Democratic Campaign Consultant's Advice:
Don't Forget To Reach Out to Local Blogs
In the current issue of Campaigns & Elections, Democratic political consultant Matthew McMillan has some excellent advice for candidates on how to connect with blogs, which he says "are breathing new life into our democracy by bringing grassroots politics back":
Successful blog outreach is about much more than just engaging with the national political blogs. It's even more important to communicate with local blogs that are read by voters. Before you communicatie with local bloggers, they must be identified. Map your jurisdiction's political community blogosphere and gather contact information. Find local blogs that report on community news, events, and of course politics. Then, just like a traditional media operation, connect with the bloggers. Tread carefully. In advance of any communication, undersand the bloggers' editorial style and communicate with them accordingly. A word of warning: bloggers are fiercely independent and don't take well to being told what to do. As such, sending a bland, impersonal press release to a list of bloggers isn't going to cut it. Instead, just like with traditional media, give them interesing news or unique perspective and the bloggers are more likely to run with the story. Don't be afraid of blogs. Yes, there are some pitfalls, but the benefits far outweigh them. While the campaign could get in a foot-in-the-mouth moment, that's a reason not to campaign in the first place, not to turn down an opportunity to communicate with thousands of voters. Moreover, a campaign that makes allies in the blogosphere and gets in trouble because of it will likely benefit from a fierce defense. That means more money, volunteer resources, and a larger megaphone for your campaign. Blogs are breathing life into our democracy by bringing grassroots politics back. They allow leaders to directly communicate with voters, and they provide a democratizing forum for ideas to compete and be advanced in an online marketplace. In a media environment dominated by the clutter crisis, distributing ideas through blogs and the Internet provide a way for campaigns to break the clutter.