They might look nice, including a very fine picture of the candidate and his family in poses considered unnatural for even the most well adjusted families. There’s often fancy graphics and some generic slogan that sounds vaguely patriotic but in the end is worth less than those fun emails from Nigeria. You’ll find donation pages and ways to “get involved” by waving signs (Really, really?!? Waving signs! Have our campaign tactics not progressed beyond 1927? Once I told a campaign about some social media strategies they could employ and I received silence, followed by a request to lead the sign wavers. It still rankles me, but I digress) or cold calling people on the phone (“Hi, were you eating dinner, that’s a shame. I just wanted to interrupt and encourage you to vote for my candidate. Yes, I’m sure that this gross waste of your time is worth it. No, don’t hang up, I haven’t finished with my script yet!).
But that’s not how to win an election. One could assume by the number of political candidate websites that include a multi-page bulleted list “platform.”
Oh, tell me in detail about your stance on agriculture
The platform, or issues, page represents the lowest rung of information sharing. It’s long, it’s boring, many times it feels convoluted, and did I mention it’s boring. It boggles my mind that candidates will spend thousands of dollars on speech writers to get across the exact emotion for the issue they represent but sling a pile of unprintable dung on their website but call the site good because it’s pretty. Well, not really because it’s pretty, they tell themselves that people only go to the internet for more information, but they get to know the candidate in person. If only that were true.
More and more the candidate website is the first or second touchpoint for a potential voter, meaning they don’t know much about you or what you stand for, or why you should matter. They only know that someone told them to come to your sight, it looks nice, and when they click on you issues button, somehow they lose thirty minutes of their lives because they fell asleep. Instantly.
My Plea To You, From the Heart
Candidate for office; Please stop boring the voters. If you do, then you will only win if you are less boring than the other person, but no one WANTS to win by default. You’ll take it I’m sure but don’t settle for it. Instead, collecting stories is how to win an election.
Even more powerful than dryly discussing the issues is to make them come to life in real stories. This works wonders on the campaign trail, I’m surprised more elected officials don’t take advantage of it. Instead of simply telling people what you believe (I believe in freedom, fiscal responsibility, and secure borders), include stories from real people that hammer home the point.
When I say stories, I really mean testimonials. These should not be mere descriptions of what other people have done or felt, they should be full narratives, interesting and engaging, told in first person by the voter. It should include a picture, a town, and hopefully an occupation. Include a few of these under every point you make in your issues and instantaneously you bring your page to life. A living page is a well read page, and people that read you page are likely to vote. It’s that simple.
You Can’t Suck At This For Much Longer
Yes, it takes a little effort to make these stories and then craft them to perfection. But with more people than ever going to the internet for their information about you, can you afford to not make an impression? Do you want a potential voter to see and read your website and say to themselves, “Meh, sounds like everything else I’ve read?”
Or, do you want them to lean forward, reading every single word, Googling the issues you bring up and reading more about you and your record. This is how people become fans now, not by attending a rally but by reading your opinions and seeing your personality on Facebook and your blog. That’s how to win an election.
You can do better. You can actually connect with your voters and build a solid block that would support you through anything. Simply add the human touch and start telling some stories on your site. A few days of work and you won’t be disappointed.