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Behind the Envelope: Have Your Topics Gone Cold?

Welcome to Behind the Envelope, a series of posts exploring ways to get the most from Granicus. Today, we’ll talk about topics and making sure they are being sent bulletins on a regular basis.

Topics are the information you offer for subscription and the foundation of your communication efforts with the GovDelivery platform. Because they are so fundamental, it’s important to make sure administrators responsible for topics are sending information on a regular basis. Failing to do so could leave topics dying a slow death.

If people subscribed to a topic are not receiving updates, they’re going to either 1) forget they ever subscribed and not open your message when you eventually send one 2) going to think you’ve ignored them and become frustrated. Conducting an audit to confirm topics are being sent information on a regular basis is beneficial, so let’s take a look at how it’s done.

Topic & Category Report

Checking to see which (and how frequently) topics have been sent information can be done by reviewing the Topics & Category Report. To find this information, begin by clicking on Reports button on the left navigation.

After you’ve clicked on the Reports button, scroll to the bottom of the reports page. There you’ll see the Topic & Category Report.

Clicking on the Topic & Category Report will open a screen where you’ll see a Start Date and End Date for the timeframe of the report. By default our system will populate with a date range of the past 30 days. I’d recommend checking quarterly, so just use the calendar icons on the right side to adjust the date range and click Show Report.

Once the system has run the results of the search, you’ll see a page with three tabs on it. Click on the Topic Details tab in the middle.

Doing this will show a screen with multiple columns and if you look to the right, one that says Bulletins Sent This Period. It’s here that our system will display how often the subscribers of the topic were sent information.

Next Steps

Depending on the timeframe and the topic, there might be a perfectly good reason a bulletin hasn’t been sent (or sent often enough) to those subscribers. We understand; no one needs a snow removal update in July. But absent of an obvious reason, it’s a good time to follow up with the admin(s) in charge of the topic to see why a bulletin hasn’t been sent more frequently.

Maybe the admin assigned to that  topic no longer the subject matter expert. Perhaps they just need a quick refresher on using the system. Or maybe the topic is related to an initiative or project that is now complete. If that’s the case, there’s no benefit in letting those subscribers waste away.

Decommission The Topic

Two things should be done with a topic that no longer serves its purpose. First, make sure the topic is no longer available for subscription on the Quick Subscribe page (that’s the page where the public selects which topics they want updates on). The best way to do that is by changing the visibility of the topic from “listed” to “unlisted.” Note that the ability to change topic visibility is limited to Account and Group level administrators. To change the visibility, find the individual topic by first clicking on the Topics button on the left navigation. Once you’ve drilled down to the individual topic, click anywhere to the right of the blue envelope.

This will open the details of the topic where you’ll find the Visibility field and a drop-down menu. Choose “Unlisted” and make sure to save your changes.

Second, don’t let their interest in your organization go to waste. Invite these people to subscribe to the other topics you offer. Sending them a simple message along the lines of “…topic XYZ is no longer available but we thought you might like to know we have a range of other topics…” is simple and quick to put together.

It’s important to check to see if your topics are being updated on a regular basis, ideally once each quarter. Once you’ve done this once, the process is easy to repeat. Auditing your topics for activity keeps your account clean, allows you to stay in touch with administrators and more importantly, ensures people are receiving the updates you promised to send.

Thanks for reading this post. Have an idea on something you’d like us to cover? Drop us a line.