Fifth Street Corridor Project Communications Plan

The City of Lynchburg, Virginia
P R E PA R E D BY J E F F M AC H A R YA S - J U LY 2 9 , 2 0 1 3

Reconnect • Rediscover • Rejoice!

Fifth Street Corridor Project • Communications Plan
PREPARED BY JEFF MACHARYAS • JULY 29, 2013

5SCP: The Project Area

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Communications Plan • Fifth Street Corridor Project
PREPARED BY JEFF MACHARYAS • JULY 29, 2013

Lynchburg Means Business Lynchburg has been ranked as the 28th best place in America for business and careers. —Forbes.com - 2012

Executive Summary

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any long‐time residents of Lynchburg have fond memories of Fifth Street as it was several decades ago—a vibrant center of activity for the surrounding area and neighborhoods of College Hill, Garland Hill and Tinbridge Hill. Residents shopped there, dined out, met friends, played, and were seen out and about. Fifth Street’s black‐owned businesses flourished. At its height, thirty black‐owned businesses lined Fifth Street from Federal Street to Park Avenue. Sadly, Fifth Street has declined in activity and vibrancy. However, with commitment and dedication from the residents, businesses, developers, and Lynchburg at large, Fifth Street can once again be a lively, safe, and enjoyable area for locals and visitors. With designation as a Historic Site by both the state and federal governments, residents and businesses may qualify for some very favorable tax and grant programs. The Fifth Street Corridor has a rich history and that history should be leveraged to promote the endurance and dedication of the area’s residents and businesses. To drive resident involvement, interest in business development and to promote the area as safe, vibrant and ready for greatness, several forms of “traditional” and social media communications will be implemented to promote the vision of the Fifth Street Corridor Project (5SCP). Of course, with any marketing efforts, each communications tool must monitored, measured and adapted to achieve optimal results.
The communications goals of this plan are to:

• Keep residents, businesses and developers informed about redevelopment progress, service disruptions, schedules, and provide easy-to-find channels of information • Create awareness and excitement about the project for visitors, residents, existing businesses and future business developers • Solicit new development, business-ownership and provide information on economic incentives for residents and businesses • Inform people in, and outside of, Lynchburg that Fifth Street is the must-see area of Lynchburg • Promote the true feeling, the vision and the “brand” of Fifth Street: Reconnect • Rediscover • Rejoice!

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Fifth Street Corridor Project • Communications Plan
PREPARED BY JEFF MACHARYAS • JULY 29, 2013

Social and T raditional Media: Working T ogether
Social Media Efforts •O  ptimized website with WordPress blog (www.5thStreetLynchburg.com {this domain is available}) For search optimization, general information, “home base” and to provide the public with a method to comment, donate, or request further information •P  itching Social Media Influencers (Bloggers) e.g. guest blog on www.yesvirginia.org/BlogSpot. To create awareness, build reputation, expand reach •F  acebook Page For interactivity and to attract new members, to create a sense of community, to share comments •Y  ouTube Channel To provide video tours, increase awareness, create excitement, share comments, be visible • Twitter To provide updates, to get the word out, to offer information about the area, people, businesses and plans • Flickr Additional social media channel, good place to promote the plan with a mix of historical, current, and planned photos for the 5SCP • LinkedIn LinkedIn is a popular and growing forum for business people—the “Facebook for grown-ups” • Pinterest Additional social media channel, good place to promote the plan with a mix of historical, current, and planned photos for the 5SCP • Google+ Provides another social media source for content, is an effective way to boost SEO—postings are “Google-friendly” like a blogpost • eMail/eNewsletter Blasts To provide information, solicit donations and involvement from a targeted audience

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Communications Plan • Fifth Street Corridor Project
PREPARED BY JEFF MACHARYAS • JULY 29, 2013

• iPhone/Android App To provide updates, directions, directories and history of the 5SCP • Wikipedia Article To provide information, promote the development plan via unique social media channels, create an “authority” on the subject

