Digital Strategy in a Recount: The Secret Ingredient Your Campaign Needs
April 2021 | by Anthony Pileggi
They say all press is good press, and politicians are proving that to be true now more than ever.
Take Rep. Rashida Tlaib, for example.
She has been all over the news and social media for her “impeach the mother*****r” comment. A few years ago, that would have been political suicide. But instead of being forced to apologize and wear a scarlet letter for what she said, she gained 140,000 followers on Twitter.
These days, figures are leaning in to controversial moments, making it a fundamental part of their brand. And the American people are eating it up.
I will always speak truth to power. #unapologeticallyMe
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) January 4, 2019
Media moments like Rep. Tlaib’s can become a valuable part of digital strategy, if leveraged properly.
Not sure where to start? Check out 4 simple things you can do to capitalize on earned media:
This is an easy (and free!) way to gain publicity for your media moment. Simply post about it or upload a clip of your earned media moment onto your social channels and pin it to the top of the page. This will ensure your media moment is the first thing people see when visiting your page.
Today, I requested my pay be withheld until the partial gov't shutdown is over. I also introduced a bill to pay federal law enforcement officers during the shutdown. Members of Congress should not get paid while those who keep us safe do not. Learn more: https://t.co/deUfJRhfY8 pic.twitter.com/nnYVHBjv3Y
— Martha McSally (@SenMcSallyAZ) January 11, 2019
Want a way to share your earned media moment directly with your audience? Try embedding a linked screenshot in an email.
You may have had a slam-dunk appearance on broadcast news, but remember: most of your email subscribers weren’t watching. They likely won’t see your clip unless you send it to them.
Use the video alongside a fundraising ask, voter pledge, or volunteer drive to show your audience that you aren’t afraid to stand up for the issues you – and they – believe in.
People love to feel like they are a part of something big. That’s why a petition is the perfect way to generate interest behind the issue at the crux of your media moment.
“Building a wall” was one of President Trump’s key campaign promises during the election, and it’s an issue that many Americans rallied behind. To capitalize on this, various organizations (including the RNC) started online petitions supporting the wall. President Trump’s personal website even launched an “official” wall petition urging voters to tell the Senate to build the wall.
The jury is still out on whether or not these petitions will move the needle on funding or building a border wall. But the petitions did garner a lot of support and sparked fundraising initiatives.
The best thing about leaning in to controversy is that most people don’t do it. People are generally risk-averse and try not to rock the boat. Use this in your favor by contrasting yourself against others.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the poster child for this. Since being elected, her name has been in hundreds of news headlines and is constantly trending on Twitter. She uses these moments – like the video of her dancing at Boston University – as stark contrast to Washington’s status quo.
New party, who dis? https://t.co/2cznisv8tB
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 11, 2019
Every time party leaders try to rein her in, the more outspoken she becomes. It helped her score 2.4 million Twitter followers and a seat on the powerful House Financial Services Committee, so needless to say it’s working for her.
These tactics don’t have to be reserved for outrageous earned media moments like the ones outlined above. They work for semi-outrageous and completely normal moments, too. Plus you can use them to hijack someone else’s media moments – just join the conversation around whatever is leading the news cycle.
If Houston’s hardworking federal workers aren’t getting paid, then I shouldn’t be paid either. My pay will be withheld until the government reopens.
Democrats have still not put forth any border security proposals. They can end this right now, and secure our border. Win-win. pic.twitter.com/ve5hGi1txa
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) January 15, 2019
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