The Goldilocks Approach to Government Communication
Understanding your audience and knowing the best approach to reaching them – and engaging with them – is a lot like Goldilocks’ quest for the perfect bowl of porridge. Just as each person has their own likes, dislikes and personal preferences, so do communities as a whole. And sometimes, it takes reaching deep into your communication toolbox to uncover what works best for them.
Are your residents more inclined to engage online, or do they want to interact and provide feedback in person? As a communicator, it’s your job to find that “just right” fit that resonates with your community.
Because a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t effective, here’s how the City of Castle Pines tackles communication outreach to achieve the highest ROI, using a variety of communication channels:
Opt-in subscribers receive a monthly, emailed newsletter called News & Notes, which contains timely information about City happenings and upcoming events. Plus, they offer a Readers Digest version of every City Council meeting in the Council Wrap-Up newsletter.
Castle Pines residents are very engaging online and are extremely active on the Nextdoor platform and Facebook. The City maintains an agency page on Nextdoor to directly reach residents and uses Facebook to push out timely information three to five times per week.
The City uses video to connect with residents across multiple communication channels. A variety of short, two-minute videos were recently created to promote community pride and educate residents about hot topics like economic development and road improvements.
Direct mail postcards and paid print advertising are used to reach residents who prefer the more traditional communication channels.
Never underestimate the power of face-to-face opportunities through town hall meetings, open houses and special events. While turnout is often small at public meetings, it provides an intimate connection that can’t be duplicated online.
If you’re new to the community, or feel as though you don’t quite know who your audience is, yet. Simply ask. Print or online surveys are a fast and effective way to help you determine where you should be spending time, resources and money.