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Media skills more vital than ever for UK politicians

19 April 2017

The media skills of British politicians in the coming campaign will be more important than ever because voter fatigue could play a huge role in the outcome.

The last General Election was only in 2015, while last year the news pages were filled with Brexit stories. Now the UK public are subject to a third major vote in only three years. If that’s not political overload, I don’t know what is.

What should they do?  

If the politicians want to be heard by those voters who make the difference, they need to be interesting. They can’t use the usual mundane language that most of them normally use. They need to dress up their points in interesting ways.

Like him or not, this was a major reason why Donald Trump was so successful. He didn’t say: “I want to stop Mexicans coming to the US illegally.” He said this: “When do we beat Mexico at the boarder. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists.”

I’m certainly not agreeing with that statement or suggesting that UK politicians use that exact language. However, they do need to dress up their points so voters who are sick of politics will listen.

They need to dress up their points by using analogies, emotion, stories and a number of other elements that bring their points to life. Then people will listen and remember what they said. But if they don’t do this, they won’t get their message through to many of the voters who count.

What about Click Bait?

Click bait is where enticing headlines are used in website news stories to encourage readers to click on the story to read past the headline. News outlets need people to click, so they need great headlines.

News organisations will be aware of voter fatigue so will need even more interesting headlines than usual to attract readers. If the politicians don’t give them some great material to create this interest, they may find that the media sensationalise headlines more than usual. This is another reason why the politicians need to dress up their points and work with the media, rather than see them as the enemy.

Time will tell who does this best.

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Written by

Pete is a leading New Zealand media trainer and regular blogger for his company, Media Training NZ . He has helped leaders from all sectors of society communicate with the media and other stakeholders. Pete is a former daily newspaper reporter and press secretary in the New Zealand government. From these roles, he understands the media process from both sides of the camera.

Add a comment2 Comments

Reply Chris Christoff | April 20th, 2017 at 8:03pm
Pete, I do enjoy your insight into the media and I learn a lirtle more with each one. Keep them coming.

Chris Christoff, author, property developer, IT professional
Reply Pete Burdon (Author) | April 20th, 2017 at 8:20pm
Thanks Chris. I really appreciate your interest. I also found the lessons in your book on goal setting really valuable. For anyone interested it called "Goal Setting for people who can't set goals".

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