1. It’s time for communications teams to trust and train their frontline teams

    puppy in training at Dogs for Good

    Although we’re seeing lockdown restrictions easing and we are starting to get out on some local socially distanced shoots, it’s going to be quite a while before we’re travelling the length and breadth of the UK and round the world to deliver shoots. And that’s not just us – travel and social distance guidelines are going to make it hard for comms teams to get out and about to gather content for a while longer. Which is why the time is right to trust and train.

    We’ve been vocal about the need for communications teams to invest time and effort in developing relationships with frontline teams for a long time now. We’ve previously talked about the impact this will have on securing your pipeline of story leads. Story leads that are ultimately fulfilled by your in-house stories team or by commissioning the likes of Mile 91 to deliver a shoot. Ah, those halcyon days…

    In these different days you all need to find new ways of working and while you may still manage stories from the centre it’s likely you’ll need to relinquish some control on the gathering for quite a few months. This is going to mean putting the responsibility for the gathering directly in the hands of your frontline teams, volunteers and service users. This can feel a big step to take because of course we want the best content on our timelines and we worry about poor quality lighting, framing and sound and people saying the wrong things. But there are way around all of that and with the right support and training you can create a whole new team of content gatherers for your organisations.

    We’ve loved watching what our client Dogs for Good have been doing who almost from day one of lockdown they were sharing user generated content on their channels. There was a great appetite for lovely dog content at the peak of the pandemic! WhatsApp groups were set up for dog trainers, temporary boarders and puppy socialisers and soon they were buzzing with content so much so that the social media team had content scheduled way further in advance than usual. Seizing the momentum the communications team booked 22 of their community and trainer colleagues on our smartphone filmmaking course.  

    The course runs in two two hours short sessions over a three day period. At the first session we cover essential skills around framing, lighting and sound, capturing good quality pieces to camera and how to shoot excellent B Roll. Our mission is to banish black lines down the side of YouTube films and to make shaky cutaways a thing of the past! Trainees then have a day to shoot their own footage before coming back for a practical editing session. At the end of the process will have the skills they need to make their first short film. Look at this film that popped into our inbox the day after the editing session.

    We have four smartphone filmmaking courses running during June and July. They are priced on a sliding scale according to charity income and there are discount codes for members of CharityComms, The Lucidity Network and charities supported by Lloyds bank Foundation. We can also run these courses as a group in-house booking – just get in touch.

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