What writers can learn from President Donald Trump: #BeMoreTrump
The list of horrifying things about the 45th President of The United States grows longer each time the news cycle refreshes itself. But every cloud has a silver lining, even if the said cloud is a mushroom shaped, orange tinted, harbinger of doom.
Say what you want about the man (and your angst will probably be justified by a 3am tweet from the man himself), he did pull off the greatest electoral heist in history. And while I do not agree with the things he said, I do think there is something to learn from the way he said it.
So, over to Donald of House Trump, the first of his name, poster of tweets, builder of walls and grabber of pussies for a quick lesson in communicating in the post truth age.
People tune out if they’ve heard it before.
Say it differently.
Every election before this, politicians got up on stage and made promises. Donald Trump did the same. But he made promises in a way they had never been heard before. He did not say, “…we need to reexamine our immigration system and laws and decide whether our country can afford to maintain the same levels…” or words to that effect.
He said ‘I Will Build A Wall. And it will be beautiful.’
#WTF, right? But effective. I heard about it all the way here in India. Does anyone remember what Hillary said?
It’s an info-rich, fact-poor world.
Get your catch-phrase right.
A few seconds after people wake up they are blindsided by a torrent of information — friends on facebook, work on email, followers on twitter and buddies on Whatsapp.
The only way to make it through all that clutter is to have a short memorable phrase that frames your point of view. Something that can be memorised or shared or chanted by a group on the street. If it makes for a good #hashtag, you’re good to go.
Trump supporters had ‘LOCK HER UP’, ‘DRAIN THE SWAMP’ ‘TAKE BACK OUR NATION’ and a whole lot more. All Hillary supporters had were… uh…hmm…
What was shocking a tweet ago will be passe a GIF later.
Just remember to be relevant.
As his campaign lurched from one horrifying revelation to another most pundits thought that it was over for Trump. What they didn’t realise is that shock is not as potent as it used to be. The average person’s OMG sensor blew out years ago from overuse.
What people will remember is messaging that is relevant to them. If your audience is afraid of change and yearns for a time when they were the alpha dogs, just keep telling them “I Will Make You Great Again”. Everything else will be forgotten.
There’s an audience out there for your particular shit.
Believe in your message.
Every time anyone sits down to write they wonder, “Will anyone want to read what I have written?” It was probably a relevant question 5 years ago.
We live in an age where we are virtually connected to every other person on this planet. If you have a thought or an idea, however outrageous it is, it will resonate with someone out there. Say it like you believe in it and you will soon find your niche.
Don’t worry about the rest of the world.
Cultivate your audience.
Trump persisted with one message to one group and ignored the rest of the world. Hillary tried to be all things to all people and look what happened.
The era of one message that appeals to everyone is over. A group of twenty people who believe in you fervently is worth more than a coalition of hundred who think ‘maybe you have a point’. The ardent followers are the ones who will donate to your cause, buy your book, share your post and strap on suicide vests stuffed with F-bombs to leap into the comments section for you.
#BeMoreTrump to fight the likes of him.
We can either shake our heads in despair or recognise that our world and its rules have changed. While that might be true what has not changed is the power of words to shape the thoughts and actions of others.
Instead of dismissing what has happened as a passing phenomenon we have to learn from it and adapt. What works for one side will work just as well for the other. And perhaps we can use it as a force of good.
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