Alex Woodson at the Hollywood Reporter spoke with me yesterday about political Web site strategy:
Max Kalehoff, vp marketing for the newly formed Nielsen Online, stressed the importance of these official Web sites in the run-up to the election. He said that the presidential hopefuls, like any other brand, need a strong online backbone and that their official Web sites should play this role.
“What you often see is that the brand Web site is such an important force because it’s looked at as an anchor,” Kalehoff said. “It’s an in-depth link and a referral for further background as people interact on the Web. It’s sort of a currency.”
He drew a parallel to Apple’s launch of the iPhone, which was surrounded by massive blogosphere hype. A big reason for this, he said, was because the official iPhone site was “absolutely optimized” to this end and served as a hub for information about the product, something the candidates should strive toward.
Kalehoff also said that the candidates have been increasingly “experimental” with their Web presence and that online video has emerged as an important medium and has become the “norm” in this campaign.
I’m not a politico, and wasn’t interviewed as such, but I’ve been following and admiring the Web strategies of the candidates, which are pushing the bar in interactive, multimedia, grassroots syndication, social interaction, e-commerce and, to top it all off, overall communications integration. A growing trend in marketing communications as well as journalism and other content publishing is that digital platforms are emerging to become the hub or central nervous system. I believe a similar trend is occuring in politics, and the Web site is at the heart of it.