"Traditional" Media Efforts • Newspaper (News & Advance) To promote the project via advertising, articles and interviews •T  V/Radio (WSET-TV13, Sunny 93.5 radio, Vibe 100 radio) To promote the project via advertising, bumpers and interviews • Billboards (www.lamar.com) Strategically located around the 5SCP—5th&Pierce, US29-no/river, Kemper&12th •G  as Pump Ads Geo-target residents and developers at a place everyone goes to (Exxon-Timberlake, Quik-E Food-Lakeside, Chevron-Campbell) •M  ovie Theatre Ads To promote the 5SCP via a passive, low-cost method to a “captive audience” • Colleges Take advantage of any opportunity to partner with Lynchburg’s large college community (Lynchburg College, Randolph College, Liberty University, and vocational, community colleges as well) • Transit (Bus) Ads Greater Lynchburg Transit Company (GLTC), interior and exterior messaging

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Fifth Street Corridor Project • Communications Plan
PREPARED BY JEFF MACHARYAS • JULY 29, 2013

SOCIAL
Website/Blog Google will only look up to you once you have gained everyone’s respect. —Wendy Piersall, ProBlogger Influencers She had clearly read my blog, made every sentence interesting and made me WANT to work with her. —Cat Davis, Food Family Finds

MEDIA

EFFORTS

Optimized Website/WordPress Blog

$600 - 3%*

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he 5SCP website (www.5thStreetLynchburg.com) will work in conjunction with the associated WordPress blog as one unit. The website will be the portal to promote the 5SCP’s presence on the Web and link to the other social media efforts (see below). The website is designed to give a home to the social media efforts and to provide a simple, easy to navigate place to get basic information about the project, comment, request more information or download maps, factsheets, etc. Appropriate keywords will be researched and implemented. The website will reflect the social media efforts and will aid in promoting them, by including embedded videos from the 5SCP YouTube channel, blog postings, and easy to find links to Twitter and Facebook. Each week, there will be at least three articles posted featuring a variety of topics: history, tax credits, business development, lifestyle, etc. There will be a page dedicated for comments and complaints. This page will have a real person’s name and phone/email, as well as a comment form. Complaints and comments will be addressed within 24 hours.

Each posting will be promoted by Twitter, posted on the 5SCP’s Facebook page and submitted to bookmarking sites (e.g. StumbleUpon). Each posting will allow commenting and will be moderated. Readers will also have the ability to share the postings via social media. Links will be placed in blog postings that will link back to the website. By properly using Google Analytics, we will measure the effectiveness of the website and modify as needed. And, as more people use their tablets and smartphones for web browsing, the website must be built using a responsive layout so it will be easily readable across all platforms.

Pitch the Influencers Staff - 0%

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he 5SCP can solicit the help of “influencers.” These are trusted online outlets that can carry the message in an informative, positive fashion, such as www.yesvirginia.org/BlogSpot. It is important to judge the bloggers being pitched to for appropriateness, followership, and timeliness.

*Based on a budget of $20,000, estimates are expressed in dollars allocated and percentages of total. For some items, it is understood that in-house staff will maintain that channel. Figures are estimated based on market research and trends as of July 2013.

Communications Plan • Fifth Street Corridor Project
PREPARED BY JEFF MACHARYAS • JULY 29, 2013

Facebook Facebook has more than 1 billion members, which by population makes it the third largest country in the world—somewhere between India and the US. Who’s sending missionaries to that country?” —Phil Cooke, Author

We will also solicit the help of “evangelists.” These are people who are associated with 5SCP and will use their own social media outlets, such as personal Facebook pages or Twitter feeds, to promote and link to the 5SCP. It will be important to instruct our evangelists on the proper message and social media methods to get the word out. The more evangelists we can recruit, the more influence we will have, and the reputation of the 5SCP will grow and remain positive.

