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It’s Easy to be (Ever)Green: Spruce Up Your Utility’s Evergreen Information

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Andy Gotlieb's picture
Editor of a specialty publication, former public relations practitioner Freelancer

I hold 34 years of experience in communications, mostly in journalism, with a decade in public relations, too.  The first 17 years were spent in print journalism, where I covered, at various...

  • Member since 2016
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  • Apr 18, 2022
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Now that it’s finally turning green around most of the country, it might be a good time to consider your utiity’s press materials that are always green – as in evergreen.

There’s a high probability that you have compiled various materials that don’t change all that often yet you still send to the public regularly.

Examples would include warnings about trimming vegetation near power lines, calling before digging, notices of promotions you offer (things like energy audits or rebates for Energy Star appliances), ways to pay bills and important numbers to call.

Not the most exciting stuff in the world, but still important.

So, how can you make it more interesting and/or relevant?

Well, when was the last time you really read it? Is there vague wording? Jargon consumers aren’t likely to understand? Irrelevant details? Information that, over time, is now even slightly inaccurate?

A good test is to have someone outside the utility read it, then gauge their comprehension. Fix what they don’t understand.

Even a slight rewriting might make the material seem fresh. And remember that less is often more. Stick to the basics, offering ways for those interested to find other details as needed.

In addition, consider the formatting of the materials, whether it’s on a website, as a bill insert, an 8-inch-by-11 inch sheet or anything else.

Is there plenty of white space so the materials stand out? Can clutter on the page be reduced? Is the font hard to read or simply boring? Does it adhere to your utility’s overall branding formats?

You don’t want to be changing your materials too often – the “boy who cried wolf” syndrome – but a fresh look is a guaranteed way to get potentially jaded eyes to take a look at your materials.

Finally, are there any new evergreens you need to plant, so to speak? After more than two years of a pandemic, many things that were once rote have changed permanently. We are living in a new world, and your utility’s PR output must reflect that.

Andy Gotlieb's picture
Thank Andy for the Post!
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