I recently re-read the blog ‘Standing Up For The Skills of the Expert Communicator’ by Helen Reynolds, and it struck an extra chord with me this time around.

For those who haven’t read it (even though you really should. Go on, I’ll wait), I’ll provide you with a short quote that aptly summarises the piece:

Knowing how to tweet does not make a social media manager, any more than spending your pocket money on sweets doesn’t make an economist.

One needs to be creatively minded, possess the technical skillset to use a whole variety of design software, have a knack for analytics and studying consumer behaviour, be ready to closely engage with all aspects of your organisation. It is no relaxing walk in the park, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t rewarding as hell.I am constantly learning new things and developing my skill set. That being said, I do still possess a level of expertise that is often undervalued. Coming from a fairly small charity with a limited (okay, non-existent…) communications budget, I am the lead on all areas of media, marketing and communications across four international offices. This means the level and variety of technical know-how is huge, and I have to be constantly leaping to keep on top of all the new, fast-paced developments happening (especially on social media) in my sector, forever thinking of new cost-effective, guerrilla-style ways of sharing our work. Not to mention staying on high-alert of potential media crisis. Eeek!

Therefore I fight the corner for all of my communications peers out there, especially the ones working lone-wolf style or in small teams. You are talented, driven, dedicated and, ultimately, vital to the success of your organisation. Do not allow yourself to be disheartened when friends and family hear your job title and think you just sit around scrolling through Twitter all day. Do not allow yourself to be frustrated by peers from other departments interjecting their own ‘expertise’ because they once had an Instagram account. And most importantly, do not undervalue yourself when it feels that your organisation (be it your senior managers, the board, other colleagues in different departments) no longer understands the expert skills needed to manage communications effectively.

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