Your advocacy campaign is missing a critical component. You’ve spent thousands on message testing, a microsite, banner ads, TV spots, and a team of consultants. Your media team placed fantastic letters to the editors of newspapers, which unfortunately couldn’t be tracked. But you were lucky to have a mailing list, so you emailed your advocates and 7% sent a letter to their elected officials. A few even tweeted.
Unfortunately, so did your competitors on the opposite side of the issue who, by the way, happen to donate twice as much to Members of Congress.
There is no silver bullet in issue advocacy, but there is very often a missing piece: search engines.
Why Does Search Matter?
You know about Google. They process 40,000 search queries per second and 3.5 billion searches per day. Many of those searchers seek restaurant recommendations, help with a school paper, or the best local plumber, but they also seek information about your issue.
People search for healthcare and healthcare reform over 63,000 times per month, but they searched obamacare 823,000 times per month in 2014 – that represents more eyeballs than all but our country’s top 3 newspapers in circulation.
People search for gun laws and gun control 82,000 times per month but they searched NRA 135,000 times per month in 2014.
The point is, there is a tremendous audience of people who seek information about your issue – but they do so using their own search terms, and on their own time. Achieving a true online presence requires reaching these people by ranking for those terms. If your story isn’t there, your opposition’s story will be.