My membership experience with CIPR

Credit: CIPR membership event on 9th June 2021

My name is Lingyu; I work for a science community-based in Cambridge under the Marketing and Communication Directory. On top of that, I am a proud committee member volunteering for CIPR East Anglia.  

My journey with CIPR began in early 2020, not too long ago compared to many of the others. Although I worked in the field for almost ten years after my Master’s degree, I never actually thought about belonging to any professional group. Initially, I joined because I wanted to keep my yearly CPD going and keep updated with knowledge and learn the latest comms insight. But after I joined CIPR, I was widely exposed to so many other excellent benefits. For example, the fantastic networking opportunities, CPD training database, and many more, which can be found at https://cipr.co.uk/CIPR/Membership/Benefits_.aspx  

Looking back at 2020, when I first joined the CIPR, I luckily attended a few offline net-working events organised by CIPR EA in Cambridge. As a result, I met comms professionals in the region. These networking opportunities open more doors for me. Subsequently, our current Chair Ruth invited me to join the lovely Committee as the event lead last year. I was thrilled to have the chance of being part of the CIPR EA family. We have so far worked as a strong team, successfully delivering many events; our most recent proud example is the Bitesize Conferences, a comms conference parting with many industry-leading speakers across three months. I thoroughly enjoyed working on various projects with my committee team, who are from diverse backgrounds. Some are digital experts, some are well-round skilled comms lead, and some are media savvy. We pulled together as a team, contributing skills and perspectives to impact the comms industry. I feel proud of being part of it.  

Not only have I met my original objectives of joining CIPR as a member, but also I made the best use of many of the membership benefits to advance myself further. Last year, I took the Chartership assessment. I passed it to be a qualified Charted PR, which in return significantly boosted my confidence. By receiving the title, I have also gained recognition and credibility to be a qualified comms professional.  

That’s my concise but maybe quite intensive experience with CIPR; however, Everything I had experience with CIPR is welcoming, supportive, and friendly; I am feeling part of it. So I hope you can join the journey with me, be a member, get the support you need and enjoy the enormous benefits.  

If you have more any membership, volunteering and Chartership assessment questions, please feel free to reach me via my twitter.  

Thank you for your time. And thank you, CIPR team.  

10 top tips to video storytelling success

Man filming on a smart phone

Creating video can be seen as a mammoth task, but the reality is, it’s what your audience wants and expects from you. Last month we hosted our top 10 tips to video storytelling success webinar and in this blog CIPR East Anglia Committee member James Sharp shares some of learning from the event.

As communicators, human stories are a powerful tool in our armoury. They are an effective way of engaging people, grabbing their emotions and getting your message across to your audience.  

Additionally, using video allows you to make complex stories easier to understand and deliver a more impactful message. They can bring your story to life and make it more relevant for your audience.

Last month I was pleased to be joined by Tom Gudegon from Chelmsford based video marketing agency Two Cubed Creative, for a virtual session that broke down the top 10 things we should all be thinking of when creating a video.

I am pleased to be able to share with you some of these top tips which I hope will allow you to go on and create some awesome video content that your audiences will love.

Tip One: Planning and pre-production creates better results

A successful video is all in the planning – after all failing to plan is planning to fail.

Have a think about the video you want to create, is there actually going to be any value creating it for your audience?

Ask yourself?

  • Who are your audience. Do you have a detailed understanding as to who they are and who you are targeting?
  • What do you want to achieve by creating your video? This is the most important element. Not only will it help you target your content, but it will enable you to track the success of your video. Are you looking to launch a new service, drive sales, encourage people to sign up to a mailing list or maybe get people to register for an event?

Tracking the success of your videos is key. If you see a past video hasn’t performed as you wish, don’t let that get you down. Not everyone gets it right first time round. Review the results and engagement and see if there is something you may have missed, or you could do differently to achieve better results next time.

Finally, don’t forget to storyboard. Have an idea of how you want your story to flow by mapping it out before you film. This will allow you to see any potential problems that would have maybe gone unnoticed – saving you time and money.

