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Finding Your Untold Stories

February 17th, 2014 | Posted by govdelivery in Best Practices | Client News - (0 Comments)

By Amy Larsen, Client Success Consultant

When I talk with state and local government organizations that are interested in communicating with the public, there is always a consistent idea on what kinds of information should go out to citizens. Far and away the messages we see most frequently from state and local agencies include council and committee meetings and agendas, upcoming events, emergency updates, and news releases. These types of communications are vital to government transparency and community preparedness, and public information officers that are committed to the regular communication of these key types of information do their stakeholders an invaluable service.

But too often, public communication stops with these essential communications, without expanding the message topics to other departments and programs, where great stories are often hiding in plain sight. We often talk about why storytelling is a great asset in communicating – but what types of stories do your residents want to read?

I usually recommend that communicators consider including some new programs in their outreach plans every year, focusing on the offices or departments that have a high amount of interaction with the public. These regular communications help to drive more stakeholder participation and further the mission of each group.

Here are a few examples across the spectrum of state and local government of how both subscribers and departments benefit from storytelling:

1. Stories about Police and Law Enforcement Programs police1
I receive regular updates from my Precinct Inspector at the Minneapolis Police Department– the officer in charge of monitoring and preventing crime in my neighborhood. When I signed up for these updates, I had no idea that I had a Precinct Inspector, or what he did. Through regular communications from Inspector Schafer, I’ve gotten tips on keeping myself and my property safer, what to look for to prevent crime in my neighborhood, and have been alerted of criminal activity.  I’ve also learned that overall crime in my area is down by 7% this year. Before I received these updates, I had no visibility into how my neighborhood was functioning with regard to crime and law enforcement. Not only do these updates give me the information to be safer and more aware of potential risks to safety, but I feel more connected to my community and confident that my neighborhood is becoming a safer place to live. This direct communication with citizens is something that any police, Sheriff, or public safety department could achieve by implementing a subscription process that allows key communicators to reach a target audience of stakeholders.

2. Stories from Animal Control and Animal Rescue agencies animal1
Who doesn’t love stories about adorable dogs and cats? Some of the most visited sites on the web like Buzzfeed, Huffington Post and Reddit have been attracting explosive traffic for years using cute cat videos and stories about rescued puppies to lure people to land on their site and continue to click through to more pages. Why not harness these techniques to drive increased numbers of adopted animals and donations to local shelters in your community? Oakland County, Michigan began seeing an increase in adoption rates after their animal services team started communicating through email and social media about stories of pets waiting for homes.  San Diego County features a pet of the week update to people subscribed to their County News topic that often attracts hundreds of views in less than an hour, which is often more visits than the typical animal in a shelter gets in an entire day.  The City of Louisville, Kentucky created Paw Personals, a weekly newsletter from Animal Services with playful descriptions of animals waiting for homes to help alleviate overcrowding in shelters through more adoptions. If your animal services team is not communicating regularly to drive action, it might be time to think about how to incorporate the story of local animals into your regular messages to the public.

3. Stories from Health and Human Services organizations health1

Valuable health and safety communications often travel from public health organizations to hospitals and health providers to then disseminate to patients and visitors, but what about the residents who aren’t visiting health care providers regularly? How do they get the information they need to keep themselves and their families healthy? In Minnesota, we frequently deal with extreme cold, so this winter, the Minnesota Department of Health sent out extreme cold safety videos in multiple languages to hundreds of at risk residents, helping to increase the visibility of cold weather shelter programs. In Arizona, Maricopa County automatically alerts citizens if air quality levels reach a point that might be dangerous to residents in certain areas, keeping citizens with respiratory concerns safer. King County Public Health offers personalized SMS/text message updates on how residents can learn more about enrolling in health care by attending events in their neighborhoods. These are the awesome types of stories that can be shared with the public to demonstrate your organization’s commitment to health.  If your organization’s goals for this year include a focus on increased citizen well-being through health education and outreach, start by building a community of engaged stakeholders to connect with regularly through a multichannel communication approach, and share what you’re doing to keep them healthier.

