Content Marketing in the World of Politics
In my 20 years working in politics, I have seen a lot of things change. Technology in particular has done a lot to change the way that we communicate with voters. Yet somehow, we in politics have access to more information about our audience than ever before, but our audience engagement is at an all time low.
That’s because politics relies on the same tools we always have: TV, radio, door-to-door, mail and now digital ads. Campaigns are missing an important piece of the puzzle: content marketing.
Politics is slow to adopt and change tactics.
I worked at one of the first political agencies to start using voter modeling and digital advertising. Since then, political campaigns and organizations have slowly adopted digital tactics, though it has largely been minimal. Digital spending on the average political campaign is less that 10 percent of their overall communications budget. Some campaigns still view digital advertising as new and untested. However, content and inbound marketing for politics and advocacy are what I see as a next tactical wave for politics.
Search has changed communication
Organic online search growth is growing with every passing year. Today, folks search for everything on their mobile phone, so why not for politics? The answer is that voters do search for politics, but right now it is not political websites they are going to.
This is because the state of political content is pretty awful. If you look at major presidential campaigns, there are a few that are doing it well, but most are producing content that is not helpful to voters and not user friendly. In order for these sites to be viewed favorably by Google and other search engines and to show up as top search results, they need to have unique and engaging content. In the corporate marketing world, writing engaging content has become a mainstay, but this has not yet been applied on a large scale to politics.
As mobile increases, voter’s curiosity also increases.
Due to the increase in mobile, the number of voters searching for campaign websites is bound to increase over time. However, it will only significantly change if folks engage with the content political campaigns write and produce. That means taking a page out of the corporate world and using content to proactively answer voters’ questions. Whether it is in the form of a video or on a blog, the benefit of engaging and connecting with voters through organic online searches can be a great tool for campaigns.
What are goals for success?
Ranking for organically searched keywords could be a major boon for politics. Campaigns already write a lot of content and spend a lot of time on social media, but most do not spend anytime optimizing or writing content for search engines.
How long will developing a content marketing plan take?
For campaigns, it will take a few months to rank for competitive words. But in the long term, content marketing is a low-cost way to augment the large amount of money that most campaigns are already spending on their communication.
How do I know it will work?
The amount of time spent on inbound communication has changed the world of marketing and sales, and the same can happen for politics. The fact of the matter is that most campaigns don't even rank on the first page for the keywords voters are searching for.