Do you have any fun ideas, feedback, or comments for City communications? We’re all ears.
Communications & Public Affairs strives to build a communications strategy that resonates with the public, reaching a wide audience with timely information that’s relevant to them. We want to build a clear picture of where we’ve been and where we want to go, but we can’t do it without the help of Victoria residents.
When trying to communicate with a large and diverse community, it’s important for us to truly engage with our audience by collecting hard data. We can’t read our resident’s minds, so we’re relying on you to tell us what you think.
To help inform our strategic planning, we’re launching our Communications Survey 2021, available at www.victoriatx.gov/commssurvey. The anonymous survey invites residents to tell us how they like to receive information from the City, where they get their breaking news and how they feel about the City’s communication efforts. The deadline to respond is Oct. 28.
It’s all part of our ongoing effort to maximize our use of different communication channels to reach more residents. In 2019, we did an audit of our content, and we learned that we weren’t making the best possible use of different methods of communication. For example, if we produce a 30-minute video segment to air on TV15 (Suddenlink channels 15 and 115 and online at www.victoriatx.gov/tv15), we can easily upload the same video to YouTube and Facebook to expand its reach—and vice versa: Why not put some of our creative social media videos on our cable channel as well?
Since then, we’ve continued to fine-tune our communication to better serve our residents. In the spirit of transparency, we’ve partnered with Swagit to livestream our meetings to our website (www.victoriatx.gov/talktocouncil) so that residents without cable can have equal access to this important information. In addition, we’ve reformatted our podcast to a TV show called TOWNtalk that’s available on TV15 and on social media. We’ve also increased our production of breaking information formatted into news releases, which we share with our local media partners.
Recent disasters have especially tested our communications strategy. When the pandemic started, we began hosting livestreamed press briefings for the first time. These briefings have proven to be useful in different types of crises as we seek to provide updates and give residents a chance to hear directly from City and County leaders on critical issues. During the February winter storm, we hosted our first-ever Zoom briefings so that these updates could continue even though road conditions prevented us from meeting in person.
We’ve received positive and constructive feedback about our communication efforts, but we want to expand our reach. In order to build a strategy that reflects all of Victoria, we’d like to hear from as many residents as possible. Questions we want your help answering include: Do you regularly turn to the City as a source of information? If so, which methods do you prefer—TV15, the City View newsletter or social media? Are you not as engaged with the City? We’d like to know how we can change that.
Your responses will help us to tailor a communications strategy that fits the needs of our community. By understanding which communications channels our residents use, we can prioritize our resources and our outreach to meet residents where they are, whether it’s on your mobile phone, a desktop, a newspaper, TV or anything else.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us at 361-485-3110 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ashley Strevel is the director of Communications & Public Affairs for the City of Victoria.