The Future of External Channels White Paper

We are pleased to announce the release of our new White Paper – The Future of External Channels.

What is it and who is it for?

This is not a traditional White Paper seeking to influence the great and the good. It is intended to be a useful, practical guide for public sector communicators – both newer practitioners and experienced managers alike.

Focusing on real-life case studies and best practice, it examines how our ‘go-to’ comms channels are evolving, looks at how traditional channels are successfully being digitally remastered and gazes into the crystal ball to ask: what’s next?

When is this ‘future’?

Now. Although the paper looks into Web3 and the Metaverse, it demonstrates how innovative councils are already leading the way, from Surrey County Council’s use of VR for engagement to Hull Council’s augmented reality app to promote their green spaces. It also shows the need to embrace collaborators – such as Hello Lamp Post, who worked with Wandsworth Council for a unique approach to tackling flytipping.

How was this put together and how do you use it?

The concept emerged from a seminar last Summer, was developed by a working group of contributors from a range of member councils, and then finalised at the LG Comms Academy. 

We have deliberately not listed out specific channels and then pitted them against each other. We want the reader to dive into the areas of most interest before coming back from the virtual bookcase and looking afresh at the need for an integrated mix of activities, focused on outcomes and within an overall campaign strategy.

We hope you enjoy reading it.

Key recommendations from the White Paper

We’re all familiar with the deadly sins: Here is a motley crew of seven steadfast recommendations for comms professionals to follow for future greatness:

  • Never ignore the classics – although many traditional channels have undergone some ‘digital remastering’, they have stood the test of time for a reason: they work.
  • Try, test and learn – don’t be afraid to try new things and move with the times, but always evaluate to understand what’s working with which audience.
  • Understand where your audiences are, and who they trust – don’t just broadcast and hope for the best. Gather insights about different audiences, what channels they use and how they use them. That will enable you to proactively go to them with content they will engage with.
  • Content is still the key no matter the channel used – don’t lose sight of the importance of good content creation. For all the insights and plans you have, without creative and engaging content nobody will take any notice of what you’re trying to say.
  • Tap into the unknown and embrace the experts – especially if there is a skills gap. Always look to learn from those who have already been there and done that. Public sector communicators should see themselves as one big (happy) family, pooling their expertise and sharing insights, experience, challenges and solutions.
  • Always consider the full mix of channels – old and new, digital and analogue, in-home and out-of-home. Consider the audience, cost, reach and access to each channel available to develop the most appropriate communications plan to meet your goals.
  • Explore the future. The future is here! – as this LGcomms White Paper shows, many channels we might think of as ‘futuristic’ and out of our comfort zone are already being utilised by peers across the sector. Take a look and get involved… don’t be shy!

We want your feedback…

We want to know what topics you would like to see in future white papers – or any specific ideas you may have. We would be grateful if you could take a minute to complete our short survey to let us know.