Civic Content: How Government Agencies and Officials Can Use Content Marketing
With the increased emphasis on transparency, the public is eager to learn about what government agencies and elected officials do, and they expect for that information to be available online. Whether it’s high-quality blog posts, e-books, or social media, content marketing can help your office provide the public with the information they crave.
Of course, if you’re a government entity, you might wonder what content marketing has to do with you, since you don’t sell anything. But that’s exactly the point. The objective of content marketing is not to sell but to offer engaging, informative content that people will find helpful.
Here are some tips on how your governmental office or agency can use content marketing to proactively share information, build credibility and trust, and educate citizens about what you do.
1. Make social media your friend (but beware)
Public sector entities can harness the power of social media to inform citizens about new programs and to alert the public when news events, tragedies, and safety hazards occur. As more people take to Twitter and Facebook to discuss tragic news, such as shootings and dramatic weather events like hurricanes and tornadoes, government agencies can show that they are fully engaged and responding.
By creating a lively social media presence, you can also educate citizens about your programs and functions. The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI)’s posts on a wide range of social media platforms, from the major social networks (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) to other more niche sites (Tumblr, Livestream, and Flickr). The Hill has claimed that the DOI’s informative, photo-heavy posts have “changed the nature of government social media.” Many of the DOI’s followers probably had no idea who the DOI was or what they did, but their social media campaign changed all of that.
Although social media marketing is an amazingly efficient way for public-facing bodies to engage their audiences, government agencies have a special responsibility to avoid posts that might alienate or offend. Let FAFSA’s Twitter faux pas serve as a cautionary tale for aspiring social media gurus.
2. Get out there and blog, blog, blog
The advent of the government blog shows how powerful semi-informal content can be. From the specialized White House blog to the City of Seattle’s vibrant Department of Transportation blog, blogging has become a huge boon for government agencies and officials.
Engaging a fickle public can be difficult, but there are a few tried and true principles: Keep information timely, be transparent, address pressing issues, and edit, edit, edit.
Finally, be sure to keep a steady stream of blog posts coming, at least once a week, to show you’re alive and well and keep readers coming back for more.
3. Remember that sharing is caring
One of the simpler and often overlooked aspects of content marketing is the sharing of information (articles, videos, blog posts, reports, etc.) from third parties. Third-party content can be used to support recent policy positions, as in this blog post published by the White House In the spring of 2016: “Here are 55 Editorials Calling for a Hearing.” Government sites can also have pages where they post press releases, infographics, reports from research groups, and well-scripted informative videos. From the simple Forbes infographic on the best U.S. government employers to Pew Research Center’s report on how Americans use Twitter for news, sharing thought-provoking material can inform your public in clear, objective ways.
Many citizens consider governments to be faceless and unapproachable. Content marketing can be incredibly effective at changing that perception. If you want a little help, Prose Media is always here. Sign up for free, no-obligation access to our platform. We’d love to work with you at any stage of your content marketing project.