Content Marketing in Government

Content Marketing in Government

Yesterday we hosted the second of our live webcast series with the topic centring on content marketing in government.

As was highlighted in the webcast, content marketing is a new term but an old practice that is being turbo charged thanks to digital technology. If you’re a regular reader of our blog you will know contentgroup is firmly in the content marketing camp, and routinely wax lyrical on its benefits and how this approach can be used by all businesses to not only increase interaction and engagement with audiences, but also to improve their bottom line.

David Pembroke was joined on yesterday’s panel by Craig Thomler from DeLib Australia, Gina Ciancio from the Department of Human Services and Kanchan Dutt from the ACT Government’s Community Services Directorate.

Ongoing communication mode

When it comes to content marketing in government, Craig was first to point out that an organisation’s culture is the key to success. Employees need to understand they’re in ongoing communication mode and a formal content marketing policy is important so employees know how to effectively engage with the community and don’t need to be concerned about risk.

While panellists confessed that managing how to engage in two way communication with the audience is something government is still working out, all agreed that formally identifying where the department or directorate wants to go and how staff can execute the strategy is important.

As an example the QLD Police was determined to use content marketing very effectively as they’ve realised that government is now part of the media.

24-hour conversation cycle

In terms of the media our experts discussed the industry’s changing role now that governments are becoming more aware of the power of content marketing. While it is true that content marketing allows governments to speak directly with their audience without relying on the media, Craig said the media is still very important when it comes to amplification and critical analysis and there is now a greater need than ever for investigative journalism.

But in order to get along, both government and the media need to realise that content marketing is changing the dynamics of conversations. Now the media, government and the audience can all be directly involved.

As Craig pointed out, forget the 24 hour news cycle, government and other organisations need to realise they’re in a 24 hour conversation cycle.

There are a whole host of benefits for government agencies and other organisations who embrace content marketing, but there are also restrictions to becoming involved in this space as well.

Get comfortable

Kanchan highlighted resourcing as a major constraint to content marketing efforts, as well as making sure colleagues are comfortable engaging in this domain. Craig agreed that a number of agencies are still playing catch up and that some are scared about engaging directly with audiences.

As an antidote to resourcing dilemmas, Gina said leveraging the skills of individual employees and using internal collaboration tools to encourage staff to share their stories online can provide you with more content and that all important ‘human’ element. According to Gina, DHS places a big emphasis on showing the human side of their organisation.

When you’re thinking about content, panellists suggested thinking about content strategically and repurposing for different channels is vital to reaching people appropriately. Timely, relevant, interesting and engaging content should also be a priority.

And perhaps the best advice: as a government agency if all you ever do is respond to complaints then that’s all you’re ever going to get. Get creative and find out how you can help your audience and they might not even need to complain.

Reaching 1.5 million

As for getting started? The best advice our panellists provided was to just dive right in. Start researching, outline clear and concise objectives and really spend time listening to your audience. Find out what channels they’re using and what information they’re searching for.

Gina was quick to point out that the Department of Human Services has been so successful in the digital space because they spent a long time listening and researching audience’s needs, wants and expectations. They’ve since used content marketing to simplify their communication with customers and some of their activity has reached over 1.5 million people.

Some other tips: Make sure staff are trained and supported and most importantly be transparent, be open and be there.

And once you do get there, be prepared for tangible feedback that you wouldn’t otherwise know about, and that all important conversation with your audience.

Join us again next month for the next instalment in our Content Marketing for Government and Not-For-Profits series.


Each week a staff member puts pen to paper to write about an aspect of content communication that speaks to them, and hopefully, informs you. This is a space where our passion for writing, learning and sharing information comes to shine.

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