7th April 2015

Thinking Micro to Woo Young Voters this Election

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Hopefully you are all following the General Election with at least as much enthusiasm as my partner and me. By all accounts, this is one of the most unpredictable campaigns for years, which certainly makes for exciting TV viewing and web surfing!

And now it seems we election anoraks have a new source of political commentary to get our teeth into. Sky News has apparently launched a dedicated election microsite called Biffed!, offering a more light-hearted take on political news. Bearing a considerable resemblance to the Independent’s i100 and the Sun’s Sun Nation, the site features lots of short, snappy and satirical articles, all jam-packed with images, GIFs and videos to make the content even more eye-catching for readers.

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Crucially, the content is mobile-friendly and clearly designed to engage voters of the 18-24 age group in the political process. With the prospect of yet another hung parliament looming large, the so-called “youth vote” is a key demographic that could very well swing the election.

Political engagement among the young though, has been in sharp decline over the last few decades. Less than 52 per cent of registered voters aged 18 to 24 cast their ballots in the 2010 election, compared with 74.7 per cent of those aged 65 and above. Many young people feel that the main parties do not relate to, or understand, their experiences or the struggles they face day-to-day.

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Not only are party leaders on the hunt for ways to galvanise younger voters’ interest and harness their latent political power, media outlets across all platforms are also keen to reach out to them to boost their audiences and help bolster their long-term business success. In this regard, the media and political parties are no different from any other brand – constantly battling with competitors to both maintain the loyalty of existing customers and to catch the eye of new ones.

To strike this balance successfully, it is crucial that – whether you are a politician, media outlet or a brand owner – you ensure that your communications appeal to all your target audiences and are delivered on the platforms they actually use.

Microsites like Biffed! that are able to be easily viewed on the move via mobile phones or tablet computers are a great way to achieve this goal and reach out to younger consumers. They allow brands to provide content tailored specifically for the audience, with the key messages that will interest them most and in the tone of voice and format that will most appeal to them.

These bijou sites also offer plenty of scope for the use of imagery and videos. You may remember that I wrote in a previous blog that visuals receive 84 per cent more views and 40 times more shares than text alone, which makes such content highly desirable for brand owners keen to make their marketing campaigns go viral and reach the maximum number of consumers.

The General Election looks to be a close race this year, and the final outcome on Polling Day will be determined by the success of the main parties’ marketing to woo trickier demographics, like the youth vote. Party political campaigns are no different from any other marketing programme. Politicians want to persuade the public to vote for their party rather than the opposition, just as brand owners want to encourage consumers to purchase their product over those of their competitors.

The next few weeks will offer plenty of opportunities for brand owners to learn from the political establishment how to better customise their communications to reach out to target audiences. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing how successful their strategies will be.

By Michael Wood, senior B2B copy writer