Comms by the Coast 2016

Comms by the Coast 2016 was on Thursday 28 July & Friday 29 July.

Thursday was a structured day of speakers from Unions and outside our little bubble. Friday was a fairly unstructured day which allowed attendees to talk about topics they’re interested in based on the unconference format.

2016 sessions & speakers

I’ve assembled the presentations below but do get in touch – – if you want any more information.

Mike Lowe, Staffordshire University Students’ Union’s Marketing Manager talked us through how they’ve used their user segmentation research.

I then talked about how students’ unions are similar and different to other membership organisations and what they could mean for us and our members.

Alex Fulton, the University of Sussex’s Head of Communications shared her insight six months in to her new position as Head of Communications at the University of Sussex and a newcomer to higher education. She talked about some of the key lessons she’s learnt from her experience of working in communications at the BBC and NSPCC and how she’s now applying these to her new role.

Ed Grimley, Alterline’s Research Manager showed us the power of insight and how to actually use research. It was a great reminder that insight into what makes your audience tick is key to relevant, engaging and successful communications. Check out more about Alterline at

After lunch we reassembled to hear from Adam Lindsay, freelance television and radio journalist and producer who talked about student media and risk. The rapid rise of social media, online publishing and affordable technology has drastically changed the student media landscape in recent years, posing new challenges for unions and creating increased legal and regulatory risks.  But is it possible to turn those risks into opportunities? Adam explained how forward planning, training and reorganisation can be used to create a safer, more dynamic and future-proof setup that allows your outlets to fully embrace new platforms and responsibly cover the full range of stories and issues. He didn’t speak from slides but do contact him if you want to pick his brains or seek his advice –

Our final speaker, Tristam Jarman, Co-Founder of Purple Smudge blew our minds with a series of Google Analytics features most of us hadn’t got round to setting up yet (but will be now!)

We ended the day by sharing freshers ideas and conundrums.

How can I help?

I’m available for freelance projects where I can help you communicate with your members, staff, volunteers, customers and any other important people.

My favourite areas to work on are:

  • social media, e.g. working with you to analyse what you’re doing, setting up profiles or advising how can could better use social media
  • email marketing, e.g. setting up, designing, writing or reviewing email newsletters
  • writing, e.g. editing your existing text, drafting new content or reviewing your website content
  • digital project management, e.g. overhauling your website

I can help you out by:

  • training your staff and volunteers so they can make better use of digital tools
  • consulting on individual projects to give you my advice and get you started
  • providing ongoing support if you need me to manage a project such as a website redesign
  • being an extra pair of hands during busy times or while you have vacant posts

I can be flexible to suit your needs and how you’d like to work together. I’d love to chat about how we can work together so please do get in touch –

This event is also sponsored by Alterline

Alterline have worked with lots of unions (and universities) across the UK and have done some really interesting work which Ed shared with us. You can check out more of what they do at