Internal comms far from a piece of cake – despite what a big-name magazine thinks.

Magazines such as Cosmopolitan have a long history of telling you what to change to improve yourself while simultaneously telling you to ‘love the skin you’re in’.

The pages are filled with images of perfection – hair, teeth, body shape the works.

So, as I scrolled through my Twitter feed and saw the below article, I have to say I wasn’t all that shocked but still disappointed.

Whether you’re internal or external comms, our teams are usually “busybusyverybusy” but our roles are about much more than dishing out outdated clichés, organising dinners and birthday cakes!

You have to prove your worth, whether you work in local government, the NHS or the third sector – many facing ever-changing demands with tightening budgets.

When I made the move to the ‘dark side’ from a reporter to a comms officer my former colleagues scoffed at me. Many of their views mirror those seemingly at Cosmo Towers – they thought I’d spend my day being at the beck and call of journalists and writing boring press releases. Unfortunately, for them I don’t have the time to sit by the phone waiting for their calls.

Perhaps, as many more journalists in their droves make their way over to the dark side, they too will see the merits of the world of PR and communications.

In the newsroom you’re competing against your rivals whether that is other news outlets or even your colleagues to get the story first but in our world I’ve found it to be more about helping and supporting one another.

Newspapers, local and national, used to set the news agenda but since the explosion of smart phones, better Broadband and the upskilling of small comms teams the tables have turned.

Our own channels, whether this be social media pages, websites, newsletters and so on, are the gateway to the audiences we are trying to reach – not news desks.

Speaking to fellow colleagues many have abandoned the churning out a press release and hope it gets picked up approach and are instead curating and creating their own engaging content. So many other tools, platforms and opportunities exist for us now. And we first create great plans to decide which ones are best suited.

A boring press release just doesn’t cut the mustard any more.

During the cyber-attack which hit the NHS in a massive way earlier this year I firmly believe this is where the comms teams up and down the country came into their own.

In my former role with a large acute NHS Trust my team were right in the thick of it. All of our IT systems went down and our phones were ringing off the hook. No email, limited telephones and no access to records.

We had to go old school pen and paper and finding a photocopier not linked to the network.

We used everything we had at our disposal. We posted key messages for staff in a closed Facebook group via our personal mobiles as the Trust phones were disabled. We walked the length and breadth of our hospitals to keep staff in the loop. Patients and the public were kept informed with posts on our social media channels.

Local and national media were all over it and I lost count of the calls from journalists asking for statements via email. We had no IT, so they were directed to our Facebook page.

We shared video interviews with updates which had thousands of views and we answered thousands of messages and queries on Facebook and Twitter.

This was crisis comms but the day job is far from boring, nor does it involve wearing a headset (who has the budget for that?).

Every day is different and brings more trials and tribulations but I wouldn’t want to do any other job.

Useful posts for comms teams:

If you’d like to create some infographics or images with text check out this blog post 5 free websites to create infographics

If your stock photo library is a little bare here’s 5 free sites for stock images

Looking to create more videos then check out these 5 video editing apps for mobile and if you’d like some expert training check out my thoughts on bringing videos back in house with comms2point0 training

Make sure your Twitter feed is ticking over with these 5 free Twitter scheduling tools

Keep track of your stories featured in the media with these 5 free media monitoring alerts

If you’re not sure how much time your team spends on tasks then these 5 free time tracking tools will come in very handy

You can also find me on Twitter @rachael_stray

Or follow my Facebook page

You can see my random pictures on Instagram

And see what I’m pinning on Pinterest

4 thoughts on “Internal comms far from a piece of cake – despite what a big-name magazine thinks.

  1. Michelle says:

    Your job certainly isn’t dull 😃

    Its so interesting how we consume news differently now. I personally don’t read newspapers, magazines, or even watch the news on TV. I get it all through social media or conversations with friends.

    PS – I boycotted magazines long ago because they made feel bad about myself 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Melissa says:

    When I was young (a million years ago) PR was seen as this glamourous almost “Barbie doll” kind of profession. Things have changed! PR and Comms are critical arms of every organisation and frankly, even individuals who have a small side hustle need to understand them. Your post speaks to why they’re so important.

    Liked by 1 person

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