The Congressional Management Foundation has a clear message for Congress when it comes to members’ online communications: You’re not very good at it. In its latest postmortem of its Gold Mouse campaign, CMF chides most offices for building one-way streets of communications between members and their constituents. Congressional websites, CMF laments, are too much hype, not enough help.
To improve members’ online communications, CMF has five questions drawn from strategic communications principles that need to be answered first:
- Who is the audience?
- What content does your audience want and need?
- How does your audience want to interact with you?
- How can you make your content easy to use?
- How can you make your content more interesting and valuable to your audience?
These questions are not unique to congressional offices, of course. The advocates and organizations trying to engage with Congress face the same strategic considerations for their communications efforts. In fact, looking into the other lane of communication on Capitol Hill may reveal a very similar traffic pattern for many advocates.