The Federal Government is on the verge of a revolution in the way it communicates with citizens. Today, successful agencies and programs are embracing the content marketing approach as a way to engage stakeholders that has taken the private sector by storm. However, many government leaders are struggling with how to implement a content strategy. At Corner Alliance, we’ve developed an approach called FedInbound℠ as a way to guide agencies and programs in their content strategies. FedInbound℠ has three main principles for developing a federal content strategy:
- Do the easy things first. Many leaders want to make a big splash. They want an app that they can download on a smart phone. It’s a status item. The reality is that most stakeholders aren’t going to be interested in your app. If you are just beginning your content strategy, you haven’t learned what works and what doesn’t work. Take some time to build your audience through the more basic and often more effective approaches like blogging and social media posting. Work your way from the bottom of the content pyramid to the top and learn as you go before making large investments.
- Your people are your content creators. Most of the knowledge needed to create great content that your customers and stakeholders want is already in the minds of the people who work at your agency. They’ve spent whole careers learning and becoming experts. It’s almost a crime not to share that knowledge more widely. With the upcoming wave of senior federal leaders retiring, it’s all the more important to document that knowledge. It might require providing some help with idea generation and ghost writing, but the raw material is there.
- Focus on what stakeholders want, not what you want to say. This principle is one of the hardest for federal agencies and programs to follow. It is tempting to push your own message, and we all know that government review processes and other requirements can wreak havoc on otherwise good content. Always keep in mind: Who is going to read this? What problem will it solve for them? The alternative is that customers and stakeholders are just going to tune you out if you can’t give them targeted and relevant content.
Taking this approach, federal leaders can increase citizen and stakeholder engagement and make sure what they are doing is relevant to their customer. The good news is that starting with the basics at the bottom of the pyramid is inexpensive and yields a high return.