According to Borrell Associates, online political advertising will surpass $1 billion in 2016, over six times that of the previous presidential election. In an age when the power of TV and other traditional media is dwindling, digital advertising channels like native advertising can help a political campaign group spread its’ message to a specific voter audience.
For native advertising (also referred to as sponsored content) to be persuasive, the content has to tell a compelling story that keeps the readers’ in mind. Let’s use President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign as an example. Part of the success of that campaign was great storytelling. His campaign spoke to the things that were important in the Obama campaign in the context of the people these policies were going to help. They rallied around actual stories of families or organizations and how particular hot topics in the presidential debates affected them…but in a soft way. Another good example of thought leadership pieces in the political content arena is this sponsored article that focuses on tax compliance in the sharing economy from Politico.
There are some best practices to keep in mind when considering native advertising as part of your channel marketing to reach key voter segments:
Sponsored content campaigns should include thorough research to support the article’s message and focus. Visual tools such as infographics and charts should accompany the piece to drive key issues that are part of the candidate’s platform. The information-driven nature of this “sponsored content” mandates actual reporting and fact checking.
Political native advertising is not “advertorial”
Readers can sniff a self-promotion as soon as they read the first few lines…and will quickly become disengaged. Case in point; this paid political content piece from Buzzfeed is just a blatant advertisement for Mitt Romney. Successful content campaigns don’t talk about how great the candidate is or smear the opposing candidates. Instead, the content should focus on platforms that address constituent fears, worries, and challenges they are currently facing.
Objectivity (or rather full transparency)
A political candidate should not use messaging to represent a party or a particular viewpoint. Politically sponsored content campaigns should highlight the issues that the candidate is passionate about and backed with personal stories from voters to emphasize the issue at hand. The Atlantic’s political piece about family values called “The American Family is Making A Comeback” is good information backed with personal testimonies and various commentary from both sides of the issue.
Overall, persuasive storytelling combined with effective thought leadership creates meaningful messaging that will resonate with voters and ultimately position the candidate as someone they can trust and relates to voters’ pain points.
To learn more about how to implement a successful native advertising campaign as part of your overall marketing efforts in 2016, contact us today.