Managing your online identity
Leveraging the power of the internet for political campaigns
(2009) Version 1.0
Republican State Leadership Committee
Download this presentation at http://www.slideshare.net/DCvaquero
What is Web 360?
Full 360 degree integration of your e-campaign into your traditional campaign for the
purposes of increasing your viability and accessibility to opinion makers, media,
bloggers, activists and donors. Developing a comprehensive plan that manages the
power of the Internetʼs 1.0 broadcasting medium coupled with the webs rapidly
expanding 2.0 community building and activism tools, and optimizing your web
presence for use in the mobile 3.0 world. The world of slow moving, top down
communications is becoming obsolete, authority now comes from many different
directions and you must engage the public through multi-directional channels.
The best way to quickly judge your online identity is what shows up on the ﬁrst page of
Google or any search engine when you type in your name, (85 percent of Internet trafﬁc
starts at a search engine). If you and your campaign are buried on page 2 or 3 of
Google then you barely exist and nobody will ﬁnd you and nobody will care.
Why You Should Care:
Your online identity is the fastest, easiest, and cheapest medium for communication to
potential activists, donors and voters. The Internet allows you to begin building your
brand among the chattering classes long before the TV commercials begin to run. In
fact many times potential donors will search you out on the Internet before deciding
whether or not to contribute to your campaign. If your e-house is not in order and your
campaign does not look attractive online you may be turning potential check writers off
and away. The press and local media outlets are hurting because the Internet allows
users to search out the news they want to ﬁnd at free or minimal cost. The Internet
offers you a medium to generate media stories, raise funds and build an army of
followers to your cause without ever leaving the comfort of your easy chair.
The Internet is now the ﬁrst step in building your personal brand. In the old days
campaigns were started with initial meetings with party leaders, business leaders,
activists and donors. These meetings helped you understand what is important in your
district and whom you need to talk to, where you need to go, and what you need to talk
about. These meetings help you gauge the political climate, size up your competition
and start the buzz about your potential candidacy. Nowadays the groundwork for even
the original rounds of meetings can be laid online. In fact it is likely that blogs and
online forums will be buzzing about your candidacy long before you ever begin
assembling your team. Nothing is secret anymore and certainly not on the Internet. A
smart candidate will learn to harness and exploit this wild west of people and
information using sometimes confusing but ultimately simple, and mostly free tools.
The Internet is full of people who are generating fresh content and having conversations
every day, it is in your best interest to turn on and plug in.
The long tail of the Internet allows you to speed targeted messages and instant
responses to targeted niches of the population.
The speed of Internet communication is one of the main reasons that traditional news
outlets are fading. Blogs and online magazines area able to break news hours before
anyone can warm up a printing press. Anything that is printed is history, has likely been
shared, discussed, sent around, corrected and editorialized on by thousands of people
before you picked it up.
In 2009 traditional newspapers are now too slow to even break news about themselves:
The Internet is now almost universally available. Broadband access in American
households is up to 82% in 2008, according to a recent report by the Pew Internet &
American life project, from around 50% in late 2004 and 10% in 2000. Until fairly
recently most people were constrained by bandwidth from fully enjoying itʼs capabilities.
To establish and manage a dominant web presence that will leverage the reach and
scope of the Internet in order for you to promote your message, encourage people to
activate and contribute. The building of a solid community online is truly a 3 legged
stool. You must appeal to 3 groups in concert: donors, media (including bloggers), and
activists/voters. Put your best foot forward because all 3 groups are judging your
performance. As with the traditional campaign your goal is to make a strong sales pitch
to the donors and the media and in turn inspire the activists to follow you.
A modern campaign invites people in to the process by focusing on transparency. A
transparent approach allows donors, activists, bloggers, media, and voters to take
ownership of your campaign, feel a part of it and take responsibility for it.
To forge new relationships with people you otherwise would not have access to, you
must recruit them to your cause, add value to their experience and make them feel
appreciated. In response your online community will provide you with the tangible
beneﬁt of real life action and nearly instant feedback.
If you pay attention to the community youʼre building, then the community will step up
and do the work. -Joe Trippi, campaign manager Howard Dean for President
What is the difference between web 1.0 and web 2.0?
In the early ages of candidate involvement on the Internet many political candidates and
groups felt that they needed a website or splash page, basically an online presence for
the sake of having one this is known as a simple broadcast platform or web 1.0
Web 2.0 provides tools for community building, interaction and mobilization allowing
Internet users to get involved and help to spread your message. Web 2.0 allows your
online presence to by dynamic and engaging. Content can be uploaded and shared
from a variety of sources making your website attractive for repeat visits. Web 2.0
allows your campaign website to become a true virtual campaign headquarters.
How the Internet has fundamentally changed campaigns for 2010:
Power now comes from the people. The Webʼs big success stories are based in its
inherent populism—its position as giving voice to, rather than talking at, masses of
people. If people wish to simply listen or watch, be passively entertained or informed,
theyʼll watch TV.
A common denominator for success on the Web is that it allows people to get their own
voices heard (and images seen), from email to blogs to social networking sites to
From a political perspective, this means creating space for the issues about which your
community is or can become intensely passionate and giving them an outlet (your
campaign) for them to take action.
The barriers to entry in the online community are shrinking every day. Inexpensive and
free broadcast mediums (YouTube, Blogger, Wordpress) coupled with cheap tools of
creation, (iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, Gimp) have created a whole new class of
Have you ever heard of “Obama Girl”?
