With an influx of 4,000 new members in less than a month, it is fair to say that the Liberal Democrats’ message on Europe has struck a chord with many people who feel disconcerted by the path to hard Brexit which Theresa May has set our country on. But what do those new activists know about our other policies?
Since starting my new role as Head of Digital Content at the Liberal Democrats, I have applied a few key principles to everything that we do. One of these is particularly pertinent to the area of policy: we must look outwards and talk to the wider public, not just to ourselves. To do that, it needs to be clear what we stand for. That is why in my second week we launched the new “Our Vision” section on the party website.
“Our Vision” features a brief overview of some of our key messages in 12 core areas. I hope this will become a useful resource for both party activists, when advocating what we stand for, and the wider public, when considering us as their party of choice. In the coming weeks we will be developing these sections with new videos and additional reading for those who want to see the detail.
Another of my key principles focuses on how we engage our growing audience. I don’t know about you but I like to have a look around a shop before I decide if I am going to buy something. What we do digitally, whether it be an article on the website or video content on social, is our shop window.
In the past two weeks we have already massively increased the amount of content we are putting out across our channels and this has already had a startling effect on our engagement levels. We are saying and doing more online than we have done for a long time – and that is just the start. The ways in which we put out our messages will change too. For example, we are now producing more unique video content, much of which has already proven to be our most engaging work.
While you can look to us for delivering on our growing digital aspirations, we too would like to look to you for renewed vigour in online activism in your area. In the coming weeks we will be unleashing a new digital programme to help you to unlock the potential in your area and empowering you to harness social media, websites and online newsletters to reach more people in your community than you have perhaps ever done before. Keep your eyes peeled for future updates on this.
The Liberal Democrats are only beginning to scratch the surface digitally. Together we have the potential to be the most innovative UK political party.
* Michael Wilkinson is Head of Digital Content at the Liberal Democrats.