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Breakout Sessions
Note: Additional breakout sessions are coming soon!

A City that is Going All In on Engagement
As social media and other digital platforms evolve, the City of Roanoke is taking citizen engagement to the next level. Earlier this year, Roanoke became one of the first local governments in the country to create an Office of Citizen Engagement. During this session, you'll get an in depth look into the new office and hear why the city chose to separate traditional and non-traditional forms of communications. Hear from one of the top social media advocates in the country on why communicating "with" citizens is now more important than communicating "to" them.  This session will focus on:
  • Overall creation of Office of Citizen Engagement
  • How the office operates
  • Social media management structure
  • Website management structure
  • Involvement with key employees and departments across the organization
  • Neighborhood involvement
  • Partnerships with outside organizations

Be Your Own News Channel by Using Authentic Content/Live Video Through Social Media
Equipped with only a smart phone, you have the power to be your own live news source like never before. With technology continually changing and new apps being created, pair your video taking skills with social media apps like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and get your story, your news to your citizens through live video. The use of real time and raw footage shares authentic content whether viewed at the moment or later as uploaded video. Have news stations use your self-taken video as a source, which will provide a greater reach to your current followers/audience. Live video gives those unable to be at an event a front row seat at what is happening in your community whether highlighting your annual 4th of July parade or participating in a ribbon cutting to just great views and places in your municipality. There are a number of endless options for live video and how you can successfully promote the best of your community.

Building Trust: Community Relations for Police and Public Safety
The session will focus on practical means of building trust and communication between the community, elected officials and the first responders, particularly police. A case study overview of several successful Skokie initiatives - the "Many Cultures, One Community - Keeping Skokie Safe" program, now entering its third summer, through which the police are out in the neighborhoods multiple times each week to engage with residents in a non-enforcement atmosphere; the Firehouse Spaghetti Dinners that drew hundreds of residents to engage with first responders and elected officials; the Cops with Kids holiday shopping initiative and the block party initiative through which first responders and elected officials attend neighborhood block parties throughout each summer.

Conducting a Communication Audit to Improve Your Outreach
Does your city, county or agency need a communication audit? This webinar will focus on the communication assets you have, the new outreach you may need, and ways to analyze tactics and strategy for effectiveness and return on engagement.  This session prepares you to complete an inventory of all of your communication messaging and channels, using research to analyze the ways your outreach connects with internal and external audiences.

Contentious Public Meetings: Gearing Up Your Team for Success
Across the county, we are seeing an uptick in public meetings becoming more and more contentious given varying ranges of the public’s personal and political views – and as a result, public meetings can go awry with emotion. As communications professionals tasked with managing public expectations and mitigating issues, it is critical we prepare all meeting participants – many of which are engineers and technical experts and not communicators by trade – how to be fully prepared and be in lock step on how to handle issues in front of public audiences. Regional planning agency San Bernardino County Transportation Authority is pleased to share its roadmap for best management practices to create a positive environment for public dialogue. Our comprehensive staffing packet will be shared, from pre-meeting project staff run-throughs, to layout and security, to verbal and non-verbal communications. We invite you to learn firsthand the do’s and don’ts for successful public meetings whether small or large with public support and opposition.

Creative Resident Engagement - "This ain't no town hall meeting"
Is the town Hall meeting dead? Join Chris Hernandez, Communications Director for the City of Kansas City, Missouri, for a fast-paced session that will deliver great ideas about staging creative community engagement both online and IRL.  Have you heard about the time that three thousand people showed up to talk about data and pie charts? That's serious engagement, and we did it in KCMO. Please bring your ideas and be ready to participate.

Crisis Communications in Diverse Communities
In times of crisis, clear and concise communication is critical. It's even more important to consider one's audience when cultural, religious and political differences could dilute or even sabotage the message. The City of Bellevue, Wash. experienced all of these variables during an unforeseen situation when a suspicious fire ravaged the city's only mosque in the early morning hours of Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. Was it a hate crime? Will the Muslim community trust the police? Is the city's response appropriate? During this session, learn how Bellevue applied crisis communications theory to respond to the crisis, manage the media and build stronger relations with its diverse community.   

From Press Conferences to Breaking News, Why Facebook Live is the Way to Go!
Facebook Live continues to reshape how local governments do social media. Its popularity has allowed localities to connect with citizens like never before. In this session, you'll hear from one of the top social media advocates in government on why Facebook Live is the way to go.. Over the last year, Roanoke has attracted hundreds of thousands of viewers on Facebook Live by bringing breaking news, press conferences, and other city events to its citizens. See examples, lessons learned, and discover why Facebook Live should be a part of your city or county social media model. 

