Content Marketing in New Hampshire’s Presidential Primary: a Lesson for us All

As a digital marketing company in New Hampshire, it’s hard to ignore the media kerfuffle that descends upon our great state every four years. It’s no secret that an election of any kind is a wonderful example of a marketing campaign on crack. Even to the relative-layman, it’s easy to see that the most successful political campaigns  aren’t simply reacting to weekly or monthly data, they are changing by the day. When they don’t, well…uncomfortable things happen.


What happens when you're too slow to adjust your message.

An example of what happens when you’re too slow to adjust your message.


2016: Not Just Going Beyond Social, Going Beyond Search and Social

It’s no surprise that Google has some insights into what was going on in New Hampshire during our first in the nation primary. They were even kind enough to put together the below graphic, but as we all know by now — search ranking is really just the tip of the iceberg. Which brings to mind a point Chad Pollitt made in his talk at Inbound 2015. He said “SEO isn’t something you do anymore. It’s what happens when you do everything right.” (If you see this, Chad, I hope I didnt’ just butcher that)

If a presidential campaign is basically just a marketing campaign, what does it mean to do everything right? For our last election, the answer might have been something about social media. Today, it’s all about content marketing.

A second point made during Mr. Pollitt’s talk centered on the fact that, while the first page of Google is prime real-estate, it’s only 10 spots. You can’t always count on owning Board Walk and Park Place if you’re trying to win at Monopoly. You need to branch out. Diversify. So naturally, it’s important to “fill the void left by search and social.” It’s my prediction that the candidates that do this the best will see the greatest surge in the polls, and some of them are schooling the competition.

Drudging up the Past: Re-purposed Content in the 2016 Election

The need for great content is a given. But who has time to constantly create it? Not me, not you, and  not a multi-term senator (or his or her campaign staff). If you know your audience and your delivery is good, re-purposing can work wonders for your exposure. But I guess I wasn’t expecting the campaign of a 74 year old senator from Vermont to do it so well. It was on February, 4th 2016 that Bernie Sanders dropped his very own Youtube Embed into a Presidential debate. Was it the first LIVE Youtube embed ever? All partisanship aside — I was impressed. He even made sure to get the keywords right.



Was it a coincidence? Or did the Sanders campaign realize that a majority of his audience (especially the young voters) would be watching a live-stream on their computers. With the instant ability to quickly open a new tab and go right to Youtube. Better yet, it was right before a commercial break. I can’t think of a better way to get the last word and remain top-of-mind.

But it was more than just a lesson in knowing your audience. When I took a look the Sanders campaign’s live video embed, I noticed it was uploaded  nearly a year ago by an organization affiliated with his campaign, and they didn’t forget to include a list of links encouraging visitors to take action. Not bad. If politicians took note of the way Barack Obama manipulated his campaign with social media, I will be surprised if this shining example of content marketing isn’t emulated in the coming months.

But did it  work? 

I took a look at the actual statistics for Bernie’s real-life video embed and I’ll be honest…I feel pretty validated. Right around the airing of the debate, views and shares of this particular video hit an all-time high.

Not only that, but the video was also automatically pulled into SERPs, proving that going beyond search and social can pay serious dividends for exposure….


The “Sharability” Factor

I know I might have been a little hard on Marco Rubio earlier, but he also proves that it’s not just the democrats that are embracing content marketing. One shining example of campaigns using eminently shareable content can be found in Rubio’s video “15 Questions Marco Won’t Be Asked at the Debate”.



On top of that (you know, if sharing videos isn’t quite your demographic’s “thing”) nearly every campaign is using short, snappy, and easy to share content to continually push their “product”.  Politicial campaign or not, it’s a great example of content marketing done-right, whether you’re a small business looking to do it for yourself or an agency hoping to help your clients succeed.

What Will They Think of Next?

Needless to say, watching the 2016 election unfold will be a crash course in fast and agile content marketing.

I’ve never been one to shout from the rooftops about about one politician or the other, but this particular campaign is proving incredibly interesting for content marketers everywhere. Whether you’re politically engaged or not,  this election cycle will undoubtedly be influenced by content marketing. Watch and learn.

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