How content marketing can help you explain policy
Technology has changed the way the world communicates.
It has opened up new opportunities for government agencies to communicate and engage with the public.
It is time to throw out the old template for writing communication strategies and adopt a new approach.
Through the creation and distribution of valuable, relevant and consistent content, government can influence the attitudes and behaviours of its audience.
Government uses policy to tackle a wide range of issues that affect our lives.
After the failed Federal leadership spill earlier this year there have been calls for government departments, agencies and councils to better explain policy.
The emphasis needs to move away from selling policy and towards explaining it.
Because policy development is traditionally very structured, formal and impersonal, the public is not always able to understand or connect with the content.
Even though communications teams provide support to different business and policy areas in the department, I would suggest that everyone working in government has a role in explaining policy to the community.
Whilst this new way of thinking may not be inherent to policy areas, content marketing is highly adaptable and should be integrated into existing communications strategies and policy making processes.
Here are three things to think about when devising a communication strategy to explain a new policy:
- Who do you want to talk to?
There is no one-size fits all approach to content marketing and the same should apply to policy making. The way you communicate policy should be for your audience.
To do this you need to thoroughly understand your audience. You can do this simply by creating personas that help you better understand your audience.
Take a deep dive into researching the people you are writing policy for. Look at who they are, what they want to know, what they care about, their current understanding or attitudes and their expectations.
- What do they want to know?
Content marketing is all about speaking to your audience, not at them. The difference between what you think is important and what the audience wants to know can be worlds apart.
Policy makers are experts in their field and are accustomed to their own methodology and terminology. What they have to say will be crystal-clear to them, but not to the audience.
Think about the questions they might have and offer plain language explanations. By consistently answering their questions through valuable and relevant information you can build loyalty and trust.
- How do they want to receive their information?
Content can take many forms – online, offline, text, websites, blogs, video, audio, events, images and infographics.
Once you understand who you are writing for and what they want to know, start thinking about the best way to convey that information. The communication or digital team in your department might be able to help you with this.
People are no longer passive consumers of news, information, education, opinion and entertainment – they are digitally connected and they actively search for relevant information.Think about where your audience goes to get their information and what they are looking to find.
Policy for too long as been conveyed in a negative light due to the way it has been communicated. Adopting a new way to communication is the first step to rectifying this problem.