New Year’s Resolutions for Better Communication with Your Audience

Happy New Year! It’s a great feeling to have a fresh start with the opportunity to set new goals for the coming year. Many of us make New Year’s resolutions about our health, finances, or habits. What are your goals for 2017? What about making a resolution to improve the way your utility or city communicates with the public? In order to prevent getting overwhelmed, I suggest picking one or two of the five resolutions below. Select something that is realistic and attainable, and then build on your successes.

  1. Update your website. Many people go online first to search for information. Do you have broken links or outdated contact information posted? Fix them! Resolve to save your customers a phone call to your office by completing a page by page review of the site and correcting any errors. It will improve the customer experience which reflects well on the city or utility.
  2. Create a content calendar. My colleague Andrea Boe recently posted a blog about the importance of creating a content calendar. It sounds daunting, but it’s actually pretty easy AND it’ll make the next three resolutions on this list easier to accomplish. Check out Andrea’s steps to organizing a year of content here.
  3. Post more. Resolve to post more frequent updates to your website in 2017. This resolution needs specific goals to work – will you post new content daily, weekly, or monthly? In addition to the ideas you’ve already outlined on your content calendar, here are some examples of additional information the public may be looking for on your website:
    • Construction or infrastructure upgrades that will impact traffic, utility services, or cause billing changes.
    • Holiday schedules for city offices and garbage/recycling routes.
    • Weather or natural disaster alerts that impact the city or utility services.
    • Election information, including dates and times, polling sites, and measures or races that will appear on the ballot. (Remember the info must be strictly for informational purposes, not to persuade voters how to vote.) Also, every news release that is sent out should be posted on your website. And remember, the content doesn’t always have to be created by you. If the local media or a member of the community shares positive news about the city or utility, post it on your website!
  4. Go Social Many cities and utilities have adopted social media as a modern way to connect directly with the public. If you haven’t taken the social step yet, 2017 is a good time to take the plunge! Focus your energy on just one platform to start – Facebook and Twitter are among the most popular for providing information to the public. I’m of the opinion that it’s better to do a GREAT job on just one social media platform, than posting infrequently on multiple platforms. Your posts can include everything you’ve outlined on your content calendar plus links to information posted on your website. The key to successfully using social media is to commit to posting at least once a week and checking your account daily to respond to inquiries.
  5. Increase your social media presence. If you already have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube account, resolve to increase your account’s followers or “likes” in 2017. If you’ve been posting on a weekly basis, set a goal for increasing to two posts per week. Social media is most successful when it becomes second nature. The more you post, the more your customers will go to your social media accounts for information.

These resolutions are not difficult, however they do require a time investment. For the website review and content calendar, a couple hours at the beginning of the year will ultimately save time throughout the rest of the year. The website and social media resolutions can be accomplished in most cases in just a couple minutes per day. If you have questions about implementing any of these resolutions, contact me at Heather.Syverson@ae2s.com.
Happy New Year from AE2S Communications!!!

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