There are many ways to create the content you will need for your counter-narrative campaign. These range from very simple DIY techniques to full-scale professional video production. It’s important to remember that you can create great counter-narrative campaign content without breaking the bank with some great free tools and a little practice.
Resources aside, the most important thing here is that your content reflects what you have set out to do when you planned your campaign. The underlying message must be engaging, resonate with your audience, and be delivered in the right way by the right voice.
A “Like Attack” organised by an organisation called “Loud Against Nazis ”. The “like attack” consisted of going onto the Facebook page of the far-right German party NPD, liking their content and posting messages of love. The purpose was to draw attention to the NPD’s racism. This inexpensive campaign reached over 7 million people, and raised $800,000 worth of gross media value
Having planned your counter-narrative campaign and established clear goals and objectives, you’ll now have an idea of the content you will need to create. You’d have confirmed your audiences, message, mediums and messengers. You will also have set out what your content will need to say and how it will say it.
Look back at the short bio you drew up when Planning a Campaign. This will help you determine what types of content (messages, mediums and messengers) are most likely to reach and engage with your audience.
- Carefully consider your message and ensure you know precisely how your content will convey it.
- Consult your target audiences if you can , see what they want! If you are hoping to reach more extreme audiences then research the types of content they tend to consume.
- Your decision on what medium you will use will help you identify exactly what production methods to use to create the impactful content you need. For instance, if you have decided on a photo based campaign, you could use a smartphone camera and tools like Photoshop or Instagram to create and edit your content.
- If you have decided to partner with another messenger such as a former or survivor there may be extra things to consider. Have they told their story publically before and are they happy with how it is being used? Are they aware of the potential for media attention and might they wish to remain anonymous? Are there safety issues to consider such as reprisals from former associates? If it is a video campaign are they comfortable sharing their experiences on camera?
- Keep thinking about your objectives. For example, if your goal is to interact with your audience and start important conversations then content will have to be engaging enough to spark this interaction and leave unanswered questions. If you want your audience to take action then how are you going to persuade them? If you want them to learn something how can you be informative but not lecturing?
There are many ways to make your content engaging and resonate with your audience. Don’t be afraid to create something bold. Here are some tips for how to make your content connect with your audience:
- For people to be engaged by your content it needs to be interesting and easily accessible. Does it grab their attention straight away? Is it age appropriate and pitched at the right level for your audience? Will the language be easily understood? Should you have content in multiple languages? Are people likely to share it?
- Having a strong and emotive message can allow people to connect with the content on a human level. You want to make people react. Ask yourself what you want your audience to feel when they see your content. If you want them to remember one thing what would it be?
- Music can help create an emotional response from your audience and improve the chance of your audience engaging with your content. Choose music that will be appealing to your audience and strike the right tone in your video or audio content.
- Know what is “trending” – what’s popular on social media? People online are often reacting to current events or interacting over certain hot topics or issues. Try finding a relevant topic or story and relate your content to it so that you can participate in these conversations. Relevant, topical and timely content works best in the fast-paced online world.
Extremist groups have used anything from camera phones and meme generators to professional camera equipment and drones to create content that is engaging and connects with their target audiences. Whilst videos are popular for counter-narrative content, a picture can say a thousand words so don’t be afraid to have simple but hard-hitting, informative or memorable content. If extremist groups can create content that resonates with an audience then we can too!
Look through our suggestions on Creating Content for helpful tools and tutorials you can use to create, edit and perfect your counter-narrative content.
Content production costs vary considerably depending on what medium you use and whether or not your content is produced professionally. Whichever option you go for it’s still easy to produce good content with a bit of practice , no matter what your budget.
If you are going to hire a professional, make sure you put together a detailed brief, get a number of quotes and speak to different people before deciding who to work with. Often it can be worth asking colleagues or friends for recommendations. If possible, it’s a good idea to budget for any changes you might want to make later based on feedback from focus groups or your audience once it’s online.
Remember to balance time and money spent on content with how you plan to promote your campaign. A great message is no use if no one hears it! Are you planning to use online advertising, and if so how much might you need to spend to achieve your objectives? How long do you plan to run your campaign for? If you plan to have campaign events you will need to account for these as well.
It is always a good idea to try and get feedback on your content to make sure it has the effect you wanted. If you can, try testing your content with a focus group similar to your audience. There might be a few necessary tweaks here and there to make it even more engaging!
Alternatively, if you can’t get feedback in this way it is always possible to refine your content during your campaign. Look out for online comments from your audience – what are they saying about your campaign and its message? How many people are sharing it? If it is a video, how long are people watching it for?
Don’t forget, you can’t please everyone - over testing and tinkering with content might mean you lose sight of your original message!