Clickbait!  The Independent use it so why shouldn’t I?

44 Days without a drink isn’t really an achievement. Thankfully I’ve never experienced alcohol addiction or substance misuse problems, so that’s a plus.  However on new years day I officially quit alcohol, which is nice.

Back on the 24th January, I attended a really interesting one day conference run by the Museums Association, titled “What’s The Story: Creating Text That Connects With Audiences”  It was mind-blowingly awesome, well done to the people who put that together.  Maybe a week after that Cardiff Council hit me with a court summons because I hadn’t paid my council tax for about 2 months or something. And that’s the crux of this post, so many organisations are terrible at writing text that connects with their audience.

I accept that I chose not to set up a direct debit to pay monthly, in the long run that would have saved me that £70 fine.  From what I can remember their direct debit system was clunky and not hugely user friendly, it just seemed like too much effort. At that point in time just ringing up every month to make individual payments seemed easier.

The first time I forgot to make a payment, the council sent me a handy “Reminder Notice”.  That put me back on track and I made my payments monthly again, alas a few months later I forgot again and got another “Reminder Notice”.  Eventually I forgot again because, well, being unemployed really does take up a lot of time and brainpower! I was then greeted by the court summons.  A very helpful man at C2C assured me that a final demand had been sent out to me (I fear it was lost in the post), and that it turns out that if you get 2 reminders, even if they’re not for consecutive months, you’re fucked! (my words, not his).

I paid the balance and the fine because, I really didn’t want to go to court.  But it got me thinking about all the different things that had been discussed at the Museum Association Conference.  Most notably, people don’t like reading, you have to take the audience from where they are to where they need to be, and you have to make the text accessible to all audiences.

1This is where I feel the councils letters fail (from top to bottom):

  • The title is ludicrously vague
  • Followed up by the friendly “Reminder Notice” phrase
  • Finally half way though a block off text they actually break the news to me that I only get two “reminder notices”

 

In a world where Museums are making huge efforts to become more in touch and relevant to their audiences, and businesses are becoming “dementia friendly” how can Cardiff Council be this bad at letters?

Until next time, lets talk about how to make everything connect with audiences better, Hire Me?