How to Get the Media to Love your City Stories - Top Five Pitching Tips!
Do you want to see your city on the 5 p.m. news, showcasing the latest and greatest things happening in your community? Hundreds of companies from private to public are competing for the media’s attention. Communications Director Jennifer Stein with the City of Peoria will share tips on how to find those key newsworthy stories and make the ultimate pitch. The newsroom on average receives more than 100 pitches a day, and approximately 5-7 stories are assigned to a reporter daily. Getting the media to cover your story is easy to accomplish if you have the right visuals and a compelling story that will impact viewers, listeners or readers. During this session, the top 5 pitching tips will be unveiled to ensure effective media coverage. Through some interactive exercises, participants will learn how to localize stories and capitalize on viral stories as well as brainstorm some creative subject lines to break through the clutter.

Handling Media During a Crisis - San Bernardino County Shooting
San Bernardino County PIOs David Wert and Felisa Cardona describe how the County handled the initial media onslaught and national attention during and after the Dec. 2, 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino which took the lives of 14 people, 13 of them County employees. The shooting was carried out by a County employee and his wife who were inspired by ISIS. The PIOs will discuss how they used social media during the incident, how they handled the pressure, what kind of messages they delivered at the time and since the attack and how they are working to help the county family heal.

Humanity in Policing: Using Social Media to Connect with Your Community
When it comes to social media, the Avondale Police Department is a leader in using Facebook as a platform to connect and engage with residents.   In light of negative stories swirling around controversies in police agencies nationwide, the Avondale Police Department decided it was important to connect with the community on a deeper level. One such strategy was using its social media platform.  By taking an approach that showcases the "human" side of policing – using humor, stories and even dancing officers -- they have garnered a tremendous following and thousands of fans. Some of their more popular posts featured the department's unofficial mascot Iroh, the infamous, so-called "Drug Sniffing Lizard"; dancing cops in the Running Man Challenge, and a touching video about Avondale Police Officers who accompanied four little girls to a Daddy-Daughter Dance. Even though the department is very effective at sharing the serious side of police work, the PD Social Media Team, led by the Police Chief, came to find that the infusing of humor and humanity with policing allowed them to grow followership exponentially. In just one year, followership grew from 1,800 to 10,000 plus.  Pier Simeri, Avondale Community Relations and Public Affairs Director, and Dr. Katrina Armstrong, the Avondale Police Community Services Supervisor, team up to show you how the department's methodical, team approach uses a focused social media strategy, sprinkled with humor and humanity, to reach a wide audience.  

Managing the Rumor Mill
A growing number of citizens are engaging in citizen journalism by contributing to blogs, creating and managing Facebook pages, and more. So, how do municipalities best engage in a constructive dialog with citizens using technology? What are the best ways to avoid the rumor mill without oversharing? How do we tell our own story when so many others are telling it for us? Citizen journalism has had a major impact on the way public institutions disseminate information. This session will explore easy ways to combat the rumor mill through citizen engagement, social media campaigns, best practices and more.

Mass Notifications - Targeting Audiences in Good Times and Bad
Emails and texts and calls.... Oh My! Using Mass Notifications tools to communicate to specific audiences and how to get citizens to opt-in will be the focus of this session. Whether you're working to showcase and promote events and municipal services or dealing with isolated police activity, such as a SWAT team in a neighborhood, understanding and using available resources is essential. Having the policies in place and staff to assist is the base for a successful and effective Mass Notification Plan.

Media Relations In An Ever-changing New Media Landscape
Media and media relations have undergone dramatic changes since the advent of social media. Traditional forms of engaging and interacting with journalists are becoming obsolete as “the media” is continuously evolving.  Explore the challenges and opportunities of the new "disrupted" communications landscape. Learn the lay of this new landscape and how to develop tools and strategies to get your messages out. This session will be led by Stefan Pollack, President of Pollack PR and an adjunct professor at USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Meet the Double Selfie Stick
When was the last time you got online without watching a video? Video isn’t just popular, it’s effective. Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch a video compared to 10% of a message when reading it in text. As government communicators, it’s time to get over our excuses and jump on the video band wagon! Learn how the City of Vancouver, Washington dramatically increased engagement and following on social media using simple, short and live video content. This session will provide an introduction to best practices for shooting video using smart phones, including free, easy-to-use apps and tools (like the Double Selfie Stick) for recording, editing and going live with video. Bring your smart phones for a hands-on video challenge! There will be prizes.

Move Over Meetings - Creative Engagement for Modern Communities
The public engagement landscape is changing swiftly. A digital shift has provided public agencies 24/7/365 access to their communities, but it has that access comes in a sea of competing messages. In a world of instant messaging, instant sharing and instant gratification, communications and engagement must evolve to become more visual and experiential.

So how do you break through? How do you inspire action? Gone are the days of the traditional public meeting, which can lack diverse or significant participation and impact to drum up support for new initiatives, health and safety campaigns or planning and budgeting processes. Today's public wants to be educated, entertained and inspired, and they want this to happen when and where they are. 

