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Oct 10

Multiple Communication Channels Engage Residents

Posted on October 10, 2019 at 8:38 AM by Sharon Hoggard

Communications is a tough business and it takes committed people to do it effectively. Lee Iacocca, American automobile executive and former CEO of the Chrysler Corporation once said, “You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can't get them across, your ideas won't get you anywhere.” And, as professional communicators we can never assume that our messages are reaching the targeted audiences, unless the audience provides us with feedback.

The city of Portsmouth, via its Marketing and Communications Department, uses various channels to reach an-ever growing and diverse resident population. Researchers estimate that by next year – 2020 many U.S. employers are going to have to ready and able to communicate to five different generations of workers. That workforce reflects the demographic of the communities we serve. Therefore government messages have to be clean, concise and consistent.  We need to be creative, diligent and welcoming in receiving feedback from target audiences.

In our efforts to keep Portsmouth residents well-informed, the communications teams uses the following methods:

  • E-blast (Portsmouth Community Connections): an email sent to more than 3,500 subscribers including civic leagues, churches, military, city employees, businesses, PRHA and citizens who have opted-in to receive the emails; sharing the email blast raises readership to nearly 5,000
  • PCTV Digital Message Board: More than 80,000 households in the city have access to PCTV Channel 48 (COX); Channel 39 (FiOS)
  • Social Media: Portsmouth has Facebook, NextDoor, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter channels. More than 45,000 people are connected via these social media sites
  • Blog: From the City Manager’s Desk, the blog was launched in late August and features information about city happenings, employees, citizen outreach and more; available on the city’s website
  • I-264 Digital Billboards: Anyone traveling east or westbound I-264 via Portsmouth can see these messages; over 278,928 impressions per month (impressions = total number of times the content is displayed)
  • Digital Message Boards: Displayed in City Hall and Social Services, vast majority of viewers are Portsmouth residents handling business
  • Interactive media/web; the city’s website has more than 550,000 visitors per year
  • Over 30,000 visitors check out the calendar of events for activities and special events happening in Portsmouth
  • Portsmouth 311 Non-Emergency Call Center: The newest communications tool in the city arsenal, the 311 Non-Emergency Call Center fields calls and answers questions on a variety of topics from abandoned vehicles to waste management
  • Print Publications:
    • Weekly advertising in The Virginian-Pilot – Readership 262,225
    • Bridges (Pilot insert) – Readership 56,257
    • The Shopper – Readership 25,515
    • Veer Magazine – Readership 90,000
    • Quarterly Special Event Guides – 40,000 distributed annually
  • Direct Mail: Portsmouth Community Program Guide – directly mailed to more than 30,000 households three times annually
  • Radio Advertising: Listening audience determined by station, target demographics and frequency
  • Television Advertising: Viewing audience contingent upon station, frequency and target demographics

One of the emerging methods of communication is mobile marketing and advertising. As we enhance our reach to a diverse market, we will continue to explore new opportunities to ensure that we are keeping current with marketing trends.  If you haven’t already, take a minute and check out some or all of the city’s communications channels. You’ll find a channel or two that connects with the way you want to receive information.