The rapid growth of social media and digital communications in all sectors of the economy, social and cultural life of Wales has the potential to empower organisations previously denied a voice.
That’s the view of Cardiff-based communications specialist and trainer Mike Smith. But he warns too many organisations are failing to use this powerful resource through lack of training and awareness of the huge benefits that can be gained.
“We are also finding that a very large number of people working across all types of organisations, from the largest to the smallest, are genuinely fearful of engaging in social media. This, combined with the assumption they would require vast amounts of expensive, time consuming training, is depriving too many business and other organisations of getting their messages out there,” he said.
Journalist and qualified trainer Smith delivers training to organisations in working with the media and improving business communications skills, including using social and digital media, marketing communications.
He added that this is becoming an increasing problem in Wales where the pace of developments in the press, online news and broadcast industries is leaving those needing to communicate with customers, users, opinion formers and potential funders increasingly unsure how to do so.
“We are also funding communicating is no longer the preserve of a public relations and/or press team but is being recognised as a role of all members of a company or organisation who may come into contact with the media and who can have direct access with their targeted audience through social and digital media.
“This is combined with pressure on budgets, with companies looking for more efficient ways of achieving their communications aims than, for example, paying external agencies for some of this work that can be performed or supplemented by properly trained staff.”
Smith said that at Media Wales Training the most popular courses with clients, who range from Tata Steel, Royal Mint and small businesses to colleges, charities and trade unions, are those delivering hands-on, practical skills that can be used immediately. These include press release writing and writing for the web, using social and digital media in communications work, working with local, national and specialised media and improving interview skills.
For example, the next training days in April will have courses on press release writing skills, writing more effectively for the web and incorporating social and digital media in communication work, imprioving interview skills and also making the media Work for you.
He added, “These module-based courses are designed to help companies, organisations and individuals work with the print, broadcast and online media that are based on delivery by expert tutors who are also working journalists in one of Wales’ busiest multimedia organisations.
“What participants have said they most value is being trained by working journalists such as senior editorial team members from Media Wales broadcast journalist Nicola Heywood-Thomas.”