What can those of us who make stuff learn from the recent Corbyn campaign about how to engage and influence people?
Tucked away in all the press analysis and fretting, here's an interesting comment at The Guardian:
'He does not like mainstream media; believes its influence overrated and prefers direct personal contact or to use social media'.
Of course, he's not the first political leader to think like this.
Early on in Bill Clinton's career, when standing as governor for Arkansas, he was told a few weeks before the election, that a win looked well nigh impossible. Up for a challenge, and Arkansas being an agricultural state with farmers working long hours, Bill got up every morning around 4ish to start pressing flesh, often not returning home until midnight.
And the result?
Well, am sure you know your history... victory was his.
So putting yourself about, meeting and chatting to people works a treat...
And the next best thing?
Putting yourself about on social media, in the most personable way possible, using methods that allow for a high ROI - no, not Return On Investment, but Return On Interactivity.
Let's compare two approaches.
You decide to try and get your message out to mainstream media, via a press release. There's a vague chance you may get something featured, if it fits with overall editorial strategy currently in play... and then there's an even vaguer chance that this feature may get before eyes and ears of potential customers for you. (Honest book publishers will tell you that a big marketing spend in mainstream media in Wales for instance, often results in sales of under 100 copies).
You decide to use social media instead. Perhaps you make a video or podcast, where people can quickly decide they like and trust you - and what you do. You can talk to these people on You Tube, Facebook or Soundcloud and they can get to know you. Your blog, Facebook page or Twitter account can reveal how you work, and what motivates you. You can share what you're experimenting with and learning.
You can use e-mail and Facebook ads to find out more about people who relate to you - and what rocks their flotilla.
It doesn't matter to begin with if this group of afficionados is tiny - what matters is that that they are engaged and interested. You are starting with precise, bullseye targeting, rather than the wild, scattergun, fingers-crossed-someone-may-be-interested approach of mainstream media. You are talking with people, not at 'em...
There is lots to be learnt from this Corbyn campaign for any of us who want to attract people to what we do.
The envelope message above, for instance: Warning: Contains A New Kind Of Politics, uses classic copywriting psychology - alarm people, and then make them curious.
We repeatedly saw images and footage on mainstream and social media, of Jeremy talking in packed halls, where no one was wearing a suit. A lot of us don't wear suits, either, most of the time...
People saw hordes, and - fed up of institutions and the establishment - charged in like lemmings...
While we may not share Jeremy's politics, and wonder whether his leadership is sustainable, those of us who make anything and want others to know about it, can pay heed to the folksiness, directness, low cost and immediacy of his campaign.
You can become expert for free very quickly online on event management and social media - it just requires energy and purpose.
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