You might have noticed all the political buzz coming out from Italy in recent days. A political comedian Beppe Grillo turned into a blogger and started an anti-establishment political movement focusing on blogging and social media to spread the word that ended up having 25% of the votes in the last general election.
There is a bit of George Carlin in Beppe Grillo and his Five Star Movement. Here are 9 reasons how Beppe Grillo went from a blogger to a political movement leader:
Beppe’s blog is updated daily with latest comments and opinions on topics of both national and international interests. He uses quiet a lot of multimedia in his content, especially videos. The blog is open to reader comments and invites a lot of discussion to every post that is being published. The blog is translated to both English and Japanese. Blogging and social media are the medium of choice for his party.
Networking with experts
Beppe is very good at networking with experts and people with the authority in the different fields that he discusses online. He regularly chats with, interviews, or reads from the best in the field, refers and quotes experts and this helps him create opinions for himself or helps his support his existing opinions.
Beppe is real, he is direct and honest – a real outsider in the Italian politics. He doesn’t mince his words and sounds nothing like any of the other traditional politicians. He speaks the truth, names the names and says things that other people and press think about but don’t dare to talk about.
To get people’s attention you need a certain amount of charisma. Beppe is a comedian, he decided to focus on topical humor, and built his charisma using the brutality of the reality in a satirical way. He focuses on big issues like corruption, environment and consumerism. He made Italians think about the bad things happening in the country. People got interested in those topics thanks to the over-the-top humorous way he presented them. Serious social topics presented in an entertaining way made them more appealing to the general public.
Beppe solely focused on word-of-mouth both online and offline. He has inspired a wide following on Twitter and other social media. He blogged regularly, he tweeted regularly and held meetups and other meetings all around the country. He didn’t make any TV appearances or any other traditional media appearances that are favourite medium of choice of his competitors.
Having a great idea and having an online presence to present that idea kick-started this all. From there his words and opinions spread virally and a citizens’ movement was created. He empowered people by giving them the tools and the power to make a change. The candidates of the movement are relative unknowns from a wide variety of different backgrounds. Getting people together around one fellow idea is a very powerful way of starting a movement.
It’s good to have an audience online but it helps when you get people together offline as well. Beppe started meetups that were spread throughout the country. Offline meetings helped connect people at a local level, people were surprised to find other people that had something in common with them. This made people bond together and more momentum was gathered with more people taking up the cause and spending time working on promoting it.
It is important to always keep learning and evolving to stay with the times. Beppe initially was a TV comedian, was banned which got him into being a touring act, with rise of the Internet he became a blogger and a social media power user, and then evolved into a political leader.
Not an instant star
Beppe Grillo has not become popular instantly. He started doing comedy in the 1970’s in clubs, was even banned from the Italian TV for his opinions. He stuck at it though, built his arguments, built his audience base and with the growth of blogging and social media amplified it all to become what he is today.