Digital communications are far more efficient than traditional media. When delivering your department message, digital mediums can spread the word to large audiences your audience in a fraction of the time. We talked to Lachlan McKenzie, Assistant Director, Strategy and Media to find out how Transport for NSW is driving productivity through their digital communications strategy. Read more to find out why Lachlan thinks that traditional media no longer the communications king.
How have digital mediums changed the way Government departments communicate in the last 10 years?
Lachlan McKenzie: Probably one of the most dramatic shifts centres around how the majority of our communications channels now go directly to customers or stakeholders, bypassing the media almost completely.
In the past we would rely heavily on media releases to pitch the information we wanted to transmit through to various audiences.
Given the declining resource levels across the media industry, and burgeoning competition for journalists’ attention, it makes sense to exploit ways that are more efficient in reaching our audiences and easier to control the messages that are conveyed to them.
What has been the biggest road block you’ve encountered while building your digital communication strategy?
LM: I’ve come into an organisation where there are a number of legacy platforms or channels that made sense sometime ago, but may not anymore. My approach is “what’s this meant to do, does it still do it and if so how could we do it better?”
In that sense, the road block is the menagerie of systems and status quo assumptions about how digital communications is being done, in comparison to how it should be done.
What impact have digital mediums had on reaching external stakeholders?
LM: With a number of major infrastructure projects, we manage the disruption communication that goes to every individual and stakeholder that is either identified by us, or signs up for regular tailored communication.
Through websites like MySydneyCBD.nsw.gov.au we’re able to provide tailored information on a regular basis that can tell a business on George Street or a resident in East Sydney what’s coming up in their part of Sydney and how to plan around it if necessary.
What road block do you think Government Departments still need to overcome?
LM: Traditional media is not king, it’ll tell you it is… but I disagree. More people get news from their Facebook feeds than through any other medium – noting the propensity for mastheads to prioritise breaking news through their social channels.
There will always be press conferences and media releases, but Government shouldn’t be afraid to break more news direct to customers, stakeholders and voters direct through social and make traditional media do some ‘journalism.’