Letter from the English Lake District: Airbnb guest signs as a communication art form

Letter from the English Lake District: Airbnb guest signs as a communication art form

Comms School gets practical, internal meets external, lessons in learning, AI knowledge gap, don’t build on free land, Airbnb comms as art and the Brexit impasse.

I'm looking forward to this week's session of Comms School because we're going to get practical. We're planning to show you how build a personal space for your content on the internet and how to make blogging a habit.

Comms School is a series of six webinars during March and April to help students and young practitioners get a leg up in their career. It’s free to join and take part. You’ll be very welcome.

Thanks to Ella Minty for hosting us on a Back to School #PowerAndInfluence Twitter chat this week. It was a lively session that covered the craft of writing, confidence, learning on a budget, networking and lots more.

Marcel and I look forward to you joining us at 6:30pm GMT on Tuesday, 19 March. If not watch out for the replay.

📻 Internal meets external comms: a conversation with Katie Macaulay

I met up with Katie Macaulay a couple of weeks ago to swap experiences in external and internal communications. She’s the author of From Cascade to Conversation, managing director of employee engagement agency AB Comms and presenter of the Internal Comms Podcast. Over the course of an hour we discussed online echo chambers, the impact of artificial intelligence and The Cluetrain Manifesto, a prophetic book that examined the impact of the internet on communication long before the invention of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

🤔 Lessons on learning from Lisa Potter and Harriet Small

Lisa Potter shared her approach to personal development this week. She squeezes learning into her busy home and work life through a combination of podcasts, blogs, newsletters, books, and Twitter. Harriet Small shares a related story in Broke Girl’s Guide to Professional Development in Communications where she describes how she manages her annual learning and development on a budget of £500. Both articles are so good you’ll want to print them out.

🤖 AI knowledge gap spotlighted in communications

I shared a report with you last week by venture capitalist MMC Ventures which found that two-fifths of Europe’s so-called AI start-ups don’t use AI in their products. It’s consistent with a report by the Centre for Strategic Communication Excellence that found an AI knowledge gap among professional communicators. A second edition of the research is in the works. Please help characterise knowledge and skills in this critical area of marketing and PR practice.

⚠ Don’t build your comms house on free land

Facebook and Instagram suffered an outage on Wednesday. Scott Guthrie says it’s a harsh reminder not to rely on third party services as the core of your communications plan. He’s spot on. Using third party services leaves you vulnerable to outages and changes in terms and conditions. Post your content in owned spaces such as a blog or website and use platforms such as Facebook and Instagram as a channel for sharing and engaging with your audiences.

🖼 Airbnb guest signs: comms as art

I stayed in an Airbnb in the Lake District this weekend. It had at least three 'helpful' signs in every room. Guest signs are an important part of Airbnb culture but if you need so many you probably need to either greet guests, simplify your accommodation, or find better customers. Guest signs and hospitality has been elevated to an art form by the Airbnb community and are critical to a positive experience. Chenyu Zheng has collected some of the best examples from her travels.

❓ How do you solve a problem like Brexit?

Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal falls short of the promises made during the EU Referendum almost three years ago. It turns out that there’s no such thing as a good Brexit let alone the Brexit we’ve been promised by the Leave Campaign. May’s insistence on her deal means that it will return to Parliament for a third time this coming week. It’s exhausting to follow and spotlights the weakness of our political leaders and the fault lines in democracy, media and society. I’ve no answers I’m afraid.

Have a great week and try not to let Brexit get you down.

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