I am not talking about manifestos or their 5 year plan, which has its importance, but isn’t really read (consumed) by voters. I am talking about content marketing.
Political parties have been doing content marketing since their existence. Building friendship with journalists, leaking information about opposition, sponsoring events, trying to get eyeballs and attention without directly paying for it, is all content marketing. But there has been tectonic shift in content marketing methods.
What I’m about to say applies to only one percent of the population, but that one percent is a big influence.
So what is news with Content Uproar!
Content is no longer the private property of large media houses. Consumption platforms have changed. The authority of newspapers and media houses has dwindled significantly, and further no very few go to news portals to consume news. Just buying advertorial is not going to be enough to get the attention of voters. The discussion has shifted to newer platforms that aren’t controlled by political parties or publishers.
What should be their strategy?
Develop Content not platform
Parties shouldn’t get greedy, trying to get all visitors on their website. Instead, they should be aggressive to use Facebook , Twitter and even publishers as their platform. Though no publisher in India has openly accepted their political allegiances (even Pioneer doesn’t accept it) and developing Niticentral.com by BJP and HamaraCongress.com by Congress could be a great move but only for hard core loyals. Parties should engage voters by using the platforms of already established publishers like Firstpost.com or Rediff.com.
Knowing Ambassadors, Enemies, and Switzerlands
A few people are already convinced of the party’s agenda. These people need to be continually informed so that they can fight attacks from opponents.
Knowing enemies help
It saves energy to know if there is hope of conversion or not, and further you can engage enemies in communication which just drains their energy and clog their communication bandwidth.
They are the most important group for any political party as they are ones who move the extra 5% vote which could decide the fate of a political party. Also they are ones that make the winning wave, if they think any party is winning. They are the group that will like to go with the winner of discussion/ debate. Parties need to empower their ambassadors who can amplify their messages.
Developing anonymous content
I am not sure if this is legally right or not. It’s definitely not morally correct. But parties are known to have crossed these boundaries a long time ago. So if this gives them wrong ideas, I’m not to be blamed.
The Internet provides you a mob at a very large scale, and you can easily hide behind the mob. There are thousands of memes which are so wrong that any intelligent person won’t even bother to complaint against it, but at the same time you have audience which is quite stupid.
It isn’t something I’ve conjured up in my evil mind but what we all see on Facebook everyday. Say for instance this one!
My assumption is that its done by political parties and their foot soldiers.
Though we all wish to believe we know the secret recipe of viral content, it remains unpredictable as ever. Real time metrics of the viral effect of content is important. If some content shows sign of becoming popular it should be given the initial push.
Parties have always employed best practices from the industry and today digital content marketing has as important as traditional marketing, if not more.
About Author: Arjun Maheshwari is co-founder of Betaout.com, a editorial project management platform for publishers and content marketing agencies.