For PIOs: Communications Strategies for COVID-19

  • Updated


Top takeaways for communications teams in COVID-19

Ensure transparency and consistent messaging

  • Launching information centers and one-stop-shop landing pads on local government websites with information from community partners and other state/federal sources
  • Meeting residents “where they’re at” with streaming council meetings and updates directly from local government leadership

Centralize communications 

  • Internal data reports to be both reactive and proactive, for informing messaging and aligning city messaging with resident concerns
  • Shared spreadsheet for all city departments of resident FAQs, who are facing the same questions

Highlight local government initiatives and remind residents of continued services 

  • Communications of city services, showing employees working from home, capital improvement projects, and more
  • Census 2020 outreach: Reminding residents to fill out while they’re at home, organizing events (i.e. partnering with a food bank for to include reminder flyers in every package)

  • Listen to residents: Using Zencity to review key issues, monitor sentiment, identify misinformation, and analyze feedback on messaging 

Spotlight on new initiatives 

  • Adopt new communication streams: TikTok, Facebook Live, Youtube, etc.

  • Address mental health: Messaging to provide and share mental health resources

Shared challenges

  • Inclusivity: Creating content and targeting messaging for younger populations, who may feel invincible. A suggested solutions to this challenge were connecting with youth groups in the community so young people can share content authentically, and target messaging about people they love who can be impacted by COVID-19

  • Streamlining and acquiring information: Collecting information from other jurisdictions (state, county services) since cities may not have a Department of Public Health; not being provided information and answers to resident questions  (i.e. testing) 

  • Balancing between COVID-19 messaging and other local government communication channels: Messaging from Public Safety channels dwarfs city messaging, based on a higher number of followers, causing some official messaging to get lost 


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