Farm Service Agency Improves Digital Communications Strategy

Moving from paper based communications to digital is never an easy process. With increasing use of the web and the changing norms of how people consume information, a sound digital communications strategy is key to reach stakeholders. Recently, the USDA’s Farm Service Agency has made the switch to provide farmers with more information digitally. A blog post from Farm and Dairy highlights some of the changes by FSA, and benefits to making the switch.

Farmers in our area have really embraced the new forms of electronic technology. A lot of farm families now have a computer and Internet service. More and more of you are getting your grain or milk prices electronically, and the majority of you are able to check the weather forecasts on your smartphones.

Wow, things have changed since grandpa’s time! Keeping up with the times is now a little easier using the Farm Service Agency’s GovDelivery system. GovDelivery is the new email notification system that FSA is now using to deliver program information and news updates electronically.

GovDelivery is a one-stop shop for the most up-to-date USDA program information. Through FSA’s GovDelivery electronic news service, you have lots of options to choose exactly how you would like to receive federal farm program information.

As the article stated, there are lots of options as to how to receive information digitally. Farmers can subscribe to a variety of different alerts, all tailored to their needs. FSA did a great job explaining to stakeholders and employees why the move to digital will benefit employees and farmers. By getting buy-in from all stakeholders, people can truly understand the value of the switch, and be more open to the change. Making it personal, and showing the tangible impacts is key to build up support.

One of the great things about going digital is that you have the ability to really target your message and reach key stakeholders. FSA is a perfect example. By developing the ability to opt-in to certain messaging, farmers will receive the customer information that is tailored to them. The article brings up a great point, many times, farmers own land that crosses different counties, or maybe even state lines, by opting into different alerts, farmers can better manage their land, and their interest across different jurisdictions. This is a perfect example of why it is important to target your content for your stakeholders, by doing so, your are providing the benefit of allowing the stakeholder to manage a variety of different content they receive. It’s a good way to begin to cut the noise on the web and in our email inbox.

As communication professionals, content is king. Likewise, in an increasingly digital and complex world, getting your content into the right hands is critical. I’d be interested to learn how you make sure content gets sent to the right people and what options you provide for people to sign up for alerts.

GovDelivery is the #1 sender of government-to-citizen communications, serving over 400 government entities worldwide and more than half of major U.S. federal agencies. Organizations use GovDelivery to send over 200 million messages every month on a broad range of topics including national emergencies, health alerts, tax policy changes and more. Check out their User Group on GovLoop as well as the Technology Sub-Community of which they are a council member.

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