People are out there networking, small groups of like-minded individuals are organizing
themselves online. Your campaign shoud take advantage of their hard work and their
Uninterrupted access to what you and your community cares about (Blackberries,
iPhones, and wireless cards allow you and everyone else around the clock wireless
access to media, their networks, and to you.
Access to these technological tools allows candidates to bypass the ﬁlter of mainstream
media. When you want to deliver an important message, you are no longer dependent
on the media to deliver it for you. It can be as easy and updating your Facebook page
or sending out a tweet.
It is cheap and cost-effective. The technology allows political candidates to reach more
people with less money and more quickly than conventional media. The web holds the
potential to be revenue positive for a political campaign, attracting small dollar donors to
your cause through the web can not only pay for your online efforts but can actually put
positive dollars into your traditional campaign.
Candidates can effectively mobilize supporters and rally them to their movement or
cause. Supporters can be touched by a number of means, including emails and online
messages. Once activated, candidates can use the web to get real people to canvass
their neighborhoods, make telephone calls, and convince their friends, families, and
associates that you are the best candidate for the job.
Two way and multi-channel communication facilitates civic engagement and creates
social capital. Voter turnout in most democracies today is disappointingly low. It is
usually a small minority who follow politics 24-7. What remains is a sea of passive
observers who choose to get involved only if activated. Having ones voice heard can
give people a sense of loyalty to the political system and the motivation to engage in
civic activities. Supporters are now able to make their voices heard through their
Facebook proﬁles, their Tweets or by recommending a story on Digg.
Candidates for political ofﬁce must establish an online presence where they can better
connect with and target voters socially and organizationally.
Rules for building your identity: Content Is King vs. Technology for Technologyʼs
First have something to say: donʼt forget that content is still king. These fun-ﬁlled and
innovative bells and whistles are, above all else, new tools to better enable a skill as old
as time itself—communication. But no graphic or clever technology can take the place
of great content so be sure youʼre creating and sharing information your recipients are
genuinely interested in.
Put it before them brieﬂy so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it,
picturesquely so they will remember it, and, above all, accurately so they will be guided
by its light. – Joseph Pulitzer
And give them easy, simple, direct ways by which their voices may be heard and by
which they can, individually and in concert, take action. -Ralph Benko
Remember to keep your message accessible, dynamic, exciting and easy to share.
Take advantage of 2-way communication with real people and strive to make your
campaign transparent. Feature timely and in-depth content meant to keep everyone up
to-date and able to participate in spreading an easy to share message and providing
instant feedback. Empowering your community and giving them access will inspire them
go to work for you in a tangible way.
Give increased access to traditional and non-traditional media, and be sure to take
advantage of social network leaders, they are the online “connectors” (see Malcolm
Gladwellʼs book “The Tipping Point”) social network leaders can open up doors for you
and give you access to online communities of like minded people, in your community
and beyond, that you never knew existed or could break into on your own. Somewhere
in that expanded community are more donors and voters.
Candidates and campaign managers can no longer afford to see voters as mailboxes
and points of TV. Passive political involvement ofﬁcially died in 2008, you are now
dealing with community members whom have access to platforms and tools that allow
their voices to be heard.
Remember that the Internet does nothing. It is a medium with which you can reach
many people at very low cost, and engage them in profound ways. That doesnʼt
guarantee that theyʼll be interested in what you offer—or even know that you exist
Also remember that campaign messaging has not changed very much, you still need to
keep a handle on your campaign message, what is changed is one method of delivering
your carefully crafted message not the message itself.
What do I need to get started?
First and foremost you will need a plan for what you want to accomplish, a Blackberry or
smartphone an e-mail management utility, a web designer, a handful of trusted
volunteers, donor management software, credit card processing system at your local
bank and/or a Paypal account.
Buy a good domain name, so people can ﬁnd your page easily, try to avoid using
hyphens and numbers, make your website as easily searchable as you possibly can
and try to buy up any common misspellings you can think of. You will likely only need to
purchase .com and .org. Have your web engineer point all of your newly purchased
domains to your active page. I use GoDaddy.com but there are many low cost
providers out there worth exploring. Never pay more than twenty dollars to reserve a
You will need to purchase a few things to get started as well, try Best Buy or
www.overstock.com for these.
Laptop and mobile Internet card
Blackberry or smartphone with data plan (with camera)
5.0 megapixel or better digital camera
Digital video camera HDD or Mini DV with digital or analog in, digital out
A DVR (to record TV appearances) or digital receiver/recorder like Elgato EyeTV
Digital video editing software (iMovie, Windows Moviemaker, Dazzle, Pinnacle)
How much will it cost me?
As stated before you should lay the groundwork as soon as humanly possible with the
free tools available to begin building a base of contacts to work from when you
eventually launch your comprehensive and paid web strategy. A good website designer
should be able to set up a fully functional website for between 5 and 10 thousand
dollars but you can do it yourself for much less. You can get the hardware and software
you will need for around a thousand dollars, much more if you want the good stuff,
much less if you are able to beg, borrow or steal a few pieces. Most of you probably
have a digital camera lying around that will work just ﬁne.
Open source platforms such as Joomla! and Wordpress are free tools that allow you to
create websites on your own with a minimal investment in the domain and hosting
through low cost providers like GoDaddy. A quick online search will turn up online
tutorials that will help you get started although I do not recommend this for beginners.
