User group: How can you reach new audiences and boost viewing figures?

It’s nearly time for our user group, which will be held on the 23rd of November at the Hallam Conference Centre in London . As ever it will be a chance for clients and a wider audience to take part in a discussion about how to get the most from webcasting.

We’ll have the usual update of the development roadmap – and Dr Lewis will be on hand to answer technical questions. But there’s more to discuss…

These have been exciting times at Public-i – with the launch of Connect Social and the new version of Connect now available to our clients, who are migrating to the latest code and design. Of course, people will be keen to talk about how this has gone – and the potential these products have. At the beta-group, held during the summer to introduce clients involved in developing Connect Social with us, we learned that there was a real desire to talk about how it might be possible to bring bigger audiences to webcasts.

Of course, it should be no surprise that we are thinking about this. At a time when local authorities have to squeeze more from every penny, building bigger audiences (and audiences that are relevant) makes sense. And, as we noted in a recent post about Cornwall’s extraordinary council meeting (at which then leader Cllr Alec Robertson suffered a vote of no confidence), at its heart this is about reaching out to communities beyond the council and beginning to redefine the relationship the council can have with citizens.

While we’ll be bringing quite a few ideas to the table (and I’ll be blogging on this soon), we know that many of our clients are grappling with this every day. Edinburgh, which recently started webcasting with us, looked to promote its first meeting through the press and Facebook, while Bristol City Council is one of a growing number of clients looking at how it can promote meetings to specific communities. Elsewhere, Cheshire West and Chester has developed some very interesting ways of promoting webcasting through the Cheshire West TV service.

So we see this as an opportunity to bring together some of the best practice on not just promotion, but welcoming and encouraging audiences – and on understanding the way different tools within the webcasting can be used to do this. We think that this will encapsulate a broad remit – although we want to stick to the ‘getting there’ issues, rather than the resultant question ‘what happens when you’ve got a bigger audience?’ This on its own could be a very good subject for a user group!

Nonetheless, this is very much about seeing webcasting as a crucial part of the council’s relationship with the outside world. As a result, we think the subject matter will be of real interest to people in communications, democratic services, engagement and consultation roles. And we’d encourage you, if you’re coming, to consider bringing someone from another discipline if you can.

If you’re interested in coming, please contact Jane Purcell (01273 821 282 or jane.purcell@public-i.info ). Look forward to seeing you there.

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