130: building a strong digital comms team with Catherine Payne, DELWP

Social media and the digital landscape are forever changing and growing. While small brands are in a position to adapt, monolithic corporations and government agencies find it difficult to change. The other challenge is many departments are simply change adversely, or too slow. On InTransition we look at the benefit of giving your communications department more room to move.

Catherine Payne, Executive Director of Digital Communications at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning in Victoria, works towards building a strong, supportive, creative communications team and has already seen the public’s perception of her department improve in the space of 12 months. Though not an easy task, Catherine credits the success to her team. To her, all that was needed was a) for communications to be taken seriously and b) to rearrange the traditional approach to complex situations. For her, this was approaching her role in a  proactive, rather than reactive manner, and by hiring people from a variety of professions – especially journalism.

Discussed this week:

  • The ongoing debate about the value of digital communication in the public service–
  • Proactive is better than reactive
  • Building a strong, open team is crucial to digitalising your communications plan Hiring individuals with skills based in journalism is a major plus
  • The need to engage your audience
  • The short-term difficulties of implementing new communications models into our department, as well as their long-term benefits

What is content communication? It is a strategic, measurable, and accountable business process that relies on the creation, curation, and distribution of useful, relevant, and consistent content. The purpose is to engage and inform a specific audience in order to achieve a desired citizen and/or stakeholder action. That is the practice and the process of content communication.

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