Cross-posted on techPresident.
The Clinton campaign is using microsites (small, standalone sites separate from the main campaign site) for both offense and defense this week. First, the offense, in this case a clear attempt to humanize a candidate often seen as cold and calculating. The Hillary I Know presents video testimonials from people she has helped, comforted or influenced in some way. For instance, besides messages from constituents assisted by her office, you’ll also hear words like these from her dress-maker, Martha Dixon: “She’s a warm, caring person. I really got to know Hillary… I really think she’s a wonderful, wonderful person. I just love her.” Next, the defense, with The Fact Hub section of HillaryHub.com contradicting a Jake Tapper piece accusing her of improperly claiming credit for a FEMA-related piece of legislation. Considering how fast relatively trivial stories such as this one can grow legs and run all over cable news, rapid public response is a great idea and supplements direct contact with reporters. (Thanks to Mike Allen for pointing these out in today’s Playbook.)
Why use microsites rather than the main campaign site? For one thing, the campaign clearly wants to keep HillaryClinton.com zeroed-in on converting visitors into supporters, using a splash page to build the candidate’s list and keeping the site front page focused on relentlessly positive messages and filled with activist tools. Separating out The Hillary I Know into its own site puts the emphasis on the videos themselves and also gives them a distinct context note the soft earth tones and the rolling array of faces. HillaryHub has a much different audience reporters and bloggers and is a good holding place for harder-edged pieces that the campaign had rather not throw in the faces of casual HillaryClinton.com visitors. The problem with microsites, of course, is that each one has to be promoted separately, diluting a campaign’s marketing efforts. When you’re trying to reach a different audience or spread a message distinct from a general campaign site’s intent, though, microsites can be an excellent tool.