The Outreach team is responsible for promoting the work of digital innovators at 18F and across government. Our work spans a number of outlets, including the content of 18F’s public-facing website, our blog, our external and internal newsletters, our Twitter feed (@18F), responses to press, and responses to emails to firstname.lastname@example.org, speaking engagements, internal communications, and 18F events.
The Outreach team is situated in the Learn Business Unit, and its members wear many hats. The Outreach team facilitates communication both internal to 18F (for example, editing policies and memos) and externallly (for example, our blog, press engagements, or social media). We want to help you tell 18F’s stories and the stories of our partner agencies! Don’t hesitate to call on the Outreach team to help with your comms needs.
- #outreach is for all general inquiries including events, helping you promote things, people coming by the office, members of the press asking you questions, speaking at conferences, etc.
- #blog is used to discuss upcoming posts, feature requests, bugs, and the last minute details of publishing posts.
- #newsletter is used to source and discuss content for our external and internal newsletters. Hop in here to let us know about cool things other people are doing!
- #tweet-this is where we coordinate activity for 18F’s Twitter account. Hop in here if you want us to respond to something, retweet someone, or tweet something interesting. You can also contact us if you’d like to be added to 18F’s team Twitter list.
- #press is for collecting press mentions of 18F (non tweets).
- #18f-site is for managing issues and updates to the current 18f.gsa.gov.
- #beta-18f-site is for coordinating work on the new redesign of 18f.gsa.gov.
- #inbox is for coordinating responses to emails that come into email@example.com.
If you’re a project manager or storyteller working on an 18F project, ping us in #outreach for help creating a lightweight communications plan that will help you connect with your most important stakeholders. Comms plans for other 18F projects are in Google Drive
Outreach is responsible for running the 18F blog. We use our blog to write about how we work, the culture of 18F, progress on our projects, and to educate digital workers in the federal government about important topics. We also use our blog to highlight good work being done by other federal agencies and as a recruiting tool for 18F. The primary contacts for the blog are Andre Francisco and Greg Boone. We use a combination of a private GitHub repo, a kanban board, and an editorial calendar to manage the blog editing and approval process. Blog posts are drafted in Google Docs, editing is managed in GitHub, the process is tracked with the kanban board, and posts are scheduled on the calendar. See how Outreach manages the kanban board (and 18F team members can find a link to the board) in this policies and processes document. We discuss all of this in the #blog Slack channel.
Everyone at 18F is encouraged to write for the blog; you don’t have to be at 18F for a certain amount of time to have interesting ideas to share. Check out the 18F Blogging Guide, which lays out the process more formally, and can tell you more about our mission and process. We’re happy to meet you wherever you are in the writing process.
After you decide what you want to write about, your post can go in a few directions: a short update, a formal product launch, an educational series, a video, a Q&A session, etc. Blog posts don’t have to be long; 300 words is plenty. Finally, if you have something you’d like on the blog but writing isn’t your strong suit (or you don’t have the time), reach out in #blog, and we can arrange for someone to interview you and write the post for you!
The 18F newsletter goes out every two weeks to more than 8,500 people. Our subscribers are a mix of government and the public, but everything in the newsletter is meant for public consumption. The goal of the newsletter is to highlight posts from our blog, let people know about civic tech events, and (very importantly) shine a light on the awesome work of our federal colleagues.
You should sign up for the newsletter.
Like our blog, the newsletter is always in need of submissions — especially of cool things other people are doing. Please send any interesting projects or initiatives you see over to #newsletter. Did some city adopt our design standards? Did an agency release a new data set? Is there a civic hackathon happening somewhere? We want to hear about it.
Here’s the guide on how to draft and publish the external newsletter.
18F also has an internal newsletter to keep you informed about what everyone is doing (18F org business, and more inside-baseball type of info). If your team has reminders or information you’d like to share with all of 18F you can drop it in #newsletter and we’ll include it in the next newsletter. If you’re announcing something in #news, at an all hands, or with a team-wide email, it would probably also benefit from being included in the internal newsletter.
Here’s the guide on how to draft and publish the internal newsletter.
If you’re contacted by a congressperson or senator, or are contacted by one of their offices, please contact the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs, and copy Crystal Philcox. Feel free to give us a heads up in #outreach, too.
If you’re contacted by a reporter, please route all interactions through the Office of Strategic Communications (OSC) via firstname.lastname@example.org, and copy Crystal Philcox. Feel free to give us a heads up in #outreach, too.
18F press mentions are collected in #press.
Speaking and events
If you’re speaking at an event, ping us in #outreach so we can provide you with team talking points, take a look at your presentation, and help you promote the event. If you’ve been asked to speak at an event or you want to submit a proposal, see the Getting Event/Conference Approval guide.
If you’re looking for help with a slide deck for a presentation, you can find resources on the 18F Branding site. We also have a couple previous decks that have ready-to-use slides about 18F’s history, the digital service ecosystem, and the basics of 18F’s model.
- Adobe Digital Government Assembly
- Tech Summit San Diego
- 18F General Slides
- You can find a number of other decks in the “Presentations” Google Drive folder and templates for one page print outs in the “Branded Materials for Outreach” Google Drive folder
Learn more about the technical details of 18f.gsa.gov on the GitHub and 18F website handbook page