When I talk with GovDelivery clients about setting their communication plans for this year, I often encourage them to think outside the box when it comes to the types of information they’ll be sending to their stakeholders. Where are the untold stories of your organization?  Chances are, you won’t have to look far to find them.

For more information, contact info@govdelivery.com.

Text messages can help you find in-person enrollment help

December 2nd, 2013 | Posted by govdelivery in Client News - (1 Comments)

GovDelivery client King County, Washington recently kicked off a new mobile communications initiative to spread the word about their healthcare offerings and services. Here is a guest post from King County on how text messaging is helping the organization reach more people. 

An innovative new texting program is making it a little easier to find in-person help with the Washington Healthplanfinder website.

It takes time — and some comfort with online shopping — to navigate the Healthplanfinder website, where residents can compare plans and enroll. For people who’ve had trouble with the website, or are unable to get online, King County has trained more than 600 in-person assisters, real people who can help folks make tough decisions about insurance.

Some King County residents are already receiving texts about health enrollment help in their area. Text King plus your zip code to 468311.

Some King County residents are already receiving texts about health enrollment help in their area. Text King plus your zip code to 468311.

Now, King County residents can use text messages to meet up with one of those in-person assisters.

People can text “KING” plus their zip code to 468311 and get information about opportunities for help in their area. For instance, this weekend, the Healthplanfinder Mobile Enrollment Tour is visiting Kent (Saturday, 2-5 pm). If someone in Kent can’t make it during those hours, they might text “KING 98032″ to 468311. This person will get additional upcoming times and locations where they can find assistance in Kent – all sent directly to their phones.

Someone who lives in Capitol Hill might text “KING 98122″ and receive times and locations for Central Seattle.

A similar idea proved valuable to connect people with a nearby flu-shot during the 2009 pandemic flu scare in California.

Subscribers get a text message each time there’s a nearby enrollment opportunity — so a secondary benefit is getting that occasional reminder to sign-up for insurance.

The program isn’t just about convenience either – it’s about equity. Young, low-income people of color use text messaging more than any other demographic. These people are also a lot more likely to be uninsured, and they’re the people the Affordable Care Act can help the most. Where the Internet and traditional media fall short, text messaging fills in the blanks.

The program is currently offered in English, but a Spanish version will be available by the end of the year.

Other health jurisdictions, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, are offering text message programs, but none this robust.

“This program, like any good text message program, is designed to provide customized, valuable information that will encourage people to take action,” said Public Health – Seattle & King County Public Information Officer Hilary Karasz, who has spent several years studying text messages as a tool for public health practice.

GearsBy Rishi Vajpeyi, Solutions Consultant

Among content management systems—software that enables publishing, editing and modifying content on a website—Drupal continues to be a major player in the public sector space following its widespread adoption by the White House, Small Business Administration, House of Representatives, Department of Energy, and Department of Education, to name just a few customers.  In fact, the United States Federal market has several hundred websites launched or in the process of launching with Drupal. State governments have also begun adopting Drupal as their content management system due to the plethora of open-source, government specific modules currently in circulation.  To date, 175 state-government websites across 38 states and territories are running or launching on Drupal, and this number is expected to grow.

Government organizations are putting more effort than ever into building dynamic and engaging websites. However, the opportunity to provide information to website visitors is limited to their visit. In order to offer the greatest service to the visitor, organizations need to give them the opportunity to continue to receive information even after they leave a website.  The GovDelivery Drupal integration allows government organizations to make their website content available as outbound digital communications, increase their digital outreach and provide mailing capabilities that are both secure and scalable.

This month, GovDelivery is excited to launch new and updated modules that allow organizations running Drupal to enhance the power of their website by leveraging GovDelivery’s digital communications platform and messaging services. The new modules available within the Drupal interface are the Subscription Sign-Up Service, Topic Creation Service and Integrated Transactional Messaging Service.

