Calaméo Spotlight: We Discuss Digital Publishing and Community Outreach with Jessica Geiszler

As the Marketing and Outreach Manager for the County of San Diego’s Department of Parks and Recreation, Jessica Geiszler helps make sure that residents and visitors enjoying this slice of sunny southern California know what its award-winning park system has to offer.

There’s no shortage of places to explore, with over 100 locations across 60,000 acres and more than 350 miles of trails from the coast to the desert. DPR publishes its Activity & Program Guides three times a year to keep its community up to date about events, classes and more.

We spoke with Jessica about her department’s approach to online communications and the role that Calaméo plays in their digital publications.

Tell us a little about SDC’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

DPR enhances the quality of life for residents and visitors of all ages by providing exceptional parks and recreation experiences and preserving significant natural resources. Our park system includes 36 local day-use parks, 19 regional parks, 9 camping parks, a number of open space preserves and several registered historic sites.

We promote health and wellness, safe communities and civic pride through hundreds of programs including festivals, hikes and rides, educational events and activities for youth, three strategically located recreation centers, and multiple state-of-the-art sports complexes. Daily programs enrich the lives of all patrons with a special focus on families, seniors, people with disabilities, and at-risk youth.

“Online communications take priority over print in most situations”

Why were you motivated to begin publishing digitally?

A few years ago we conducted a needs assessment survey to measure customer perceptions of parks and the services we provide. Top findings in the marketing realm were that: 1) communication preferences have shifted in favor of digital media, and 2) residents consider park and recreation services important to their quality of life—but they want to learn more about them, more often, on as many channels as possible.

This was all the proof we needed to continue to expand our online presence, and to make all print materials available in digital format! It also helped to justify a shift in resources—allowing more time for info sharing across all of our web platforms.

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How has Calaméo helped you make the most out of your online publications?

Calameo had all of the solutions we—and our customers—were looking for. In just minutes we can upload a full-color, 32-page document—and in a few hours it can be fully customized with external links, jump links, pictures, videos and zooms (for high-priority content). Publications are both interactive and high-resolution, and we don’t have to upload them to our own website! The platform is very easy-to-use, with excellent customer service.

Do you have a favorite Calaméo feature?

We love that our documents live in the cloud versus on our own web platform, which, like all platforms, can at times be slow and cumbersome. We also love that changes are instantly live, and if a mistake is made we have the option of reloading the entire updated document without having to reprogram all of our cool customizations.

Cover designed by Vincent Freeman. Image credit: County of San Diego Department and Parks and Recreation.
How has digital publishing impacted your outreach?

Online communications take priority over print in most situations. We are able to share information faster and more efficiently. We are able to better meet the needs of our consumers, while expanding our reach with new audiences.

“Calaméo allows us to take our digital publications to the next level, for an even better customer experience.”

Are there any challenges that you’ve faced in the past with your publications?

We tend to create a lot of large, colorful documents, but they take up a lot of space. They didn’t always display as intended due to long load-time, fuzzy resolution and color errors.

Our largest publications, the Activity & Program Guides now on Calaméo, are both promotional and revenue-generating; they highlight free activities and those that require a fee for service—money we apply toward ongoing maintenance and future programming. It’s important that these publications are easy to access and remain true to state.

What’s coming up next for the DPR?

We are heading into a very busy fall and winter, with many planned hikes, holiday events, animal meet-and-greets, workshops and community meetings. We look forward to sharing our parks, preserves and programming with San Diego and beyond!

Finally, what’s the single biggest reason why you would recommend Calaméo?

Calaméo allows us to take our popular Activity & Program Guides to the next level, for an even better customer experience. Interactive options, the ability to search, print and share—these add-ons offer new options for personalization that help us make better, stronger connections with park users.

For more information on parks and recreation in the county of San Diego, including tips for your next vacation or staycation, check out the Upside of Outside at sdparks.org!

The Calaméo Spotlight series showcases the very best of the Calaméo community. To be considered for our next feature, email us at contact@calameo.com. For the latest Calaméo news and updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, connect on LinkedIn or subscribe to our YouTube channel.