Community Conversations: The Face of Charlottesville Tomorrow

By January 25, 2012Communications

This post is part of a series, “Community Conversations” featuring people responsible for the socialization and communications for their businesses. If you’re interested in contributing a post for this series, contact me at mjaggers at jaggerscommunications dot com

My name is Jennifer Marley, and I’m the Community Engagement Coordinator for Charlottesville Tomorrow.

Charlottesville Tomorrow is a non-profit, non-partisan community news platform. We cover growth, development, and local political issues facing the Charlottesville-Albemarle area. These stories are published to our site and, through a ground-breaking partnership, printed in The Daily Progress; but after that, what happens to them? That’s where I come in.

I take the content, boil it down so I can understand it (as a newbie to this community, sometimes that takes a while!), then broadcast it to our community in ways that are specific to the issue, the audience, and our strategy. For example, I may take a story that we publish to our site and share it on Twitter by posing a question; post it to Facebook and tag a group that is involved; print up doorhangers and canvas a neighborhood that is affected; and make it the subject of our monthly-ish News n’Brews events. Each tool we use has specific strengths and weaknesses, and so we try to use them to maximize their strengths. I strive for specificity and strategy with everything I share.

One of the most fun parts of my job is sharing who we are. When I was first hired, I launched a reader survey to take a general temperature check on how our community perceived us. Something I heard over and over from readers was that they were interested in the people behind Charlottesville Tomorrow – which makes perfect sense to me. We’re a small community, and while it would be nice to think we can hide behind all our fun tech toys and just broadcast content, people want to connect with other people. For some readers, making that personal connection might be a gateway to our content. So I encourage our reporters to share stories they’ve written across their own social networks; I work on getting them in front of our community at events and as speakers; and we have fun sharing what’s happening around the office across our social media platforms.

We believe this area is special and we cover what we cover because we want it to stay that way. Finding ways to make that content affect people personally is important, and that’s what I work towards every day!

Connect with Jennifer and Charlottesville Tomorrow on Twitter