Here are some ideas; steal at will!

By Kathleen Williams

Aren’t conferences great for getting your creative juices flowing and leading to one ‘lightbulb!’ moment after another?

Kathleen Williams is Communications Coordinator at Clermont County.

Kathleen Williams is Communications Coordinator at Clermont County.

I just returned from my first national conference as a PR professional, and even more relevant, as a government communicator. The group is called 3CMA – City-County Communications & Marketing Association – and the conference was held in Atlanta. 3CMA members are eager to share best practices and great ideas, and have no problem with others appropriating (i.e., stealing) ideas that work.

One thing that impressed me: Local governments are using fun and whimsical touches to get their messages across. I try to do that in Clermont County when it’s appropriate, especially on social media, but I came back determined to do it more, especially when it comes to video.

So, here are a few of my favorite takeaways; repurpose (steal) at will!

  • Behind -the-scenes videos are a great hit with users, according to Juan Salazar, Facebook state and local government outreach coordinator. For local governments, this can help connect citizens to those departments that aren’t very glamorous but do a lot of important work. And this concept can certainly go beyond government. 
  • Short, fun videos are key (30 seconds or less is ideal) when it comes to messaging. The week I came back, we brainstormed on a flu shot video to encourage attendance at an employee health and benefits fair, and we’ll repurpose it for the public. What do you think?
  • Several jurisdictions are doing an FAQ Friday video. I thought that was great idea – it can tie into seasonal subjects (early voting hours, flu shots, back to school, flooding risks) but also can be used for evergreens (where and how do I get a marriage license; where can I get a copy of a birth certificate?).  We’re starting our first FAQ Friday this Friday – again on the flu. Do you think it works?
  • Don’t tell, show. When Tallahassee was doing a lot of street construction that affected several (irritated) merchants, it put together a video that incorporated a map to show detours and then also drove the detours -- with a Go Pro on the car dashboard. Merchants were grateful and posted the video on their websites and social media.
  • Use props! When Tallahassee was named an All American City in 2015, it celebrated in a local park – and also had its citizens hold up this frame with #Tally4AAC hashtag. (Do you get the idea that Tallahassee is innovative? They have a big communications team and it shows.)
  • Sometimes being last is best. If you’re holding a contest on Facebook, tell the posters that the last commenter will be the winner – they won’t know when the cutoff is, and you’re more likely to get comments.
  •  Exploit ‘pint-sized citizens’ at events, ribbon-cuttings, fund-raisers, etc. Yep, kids are the best when it comes to getting views on social, in videos, etc. And they’ll draw more people to your event – parents in particular!

If you have any fun, whimsical and easy-to-do ideas, share them via Twitter @CincinnatiPRSA.  And remember, imitation (stealing) is the sincerest form of flattery!