Content Marketing for Politicians

Almost nobody turned up when councillor Kieran McCarthy held his first public clinic. But his second clinic was a roaring success. Here’s how he did it.

Kieran (I don’t really know him at all, having only met him once, so I’m taking bit of a liberty being so informal) is a Cork City councillor. He is a representative of the people. I don’t know whether that makes him a politician as such, but he does have to be reelected every so often and he needs a way to interact with the people of Cork to hear their concerns.

Most politicians (let’s just call him that, inaccurate as it might be) hold clinics, usually at their constituency offices. Kieran did too. It was a disaster. I think one person turned up the first time he held one. Maybe the turnout was even worse: 0.

Kieran is an ardent historian. He writes a blog about Cork’s history: Cork Heritage. He runs free walking tours. The way he talks about the city makes you want to see the streets through his eyes.

This is what he did. He offered to take people on a free historical walking tour (during which he was also available to hear any concerns about the city—yes: a clinic). Forty people turned up. Or it may have been 60. Maybe more. He did say so, but I’ve forgotten.

The point is this. By changing the wrapper (a free walking tour instead of a constituency office) and by offering valuable content (stories about the city’s past), he was able to attract the audience he wanted to meet and talk with them.

How clever is that?