The Six Essential Elements of a Campaign Website
In the current climate of constantly changing outlets for mass communication and new media, the campaign website needs to serve as a hub through which all audience traffic flows. Your political campaign’s website is more than a bulletin board, it is the essential collection of everything that your campaign represents. It needs to serve not only as a guide to your policies, but as a map for your audience to find and interact with every aspect of your campaign. To ensure that your website has everything it needs to get you elected, we’ve compiled a list of the Six Essential Elements of a Campaign Website:
1) Compelling Photography
As soon as your audience reaches your website, they should be immediately be hit with strong imagery that represents the overall tone of your campaign. Your home page’s hero image needs to demonstrate your values immediately. Whether you are trying to convey strength and experience, blue-collar work ethic, or the promise of sweeping change, your imagery needs to reflect that value in a strong and authentic way. A stronger message can be made with off-the-cuff photos of you interacting with constituents rather than an expertly posed portrait. Images throughout the website should carry the same message.
2) Authentic Biography
The candidate biography is your chance to tell the audience exactly what they need to know about you, and why it makes you the best choice for the position. People are not stupid and in the often over-saturated climate of political advertising during an election season, they can sense inauthenticity and pandering a mile away. To quote the advertising legend George Lois, “If you think people are dumb, you’ll spend a lifetime doing dumb work.” Likewise if you think your website viewers won’t be able to understand who you are and why you are running for office, you’ll end up with a shallow, inauthentic biography.
3) An Up-to-Date Blog
The message you are trying to convey to voters is that you are the hard-working, honest individual who is right for the job. Your blog needs to reflect this, and be filled with topical information and your reflections on issues that they care about. An up-to-date blog demonstrates a candidate who is knowledgeable, timely, and consistent in their views. An out-of-date blog that hasn’t been updated in months only promises more of the same out-of-touch politician that constituents fear most.
4) Prominent Email Collection
The number one tool for reaching out to your voters en masse with detailed information is with email automation. Your campaign’s email list is the foundation on which all of your campaign’s communication and advertising should be built on. Your website viewers should be hit immediately with a request for their name and email to receive further campaign updates. Continue this throughout the site, both with directions to sign up in your body content, and other signup options in sidebars, footers, and elsewhere. Your email list subscribers are your strongest audience and most likely to get out to vote, encourage others, and donate to your campaign.
5) A Big ‘Ol Donate Button
Like it or not, cash on hand can make or break a campaign, and you should be making an effort to make it as easy as possible for viewers to donate. Putting a big red “DONATE NOW” button smack dab in the middle of your hero image or on your menu creates a constant reminder that any donation will help, and a strong sense of urgency. As with the email signup form, place reminders throughout your site that you need to donate, and you need to do it now.
6) Essential Platform Guide
Your website needs to contain the absolute index to your campaign’s platform. Each issue statement needs stand out and proudly proclaim your view in an authentic way. Your platform guide is more than a bulleted list, and to drive your message you must curate your content like a novel, not a whiteboard.
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John Flynn is the Web Development and Production Artist of Change Media Group. He creates digital and print content for clients, bringing ideas and concepts to life from start to finish. John designs and constructs everything from small run direct mail to full campaigns and complete websites.