Email subscription boxes drive an average of 30% more subscribers when positioned correctly throughout your web properties. The GovDelivery Sign-up module allows Drupal administrators to place sign-up boxes anywhere within a Drupal website to convert more website visitors into direct email or SMS communication subscribers.  These sign-up boxes connect to the GovDelivery digital communications subscription process, making the collection and organization of your digital audience easier than ever.

Does your organization have multiple departments? Or a variety of topics that your audience should know about? With the Topic Creation Service module, organizations can easily take advantage of cross-promoting information across a breadth of topics. The Topic Creation module integrates with GovDelivery’s digital communications platform to create subscription topics for every taxonomy term or content tag within the Drupal website, allowing website visitors to subscribe to these topics. When a new page, story, or custom content type is published with tags, all subscribers are sent a triggered email or SMS notification automatically. Creating new topics is a breeze and when you offer more topics, you are more likely to garner a larger audience across the entire organization.

Adoption of government websites and online services drastically increases when paired with transactional messaging.  Any new user to an online system, change to a profile, or fee payment should all generate a follow up transactional message. Capitalizing on the timeliness of these interactions reaches users when they are most engaged. The GovDelivery Transactional Messaging module gives Drupal administrators access to GovDelivery’s bulk-mail sending infrastructure. This module mitigates the need for a backend SMTP server for a Drupal website by replacing it with GovDelivery Transactional Messaging. Bulk messages can now be sent securely, effortlessly and with ample reporting. Sending the right message, to the right person, at the right time drives the most engagement.

If your organization is using or plans to launch a Drupal website, please contact us through our Customer Support site at support.govdelivery.com. If have any questions or comments about integrating your Drupal website with GovDelivery, feel free to reach out to us at info@govdelivery.com.

By Richard Fong, Technology Project Manager

Nestled in Southern California just south of Joshua Tree National Forest is Coachella Valley, which includes the Salton Sea. With an average annual rainfall of three inches, water is a vital resource. In 1918 the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) was created to “protect and conserve local water sources.” Today CVWD meets “the water-related needs of more than 107,000 homes and businesses across 1,000 square miles.”

CVWD understood the resource constraints of paper-based communications and knew that the move towards digital was the right direction for the organization. This led CVWD to implementing GovDelivery Digital Communication Management to help them build outreach and maintain consistent communications with stakeholders. Additionally, as an organization with established communication processes in place, having a solution that was easy to integrate into existing processes was important. With GovDelivery APIs (application programming interfaces), this was easy.

CVWD’s Public Information Officers (PIOs) already had the ability to create a news release and post that content to their website. To maintain legacy systems and continue using communication processes, CVWD integrated GovDelivery’s Send Bulletin API into their custom CMS (content management system) to automate the dissemination of those news release bulletins to the public. This integration conveniently allows CVWD PIOs to trigger a Send Bulletin API call to GovDelivery after their news release has been posted to the website, which then creates and pushes out an email to subscribers with the new information. The integration started with the news releases but has recently been expanded to include board agenda meetings.

CoachellaJesse Ruiz, Web Editor for CVWD, said he wanted to streamline the communications process, specifically how to allow staff to publish content and send a GovDelivery bulletin without leaving the organization’s CMS or website.

How does this automation benefit Coachella Valley Water District? By leveraging API technology to automate content distribution, Jesse was able to save the organization and his colleagues time and money. The PIOs can preserve their current work flow while adding the ability to send a bulletin from GovDelivery with a click of a button from their system. Additionally, there was little or no training required.

By Richard Fong, Technology Project Manager

Moderate impact. Low impact. Collision. Cleared.

If you travel on highways anywhere, wouldn’t it be nice to have these types of messages delivered to your email or phone so you could anticipate a change in your route and save time?

With some cool technology, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has started doing just that.

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to visit and speak with Tom Stidham, a developer with WSDOT. He stated that, before using a proactive digital communication system, they would post traffic information on their website and then push out alerts via Twitter. While these two channels did their job, WSDOT was looking to increase their proactive communications by providing email and SMS alerts to people traveling throughout the state of Washington.

By using GovDelivery’s Send Bulletin application programming interface (API), Tom was able to quickly a­­nd effectively integrate these alerts with their current work flow process to send automated messages to the public. These messages include traffic incidents, road conditions, and construction­ alerts.

The public can now sign up to more than 50 email and SMS alerts for different regions within the state, including areas such as the Oregon border and the Cascades, the Olympic Peninsula, and metropolitan areas such as Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma.

What does that mean for the people who live and visit Washington? They can find out what’s happening on roads throughout the state without having to constantly check Twitter or the department’s website. They get the information they need, controlling what updates they receive by subscribing only to the updates they want. And, maybe most importantly, if there’s a critical road closure (think the Skagit Bridge collapse), the SMS or email message that alerts residents and visitors to a potentially life-threatening road event can help save lives and protect property.

For more information on how you can leverage API technology to help your organization, watch my webinar, “Using APIs for success in Government."

By Amy Larsen, Client Success Consultant at GovDelivery

Today’s government communicators are tasked with staying on top of the latest communication trends to create and deliver messages or content that stakeholders want to receive.  And we all know the only way to determine success is if we measure it, which means government communicators end up using to private sector definitions and measurements. You can find information on average open rates or click-through rates all over the internet. This also leads public sector successprofessionals to compare themselves to private sector counterparts. Unfortunately, this is the best the public sector has been able to do in the area of communications metrics – up until now.

If we consider what’s important to private sector communicators, certain goals come to mind:

  • Brand recognition
  • Increased market share
  • Promotion of new products and services

If you get messages like I do (on a daily basis), revenue-centric goals are often the focus. Successfully increasing sales through promotions and moving customers away from competitors are the tangible marks of a successful private sector campaign.

Not all of these success metrics are specific to the private sector – things like branding and promotion of events are certainly areas of cross-over when it comes to public sector messaging and campaigns goals. However, public sector communicators also have unique goals based specifically on mission: keeping people healthy; finding homes for lost pets; or tracking down dangerous suspects. In fact, more often than not, the success of a public sector campaign is based on these intangible mission-oriented goals, and measuring these results is not always as easy as taking a simple inventory of how many shoes sold after you sent 50% off coupons to a list of 10,000 email addresses.

Successful public sector communications often require more collaboration, creativity and open exchange of ideas from multiple departments and teams than a private sector marketing message. For instance, a police officer writing a report on a wanted suspect may have to quickly communicate the suspect’s identifying information to a communications specialist, who will then craft and send an eye-catching message (so people will open it) to stakeholders through multiple channels. In turn, communicators want to know the impact of their efforts and may need to reach out to other teams to determine the results of specific messaging.

Communicators may struggle to gather data from healthcare providers on the number of people who went in for flu shots the weekend that their healthcare social media update was posted vs. the previous weekend with no promotion, especially when they do not know who to contact for records at a healthcare facility.  This requires planning and open communication between teams to achieve the goals that best serve stakeholders, but it also means knowing what you’re trying to achieve before you start creating your messages.

What are some examples of measurable results from communications efforts? A few recent examples that stand out include:

Stearns County Sheriff’s Office recently started connecting with stakeholders via a digital newsletter. Embedded within the newsletter was an option to submit tips via email, telephone and a web form. Within 13 minutes of sending their newsletter, the sheriff’s office got their first tip from one of the newsletter’s recipients.

San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) recently alerted followers via Twitter to sign-up for email and SMS updates during a period of service delays due to a collision of maintenance vehicles. Communicating major delays quickly and directly through multiple channels helped BART riders avoid closed routes and minimized incoming complaints to BART customer service. BART collected 800+% more email and SMS subscribers during the service delay (compared to their regular service periods) as riders signed up to receive direct updates through two of the most popular communication channels.

The City of Moore, OK recently coordinated disaster recovery efforts after EF4 tornadoes ripped through the city, leaving a trail of destruction that included loss of life, severe injuries, and destruction of homes and property. Moore city officials quickly responded with outbound messaging, giving residents resources to contact emergency services and to get the help they needed in the wake of the disaster.

Each of these examples show how mission goals means different measurements of success. How does your department define success? Are you measuring the number of subscribers, clicks, opens, or likes after a certain message was sent? Or, do you strive to achieve a healthier population, a safer place to work and play, or a way to get more people involved with civic events? What may seem like the simplest step in the process – knowing what you’re trying to accomplish with each communication – is often the step that is most over looked in an effort to produce more content and faster responses to the public. What successful communicators recognize is that defining the goal that you’re trying to achieve can help streamline communications – instead of throwing out as much content as you can, focus on a goal, and execute a communications campaign to achieve measurable results toward that goal.

Guest Post by Darren Caveney, co-creator of comms2point0 and Vice Chair of LGcomms

Email? Send them an email? But, hasn’t the world all shifted across to social media, I hear you cry?

Well yes and no. image smithsonianA whopping 94% of UK adults have an email address (source: Ofcom, 2012) That knocks into a cocked hat just about every social media statistic you’ll ever see.

Actually, most of us switch back and forth between both without really thinking about it too much. Smart phones and tablets have made it all so easy and seamless.

 

As [communications] professionals we know that we need to be confident using both mediums, but understand the subtle differences, the advantages offered by both and where synergies exist.

Crafting, targeting and loving your marketing emails.  Now that’s a skill which will come naturally for some. For others it needs a bit of thought and a bit of work. Just think about the array of approaches, of content, of style of the emails you receive each day – the good, the bad and the ugly.  Occasionally, I scan through my spam folder with sheer wonder at some of the nutty stuff people have thought appropriate for me.

As always, there is much to learn and case studies a plenty out there so when I nabbed a ticket for the excellent mailcamp at the swanky National Audit Office’s HQ I was all ears.

So, here’s a top 10 things you need to consider when sending an email, as suggested by the speakers at mailcamp

  1.  80% of your email’s content should sit at the top of the email – above the fold, as we used to say
  2. What you put in the subject box is vital. Make it interesting and relevant, make it stand out in a busy inbox
  3. Use links rather than pictures – pictures may look nicer but links will generate more click-throughs
  4. Include surveys and competitions to encourage interaction, but only if the content of them is relevant to what your subscribers want
  5. Be fleet of foot – think about relevant opportunities which breaking news, current affairs and live events can throw up, and how you might time your emails to coincide
  6. Timing is key – if you want people to attend a weekend event, hitting their inbox on Friday late morning/early afternoon can be key in influencing their weekend plans
  7. Your ‘call to action’ must be clear and simple. And it must be referenced in your email subject line
  8. Integrate your email activity with your social media channels – cross-promote, co-ordinate, converge
  9. What works for social media can also work for email – be authentic, be honest, tell stories
  10. Measure, measure, measure – study the analytics. But do measure the right thing – don’t fret about openings if your goal is click-throughs and sign ups.

Of course, there’s more to running successful email marketing campaigns than this but if we nail these as a starter for 10 then we can expect a decent return.

Thanks to Steph Gray for organising mailcamp, to Nick Halliday for hosting and for GovDelivery and Dave Worsell for sponsoring and buying the pizza.

See original post on comms2point0 blog.

photo credit

g-cloud

By Kathy Kyle, Digital Communications Consultant at GovDelivery

GovDelivery was recently awarded a G-Cloud III framework contract for its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) cloud-based solutions, making it easier for government to reach more people.

