Summary of Services
Communicating with citizens using only traditional mediums (press releases, newspapers, etc.) is insufficient for modern government. The Communications Department manages community engagement across multiple social media platforms, an ever-evolving landscape that changes each year. WCOT, a 24/7 public access channel, streams constant information and broadcasts public meetings for full transparency.
•In FY22, Communications will continue to provide outstanding services to the community at their current staffing level. There are no significant changes expected in the FY22 budget.
Action Plan for FY21
• Communications will remain flexible as COVID continues to impact how human interaction evolves and how we reintegrate gatherings in a safe way.
• Communications will continue to look for innovative ways to showcase culture and diversity and to make information and events accessible in a safe way.
• Communications will continue to work closely and collaboratively with departments as teammates and advisors to help tell their stories and reach their intended audiences
Challenges for FY21
Regarding Communication’s assigned Strategic Plan target areas:
• People not abiding by current health safety guidelines
• People’s perceptions and fears
• Maintaining both digital and in-real-life options (greater accessibility)
General challenges Communications anticipate:
• Balancing competing messaging goals from both internal and external sources
• Ensuring one City voice, re-enforced from directors down
Long-Range Action Planning
• Communications recognizes that there will be unknown factors presented by the pandemic and will remain flexible with concepts and strategies.
• As planning occurs, Communications will work to reimagine traditions to provide an experience that fits with the current environment, while serving and representing our community.
• Communications will continue to innovate new ideas, as well as research best practices from other cities, setting the stage for Tallahassee to be the community that sets the national standard.
6-B-i-1: Enhance online transparency portal for registered lobbyists, city vendors, and the City’s budget
Staff disseminates information and ensures transparency through a variety of digital platforms and online portals. Talgov.com – the City of Tallahassee’s website– prominently displays lobbyist and vendor information on its homepage. With more than 11 million-page views annually, Talgov.com is the main lens through which residents can explore information on registered lobbyists, city vendors, and the City’s budget. Staff will ensure that emerging data is easy to understand, available to all, and regularly updated.
7-C-i-1: Increase attendance at City-organized and City-sponsored festivals and cultural events year over year.
Tallahassee hosts and sponsors numerous community events throughout the year that draw local residents and visitors from across Florida and the Southeast region. The City organizes or sponsors multiple events during a calendar year, such as Springtime Tallahassee, Chain of Parks Art Festival, Word of South, Downtown Market, and more. Early in 2020, the City hosted the second annual Taste of Tallahassee, which targeted people in town for the State legislative session. Based on event data , attendance was up from the prior year. Staff expected to see similar results in other 2020 events, however, as COVID-19 spread, events were cancelled to protect community health in line with state regulations and healthcare guidance.
In 2020, the City adjusted its approach to carry out activities where possible. In spring and summer, this effort centered on TLHCanDo.com, a repository of ideas for families and individuals to stay active and social in line with ever-changing public health guidance that has received more than 7,000 online visits. The site spawned videos featuring residents sharing their ideas for online, home-based and socially distanced activities and a robust social media presence that has continued from spring through today. Additionally, to further the Senior Center’s adapted fitness programming and reach a broader audience, classes began airing at set times four days a week on WCOT, the City’s government access television station. The most ambitious community event of 2020 was the virtual Race Relations Summit. Back for its 13th installment, the City’s Race Relations Summit offered an important opportunity for the community to engage in dialogue designed to elevate the racial literacy and consciousness of individuals and organizations. More than 1,000 participants enjoyed the keynotes and sessions presented by the summit.
Going forward, the City will be adapting to a new normal brought on by the pandemic. Any events planned in the coming year will be required to include COVID-19 protocols in order to protect the safety of our community.
7-C-i-2: Increase diversity and variety of City-sponsored events.
The City hosts numerous events throughout the year that showcase our community as a creative capital city with diverse, passionate residents. Whether a long-standing tradition like the Red Hills Horse Trials, a more intimate experience like Day of Dialogue or a new event like Taste of Tallahassee, these offerings highlight Tallahassee as a desirable destination, create bonds within the community and enhance quality of life.
The City works closely with community organizations to leverage resources and promote opportunities for event support to new audiences. This approach will help draw new events and help increase the diversity and variety of options. The City considers a number of factors in driving diversity and variety of events, including the type of event (food festival v. athletic competition v. concert) and the culture represented by the event. Deliberate and representational planning helps ensure there are options for people with varying interests and abilities and that the options available reflect the makeup of the community.
Due to COVID-19, most in-person events are currently on hold. Considering this, the City has expanded online offerings to continue offering diverse cultural events. This includes the recent Race Relations Summit that garnered more than 2,600 registered session attendees, the Senior Center’s annual Active Living Expo, the “Legacy and Learning” exhibit through the John G. Riley Center and Museum, the annual Neighborhood Leadership Academy and more. Looking forward, residents will soon enjoy a modified Deck the Halls event, which is being presented via online workshops and a radio broadcast, and other adapted holiday offerings.
7-C-i-3: Provide multiple platforms to inform citizens of local culture, and City events.
The City keeps citizens informed about events in a variety of ways, from street banners to social media to strategic ad placements. The City works closely with community organizations to leverage resources and track sponsorships to ensure return on investment regarding marketing. More robust reporting is now required from organizers receiving City sponsorship, which is used to inform future efforts.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused the cancellation of community events, the City has continued to promote local culture and online event opportunities through the #TLHCanDo campaign. A website was created that showcases ideas and allows residents to submit suggestions. These ideas are then featured on the City’s social media channels, WCOT, local radio and other outlets.
Outreach tools are selected based on the event and its desired audience. For instance, a targeted effort like the Active Living Expo incorporated direct email contact with people interested in offerings from the Senior Center. A broad effort like the Race Relations Summit incorporated billboards and newspaper ads. The City assesses each event and tailors outreach based upon its unique goals.