Better Beginnings, a program of the Arkansas Department of Human Services, connects Arkansas families with information and care that helps their children experience a safe, happy, healthy childhood. Better Beginnings is designed to improve the level of quality in childcare and early childhood education programs across the state.
ComGroup specialists worked with Better Beginnings staff to review the current list of child care providers in Arkansas, looking for demographic information within ownership roles. Our specialists conducted a thorough analysis of population growth in Spanish-speaking communities across the state. We pulled website analytics for the best-performing resources in the Family Resource Library to drive the decision-making process for content development. The media planning team conducted distribution and reach analysis of the state’s four Spanish-language print publications. From this research, it led our specialists to the discovery that three of the four publications publish bi-monthly, all simultaneously. Because of this primary research, our specialists developed a strategy to begin educating families in Spanish-speaking communities about quality early child care.
Our firm annually leads the Better Beginnings staff through a strategic planning session to determine objectives, strategies and target audiences. The planning session consists of a diverse group of management and staff members from DHS. During the planning session for the past year, based on demographic research conducted across state populations, the client asked that our specialists include Spanish- language outreach. In addition to the demographic research, DHS staff received a number of calls requesting Spanish-language information for families. During the research phase of the project, the public relations team identified the top resources in the Family Resource Library. Our PR specialists had those top-performing resources translated into Spanish, netting 21 new pieces of content for the target audience.
Our specialists developed a strategy to reach out to the Spanish-speaking community via the popular Family Resource Library, which had been in place at ARBetterBegnnings.com since 2014. The plan included paid, earned, shared and owned channel outreach to successfully reach the target audience. The objective was to create 21 resources in the fiscal year. The goals of the resources were to communicate with Spanish-speaking families about the value of quality child care, what this care looks like in practice and how those families could find Better Beginnings care within their own communities.
In July 2016, the beginning of Better Beginnings’ fiscal year, our specialists began the translation process. The 21 resources were given to a translator within DHS for final approval. Once translated, the resources were uploaded to the brand new Spanish-language Family Resource Library (Biblioteca de Recursos en español) on the client’s website. During the translation process, our PR specialists wrote a series of social media posts to promote the resources and had those posts translated. We uploaded each resource as printable and shareable PDF files. Our digital specialists also recommended we upload the resources as plain text on a page to optimize search performance. We believe that strategy contributed to the overwhelming performance of the content.
Once all resources were live on the site, our specialists began pushing distribution throughout the state. In paid channels, we placed translated print ads with trackable Bit.ly links that directed readers to the resources on the client’s site. The ads were placed in the state’s top three Spanish-language print publications.
Our PR specialists developed a news release to promote the new resources and distributed it to Spanish-language media outlets, both print and broadcast, across the state.
Finally, our PR specialists used the translated social media posts to include the new resources in the monthly editorial calendars for Facebook and Twitter. Most often, the posts included photographs of Latino families and small children. Social media outreach of the Spanish-language resources did not include paid support. The budget for the overall project was $5,000.
One major challenge faced by our specialists was the state requirement that information from DHS is at a fifth-grade reading level. This state requirement paired with the translation of resources created another challenge, which we overcame by having a Spanish-speaking member of DHS translate the resources.
Website analytics showed a 10 percent increase in new visitors and a 40 percent increase in return visitors following the addition of the resources. Facebook engagements following the addition increased by 78 percent, and we believe, proved more successful for the strategy. The resource library became one of the top sections of the website after the addition of these resources. Because of the success, our specialists have included more translated resources in the client’s plan for next fiscal year. Our specialists also want to incorporate broadcast media into the client’s plan to increase the reach of the target audiences.