Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Nick could learn from Barack's State of the Union preparation

I spent some time yesterday evening geeking out on the White House website in advance of tonight's State of the Union address. This is the annual prestige occasion when the US President addresses both houses of Congress on where the nation is at, and on his priorities for the coming year.

The coverage on the White House website is something that I think Nick Clegg could learn from in three particular ways:

  • Telling people exactly what's going to happen and when. Videos outlining the traditions behind the State of the Union and the planned coverage and what will happen afterwards;
  • Providing the facility for people to watch enhanced coverage on the web or their phone - with graphics illustrating the President's points as he makes them;
  • An immediate web panel of senior advisers afterwards taking questions via Twitter.
Obama is clearly using the mechanisms of Government to their best advantage there. Clegg's opportunities in this country are yet to be maximised, I think.

However, we can't use Government to publicise the one annual occasion when all eyes are on him - his Autumn Conference speech.

Maybe we should be looking at what lessons we could learn from the great campaigning minds around Obama. I can see some You Tube videos with people anticipating the speech and what could be in it. Not difficult to collect in these days of smartphones shooting HD video.

I don't know if we could do the live web streaming. My guess is not, but we should have video with graphics for people to watch later.

And, finally, a webchat with Farron, Shirley and Paddy immediately afterwards.

The follow up actually continues all week, with Obama doing a hangout on Google Plus on Monday.

What do you think? When Nick has something to really say, we should look at how we can enhance the follow up. Have a closer look at how the Obama team does it. If nothing else, it'll feel a bit like an episode of the West Wing.

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