2.1 Building a Weather-Ready Nation Through Visual Storytelling

Monday, 8 January 2018: 2:00 PM
Ballroom E (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Corey Pieper, NWS, Fort Worth, TX

Visual communication is one of the most important ways people share information with one another. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a world without photography, film, signage or web design. The National Weather Service’s Communications Office uses visual content extensively to support its strategic plan to build a Weather-Ready Nation. Custom graphics and videos have become an integral part of our weather preparedness and weather safety messaging on webpages and on social media. We use visuals to help reach a wide range of people with different backgrounds and to communicate our messages clearly and quickly. Over the course of the past two years, we have strived to align our messaging with how people consume online information. We’ve found that our online engagement is highest when we focus on creating high-quality content and finding creative ways to tie our messages back to what’s trending or what’s relevant on any given day. Using creativity and delivering high-quality content is essential in communicating our messages, especially in today's world of fast-moving social media feeds and short attention spans. In some of our more popular online messaging plans, such as Hurricane Preparedness Week, total solar eclipse, seasonal safety campaigns, and #SafePlaceSelfie, using graphics and video to tell a story has been an effective way to grab a user’s attention. Once we have their attention, a clear and specific message is needed to ensure our information is comprehended and retained. Using examples of our best work, we will show how using creative and compelling visuals can improve user engagement and expand the reach of weather safety information.
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