How does your department communicate with the public? Seems we have a difficult time...
Question: How does your department communicate with the public? Seems we have a difficult time these days letting people know about local P&R events such as ribbon cuttings, dedications, open houses, etc… We have tried newspaper ads, email blasts, and mailers but attendance is lagging. Please respond back with any creative communication tools.


Maumelle: Facebook seems to be the thing that a lot of people are following. We also do weekly inserts into our local paper that seem to get the word out.

Fayetteville: It is difficult at times to get the public to turn out, especially during the summer months. We now have a twitter account which seems to be very effective for the younger generation. Another option is to do postcards that go home with all of the schoolchildren in the area of the event. These are relatively inexpensive and quite effective. If you call your school administration they will usually okay the postcards. If you can involve a specific school (preferably elementary) somehow in the event, this is even more effective. Another option is to do a direct mailing of postcards to every resident who lives within a certain radius of the event (mile to two miles usually). Free food and drink at the event certainly doesn’t hurt. Newspaper ads just really aren’t that effective any more. If you can find an interesting angle about the event (historical, personal, etc.), an actual story in the paper or on TV, along with radio coverage seems to reach a lot more people.

Fort Smith: We have done all that you mentioned, but we do have facebook now. The interest just doesn’t seem to be there.

AR State Parks: Our most effective means is still a news release and Joan Ellison, our Public Information Officer takes the extra step by personally contacting the media regarding dedications and open houses. And if the event is done on a weekend and includes a fish fry or food, that can make a difference. You still can’t compete for all of the activities, special events, programs and “happenings” that take place year round in the natural state. We also post our dedications/open house events on our website… under “things to do”. With 45,000 plus special events, programs, activities annually in the state parks, our family of websites is the best way to get the message out about all events and activities. And we have 35,000 plus fans on Face Book…another means to communicate the A-Z.

Texarkana: Radio ads have been a success for our events.

Jacksonville: We also use, radio ads, flyers, signs and one of the best tools (word of mouth).

Springdale: We have a facebook page, batch emails, use newspapers and public service announcements.

Hunter Knepshield: Today email is best with a tag asking for a reply if attending.

Russellville: Most event attendances have been lower. People have so much going on these days. We utilize everything you have mentioned but we also use CHAMBER E-MAILS and NEWS LETTERS, BANNERS hung in key locations. We post events on our web site, local business’s marquee signs, posters we hand out to local clubs, like Kiwanis, to distribute and put up. Other groups web pages, like baseball and soccer associations.

Nashville: We are doing most of our advertising with Facebook, Twitter, other social media and radio.

North Little Rock: We post posters, fliers/brochures at our community centers and city services building; send an email blast to city employees; post posters/fliers at library and other businesses/organizations (if they allow it); post to our blog/web site; and word-of-mouth; even a media advisory to the local paper (sometimes they run it, sometimes they don’t); depending on the event, we will try to get information out through the schools. Even with all this, attendance may still lag.