COMPONENTS OF ONLINE IDENTITY:
Home Page: Your website is still the hub of your wheel, holding other moving parts
together, you live on your website, your website is your virtual campaign Headquarters
think of social networks as your employees, working in and around and through your
Your homepage needs to be clean, easy to navigate and constantly updating. A static
homepage quickly becomes stale and irrelevant. A boring homepage will not generate
sufﬁcient amounts of user participation or attract repeat visitors.
Think about your homepage as a telephone number or a single yard-sign along an
obscure highway, when you installed your telephone, did that instantly cause important
people and large numbers of them to start calling? If you put up just one yard sign on a
country road people will have to go hunting for it. Donʼt let that happen to your website,
take your website to the people and be where they are online.
IMPORTANT: The four Cʼs of a successful and useful modern campaign website:
Content, Contact, Contribute, Connect
Breaking news from the campaign, recent articles from local newspapers, online video
of speeches and events, information on upcoming events, campaign commercials,
mailers, radio appearances, photos from the campaign trail, endorsements and an RSS
feed of your latest blog or campaign diary entries.
A dynamic media center page. Make sure your media center and news releases have
easy to ﬁnd, grab and use digital content like downloadable images, video with embed
codes, audio clips and contact links.
Donʼt bother with lengthy position papers, nobody will read them who does not already
have a position on the issue in question.
Contact: Ask every visitor to enter in his or her name and email address in return for
“staying in touch with you” very few people will sign up for a “newsletter” they get
enough of them already. Sometimes this is successfully done with a pop-up screen
before the visitor is even allowed to access the campaign website. Resist the
temptation to ask for more information here - you can do that later. The goal here is
building your list.
Be sure to include the standard campaign contact information, email address, physical
address, telephone number, P.O. Box and if you happen to be running a campaign in
1992 your fax number.
Contribute: Make it hard not to give. A donate button (or buttons). There are many
options and designs to choose from, make certain that your ask is prominently featured.
Connect: A connect with me graph offering users the option to quickly link up with the
campaign on Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, LinkedIn, Ning, Twitter, Digg,
Stumbleupon, or any other networks that spark your curiosity.
A modern political website should be engineered for engagement, prompt visitors to
connect, contribute, volunteer, make phone calls and ﬁnd nearby events. You should not
be content in asking visitors to just ﬁll out a volunteer form and wait, make sure that you
give them the tools needed to get started on their own.
Now you have your website, next you will need to drive trafﬁc to it.
Email list building is still as effective as ever. Offer an email list sign up on your home
page. Email collection and management will happen on and off line through your
website, on and ofﬂine petitions, contact links and simply asking for it in person. You can
also purchase email appends to your voter ﬁle through commercial vendors. Thi can be
a costly measure when dealing with limited campaign funds.
Make sure you are using your email management system to import every email address
you can ﬁnd, mine your social networks for every valid email address. Many people still
do not understand how to use blind carbon copy (bcc) and looking through some of your
old email forward chains can yield a lot of addresses. Remember to ask for the county
Republican club or other organizations supporting your campaign for their list even
though you might not get it. Just make sure that you are always on the lookout for more
email addresses and have a protocol to ensure that they all wind up in one place.
Be careful not to become a spammer. And know the difference between SPAM and
BACN. SPAM is email that the recipient does not want, BACN is email that the recipient
wants, just usually not right now you will likely be sending BACN if you are successful.
Always remember your audience and be careful to ensure they get the point of your
email in the ﬁrst few lines. Many people will be opening your email blasts on
blackberries or phones, so be sure there is enough lead in text content so that your
email does not show up as just a bunch of links.
Use your email blasts to cross-pollinate your efforts. Ask your recipients to become
your friends and connect with you on social media. Invite your social media followers to
join your email list. Be sure to highlight the best content from your blog and blogs
following your campaign in your emails and incorporate interactive elements so your
readers can provide you with feedback.
A couple real life tips on email blasts, the most successful email blasts that I ever sent
were plain text, they looked as if they came directly from the candidate and asked the
recipient for a small contribution, they came across ﬂawlessly on peoples Blackberrys,
were easy to read and drove a ton of trafﬁc, this will not always work but the moral of
the story is please do not think that you need to have a fancy huge static banner and a
ton of graphics, a couple of pictures are ﬁne, links to relevant and exciting content and
opportunities to act and connect are certainly appropriate.
Cross pollinating your efforts can be as simple as getting a modern email signature. In
the old days, email signatures pretty much just mirrored business card information:
name, company, title, phone, fax and email address. A modern email signature will
integrate your social networking information into your email sign-off. After all, the two
purposes of an email signature are to tell the recipient a little about yourself (e.g., your
title, company and location) and to give them different ways to contact you. Social
networking sites are simply an extension of those two functions, giving other people
more information about yourself and additional ways to interact.
Some elements that you can add to your Web 2.0 email signatures are your
Twitter page, LinkedIn proﬁle, MySpace proﬁle, blog link, Facebook page, and of course
your website. Wisestamp allows you to add these elements even to your web-based or
personal email accounts. http://www.wisestamp.com/
For the same reason that television ads have a more signiﬁcant impact than radio and
mail, combining pictures, audio and text in a web ad can have an increased impact on
Online video is the most powerful tool in your arsenal for attracting more visitors more
visitors and growing your community, virally spreading your message, quick and clear
response to attacks, and impacting your campaign.
Content is king, nobody is going to spread around something boring, make your web
ads exciting, funny, controversial or extremely informative. Web adʼs do not need to be
fancy, they just need to capture attention and be on message.