Tip Two: Get people by their emotions

Sometimes the story you tell doesn’t necessarily have to be a corporate ‘blah blah blah’ story. Take advantage of your service users, clients, customers and tell stories about them. Telling a story that doesn’t directly come from your mouth helps people trust you more, and trust is a key factor in marketing.

Testimonials are great for this. Find that hard hitting story that you know relates to multiple clients. If people see someone in a similar position to them has benefited from your product or service, they are likely to listen and invest.

Here is a video TwoCubed created for NHS Mid Essex CCG back in 2018. It’s not directly about a service that the CCG provides, but rather of a success story from a project that they were involved in. It doesn’t directly mention the CCG and the focus is on the project and its key results.

Word of warning. You may need to grab the tissues before watching – it’s a bit of a tear jerker. 😢

Maldon Up Project. Copyright NHS Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group

Tip Three: Repurpose

Remember, a video isn’t just for Christmas. Don’t create one video and share it in one place. It’s not a nice to have. It’s not a family portrait. It’s a tool. Take advantage of it.

Create multiple assets. For example, in the Up-Project video (linked above), Two Cubed created a shorter version for Facebook and Twitter which had over 70K views and 700 interactions.

Just make sure that you take full advantage of the assets you have captured, and make sure that you think back to the end goal of the video campaign. Create short form versions for social media. This way you can create multiple assets from that one video. How about creating a mini-series telling different elements of the story in multiple videos? This will help you retain your audience’s attention.

Remember: 2 mins 20 is max on Twitter, over 3 minutes performs better on Facebook, and Instagram has a limit of 60 seconds for a grid post and then an hour for an IGTV. Stories are usually 15 seconds, but if your video is longer it will normally split it across multiple stories.

Tip Four: Be natural

Sometimes, this is easier said than done. Unless you’re targeting corporate bodies, relax, be yourself and most importantly, showcase your or your organisations personality.

Make your messaging natural, have an informal tone and don’t force a regimented voice (people don’t like robots).

Using everyday words that everyday people understand will enable far better results. If you’ve got some overly complicated terminology in your video and it’s not needed, or doesn’t sit right with your target audience, lose it.

At the end of the day, you want to ensure that the end result is as good as it can be. Take your time. If something doesn’t sound right, or didn’t come across how you intended, do it again!

Tip Five: Add visuals

Talking heads are fine, however they are not your only options. If your video relies on an interview or script, then listen and pay attention to help you identify additional footage you could capture.

Is there mention of someone enjoying going to the beach? Show it. Is there mention of someone volunteering? Show them in action. Could you improve the visual experience by showcasing shots of a town or village? Show it.

So long as the additional shots add to the story, use them. Don’t add in shots for the sake of it, if it enhances the story then that’s when you know to use them.

Sometimes you don’t even need sounds or talking in a video if you are utilising strong, evocative visuals.

Tip Six: Be creative

As communication and marketing professionals, creativity should be in our bones, so let this spill out into your videos. Don’t go for the easiest option with the plainest visuals – let your creativity run wild, you may be surprised as to what you think of and how you think of telling your story.

Don’t be afraid to learn from others, see how other people tell their stories and take note. If it would appeal to your audience, then use that to your advantage.

Tip Seven: Use the professionals

Sometimes, if budgets allow you can take advantage of using an external company to help you create video – but remember to take advantage of them and their expertise.

Listen to the advice that they give, inform them about your audience, give them access to your data and your campaign ideas to help them create assets that will perform better.

Don’t just tell them what to shoot and when to shoot it. They’re professionals for a reason. They understand how video works best, how to gain the best results, how to tell stories, what visuals may work and so on.

BUT, you’ve got to work with them. Let them learn as you learn and develop the video campaign together. It’s always risky going for just a single video from a production company, prepare to repurpose your content, because there lies more value.

Tip Eight: But don’t rely on the professionals

Having said that – you don’t always need the professionals. Although they know what they are talking about, and will likely be able to produce better quality videos, they are not the be all and end all.

The majority of us are going to have one of the most powerful tools in our pockets – a smart phone. 

Most smart phones can now shoot up to 4k footage. This means you can shoot your video, edit that footage and that can share and schedule that footage all from the same device.

