Blog

Our thinking, things we've spotted elsewhere, and vistas into life at Helpful...

Preparing and filming spokespeople

5 quick tips for better crisis comms

31 Jul 2019 in Blog

1) Be prepared Now is the time to prepare. Start by mapping out the greatest risks that your organisation faces? Which ones could be the most damaging? Do you have pre-prepared messages for those risks? Do you have pre-prepared graphics stored in an accessible location? Perhaps most importantly could you respond at 11pm on a […]

Read more


Croydon Digital Strategy poster

Helping Croydon Council build a digital strategy in a digital way

11 Jul 2019 in Blog

There’s a good bit in this summary of how to develop a strategy by Anna Shipman quoting Russell Davies (actually, the whole thing is great): “Russell never goes into a quiet room and works out a strategy on his own. When working on strategy, he talks to people and they create it together.” In many […]

Read more


Man looking at computer stressed

What you need to know about the September 2019 accessibility requirements

21 Jun 2019 in Blog

From 23rd September 2019 public sector websites will be required to meet new accessibility guidelines. Here is what that actually means. What is accessibility? Accessibility (or ‘a11y’) doesn’t just refer to people with disabilities but is about ensuring everyone is able to use every site on the web. Accessibility can affect anyone; users could be […]

Read more


Happy participants of the 2019 Berlin IndieWebCamp 2019 Day 1

IndieWebCamp Berlin 2019

10 May 2019 in Blog

IndieWebCamp was back in Berlin again this month for a weekend of talks, discussion and making, along with a meeting for IndieWeb organisers the day before.

Read more


Whatever your role in media, show your support for a free press

24 Apr 2019 in Blog

Independent news and information has always been important to me. In 1991 my cousin was serving among the first regiments sent to liberate Kuwait after the Iraqi invasion. Behind all the excitement and pride at home, reading newspapers at the time gave me a sense of the scale of what was happening. Reading the facts […]

Read more


Top tips for job applicants

15 Mar 2019 in Blog

Recently we went through the process of hiring new staff and excitingly, we’re due to do some more soon. I did not want to have to fork out huge amounts of money to a recruitment agency, which we have used in the past, so after lots of research on the best (and most cost effective) […]

Read more


5 ways to show some digital love in the workplace

1 Mar 2019 in Blog

Digital tools help to make us all more productive and empower us to work from anywhere. Well, mostly, but not always. Digital tools also enable us to show our appreciation for each other – the people we manage, the people we work for or with – in lots of different ways. Not everyone is motivated […]

Read more


Instagram post showing lots of medals

Storytelling on social media

20 Feb 2019 in Blog

We’ve been working with organisations such as the Royal Air Force to help them introduce storytelling, using the very best storytellers they have: their own people. The best storytelling in communications becomes, in our opinion, quickly diluted if the telling isn’t done by real people, in a style that suits them. If people really want […]

Read more


Keeping safe online for #SaferInternetDay

5 Feb 2019 in Blog

We’ve been really pleased to see the huge reaction on Twitter to #SaferInternetDay 2019. In its 16th year, it’s all about working together for a better internet with advice and tools for keeping us safe online. Here we’ve rounded up some of the best advice and tools from the day in to a handy list. […]

Read more


Read more scrabble words

Publishing readable blog posts

1 Feb 2019 in Blog

Accessibility is becoming hugely important on the internet (as it should be!) and attention spans are shrinking so being able to write easy to read content is essential. This post isn’t about what you should write but instead has easy to follow tips on publishing a blog that everyone can read. 1. Use headings Readers […]

Read more


5 free tools for comms people

28 Jan 2019 in Blog

There are so many no or low-cost tools available to monitor, assess and create winning content online. Costly subscriptions for digital monitoring and marketing software aren’t in the league of many of the organisations we work with – but that doesn’t mean they need to go without. We’ve done the hard yards for them by […]

Read more


Screen grab of Hackney Action Plan

Staff training for data protection

28 Jan 2019 in Blog

Data. Protection. Privacy. Regulation. Serious-sounding words, but not ones that necessarily inspire staff to hop, skip and jump into work every day. So how can you engage large teams with their responsibilities around data privacy? After all, almost everyone engaged in work, voluntary or paid-for, is responsible for handling personal information. The London Borough of […]

Read more


7 tips for freshening up your comms

4 Jan 2019 in Blog

You’re a digital communications manager returning to your desk after the festive break. You open your inbox to a stream of apparently ‘urgent’ emails, you can’t remember the Twitter password and your monitoring software provider calls to say they’ve increased your annual subscription fees. It might not feel like it at the time but this […]

Read more


What did the Helpful team learn in 2018?

21 Dec 2018 in Blog

We’ve been taking stock of a big year for the Helpful team, in our 2018 Story. We’ve grown in numbers and scale (not least with the new team in the US!) but also in ambition and sophistication. It’s encouraging to see some pretty honest reflections from the team about the things we’ve been sorting out […]

Read more


Facebook pages can now join groups

18 Oct 2018 in Blog

Administrators of Facebook groups now have an option to allow pages – not just people – to join their group.  This is important. Engaging with communities on Facebook has always been a challenge for companies, because one or more members of staff would have to join a group using their personal profile. That’s tricky because […]

Read more


Photo of eye with rainbow

Accessibility for WordPress publishers

17 Oct 2018 in Blog

Accessibility (or ‘a11y’) doesn’t just refer to people with disabilities but is about ensuring everyone is able to use every site on the web. We work to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 in all our sites as standard, however we recently had the pleasure of working with one of our clients who is willing to […]

Read more


Easy WordPress local development environment

17 Oct 2018 in Blog

We believe it letting the build team work in the environment that works best for them – but a local dev environment should also be painless and quick to setup. So recently we’ve rolled out an optional setup using Laravel Valet+ to keep simple tasks simple. TL;DR; As simple as Homebrew, Composer, and Valet+ are, using […]

Read more


Podcasts: Where do I start?

21 Aug 2018 in Blog

  The number of podcast listeners has increased significantly over the past four years, reaching over 68 million in America in 2017. 44 percent of these listeners are millennials and 57 percent of those listeners hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. What used to be considered an outdated and “nerdy” platform has revolutionised media, news, […]

Read more


Helpful’s first firebreak: what we learned

17 Jul 2018 in Blog

During June 2018, we had our first Gov.uk inspired ‘firebreak’, where we paused non-essential project work for 2-3 weeks so the build team could focus on their own individual projects; including researching new ideas & technologies, organising neglected repositories, remodelling dated templates and writing helpful guides and documentation. Urgent requests from clients were prioritised over […]

Read more


Nine things we learned at #CommsCamp

12 Jul 2018 in Blog

We like Commscamp. A couple of hundred interesting public sector comms people in a lovely rambling building by the Birmingham & Fazeley canal, run on traditional unconference principles: no fixed agenda before the day, anyone can pitch a 50 min session, and the “law of two feet” applies (i.e. if a session is boring you, […]

Read more