Say Goodbye to Press Releases

Emily Jarvis, Producer for DorobekINSIDER on GovLoop, recently posted a compelling interview with GovDelivery CEO and co-Founder, Scott Burns, on the changing nature of government communications. Here’s an excerpt from her post:

The government has a history of thinking of communication as a one-way press-release oriented type of activity. What we try to do is help people understand that now you need to personalize the experience with the mission of the organization and keep the individual in mind.

In the business world goals are very straightforward when it come to marketing. Make money. It is easy to measure success and failures. For government it’s much more difficult. We need to help clients understand that the objectives are different.

Lot’s of planning is needed up front, that way communication can actually support the mission not just about about getting more Twitter followers.

[For example last] year FEMA had 8,000 people participate in online communities. This year that number is already hovering at 20,000 people. The online communities are transforming the way people communicate. It’s no longer a one-way conversation, it’s all about direct collaboration.


To hear the whole interview, see Emily’s original post on GovLoop.

Have a question for Scott? Want to hear more about his thoughts on government communications? He’ll be speaking at a digital communications event in Washington, DC on October 16. You can also hear from leading experts from around the Federal government about leadership development, new technologies, and digital communications best practices. Registration is free, but space is limited. Reserve your seat today.

2 Responses to “Say Goodbye to Press Releases”

  1. Erika

    If you want communication to be collaborative instead of “one-way”, why do you not allow people to reply to messages sent from govdelivery? I agree with you in concept but it doesnt work in practice. Giving recipients the ability to respond to an email we send to them is on my #2013WishList
    I’m sure there is a business reason that GovD doenst allow this, but this is what we need to change – giving people direct access to government

  2. Mary Yang for GovDelivery

    Erika, thanks for the comment! Of course, we believe that collaborative communication is a two-way street, or rather, something akin to a roundabout maybe, where many people are part of the conversation. We have solutions to help government organizations do this, and many of them are using these tools extremely effectively to fulfill their mission.

    With regard to GovDelivery Digital Communication Management, our outbound government-to-citizen tool, GovDelivery customers likely send hundreds, thousands, and even sometimes millions (imagine FEMA in the wake of Hurricane Sandy) of email messages to communicate directly with the public. But this also means that you can receive hundreds, thousands, and sometimes millions of “out of office” replies, requests to unsubscribe, “I’m on vacation” notes, bounces (i.e. email addresses are no longer active), etc. We have seen, with many clients in the past, that this can be beyond overwhelming. If your job is to communicate and engage with citizens, spending hours of your time culling through bounced emails and cleaning your lists can be tedious and doesn’t help your organization fulfill its mission. Our clients are more than happy to have us take on the heavy lifting in this regard, but we, like our clients, definitely believe in citizen feedback. To this end, clients will often provide, in the body of the bulletin or message, an email address that the organization monitors regularly so that citizens can provide feedback directly to them. Since the email address you provide can be hyperlinked and coded with a subject line that you choose, it’s easy for the citizen clicking on the email address to create a new message and for you to know where that message came from (say, if you used your email’s subject line as part of their reply message’s subject line.)

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