Last week we hosted government communicators from across Northern California for our first Digital Communications Tour stop of 2014 in Oakland, California (look for our upcoming events near you in Austin, Raleigh, Washington D.C., and St. Paul). Government communicators took the Bay Area by storm to discuss communicating with more people and encouraging those people to take action as a result of those communications.
The tour featured a jam packed agenda of trends, tips and tricks. Steve Ressler of Govloop kicked off the event as our keynote to discuss 15 opportunities trending in the current government technology climate. Mary Yang and Amy Larsen of GovDelivery both talked to the importance of expanding the number of people you reach with your communications and how to go about starting to grow that impact. Jennifer Kaplan of GovDelivery expanded on that message by discussing increasing stakeholder engagement, or taking action as a result of your message.
Finally, we closed the event with what has always been one of our most popular sessions in the GovDelivery tour—our Government Communications Panel—where we discussed what local California government communicators are doing to improve and expand their digital outreach to better serve their stakeholders.
The panel of government communicators at the Oakland tour stop included Kristen Holland of San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), Beth Gabor of Yolo County, and Natasha Greer and Maurice Chaney of City of Sacramento.
Here are three of the many highlights of the panel—the lessons learned for these government organizations using digital communications to improve their outreach.
A New Website Design Enabled the City of Sacramento to Better Serve Resident Needs
The City of Sacramento recently launched a new website. One of the best practices they implemented when launching to better serve their residents was adding links to their social media accounts, blog and email sign-ups on every page of the website. By using the “create once publish everywhere” mentality to make sure that this important information is always in front of their stakeholders no matter where they get their messages from the city, Sacramento was also able to better communicate with stakeholders when their social media accounts started seeing less engagement. Additionally, the City of Sacramento linked robust analytics to its website to measure what information their visitors were most interested in reading to continue to tailor their content to stakeholder needs.
Real-time Alerts Enable SFMTA to Seamlessly Reach More People
SFMTA realized that what their audience wanted was real-time alerts from the organization on any transportation delays or updates. Beyond the 19,000 Twitter followers they have garnered, SFMTA is able to send those messages out via email and text messaging updates—taking some of the pressure off of the lead spokesperson by getting immediate information out to the media and the public with little effort.
Yolo County Prepares Residents for Flu Season Using Email Communications
Part of Yolo County’s mission involves the Yolo County Immunization Program, dedicated to improving immunization coverage rates and preventing the occurrence of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (VPDs), with a special focus on children. So when flu season hit with four different strains occurring in the area, Yolo County held free flu clinics. Using email messages to communicate with its stakeholders, the County doubled attendance at these clinics from 400 to 800 people, making a large impact on its public health program goals for the Northern California county.
There was a lot of knowledge passed around during all of the Digital Communications Tour sessions and in the networking afterward. Over the next few months we’ll hold several more events where you can hear firsthand the strategies and tactics from more professionals and peers in the digital space. So sign up for one of our upcoming events in Austin, Raleigh, Washington D.C., or St. Paul!