If you work in local government communications there’s a high chance that you have income targets to achieve. This new post offers advice on how to tackle this growing requirement
by Eleri Salter
I work part time as commercial manager for the London Borough of Haringey and part time at the Council Advertising Network (@counciladnet). I was brought into Haringey two years ago to look at how we could generate revenue on the things that the communication teams were delivering.
Who knew that councils were often the biggest media owners in the borough/district or councils they serve? Distribution of council publications and digital websites had higher reach and audience than local media.
At Haringey, I have tried a whole range of tactics to generate income. Some more successful than others.
Here are my six top tips for getting commercial returns whilst minimising effort.
Look around you - Quick and Easy Opportunity audit - What are other councils doing that we can implement easily e.g. Haringey are not generating income from advertising on their emails. @GranicusUK ran a pilot this year and found that the public don’t mind this and it’s relatively simple to do.
Ask suppliers and operators for low, medium, and high income forecasts then use the low one - this is so important as it sets you up to under promise and over deliver meaning the project is deemed a success and you get left to run with it.
Review current contracts that you have with suppliers, a number of councils have been tied into contracts for a number of years. These contracts don’t always offer the best possible return to the council, so explore how best you can work with partners and suppliers to maximise return for councils.
Encourage the habit of using your own inventory to help deliver your own campaigns (sounds like a no brainer but it is surprising how often this does not happen). This will save cost and help you build an understanding of your audiences.
Show me the books - Understand budgets and audiences. When delivering campaigns or in-house events, understand the cost to the council. Look at your audience, could you offset some of the cost with sponsorship or partnership? For example smoking cessation campaign supported by your leisure provider.
Think like a media mogul - Understand your value vs other options in the market and then sell your channels to your key external partners, suppliers and stakeholders. The aim is that you become their first port of call to reach their communications objectives.
These tactics have been the most effective for me so hopefully they will help you too.
If you want more detail, case studies or free advice, feel free to drop me a line: email@example.com or shout me on Twitter at @elerisalter
I will also be taking part in a session on commercialisation at this year’s LGComms academy in Birmingham 9-10 October.
So if you are attending come and say hello.
image via HM Revenue and Customs