Weddings are stressful at the best of times. But when the town you work for is chosen for a Royal Wedding, it’s a whole new ball game.

Today I have a guest post by Louisa Dean, Communications and Marketing Manager at the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead.

She’s responsible for internal and external communications, digital media, branding, marketing, website, Visit Windsor marketing and the Tourist Information Centre.

Louisa @louisadean23, has worked at the council for nearly four years and this is the biggest event she’s worked on. She’s kindly written a guest post for the All Things IC blog to reveal the work that went on behind the scenes, thank you Louisa.

I’ll hand you over…

How to communicate a Royal Wedding

Task one = set objectives

We had to be clear what we were going to do from the start and we set three clear objectives. From the start we wanted to create pride in Windsor so staff could be key advocates.

Staff engagement

We needed to make sure everyone involved understood their objectives, realised the importance of the event and that the world’s media were watching everything.

We have a much tested group, the Ceremonial Events Planning Group, who have dealt with State Visits in Windsor as well as the Queen Mother’s Funeral.

This team represents everyone we needed on the day and is led by our Civic and Ceremonial Manager, Andrew Scott. The officers included reps from roads, highways, recycling and waste, community wardens, parking, emergency planning and comms.

The fortnightly meetings were used to update officers on the planning and we then briefed staff within the wider teams about their specific work.

A week before the wedding, our Gold representative for the day, Andy Jeffs, Executive Director, Communities, led a council-wide meeting for everyone involved on the day to provide reassurance about the big day.

We had around 1,500 staff working on the day including stewards, ambassadors, ceremonial wardens and our planning group representatives.

We could have done more – this was an event that consumed parts of the council, but not everyone. We mentioned the royal wedding at our staff conference and referred to it in internal comms but we could have told the story to the wider council in a more engaging way.

The balance was to ensure that our council business carried on as normal.

Working in partnership and planning

I worked closely with Thames Valley Police and between us we steered the communications around the event, set up a communications group involving local partners and ensured we shared messaging.

A rolling chain was set up updates to the group. We didn’t share our internal messages on that and we should have done as that would have ensured consistency.

We had a comms hub in Maidenhead where partners sat on the big day which helped as everyone could see and hear the issues and help.

Partnership working was vital for the day and something that we hope to continue as it was a real success.

Engaging content

We had to change the way we normally produce content. We changed our website, social media content and press release style and it worked. Our content was reaching new national and international audiences.

Two things we learnt – you can never Tweet too much and be human. Our most engaged Tweet was about the bridesmaids and the pageboys looking cute – don’t tell anyone but we wrote that a week before the event.

We Tweeted every four minutes from 6am until 7pm and got 700,000 impressions of the day – not surprisingly the most in the history of our Twitter account.

We put a lot of focus into the wedding but we still needed to show the clean-up. We got photos out on social media on the day but the press release went on Monday and we probably missed a trick there.

Team work

Our team had catch up meetings twice a day in the fortnight before the wedding where we planned what we were doing that day and then reviewed the work.

There was a lot of people in the comms team doing work outside their normal role and part of my role was to reassure them that they were doing the right thing and they could focus on the wedding.

I am immensely proud of the comms, marketing, web and tourism team and the extra helpers who made the communications a success in the run-up to the wedding and on the day. We couldn’t have done our job without working in partnership with other teams in the council and our partners. It really was a team effort!

And the reward for all of this work – a successful event, new relationships created with partners and the organisation received much praise including an email to officers from the leader of the council and the managing director thanking them for their work.

And some stats:

 

We had 537,865 unique visitors to our website compared to 446,739, an increase in website traffic of 20% since the same time last year

On Twitter @RBWM our links were clicked over 1.7 million times on Twitter, an average of 247 per day that week.

On Facebook we saw page views up by 215% compared to the seven previous days, page likes up 111% compared to the seven previous days and over 13,000 people engaged with our Facebook posts up 36% compared to the seven previous days.

Post author: Louisa Dean.

Thank you very much Louisa, I found it fascinating to read the story behind the Royal Wedding, well done to you all.

Learn more about internal communication

If you’d like to learn more about internal communication, come and join me at one of my monthly Masterclasses here in London. See my Masterclasses website to find out more and save your place.

Your investment is £599 +VAT and CIPR and IoIC members can earn CPD and save 20% off my courses. See the website for full information.

You can also book me for a half-day or whole day desk review, where I can analyse your IC strategy and give you my feedback and suggested input. I’m currently taking bookings for October 2018 onwards.

Upcoming training courses include:

First published on the All Things IC blog 5 June 2018.

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