Gone But Not Forgotten: Post-Debate Content Strategy

As part of the Content Campaign ’12 Series, The Content Strategist examines the content published by the presidential campaigns as part of their strategy to win November’s general election.

Most have said that Mitt Romney won last week’s presidential debate. In his emails following the event, he’s sure been acting like it.

For this edition of Content Campaign 2012, we took a look at the candidates’ emails following the debates to see how one can capitalize on a win or mediate a loss through content strategy.

Generally the candidates send out roughly an equal number of emails, but this week Romney kicked it into high gear. The Romney campaign was responsible for 14 of the 21 emails sent after the debate (Thursday night through the end of the debate news cycle Sunday). That’s a lot of emails (about four a day).

More importantly it shows a marked difference in tone for Romney, who seems to have gained significant confidence from the first debate. His once quotidian emails imploring constituents to get to know him now have a touch of excitement as a more promising election draws near.

Within an hour of the debate, the emails began. Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan declared Romney the debate’s winner, while US Senator and former Republican VP possibility Marco Rubio maintained that “the choice this November could not be clearer.”

In the subsequent days, Romney’s whole family stepped in, armed with new hope and a highlight reel.

The debate aftermath wasn’t as glorious for the Democrats. After the debate, Obama sidestepped the issue of winning or losing by saying, “I hope I made you proud out there explaining the vision we share for this country.”

In tone and type it was consistent with most of Obama’s other emails  most of which address voters by name; the Romney camp prefers the general “friend.”

 The next morning, Romney was emboldened by what had by then been widely considered a victory in his favor. His following two email subjects read: “Victory is in Sight.” He thanked his supporters  “friends”  for their help and asked for their continued participation in the campaign.

Obama’s campaign manager, in turn, used Romney’s “Victory Is In Sight” subject line against him to goad Obama’s constituents into action.

The Romney campaign mentioned the debate in nearly half of its emails. The Obama camp only directly mentioned it twice  once to mock Mitt Romney about defunding PBS and, by extension, Big Bird. The Obama campaign has been especially good this season at using the other campaign’s content against it.

Romney’s campaign has been starving for a victory — any kind of victory — practically ever since it was started. The debate gave them the first taste of that.

Now it’s up to Paul Ryan in the VP debate against Joe Biden to see if the Republicans can keep up the momentum.

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