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Reaching and engaging audiences

Dee Cotgrove, Executive Head of Media and Communications, outlines the importance of reach and engagement in our role as official forecaster for the nation and describes how new digital media is shaping the way we interact.

The public particularly come to us in times of severe weather so it is vital that we are trusted, listened to and acted upon. Therefore, we make our forecasts as accessible as we possibly can.

We also know that weather is of daily interest to the British public. We live in a changeable climate and so provide content that services that continual interest.

Public interest - public trust

Public trust in the Met Office is high. Figures from regular surveys show that around 80% of people trust us, either a little or a lot. It is essential that the public feels confident in our forecasts and we know the drivers of trust are accuracy, professionalism and expertise, and our science and technology.

As weather impacts on so many aspects of our lives, we work with a range of partners. For example, we work with the highways agencies across the UK providing safety information for the road network and with tourist boards to relate the weather to pastimes and interests. Read more about how we are communicating through new, innovative partnerships.

Digital is more efficient

Like other public sector organisations we are acutely aware of the need to be efficient. Innovative digital delivery is one important way of achieving this.

In the multi-media, digital age, making our forecasts accessible and providing relevant content has, in some ways, been made easier. The public can access forecasts from our own channels, with audiences broadening out from traditional broadcast content consumption to online video, apps, six-second Vines (looping, animated videos), as well as social engagement with personal referral.

Our current reach is wide, with 850,000 followers on social media (300,000 of these on Twitter), over 3.5 million YouTube views and 5.4 million views of our Vines. Our app has had over 12 million downloads and will be upgraded soon (read more about our app). Our content is shared widely and even trends on Twitter at times (read more about our social media engagement).

We also work with a range of media partners. Our video and graphical content is increasingly posted online by news providers such as the Mail Online and The Telegraph (read more about our work with media partners including print media and TV broadcasters).

Nothing without people

With such an attention on new digital media it is important to remember that the people component remains vital. For instance, Met Office weather advisors support decision making during severe weather. Often helping emergency responders with particular concerns in their regions. Find out how we're listening to emergency responders, finding out how to improve our knowledge of what matters to them.

Weather presenters, such as Laura Tobin, many of whom trained with the Met Office, are the familiar faces on TV helping people make informed choices. We are also finding that our operational Met Office forecasters are increasingly popular on our daily online video forecasts. The Met Office continues to train people all over the world in weather and climate. One recent example is our climate modelling training in Tanzania.

People love sharing stories about the weather. Our Weather Observations Website (WOW) enables crowdsourcing and sharing observations of weather - from temperatures to snow depths. WOW is not only helping us to see the real-time impacts of weather on the ground, it is even helping our outreach to young people, feeding the next generation's interest in weather.