Facebook Campaign

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he 5SCP facebook campaign will be used to promote the project’s vision, history and awareness. Facebook is also an ideal place to share information and resources with residents and developers and to also entice future businesses. Facebook is also a great place to promote the 5SCP outside of the Lynchburg area. As awareness builds and as people post and link to the 5SCP’s Facebook page, awareness will spread virally as people—especially younger people—consider places to put down roots or embark on their own businesses. The Facebook page will also integrate Twitter and blog postings to create more backlinks between the 5SCP’s social media efforts and with other sources. We will encourage people to share pictures and videos and also personal stories on the history and businesses of the area. We will monitor these efforts closely to make sure that our message is being used properly, and will promptly reply to any complaints or misinformation. Facebook currently holds the number one spot amongst internet users with 51%.

YouTube Video Channel

Staff - 0%

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outube continues to be the go-to place for video. YouTube is a perfect venue for personal stories from residents, historical slide shows, business showcases, man-in-the-street interviews or just feel-good videos of positive activities around Fifth Street. Also, we must keep in mind our primary marketing message:

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Fifth Street Corridor Project • Communications Plan
PREPARED BY JEFF MACHARYAS • JULY 29, 2013

YouTube Look at YouTube, how many talented people there are. It’s a whole new world of how to express yourself. I don’t know how to work that world, but take advantage of it. Penny Marshall, actress

Fifth Street is safe, vibrant, and open for business—and stress that in every video, no matter what the subject. The goals of the YouTube Campaign are to: • Entice new businesses by showing positive images of thriving businesses • Deepen and develop relationships with current and future residents by highlighting personalized segments across all age, race and gender lines • Create awareness of the 5SCP’s existence, location, and vision • Teach and inform residents and developers about the benefits of living, working and visiting Fifth Street. It is important to keep the videos fresh. To achieve this, we will build a stockpile of videos that can be updated every week. Studies have shown that YouTube videos have a lifespan of one week. Anything older loses all of its “recency.” YouTube titles will consist of up to 100 characters, the description will consist of up to 5000 characters, and the tags will be up to 120 characters. To improve SEO value, it is important not to scrimp on these efforts as the space is available to do so. Interestingly, how-to videos rank third (behind humor and news), but is the fastest growing segment of YouTube viewership, growing 22–38%. Therefore, it will be important to provide how-to information (less than 10 minutes) but also add as much current news as we can (e.g. applications for tax credits and grants, deadlines). YouTube is the third most popular social media site, according to a study by GlobalWebIndex and should be considered a social media site, not simply a video collection. Videos should be shared and commented upon. The YouTube videos that appear on the 5SCP’s YouTube Channel will be simulcasted on the 5SCP’s website/blog. 45% of videos are found directly on YouTube, but a close 44% are discovered on blogs, so it will be important to take advantage of both venues. We must also take advantage of analytical tools to gauge how well the efforts are progressing and to enhance the videos accordingly. Since YouTube keywords are different than Google keywords, we will use the YouTube Keyword Tool to keyword our videos. We will also use YouTube Insights to monitor the campaign. We will judge the success of the YouTube efforts by how increased viewership turns into request for more information, donations, new residents or new businesses.

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Communications Plan • Fifth Street Corridor Project
PREPARED BY JEFF MACHARYAS • JULY 29, 2013

T witter I know very little about the viral, electronic world, but I use Twitter to communicate not only information that I think some of the fans want to hear about but also ideas. William Shatner, actor Flickr Flickr is not just a community of photos, it is a community where high quality photography is appreciated. —Rohit Bhargava, Integrated Marketing

T witter: 140 Characters to T ell the Story

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witter is a great support source for our social media efforts. The 5SCP’s Twitter account will be used to build brand awareness, establish relationships with residents and developers, use it as an announcement vehicle for events, deadlines, and other time-sensitive news, provide a source for inquiry responses, and also provide an easy link to the website and the other social media marketing campaigns of the 5SCP. We will find those in the area who are tweeting about activities, sports, family events, and the like and develop relationships with them. By doing this, we will build a cohesive community and can work together to promote the 5SCP as we promote other like-minded groups as they also promote the 5SCP. We will also use an automated Twitter feed straight from the blog and integrate a Twitter widget on the website.

