How content marketing is fueling the 2016 USA Presidential Primaries

content marketing presidential primaries

Never has the race to the White House been more televised, tweeted, memed, blogged, journaled or advertised.

Mobile use in the United States is higher than it ever has been with 65% of Americans owning a smartphone, compared to just 35% when Obama was elected in 2008.

This increase in web use has caused most candidates (at least those with any sense) to focus heavily on content marketing techniques to win over their audiences and secure votes.

The three candidates using the most significant content marketing platforms in the 2016 election are Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and (unfortunately, but truthfully) Donald Trump.

In the Democratic Iowa Primary, Bernie Sanders won 84% of the votes for voters between the ages of 18 and 30, and 54% of the votes for voters between the ages of 35 and 45. Results are similar in polling from other states and they are not by accident or coincidence. Bernie Sanders consistently posts relevant, engaging content and has a keen awareness for his young audience who live and die by the Internet.

Hillary Clinton has upped her media game in response to Bernie Sanders’ success with younger generations, posting frequently on social media, using a consistent brand and encouraging news channels to write favourable articles about her progress in the election.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump has won multiple state primaries, including New Hampshire where he “Trumped” his opponents by more than 15 percentage points. He is (again I say, very unfortunately) leading the Republican vote in almost every poll to date. This too is the result of clever content marketing. Love him or hate him, brand recognition and constant attention from the media has landed him the majority Republican vote. And to take it one step further, loving him or hating him is exactly what is doing the trick for his campaign.

Here are 5 content marketing techniques presidential nominees are using to win votes:

1. Consistent brand messaging
Bernie Sanders has been successful in promoting a consistent message to his audience which is to get big money out of politics and give the power and benefits of government back to the American people. His website, social media pages and speeches all promote this core message and there is even attention called to the fact that he has been consistent throughout his entire political career. This is essential to establishing a successful content marketing campaign.

Donald Trump also has consistent brand messaging which is to “Make America great again”. His entire platform is focused around the concept that America is not currently great, and even his controversial remarks follow his slogan and promote his core brand message.

2. Staying in the media spotlight
In fact, Trump’s controversial statements, which follow his brand message, tend to give him loads of media attention. Good and bad, this attention keeps his name in the spotlight and gives him the ultimate lead in brand recognition. He has also made some strategic moves to garner media attention, like when he stole Jeb Bush’s domain name and had it redirect to his website, or when he skipped a debate because he didn’t like the commentator. These were both bold moves that gave him a lot of attention. He is willing to take risks.

3. Hashtag-ing
Bernie Sanders has gained widespread attention from his hashtag #feelthebern which fans tend to use when posting status updates, tweets and comments on social media. His fans have also generated the #imnotkiddingmaddie hashtag which has been used to draw negative attention to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. And of course, #makeamericagreatagain has also been trending on Twitter, a hashtag by none other than Trump himself.

4. Posting relevant, consistent content
Bernie Sanders created a platform on his website called Democracy Now which he uses to educate his audience on issues relevant to his campaign. Easily sharable, these articles link back to his website and gain him a lot of traction for his campaign.

5. Using a range of outlets and content to spread messages
Hillary Clinton streamed her first campaign rally on Periscope, making her the first candidate to use the platform in a presidential election. She has also used Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest and has even created a Spotify playlist to leverage her brand.

To conclude, candidates are getting increasingly creative and consistent as they tackle the internet to promote their brand. Content marketing has never been more important for candidates. As is evident with the success of Donald Trump thus far, brand recognition can go a long way in helping you reach your target audience … a frighteningly long way. Use with caution!

How will you apply insights for the U.S.A. Presidential Election to your organisation? Leave us a comment below.

Each week a staff member puts pen to paper to write about an aspect of content communication that speaks to them, and hopefully, informs you. This is a space where our passion for writing, learning and sharing information comes to shine.

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