The City of Fort Collins places high value on the involvement and engagement of the entire community. As Fort Collins has grown and changed, so too has the City's public engagement approach.  Using the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) principles as a framework, the City of Fort Collins has employed new techniques to reach all corners of the community in a creative way. 

Join Communications & Public Involvement Director, Amanda King, as she shares creative outreach examples from the City of Fort Collins. 

Navigating the Era of Alternative Facts: Restoring Truth & Trust in the Media and Government
With misleading, distorted, omitted and just wrong information being disseminated, who is the public to believe: media, government spokespersons or other? Panel discussion with leading media, public/media relations, and legal experts on how to regain the truth and trust in the media and government.

Old Dogs, New Tricks
What do you get from three panelists with nearly 100 years of collective service?  A barrel full of on the job life lessons, successes, failures and some sage advice that might help propel you in your career, or at least help keep you out of trouble.  Join 3CMA Veterans Amy Sprinkles, Michelle Bono and Linda Harris, for a session filled with laughter, insights and maybe even a little inspiration.  (And yes, they picked the title of this session!)

Policies and Advanced Strategies to Help You Beat Social Media Fatigue
Sharing policy language, challenges, and strategies for using social media effectively. We will discuss ways to handle social media fatigue, a common condition for digital communicators.

Presenting with Power and Persuasion
Learn key tips and strategies to be an effective communicator and presenter, whether in front of the camera, before your governing body, chairing meetings, or leading small teams.  The ability to speak with power and persuasion, in front of any audience, is a key to success as a local government communicator.  

Savvy Film Festival
Critics agree: This year's Savvy Film Festival is the best yet. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll want more of these award-winning films created by communities around the country.

Stopping a Crisis In Its Tracks
Sometimes the biggest successes are the hardest to measure. Keeping bad news from becoming a week's worth of headlines can be accomplished whether you have a team of 20 or serve as a one person shop. Learn tips that will keep you ahead of the evening news, in front of a crisis, and in the good graces of your supervisor.

The Role Communications and Marketing Can Play In Driving Economic Development
Local governments, in particular local communication and marketing offices, have a real opportunity to boost economic development and community engagement by leveraging the boom in home renovation activity. Innovative outreach techniques spreading the awareness of building requirements to homeowners could result in additional revenue to cities and foster a collaborative relationship with the local residents.

The residential renovation industry has recovered after the recession and is expected to grow 7% in 2017 according to Harvard's Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA). Fueling this growth are larger scope discretionary projects that require building permits from local jurisdiction. Yet, qualitative feedback from homeowners and remodeling businesses suggests that project scope and spend may be greater had homeowners discovered local building guidelines and permit requirements sooner in the planning process.

Questions from residents such as:
  • Does this project need a permit?
  • Where do I get a permit?
  • Who should be pulling the permit?

Driven by questions like these, we plan to launch a new study with the goal of uncovering new channels of communication between local governments and residents. To this end, our research team will conduct a survey of its homeowner audience to glean insights from homeowner experiences with and attitudes toward their local building and permitting process, including:
  • Critical stages in the project cycle, including planning for local building requirements
  • Homeowner perceptions as to what worked well, as well as points of friction, with local government 
  • Homeowner attitudes toward new channels of local governments involvement in home remodeling process

During the Annual Conference, we will release the findings of the study and summarize actionable ways for communication and marketing offices to drive deeper community and in turn economic engagement in their cities.

Tweets, Deletes, and Lessons Learned from How Presidents Use Social Media
The use of social media by public officials is center stage thanks to both the former and current President of the United States. In this session, we will examine the strategy utilized by prominent officials to reach their audience and drive their agenda. We will also take a close look at the mistakes, risks, and pitfalls encountered during the use of social media by public officials. 

Using Your Brand to Get the Talk Right on the Street
Logos and slogans don’t create jobs, investment or impact your reputation - passionate people do. And passionate people who can articulate what is distinct, authentic and “ownable” in the marketplace create even more. Place brand recruitment strategies cannot be successfully pursued in a vacuum.  Rather, the most successful places empower their many passionate stakeholders to deliver a strategic message in their own unique voice. Because a city’s business climate is inextricably tied to other internal factors like government, sustainability, education, quality of life and culture. . . its brand and brand champions must be as well. Participants will learn that a brand strategy that is first centric to the community as a whole can then be delivered to very specific targets in a way that is wholly unique. They will see the value of a brand narrative adding emotion and facilitating the all-important peer to peer conversations that carry credibility and ultimately persuade.

Video Tips on a Budget
The City of Dublin, Ohio, has discovered cheap and easy ways to produce sharp, professional videos for both internal and external use. In this session, you will learn how to use a cell phone and inexpensive equipment to create videos that capture the attention of your audience. You will also learn some tips for producing effective Facebook Live segments. The session will be taught by Josh Poland, a former TV news reporter and meteorologist who now handles internal communication for Dublin.


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