“Prepare to succeed = prepare to fail. Check out http://bit.ly/1jwPoqG @contentgroup”

The public sector is, it’s fair to say, generally a risk-averse environment.

Creative and innovative individuals wanting to try new things in government departments, not-for-profits and non-government organisations often have to battle a culture that is underpinned by one particular cliché:

Failure is not an option.

This plays out with extraordinary clarity in the communications space, as public sector organisations continue to invest time and resources in passive advertising and traditional marketing as the notion of “risk” prevents a more dynamic content marketing mode of operation taking hold.

Embracing such an approach in order to facilitate dialogue and engagement with citizens in order to improve their interaction with civic services or access additional support from NFP’s or NGO’s is, for sure, a “risk.”

Putting your audience at the forefront of communications, thinking “what does the public want and need from us?” rather than just sticking to and repeating key messages? Yep, it’s a risk.

But it’s a risk that the public sector needs to embrace, rather than shy away from.

Facilitating conversation between those providing public services and those consuming public services is the ultimate goal of a content marketing methodology in the public sector, just as creating a conversation between brand and buyer is the goal for multi-billion dollar companies.

Consumer brands are arguably better at drawing their key demographics in to a dialogue. Why?

Because they are prepared to fail.

(and, I concede, there may be something in the argument that Beyonce’s latest clothing range has wider popular appeal than the latest public health initiative to combat head lice … I digress.)

Brands have a greater license to be creative, to try and test approaches.

They are given the creative space to “have a go” at it, test it, measure it, see what works, what doesn’t work and adjust their methodology accordingly.

Those working in the public sector however, are often operating in environments where there is structural bureaucratic pressure or pressure from a board or funding body to get results, and get them quickly.

Content marketing methodologies can often take a long time to gain traction. However, having the patience to see out what can be a sometimes frustrating initial phase will eventually be rewarded with an ongoing and highly productive conversation between the public sector and the citizens who need to understand public policy.

Which is ultimately the driving force behind communications in the public sector: improving the lives and wellbeing of citizens.

And so the risk is ultimately rewarded.

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