Here are some things to keep in mind as you plan:
- Solicit employees and a few select customers for their ideas. Find out what the public may want and need in the way of utility information. If you want to make the process a little more formal, gather input through an interest survey.
- Focus on national observances. Each month of the year, there are at least a few (and often many) observances of utility-related issues. Affiliated national organizations/associations and government agencies often provide free credible communication resources for the observances. Piggyback off these efforts with your own messages and offerings. IAMU will try to give you a heads-up on some of the bigger observances a few weeks beforehand.
- Pay attention to seasons of the year. Provide utility communications when people are likely already thinking about certain topics and may be more receptive to messages. For example, identifying drafty windows and doors is a traditional fall and winter topic you don’t want to forget.
Once you’ve established what messages you want to focus on, document your plan. A guiding document allows you to work well in advance of when you plan to deliver your information so communications are well thought out and thorough instead of overlooked or thrown together haphazardly at the last minute.
At a minimum, your yearly plan should include:
- What topics you’ll cover each month
- What media you’ll use to deliver your messages and what events, programs, and other resources you want to include
- Who will be responsible for the initiative
- When work on each message/initiative needs to start
- What steps and resources each message/initiative requires