Flickr Photos Snap to Attention

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lickr will also be integral part of the social media campaign. We will create a Flickr account for the 5SCP to build awareness and engage residents and developers with high-quality images showing the history, current conditions and vision of Fifth Street. We will use the profile page to link back tot he website and to feed into our Facebook page. We will also encourage others via a Flickr group to upload their images and contribute to the conversation by commenting on others’ images.

LinkedIn: Connecting People and Business

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inkedin is a forum for businesspeople. This is a perfect way to get connected to business owners and developers and to form a community that can be built upon to drive the message. LinkedIn is viewed as

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Fifth Street Corridor Project • Communications Plan
PREPARED BY JEFF MACHARYAS • JULY 29, 2013

LinkedIn I’m a big fan of LinkedIn. —Jeff Macharyas, creative marketer Pinterest A decent blog will have at least one picture, so posting this picture along with the blog article title and pinning it on a relevant board can be a great way of using Pinterest to promote content. —Shell Robshaw-Bryan, blogger Google+ The beauty of using Google+ for your business is the number of tools available to help promote and grow your business. —Jaana Nyström, Finnish entrepreneur

somewhat more serious than Facebook and could even be considered FaceBook for grown-ups. This is the place to keep the message serious and to speak to the business community in their own language: return on investment, awareness, sales, etc.

Picture-Perfect Pinterest

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interest has now become the third most popular social media site (after Facebook and Twitter). The benefit for 5SCP’s use of Pinterest is its visual focus. Pinterest is another great link-builder and awareness tool and is a perfect place to present historical and business-positive images to enhance the image of Fifth Street as a place to live, visit, work and play.

Google+ Adds Up

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lthough a new social media channel (August 2011), G+ remains unknown to many, even though it is the second most popular social media site worldwide, according to a study by GlobalWebIndex. Google+ provides another social media source for content, and is an effective way to boost SEO—postings are “Googlefriendly” like a blogpost. Google+ will act in a similar fashion to Facebook.

eMail/eNewsletters: You've Got Mail

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lthough email marketing is not the best vehicle for the project, it should not be totally discounted. Recent studies show that people respond to email marketing when they are offered a discount. This is not something we can do. However, it is a good way to get the message out, build a community, and create back-links to the website. It is imperative that the emails are smartphone-friendly. Half the people view emails first (or only) on their smartphones. Emails must be HTML-based, without resorting to PDF or Word attachments that will be spammed out or instantly deleted.

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Communications Plan • Fifth Street Corridor Project
PREPARED BY JEFF MACHARYAS • JULY 29, 2013

App Yup. There’s an app for that. —Apple, iCorporation eMail We use email, not just as a way to keep in touch with family who live in other cities, but also as a way to keep in touch with staff and members of the public. —Tipper Gore, former Second Lady Wikipedia A big part of what motivates us is our larger mission to affect the world in a positive way. —Jimmy Wales, co-founder, Wikipedia

There's an App for That Staff - 0%

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pps for iphones and android devices are getting easier (and cheaper) to develop and deploy. An app for the 5SCP would include maps, directions, directories, history, and contact information to start with. The app can then be supplemented and adapted as usage is evaluated.

Wikipedia Article

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ikipedia is an easy place to present information about the project in an authoritative way. People use Wikipedia to get the “facts” and do research. The Wikipedia article should be well though-out and promote the history, the people, and the environment of the area in a positive light.

" T R A D I T I O N A L"

MEDIA

EFFORTS

Newspaper: Print is Not Dead!

$5,000 - 25%

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he reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” Mark Twain said. This quote could also be attributed to print media. People have been saying since the first AOL chatroom opened that “print is dead.” No, it’s not. Consumers are being a bit more selective of where they consume print media. According to Mashable’s Lauren Indvik, Vogue magazine and other Condé-Nast titles are seeing double-digit growth. Newspaper ad revenue continues to decline, but circulation is keeping fairly steady (Pew Research study). There is one area that is seeing some positive signs, and that’s the newspapers’ digital edition. Combining a print and digital campaign will yield the best results and the digital ads that are seeing the best growth are those that contain audio. An audio message should be constructed for this channel and can also be repurposed for YouTube, TV and radio. Advertising options in Lynchburg include: News & Advance newspaper.

