise-up and realise that Health and Safety legislation around online abuse covers them too. This represents a final maturing of the field. The risk of not taking these steps for the organisation will be an expensive lesson through litigation.
  • Gap months to recharge will be more common. Buoyed by a low unemployment and burnt out by two years of pandemic public sector comms people will increasingly feel able to walk off the job, recharge with gap months away safe in the knowledge they’ll likely find work on their return.
  • A dip in political authority. In England, the weaker grip on authority shown by Boris Johnson will make this a tougher year. Communicators will be asked to communicate messages that more will push back on. They will need to localise the message. This will be most pronounced in England but with trust in politicians taking a battering Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland PR need also to take account of this.
  • Brexit again. As the full implications of withdrawal from Europe come into force this will cause problems for public sector communicators.
  • Staffing the rota. It will be harder to keep the wheels turning as staff numbers suffer from retention problems, COVID-19 outbreaks in the team and growing expectations on what the team can do. You think you can do business and usual as well as COVID comms for a third year? Things and people WILL be falling over.
  • Decision making across the board will be poorer. In the US, firefighters have a bank of learning from incidents that last months. Chief amongst this is proper rest. Why? Because decision making suffers without time to recharge. The UK hasn’t grasped this strategically, at government level or tactically. This will roll downhill to the comms team.
  • Diversity continues to be overlooked. We’re aware of the problems posed by having a middle aged white workforce in PR. Doing something about it is another thing.

TECHNOLOGY

  • The AI gap grows. Some great work has been done by the CIPR in this field to encourage communicators to learn about how Artificial Intelligence can affect their jobs. The pressure of the inbox means a lack of strategic thinking to properly embrace this.
  • TikTok. This will be the year when this platform continues to breakthrough and becomes a solid way to reach all ages and not just under 24s. This will open up if you love the platform or hate it. I’m not convinced the public sector realises this.
  • Organic Facebook continues to wither. Just chucking your content onto a corporate page will continue to be, as the kids say, a dick move. It won’t be reaching many people. An ad strategy or a strategy for connecting with groups continues to be vital.
  • Video continues to soar. No surprises to hear me talk about this. It’s a continuing trend. 5G will make it easier as will social media’s obsession with copying TikTok.
  • Upright and wide video. Videographers will need to get used to shooting in two formats and in different styles depending on the platform.
  • Hello, Nextdoor. This is the year when the community platform continues to thrive. Its audience is over 55s in a geographic area and a public sector agreement means you can reach every member. This is more compelling in 2022.
  • One size fits all comms continues to fail. If you’re making the same content and stuffing it across a range of channels you will fail even bigger in 2022 than you have done in 2021.
  • Think granular comms. The one-size-fits-all broadcast message continues to fail and more observant people will be aware of this. Personalised messages for sub-communities will be the most effective use of time. This could be content posted to a Facebook group or £50 spent to reach a specific community.
  • WhatsApp continues. Half the country use WhatsApp. The public sector has been slow to adapt or innovate. It needs to. There may be movement later in the year as tools and functionality emerge.
  • Algorithmic upheaval. This is the year to pay attention to how your content performs week-by-week and month-by-month. Tried and tested ways of doing things will stop working more than they have for a decade. Will you notice? This will acutely be felt in Instagram as they react to TikTok but others will change how they perform, too. Pay attention.

STRATEGIC

  • Educate your client. Comms teams used to leaving out copies of the local papers for visitors are long a thing of the past. So too will be teams just reporting broad numbers. With effective comms evolving to granular personalised messages the leadership need to be educated more than ever. They may be used to seeing a breakdown of headlines in the local paper. They’ll need to know that U24’s got this message on TikTok. You didn’t post it to Facebook because that’s not where they are, for example. Those who you report to need to be brought along with you or tghey won’t understand what you’re doing.
  • New skills. After two years in the trenches refining skills and plugging the gaps is essential. Come up for air. Your brightest people have a broad set of skills. Bright people will take those skills elsewhere if they don’t feel valued. Never truer than in 2022.
  • Online harms bill. This is likely to have an impact in 2022. It will ask organisations to be more aware of abusive content and ask them for plans for dealing with it when they see it. You’ll need to record keep and show other steps. This is a work in progress.
  • GDPR Lite. The UK Government announced changes to GDPR seeing as we’re no longer in the EU. This is a work in progress you’ll need to keep up with.
  • Virtual reality and augmented reality. Keep an eye on this space. It won’t be truly mainstream in 2022 but people will properly be experimenting with it as the tech in their hands improves.

GUEST POST: The power of your outdoor break: evaluating the value of woods

It can be hard to evaluate the value of things as a communicator. Putting a value on things is a powerful way of stating your case. Clare Parker, head of communications at Forest Research which is part of the Forestry Commission, explains how they were part of a team team that arrived at the mental health benefit of woods as £185 million. The report sets out the methodology used to arrive at the conclusions.

For years there was a lot to be said about the benefits to your mental health if you went outside. That personal good vibe, a break from the routine, even medical professionals making ‘green’ prescriptions to make the most of fresh air and a connection to nature. We all knew there was something good about it.

A report from the social science team in Forest Research, the Great Britain-wide research arm of the Forestry Commission, for the first time put a figure on it. £185million A YEAR can be saved by visiting woodlands.

It’s not often there’s a real gamechanger, but this report is worthy of its landmark status.

 “Valuing the mental health benefits of woodlands” report has some pretty impressive findings. A scoping study showed how being in forests increased chemical levels and hormones to make people feel better, and people felt less stressed during and after their visits. Incidents of depression went down by seven per cent and just 30 minutes per week will give you noticeable benefits. This isn’t about exercise either, just sitting or meditating amongst the trees increases the benefits too.

Those statement themselves are amazing, but it’s the hard fact that savings can be made in the annual costs to society of living with depression or anxiety. That is, in working hours no longer lost, medicines gone unprescribed, professional therapy unused. And those savings might even be underestimated.

The monetary value of the outdoors is an incredible piece of evaluation. Demonstrating the “avoided costs” to society is a powerful tool in understanding the impact of recognising, managing and even curing mental health.

In short, that lunchtime walk is not only doing you the world of good, it’s saving your organisation and society money.   

Footnote: It was a privilege to work on the communications for this report. This truly was a team effort from the authors, the publishers and communications and press teams across Forest Research, the Forestry Commission, Defra, Scottish Government and Welsh Government.   

Clare Parker is head of communications at Forest Research which is part of the Forestry Commission.

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