POLL COMMS: The seven ways to communicate an election result and what you’ll need to do to do it

 

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There’s an election coming but how can you communicate the result?

The future of the United Kingdom hangs by a thread and how we vote for the 650 MPs will have huge bearing.

The results of each poll have tremendous importance and its down to local government people to help communicate them.

Sure, there’s battalions of journalists covering the story. But the very fact there is underlines the need to have one clear voice that communicates the result on the night in real time. A voice that can cut through the national noise and answer the question: How did my vote do?

There’s SEVEN ways to communicate an election result

Pinning the handwritten results to the noticeboard

The original and best. The result written on paper and pinned to the public noticeboard. This is a legal requirement and is the first way. What you’ll need: drawing pins, a piece of paper, a pen and a noticeboard.

 

Helping journalists get the result out

Much of the local government comms team’s time on election night is helping service the needs of journalists at the count.  With a lot of deadtime until the result its a chance to put faces to names. There’s clear election law about what can and can’t be done. What you’ll need: An up-to-date copy of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists and a good working relationship with journalists and also the elections team.

Post to your website

The basic result with the basic numbers. Promptly. In real time. Not at 9.20am the next day when the webteam land and have a cup of coffee. What you’ll need: A website and someone with access to publish on it on the night.

Post to Twitter 

The basic result with the basic numbers. Add whatever the national – or local – election hashtag is. Feel free to add a video of the basic announcement too. But not the acceptance speech. Leave that to the journalists. What you’ll need: Access to the corporate Twitter account and accuracy.

Post to Facebook 

The basic result with the basic numbers. Feel free to add a video of the basic announcement too. But not the acceptance speech. Leave that to the journalists. What you’ll need: Access to the corporate Facebook account and accuracy.

Broadcast a Facebook Live

Tell people that you’ll make the broadcast and roughly what time the broadcast is expected. Keep people in the picture if that changes. A smartphone is fine. But make sure its fully charged. Take a MiFi too or run it off someone’s WiFi hotspot. Don’t rely on the venue’s public WiFi as everyone will be piling on. Run a test broadcast before you decide to do the realthink just to make sure there’s not a data blackhole. One big note of caution: the sound you’re trying to record will be lousy.  Plug into the PA system for the sound or stand close to a loudspeaker. What you’ll need: A mifi, a fully charged smartphone, a charger to make sure that happens, a power bank you can plug into to ensure that happens.

Issue an email

Lastly, there’s time in the weeks ahead of election to create an email list to post out the result in real time. Councils who experimented with this during local government elections reported strong open rates. An email to wake-up to means you don’t have to go trawling through websites and through social media to try and find the result you’re after. What you’ll need: A mailing list where people have given you their consent they’d like to be emailed.

Lastly, don’t put all your hopes of communicating into one basket. You’ll need more that that. But whatever you do make sure its properly resourced.

Picture credit: istock.

 

 

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