Break the Mold on Election Communication
If you’re a communications professional working in the local government sectoR. . .
You become adept at communicating complex initiatives to an audience who is both extremely busy and already bombarded by so much information, their attention span has waned to the point of near extinction…or exhaustion – am I right?
Now, imagine you have an important city or town initiative that your elected officials want to put before the voters. How do you develop content that is effective, concise, neutral and cuts through all the noise?
Audience and Variety is King
You’ll want to meet your audience where they already spend their time. And, you’ll need to tailor your message to your intended audience. Here are some successful examples from our clients.
Use a variety of tools and tactics to reach residents on the platforms they’re already using.
Social media and videos are key! – Take the time to create a social media calendar and schedule posts one- to two- weeks in advance. Create videos explaining the ballot measure using infographics or feature your elected officials talking about the issue.
Out on the town – Provide in-person meeting opportunities including town halls, open houses or set up an information booth at community events.
Get chatty online – Use unique online engagement tools, like Bang the Table, to get a strong conversation going online. They provide a platform for residents to interact with city leaders and provide valuable feedback online.
Put it on paper – Design flyers, rack cards, postcards, or mailers and make sure they’re distributed around town.
Make it skim-able – Simplify complex information by using infographics and images to tell your story. That because 65% of people are visual learners and infographics are 30x more likely to be read than plain text
For Elected Officials:
Use your elected officials as additional communicators when it comes to your ballot initiative.
Do the work for them - Provide email templates for them to easily connect with constituents on their private distribution lists
Pay it forward - Ask them to share the City’s information on their personal social media accounts
Don’t forget to educate staff on the ballot measure, too. Since they’re answering the phones, responding to emails and talking to residents at the front counter, providing them with simple, easy to use resources is important.
Put it on paper again – Provide short handouts with key messages for easy reference to the most frequently asked questions.
Get your facts straight – Create a general election fact sheet of how-to’s and resources for residents. Citizens may not know who actually runs the election in your community, so staff will need to be ready to answer questions that might not typically fall within their purview.
While this looks like a lot to tackle, starting early and planning your communications strategy in phases can help you meet your communication, community and elected official goals for the upcoming election.