The Ohio Department of Transportation has long been a national leader in producing high-quality, informative customer-focused videos. Among its many programs is the award-winning weekly program, The Loop, featuring ODOT communications pros Erin McBride and Matt Bruning, which has garnered more than 64,000 YouTube views. The content is high quality, consistent and – I think I mentioned this – informative.
But ODOT’s communications team has discovered that TikTok provides a way to reach an entirely new and different audience with its video content that is far beyond the standard YouTube channel.
Thanks to intern AJ Overstreet, who was familiar with the TikTok platform, ODOT discovered that it could repurpose video it was already producing and, in turn, grow the engagement with their content.
The Oregon road user charge program, OReGo, has a huge challenge. It is leading the nation in implementing a road user charge program, one that is often hard to understand for people accustomed to paying a per-gallon tax at the gas pump.
And in researching ways to connect with their customers, the team at OReGO came to a realization.
“People just don’t get road user charging when you write about it,” said Michelle Godfrey, education and outreach coordinator with the Oregon Department of Transportation, in a recent phone interview.
What people need, Godfrey said, is storytelling. They need a way to have a conversation. And the outreach campaign in support of this new road user charge program, according to Godfrey, needed to answer a single specific question that should very much resonate with anyone working in transportation communications: “What matters to people?”
Local television news continues to be Americans’ most popular source for news, according to the annual Pew State of the News Media report. While the overall local TV news audience declined last year, still more than 3.4 million viewers tuned in nightly to watch the evening and late news programs, far outpacing other sources for local news including newspapers and radio.
Most state DOTs use video regularly, but a handful are producing videos that replicate the look and feel of local TV news broadcasts. These news updates typically feature a regular host, or at least a consistent lineup of hosts. And the programs focus on stories about the state DOTs that may not otherwise garner coverage in more traditional media outlets. These state DOTs are reporting their own news in a professional, hosted format that is credible and compelling.
There is a common tendency among most transportation agency communication teams to overlook one of their most important audiences – the agency employees.
Internal communications is tough, whether it is done for a major corporation or a transportation agency. The organization is generally spread across a large geographic area. Employees in different work groups and geographic areas might have different access to, and comfort with, different communication technologies. And, at the end of the day, the communication team kudos for a job well done most often come from external communications with media or the general public. Continue reading →