Since they were first published in the 1990’s, blogs have evolved from online journals to information hubs. They’re an essential building block for social engagement and one of the best ways to engage with your community. Blogs let you share your own stories, gather feedback before implementing a new policy and promote local community events. Almost every part of your organization can leverage the power of blogging, including elected officials, library, and public works.
Blogging hasn’t been an obvious communication channel for many local government agencies, but it should be considered an untapped opportunity to connect and engage with residents. Your blog acts as a complementary channel to your social media outlets and website pages, allowing your residents to access relevant information in one central place.
In our recent What’s Next in Digital Communications for Local Government survey, 100% of respondents said engagement would have a significant impact on local government operations by 2020, yet only 5% considered themselves to be “outstanding” at engaging their residents. If you find yourself among those looking to improve their ability to engage the public, you may want to consider blogging.
If you work in local government, odds are you have been directed to “improve engagement” at some point by a well-meaning elected official or administrator. It’s not surprising: in our recent What’s Next in Digital Communications survey, 100% of respondents said engagement would have a significant impact on local government operations by 2020, yet only 5% considered to be “outstanding” at engaging their residents.
“Improving engagement” is a goal we’ve often heard from local government staff, yet many struggle to know how to go about making it happen. This issue was top of mind as we met with staff from coast to coast over the last year in preparation for the launch of our community engagement tool, visionPulse.
Municipalities across North America share a common goal to increase community engagement, but their understanding of what that means and how to achieve it are less clear. Let’s define engagement as involving citizens in decision-making processes to build policies that benefit the community.
Traditionally, local government has thought about civic engagement in terms of how many people participated in official meetings, signed petitions or called their representatives. Engagement was, and often still is, used as a buzzword that doesn’t mean much. “We aim to improve engagement,” leaders may say, but this statement is rarely accompanied by a clear definition, reasons why or measurements of success.