Coronavirus comms: 9 tips for making a difference
During a public health crisis, public sector organisations must be at the top of their game when communicating both internally and externally. With that in mind, we gathered some tips to help you make a difference through communications during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Know your goals
The first step in crafting any message is asking why. Consider what you are trying to achieve, why you are trying to achieve it, and how you will know if you are being successful.
2. Know your audience
Who is the message for, and how will it help them? In most cases your community consists of various demographics. Try to segment your community into relevant audiences. If not, ensure you strike the right balance by including messaging accessible to everyone.
3. Build trust
Your audience is probably being bombarded by a plethora of misinformation. As a governing authority, the public sector should remain the most trusted centre for advice and information. Every message you send should be useful and relevant. Your residents will recognise what you have to say is important and will pay attention. Don’t communicate too much or too little. Keep your communications consistent, addressing concerns as they arise or major events occur.
4. Amplify the voices of public health authorities
Draw information from trusted organisations such as the WHO and Public Health England/Scotland/Wales. This is a simple way to combat misinformation.
5. Empower your audience
What steps can residents use to protect themselves? What should they do if they get sick? Where can they learn more? Again, use resources from Public Health Authorities. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel!
6. Use an omnichannel strategy
Share information across different channels of communication to reach all of your audience. Your residents will receive information in a way that works best for them. Although you are using different channels, make sure the heart of your messaging remains the same. The same information that is on your website should also be on your leaflets.
7. Partner with nearby organisations
Contact colleagues, businesses, and partner organisations for help. You can extend your reach by asking them to share your message. Work together to share resources and save time.
8. Be flexible
Guidance from central government is changing daily. You need to be ready to adapt to these changing guidelines. In each of your communications, include that further changes can, and most likely will, happen.
Language is key. These are tough times, and many are looking to you for guidance. In order for communities to empathise with one another and look after the most vulnerable, government communicators need to set the example. Using a helpful tone. Words like “we” and “you” helps build a greater human connection.
Bringing it all together
A government communicator’s job is more important than ever during a crisis. You’re working overtime to provide facts and reassure your residents. These tips will help you be heard.
Looking for more help?
Our govDelivery communications solution is playing a vital role in delivering important messages. Want to learn more about how it can help you?