Your campaign’s digital efforts run on content. Email, social media, websites, press releases…it’s all content. But remember that our goals are to win votes, raise money, get attention, and upset our opponent – we can’t throw content like spaghetti on a wall and see what sticks. No, your campaign needs effective content.
This definition, from the Content Marketing Institute, gives us the formula we need:
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing VALUABLE, RELEVANT, and CONSISTENT content to attract and retain a CLEARLY DEFINED audience – and, ultimately, to drive a profitable customer action.
In our case the definition of “profitable” takes on different meaning, but it’s still our goal to drive action with our content.
Our audience needs to be clearly defined. The content has to be for somebody because if it’s for nobody in particular, it’s not really a defined audience. Go through an exercise of building specific personas for each of your target audiences. Who are they? Who influences them? What types of content do they like? What are their challenges? You can’t reach your audience if you don’t know who they are.
Valuable, Relevant, and Consistent
Your content must be valuable, relevant, and consistent.
- Valuable content helps answer a question or solves a problem your audience has. In exchange for their attention, you’re giving them value. This not only differentiates you from other marketers who are about taking, you’re building reciprocity and we’re hardwired to return favors.
- You can’t create value if it’s not relevant to your audience, but avoid creating something of value that isn’t relevant. Your press release may include valuable information – poll numbers, fundraising totals, endorsements etc. – but that format is only relevant to the media. It signals to other people that it’s not for them.
- Consistency is key to building your audience. You want them to rely on you for the content you produce. It’s hard to have a favorite TV show or podcast if sometimes it comes out once a week, sometimes once a month, sometimes is on YouTube and other times is on Facebook.
Don’t rely on being given anything you don’t ask for. Your content should always have an explicit call to action: donate now, share this, attend our event, become a volunteer, etc. You’re not creating content for the fun of it – you’re trying to win. Getting somebody’s attention, even if it’s just for a few seconds, in this day and age is miraculous and you have to take advantage of it by asking them to do something. It may be obvious to you but you have to make it obvious for your supporters.
Creation and Distribution
Strategies for getting your content to its intended audiences should be at least half of your planning when you’re creating it. Really effective content has distribution built into it. It doesn’t make any sense (but I see it all the time) for a campaign to spend thousands of dollars on a video without any plan – beyond a wish – to distribute it. Part of that plan has to be around paid distribution, especially when it comes to social channels.
Keep this formula in mind the next time you’re creating content for your campaign and ask yourself,
- Who is this for?
- Is this valuable and relevant?
- Am I consistent in creating it?
- What action does it drive?
- Do I have a plan for distributing it to my intended audience?
If you’re missing any of these pieces, you need to go back to the drawing board and tune up your content.