A few days ago I finished writing up a simple content plan for a modest campaign microsite. I thought it would be useful to share what I came up with, a bit of a template for the type of content to consider when you are trying to engage people in an issues campaign.
This particular campaign was for a Canadian medical issue, and there was an opportunity to influence the relevant decision makers in the near future. No two campaigns are alike, of course, so there is no single template that can cover all campaign site possibilities. You might decide to include only some of this content, depending on the complexity of the issue, the audience of the campaign (broad or specialized), the target of the campaign (corporate, government, particular decision maker), the ask (to stop some harm or provide some benefit) and the information/enthusiasm ratio of the campaign at that moment.
Overall, the goal of the site was to get people to send a message to the campaign target (and sign on to support the campaign if they wished). This call to action was repeated on every page – more subtly in some places than others. The simple site will have six separate subpages, each using different content and structure to support the overall goal of getting people to take action.
Very simply, here’s an outline of what we are developing:
1. A home page that highlights the call to action – in this case sending messages to the campaign target
2. A jargon-free and accessible explanation of the issue, with emotional appeal
3. Simple ‘infographics’ that can be used to quickly and compellingly describe the issue, and can be shared online
4. Simple stories that demonstrate the affect the issue has on real people
5. More information about the campaign, how effective they have been, and why they can be trusted
6. A page solely devoted to getting people to take action – it answers the two key questions of “why me? Why now?”
7. A page that explicitly encourages people to spread the campaign on social media, by showing who else is involved, and presenting simple opportunities to spread the issue.
Here’s a ‘cut and paste’ of the simple content outline I developed, with the name of the issue and identifying detailes removed – we haven’t launched yet!
The goal of this page is to get people to take action on behalf of the campaign.
It does this three ways:
- Showing people they can take action, and quickly explaining why this will help bring about a change they want to see.
- Showing that this is a campaign that is active and current, and that people are supporting: on this site, on Facebook, etc.
- A quick summary of the issue and why it’s important, with links to deeper explanations (The Issue, About the Campaign and Facts and Figures pages) if they need more persuading.
[There is some great research on landing page design to encourage signups. This book is a great start.]
The goal of this page is to persuade people to take action.
It will do this by telling an emotionally compelling story ending with a call to take action. The copy will make a direct, emotional appeal as to why the issue is important to the reader, and why it should be supported.
It will link to ‘Real Stories’ and ‘Facts and Figures’, for those who need more convincing.
Facts and Figures
This page has two goals:
- to present facts that, at a glance, tell a story about the importance of the issue and
- to present self-contained infographics that are optimized for sharing on social media.
The 3-5 infographics on the page will do this by presenting a bold, compelling and easy- to-understand story about the need for the change we want to see.
The infographics will need to be:
- easy to understand at a glance,
- make minimal use of text explanations
- challenge viewer’s assumptions: tell them something they didn’t know
- reference something they are familiar with to give a frame of reference
The goal of this page is to present strong stories about the issue, putting a human face and emotion onto the issue.
It will do this by telling the stories of several Canadians who are affected by the issue in Canada.
This page is intended to further the case for taking action: while the Issue and Facts page make that case from different angles, this page puts the personal and emotional aspects into the mix.
About the Campaign
The goal of this page is to establish the campaign as a credible entity, one that can be trusted with supporter’s email addresses and is likely to bring about positive change on the issue.
It will accomplish this with accessible copy that demonstrates that
- this is a campaign run by (and for) people.
- the organization has a track record of making a difference in the issue
- there are several organizations and individuals that trust and collaborate with the campaign, implying that visitors can trust the campaign as well.
This page may work as a personal letter from the lead campaigner. It definitely should NOT be a dry, third person account of organizational structure, goals, mission etc. Those can be mentioned, but put in compelling “We are passionate people effectively fighting on this issue” narrative.
The goal of this page is to optimize signups.
It will do this by being clear and easy to use, with very few distractions. There will be some social proof that this is not a dead issue (other people are taking action) but otherwise the form and page should be clean and focused on the task at hand.
The copy should be brief, but answer the question of “Why should I take action, and why now?”
The goal of this page is to illustrate the extent of the uptake of this campaign, and make it easy to get involved with the campaign through social media.
This page will reflect the Facebook and Twitter activity of the campaign, and the issue in general. It will have sample content to share, including infographics and banners.