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Connecting with young voters crucial for media in election year

Connecting with young voters crucial for media in election year
Connecting with young voters crucial for media in election year

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This has been called the ultimate election year, with voters in at least 64 countries, making up 49% of people globally, heading to the polls in national elections.

With Gen Z’s media consumption habits so digitally focused, international, national and regional publishers, broadcasters and journalists should be preparing to play their part in the history-making, and thinking urgently about the most effective digital communication strategy and how online communities can be used to connect and inspire first-time voters.

Every platform has a different approach but at Snap we have strict content guidelines and carry out rigorous checks and moderation to ensure reporting is accurate and ethical.

Providing the right tone of voice – one that is informative yet grabs and then keeps the attention – is imperative, as is knowing the best profile from which to share the content.

At present my diary is packed with meetings – many of them via inbound requests – with various news outlets, and I am providing education, training and information about how journalists can create engaging political content and how Snapchat can best be harnessed for election-based communication. 

Be the face of your coverage

One of the most fundamental considerations is who should present your digital coverage. Our strong recommendation is that publishers choose one or two personalities to ‘front’ the election content across their online communities.

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A journalist who can be the face of the content, working on behalf of a publication, will more readily become a familiar person audiences start to recognise. On Snapchat, for instance, journalists can set up their own public profile, aligned with the publication they work for, posting on the app from their mobile phones, with up-to-the-minute stories and behind-the-scenes content.

Unfiltered ‘come-along-with-me’ style coverage or conducting a vox pop on the street, all filmed on a mobile phone and uploaded to a personal profile, taps into that precious ‘behind the curtain’ vibe and will help prompt the element of trust that is crucial to cultivating relationships with viewers.

Platform profile: How to reach the 70 million people using Snapchat for news

Prepare to commit to the output

The key to success here is frequency. I would encourage journalists on Snap, for example, to post up to 30 stories a day, every day, in the run-up to the election, as well as three to five short-form Spotlight videos covering specific issues, such as ‘top three things to know’ or exploring a hot topic.

That said, there is certainly a place for company-fronted content. More polished, informative, episodic pieces can live happily under a media owner’s profile but would always be a less intimate series of shares. For these profiles we would recommend a baseline of day-to-day coverage, making sure there’s a regular drumbeat of news.

Fine-tuning content and delivery style to appeal to young voters

Once you have the format and frequency sorted, the content and delivery style is the final major consideration. The most effective clips are those which grab the attention in the first second, so avoid any preamble and get your audience engaged from the get-go.

Informative or educational content will work well in the election period, delivering need-to-know updates relevant to young voters in particular. Oh, and it goes without saying that vertical filming is critical here, for the best aesthetic.

Be familiar with every platform’s policies

Every platform has different policies around the posting of political content so be sure to familiarise yourself with those and adapt your content accordingly. For example, the posts of any content partner on Snapchat will be subject to pre-moderation to ensure there is no misinformation being shared with large audiences.

A report from Integral Ad Science this year found that Spotlight and Creator content on Snap is 99% brand safe, up to Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) standards, which is an important consideration as an advertiser.

Elections are an opportunity to reach new subscribers

Modern elections are like none that have gone before thanks to digital media and round-the-clock news, each of which has its own distinct role to play in inspiring people – particularly those going to the polls for the first time – to get out and cast their ballot.

Of course, however interesting and accessible the content is, there will always be a lot of people who won’t be interested in politics, but the nature of platforms like Snapchat that allow for audiences to discover new content, there is a perfect opportunity to engage people in your material and bring them on board as a new follower.

Elections are the perfect opportunity for publishers to draw in new subscribers, and getting that content strategy right will only enhance your success.

Email [email protected] to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our “Letters Page” blog

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