How content strategies have shaped the election

07 May 2015

Whilst this election has been the closest for generations (at the time of writing the Conservatives and Labour were neck and neck), there has been much talk of how voters have been divided by press and the internet.

This is the first election where the divide has been so apparent. While the press have been firmly rallying round David Cameron and the Conservatives, the internet does seem to be leaning slightly more to the left, with one of the most striking campaigns not coming from a political party or a media group, but a gang of teenage girls and their viral hashtag #milifandom. The Labour Party has invested heavily in their online campaigns, putting it at the forefront of their campaign strategy, but the #milifandom probably wasn’t something they could have predicted.

Buzzfeed has been the website that has brought us some of the most interesting pieces of interactive content, saving a lot of the more impressive stuff for ‘election eve’ and election day. For example, two tests of sorts were shared which showed how important your vote is- whether you live in a marginal seat or not- and whether you should vote tactically depending on which constituency you are in.

The Guardian have also featured a series of infographics in a longer run up to the election, but my absolute favourite is their ‘Can You Form A Stable Government?’ interactive where the user drags the faces of party leaders in to a box to try and make a stable government. If the parties match then the images stay next to each other, however if they don’t (like Labour and UKIP) then they shoot away and look very grumpy… The Guardian then details as to why this coalition won’t work. It is a fun, educational and different take on the many, many articles listing pros and cons of certain coalitions.

This isn’t the first piece of interactive content that the Guardian have created for the election. They recently published a map of the UK, with the predicted seats on it, who is holding which seat and who is predicted to gain seats. Once again, they have taken a piece of election news that will be of huge interest to people and made an interesting and fun piece of content that’s easy to use.

We have been inundated with different quizzes to help us decide which party to vote for. The Independent’s slick and stylish effort ‘Verto’ has been dubbed as a ‘Tinder Style’ thanks to swiping left or right for policies that you agree or disagree with. The fact that a lot of inspiration for the online interactives have come from social media such as Tinder is very telling of the way digital content will be produced going forward. Sharing results about yourself, making quick decisions in the spur of the moment and reading information in short, snappy segments- all these elements have been apparent throughout the election campaign.

The only real certain outcome of this election is that digital is going to be a more and more important when it comes to future elections. It has been repeatedly said that papers don’t have as much power as they used to, and instead social media channels and websites like Buzzfeed will soon be the go to place for political campaigns to target.