[box size=”large” border=”full”]UPDATE: The WordPress development team has pulled the improved post format user interface from the next update, but the additional post formats will still be available in WordPress 3.6[/box]
With the 3.6 update for WordPress coming , it’s time I put to pixel an idea I have been developing, Political Post Formats.
If you’re not familiar with WordPress, or the CRG WebProgram, this post may be lost on you; but, in the simplest terms, you’re reading a post right now. Your MP/MLA/MPP website likely uses the classic format of having a news page with a list of entries of news releases.
Currently, 95% of CPC MP websites use this classic model of being a basic “blog” of news releases. The videos go in a video section and the photo albums go in the photo album section.
The classic model seems entirely sensible until you examine the traffic data and reflect on the purpose of your website.
There are three key challenges with the classic model in a digital age:
- Hiding the message
- Using a non web format
- Duplicating work by working backwards
Hiding Your Message
After the Contact page and About page, the content most regularly being viewed is the Photo Gallery and Video Gallery; but, the content you want them to read is in your news releases. By sectioning off your written content from your visual content visitors are missing out.
If you are using WordPress in the classic political model, all your posts are using the standard post format.
By utilizing all the post formats you can locate all your political digital communications in one place. If you still want a distinct Video and Photo Gallery you just need a post format page template to display only those posts.
|Post Formats in 3.6:||Now, let’s politicize them:|
||Twitter sized update|
||Long Facebook Post / Short Email Update|
||Your Own YouTube Channel|
||Links like actionplan.gc.ca|
||Have you hear of Reddit?|
||“Our Senate, as it stands today, must either change or be abolished.”|
By using the different post formats you can bring all your content items into one stream on your website.
The Wrong Format
Putting all your content into one stream on the website should also encourage you to abandon the practice of putting “news releases” on the website.
The second challenge to the classic model of political websites is the use of a “News Release” to populate your content.
A political website should tell users where you stand, why you stand there, and then ask them what they think.
When the voter has to read through a news release written in the third person, on your own website, it re-enforces the perception of the authenticity gap people feel from their politicians.
By thinking about political post-formats you can improve your workflow.
All political communication should include the who, what, when, where, and most importantly why.
Instead of writing the draft news release try this first :
- Write the draft email to your supporters.
- Add some background detail with links and then draft post it to your website.
- Add some quote marks and change it into the third person news release format.
All political communication also includes variations of title, description, body, theme (tags), and category. Whether a single picture, a YouTube Video, e-newsletter, or News Release the content you have drafted will dictate where and how you use it, and re-use it for all your communication vehicles.
[ilink url=”http://mphost.yourwebsitehere.ca/files/2013/05/The-Content-Item.pdf” style=”download” title=”Download The Content Item”]This .pdf called “The Content Item” illustrates how you re-use all the pieces I have described above.[/ilink]
Enabling Post Formats
Since WordPress 3.6 isn’t out yet there is still time to start thinking about how to harness a Post Format Political WordPress Theme. If you have any ideas, please share them in the comments below.
[gravityform id=”17″ name=”Building a better WordPress Theme”]