Choose your information sources
Once you feel you know your audience well enough and understand their information needs, the next step is to get to know your information sources. These information sources, as there may be several, are how you create your content and are at the heart of your Freedom Fone Service (unless you are just using the Leave-a-message functionality exclusively and not using the voice menus). The following are some possible examples of where your information sources can come from. This list is by no means exhaustive.
- Scripted content: eg. A micro drama with characters and a storyline could be produced as a part of a campaign with episodes shared on a weekly basis. This requires writers and voice actors.
- Third party sources: eg. Market prices printed in the newspaper can be recorded into audio and made available through voice menus on the Freedom Fone Service.
- Previously broadcasted audio: eg. A radio station that broadcasts news headlines, weather forecasts or important information throughout the day can also make a shortened form of the audio available on-demand on a Freedom Fone Service
- Caller contributions: eg. Re-use the voices and stories recorded from your callers who have used the Leave-a-message function and make their recordings available for others to hear on the Freedom Fone Service.
These are a few possibilities - what information sources are you planning to use?
Selecting information sources
Because the information sources are the heart of your Freedom Fone service, it is worth mentioning some other considerations that may help you get your service running smoothly from the get go.
- Security: In instances where sensitive information is gathered you might consider an information verification process that suits your service. If caller security is a concern where exposure may add to vulnerability, consider implementing the security functions discussed in the Security chapter in the Setting up section.
- Reliability: If you are planning to use information sources from outside of your organization such as agricultural extension agents, community media organizations or election monitors, it is important to consider their ability to reliably deliver information to your service. Consistency is important to keeping your audience engaged - so choose information sources that can be consistent. For mission critical services it is worth making back up plans in case your sources are unable to deliver their information.
- Copyright and ownership: It may seem obvious but you want to ensure that the content you are including in your Voice menus is in fact owned by you or you have permission to use and share it freely.
- Relevance: Based on knowing your audience (see previous chapter), you want to choose information sources that your audience find relevant and worth making a call to listen to.
- Topicality: "Stale news is no news" - people want fresh and up to date information. When selecting your information sources, make sure you can keep things current.
How often to update your information?
Keeping the information and content on your Freedom Fone Service up to date is one of the best ways to ensure that your callers will use your system on a regular basis. It is up to you and your audience to determine what the frequency of these updates will be: eg. daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Once you have identified the update schedule of your service, it is important to stick to the rhythm so that the audience know how often they can expect to use your service and when.
First time installers of Freedom Fone often underestimate the amount of work and time that goes into maintaining your service. You might like to try creating some audio content before committing to a daily update.