The inexpensive creation tools that the user/producer class has access to and you can
use are plentiful, some examples are iMovie, Dazzle, and Windows Movie Maker
software, and any inexpensive digital camcorder.
Making web videos can be as cheap and quick or as time consuming and expensive as
you want to make it. I suggest getting help for the larger projects and posting the raw
video for everyday projects.
YouTube allows our earlier discussed newly formed user producer class to get involved:
YouTubeʼs how to page can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/my_videos_upload
Why does online video matter? Two words, “macaca,” and “cling” as Sen. George Allen
and Barack Obama discovered the hard way.
There are 4 major video outlets: YouTube / Facebook video / MySpace video and
Google video. Higher quality videos can be maintained at sides like Vimeo and Blip.tv
YouTube allows you to track who is watching your videos using YouTube Insight. This
amazing tool will provide you with real time data and demographics about who is
viewing your content online. http://www.YouTube.com/
Examples of youtube spreading political messages rapidly
Ms. California: http://www.YouTube.com/watch?v=8XMvviFbkf0
Perez Hilton: http://www.YouTube.com/watch?v=YI1u6bZ39YE&feature=related
George Allen: http://www.YouTube.com/watch?v=r90z0PMnKwI
Barack Obama: http://www.YouTube.com/watch?v=DTxXUufI3jA
It does not all have to be web ads and gotcha games: An example of an effective,
straightforward Facebook video used to great effect by freshman State House member
Todd Schlekeway for his legislative update series: http://www.Facebook.com/
Viral videos spread across networks rapidly but they must start somewhere. Give your
video the best chance at becoming viral by making sure to equip your video with good
and relevant “tags” when uploading, these tags will help search engines deliver your
video to the people searching for it. For a video about my non-existent run for
Governor, I would use the search tags: Casey Phillips, Republican, South Dakota,
Governor, 2010, Election, Handsome.
Spread any video across your own networks by using the “share” link at the bottom of
the video player to post it to Digg, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and others, the purpose
of the video is after all to get it in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
One mistake campaigns sometimes make: If you are fortunate enough to catch your
opponent on video saying something stupid or bad do not try and tell the story yourself
by editing the video and holding back the raw footage, Bloggers, and television stations
will want the raw footage and will take care of the editing themselves. Feel free to post
2 videos, one with the really juicy parts and one with the raw uncut footage. The nightly
news will play online video of your opponent saying something stupid but they will not
likely play your web ad with crude graphics and your chosen background music. If what
you captured on tape is good enough then let it shine by itself.
Example of what not to do:
http://www.YouTube.com/watch?v=qzpz3hiyCxc&feature=related (this is a little better)
Instant uploads to Facebook video from your cell phone can help you take video mobile.
Make sure to outﬁt your YouTube proﬁle, and channel just like all of your other social
networks and make sure to link them all together.
Search Engine Optimization:
There is a whole art called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is a way of
positioning your site to appear higher in the Google (and other search engine) ranks—
i.e. to be higher on the page a user sees when conducting a search. It is extremely
challenging to game the system to move your site to be one of the top three entries—or
even on the ﬁrst page of search engine results.
You want these results to show up:
Not this one:
The search engines are very sophisticated in determining which are the most popular
sites. Google claims that its system takes into account something like 500 million
variables in assigning a page rank. These variables include things like how long you
have been on the Web, how extensive your trafﬁc is, how many content-relevant sites
link non-reciprocally to yours, and other factors.
Constantly updating and adding new content to your sites will put your site/pages higher
in the Google returns. Itʼs easier to do in a low proﬁle race than in a higher proﬁle race.
Letting your opponent deﬁne you on the Internet is 100% unacceptable and is usually
one of the ﬁrst signs of a lost or failing campaign.
You can optimize your presence by thinking about how your targets audience may be
searching and writing website copy and tagging posts and videos in that way.
Put simply, the more places you are on the web, the more mentions of your name that
you control, and the more able you are to drive trafﬁc to those entities the better your
search engine proﬁle will become. Be aware that this can be a slow process.
Buying Google AdWords is also a quick and easy way to kick start your SEO campaign.
AdWords are small advertisements that appear when people search on Google using a
keyword such as your name or your opponents name. When someone in the particular
state, city, or region that you have chosen to target searches one of your targeted
keywords then your ad will appear next to the search results. Google AdWords are an
easy and cost effective way to to target voters within your district and boost your online
identity. You can learn more about Google AdWords at www.adwords.google.com
Online Reputation Management (ORM)
Whatever goes on to the Internet is archived and searchable, this can work for or
against you. Make sure you are regularly managing your online reputation by promoting
and adding fresh content to the sites you control, adding links to positive stories about
you and promoting your groups and social networks. Think of these actions as
insurance for when the bad stories and blog posts start to come.
When the bad stories start to come the only way to bury a bad search engine hit that
starts showing up is to start building links to the sites ranking immediately beneath the
negative piece in the search results. If you make a signiﬁcant effort you may be able to
boost the sites you want to be seen above the negative pieces. Ensure that the desired
keyword terms are in the anchor text of the desired links. The same goes for photos in
search engines such as Google Image Search, remember to tag all of your images with
positive keywords when uploading to your blog, website or social networks.
