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Take a more strategic approach to your council's communications

Council Communications Key Words

It's never been more important for local councils of all shapes and sizes to communicate effectively with their communities. After all, good communication ultimately supports better governance.

At Breakthrough Communications, we understand the unique way in which local councils operate, and the best ways for them to communicate effectively within the constraints of their financial and human resources.

Councils engage with their communities in many different ways, often utilising a mixture of traditional and modern methods to communicate their message, whilst taking time to listen to what people have to say.

Yet often there's a lack of 'strategy' to underpin what councils communicate (their messages), how they communicate it (channels), or who they communicate things to (audiences).

Taking a strategic approach to communications not only empowers councils to be more effective and efficient, it can also ensure that all communications link seamlessly with the council's strategic priorities and services.

To help get you started, we've taken time to create our top tips on how councils can take a more strategic approach to their communications:

  1. Know What You're Trying To Achieve 🎯 - What is the purpose of your council's communications? What are your overarching goals and what are your specific, measurable objectives? Does the council have multiple communications brands, linked to specific services or facilities?

  2. Know Your Audience 🧑 🧔 The key to any good communication is knowing who you're talking to. Who are the different groups or communities or service users in your community? What do they care about? What are their challenges? By truly understanding our different audiences, we can tailor our messages to be relevant, timely, and resonate on a personal level. Don't just broadcast - connect.

  3. Be Transparent and Authentic 🌟 In a world full of misinformation, authenticity is like gold dust. Residents want to trust their local council, and that trust is built on transparency. So, keep things clear, honest, and upfront. Admit when mistakes are made, and outline the steps for rectification.

  4. Engage, Don't Just Inform 🤝 Good communication is a two-way street. Instead of just sending out information, seek feedback and encourage conversation. Whether through in-person events, one-to-one conversations, community surveys and so much more. It’s all about creating avenues for meaningful dialogue.

  5. Integrated, Multi-Channel Approach 🌈 Not everyone in your community consumes information the same way. While some might read the local newspaper, others may only see updates on social media. Diversifying your communication channels ensures that you reach as many residents as possible. And remember, it’s not just about pushing information out – listen to what's coming in from these channels too!

  6. Evaluate and Adapt 🔄 The communication landscape is ever-evolving. Just when you think you've got it down, something changes. And that's okay! The key is to continuously monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of your communications. Seek feedback, look at engagement metrics, and don’t be afraid to adapt your strategy when needed.

  7. Consistency and Branding 🌟 Develop a consistent voice and visual identity for all council communications. A consistent brand makes your messages more recognisable and trustworthy. This also means creating a content calendar and sticking to it so that your community knows when to expect updates.

  8. Feedback Loops 🤝 Embed mechanisms for feedback into every communication channel you use. This might mean surveys or feedback forms on your website. Regularly assess this feedback to refine your strategy and ensure you're meeting the community's needs.

If you'd like to discover how we can help your create (and implement!) an effective, tailored communications and community engagement strategy for your council, why not book a complimentary discovery call with our team?


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