Local Election results are coming in as we write this and the full picture will become apparent over the weekend, once all the votes have been counted.
These Local Elections are the most important for 50 years outside of a General Election year in terms of the number of Local Councils participating.
The need to communicate locally is now even more important
It has never been more important to communicate locally as well as nationally for the main political parties and the smaller ones.
Media Friendly has been advocating “bottom up communication” for over twenty years. We have experience in media training local councillors and Cabinet Members.
The so-called “blue wall” which the Conservatives have been building across what used to be Labour heartlands is turning local politics on its head. Today, very few councils can take their “core vote” for granted any longer. Local councillors and candidates need to up their game in terms of local communication in order to make their mark.
Media Skills are now more vital than ever. Local councillors up for re-election as well as prospective candidates need to develop the skills for effective local radio and regional television interviews in order to maintain and raise their profiles with the electorate.
But you can’t just leave it for the 6 weeks before a local election. Local councillors need to be communicating throughout their tenure in charge, or in opposition.
Local media, local newspapers, local radio and regional television feed off council news. It is their bread and butter. And it is the Members they want to hear from. So what is holding them back?
The main barriers are a mistrust of the media and a general feeling that “they are out to get us”. Local media need local content and councils through their councillors can provide this. It can be a “win win” for everyone. Local media outlets get their local content for free – from local councils, local Police, local Fire Authorities and their local NHS. In return, local councillors, local members and other parts of the public sector get a platform to reach their electorate – the local audience. This platform is free. But it is not advertising, so you need to understand how “editorial” works.
In broadcast terms, this means navigating your way safely through a live interview – on local radio, or regional TV. Today this is being done mainly on Zoom or Teams – something which not everyone is comfortable with. But it also includes phone interviews and face to face once lockdown eases.
Media Friendly has been providing training courses for newly elected members, established members and senior Cabinet Members in how to “play the media game”. We run tailored Media training courses either remotely or face to face to small groups – providing individual coaching in a safe environment. We are also offer media awareness seminars and webinar for a larger groups to demonstrate the need for local, bottom-up communication and how to play the media game.
Posted by Andrew Carapiet, Director of Media Friendly, one of the UK’s leading Media Training and Communications consultancies