14 August 2013 1 Comment

Online political and public communication: Seven reasons why they fail

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals

Political-communicationPublic-Communication-Public-Affairs-communication-Online-Political communication,Online Press Relations,Online Public,Communication,Public Affairs communication Online, factors that guarantee success for Political Communication, Online Press relationsNo serious communication strategist will ignore the online media as part of the relevant tool to embrace. To think the information milieu is still like it used to be is a big mistake which will cost much. Majority of the targets, audience are now online. Wisdom therefore demands communication efforts must be concentrated on where the objective of political and public communication can be achieved. Never forget also the foundation is to establish a consistent two-way communication flow which promotes understanding as well as mutual trust.

While we must commend those who had complied with this demand, the problem we have noticed overtime is that many of these lofty initiatives often fail to achieve this goal. Many of the actors in this corridor need to take special notice and learn from some international non-profits as well as United States White House team which have provided a model we can learn from. Having said this, let us examine few out of many reasons responsible for dismal failure of other countries attempt at this.

Not staying on message: we have consistently noticed that many of these governments and organizations’ spokesperson and their team often engage reactionary approach. They allow either opposition or ‘perceived enemy’ dictate the direction of their activities. The best approach if you must be successful is to have a clear message that you want to communicate. If you really have your own clear message, 90% of the time must be focused on what you planned to say and not what outsiders are saying. Have a clear message and always be on point. That must be consistent.

No clear and written out editorial calendar: as fallout of the above. Many do not have a clear, written editorial calendar of the message they must communicate per time. While there may be occasional changes to this based on evaluation of public attitude to the message, it is often obvious lack of clear written editorial calendar make many wake up, scan the online news about their organization, policy and people attitude. The outcomes of this attempt make them jump on ‘fire-for-fire’ communication process. Often this is obvious to everyone and you may not be taken seriously.

Not speaking the language of the people: many public and political communication working with Government, Agencies among others often forget their publics do not work nor are they familiar with internal terminologies and jargons. Hence while sending information to their public they engage those internal jargons that mean nothing to them. The outcome is that many of these high sounding messages cannot achieve set objectives.

Pushing an agenda that has no impact on the public:  Another noticeable reason why online political/public communications fail is because organization’s officials are in the habit of pushing agenda that has no direct impact on the their public. People are selfish. They are interested only in what directly or indirectly affect them. If political and public communication effort is concentrated on pushing only leadership agenda, then the communication is as good as dead on arrival.

Consistent propaganda: sequel to the above is consistent pushing of propaganda. As we know at the beginning propaganda was a great tool. But it has been abused over the years and it is now associated falsehood

Delay in communication: many online political and public communication strategists fail to make much effect because they allow other news breaker online to take the shine off them. Over time such platforms become the official go to platforms for government/organization news instead of the real people assign to such issues

Lack of proper understanding, articulation of argument for and against an issue: Organization’s Public and political communicator must be well versed in the issue at hand. They must know and be at home with all the major sides of the issues so they can articulate the best point. Unfortunately if this is missing, their arguments will be floored and public can easily read between the lines.

Have you been involved in online political and public communication? Do you have something to contribute? Share this by using the comment column

One Response to “Online political and public communication: Seven reasons why they fail”

  1. Dov 16 August 2013 at 5:21 pm #

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