Also spend a bit of time doing opposition research on yourself, there is no guarantee
that you can get something unﬂattering taken down from the net, and still less likely that
it will actually disappear but it never hurts to ask you old college roommate to remove
that picture of you with a lampshade on your head from his Facebook page. Note: you
can untag pictures of yourself from Facebook but that does not remove them from the
site, untag ﬁrst and then send a message asking for the user to remove the picture.
Blogs and Media:
In 2009 Press Releases look dramatically different:
Without rich and dynamic content such as pictures or video, your old text only press
release is nearly worthless. Bloggers also like to make easy posts, give them
everything they will need contained or linked in the release. Include a download link to
a high quality headshot from your website that is suitable for publication. Also be sure
to allow website visitors and community members to easily post your content directly to
their Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites with dynamic links like these:
The above example is over the top, but it serves to underscore the basic fact that you
should include dynamic content, embed video, high quality photos and important links to
outside content sources of interest. Once again be sure to apply the same campaign
standard to any content you share. Give your bloggers everything you give your
reporters and vice versa, they are rapidly becoming synonymous, treat them as such.
Also remember that everyone in your audience has the potential to spread, forward,
comment and put their own spin or brand on your content so provide them with the tools
to do so.
How Social Media and Blogs are realized in traditional media:
Reporters like bloggers are more likely to write a story if they are provided with all of the
tools necessary. Reporters read blogs and can be swayed by them. Develop and use
your contacts with local bloggers to help you break that story you just cant seem to sell
to the local paper. Once the editors at the hard to reach paper have seen the story on
blogs and public reaction via the comment section the chances they will dispatch a
reporter to cover that story or your next story will increase exponentially.
How to spread the good stories. Lets imagine for a moment that you have just nailed
an interview with the Meade County Times-Dispatch and you know a great article about
you is coming out in tomorrows paper. One small problem is that the MCTD has a
circulation of only about 10,000 people. As a candidate building your brand, or fending
off attacks, you would really like to get this story in front of as many eyeballs as
possible. So you sit down at your computer and use your newly built social media and
Internet outreach machine to pump this story out to bloggers and average voters alike.
Reporters usually ﬁle their stories with the web editor just after they submit them for
print, the web editors usually begin posting the next days stories sometime after
midnight local time. Google Alerts usually will pick these stories up in the next hour or
so but if not, be sure to check the news organizations website and or RSS feed.
When this great story arrives in your inbox or RSS reader, step 1: is to email it out to
your blogger email list as an ICYMI or (in case you missed it), be sure to add some
additional fresh content that is just for them, maybe a picture or an additional quote.
Step 2: post the story with the link to the original article on your blog and your website.
Step 3: spread the story via your social networks and make it easier for your followers to
further spread the message. I recommend ﬁrst posting the story on your Facebook via
Facebook publisher, send a tweet with a tinyurl link back to the story, make sure to get
the story added to Digg and del.icio.us, and always remember when reposting and
sharing good content to provide your followers with Sharehis or Addtoany buttons so
they can spread the content through their own networks as well.
It is not uncommon to republish the article in its entirety on your website with links back
to the original page. Then you can add all of the sharing buttons to the article there, this
will point all new visitors to the shared material back to your website, in theory
increasing your page views, funds raised and volunteers signed up.
Blogs, your own blog vs. connecting with other bloggers:
Blogs have become absolutely essential to modern political campaigns because of their
ability to almost instantly break news and their lack of editorial oversight when dumping
opposition research. In the absence of mainstream media attention on a down ballot
campaign, many times the blogosphere may be the only or the most accessible source
of information about the race.
Do not underestimate the power of a committed blog author to build a strong community
of followers by offering intelligent and timely commentary, and then to sway the opinions
of and to mobilize their sometimes large and loyal readership.
The most popular and easiest to use blog hosting and technology sites are Blogger and
Wordpress. Other popular sites are Moveable type and Livejournal. I recommend and
use Wordpress for all of my blogging needs personal and political.
There are more than 72,000 blogs that at least partially cover politcs on the web
according to Technorati. More than 10% of all Internet users read blogs and many for
local political information.
To get heavily involved in the blogosphere it is advisable to or recruit a volunteer who is
able to spend the enormous amounts of time scanning, posting, commenting,
contributing content and building relationships with the local blogosphere.
Starting and maintaining a blog is by far the easiest, quickest and least expensive way
to get your message out ever created.
So feel free to sign up for a free account and get started, it takes a long time to build a
following but do not let that deter you. Use the hometown newspaper standard and link,
build, share, track-back, tag and post away. And remember as with everything content
is still king.
Your relationship with other bloggers:
First, ﬁnd political blogs in your area.
Check the BNN Rank for your state, BNN weekly assigns a ranking of political blogs by
their inﬂuence, their methodology is somewhat secret but they are a very good
Search keywords out on Technorati http://technorati.com, and Google blog search.
Scrolling through the blogroll of political blogs as you ﬁnd them.
Build and maintain a list of all the blog contributors email addresses for news releases.
Spend time building the relationship and getting them to work for you:
The best way to make the blogs work for you is to bring them into the campaign, give
them access, respect and participate in a 2 way conversation with them. Bloggers like
recognition and do a service to the community as a labor of love. It is usually
advantageous to throw them a few advertising dollars, some campaigns and political
organizations put bloggers on staff or retain them as consultants to solidify the
Bloggers are always looking for the elusive credibility factor, help them ﬁnd it and you
will likely make friends quickly. It is a good idea to offer bloggers news tips and
exclusives. Keep in mind that many times bloggers will cover stories that the MSM
would likely never cover, so ﬁnd a couple niche stories and give the blogosphere the
exclusive right to cover it.
