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The Virtual Village Square


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Local government authorities are in the perfect position to reclaim their spot as the #1 forum for the local conversation. They can do that via a virtual village square. Here's how.

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The Virtual Village Square

  1. 1. THE VIRTUAL VILLAGE SQUARE How your council can become the local information hub Local Government Communication Professionals Network conference STUART HOWIE May 2018
  2. 2. COMPETING IN THE ATTENTION ECONOMY Communication breakdown Organisations and their leaders are 1. overwhelmed; 2. dissatisfied about the ROI on their comms efforts; and 3. therefore not getting the recognition they deserve.
  3. 3. LOCAL GOVERNMENT: YOUR CHALLENGES 7 signs of civic unrest Local government has particular challenges. Do any of these apply to you? Lack of strategic vision1 General cynicism about authority6 Lack of resources, time to positively engage 2 Media fragmentation5 Driving “safe” social media7 Council bashing is a national sport3 Internal politics, bureaucracy, lack of buy-in 4
  4. 4. THE VIRTUAL VILLAGE SQUARE Your time to shine Local government is in a unique position to become the local voice, to reclaim its historic place as the town square for community conversation. This is a win for everyone. But it requires a strategic approach.
  5. 5. THE VIRTUAL VILLAGE SQUARE The DIY Newsroom Councils can build their own digital- facing newsrooms. This is not about a snazzy office layout. Rather, it draws on the principles and practices of the modern newsroom. A newsroom approach puts method to the madness of competing in today’s Attention Economy.
  7. 7. THE VIRTUAL VILLAGE SQUARE SMART Strategy This is the blueprint that sets you up. You cannot possibly operate without a clear, articulated direction. What does your comms strategy look like?
  8. 8. THE VIRTUAL VILLAGE SQUARE SMART Media If you only did one thing to systemise your comms, it would be to produce a one- page chart of your media eco-system. Tip: it’s not all about social.
  9. 9. THE VIRTUAL VILLAGE SQUARE Authentically SMART How do you turn around perceptions of your organisation? Answer: create compelling content that makes a heartfelt connection with residents (and others) and that builds communities of interest.
  10. 10. THE VIRTUAL VILLAGE SQUARE SMART Results Do you get questioned about the ROI on your comms? Have you aligned comms goals with those of the organisation? Have you established the metrics that matter?
  11. 11. THE VIRTUAL VILLAGE SQUARE SMART Team The most important and usually most overlooked aspect of driving change is the X-factor - YOU! To be really SMART, you need to reorganise.
  12. 12. STRATEGY MEDIA AUTHENTICITY RESULTS TEAM 55 ideas in 15 minutes 1 Hold a workshop to reappraise your media ecosystem 2 Produce a fortnightly email newsletter 3 Split your email newsletter into editions for communities of interest 4 Produce a monthly newspaper Update your communications strategy based on DIY Newsroom™ principles and practices 5
  13. 13. 6 Brainstorm to identify your key audiences 7 Identify 10 points of difference in your community 8Adopt a communications charter, based on authentic conversation 10 Record a monthly vlog with each councillor. Share across channels Experiment. Pick a marginal/marginalised audience and build a content plan around them 9 STRATEGY MEDIA AUTHENTICITY RESULTS TEAM 55 ideas in 15 minutes
  14. 14. 11 Establish a YouTube channel 12 Host a slot on community radio and livestream to Facebook 13 Post a weekly heritage feature to your FB page 14 Use a social media management tool to schedule content Partner with a university, a local start-up or other organisations that can complement your media operations 15 STRATEGY MEDIA AUTHENTICITY RESULTS TEAM 55 ideas in 15 minutes
