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Craft a winning call to action in three steps

Friday, 2 February 2018

This story, by digital communications officer Teresa Petzel, is from the Feb - March edition of the Council Leader Magazine. Keep an eye out for it here or contact us if you would like to receive a hard copy.

Across the state, local councils are striving to communicate effectively with their communities; providing general information and updates, hazard notifications, event details and community services announcements.  

For digital communications officers, the pressure is on to meet the growing ubiquity of digital communications and juggle a myriad of corporate communications. Tasks can encompass community engagement, event promotion, web content creation, social media marketing, direct email messaging, traditional print publications and sometimes even IT/business systems, just to name a few!  

While larger organisations may have a team to address these multiple aspects of communication, officers in medium to small organisations need to master many skills, technologies, devices and channels. This requires traditional and contemporary skills that fit both organisational requirements and meet industry standards. 

However, the most critical skill required is the ability to create messaging that provokes your target audience to act. How can we do this effectively and efficiently, every time? 

Three simple rules – make it emotive, include ‘gifting’ and ensure it is easy to action.  

Pug dog with bone

Combining images and words that drive behavioural change is at the heart of all successful communications. This is critical in this digital age when audiences are receiving overwhelming volumes of information, requests and marketing online.  

Here’s an example: Council has an emerging issue with decreasing animal registration renewals. You want to remind the community about their responsibilities, while informing them of a new ‘early bird’ discount applied to animal registrations. How can this be wrapped up to provide an engaging call to action?  

  1. Appeal to their emotions - include an image of a very cute, happy doggy chewing on an enormous bone. 
  2. Tell them how they will benefit - wording that clearly includes the ‘gift’ e.g. Rover loves a good bone. Your new early bird registration savings will help buy more bones. Your dog will be very happy, just like Rover. 
  3. Show them how they can do this, right now - provide a link to pay immediately online. 

While it’s not always as straightforward as this example, if you stick to these three simple rules you can transform almost any complicated or dry piece of information into an engaging call to action. Then you can put your analytics skills to work evaluating the effectiveness of your communications; trying out different approaches until you succeed. 

Let us know how you go! Send your story to and we’ll share it with other digital communication officers in our council network.  

Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006


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