Bloggers nowadays have a platform and legitimacy, be sure to include them in in
everything that you include the local media in, your press conferences, conference calls,
issue rollouts, and events. Remember to add dynamic content to your press releases
that bloggers and reporters can use alike, many opinion columnists and reporters
maintain their own blogs and Twitter accounts nowadays, keep your messaging as
consistent as possible between blogs and traditional media, they are becoming
Offer all of your content for syndication on local blogs, RSS feeds of your content can
be made available to be shared on other blogs, the easiest way is to create a campaign
Widget they look nice and help you syndicate your content and drive trafﬁc to your site.
http://www.widgetbox.com/ www.springwidgets.com, www.sprout.com
Below is an excellent example of a well written blog post that incorporates all of the
major elements: quotes from other bloggers, track backs, links to more information,
opposition research, editorial, news clips, quotes, campaigns, activism, and a call to
Never let a web attack go unanswered:
Quick Reaction comments:
The comment section of a political blog regularly draw supporters, observers and
contributors allowing the people to have their own say on a blog post or topic. It is
common for the supporters of political candidates to have nasty back and forth
exchanges in the comments section, make sure that you as a candidate are never ever
involved in these sometimes nasty debates.
That is not to say that you should let an Internet attack go unanswered. In fact you
should never ever let any attack go unanswered. The question is, who should ﬁght
back on your behalf? The general rule is that nobody who is paid by the campaign
should post “anonymously” on blogs. Pretty much everyone else is fair game to ﬁght
back on your behalf. Many times “Anonymous” comments are allowed on blogs but
“anonymous” comments do not have much credibility. For certain it is better to have
“anonymous” sticking up for you than nobody.
To use the blog comment section effectively for promotion and defense you must ﬁnd
someone with the time and ability to do this for you. They can build credibility with the
community by creating a username with the local blogosphere and contribute regularly,
you blog reaction team must spend the time to build their own brand if they are tasked
with successfully defending your brand.
The Obama campaign employed hundreds of blog surfers to never leave an attack
unanswered, I know because I run a couple blogs, and every single time someone
posted anything anti-Obama a commenter would show up and defend him off the
campaigns talking points sheet and also attack back. Refusing to let any attack go
unanswered even in the smallest of venues is accomplished by constant monitoring of
your name on Google Blogs, and Technorati.com. Ask for and get people to help you
respond to attacks, this is your online identity after all. Never let a web attack go
If the attack is bad enough create a response video and get the link up in the comments
section under the attack.
The Democrats use blogs for character assassination, be ready for it and respond
Nothing on the Internet can yet replace a well executed conventional campaign strategy
of raising money and knocking door to door. But it can give you an advantage by
helping you generate excitement.
Watch your employees closely as you monitor your online image. If they blog do not let
them get off message or put themselves in a situation to damage your reputation or
theirs. I made this mistake in 2005 and it was repeated on the same campaign in 2007.
Donʼt Astro-turf or Flog (fake blogging): Remember TRANSPARENCY is one of the big
keys to success on the Internet. Astroturﬁng is a word that describes a formal political,
advertising, or public relations campaign that seeks to create the impression of being
spontaneous and legitimate user generated grassroots behavior. Hence the reference
to the artiﬁcial grass, AstroTurf.
Wal-Mart busted for Flogging: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/index.cfm?
Basically Wal-Mart paid a couple of journalists to travel around the country in an RV and
stay in Wal-Mart parking lots. The ﬂoggers-for-hire wrote about the good people they
met in Wal-Mart and the good things the company was doing. The bloggers failed to
disclose the ﬁnancial arrangement with Wal-Mart as their ﬂog developed and the
backlash was far worse for the companies image online than the beneﬁt of the ﬂog.
There are now 3 distinct types of political fundraisers now due to the spread of the
Internet, the old standards of 25 people in a fancy suburban home writing $2,000
checks, and the 200 people at a barbecue writing $200 checks. The emerging class is
the 10,000 people who never show up but are drawn into the campaign via the Internet
and kick in a few dollars online after an action call.
Many fundraising tools are available to the political candidate, Democrats have ActBlue.
While Republicans do not yet have an answer for ActBlue several promising sites are
trying out new and similar tools. Right now there are two sites, www.slatecard.com and
www.rightroots.com leading the way at this point. Look for tools to be launched by other
GOP aligned groups and PACʼs soon.
Basically ActBlue is a tool for collecting money that is raised on blogs via blog links and
widgets when bloggers and social network communities deem a candidate worthy. You
can do this on your own by making your own widgets and connections with bloggers
and building your own social networks, giving them ownership of the process and
activating them to give and ﬁnd others to give to reach a goal.
The real beauty of ActBlue lies in the open platform. You donʼt need permission to start
fundraising for or sending money to candidates of your choice, the plumbing has been
laid out for any motivated person to start making a real difference by raising money from
their contacts, all it takes is a few clicks.
Many of the lessons learned from Howard Dean way back in 2004 and still true
today. Announce attainable online fundraising goals and ask for help reaching them,
use your email list and social networks to help drive trafﬁc to the blogs that are helping
you make the push. Build a sharable widget so that blogs can post them that tracks
progress toward the goal and immediately directs the possible donors web browser to
your websites donate page.
