Every campaign is a media company.

For two decades, the internet and social media have democratized politics like never before. You don’t have to be independently wealthy or supremely connected. Anyone with a clear message, superior communication and a laptop is now able to mount a credible campaign.

These changes have unfolded in stages:

  • Phase 1 brought us the campaign website and URL. Speculators jumped on domain names of potential future candidates.
  • Phase 2 featured the rise of social media. Twitter and Facebook became novel ways to connect with constituents, and candidates began to raise significant money online.
  • We’re now in the early stages of Phase 3, where every campaign acts as its own publisher. Campaign content is king.

A campaign website and social media accounts are a given — and no longer move the needle. In today’s political climate, you must have a well-defined campaign content strategy to win an election or achieve a policy goal.

Is your campaign content sending the right message?

Let's find out. If not, we can help.

What is political campaign content?

If it’s written, filmed, messaged or recorded — it’s campaign content. Your traditional TV ads, radio spots, direct mail cards, door hangers, yard signs and fundraising letters all count. But for our purposes, we’re going to use campaign content to refer to digital communication.

Here are some of the top examples of commonly used digital campaign content.

  • Campaign website
  • Email newsletter
  • Campaign blog
  • Text messages
  • Facebook posts
  • Twitter posts
  • Digital videos
  • Livestreamed video

This just scratches the surface of what’s possible in online campaigning. The list doesn’t include Nextdoor, Reddit, Instagram Stories, Medium, Snapchat and numerous other ways of getting your message across.

Political Content Services Blog

Ready to get started with content on your campaign?

We can help. Longleaf Politics LLC is ready to dive in at any stage in the game. We can help you plan your high-level content strategy. Or we can do the dirty work: Setting up an editorial calendar, hitting send on your newsletter, posting to your blog, or interacting on social media.

7 ways political campaign content can help you win

1) Communicate authentically. Political communication hasn’t changed in two decades, and voters are tired of scripted messages. A content strategy will allow you to get your message out in a way that real people relate.

2) Gain credibility. A huge campaign war chest or a long list of endorsements can make you a viable candidate. So can a content strategy that clearly defines your vision and demonstrates your authority on the issues.

3) Broaden the electorate. By design and necessity, door-knocking and mailer campaigns target voters who are already likely to vote. Content campaigns are much less costly per interaction and can reach many more people. If you can convince people to care, you can get more of them to get out and vote.

4) Control your message. Too often, the national party or the local media craft your campaign’s message for you — hurting your chances more often than they help. If your communications strategy revolves around convincing somebody to write about you, you’ve already lost.

5) Fundraise and recruit volunteers. It’s a much easier ask to get somebody to sign up for your email list than it is to give money to your campaign or knock on doors for you. Once you have them subscribed, a content strategy can efficiently get your message in front of them time and again. There’s an adage among pastors that it can take up to 18 times hearing the Gospel before somebody accepts Christ. There can be the same dynamic for political donors.

6) Reinforce other spending. Yard signs and direct mail are still effective. But they can be even more effective if they’re backed up with digital content. Use your content strategy to give your future constituents a clear path from learning your name to voting for you.

7) Access low-cost advertising. Campaigns spend small fortunes on TV ads. Distributing digital content through Facebook can target potential voters even more precisely for a fraction of the cost. Just don’t think that a standard 30-second voiceover spot will be effective online.

Smart content starts with a smart candidate.

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Who’s doing political content well?

Candidates: Sen. Jeff Jackson

The 35-year-old state senator from Charlotte has used a sophisticated content strategy to propel him from an assistant district attorney appointed to fill a vacancy to a leader in the Democratic Party.

    • Jackson posts to Facebook detailed reports of what’s going on in the General Assembly, sometimes multiple times daily during a particularly heated session. In doing so, he’s equal parts informing, explaining, contextualizing and persuading his constituents and potential voters.
    • Jackson uses his email newsletter to keep in contact with supporters throughout the year, distributing content from other channels and raising small donations.
    • Jackson regularly records videos where he speaks candidly into the camera and explains an important issue.
    • Jackson also makes sure to have cameras at the ready for speeches and other impromptu events for video with lower production value but higher viral potential.
    • Jackson’s campaign website connects supporters to a bigger cause, in this case, breaking the supermajority of Republicans in the General Assembly.
    • Jackson has used content to become an authoritative expert on redistricting and gerrymandering.

Honorable mention: Rep. Tim Moore

The House speaker regularly updates his campaign blog to explain his reasoning for different legislative efforts, replete with graphs, charts and other figures. The blog is written in a slightly more conversational style than the Republican Party’s generally impenetrable press releases. This allows leadership to bypass a generally hostile mainstream media and communicate directly with voters.

Industries: N.C. Pork Council

With North Carolina’s hog industry under fire from well-lawyered opponents, the N.C. Pork Council has used its own content strategy to counteract a flood of negative headlines.

Led by former News & Observer reporter Andrew Curliss, the council has put resources into covering civil trials day by day at a time when traditional media can’t or won’t. They’re ready with facts, anecdotes and interviews to illustrate their points and readily wade into the discussion on social media.

It’s paid off with several favorable pieces of farm legislation in a row.

Honorable mention: NC Farm Families

Similarly, this industry group is using content to both bolster their members and change the course of the public conversation. Their Facebook page is a central conduit of information for eastern North Carolina and their blog has hit back hard against unfair coverage, rallying supporters. They’ve used content to demonstrate that families are still the face of the state’s agriculture industry, not generic corporations.

Issues: Marsy’s Law

The campaign in favor of this state constitutional amendment has made the crime victim protection legislation nearly inevitable in North Carolina. They’ve collected a wealth of powerful stories from people on all sides of the political spectrum and every walk of life.

Honorable Mention: #NixAllSix

A catchy slogan is a valuable piece of content, and opponents of North Carolina’s six proposed constitutional amendments have rallied content creators across the liberal blogosphere to write pieces raising questions and doubts about what effect they might have.

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Professional-grade campaign content isn't just for high-profile multi-million-dollar campaigns. We can find the right package for your race, whether it's for county commissioner or governor.