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Fifth Street Corridor Project • Communications Plan
PREPARED BY JEFF MACHARYAS • JULY 29, 2013

Newspaper Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets. —Napoleon Bonaparte, despot Broadcast Media I can turn on the radio right now and be inspired. —Courtney Love, singer Billboards I always thought marketing was an interesting kind of thing. I always liked commercials and billboards. —Carrot Top, comedian

Frequency is more important than size. Therefore, ads should be 1/8 page in size over the course of six months on alternating Sundays.

TV/Radio is On the Air

$4,100 - 21%

B

roadcast media is sometimes considered a dying breed along with print. However, a full 92% of consumers—across all demographics—listen to radio at least once weekly. Additionally, 92% of African-Americans, specifically, listen at least once weekly. A 2012 Millwood-Brown study showed that TV and radio combined helped drive awareness to higher levels than simply TV alone—by 22%. Therefore, it would be prudent to pair a TV campaign with a radio campaign. Additionally, radio is a great value. Often, proper negotiations can yield bonus spots, preferential times, and reduced costs for mixing overnight and drivetime airings. There are several broadcast media outlets available in Lynchburg, but there are three in particular that would be appropriate for this campaign based on format: WSET-TV13, Sunny 93.5 radio, Vibe 100 radio. In addition to advertising, these outlets should be approached with story ideas (including providing B-rolls), interview opportunities, and supplied graphics and sound bites for on-air talent use when available. Additionally, the radio and TV spots can be used on the 5SCP website, uploaded to the YouTube channel, and be included in the app. Care must be taken not to advertise during election times as rates and availability cannot be guaranteed.

Billboards Drive A wareness $3,900 - 20%

B

illboards are a good way to keep the message in front of people—especially if they’re stuck in traffic! The billboards should be simple, colorful and promote the history, the people, and the environment of the area in a positive light. The artwork should be easily recognizable with a short, bold headline and an easy-to-read website. Strategic billboard location around the 5SCP: 5th & Pierce, US29-no/river, Kemper & 12th. Billboards are provided by Lamar (www.lamar.com) on a monthly contract. Efforts should be made to get price concessions.

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Communications Plan • Fifth Street Corridor Project
PREPARED BY JEFF MACHARYAS • JULY 29, 2013

Gas Pumps There are screens at the gas station, there are screens at the shopping mall. And they all need content. Mark Burnett, television producer Cinema Cinema reflects culture and there is no harm in adapting technology, but not at the cost of losing your originality. —Jackie Chan, actor Colleges I’m going to college. I don’t care if it ruins my career. I’d rather be smart than a movie star. —Natalie Portman, actress

Gas Pump Ads Fuel Participation

$1,300 - 6%

A

dvertising at gas stations is a great way to get the message of the 5SCP to drivers in a captive setting. Drivers are typically standing around for an average of 5–10 minutes pumping gas—during which time they can see gas stations ads, such as ads on top of the gas pump. Gas pump toppers sit on top of gas pumps, reaching drivers at eye level, thereby maximizing impact. Gas pump ads can be positioned just about anywhere in the Lynchburg region, as people live and work all over, get in their cars and drive through and around town. Toppers will run for six months.

Movie Theatre Ads Make the Scene

$1,400 - 7%

B

efore the first tub of popcorn is consumed, moviegoers are sitting, staring at a screen, waiting for their movie to start. This is a great way to promote the message of the 5SCP to people who are looking for something to look at. According to a recent Nielsen study, cinema advertising is more effective than TV-only advertising, but when combined with TV advertising yields much higher recall (+94%) and higher likability (+79%). Cinema ads should be uncluttered and promote a positive view of the 5SCP with a bold headline, the website and a photo. The cinema advertising could be very similar to the billboard art to create a consistent look and feel for the message. Cinema ads can be :30 spots and will run on alternating weeks for six months. Spots will only be shown ahead of G, PG, and PG-13 movies.

