Take Over the World (Water Day) by Leveling Up Your Comms Strategy
By Tim Moran, Client Alchemist
As a water communications professional, you’ve probably written a few World Water Day social media posts when it rolls around each year. Sometimes that doesn’t seem like enough, though, does it? You’re here because you want to make a bigger impact. As they say, “you get out what you put in,” right?
Let’s explore what leveling up your communications efforts around World Water Day could look like in terms of the impact within your community.
Meet People Where They Play
The best way to have an impact on people is to get in front of them — in a non-intrusive way, of course. Go out in your community on World Water Day in one of these ways:
1. Set up a table at a local shop, restaurant, or park.
2. Bring the community to you with a treatment plant tour.
3. Send out ambassadors to popular watering holes to host water tastings.
4. Bring a step-and-repeat and let people take fun, water-themed selfies.
If the aim is to have a positive exchange with as many residents as possible, document how many people you speak with during the day, and write down a few memorable anecdotes. With express consent, capture audio or video testimonials, if possible. Or, your goal could be simply to obtain contact information so you can follow up later via email to encourage people to follow you on social media or sign up for your customer portal and commit to saving water at home. Whatever the goal, you’re sure to make more of an impact when you meet people where they are.
Get Into Focus
As an alternative to casting a wider net, focus on a specific audience for World Water Day. Who might be marginalized or underrepresented in your regular communication channels? Pick an audience you may have missed previously and make your World Water Day outreach efforts about engaging that particular group.
Start by finding the leaders within your target group and reaching out to them directly.
1. Get connected. Call, email, or direct message them on social media, and/or show up in person where you know they will be.
2. Know your audience. Communicate your interest in making the connection between the water utility and their community.
3. Be curious and listen up. Ask what type of event or engagement would suit them and follow through with that option.
Connect the Dots
Want to lead the conversation during World Water Day? Let’s examine what a strategic and patient approach would bring to your utility.
I recently learned about the connected events model from colleagues in Lexington, KY, where they create a series of events involving the community throughout the week and turn World Water Day into World Water Week. Lexington’s secret sauce is they encourage various organizations and businesses to host events in conjunction with their Water Week celebration, so the entire community can share in the experience without the water utility becoming overwhelmed with the undertaking of such a large event.
In this model, the utility adopts a “come one, come all” attitude, inviting any organization to participate in Water Week. The utility then focuses on hosting an umbrella event and lists all the connected events in one place to maximize the week’s impact. If you’re new to this model, start small in year one and work each year to gather new participating groups. Before you know it, you’ll not only be leading the conversation for an entire week, but also be more authentically involved with your surrounding community. You got this!
These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how to best approach World Water Day and connect with your community. We’d love to partner with you to expand your community engagement if you need more ideas. Connect with us through our contact page to get the conversation started.