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Strategic Communications — Municipalities

Coordinating & Conducting Public Outreach & Public Meetings

Gaining public support for local government initiatives can be a difficult task, and many great planning efforts have been stalled for lack of it. Often residents are reluctant to attend public meetings to learn about their local government, making it difficult to gauge how they feel about plans that may affect their daily lives.

 

So how do you reach these people? With Communication Solutions' help. Experienced in working with public agencies trying to effect change, our team knows how to be sure that the public is getting your message.


Consider how we helped during the development of a management plan for a watershed spanning Cumberland and Salem counties in New Jersey, also known as Watershed Area 17. We developed both newsletters and brochures to tell the public about meeting dates and times, as well as to simply inform them about what a watershed is and how it should be protected.


Reaching out to groups that have a vested interest in your agency's work is also important. In the case of Watershed Area 17, Communication Solutions made sure to meet with environmental groups, business owners and residents in the early stages of the watershed management planning process. That way, the planners knew people's concerns right off the bat, and could incorporate them as the plan was drafted.

 

Conducting Surveys & Public Opinion Polls

Before your agency embarks upon an ambitious change, gauging support can be critical to successful change. When survey or poll results show that the public or an agency membership stands behind a particular issue, you will have the validation you need to get started.


Consider the Montgomery County Association of Realtors, an organization of 2,300 real estate professionals in Pennsylvania's Montgomery County that wanted to find out if it was on the right track before going full-speed ahead with the implementation of a strategic plan.

 

The association hired Communication Solutions to survey both agents and brokers about the association's educational programs, benefits, communications and social events. The results helped the association fine-tune its ideas for change. For example, the survey showed that a majority of the brokers and agents wanted to see a workshop on etiquette and professional conduct. Now, the association is including a course on that in its professional development series.


Designing & Writing Copy for Brochures, Newsletters, Fact Sheets, Advertisements Or Websites

The written word is always an effective way to get your message across to large numbers of people. When written without the confusing jargon that sometimes surrounds planning efforts, brochures, newsletters, fact sheets, advertisements and websites can all be helpful to keeping the public abreast of your planning efforts.

 

The community of Willow Grove knew how important it was to notify the public about its plans for revitalization. Communication Solutions used its creative talents to develop an informative, accurate and attractive newsletter called "Grove Revitalization News." Delivered to residents before important meetings, this newsletter helped increase public interest in the revitalization meetings and the plans being considered.

 

Creating and designing an advertisement to run in local newspapers can also be key to an initiative's success. The skilled writers and graphic designers of Communication Solutions designed a full-page advertisement in the local newspaper for the city of Coatesville when it was proposing a series of changes revitalize the city. The advertisement promoted a program to reduce crime and drug abuse, the development of new housing opportunities for low-to-moderate income families and the construction of a new recreation facility. We also helped the city design another full-page advertisement to combat negative publicity Coatesville received when it was forced to condemn land to build the new recreation center.

 

Building Public Awareness Via Media Relations Campaigns

Also key to keeping the public aware of your initiatives is regular communication with the press. Getting news coverage of key meetings and events means you can reach a large audience. But few local agencies have the personnel to spare to issue regular press releases and media alerts.

 

Communication Solutions has the talent you need. We take on the responsibility of establishing a rapport with reporters, distributing press releases and media alerts in a timely fashion and securing interviews with key newspaper and television reporters.

 

 

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