Effective communication in times of crisis

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Even in the best of times, communication between government and citizens can be complicated. But in times of crisis, it can be a matter of life and death. Traffic for meaningful information like news flashes and real-time alerts during less-stressful times reaches about 14% of potential users. But during the pandemic, that has surged to 79%. If there is a silver lining to the ongoing health crisis, it’s that now definitely qualifies as an opportune moment to review your communications strategy and make sure that it best serves the needs of your community. Citizens want – in fact, need – to see their local government effectively communicating necessary information.  

So , what should government communication look like in a crisis? At a minimum, it must be timely and relevant. A tornado warning needs to happen ahead of the storm, not after. It also does no good for a community not in the path of the storm to be bombarded with warnings. Crisis information also needs to be localized. At the end of the day, even the biggest of issues are resolved locally. What a large municipality does to combat Covid-19 is understandably going to be different than what a smaller municipality will want to do. That impacts everything from what businesses are open to what government services are available. And things like testing are fundamentally local endeavors because that’s where they take place. Your constituents need to know what is happening in their own backyard more so than a municipality across the state that has completely different needs.

Any information communicated by governments must be reliable. And that’s really the toughest challenge in uncertain times when understanding and what’s ‘right’ can change rapidly. Your citizens need to be able to access the latest and most accurate information wherever they can. Finally, it has to be convenient. Preferably, all the information your residents need is available in one location. The speed of technology has significantly shortened the attention span of society. If information is difficult to acquire or scattered across multiple online resources, there’s a good chance it will simply never be accessed.

There is an answer to these challenges that lies in where citizens already go for their information – their mobile devices. It’sMyTown can help governments create a communications solution geared to match the needs of the ‘new normal.’ It creates a reliable and trusted method of communication for your citizens to get both real-time and urgent information regarding the pandemic as well as local information about what businesses are open, etc. It’sMyTown is an elegant solution that puts information and services in one centralized location across mobile and web, has no privacy concerns or social media dependency because no registration is required, and helps build a sense of community (more important now than ever). And it requires no IT backend which empowers municipalities big or small to onboard the platform quickly and efficiently – allowing you to focus on governing. When you’re ready to meet the communication demands of the times, It’sMyTown, by ITsimple can already be there with a proven strategy for success in place.