Andrés López-Varela is a marketing consultant with a wealth of experience. We spoke to him on the importance of a digital marketing strategy and the unique challenges faced by the public sector when implementing one.
Here are his thoughts:
How important is content in a public sector digital marketing strategy?
I think content is one of those words that encompasses many things but doesn’t say much on its own. Justifying something ambiguous as being so valuable to a strategy can be a challenge. I broadly define content as something that appears on both owned and earned channels. Being able to define that goes a certain way to creating traction within the organisation.
Because content is not always a media piece, you have greater opportunity not to just control the message but demonstrate what action you want people to take after consuming it. This is powerful because in the public sector we often have to change people’s behaviors and attitudes. For me, there can be a lot of barriers in people’s minds around distance and cost. To help overcome that, I’m creating more than just inspirational content and providing more tangible insights.
How can the public sector produce content with limited resources?
The key message for any organisation, especially public sector organisations, is to curate more and create less. Look at your existing content and do an audit of everything you have – whether it’s located in the cloud, on shared drives or with your agencies – but also what your stakeholders, partners and even your target audience have already created. You’ll find that a lot of topics have probably already been covered in different forms. Tweak and re-purpose it to avoid starting from scratch every time. This has the additional benefit of being time efficient which allows you to then focus your content creation resources on the work that is truly new or a higher priority.
What is the first step those working in the public sector should take when building a digital content strategy?
Understand your audience first. Many people make the mistake of starting with platforms or specific channels, but this doesn’t have a great strike rate. Ultimately, the content you create and marketing you do will be going into people’s pockets, into their phones or their email, ‘invading’ their personal space. When you do something like that you want to ensure you are providing them with value for them and the only way to understand what’s valuable to them is to understand them. So, to start shifting behaviours, you need to understand the audience’s intent and needs. Whether it’s for a public health campaign or attracting tourists, that foundation is crucial.
How can those responsible for communications best achieve buy-in from senior management?
- Look at the organisational strategy and priorities and match your strategy to that. For example, your organisation might be trying to get people to provide or update their contact details; you need to show how your strategy is going to drive that objective.
- Understand the competition within your organisation in regards to investment of time, resources and effort. If possible, pair up with other functions in the organisation so that when they are pitching or planning their activity, content is embedded into their projects.
- Test and learn. As a general marketing concept, this is sometimes underrated. One of the most beneficial approaches we have found is to involve management in the process of trying new things out. Be open with your experiments and share the data, learning and insights. When you’re next looking for more investment, you will have already earned your stripes.
Andrés López-Varela was one of our former speakers at our public sector communications event. this year we have, Amy Stockwell the Head of Social at SBS. She will be sharing her insights on “Maximising engagement & impact through social content”. Learn how you can develop quality content and innovate to reach stakeholders at the Public Sector Effective Communication and Engagement Conference on the 30th April & 1st of May in Canberra.
Don’t miss your chance to save $500 off your tickets!