By Press Office 29 May 2018

A new course to help filmmakers, PR and communications experts support their organisation’s digital communication requirements is now being offered by Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. In the fast developing global communications industry, this course will equip professionals working in film, PR, communications and campaigning, or those in promotional or activists roles with third sector organisations, with both written and visual digital skills essential to successful campaign management.

The new master’s level course has been developed as a direct response to industry research showing that ‘digital’ skills are no longer an ‘add on’, but are now a core skills’ set required by both in-house and agency professionals[i]. To ensure the course is cutting edge and relevant, students on the course will benefit from the expertise of multi-award-winning filmmaker, including Walid Salhab, whose short films have accumulated more than eight million hits on social media. The teaching team will also consist of seasoned campaigners who can share essential knowledge of strategy development whilst also involving students in a range of live social justice and commercial campaigns.

Developers of the new MSc Digital Campaigning and Content Creation are aware that campaign groups and NGOs, as well as PR, Communications and Marketing professionals, are having to adapt their roles to become successful content creators. This involves an understanding of how to create and blend both written and visual digital content that captures people’s attention and connects with them. For many people working within the communications industry, the necessity to keep pace with the way in which people now consume media and deliver successful content, means that in-house and agency professionals are having to up-skill.

Emma Wood, PR Lecturer and Programme Leader at Queen Margaret University, said: “The growth and development of digital media has been one of the most significant changes which has taken place in the last decade. In a world where nearly a million minutes of video are shared every second, we recognise the need for professionals to produce creative, engaging and effective digital campaigns and content in order to stand out in a crowded digital landscape.”

The new MSc responds to the latest findings of key industry reports – The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) ‘State of the Profession 2017’ report shows that the most common tasks for PR practitioners are content creation (81%), media relations (73%) and strategic planning (69%). The Public Relations Consultants’ Association (PRCA) Digital PR and Communications Report 2017 shows that agencies are seeing a general rise in their usage as content-creators. In the last year, the purchasing of video-based content has risen by 10­ to 13­. The purchasing of image-based content has risen by 5­ to 11­; and the use of text-based content has risen by 7­ to 11­.

Emma confirmed: “Organisations now need creative talent – graduates who can skillfully blend written, oral and sound communication with engaging visuals as part of their daily work.

“QMU is in a great position to deliver this course. Students will benefit from an eclectic mix of multi award winning filmmakers, independent video production companies, and experienced PR lecturers who have taught at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. The staff will help students develop and expand their skills and knowledge in strategic campaign planning and the production of engaging video and other creative content.  We have a thriving community of creative talent at QMU – our students stay involved with us for years and it’ll be great to welcome postgraduates into that community.” 

Walid Salhab, QMU’s media practice lecturer and award winning filmmaker, will be teaching on the new course. Walid’s unique style of stop-motion/time lapse films of Edinburgh and Scotland have clocked up more than eight million hits across You Tube, Vimeo and other digital media, and his film of the five month build phase of The Kelpies helped launched the iconic equine sculptures in New York and Scotland and increased visitor numbers to the Falkirk area. His short films have won awards at Cannes and other international film festivals and elements of his kinetic footage of Edinburgh are often featured within other organisations’ digital campaigns.

He said: “In a competitive market, the graduates who have the ability to cut through the noise by developing creative and impactful digital communication which truly connect with audiences are the ones who will be successful and highly sought after within the communications industry.”

This course develops existing communications practitioners and prepares recent graduates to work and compete in the fast changing profession of digital campaigning and content creation.

The university also has a history of supporting the development of entrepreneurial students, particularly in the area of film and media, through its Business Innovation Zone, and remains well connected with successful graduate companies, some of which will contribute their experience to the course.

This new MSc builds on QMU’s suite of postgraduate communications courses including the MSc Strategic Communication and Public Relations and the MSc Media Management.

 

Step Up with QMU's MSc Strategic Communication and Public Relations www.qmu.ac.uk/study-here/postgraduate-study/2018-postgraduate-courses/msc-digital-campaigning-and-content-creationstar/

ENDS

 

 

 

 

Notes to Editor

[i] The Chartered Institute of Public Relations report ‘State of the Profession 2017’ shows:

The most common tasks for PR practitioners are content creation (81%), media relations (73%) and strategic planning (69%). The biggest increases witnessed in the report are the number of respondents spending most or some of their time on strategic planning (+10%) and photo and video editing/creating (+ 7%). These are all areas directly targeted by this qualification. https://www.cipr.co.uk/content/policy-resources/research/cipr-state-profession-2016

 

The Public Relations Consultants’ Association (PRCA) Digital PR and Communications Report 2017 shows that :

Brands continue to slowly increase their investment of marketing budgets in digital and social media. The mean percentage of spend on social media is 27­, up from 25­ in 2016. Encouragingly, 55­ of in-house respondents say their budgets will increase over the next 12 months. Only 4­ of respondents say their budgets will decrease in the next year. main areas of digital and social media spend are video-based content (57 per cent), image-based (53 ) content, and online advertising (51 )

Agencies have seen a general rise in their usage as content-creators this year. The purchasing of video-based content has risen by 10­ to 13­. The purchasing of image-based content has risen by 5­ to 11­; and the use of text-based content has risen by 7­ to 11­.

Danny Whatmough CMPRCA Chairman, PRCA Digital Group, and Head of Social, EMEA, Weber Shandwick says: ‘Digital is no longer an add-on. We are communicating in a digital world and that requires both in-house professionals and agencies to change the way they work… And there are key areas where more work is needed. Over the next 12 months we will see more talk of integration and collaboration in the content creation space.’  https://www.prca.org.uk/insights/resource/DL-NM-2017-Digital-PR-Report

 

For further media information please contact Lynne Russell, Communications Manager, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, E: lrussell@qmu.ac.uk; T: 0131 474 0000, M: 07711 011239 or T: 0131 474 0000.

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