Freight Rail Works, but Lacks Ongoing Engagement

One thing we plan to do on our blog is to highlight and recognize the work of others in the advocacy arena. Today it’s

Not just a website, the Association of American Railroads has done a great job drawing interest to their cause through clear, concise television advertisements. Simple and easy to follow, these ads introduce users quickly to the association’s purpose – to show the jobs, carbon footprint savings and overall importance of freight rail to the economy.

The website itself is perfectly positioned to help the cause. Visually-engaging, the site, much like the ads, is easy to understand and provides the interactivity and “quick hits” users are looking for. Users can, among others things, quickly read the stories of railworkers, see the jobs rail helps to create and more. For the association, it’s an easy way to educate and engage an audience on the strength and importance of their industry.

The problem is, the site lacks the content and interactive pieces to keep users coming back.

While the website does a great job of grabbing a user’s attention from the moment they log on, what it doesn’t do is provide the dynamic aspects that keep users returning day after day. What I’m keying on here specifically is intelligently-filtered dynamic content – from the positive “State awards $12M in railroad grants and loans – Sep 19, 2012 – Wisconsin State Journal” to the negative “Clackamas County anti-rail measure passes comfortably; effect could resonate for decades – Sep 20, 2012 – The Oregonian.” The issue here is that Freight Rail Works provides little to no reason for me to come back after I review the site once. Adding this type of dynamic content, along with the ability to respond to it and ask that users take action on the organization’s behalf – that is the type of education and engagement that drives action.

It’s a simple change needed, not a major site overhaul, but one that would better position the organization as the thought leader in the arena and THE place to go to find out the latest on how “Freight Rail Works.”