Promotion and Outreach
GSA's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies offers the following services to federal agencies to help them educate the public on agency initiatives and programs. These activities are designed to build consumer awareness of, and access to, information through publications, which will be available free of charge from the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies' distribution facility in Pueblo, Colorado. The Office of Citizen Services can begin carrying out the outreach activities described below as soon as copies of the publication are available in Pueblo.
The costs of implementing the media/marketing plan are covered by the Office of Citizen Services. Agencies or their private sector partners are responsible for printing and covering the distribution costs through Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies' Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC’s) order fulfillment facility in Pueblo, Colorado.
At an agency’s request, FCIC will limit the number of promotions to match the number of publications available. FCIC also has the authority to accept funding from private sector partners in support of federal information projects. This way, private groups can partner with agencies to share printing and distribution costs in a joint project.
Marketing and promotional activities may include, but are not limited to the following:
Listings in the Consumer Information Catalog
FCIC prints and distributes approximately 10 million copies of the catalog each year through members of congress, schools, libraries, consumer groups, federal offices with large numbers of visitors, such as Social Security offices, and in response to individual requests. The FCIC Review Board makes decisions quarterly regarding publications to be listed in the catalog.
FCIC will put the full text of the publications up on its awarding-winning website, www.publications.usa.gov. The website also carries an FCIC press room including news releases and social media links; a calendar of upcoming consumer-related events and conferences; news from federal agencies; and the entire Consumer Information Catalog. Consumers access pages on the FCIC website approximately 25 million times annually. FCIC will also explore adding appropriate links from USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov, official web portals of the federal government.
The ongoing “pop up” survey developed by the American Consumer Satisfaction Index indicates that pueblo.gsa.gov scores:
- An average of 8.5 out of 10 on “convenience of the publication ordering process,”
- and 8.4 on usefulness of search results
FCIC Press Releases
FCIC prepares and sends press releases based on agency publications to its email list of 8,000 editors and reporters who have asked to receive FCIC information. The press releases are cleared through the agencies. The releases highlight the most important information from FCIC publications and explain how consumers can get copies by mail, toll-free telephone, or on the web.
When publications are available in Spanish, FCIC writes press releases in Spanish and distributes them to its Hispanic media mailing list of nearly 2,000 Hispanic media outlets.
When appropriate, FCIC also explores placing a letter with “Dear Abby,” “Heloise” or a similar columnist. “Dear Abby” appears in more than 1,000 newspapers nationwide, and more than 500 newspapers carry “Heloise.” In the past, letters in these columns have generated more than 100,000 requests for information.
Personal Promotional Visits
FCIC’s outreach team encourages articles based on federal publications through quarterly visits to major consumer and women’s magazines in New York City, such as U.S. News and World Report, Money, Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, and Black Enterprise. These magazines generally have a three to six month lead time.
Personal promotional pitches to major Washington, DC, media include The Washington Post, the Washington Times, USA Today, U.S. News and World Report, and the major wire services, including AP, Gannett, Copley News Service, and Knight-Ridder.
The outreach team also crafts personalized publication pitches to bloggers nationwide who write about money, consumer and parenting subjects. Select publications may also be promoted on the Pueblo Twitter feed and Facebook page and may be made available online through the Scribd social publishing website.
National Contact Center and 1 (800) FED INFO
The National Contact Center (NCC) of FCIC serves as a single point of contact for individuals with questions about federal agencies, programs and services. The NCC, operated under contract by the private sector, also processes telephone requests for consumer publications, including publications available through the cooperative publishing program. Specially selected and trained staff field calls in English and Spanish from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday Eastern Time. Information agents at the NCC also refer callers with questions to the appropriate federal agencies, answer emails from citizens within two business days, and are available for direct online assistance from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. FCIC adds publication information to the extensive database used by its information agents and the public.
Consumer Action Handbook
FCIC adds appropriate information from federal publications to the Consumer Action Handbook and provides a direct link to the agency website through the electronic edition at www.usa.gov/topics/consumer.shtml. The Handbook is one of the most informative and popular consumer documents ever issued by the government. Over 500,000 copies are distributed free of charge annually through members of congress, consumer organizations, schools, and libraries nationwide. The first Spanish-language edition of the Handbook, the Guia, was released in June 2007.
Special Targeted Promotions
FCIC can assist federal and corporate partners who have planned their own media and marketing campaigns, by providing special addresses and fulfillment services. For example, FCIC was the distribution arm of the “Powerful Bones/Powerful Girls” campaign supported jointly by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Osteoporosis Foundation. For many years FCIC has included special publication offers with tax refunds sent out by the IRS.
FCIC news releases automatically go to congressional offices in Washington DC. In addition, FCIC designs special publication offers that are sent to congressional district offices throughout the country. A recent special publications offer had a 21 percent response rate, resulting in the distribution of 10,231 publications in Spanish and 30,305 publications in English. Congressional offices distribute FCIC publications to their constituents.
Spanish Language Promotions
For publications available in Spanish, FCIC offers media and marketing services comparable to those in English.
In addition, every fiscal year FCIC coordinates a direct mail publication offer for Spanish-speaking individuals through community organizations and trusted leaders. CIC purchases a mailing list of consumer protection and counseling organizations, childcare and health care providers, mental health clinics and social services centers in Hispanic communities across the country and offers them bulk copies of appropriate publications in Spanish.
In 2007, 20 federal agencies and private organizations participated in this project. Over more than one million copies of 43 different publications in Spanish were requested. The cost of this project will be an estimated 12 cents per copy in 2008.
FCIC also posts information in 25 other languages on Multilingual Gateway and has conducted targeted mailings to communities and organizations in major Asian languages.
If you have any questions or need additional information, please call (202) 501-1794.