1. On-site and at home - the perfect mix
I wrote a couple of weeks back about working from home; it's advantages and pitfalls.
Well this week has been that ideal mix of client work on-site working with a fantastic team of health research professionals, and a bit of time at home (where my colleagues include a very lazy cat and a sulky Cocker Spaniel).
Freelancing has it's ups and downs - but one aspect of it that I love is the opportunities it gives you to work from multiple locations, and at home.
So I've been spending a lot of time with client in Manchester this week, as well as delivering work for three clients (including one new one) at home.
Thanks to the great talent of my Nordic-lifestyle-and-design-expert wife, I'm privileged to spend my working hours at home in our beautiful new office. You can read about her inspiration and the key pieces that have made the office what it is on her blog.
2. Freelancers: ASSEMBLE!
This week I've been working and planning with three other freelance comms and design specialists on some exciting new projects.
If I had to pick one thing that I've loved about starting out on my own; it's how open other freelancers are to collaborating together on projects.
From my point of view, it's always fun and enriching to work with other specialists, and especially those that you know, admire and trust.
And from a client's point of view, you get a cost-effective expert solution with people who really care about doing a great job.
It's an absolute win-win.
3. Self censorship, Objectivity and Neutrality Week.
Let's be honest. The World is in a bit of a state right now.
There's a lot to be concerned about, and as humans (as well as professionals) we all have opinions.
Having taken the leap into working for myself a couple of months ago, I made a conscious decision to be less forthcoming in my political views on social media. This has actually been more difficult than I first imagined it'd be. And on Wednesday night this week, I wondered aloud on Twitter about how other comms pros deal with this quandry:
Got me thinking. Other #comms people, esp working in public sector, do you consciously self censor yourself on here or do you rely on the old “opinions expressed are not those of my employer” thing. What say you @comms2point0 community? https://t.co/QSTkvSeBhO— Ben Capper (@bencapper) August 8, 2018
It sparked a very enriching debate from the comms community about how we all deal with balancing our own views with our responsibility to our organisations. Check out the comments on the tweet above and see for yourself.
For me, I've stopped being overly opinionated about controversial stuff online because:
- I don't want to alienate people (and potential clients) whose opinions might not match my own.
- It's unproductive and achieves nothing
- It just stresses you out, and takes your energy away from doing things that might actually help.
So that's my experience. I'd be really interested in yours. Let me know on Twitter or in the comments section...
4. Fascinating Brexit perspective for comms people
Don't worry, I'm not about to break the rules I've just outlined in Number 3.
That said... all comms people should read Mark Ritson's column in Marketing Week this week, where he argues that, whatever your view on the result of the 2016 EU Referendum; and the legal and ethical shenanigans that have come to light in the last six months, the Leave Campaign was masterful in its delivery, and one of the most successful marketing campaigns of our time.
I agree with this. And have written about this previously in the immediate aftermath of the result and this year, once the Cambridge Analytica scandal came to light.
But on the question of the illegal funding of the Leave Campaigns, the key challenge Ritson poses for us is that marketing professionals are the best people to figure out whether that extra £400k really made the difference to the result.
There's a good case that it did. After all, that's what our profession is for, and why comms campaigns cost money.
But, hey, have a read and make your own mind up.
I'm entirely neutral on the subject, obvs.
5. Blog post of the week
It's undisputed this week. And it's a late entry from Darren Caveney, called "what we need is a video – and 15 other things comms teams hear every week"
If you're in comms, and have a Twitter account, you can't have failed to come across this one.
It's one of those that comes along every so often and resonates so much that the tweets carry on being hilarious 48 hours after it was originally posted.
Some of my personal favourites:
- We have organised a competition with a local school to create a logo
- We really need this on the website homepage
- I’ve designed this leaflet if you could just send it out please
Read, with your face in your palm. If that's even physically possible...
6. Podcast of the week
This week, it's this fantastic episode from the fantastic Native podcast, with the founder of the We Rate Dogs Twitter account, Matt Nelson.
In it, host Dave Musson talks to Matt about where the inspiration came from.
It's funny yes. But what's really interesting about this is how meticulous Matt has been in creating this online phenomenon, including a long conversation about the tone-of-voice, which I personally really appreciated.
7. Other stuff I've written
This week I've had a couple of blogs doing the rounds online.
I've been really privileged to feature on two of my favourite comms-based websites with the following posts: