I remember a world where a press office would write a release, after several people perusing it there would be a signing off, and it would then be faxed off to the waiting media in eager anticipation that they may run something from it. Oh faxes, those days of hunting for paper and shaking toner, how I miss them…
Your job would pretty much then be done.
This world changed in recent years, with the advent of email the fax was usurped, and journalists were saved the job of having to rewrite releases, and could instead cut and paste the information sent to them into their articles.
But the world keeps on moving, and as people crave faster and faster information, and the need for instant gratification becomes paramount, how should a modern communications team adapt?
Most local government teams around the UK are embracing social media. For the past 18 months this has shifted from nervousness to enthusiasm from local authorities.
Twitter and Facebook pages are starting to appear for an array of services.
So we have our instant engagement, and we have our writers, but how now to meet the need for faster information for people?
We believe Warwickshire is the first local authority in the UK to have fully embraced the need for quick and accurate information with the launch of a regular video news update – WCC 60 second news.
On a Monday, Wednesday and Friday, key issues and articles are being transformed from print into video for quick an easy consumption by residents in just 60 seconds.
Each of these days we get the rough content agreed by 9am, a script is confirmed by 10am, and the video is produced and live by about 2pm. There is even a ‘live’ RSS feed streaming along the bottom of the video from when it goes live, detailing the latest Warwickshire County Council headlines.
In the week the video launched more than 1,000 people viewed the video pages on our Warwickshire News website, and ever since the October launch video views have varied between 250 and 1,000 views each.
To ensure engagement is kept high we redesigned our Warwickshire News site, further enhancing the video experience, presenting people with the option to watch it as soon as they land on the home page.
It’s an exciting time, and with the arrival of such technologies as mobile 4G, making it far easier for people to access video on the move, we are sure that this step is taking us in the right direction to continue to engage with the people of Warwickshire and get them the information they need most, when they need it.
Just imagine the potential on those snow and flood days, getting information out in an easily accessible and concise format. Exciting times!
by Jack Linstead,
Warwickshire County Council