G-Cloud III is important as it continues to enable UK public sector departments and organisations to easily access centrally negotiated deals and transact online. Government is investing in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure to achieve economies of scale, deliver flexible and responsive systems, deliver faster business benefits and reduce costs, and enhance customer service outcomes. And the G-Cloud helps them procure these technologies more quickly and efficiently.

Since GovDelivery has always developed cloud-based solutions, we have more than a decade of experience helping government organizations transform their communications. We currently support over 55 UK clients at the central and local government levels, managing proactive digital communications for GOV.UK, FCO, MOJ, DSA, Met Office, Parliament, VOSA, HA, FSA, MHRA and more. Our local government clients are using GovDelivery solutions to achieve cost savings through channel shift, driving residents to cheaper online channels where appropriate, and reducing avoidable contact. Local authority clients like Central Bedfordshire, Southampton and Suffolk rave about reaching 20 to 30% of their target population, increasing online traffic to high-values services by 35%, and generating immediate, cashable savings. One client estimates an annual cost savings of £100,000 by reducing phone call volume alone.

The common denominator for these clients? They all recognise the importance of reaching their stakeholders, and they understand that with proactive digital communications, they can transform online visits to transactions that demonstrate a return on their digital investment. GovDelivery clients achieve channel shift and cost savings through a single platform that links their existing communication channels to email, text messaging, RSS and social media (and soon, voice messages). Suffolk County Council achieved cost savings and accolades (2011 UK Digital Excellence award winner post-GovDelivery implementation) for their proactive messaging and on-demand alerts. Our clients at Central Bedfordshire realised significant cost savings after implementing GovDelivery; they report estimated reductions of up to 100 phone calls per day and continuously improve services by measuring results. Watch their video testimonial and learn about Central Bedfordshire’s comprehensive channel shift programme.

Summer is quickly approaching, and this is an ideal time to implement GovDelivery. With three months of highly-publicised events and activities across UK boroughs, counties and cities, past experience dictates that our clients will generate large subscriber numbers and with proper cross-promotion, also increase subscribers across other high-value services.

Those who promote their GovDelivery service all summer will reap the benefits of increased subscribers across multiple services. By the time the leaves change and autumn rolls in, inclement weather will be the main driver for GovDelivery subscriptions. West Sussex County Council experienced an increase of nearly 1500 subscribers on one cold, blizzard-like Sunday afternoon due to weather and referrals from other local authorities and Met Office subscription links.img_whitepaper (2)

For central government, it is always ideal to promote online services, share emergency travel alerts, or launch a public safety campaign. The Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) recently launched its travel alerts on GOV.UK using GovDelivery, and we are working together to keep UK travellers informed and safe when travelling abroad.

For local authorities, this means opportunities to leverage community events to cross-promote services and a chance to connect with referrers in the GovDelivery network. Local councils that would normally send alerts and updates about cultural events and library services will take advantage of the busy summer event season to feature and promote high-value service areas like rubbish and bin management, school term dates, highways and road works, inclement weather alerts, or even sign residents up for online portals.

As a quick and efficient cost-cutting measure, local authorities might also consider GovDelivery’s Transactional Messaging Service (TMS), new to the G-Cloud III framework, which allows organizations to send fully automated, targeted, one-to-one messages to citizens about council tax statements, benefits information, registration, and key notices. Our clients are achieving efficiencies both through postal savings and channel shift by driving their audience to online channels to complete electronic transactions with government.

With constrained budgets, dwindling resources and pressure to generate cost savings, GovDelivery is key to driving proactive messaging, achieving channel shift savings, and ensuring government achieves customer service goals. We are the engine that drives over 1.7 million UK residents to the relevant online activities that make their offline lives easier.

Contact us to learn how you can procure our services though G-Cloud III to dramatically increase your reach and impact in your respective community.

