As the fastest-growing resource in politics, the Internet provides a cost-effective method to reach supporters and potential supporters. However, writing for your local campaign website is different than writing for print. Simply copying your local campaign print material onto your website limits the potential of online campaigning.
Online campaign writing tips
Nobody likes scrolling through pages and pages of poorly written, overblown website content. Studies show that people read from computer screens is about 25% slower than reading from paper. Give your visitors the information they want, and then some. Include information about your campaign and your local political scene. Post all your campaign releases, including press announcements, speeches, advertisements, and policy papers. Also, create content that is exclusive to the website, and remind visitors return to your website frequently.
Use these tips to make your campaign website content more readable:
* Include your most important keyword phrase as close to the beginning of the description as possible. For example: John Jones for Anytown, NY Town Council.
* Start each written section with the conclusion. Put the main points of your document in the first paragraph, so that readers scanning your pages will not miss your point.
* Write concisely and stick to one idea per paragraph.
* Keep in mind that many web readers still use dial-up access. Don’t bog your site down with too many large images or extra-long pages.
* Bullet lists rather than use wordy sentences or paragraphs. Readers can pick out information more easily from a list than from paragraphs.
* Use meaningful sub-headings. Guide the reader by highlighting the main points of your information.
* Bold your keywords.
* Remember that readers do not read web pages in sequence. Providing information in precise segments allows readers to quickly locate the material they seek.
* Separate your ‘white paper’ information and link out to it for readers who want to know more detail about a particular subject. PDF files work well, because they can be easily printed out for offline reading.
Online content layout tips
* Don’t set your text size too large or too small.
* Capitalizing all letters give the appearance of shouting at your visitors. Shouting is rude!
* Keep your main text left-aligned on the page. Center-aligned text is best used in headlines.
* Use spaces between blocks of information. Large blocks of text are intimidating to a reader, and probably won’t get read.
* Left and/or right-align images to your paragraphs. This will break up your text a bit and allow your text to flow down the pages and around your images.
Remember — anything you put on your campaign website becomes part of ‘the record’ and will not only be read by your supporters, it will be read by your opponents! Once the opposition finds out that you have a website, you can be sure that they will keep an eye on it.
The above was an excerpt from Running for Office as an Online Candidate, a 32-page e-book that is included free with any Online Candidate local campaign website package. Visit us at http://www.onlinecandidate.com for more articles and tips.
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