Content Marketing and the UK General Election

UK General Election Marketing
22 May 2017
Mark McGaw

On June 8th, 2017, the United Kingdom will once again be asked to vote in a General Election, two years after the last election.  With Theresa May announcing her intentions to hold a snap election, the battle lines have been drawn for this year’s UK political showdown.

General Election Marketing

Digital Politics

Last year saw Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton battle it out for the US Presidency and with it came the deluge of talk show analysis, debates and comedy sketches.  However, it also introduced a new ‘content-driven’ election, with content strategists being hired by both candidates to deliver everything from editorials on political policies to entertainment pieces.

However, with the US election focusing this new approach at reaching the new generation of voters, the UK parties are sadly lacking in this area. During the Scottish Independence Referendum, the use of social media by the Yes side and the strategy associated with this led to a huge show of support for the SNP and other pro-independence parties, with record numbers registering as members of the Scottish National Party after the Independence Referendum.  Whilst this increase cannot be purely down to the use of social media and the digital strategy from the SNP, the engagement associated with this tactic helped dramatically.  Political parties must continue to evolve in their digital tactics as voters continue to become more digitally savvy.

Social media is now a key tactic and great way for political parties to showcase their policies.  As the US election showed though, having a content hub should be used alongside digital advertising and social media campaigns to create a fully rounded digital strategy for political parties.

Hillary Clinton’s Content Hub

The Hillary Clinton campaign, while ultimately unsuccessful, showcased a new approach to demonstrating political policies by utilising a content hub.

This strategy took key insights from high performing content websites, with the following process:

  • Create content that resonates with your audience
  • Create content that works on the internet
  • Create content that builds a connection and continues to evolve

The strategy from the people behind the Hillary Clinton content hub, utilised key tactics from Buzzfeed to draw traffic towards the hub.  Over the campaign, the hub drew 15 million unique visitors and 1 million unique visitors per month.
Hillary Clinton Content Marketing

The hub used clickbait headlines, listicles and quizzes to share campaign policies, endorsements, videos and general information about the campaign. For instance, 15 Real Life Headlines About Donald Trump That’ll Scare You More Than Anything Else This Halloween  is an article which wouldn’t look out of place on Buzzfeed.

The strategy for the hub focused on data driven targeted content for the articles. By making articles more niche, the Clinton campaign could draw traffic highly interested in the topic and therefore drive more shares of the content.

Moreover, the hub also provided interactive content, creating memorable pieces that drew large volumes of shares. This helped engage users, again driving them towards sharing the content.
Hillary Clinton Digital Strategy

UK Politics and Digital Strategy

No main UK party provides a content marketing hub like this and with the figures associated with the Hillary hub, the opportunity to drive large amounts of traffic to their website is being missed. Most of the main political parties do provide a blog or an article section to share news and policies with visitors to the site, however, none of these websites employ strategies that appeal to the millennial user base.

Although the 2017 UK election has only had a couple of months of build-up, political parties should be creating, sharable and appealing content on a constant basis, even in the years where an election isn’t occurring. These content pieces should marry up with social media strategies and digital advertising campaigns to create a digital triangle to be used to drive traffic, shares and of course votes.

Whilst the lack of a content hub isn’t such an issue in the UK where no other parties are producing this type of content, both the Scottish Yes Social Media Campaign in 2014 and the Hilary Clinton Content Hub in 2016 have shown the new areas that politicians can target to gain votes.

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