What to Do When You Can’t Communicate


As communicators, our success is often measured by our ability to, well, communicate. We ask ourselves: Are we using the right messaging? Is our timing right? Are these channels the most effective?

But what do we do in times when we can’t communicate – at all?

This week, some federal agencies were ordered to halt their sending and updating of news releases, blog entries or website content for the time being. In times of transition, it can be unsettling (especially to communicators) to stop the ship while it’s going full steam ahead.

But this could be an opportunity to reflect on or refresh your communications-related strategies that could be very useful to you in the coming year.

Here are a few ideas:

1. Complete the 2017 Transition Year Workbook

While there may be some things you can’t plan for yet, we created a guide that can help you map out your digital communications strategy for the coming year: Your 2017 Digital Communications Workbook. Focused on metrics and tactics, this workbook can help you identify what digital communications efforts are working to connect with your audience and impact your outcomes. While you wait for the external communications green light, complete the workbook to help guide you in 2017.

2. Audit Your Topics For Activity

It’s important to update your topics in GovDelivery on a regular basis, ideally once each quarter. If you haven’t had the chance to audit your topics recently, this could be the golden opportunity to revisit them to see which ones are working to increase your subscribers and which ones need to be decommissioned. Here is a step-by-step guide on revamping your topics: Behind the Envelope: Have Your Topics Gone Cold?

3. Develop a Strategy for Sleepy Subscribers

With the amount of time and resources you devote to connecting with and engaging your audience, waking up sleepy subscribers (those who haven’t opened or clicked on a digital message from you in over 90 days) is an important step in adding more value to your organization’s marketing efforts. Take this time to develop a plan to re-engage sleepy subscribers in 2017. Here is a post that can help: Your Subscribers Aren’t Complete Zeros.

4. Focus on Internal Communications

In times of change, it is especially important to have a solid internal communications strategy. When it is done right, strong internal communications can increase employee engagement and productivity. While goals or priorities for your organization may be in transition, it is always a good exercise to plan as much as you can for upcoming changes and brainstorm ideas for what internal channels you will use to best connect with team members. For help creating your internal communications strategy, here is a helpful guide: Transforming the Citizen Experience: Improving Internal Communications.

5. Take Time to Reflect

Always easier said than done, but this transition time could be a great opportunity to reflect on the steps you’re taking to lead through change. Our Director of Implementation Cindy Hoops has great advice on how to ensure a smooth transition in her post: “In Times of Change, Keep Your Focus Forward.”

Bonus Tip: You can also take this time to register for and attend our upcoming events and webinar series. To register for the Annual Communications Summit, visit our website.

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