Friday, January 25, 2008

Blogs and Turn-ons

The headline is a stretch, but it's the catchy ones drive the traffic...

Michael Turk, Fred Thompson's Internet Director offers a great post-mortem on their operation. Sure, he's helping shape the legacy of his efforts, but his points about blogging as an opportunity to open up the conversation are spot on.
Nobody accused us of endorsing the random beliefs espoused by the occasional nut, and nobody on the campaign had to answer a single press call (that I am aware of) about the blog or anything said on it.

Rudy's blog doesn't allow comments. Romney's gets a few per post. Ron Paul just recently launched a blog (despite the fact that blog software is largely free). He currently gets between a handful and a few dozen comments. ...There are just as many Democrats who need to learn this lesson (cough, cough, Hillary, cough, cough).

They need to build online operations so they invite people to the discussion rather than turning them off of it. [get it? turn-ons? I know, a stretch...] Get candidates to write, in their own words, frequent posts. Understand that a ground game is critical, but it must be viewed in terms of ROI. A thoughtful, honest post from a candidate may be discussed and passed around by thousands of people online. It takes little time to write if it's sincere and not obsessive studied and focus grouped.

I don't think this indicates a lack of supporter enthusiasm as much as it indicates that the campaigns have created a blog with nothing to say on sites that are so scrubbed of interesting content they're almost sterile. Most of the posts are rehashed press releases, rehashed campaign e-mails, or occasionally a video so overscripted it becomes almost completely unwatchable.

Couldn't have said it better myself. I do have one more angle to add, however. The role of the campaign web strategist is not just to manage and maintain internal operations. S/he must also be a two-headed manager, an internal advocate for both internal and external online activity. Given the limited reach of campaign sites, the external focus is what needs attention among today's presidential online efforts...

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