The journeys we’ve been on, the trail still lying ahead…

#weeknotes S06 EP11 – week ending 12 May 2019

Working on

A highlight of the working week was the UnAwards Masterclass in Birmingham on Thursday. It’s always a huge privilege to go along and hear more about the work behind the winning entries from December’s UnAwards ceremony and catch up with folk, and meet new people too. There is (as always) amazing work happening across the public sector – communications and digital work which has a real impact on real lives, every day. It’s being carried out in tough circumstances of budget cuts, and relentless rounds of redundancies and restructures. I have the highest respect for those who work in this area and for positive change.

I really enjoyed all the presentations but a few points really sparked with my areas of interest – the data and insight work Albert Freeman of Bradford Council shared (brilliant stuff on personas and customer journeys), the state of journalism the case study from Tower Hamlets showed, the emotional impact at an individual level cost savings cuts and reviews have, and the amount of talk about Facebook Groups. This last one – I know I’ve written about Facebook a lot recently but it isn’t going away and communicators do need to get a robust digital engagement strategy in place and quick. If you need a hand with it come along to one of the Vital Facebook Skills sessions I’ve teamed up with Dan Slee to run next month – dates and details here.

It was also a joy to get along and see LIINES play one of the last dates on the Eton Alive tour where they’ve supported Sleaford Mods for 30 plus dates around the country. They played Derby – Reckless Yes’ hometown – on Thursday and it’s such a thrill to see people in the audience turn out early to take a chance on the support and find themselves richly rewarded with the discovery of a new favourite band. LIINES are such a hard-working band, full of passion and humility, and this has been an amazing opportunity and experience for them – as managers and label we at Reckless Yes are so excited to see where their journey is going next.

For us as a label there was a moment – stood watching LIINES hold the audience in their hand, Unqualified Nurse Band stood to my right, the other half of the label Pete Darrington and Shelley Jane Newman of Mighty Kids to my left with a Grawl!x tote slung over my shoulder – when I let myself feel how far we’ve come in three short but stunning years. There is so much more still to come but in that moment the community we seeded was tangible and wonderful and I so look forward to more music and more connections as we go on from here.

The last thought for this week is about looking back. A thread in the Public Sector Comms Headspace FB Group (do join you’re not already signed up) turned into a bit of trip down memory lane about social media and digital in the sector. The core reflection for me was about the nature of practitioners and the way we worked a decade ago to begin embedding social media in the sector. We learnt from each other and committed to the collaborate don’t compete ethos, which should underpin all work in the public sector, to try out ideas to help our organisations communicate and serve citizens in the way they were becoming accustomed to from elsewhere.

It’s easy to forget the specifics of what you worked on a decade ago, or to only think about how it felt on an individual, team or organisation level. But this chat gave the whole thing context and shone a light on just what a change those early ‘forgiveness not permission’ experiments set in motion. The work is not done – not by a long shot – but it’s good to be reminded of what has already been achieved, and how many people were involved. I’m forever grateful for finding my tribe through Twitter and the support I got from them while doing what seemed like common sense but was actually groundbreaking now I look back and see the forest, not just the trees.


Brilliant fiction consumed this week – The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland and The Last by Hanna Jameson. Now reading The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan and you can find me on Goodreads here.

I said I was going to try and start a list of blog posts I’ve read and I really need to find and try out some Apps to help me track this (I’ve used Pocket and Evernote in the past but they don’t feel quite right now). For next week it’s Notes / a notebook as this week I’ve not kept track at all but have read some really inspiring things.

I did find myself included on a great mail out I’d not seen before and recommend to Comms folk – curated by Paul Sutton the monthly REWIND mail out brings together a huge amount of insight and news and looks like a really useful resource to practitioners. See the latest edition and sign up here.

Listening to

New music from a selection of Reckless Yes artists – we’ll be announcing someone new to the roster in the next month and there’s new music from those already in the family coming in thick and fast now.

What’s next?

It’s full on production time at Reckless Yes – one album and one single underway, another two singles coming up close behind them. With digital and PR needed for all of them I’m up to my hips in activity for them – and I’m loving it. There is nothing quite like bringing a listener to their new favourite tune (whether they discover it through a playlist, through a blog, a podcast, hear it on the radio or get it recommended through social media) so this bit is just a joy, always.

Prep is ongoing for the Facebook workshops and I’m enjoying updating everything following F8 and making sure the right info is going out for how the algorithm works right now.

Need a hand?

If there’s a content or communications thing you need a hand with give me a shout.

Original source – Sarah Lay

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