Blow your goal away and thank your community, always hit your online goal even if it
takes a few phone calls, this will further energize and activate your community. Give
your community ownership of the goal realization and then ask for more help on the
The best tool for online fundraising is still email, concentrate on writing the best copy
possible for your email and laying it out as simply and as straightforwardly as possible,
remember to include important action items. A timely emotional appeal and giving at
least the appearance of a tangible beneﬁt to your audience are key components of a
successful fundraising email like the one below:
Notice the sense of urgency, celebrity author, multiple contribute links, forward to friend
tools, embedded video, goal, deadline and emotional appeal.
Gathering the donations:
For the very small campaign, using Paypal to gather online donations is very cheap and
very easy to set up and integrate, no brick and mortar bank involved. Be careful of
companies that want to charge you high fees to collect online donations. Your local
bank can set up a credit card processing account and shopping cart for a small
percentage. Do it yourself.
“Joe Six Pack” is now online and he has a Facebook
POS Survey: Voters Are Networking By Jim Burton Friday, May 8th, 2009
Public Opinion Strategies completed a national survey of 800 likely 2010 voters (April
19-21, 2009) where we asked a few demographic questions about cell phones and
networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. As you would suspect only a small
percentage (13%) of voters do not have a working cell phone and one-third of likely
voters use networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Friendster or Twitter.
Use Social Network Sites: Yes (34% overall)
GOP: 29% Ind: 37% Dem: 38%
Good rules to social network by:
First, do no harm. Not understanding and misusing social networks can cause real and
consequential damage to your campaign, make sure everyone on your team has
knowledge of what not to do ﬁrst. Nobody associated with you or your campaign should
ever think that anything they do on the Internet is private. Assume that every comment,
status update and photo uploaded to any social network or blog is fair game to wind up
as front page news. Have a meaningful conversation with every member of your team
to ensure that they leverage their personal networks in a positive and constructive way.
I have seen one wrong Facebook status update cost a bright young political operative
her job and stall her career. Unfortunately no amount of online reputation management
is likely to cover up a mistake like that.
Social networks allow you the opportunity not just to be found by but to search out and
ﬁnd like minded individuals that can easily be swayed to your cause, Facebook even
allows you to search by political afﬁliation. Another great way to ﬁnd people to join you
is to browse through ideological or regional groups. If you are running for state senate
in Sioux Falls South Dakota a few good groups to start with would be the “Vote Yes for
life” South Dakota group and the “Augustana College Alumni” Group.
Once you have located a few friends, joined a few groups and started building a
following of like-minded people make sure to do what does not seem to come natural to
most people, interact with them in a meaningful way. Make sure you cultivate
relationships with your social network friends. It is not enough to have them add you as
a friend. Stop by their page to wish them a happy birthday or congratulations on a
wedding or engagement. Take note of your friends status updates and take some time
to read and respond to your friends updates - pay special attention to messages sent
directly to you and respond to them promptly. Do not be afraid to cut the cord and take
your network with you on your mobile, just remember to not let your Blackberry get
between you and a real live person.
Private proﬁles are not an option, and trying to maintain two separate proﬁles will likely
lead to confusion and mistakes. Try hard to consolidate your networks and make room
for your new political friends by taking down the potentially embarassing pictures from
Messaging reminder: Message control is crucial in social networks. Have you read
about a politicianʼs mistweet recently in the media? Do you have reporters and
bloggers as followers or friends? It is easy for anyone in your networks to grab a screen
shot of your slip up and send it out to blogs all over the country. Control yourself, think
clearly, and have a ﬁrm grasp of how to use the technology at your disposal.
Social networks have changed many aspects of political campaigns but none so much
as upsetting the traditional top down campaign information ﬂow. The structure of the
campaign has become spread out, transparent and open to encourage citizen access
and participation. While all well and good, even the Obama campaign proved that even
with all the structural campaign operation seemingly transparent, the campaign
message ﬂow was very tightly controlled. Although activists got to have their say on
mybarackobama.com cooler heads must prevail in the newsroom.
Understand your own messaging strategy, and implement it. The interactive audience
can be a great test market for your messages, and they can provide you with nearly
instant feedback, but remember that no successful messaging strategy has ever been
run by an angry mob, otherwise wouldn't we have a more rosy image of angry mobs?
Listen to your mob but let cooler heads prevail. The real secret to keeping your people
happy is to listen. They wonʼt expect every idea they send you to come out of your
mouth or wind up in a news release but as is the beauty of the Web 2.0 they want their
voice heard, so go ahead and listen.
WARNINGS: the larger the campaign the more tightly controlled the message should
be, do not tweet about everything. In most large operations the candidate may suggest
topics for tweets but should not actually be tweeting. If you plan on doing it yourself I
urge you to think critically, watch your tone, follow the doʼs and donʼts and know where
the line between normal person and candidate for ofﬁce is.
Watch your staff and their social networks, make sure they are using a hometown
standard as well, it can be an embarrassing distraction to the campaign to have nude
photoʼs of your press secretary on the local political blog.
People are not on Facebook to be marketed to or to be told what to think, they are there
to engage their friends and build their network, ﬁnd old friends and occasionally strike
up a conversation. Bring value to them or do not come at all
K.I.S.S. this stuff is not that hard, search, build, listen, respond, engage, control
your message and follow back.
