By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager
When blogging became all the rage several years ago, it was common to see corporations and even state and federal government agencies jumping aboard.
But you didn’t see many local governments taking part – and you still don’t.
The reason the City of College Station decided to start blogging in 2010 was simple. It was an effective way to tell our story better. A decade later, the city blog continues to be a powerful cornerstone of our public outreach strategy.
Since we launched the blog in August 2010, we’ve published 1,375 posts, resulting in more than 800,000 views and tens of thousands of shares through social media. They also spawned thousands of stories reported by local media outlets.
In our first year of blogging, we averaged about 1,500 views per month. In 2019, we averaged 12,000 views per month, an eightfold increase. We dropped off a bit for much of this year because of the pandemic, but we still had our third most views with more than 105,000.
Our most-viewed blog of 2020 was about College Station’s most popular baby names, which received well over 2,600 views. The seven-year-old post about reporting power outages remains our most-read piece overall with more than 24,000 views, including 1,475 new ones in 2020.
Top Blog Posts of 2020
While blogging is rare for municipalities, you see even fewer cities delivering regular podcasts featuring local government leaders. Public Communications produced seven podcasts in 2020 that received hundreds of downloads and plays through various podcast platforms, the city blog, and YouTube.
The “All Up in Your Business” series featuring Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz and Public Communications Director Jay Socol has become especially popular. The series explores the rumors and realities about new restaurants, stores, and other development coming to town. The recording sessions are also captured on video to expand the distribution even more.
The year’s most popular episode, posted the first week of the year, featured Dunkin Donuts and Bucees. It had 224 downloads on Podbean and was played more than 1,500 times on the city blog and YouTube channel.
The podcast also proved useful for informing the public about the ins-and-outs of the FY 21 proposed budget. The four-part series was downloaded an impressive 488 times and had a total reach of 1,132, including blog and YouTube views.
Top Podcasts of 2020
Reach (downloads + views on city blog and YouTube)
While most city-produced video content is intended for broadcast on our own Channel 19, many attract substantial viewership on our YouTube channel. The most viewed video of 2020 was the courageous story of Solid Waste employee Dendy Brown, who was severely injured on the job in 2018 and returned to work 25 months later.
Overall, the city YouTube channel attracted more than 62,000 clicks that consumed 2,500 hours of viewing time. Our own Mark Beal and Brazos Multimedia’s Chad Cockrum are the creative forces behind most of our video products.
Top Videos of 2020
Happy New Year!
Colin Killian has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as the associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.
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