Which politicians will make digital video work for them?


Asking why politicians and candidates are not making use of digital videos they already have

Liberal democrat former councillor in Reading Daisy Benson set the standard six years ago with this video:

In an ideal world, far more candidates would be producing content such as this. Most of the candidates already have the kit to make videos such as this, but lack the skills and confidence to pull this off. That has certainly been my experience in Cambridge, where I am going out of my way to make it as easy as possible to to provide candidates for the parties standing candidates in the city to have video footage.

“Hang on – making videos is hard, and so is speaking into a camera”

It’s certainly something that’s very easy to take for granted once you become competent in producing them. Think of all of you who drive cars. Think of the knowledge you have to have in order to drive a car. Once you get used to driving it’s second nature. But when you first start, being in control of such a huge machine is quite terrifying. Well…it was for me.

Sophie Barnett of Labour in Romsey, and Sharon Kaur of The Greens in Petersfield setting the pace

Note to self, get some consistency with the titles and captions

The above are their first short video clips for the campaign. My aim here is for voters to see and hear candidates in their own words, rather than having a series of still photographs of candidates at various places – nice as it is to see evidence of candidates out and about.

“How do parties make those videos go further?”

For a start, have one video ‘pinned’ to the top of websites and social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter. Short video clips are much more ‘clickable’ than extended ones – which can be linked to on separate pages. They don’t need to be on the landing page.

Take Caroline Pidgeon, the Lib Dems’ mayoral candidate for London. She visited Cambridge last year and I interviewed her – see here. Recently there was a well-received feature of her in the Evening Standard. Furthermore, her performance, along with Sian Berry of The Greens, was well received at the LBC Radio hustings. The problem with all of these is that short video clips of Caroline and Sian are not prominently featured, if at all. Given the media is focusing on their male opponents in Conservatives (Zac Goldsmith) & Labour (Sadiq Khan), it’s essential that Caroline and Sian – and Sophie Walker of the Women’s Equality Party use video to try and compensate for the media gap.

With video, my take is that (assuming they are reasonably well done and have a half-decent audio), they will work for you while you are asleep. They allow residents and voters to hear you in your own voice at their convenience rather than at your convenience. But with individuals and parties still at the ‘dipping toes in the water’ stage or wanting to leave things to the professionals, political parties are not making nearly as much of the opportunities digital and mobile video can provide for their campaigns.



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