Digital communication

We recognise that ‘digital’ is an inherent and important strand of all communication specialisms.

You can develop your digital skills, including for example:

  • a better understanding of data and how it can be used to reach and communicate with our audiences
  • the use of social media analysis software to gain insights
  • create more relevant and impactful content
  • improve reactive media handling online
  • understand digital marketing and the targeting opportunities it offers
  • improve the evaluation of online communications activity

Use this information to discuss your professional development plan (PDP) with your line manager. Read about the different levels in our learning strategy.


On this page:


Read (introductory)

GDS style guide

The Government Digital Service (GDS) style guide covers style points for content and guidance on specific points of style, such as abbreviations, numbers and acronyms.


Digital accessibility

As a communications professional, you need to know that accessibility is a legal requirement, but also that it important to make things accessible and help improve the experience for everyone. You can:


General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

GDPR compliance requires that individuals be able to opt out of being subject to automatic decision making, such as the use of cookies on websites, personalised marketing and how individuals information is being processed. It is important you learn about GDPR:


Website: Think with Google

This website is regularly updated with digital marketing and audience insights.

Think with Google


Report: Edleman Digital Trends Report 2019

This report features subject matter experts from around the globe to define nine strategic trends happening in the digital space.

Edleman Digital Trends Report 2019


Book: ‘Dataclysm – what our online lives tell us about our offline selves’

Drawing on data from OKCupid, Google, Facebook and more, Christian Rudder reveals our hopes, fears, dreams and desires.


Read (advanced)

Book: ‘Connected: The surprising power of our social networks and how they shape our lives’

Nicholas Christiakis and James H. Fowler present compelling evidence for our profound influence on one another as they explain how social networks form and how they operate.

Book: ‘Information is beautiful’

David McCandless presents a visual journey through the most revealing trends, offering inspiration on how to visualise your data.

Publication: ‘Fake news – a roadmap’

By King’s Centre for Strategic Communications and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence. Fifteen MA students studying strategic communications have collaborated with NATO to publish the first definitive analysis of the growing phenomenon of ‘fake news’ in this fascinating book.

Fake news – a roadmap


Watch or listen (introductory)

GCS Accelerate Essentials Learning podcasts

Listen to the Government Communication Service (GCS) Accelerate Essentials Learning podcasts. These podcasts are designed to accompany the face-to-face courses, as well as to be useful introductions to various areas of digital communications for those who haven’t attended the courses.

Media and marketing podcasts:


Digital accessibility

Recorded webinar: Digital accessibility for government communicators (with GDS)

Learn all about the new digital accessibility requirements, and how to make your digital communications accessible.

Video: The power of story

Greg Power is President of the Canadian operations of world-leading public relations agency Weber Shandwick. Throughout his communications career, his interest has been in the challenge of building the bridge between a message and an audience.

Watch the TED talk: The power of story

Video: How to get your ideas to spread

Marketing guru Seth Godin spells out why, when it comes to getting our attention, bad or bizarre ideas are more successful than boring ones.

Watch the TED talk: How to get your ideas to spread

Podcast: The truth about fake news

The BBC’s media editor Amol Rajan asks James Ball, Special Correspondent at BuzzFeed News, and Mark Frankel, Social Media Editor at BBC News, about the different meanings of ‘fake news’ and how journalists should respond to it.

Listen to the BBC podcast: The truth about fake news


Watch and listen (advanced)

BBC World Service Podcast: ‘The past and future of fake news’

The past and future of fake news – what can be done about social media misinformation and what impact does it have around the world? Mike Wendling asks a panel of experts from Buzzfeed, the Poynter Institute, and First Draft News.

Listen: The past and future of fake news

‘The Secret to Successful Crisis Management in the 21st Century’

Melissa Agnes discusses the impacts that the digital landscape have on crisis management and the key to successful crisis management.

Watch TED talk: The Secret to Successful Crisis Management in the 21st Century


Do (introductory)

The Academy courses are scheduled throughout the year, check our listing to book upcoming courses, webinars and events.

Our digital skills transformation programme: Accelerate

GCS Accelerate is an industry-leading digital skills transformation programme at the forefront of making digital integral to the work of government communicators.

The programme aims to empower, equip and engage us as government communicators in driving digital transformation within our profession. As a result, the training sessions are free to GCS members.

We deliver these through 2 strands learning hubs and executive leadership:

  • learning hubs are specialist cross-government groups focusing on paid campaigns, media, content and publishing, strategic communication/Insight and evaluation, external affairs, and internal communication
  • executive leadership focuses on providing directors of communication with the leadership tools and industry knowledge needed to implement transformation

Training focuses on topics ranging from countering misinformation to introduction to the media marketing ecosystem and engaging external stakeholders using digital tools. Read our blog post: GCS Accelerate, one year on

Group of communicators attending a podcast training, siting at a table in a room, looking at a big screen, with presenter standing up talking.
Accelerate podcast training – December 2019

GOV.UK training

To be able to publish content on GOV.UK, you have to first attend a 2 day-long course on ‘Writing for GOV.UK‘ and ‘Using Whitehall publisher’.

Book your training through your department’s head of digital publishing.

Course: Introduction to content design

Run by the Government Digital Service (GDS), discover the fundamentals of content design. Learn about user-centred content that’s easy for everyone to understand and access.

Join the course for free on FutureLearn

Course: Google analytics for beginners training

Free online training course in how to use Google Analytics to understand how people are interacting with your websites.

Google Analytics for beginners


Do (advanced)

The Academy courses are scheduled throughout the year, check our listing to book upcoming courses, webinars and events.

Course: Online Crisis Response and Media Relations

Details: 1 day face to face for grades assistant information officer (AIO) to grade 6 (G6).

Learning objectives:

  • This course will include real life examples from the public private sector as well as some useful models and checklists.
  • In three phases spread through the day participants will be asked to work in teams to handle an unfolding fictional crisis scenario using a private online crisis simulation platform, Crisis90.
  • Participants will be guided through three stages where they will be able to compare their strategic responses, key messages and tactical approaches.

Share

Share what you learn with your colleagues. If you are interested in becoming a trainer on a course, contact us at gcs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk.