Increase the effectiveness of your digital outreach by partnering with a web services provider from EmpowerLA’s list of approved vendors. Learn how to get expert help with your website, newsletters, and social media, and how to get the most out of working with a web services vendor.
How to get the most out of working with a web services vendor
Any board can benefit from partnering with a web services vendor for your digital outreach. Even when your board or outreach committee has members who work professionally in outreach-related fields, or youthful members adept with social media, a web vendor can still supplement the work these individuals can do on their own.
While much of the nuts and bolts of digital outreach can be successfully handed off to a vendor, there is no substitute for the insight you and your board must contribute to any outreach effort in order for it to be successful. Even if you’re not an outreach professional, you are still an expert in the particulars of your community. After all, Neighborhood Councils were created to ensure that local expertise and perspectives played a role in the delivery of City services.
A web vendor serving clients Citywide cannot possibly replace you as a source of local expertise – and they don’t want to. Instead, a web vendor works best when they can draw on your expert knowledge about your own community. They can then help you get your message out to your stakeholders in a way that’s both timely, and formatted correctly for each platform used.
Here’s how you can contribute your local expertise to digital outreach projects with a vendor. When you send photos to post, include a few words about who’s in each image, or what the significance of the image is, so they can create good backstories and captions. If you ask your vendor to share a news story, let them know what the particular impact of that story is locally, so they can use that insight to create a post that’s more useful and informative for your stakeholders.
You should also let your web vendor know what cultures, languages, industries, lifestyles, and age groups are prevalent locally, so they can generate material that is accessible and interesting to as many of your stakeholders as possible. To better serve a multilingual community, you may want to additionally obtain a translation vendor and connect them with your web vendor, so digital outreach may be done in multiple languages.
Providing the right kind of basic materials is another key to getting the best results from partnering with a web vendor. For example, different website and social media layouts require photos with different orientations and dimensions. Whenever possible, provide a selection of images that can be used vertically (portrait), horizontally (landscape), or as a square. It’s also a good idea to provide both close-up images that show detail, as well as images taken from further away that show the “big picture” of what’s going on. It may not be possible to get this kind of variety in existing images, but if you shoot future images with these parameters in mind, you’ll see the impact it has on the quality and appearance of your website and social media posts.
How to shop for a web services vendor
Prepare a list of your Council’s needs, before contacting any vendors. Some questions to consider: Do you need to create a website or update the design and layout of your current one, or do you need help keeping your existing site current with news and agenda posting? Do you need help with social media, or creating and sending newsletters?
Once you have your list, contact some vendors for a quote and samples of their work. Give them your list of needs, so they may provide the most accurate quote possible. Review their work samples, to determine if their style and approach fits your Council’s outlook.
The next step should be a presentation of services to your committee or board. Invite vendors to present in person, or ask them to provide materials to help you present their services at a meeting.
Pricing for services rendered have already been negotiated with each vendor by EmpowerLA, on behalf of the Neighborhood Councils. Once the services and costs have been approved by your board, work can begin immediately, as no other contract is required. Your Neighborhood Council will be billed directly, and can make payments from your board’s checking account, once the invoice is received.
Where to find the current list of approved vendors
Vendors change over time, so always check for the most current list of vendors, which appears on the last page of every monthly Profile Report that you receive from EmpowerLA. This report is emailed the first Friday of every month to the address you use for Neighborhood Council business – search for keywords “profile report” in your inbox to see the latest edition, with the current vendor list.
Outreach Tip Of The Week is an ongoing series on using communications, branding, marketing, and public relations to build better relationships with your stakeholders. Send your outreach questions to firstname.lastname@example.org for the chance to be featured in a future Outreach Tip article.