10 things to do to prepare for a live TV debate

Tonight is the first televised debate of the Conservative Party leadership contest and the digital teams of the contenders will be busy preparing content to post during the debate.

Live TV debates, particularly the first one of a given election, have the potential to significantly impact the narrative of the race.

Whilst having a strong social media game during a debate won’t turn a terrible performance into a good one, it can certainly help shape the online conversation around it and journalistic impressions of what’s important.

Here’s 10 things I would be doing to prepare for tonight’s debate:

1/ Create a back stage clip to run shortly before the debate (“wish me luck / let’s do this etc…”).

2/ Know where you’ll shoot a clip immediately after the debate (“really pleased with how that went, thanks for your support”).

3/ Prepare graphics for reinforcing things you know the candidate is planning to say during the debate.

4/ Make templates to enable you to quickly insert quotes from your candidate that you hadn’t anticipated.

5/ Know which of your existing bits of content – polling results / endorsements of etc… – that you’ll deploy using the debate hashtag.

6/ Test your system for recording the debate, editing and adding titles. Sharing favourable video clips as close to real time as possible is a must.

7/ Develop a contrast graphic template for when your candidate and another have opposing views on a topic you think will be favourable.

8/ Prepare a rebuttal graphic for anything you suspect an opponent will attack you with.

9/ Have a graphic ready for any positive snap polling that is released immediately after the debate concludes.

10/ Make a “like what you’ve seen” graphic to encourage new supporter signups and donors who have watched the debate.

What have I missed? If there’s any debate tricks you’ve deployed in the past that have worked well, please do let me know in the comments.

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