Simon Swan is Head of Digital Marketing at Met Office, the UK's national weather service. Met Office provides weather and climate-related services to government departments as well as the private sector. They were nominated for the Masters of Marketing awards in "Content Marketing, Creating an uncontested marketplace through Content Marketing." Swan's role is to determine and implement strategies to increase brand affinity through digital strategies. In this episode of the Social Business Engine podcast, Swan explains Met Office's unique approach to reaching and engaging its audience through content delivered through digital channels.
Met Office's mission as the UK's national weather service is to protect life and property by providing access to weather information at the right time, and in the context in which people need it. Implementation of digital strategies has allowed Met Office to build authority with the public and to enhance their main purpose.
A lot of their engagement takes place in the early morning and in the evening, likely when people are planning their day or a future trip. Met Office also attracts users for educational reasons. Peoples' curiosity as to what is rain, wind or some other weather phenomenon brings them to the Met Office website to learn. Swan points out that weather is a growing sector and by providing the best weather data and by using storytelling through their scientists, they drive reach and engagement.
Search and Storytelling
The storytelling process at Met Office begins with keyword research and looking at how users find Met Office online. Swan explains how they use Google's Knowledge Graph to identify key topics to attract new audiences. One strategy Met Office utilizes in their content marketing is building relationships with non-competitive organizations and creating content around events, holidays, or vacations.
Search plays a key role in understanding what's important to the public and identifying gaps in available content. A cross-office editorial calendar is created, and buy-in across different departments is pursued to gain participation from Met Office subject matter experts. Once the content is developed and optimized for their various distribution channels, Swan's team measures the impact. By observing and analyzing how their audience consumes content, Met Office serves to differentiate themselves and create value for their audience.
Results and Lessons Learned
Simon put a smile on my face by saying that Met Office moved from tracking followers to tracking engagement. Here at Social Business Engine, I've reiterated many times the importance of measuring the impact on the business as one of the key aspects of being a social business.
Met Office is sharing content through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to drive their audience to their website - and it's working.
Swan also points out the need for buy-in among subject matter experts at Met Office as an ongoing process. The best way to communicate the need for content marketing is to provide analytics and create an understanding of why it's needed based on data. When communicating with subject matter experts the benefit of their contributions Swan recommends talking in plain language business benefits. He does this by letting them know how their content has enhanced Met Office.
The Met Office is a UK government agency that impressively "behaves" like a commercial brand in terms of how it engages with its audience. Moving forward, the Met Office is focused on growing their content and enhancing their differentiation through mobile and other enrichments. They're also exploring influencer marketing and how they can create more content to engage the public and other organizations.
Featured On This Episode:
- Simon Swan on LinkedIn
- Met Office's website
- Met Office on Twitter and Facebook
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