Are you confused about your role and responsibilities? Feel a bit lost sometimes? Unclear about what your priorities should be? Perplexed as to why no-one at your charity really understands what Communications actually is? Are you pulled in so many different directions? Well, you are not alone! Surveyed 75 Sole Comms people Asked a variety of questions from Job title, what does your role entail, to what frustrates you about being the sole Comms person, what do you love about your role to is Comms valued in your charity. I’m going to share some insights with you from the results of this survey and give you some practical tips to help you in your role
I asked which aspects of their role they enjoyed the most and common themes were:
I asked which aspects of their role frustrated them the most and common themes were: Lack of understanding about what Communications is – often you’re the ‘catch-all’ for everything. “ Trying to do too many things at once and dealing with huge expectations that I know everything about all areas of comms” - “ I can barely touch what we could be achieving because I'm doing everything”
According to the responders, meetings, social media, updating the website, Copywriting for print and online and Writing e-newsletters, hard copy newsletters and leaflets takes up most of their time. Do you agree? If you could choose just one of these, which one takes up most of your time? When asked to choose just one, responders said Updating the website takes up most of their time.
Have you got a big campaign? Provide your supporters with a template Press Release and ask them to approach their local media. Have a link to the newspaper society database for them to search their local media contacts. Press Cutting services are very expensive, so be your own service! Set up Google Alerts for key terms and keep track of your PR Tweetdeck and Hootsuite can be used to manage all your social media ( free accounts allow up to 5 channels – FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, Flickr, Mailchimp etc), you can schedule tweets and posts as well as run Analytics reports I have a handout that has a list of Bloggers, websites, LinkedIn and Facebook groups you should be following to keep up to date with developments in Comms, Digital and Marketing Do you NEED a meeting? Can you resolve your issue/query through an email or telephone call? Don’t meet unless you have to!
Out of all of these options, what is the one thing you are less able to dedicate time to? When asked what is the ONE aspect they are least able to dedicate time to, respondents answered ‘Reporting’ followed by ‘Sourcing news stories and case studies for media work’.
Let’s face it. No one has time for reporting! But if we’re not analysing our supporters, our website and the information we place on social media, how do we know if we’re giving people what they want or need? Why is your engagement low? Why does no-one click on your donate button? Why are your enewsletter clickthroughs so low? I asked my manager for one day a month to work at home on Analytics – no distractions! I used my network to ask for help – met with Sami from BRC to help me understand Analytics Ask your peers for a reporting template or ‘Google’ one. It should just form an outline but make sure it’s useful to YOU Once you start gaining insight from reporting, you can build a picture of what your role entails, how labour intensive it is, the impact that it makes, how it could be improved and possibly, a solid business case for recruiting another Comms person.
On this note...I have a little exercise for you Put in pairs – give template handout
Revisit your job description and make sure that you establish with your responsibilities with your Line Manager. If your job description has changed substantially, then put forward the case for a Job Title change, pay rise or a business case to expand the Comms Team. (Handout) Sit down with your Line Manager once a month and set your priorities for the month ahead. Make sure you stick to this and ensure that colleagues submit their requests in advance so that you can manage your time effectively. There are so many free events, seminars and workshops that you can attend to help you in your training and development. Some of these are highlighted in my handout. Charity people are a friendly bunch and they’re more than happy to help you out. Start engaging with them on Twitter and through Facebook and LinkedIn groups and also at free events. (handout) You will be amazed at how much you can learn from them. It’s important to remember that you are one person doing the best you can with what you have been given. Accept that you are only human and that you cannot be everything to everyone.
Tips for lone communicators
Communicationson a Shoestring Conference 27 June, 2012, London #shoestringcomms
T o p T ip s f o r L o n e C o m m u n ic a t o r s
S u r v e y R e s u lt s• Majority work in a charity with 10 or less employees followed by 11 – 50 employees• 39% felt they should be paid more with 36% saying they are paid in line with the sector. 21% felt they are paid less
P o s it iv e s• Varied role• Autonomy to get on with things• Responsibility and ownership• Telling people’s stories
N e g a t iv e s• Lack of understanding about my role• Not enough time to give each aspect the priority it deserves• Lack of colleagues or peers to bounce ideas off of
P r a c t ic a l T ip s f o r• Take R yourself out e p o r t in g of the office• Don’t be afraid to ask for help• Use a template but customise!• Make your
“Teach me and I’ll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I’ll understand.” Chinese Proverb
M y T o p F iv e T ip s fo r L o ne C o m m u n ic a t o r s1.Clarify and establish your Role2.Set priorities and stick to them3.Attend free events4.Establish a
T h a t ’ s a ll F o lk s ! K ir s t y M a r r in s N e w s a n d S o c ia l M e d ia E x e c u t iv e T r in it y C o lle g e L o n d o nK ir s t y . m a r r in s @ r in it y c o lle g e . c o . u k t @ o n d o n K ir s t y L