Online Video as a Grassroots Campaigning Tool

With a federal election looming quickly in Canada on October 2015, online video could one of the best ways to get an individual candidate’s messages across to the electorate. There are only a precious few days left now for door-to-door campaigning and limited access to the local media, however, online video offers a great way for candidates to connect on a personal level with hundreds or thousands of viewers, control the messaging and reach many more people than possible on walk-abouts. This tool also has a broader application in corporate and other spheres where constituents or audiences are diverse and far-flung.

Below is an example of a series of video clips produced during a previous federal election¬†for one forward-thinking candidate in Toronto. Uploaded within hours onto his own “channel” on YouTube and Tweeted to followers, this series allows the candidate to speak heart-to-heart about why the constituency is special, why he feels a connection to their issues and what he can do differently.

Kevin’s channel can be seen here.

And, by the way, you can have a lot more fun with this medium (and perhaps attract some buzz) than you can with many other communications tools, as illustrated in this cheeky video for the same candidate.

The nice thing, by the way, about using YouTube as a distribution channel is that it is quick, platform independent (works on iPhones, for example, unlike Flash-based players used on most corporate Web sites), can be embedded anywhere (such as other Web sites, as seen on this page), and is free. If desired, you can also set privacy options so that only specified audiences can watch the video and block advertisements.

The same communications approach could be taken by CEOs and other leaders in regular “fireside chats” with employees, professionals updating clients on new developments in areas of interest, not-for-profits campaigning for funds, etc. By adding in free social media tools such as YouTube, iTunes, Twitter and others, you then have an easy and inexpensive way to distribute your messages without relying on traditional news media or expensive advertising.

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