  15. 15. 16 Ask each department to submit three ideas for a short video ... 17 ... on how-to-do something of benefit to a resident 18 ... showcasing the latest thinking from their area 19 ... profiling an employee Tech up. Get a mojo kit – it’s cheap and plays a central role in successful DIY Newsrooms. All you need is a smart phone, lapel mic, tripod, some video editing gear – and get-up-and-go 20 STRATEGY MEDIA AUTHENTICITY RESULTS TEAM 55 ideas in 15 minutes
  16. 16. 21 Produce one daily video vox pop (post to Instagram) ... 22 ... such on “my favourite book” or ”my favourite spot” ... 23 ... or “if I could change one thing about the city” ... 24 ... or “why I volunteer” Edit those vox pops for a monthly video (post to your Facebook page) 25 STRATEGY MEDIA AUTHENTICITY RESULTS TEAM 55 ideas in 15 minutes
  17. 17. 26 Establish your council’s thought leadership ... 27 Run a weekly webinar with a council leader 28 Create vlogs with managers for LinkedIn and other channels 29 Host a forum on diversity and inclusion Survey your residents. Publish the insights across your media ecosystem and disseminate to policy makers 30 STRATEGY MEDIA AUTHENTICITY RESULTS TEAM 55 ideas in 15 minutes
  18. 18. 31 Encourage community activism. Provide training and a soapbox 32 Publish your community satisfaction survey across channels 33 Publicise what you don’t do well and ask for suggestions 34 Invite and publish user generated content Design an infographic on where our rates go. Slice and dice that information for social media bites 35 STRATEGY MEDIA AUTHENTICITY RESULTS TEAM 55 ideas in 15 minutes
  19. 19. 36 Jump in on controversial issues and present both sides 37 38 Build transparency by adopting a comms code of ethics 39 Include subject of transparency in annual council surveys Identify the unrecognised social enterprises and initiatives in your organisation. Create a content strategy for them 40 STRATEGY MEDIA AUTHENTICITY RESULTS TEAM 55 ideas in 15 minutes Develop a crisis comms playbook
  20. 20. 41 Run an Instagram competition and boost your followers 42 Produce a monthly report for the council on your comms activities ... 43 Distribute that report publicly 44 Set social media engagement targets and regularly review Establish a dashboard of metrics aligned to the council’s stated objectives. Improving community satisfaction would be one 45 STRATEGY MEDIA AUTHENTICITY RESULTS TEAM 55 ideas in 15 minutes
  21. 21. 46 Jump in on controversial issues and present both sides 47 Be data driven by asking residents what they are interested in ... 48 ... and do that considering the associated UX, CX 49 Celebrate a weekly win with your team Workshop your workflow. Do it with pizza, a big wall and lots of sticky notes 50 STRATEGY MEDIA AUTHENTICITY RESULTS TEAM 55 ideas in 15 minutes
  22. 22. 51 Send someone on your team to a video editing course. Have them train others 52 Teach best-practice comms to community groups, other councils 53 Hold a daily stand- up meeting 54 Brainstorm more ideas Restructure your team around functions (e.g. video, social, community engagement, media liaison) 55 STRATEGY MEDIA AUTHENTICITY RESULTS TEAM 55 ideas in 15 minutes
  23. 23. STRATEGY MEDIA AUTHENTICITY RESULTS TEAM Your ideas: add here minutes56 57 58 59 60 ? ? ???
  24. 24. THE VIRTUAL VILLAGE SQUARE 7 signs of success When firing, a DIY Newsroom lets you control your message. Better community engagement1 Recognition for what you do6 More informed decision making2 Repositioned as a thought leader5 Simple, strategic, sustainable comms7 Information destination3 Reputation inoculation4
  25. 25. THE VIRTUAL VILLAGE SQUARE Why you won’t
  26. 26. THE VIRTUAL VILLAGE SQUARE Why you will
  27. 27. THE VIRTUAL VILLAGE SQUARE Be the disruptor
  28. 28. THE DIY NEWSROOM Finally ... 1. Sign up to newsletter at 2. Follow us on social media 3. Email me at 4. The DIY Newsroom: published 2018 This material comprises or contains commercial-in-confidence information and is subject to the provisions of Australian and other laws relating to the use and disclosure of such information. The SMART™ methodology (Strategy, Media, Authenticity, Results, Team) and DIY Newsroom™ are the intellectual property of Flame Tree Media. © May 2018.