“Five key skills all communicators need to learn now”

“Communicators will increasingly require different and more technical skill sets; such as data analytics, content creation and behavioural science techniques.”

This is a key take out from the UK Government’s report on The Future of Public Service Communications .

As the world continues to move at a rapid pace, communicators will need to stay up-to-date with the latest industry thinking and constantly update their skillset in order to be at the forefront of our industry.

While writing is the most important skill for all communicators (and I believe this won’t change) there are still many other areas to be proficient in, in order to be a successful communicator.

Here are five skills that you should learn in order to continue your professional development.

Website publishing

All organisations use a different type of CMS (content management system) and publishing content will differ for each platform. However, it is important to have a basic understanding of how to use and publish content on the CMS that your organisation uses.

If you’re unable to get to know the back-end of your organisation’s CMS there are other alternatives. WordPress is a free and open-source CMS that has a number of online training courses. Having a solid understanding of how to manage and publish content on a WordPress site will put you in good stead for understanding how to manage other CMS’s.

Social media platforms

While social media management may not be in your current job description, it is essential that all communicators have a basic understanding of how organisations can use social media effectively.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube are just the start in an enormous line up of online platforms that can be used to successfully connect with your target audience.

Along with the social platforms there are a plethora of tools that can help you use these platforms.

Social media is an ever changing beast so it is important to constantly keep up-to-date which can be done through face-to-face and online courses.

Website and social media analytics

Data is the best way to justify communication tactics and determine whether programs you have put in place are successful or need to be altered.

The Google Analytics tool provides a thorough insight into how your website and all its content are performing. This is a tool you need to know how to use.

Similarly the analytics functions on social media platforms and other tools that can also provide data for these channels are extremely important.

There are a number of online training courses that can be done to learn these skills.

Graphics and images

It is important that communicators have a basic understanding of how to create visual content.

While I concede that traditional communicators will never be able to create high quality graphics like someone who is specialised in this area, you can still develop a skill that allows you to create basic graphics for use online and social media.

Understanding how to re-size images properly is also important.

Photography and videography

Again, while you might not take photos and videos as well as a professional photographer, you still need to understand the basics needed to take a suitable photo or video.

You shouldn’t underestimate the quality of images and videos that can be taken on a smart phone.

There are several apps and online courses that can assist you with this.

The list of skills that communicators need to learn to keep at the forefront of our industry is going to continue to grow and become more diverse – which leaves our industry in a very exciting space.

Make your professional development a priority today and enjoy the journey as communications continues to evolve with technology.

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