You’ve come a long way…

By Dave Worsell, Director, Government Solutions, GovDelivery UK

Thanks for reading this blog post. To be honest, I’m surprised you found it at all.

Sure, I’ve got a few people I can always rely on. I know some of you have this page bookmarked, others found it via Google. I suspect most of you saw a Tweet and fewer still came via a Facebook “like” or “recommend” from a friend of yours. Irrespective of how you found my post, you did, and that’s a small miracle.

With 500-million Facebook users and 175-million Tweeters I should be disappointed there aren’t more of you. I’m not.

It’s quality of reader that’s important to me, not the quantity. My posts are written to share my ideas on how to improve the mechanisms by which government connects with the public. My small audience probably works for or with the public sector and shares the same goals as me.

I chose to promote this blog on Twitter and GovLoop. That’s where the majority of the people who I think might be interested in my ideas congregate. Will they all read it? Some will, most won’t, you did. If you like my post you’ll share it with your friends and my audience grows a little.

I know for a fact my parents won’t read this. My brother won’t read it. Even my lovely wife won’t read it. Why? Because they don’t know it’s here and they definitely won’t go looking for it.

They won’t see the tweet that brought you here because they don’t use Twitter (they think I’m weird because I do). Sharing my post on Facebook means a few of my friends might read it but I don’t really want them to. My Facebook page is for my social life. I socialise with my family, friends, old work colleague and school mates. I don’t want to reinforce their view I’m a techno-geek by posting this on my social pages.

If I really wanted all my friends and family to read this blog I’m sure I could. I’m sure I could do it very easily with an effective multi-channel communication strategy.

My father always responds to emails. My brother always reads his text messages. A chat with my wife is all it would take to spark her interest. My parents-in-law would need clear written instructions and a helping hand from my nephew. All they need is a link in a personal invitation. Irrespective of the channels they use, I’m sure they would read my channel given a compelling reason.

Understanding your audience and the channels they use is the key to a successful communication strategy. If you want people to interact with you have to start engaging them in the channels they use. Once engaged you can start to promote your other channels. My experience is they’ll happily cross-over once they know these other channels exist and they can see the benefits.

A recent PEW report “Generations Online 2010” outlined the most important channels that the people you are trying to reach are using. Email is still the most widely used so what are you going to do? Wait until everyone finds your channel or start to encourage them on the ones they use now?

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