Media and campaigns

Suggested ways to build your media, campaigns and digital communications skills.

Specific areas for development within this capability include: proactive and reactive media handling, relationship management, generating audience insight; campaign development; campaign delivery; and evaluating message delivery.

This list is not exhaustive and should be used in conjunction with discussions with your line manager about your professional development plan (PDP). You should also look at what is on offer from Civil Service Learning and any professional body that you belong to.

All GCS courses and PRCA webinars are available for free to GCS members. Book a GCS course.

Read, watch or listen, do

It is essential you still continue to build your expertise. At this level, it is most effective to network with colleagues, keep abreast of current thinking and contribute to senior practitioner groups both within the profession and across industry. As the GCS Professional Development Performance Management Standards specify everyone at Grade 7 and above should be actively helping to up skill others.

We also encourage colleagues with this level of expertise below Grade 7 to do the same.  Contact if you are interested in being a trainer.


  • GCS Modern Media Operation Guide
    The GCS Modern Media Operation Guide sets out the skills and capabilities government media relations teams require to deal with the combined demands of the general public, ministers and stakeholders in the 24/7/365 digital age.
  • GCS Campaign Guide OASIS
    The Guide outlines the five steps you need to create a campaign (Objectives, Audience/Insight, Strategy/Ideas, Implementation, Scoring/Evaluation). All government communications professionals regardless of discipline, department or grade should use it.
  • GCS Insight Guidance
    The guidance allows you to find out more audiences’ attitudes, habits and preferences. Understanding audiences is essential to government communications and insight can help ensure government communications are as relevant, meaningful and effective as possible.

Read (advanced)

  • Campaign It: Achieving success through communication’ by Allan Barnard and Chris Parker
    This book explains how to create and deliver a compelling campaign based on the innovative Campaign It! model.
  • ‘Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness’ by Richard Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein
    Nudge is about choices – how we make them and how we can make better ones. Drawing on decades of research in the fields of behavioral science and economics, authors Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein offer a new perspective on the choices we make.
  • ‘Risk Issues and Crisis Management in Public Relations: A casebook of best practice’ by Michael Regester and Judy Larkin
    This book defines reputation, explores how to value it and provides practical guidelines for effective reputation management.
  • ‘Storynomics: Story-Driven Marketing in the Post-Advertising World’ by Robert Mckee
    STORYNOMICS translates the lessons of storytelling in business into economic and leadership success.

Watch/listen (introductory)

OASIS Webinar

How to set up your campaign objectives using the OASIS model, explained by Ruth Verall, Regional Campaign Manager for the South West Government Communication Service.

  • Part 1: theory element of SMART objectives
  • Part 2: Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) provides the relevant background knowledge needed about what they do before going back to objectives.
    Watch: OASIS – webinar (23 minutes Video 76MB)

TED Talk: ‘Making data mean more through storytelling’

Ben Wellington, a computer scientist and data analyst, uses New York city open data to tell stories. His articles have gone viral and, in some cases, led to policy changes.
Watch: ‘Making data mean more through storytelling’

TED Talk: ‘The surprising habits of original thinkers’

How do creative people come up with great ideas? Organisational psychologist Adam Grant studies “originals”: thinkers who dream up new ideas and take action to put them into the world.
Watch: ‘The surprising habits of original thinkers’

BBC Academy Podcast: Creating a news programme

BBC Midlands team talk about the behind the scenes of putting together a regional news programme.
Listen to ‘Midlands Today: Creating a news programme’

Watch/listen (advanced)

TED Talk: ‘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 power of story’

TED Talk: ‘How to manage for collective creativity’

Harvard professor Linda Hill, co-author of “Collective Genius,” has studied some of the world’s most creative companies to come up with a set of tools and tactics to keep great ideas flowing — from everyone in the company, not just the designated “creatives.”
Watch: ‘How to manage for collective creativity’

TED Talk: ‘Energising consumers – How the Department of Health is changing behaviour’ 

Alison Hardy, Director of Headstrong Thinking, talks about how to use marketing to support behaviour change, drawing on her work on the Change4Life programme.
Watch: ‘Energising consumers – How the Department of Health is changing behaviour’


GCS Aspire courses are scheduled throughout the year, check which courses are currently available and book.

GCS Aspire course: How to be creative in your campaigns

This course will give participants the know-how to create effective communications campaign plans focusing on addressing policy priorities, present a best practice model for campaigning (OASIS) and give space to practice and experiment with the model.

GCS Aspire Course: Modern Media

This course will provide an overview of our new Modern Media Operation Guide showcasing best practice. It will cover the important role for media relations in government communications; the particular pressures government media relations officers face, and how to handle them; the need to build relationships – inside the department, as well as outside; and how journalists work and what they’re looking for – and how you can achieve your goals by helping them to get it.

GCS Aspire course: How to hire an Agency and be a good client

This GCS course is for anyone who will buy communications services using the new frameworks and would like to learn about the changes and improve their knowledge. This three-hour course will cover details of what the new frameworks include, why you should use them and when. You will be taken through the process from issuing your brief to awarding the contract. There will be guest speakers from agencies and an interactive session on how to write a good brief.

Do (advanced)

GCS Aspire courses are scheduled throughout the year, book a course.

GCS Aspire course: Online Crisis Response and Media Relations

This course will include real life examples from the public private sector as well as some useful models and checklists. In three phases spread throughout 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 what you have learnt with those you work with so that we can all continuously improve and if you come across other great sources of learning to read, watch or do please tell us. Finally, once you are confident in your expertise in media and campaigns, please contact us at so that you can help others build their skills.