For all the lofty strategic stuff I really ought to be doing, I do enjoy a bit of tactical, opportunistic digital engagement.
Right now, we’re chewing over the problem of what to do with big policy documents. You can make documents commentable, but that kind of feedback isn’t useful at every point in the policy cycle. You can shoot case study videos but the plays are often low and the costs quite high. You can (if you’re brave) get the policy team blogging, which might have the greatest impact long-term but is not a task for the faint-hearted or people in a hurry. So for fun, we’ve tried something else.
Last week, my new partner in crime flagged that a white paper on consumer rights was being published on Thursday. On Monday, we met with the team and brainstormed a range of ideas to promote the launch online in a way that engaged people with the policy. On Tuesday, one of them sent through a list of ‘killer facts’ – interesting stats about consumer rights and credit. From that, we thought a little quiz might be fun – showcasing under each of the killer facts what the white paper is committing to doing about the issue. Objective: to get people who would never normally tackle a 100 page PDF to understand a bit more about the detail of what is being presented, and what it means for them, in concrete terms, with minimal ‘spin’ either from Government or the media. And from my new boss, a steer to ‘use more pink’.
By Tuesday evening, my colleague Rhys had mined the draft white paper for nuggets which we could use for our our questions. By Wednesday lunchtime, we had some working code (free to adapt/reuse) to display the questions and keep score, and by end of the day we had signoff from the policy team. The tool went live at 10am this morning, seeded via Twitter and embedded on the corporate site and social media news release. External cost: nil; staff time: approximately 8 hours in total.
We’ve been tracking the stats in Google Analytics and bit.ly, and the initial figures look respectable – 300 bit.ly clicks or so in the first hour, 500+ unique visitors most of whom seem to have gone through most of the quiz. Plenty of RTs (thanks @downingstreet and @tom_watson!) too. Big thanks to the agile BIS team who made it happen, particularly Neil, Kevin, John and Rhys.
It’s not the answer to deliberating policy online, of course, but it’s another tool in the toolkit, right?