 

Kathy Kyle
Digital Communications Consultant
kathy.kyle@govdelivery.com or @bonominiyogini

By Kathy Kyle, Digital Communications Consultant, GovDelivery UK

UK-snow2-jan2013The whole of the United Kingdom experienced a week of widespread travel disruptions and school closures due to unusually inclement weather.  The extended forecast promises additional wintry, blizzard-like conditions – with as much as seven inches of snow, rain and ice over the next week. One of the worst incidents reported was last Wednesday, when 30 people were forced to spend the night in a shelter after becoming stranded when the A39 between Bridgwater and Williton in Somerset became impassable.

More than ever, it is critical that government agencies at the national and local level efficiently and effectively alert local residents about floods, school closures, and road and mass transit disruptions.

At GovDelivery, we are finding that the snow has had a tremendous impact on the uptake of subscribers to government services and information, with increases in local authority subscriptions topping 3900% this past week. In one day, West Sussex received 1,447 new subscribers interested in receiving alerts. As we expected, there was an upward trend in subscriptions to the Highways Agency (HA) and the Met Office, with increases in alert subscribers of up to 180%.

West Sussex County Council website

More compelling than the expected increase in subscribers to weather and transit-related services was the surge in citizens subscribing to central government organisations, whose missions are completely unrelated to the impact of extreme weather. For instance, the National Audit Office (NAO) experienced a 16% increase new subscribers over the latest snowy three-day period, and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) saw a 114% increase over the course of the same week.

This demonstrates the power of the GovDelivery Network, a bi-directional relationship formed between government organisations that use our integrated, seamless digital communications platform. Visitors have the opportunity to opt-in to alerts regarding a variety of government services. This cross-promotion of government services drives subscriptions, helping organisations reach dramatically more people, especially those who may have never known about or thought to search for a specific government topic.

Derbyshire County Council, who is using GovDelivery to reach more residents regarding school closures, experienced an increase of 956 subscribers in one day. Other councils – Sheffield, Herefordshire, and Crawley Borough – all experienced increases between 575% and 752%, with the majority of traffic to their websites coming from HA, the Met Office, and Department of Health.

With nearly 1.5 million subscribers in the UK alone (41 million worldwide), the GovDelivery Network not only drives engagement, but connects citizens to potentially life-saving information in an efficient, effective way through a simple, opt-in subscription process.

With pending severe weather across the country, it is more important than ever to leverage the GovDelivery ecosystem to maximise direct connections with citizens.

Learn more about how central government and local authorities are reaching more people.

By Mike Bernard, Digital Marketing Manager, GovDelivery

Yesterday, I attended an outstanding webinar, by my co-worker Richard Fong, about using APIs to improve how the government communicates with the public.He discussed what an API is and why they’re so important to government organizations.

Application Programming Interfaces (or APIs) are a hot topic in the government these days. Earlier this year, the White House released a new strategy for the Federal government called Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People. This new digital government strategy lists API use as a key element in fulfilling the vision for more open, responsive government communication. And U.S. CIO, Steven VanRoekel tweeted out earlier this year about APIs, with the hashtag “#yesitsthesecretsauce.”

Fong noted that API use has become more critical because the way we access information has dramatically changed. “In the past, businesses and organizations went to the Web because that’s where the customers were…we all sat in front of our desktop monitor and browsed the Web to get content. Then something happened. Technology evolved. The browser stopped being the exclusive gateway to information and content. A few trends that pushed this included social media, mobile, and location-based services.  The public started to consume content using smart-phones, tablets and other intelligent devices,” states Fong.

Fong went on to highlight some of the excellent work being done with APIs throughout the government. For example, here are a few of the API integrations he mentioned in the webinar:

These are just a few of the success stories that Richard covered in his presentation. If you’re interested in exploring creative ways to improve communication with the public, check out the recording of this webinar.

And, if you are in the Washington D.C. area, you should consider attending our Annual Federal Digital Communications Event on October 16th. There will be in-depth discussions about the White House Digital Strategy and how you can use APIs to advance your communication goals. Space is limited, so register today.