By Tara Lerman, Content Fellow at GovDelivery
With all of the controversy surrounding American politics today, it has become increasingly common for citizens to criticize their governments. However, what many of these citizens haven’t considered is that while some government programs are not succeeding in their efforts, many agencies are helping people in ways they don’t even realize.
We often take government for granted, but the truth is there are many organizations that are doing great work for the people they serve. So how can your organization change citizens’ minds about government? Here are some ways your agency can inform citizens about the benefits of government.
QUICK! Get your audience’s attention
Due to negative opinions of the government, some citizens aren’t thrilled when they see a government email in their inbox. They assume it won’t provide them with any helpful or interesting information. Prove them wrong. Create language that captures your audience’s attention before they have time to ignore it. Use your subject line as an opportunity to quickly gauge your audience’s attention. Ask a question. Make an announcement. Do something that will force citizens to listen to what you have to say.
Make your Content Relevant
Congratulations! Your audience has opened your message. Now it’s time for the hard part. Don’t panic. Use your email platform to invite citizens to an exciting event or introduce a beneficial program. But make sure you know who you’re talking to. The problem with government-citizen relationships boils down to a lack of communication and resources. If you are using the right communication tools and targeting the right audience, you should be getting positive results. After all, people tend to respond well to programs and initiatives that make their lives easier.
Communicate a Clear Call to Action
Even if your email content is persuasive and engaging, the average citizen won’t go out of his or her way to receive updates. They need direction. And like a street sign, your Call-to-Action button will help them reach their final destination. Make sure to position your call-to-action wherever your audience is most likely to notice it. Try to limit your call-to-action language to three words in order to simplify the engagement process. Your goal is to make the user experience as painless as possible.
At the end of the day, there will always be citizens who are critical of the government. All you can do is educate and inform your audiences about the initiatives that will benefit them the most, and hopefully change some minds in the process. Once your agency starts to impact more and more people, the cynics begin to matter less.