Monday, October 14, 2019

 

Digital Outreach Strategies & Community Compass®

 


What is
Digital
Outreach?

Digital Outreach is a facilitative process that creates spaces for meaningful online conversations. Using blogs, wikis, podcasts and other forms of social media the aim of Digital Outreach is to start an online conversation. It is never manipulative or contrived rather Digital Outreach is rooted in a strong desire to take a message, idea or plan to the community and receive feedback.

Typically, project proponents use PR to persuade influential stakeholders. Opponents use public participation strategies to persuade decision-makers. Civic Practice Group advises our clients to use Digital Outreach to dialogue with interested parties and to engage the silent majority that is seldom, if ever, heard from in the decision-making process.


What is
Community
Compass?

Community Compass® is scalable tool that collects, processes, and visualizes public comment in relation to local demographics and then generates various reports and maps to help project managers determine the combination of variables needed to ‘satisfice’ community needs in relation to land-use projects. This propriatory software system is customized to correspond to key variables on projects concomitant with commercial and industrial land-use projects. Inputs in the form of blog entries, bulletin board postings, Tweets, email, digital statements and public comments are weighed and measured in correlation with variables including stakeholder logistics, statutory timelines, project budgets and community processes.

The result is a comprehensive digital report with timely information about community perceptions and preferences that is updated on a weekly basis. Your team and you will be provided access to a password protected and fully encrypted Community Compass® account where updated reports will be posted in conjunction with maps and graphs that offer highly useful visual representations of the data. Edit and query functions are useful tools that can be used to toggle variables and generate new outcome reports.


How is
Digital
Outreach
different
from PR?

One-way communications such as public relations (PR) are nothing more than bare transmissions of information that prevent opportunities for conversation. These kinds of communications create no shared meanings, few are persuaded by them, and in the end "what we've got here is a failure to communicate," as the captain told Cool Hand Luke.

Digital Outreach, on the other hand, is designed to be a conversation starter. With proper training your team can execute a digital communications strategy that will invite conversation to reduce misunderstandings and improve relationships. By starting the conversation you get the chance to tell your story before someone else can. Wait too long and you run the considerable risk that the your story has already been sold by someone else. Remember, you can field an All-Star line-up of experts at the public hearing, but until you join the conversations taking place online about your project you will not persuade an Internet savvy public with last-century tools such as press releases and talking points.

PR versus Digital Outreach in tabulated format.


Schedule If possible, begin planning Digital Outreach and Civic Engagement strategies one year prior to the public meeting to maximize results. Our strategic plans provide action steps for the periods before, during and after the public meeting.

Confidentiality All findings are kept completely confidential, as are any data and information about your project. Nothing about any client engagement is ever communicated to anybody else.

Deliverables

► Online Reputation Audit: This will show what is being said about your project online from the onset through completion.

► Online Audience Profile: Useful audience segmentation must be more than basic geographic and occupational demographics. We help you understand your audience in terms of their attitudes towards the issues before the conversation begins and thereafter.

► Identify Influencers: Your project reputation manager must work from a communications plan that identifies the “forces and sources” that influence attitudes and behaviors of your target audiences. For example, who are the bloggers in the community and what is their attitude about project’s like yours? How does local government use social media? Are there any local wikis that may yield clues about social mores and local sentiments? Your online communications strategies must focus on getting your message onto blogs and into other social media that actually influence target audiences.

► Online Message Framing: A contemporary communications plan will identify a theme for a project and then it will develop that theme with messages that support it. We work with your team to find winning themes and messages that create more understanding and less resistance to your project.

► Content Support: Unlike Internet marketing, Digital Outreach is not about trying to sell something. Instead, the objective is to engage the public in an ongoing conversation. We will train your reputation managers on how to use social media to make your case to the public online. We will also provide them with coaching support on how to keep the conversation alive and positive throughout the life of the project.


How to Order Please contact Civic Practice Group at info@civicpractice.com for more information about this service.

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