As government marketing experts, you already know how important good content is to driving demand. When a reader encounters content customized to their persona, they feel understood. It creates a connection deep enough to drive a change in thought or action. Both of these motions are the underpinning of successful marketing efforts.
Government agencies and the public sector are no different. Content needs to be targeted to their pain points and as authentic as possible to the government customer, complete with specific terminology and a tone adjustment.
Whether you’re brand-new to writing for this audience or looking for a wider and stronger reach, we have some best practices to help you make the most of your message.
Build the content from scratch
It’s certainly more economical to get several lives out of marketing content by reworking and adjusting what you have for various audiences. But government agencies prioritize their funding, goals and outcomes differently from commercial organizations. Writing from the start with those goals in mind can keep the whole tone of the message true to the audience. Start with original and customized content. This can help ensure that your focus is solely on the government customer. It also avoids the risk of sending through repurposed content that’s not quite the right fit.
“Governmentize” your content
When you can’t build it from scratch, you want to speak the audience’s language. You can better connect to government organizations by using their specific terminology and highlighting their priorities. The key is knowing where and how to “localize” your content to the government customer. For example, your commercial datasheet might mention profit and revenue. Many government agencies prioritize efficient execution and increased productivity and mission success. These would be good substitutions to make, as long as the rest of the content can support them.
Focus on the mission
Each government agency has a specific project or goal—called a mission—with its own set of obstacles, delays and constraints. You can find out more about an agency’s mission by looking on their website and downloading their Strategic Plan or keeping up with government media publications. There are many different avenues to tie a product’s capabilities to a mission or goal. You can come at it in a head-on discussion or visualize the accomplished mission and the downstream benefits. Sometimes a positive exploration of known obstacles, such as policy, procurement or cultural, can be effective. Regardless of how you bridge to the mission, recognizing its importance will help make your company’s product or service more relevant to the agency customer.
Make the agency the hero
Government agencies are under pressure doing the important work of governing. Often, this means having to do more with less or figuring out new ways to be innovative. Make the agency the hero by telling a story, weaving in your company’s technology solution and features. Focusing more on the work of the agency’s hero as they accomplish their mission will keep the agency elevated above the product.
The same is true of the challenges they face. The focus will be mainly on how the government agency—not the product—can overcome their obstacles and pain points. (Though it might not hurt to mention the partnership and support that you can bring.) Agencies may find success by implementing your company’s technology solution, but ultimately, the story is about their success in the face of difficulty. And other agencies often appreciate learning from what their peers are going through. In that way, you can help agencies connect with each other.
It’s also important to be as informed and educated as possible about the agency you want to reach. While many government agencies share the same terminology, a few, like the Department of Defense and the military, have their own specific names and references.
Write for longevity
It may come as no surprise that government approval, procurement and implementation processes can take over a year, which means copy needs to have at least that long of a shelf life. Besides keeping your writing tone clean and concise and eliminating dates, consider choosing initiatives and programs with a futuristic vision to help give your content staying power.
Need help with marketing content for government agencies and the public sector? Connect with us on GovContent Studio, and let’s chat about your content needs.