You can watch the full webinar recording for lots more tips on how to use your device from lighting to sound.

Tip Nine: create something

For those that do not have the budget for the professionals or have access to a smart device – don’t let that stop you from creating video. So long as the story is powerful, that’s all that matters. It’s not about the gear, but the end story.

Tip Ten: Where are you sharing it?

Think about where you are sharing your video – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Is it intended for an in-feed post or for Stories or Fleets?

Interestingly most people watch video without sounds – so adding subtitles to your video will not just tick your accessibility boxes but also broaden the reach of your video.

I hope you found those tips helpful and if you create any new videos then please share them with us – we would love to see.

If you want to watch the webinar in full you can view it here. Don’t forget to log it and claim your five CPD points.

James S

New horizons : Top tips for jobhunting during the pandemic

Thinking of taking on a new opportunity or found yourself looking for a new role? We hosted our New Year, New Horizons recruitment webinar on 21 January to bring members advice for job hunting, CVs and remote interviews. In this blog CIPR East Anglia committee member Hayley Mace shares some of the top tips from the event.

Job hunting is a daunting process and there’s no doubt that searching for a new role during a pandemic can be even more stressful. So it was great to be joined at this virtual session by members from across the region, who heard from Carter Recruitment’s Alex Carter and comms specialist Rebecca Harris. Rebecca shared her experience of furlough, redundancy and finding a new role in recent months.

I’m pleased to be able to share some of the tips and advice from the session, which I hope will help anyone who is looking for work. And don’t forget, if you need someone to talk to, a critical friend to help tidy your CV or even someone to grill you in a practice virtual interview, our CIPR East Anglia committee – and I’m sure many of our members across the region – will be only too happy to help.

Tips for remote interviews

  1. Preparation for remote interviews is key. Practise talking to your screen. Check that your background is clear of clutter, that you are well lit and can be clearly seen. As you’re not meeting in person, it’s great if they can clearly see your facial expressions to pick up on the things you don’t say.
  2. Video yourself so that you can see what the interviewer will see. Adjust your seat, correct your posture and smile – you only get one chance to make a strong first impression.
  3. Check the technology in advance and log in early to test it. Make sure you have a power cable, microphone and speakers which are working.
  4. Timed video calls put additional pressure on timings so keep an eye on the clock and make sure you have time to ask your own questions.

Tips for CVs and applications

  1. Target your CV or application to be as specific to the role as you can. Make it easy for a recruiter to identify your key skills, and to see how those link to the job, by putting them at the top.
  2. Your personal accomplishments make you stand out. How will you solve their problem? Don’t be afraid to be bold and outline what you think you could achieve in the first 12 months.
  3. Don’t worry about design or templates. Keep it simple and tailor it to the recipient. For example, a covering email to a marketing agency might have a different tone to one applying for a more corporate role.

Tips for using LinkedIn to raise your profile

  1. Create and maintain a LinkedIn profile. Companies are using them to shortlist candidates.
  2. Fill out as much of the profile detail as possible.
  3. Add a professional picture where you are clearly visible.
  4. Give a clear summary of your skills and experience.
  5. Use the About Us section to talk about you, not about your current or most recent employer.
  6. Invest time in using it as a content platform. Share blogs or articles which you find interesting, create your own content which reflects your values and experience. It is a great free way to create a microsite about yourself.

Tips for structuring your job hunt

  1. Staying motivated is hard. Accept that you’ll have good days, OK days and bad days. Focus on what’s in your control and do what you can to make progress.
  2. Make the most of free online training. There are lots of great resources (including of course the CIPR CPD database) so refresh your skills and generate some new content for your CV.
  3. Create a routine which works – if you’re more energised in the morning, focus on doing your most important tasks first thing.
  4. Scour LinkedIn and websites for opportunities and don’t be afraid to tell trusted friends and contacts that you’re looking for a role. Two pairs of eyes and ears is better than one.
  5. Post a blog or add content to your Linkedin profile one a week. That will keep it fresh and give you new ideas to share.

I hope those tips are helpful and if you are looking for work, I hope you soon find a new role.

Don’t forget you can also visit the CIPR’s free Employability Hub for resources and advice here