How visual content can help explain government policy

How visual content can help explain government policy

“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to engage and inform a clearly defined audience – and ultimately to drive citizen and stakeholder action.”

But what form of content should you use to engage and inform that clearly defined audience?

Should you be using stills, graphics, text, audio or video?

I love the written word and come from a background of writing.

I studied Modern History, Ancient History, Latin and English in year 12 and backed that up with an arts degree majoring in political science and history at the Australian National University.

But the world has changed since I graduated in 2006. I know how to dress properly (sometimes), I own an apartment, and I am married, but most importantly, I know visuals are far more engaging than text.

And the stats back it up.

I recently read a great blog on by guest author Savannah Louie who noted (through her research) that 60% of senior executives prefer to watch video instead of reading text if both forms of content are on the same page; tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favourites and 150% more retweets; and that people remember 80% of what they see or do, versus 20% of what they read.

It points to the pretty simple fact that you have to get visual, even if you are in government.

We work on a number of content marketing projects for government, with the success of each of the projects determined by how well the strategies gain citizen engagement.

It is pleasing to see that more and more government departments are not only including content marketing as part of their communication strategies, but are also expressing a desire to include infographics, graphics, photos and video as part of the content types they are using to tell their stories.

While it doesn’t mean that text is dead (because some people do like reading), it means that you have to work out how you can transform that “boring” government document into bite size bits of content that make an impact on your audience.

For example, next time you have a government policy to announce think about how you can cut it up to get your audience engaged.

Here are four ways you could do it:

  1. Pick out the 20 most important statistics from the document and create infographics.
  2. Create a short 2 minute video (with your Minister if possible) to explain the key points of the policy.
  3. Pick out the best “one liners” from the report and make some graphics. (Note the difference between graphics and infographics. Graphics are a great way to express general branding and look and feel of what you are trying to promote or explain, while infographics are more complex.)
  4. Work out what photos/images best complement the policy report you are releasing and include them in the report and also as part of your distribution campaign.

And a final tip to ensure that the great content you have created is actually seen by people.

Put some time into working out your distribution strategy.

Without this you might have created the best infographic, video or graphic ever, but no one will realise that if they haven’t seen it!


David is the Head of Consulting at contentgroup and possesses a love of writing. While he could write and talk about sport all day, his focus is now on helping public-sector clients tell their stories.

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