How to create your own project

  • Updated

Resident conversations can move fast, and big events or ad-hoc initiatives can emerge at any moment. Creating your own projects lets you move quickly to connect to what residents are saying, evaluate your messaging, and make decisions.

This article reviews what projects are and how they can be helpful, walks through ways to create a project, and includes a bonus tip on how to stay updated on all of your projects.


Overview: What projects are and how to use them

Projects are custom dashboards that focus on whatever issue you choose. Projects can span a range of topics, including:

  • General, recurring policy areas, like the budget or housing
  • A specific incident
  • Timely issues, like COVID-19 or a severe weather event
  • Issues that are highly specific to your area, like the redevelopment of a local warehouse

A project looks like the regular dashboard, with all the same widgets you are used to from your main dashboard. However, each widget will display just the slice of the conversation that relates to the project’s filters.


How to create your own projects


Step-by-step guide: How to create a project


Start from a Template

  1. Browse our library of project templates, created based on some of the most frequently-created projects

  2. Select the template that most closely matches your issue

  3. Review the search rules and the preview section on the right

  4. Press ‘Edit search rules,’ if you want to customize the search by adding in or taking out a keyword

  5. Hit ‘Continue’ when you’re done

  6. Fill out the final details to fully customize your project: give it a title, define a date range, and upload a picture

  7. Click ‘Create Project’ and you are done!

Start from Scratch

  1. Select the kind of rule you want to create: Keyword, Topic, Channel or Source.

  2. Add rules or groups to continue refining your search, which you can learn how to do in this article

  3. When you’re done creating your rules and the preview section is displaying items of interest, go ahead and click ‘Continue’

  4. Add in your final details (title, date range and picture)

  5. Click ‘Create Project’ and you will be able to start using your project shortly

  6. Here are a few tips when creating a keyword search:
    • Use quotations to find an exact match in your search. For example:

County Fair: Shows you results that contain the word ‘county' and the word ‘fair' —but not necessarily in the order you're looking for (e.g. "It's not fair the way the county jail is run.")

“County Fair”: Shows you only the results that contain the exact phrase (e.g. "So excited for the county fair!")

    • Use AND & OR:

Use AND to narrow your results. For example, if you enter “recycling” AND “trash,” you’re saying: Search for recycling, and search for trash, and only give me results that are matches for both;

Use OR to widen your results. Taking the example from above, if you enter “recycling” OR “trash,” you’re saying: Search for recycling, and search for trash, and show me all of the results that you find for each.

    • Use synonym and related words:

When defining your search, we recommend adding in as many similar words to your original query as possible. That way, you can capture all of the discourse, even when residents use slightly different words to talk about the issue in focus. Note: There’s no need to enter different tenses of the same word. Just don't put the word inside quotation marks, as this limits the results to items that contain the exact phrase.

Note: if your Zencity plan includes project support, you can click on the Request Assistance button in the top right corner of the screen at any point in the process. From there, fill out a short form describing the project you want, and a Zencity analyst will create it for you.


Managing projects

To find a list of all projects you already follow or are available for you to follow, head to Projects in the left hand menu navigation. If there’s a topic missing that you want to get more data on, click ‘Create a New Project’ in the top right hand corner.

From there, you have two options. You can define your project using a template, or you can build the search definition from scratch. Each are two different ways of accomplishing the same goal: telling our search engine which items you are most interested in seeing appear in your project dashboard.


Bonus tip: Get project highlights delivered to your inbox

Opt to get regular summaries of the biggest trends and highlights in any of your projects sent right to your inbox with project digests. It’s an easy way to stay on top of how the conversation is developing, especially for projects that are about highly current and “hot button” issues.

Once you set up a project, head to Subscriptions in the left hand menu navigation, scroll down to ‘Custom project digest,’ and then hit ‘Create Digest.’ Add some quick information, like when you want to receive the email, and you’re all set!


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