Email and WhatsApp
Email is the ideal first connection in the distribution chain. A centralised email list with opt-ins from interested people will get the process started. Content created can be emailed to everyone who subscribes in the language of their choice. Ideally, these emails will be short and to the point – much like the headlines-with-an-attitude of DrudgeReport or Vartam’s microcontent. The key is to make the emails habit-forming – sent daily at the same time. Mu can incentivise recipients for opening and clicking.
The reach of emails will be limited to a fraction of the target audience. This is where the second step of the distribution chain comes in. Those who can access email can use their personal WhatsApp groups to amplify the messages for free. This is a much better alternative than creating multi-level hierarchical WhatsApp groups. This Email-WhatsApp hub-and-spoke combo can serve as a very powerful content distribution platform in the country.
In fact, there is no other alternative. Hierarchical WhatsApp groups are going to take too long and have too many chain breaks possible. An email list, with an opt-in subscribe base, followed by an individual amplification on WhatsApp to friends and family, is the best way to achieve critical mass in a limited timeframe. Some from the WhatsApp groups can then start subscribing to emails directly, and thus build their own next-level.
The challenge of where the first set of email subscribers will come from remains – basically, how to seed the list. It’s akin to finding the first customers for a new product. My belief is that there are many people in India who know things need to move in a different direction, but don’t know how and where. The current media and content options they have do not satisfy their interest and thirst. They also feel they are alone and don’t know whom to ask. Unlike the US which has always had a rich tradition of freedom and liberalism, India has not. The only choices in India have been more government and even more government!
The combination of a content factory, an email distribution list, and WhatsApp redistribution can lay the foundation for a pipeline to get a different set of messages out to people – messages which they will never get from their regular media sources. Just like water finds its level, these messages too will need to find their audience. I believe a message centred around freedom and prosperity, with a call to look beyond the politicians and parties, will find resonance in India in the times to come.
By building an all-digital approach, this startup can replicate the D2C (digital-to-consumer) model that is gaining ground in ecommerce. A D2V (direct-to-voter) outreach can shorten the time it will take to build momentum around the Nayi Disha ideas.