Content Done Right: Chris Bell for Texas Governor
Great content is tough to produce. (Or, as our president would say, "It's hard work.")
You've got to keep your eye on the audience (supporters or voters?), keep it timely (daily updates, not build-and-forget), and focus on the right message (take action, not vote-for-me).
But, the toughest part of producing great content is keeping the voice fresh and mixing up the various kinds of content.
Over at ChrisBell.com, they're doing it right.
They're posting once or twice a day, with blog-style posts from campaign staff, endorsement letters from prominent Texans, guest columns from not-so-prominent regular citizens, brief heads-up announcements about media appearances, and campaign press releases.
The writing is smart and punchy, with plenty of links to external sites, and occassionally funny.
Also, take notice that the campaign isn't obessively putting all the content over the candidate's name. Rather, it's appearing over the names of Jason Stanford, Tim McCann, and others on the campaign team.
Why post content with staff bylines?
First, it's easier to have a personal tone and fresh voice when you're writing for yourself. That helps build emotional attachment, keeps it interesting, and makes your staff into micro-celebrities (which helps with media coverage, grassroots organizing, and fundraising.)
Second, it allows the site to be edgier - without the risk that the edgy content gets the candidate in trouble. If there's ever a problem, the candidate shrugs and tells the press, "Well, you know those wacky bloggers..."
Third, it means that when the content actually is over the candidate's name, it's more authentic and believable. (Ghost-writing can be very problematic, as Freddy Ferrer found out in his NYC mayoral campaign.)
Without further ado, a few choice cuts from Jason Stanford:
Explaining why their candidate wasn't on CNN:
No really, Chris is on CNN tonight - I know we said that Chris would be featured on Anderson Cooper's CNN show last night, but his segment got bumped because Oprah called Larry King. Seriously. The reporter just told me that this story should run on tonight's episode, which airs 9-11. Unless, of course, Uma calls Larry King.
On intelligent design versus evolution:
"Science class should have a scientific basis" - Check out Selby's article in today's Statesman. You won't find a better illustration about why Rick Perry is the best governor the 17th Century ever had and, as it turns out, how he is still running a Republican Primary writ large. Turns out, Rick Perry is trying to outflank OTG on intelligent design. As they both compete for general-election Republicans, One Bad Governor is advocating the teaching of intelligent design in schools, and she's ducking the issue. Let's be crystal clear about one thing: Chris Bell is against it...
Handicapping the crazy four-way gubernatorial race:
3 Republicans, 1 Democrat - Holy cow. Today, conventional wisdom decided to take the rest of the year off, and good riddance. Carole Strayhorn's announcement that she's switching tracks once again and is now running for governor as an independent means that Vegas is taking this game off the board. All bets now off, and the conventional wisdom playbook has officially been thrown out the window ... The race is now going to come down to 3 Republicans and one Democrat. All Chris Bell has to do is get Democrats to vote for a Democrat, and he’ll win.
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