I love pointing out success stories in new media, and the Missouri Department of Agriculture is a great example of a government agency that understands the power of online communication, and capitalizes on it. And it’s because of the work of just a few people, who’ve taken it upon themselves to make lots of engaging content available to people online. (Disclaimer: I consult with the department on some of these projects.)
AgriMissouri Showcase: This is a blog and a podcast series that highlights Missouri-grown products, from fresh vegetables to barbecue sauces. Sarah Gehring does a great job of keeping the blog up-to-date with news about events, photos from the road, and even a weekly recipe using Missouri foods. My company helps out by producing audio and video shows about interesting Missouri products. It’s a great example of providing consumers with interesting cotent in a way that goes beyond a brochure-style website.
Missouri Farmers Market Blog: Lane McConnell travels the state visiting farmers markets to give them advice on marketing themselves. Ninety-nine percent of the people in her job would be content with occasional email blasts to the directors of the farmers markets. But not Lane. She keeps up with her very active blog, and she even has a pretty cool photo stream to highlight the kinds of things you can find at a Missouri farmers market. We’re going to be adding videos to this site, starting soon. (If you want some great down-home recipes, check out Lane’s personal blog: Home Cooking is What I Like.)
Missouri Wine Girl: Danene Beedle is a wine lover who just happens to have a job promoting Missouri wine. But her blog is a great example of where profession meets passion. It’s not a commercial for Missouri wineries — except in the sense that you can tell she loves what she’s doing, and reading her blog makes you want to experience some of those wineries for yourself.
Every one of these projects are miles ahead of what we would normally expect from a state government agency. But the passion of Sarah, Lane and Danene have led them to create lots of interesting content that benefits consumers. They have the makings of an entire “Missouri Agriculture Channel” online, and they’re showing no signs of letting up.