Your blog is a powerful citizen engagement tool. It serves as an easily accessible, authoritative resource for citizens looking for the latest news and trusted information from their civic leaders. As you work to continually enhance your citizen emergency and routine communication strategy, make sure you are fully leveraging your civic blog. We’ve got four ways your blog can help you amplify your communication strategy, and examples of some impactful blogs from communities like yours.
Many communities that routinely publish Mayor’s Blogs, or blogs written by other community leaders, have found that citizens appreciate knowing they have a direct channel to updates, news, and perspectives from their elected officials. Regular updates from your civic leaders offer citizens trusted insights and prove that their leaders care about keeping them informed. In Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, their Township Manager blog provides citizens with direct comments and insights from Manager Jerry Andree, who writes on topics ranging from department initiatives, to budget planning, to other local insights.2. It is a forum for safety information from trusted experts.
Local governments have a responsibility to keep their citizens safe. By partnering with city police departments or county sheriffs’ departments, you can leverage your blog as a resource for regular, local safety information. For example, the community of Brea, California maintains a monthly blog called the “Brea Briefing Room.” Managed by the Brea Police Department, the goal of the blog is to keep the community informed while providing a behind the scenes look into the operations of the Department. The blog also offers an opportunity to interact with the Brea Police Department through the sharing of local information.
3. Theme blogs allow citizens to subscribe to content they value.
Every citizen has unique interests in their community. By creating not just one, but several niche theme blogs and allowing citizens to subscribe to receive updates, you make it easy for citizens to stay engaged and informed on the topics that matter most to them. For example, the community of Cocoa, Florida maintains five niche theme blogs:
- Volunteer Spotlight – A blog that shares news and accomplishments of volunteer citizens and non-profit organizations in the area.
- CPD UnCuffed – A safety blog with tips and insights from the Cocoa Police Department.
- Cocoa’s Hometown Heroes – Heartwarming stories about the people and projects making a positive impact in Cocoa.
- Cocoa Communications – A community information blog updated by the Public Relations Specialist on a weekly basis, offering the latest information from the City of Cocoa including events, news, updates, etc.
- Business Spotlight – Sharing news and information about Cocoa’s business leaders.
4. Your blog is a resource for detailed, and proactive safety information.
Citizens expect their community leaders to provide proactive updates on safety topics that impact their community. Your civic blog can be an effective way to reach citizens with weather information, safety tips, education, and best practices. The community of Draper City, Utah, for example, uses its blog to provide safety reminders to citizens with links to additional resources from national resources such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Civic Tip: Link to your blog from your emergency and routine mass notification system alerts.
Many citizens will seek out the latest news and information on your local government website. To make sure your message reaches as many other citizens as possible, incorporate a government notification system into your communication strategy. CivicReady®, the CivicPlus® emergency and routine mass notification system, can be used to effectively communicate emergency instructions or warnings in a matter of moments, as well as to keep citizens informed with proactive news and information.