Go to College $0 - 0%

C

olleges are where the residents, developers and business-owners of tomorrow are. Lynchburg is fortunate to have several colleges with a large college population. It is important to partner with the colleges in any way possible. Strategic contacts will need to be made to investigate any avenues to promote the project. These efforts shouldn’t cost anything additionally. Some examples of college marketing would be: PSAs on the college radio station, direct mail pieces displayed in high-traffic areas, asking faculty, students and administration to promote the project on their own social media outlets and become “evangelists.”

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Fifth Street Corridor Project • Communications Plan
PREPARED BY JEFF MACHARYAS • JULY 29, 2013

Bus Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down. —Oprah Winfrey, mogul Guidebook Tone can be as important as text. —Ed Koch, former mayor, New York City

Taking the Bus

$2,400 - 12%

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ransit advertising is a great way to display the message of the project to a diverse audience at a high frequency. The Greater Lynchburg Transit Company (GLTC) offers several options on the outside and inside of the buses. Interior posters offer a “captive audience” of bus riders, while the exterior wraps make attractive rolling billboards for passing motorists and pedestrians. A QR-code should be implemented into this effort to allow smartphone users to quickly capture the project’s website for a later visit. A king-size exterior wrap will run for six months. Interior posters will run on 6 buses.

Guidebook/Mini-Magazine $1,300 - 6%

A

guidebook—or “mini-magazine” should be developed to promote the 5SCP. The guidebook would be 16 pages—1,000 copies and would consist of history, personal insights, maps, contact information, economic incentive information, photos of the area: historical, present and future concepts, statistics, demographics. This product would be available to business owners, developers, Realtors, hotels, and could be distributed at Chamber and other civic organization meetings not only in the Lynchburg area, but also in a larger, regional area to draw interest from out-of-town developers.

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Communications Plan • Fifth Street Corridor Project
PREPARED BY JEFF MACHARYAS • JULY 29, 2013

Keep T rack of the Details There’s so many things that can go wrong in the execution of a project, so many little elements, any number of things, all the way to marketing— like they could market it poorly and nobody finds it and down it goes. —Bryan Cranston, actor

In Conclusion

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n effective communications plan is not simply launched with great intentions and fanfare, but maintained, nurtured, analyzed, and modified. Sometimes, assumptions are made that are proven wrong. Demographics shift, media changes, the consumers’ moods change, economic or social challenges interfere. The people charged with developing and maintaining the communications plan must always be on the alert for shifts in all aspects of society. New social media platforms pop up constantly (Instagram) and some just seem to fade away and then rise again like a phoenix (MySpace). It is nearly impossible to be visible effectively on every social media platform or every traditional media channel. Therefore, it is important to judge which ones are appropriate to carry the message and which ones deliver the best return on investment. These are metrics that need to be tracked. Once a channel stops delivering, changes need to be made immediately. New channels discovered, evaluated and tested. With so many communications channels available to people, each media buy is claiming but a smaller and smaller piece of the marketing pie. The goal is to maximize that piece of the pie and leverage it for all it’s worth. With any plan comes a budget. With a budget of $20,000, careful steps have been taken to evaluate which channels will yield the best return on investment for this plan. It is also understood, that for most of the social media components, the work involved would be handled by in-house staff. For any services contracted with vendors: prices, schedules and quantities should be aggressively negotiated. It is in the best interest of the local vendors that this project thrive. With this communications plan enacted, the Fifth Street Corridor Plan will see renewed interest from residents, an invigorated sense of success for the area business owners, and inquiries from developers who want to build and develop new venues for growth and prosperity for the 5SCP and the greater Lynchburg area. With a determined, positive effort, we just can’t lose. Now, let’s get things done!

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Jeff Macharyas
J P M @ M A C HA RYA S . C O M | 540.424.0211 | W W W. M A C H A R YA S . C O M

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