The Basic Sites:
“Facebook is such a cool and easy way for me to connect with my fans while I'm on the
road,” said Britney Spears. “I love that I can update my status, blog and post videos and
photos all in one place.” (if Britney can do it, you can do it)
Step-by-step instructions for any public ﬁgure or organization wanting to create a
presence on Facebook and best-practice suggestions for public ﬁgures, non-proﬁts or
other organizations can be found at http://www.Facebook.com/publicproﬁles.
Fill out your proﬁle, donʼt be scared and be sure to be as real and honest as possible
Interact (the like button takes almost no effort) Commenting or piling on a discussion will
put your proﬁle into news feeds of others in the discussion. Add everyone who requests
you. Search for like-minded individuals (political afﬁliation, hometown, current town,
personal and professional email contacts search). Have and plug your fan group (give
titles to your best online supporters). Upload and tag friends in photos and videos.
Read your news feed so you know whatʼs happening in your supportersʼ lives. Lastly
but most importantly - Be very careful, and mind your image.
More than 200 million active users, two-thirds of Facebook users are outside of college
and the fastest growing demographic is those 35 years old and older. The average user
has 120 friends in their network
850 million photos and 8 million videos uploaded to the site each month.
More than 1 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos,
etc.) shared each week.
More than 2.5 million events are created each month.
More than 25 million active user groups.
And it is growing rapidly.
Features of Facebook:
Wall - The Wall displays the most recent and relevant information on a proﬁle. The Wall
is a collection of what the user shares as well as what those connected to them are
sharing. People can easily comment on the content posted.
Publisher - Just as a user can add content such as status updates, photos, and videos
to any of their connectionsʼ proﬁles, the Publisher provides a simple interface for sharing
News Feed – Users receive updates in News Feed every time they visit Facebook. The
latest content shared by their friends is organized before them in a timeline.
Finding new friends on Facebook: it is generally frowned upon to mine for information
on social media proﬁles for use outside of Facebook, that is why it is the most popular of
the social network sites. Most Facebook proﬁles are private so you wont be able to
access much information from people who are not already your friends.
Expand your network by searching for people within your geographic network, political
philosophy, mutual friends, and or trolling groups of like-minded people to ﬁnd
prospective friends and allies.
Watch your limits on outstanding friend requests: Beware that if you want to friend
request everyone in the “I support Governor Barbour” Facebook group and you do it all
at one time you could be blocked by Facebook as they limit the amount of outstanding
friend requests that may have out at one time.
Bottom line: Facebook is the most powerful social network on the Internet today period.
Learn to master Facebook ﬁrst, use contact importer to ﬁnd people you already know.
Spend time here ﬁrst and then move on to some more exotic sites once you have
mastered the all powerful Facebook.
Twitter is a micro-blogging site that lets users interact with each other around one
simple question: What are you doing?
Doʼs and Donʼts of Twitter:
#1. Have message discipline, do not tweet anything that you donʼt want to see in your
hometown newspaper because it will hopefully wind up there.
1. Tweet VALUE (content is king)
2. Create a user-friendly Twitter ID (@yourname)
3. Your ﬁrst choice for a Twitter ID should be your name. If your name is taken ﬁnd a
way to keep it as close as possible. There are only 140 precious characters
available in each Twitter post. The longer your Twitter ID, the more space it takes
4. Be clear but donʼt be afraid to abbreviate >140 is tough
5. Use a clear picture
6. Learn the lingo. As with any new network there is a learning curve. Twitter has a
quirky lingo all its own. But donʼt let that hold you back from interacting. If you
donʼt understand something, ask someone.
7. A few of the essentials:
• DM = Direct Message
• @ = Use to reply and always include proceeding a Twitter ID in a reply
• RT = Retweet
• Tweet = Sending a message on Twitter
8. Make your links clear and prominent
9. Use Tinyurl, shrink shared links in order to maximize the description
10. Use hashtags to optimize search to allow others to ﬁnd you
11. Follow people back
12. Retweet good content and promote others who share your best content.
13. Reply promptly to direct messages and @replies
14. Take it mobile - use that smartphone!
15. Link to Facebook status and website/blog/feed/Digg
16. Spend some time ﬁnding locals and opinion leaders, journalists in your area
17. Think critically about what your voters and locals might be tweeting about and use
www.Twitter.search.com to ﬁnd them (what is popular? local sports teams, high
schools, landmarks, churches, hobbies, clubs, recreation, sports)
18. Syndicate using widgets and get posted
19. Promote your Twitter page: with “follow me on Twitter” links
20. Read tweets, they will help you know what is going on if you are following the right
people you will learn valuable information about the goings on in your community.
21. Read the bio of those who follow you (determine if they will add to your network in a
positive way) following Aston Kutcher is not likely to help you win votes or know
what is happening in Helena Montana.
22. Learn about when you should “@” versus DM (i.e. direct message)
23. Follow the reporters in your area via the (TRACKVIA: Media on Twitter Database)
24. Have fun.
1. Follow back people who add nothing to your campaign, Take quality followers and
tweeters over over quantity, I know it is tempting to want more followers but they
only serve to clog your feed and take away from real people who will add value.
2. Twitter is not a popularity contest so do not treat it as such.
3. Push too hard or try too hard, shameless self promotion is frowned upon.
4. Lecture / Talk down to people
5. Be Oprah who has a million followers and follows nobody, it will create the image that
you donʼt care what your community is saying and you are not listening
6. Be Boring
7. Tweet everything, especially do not tweet about food etc., nobody cares
8. Tweet anything you donʼt want to see on the front page of your hometown newspaper
Leaky Tweets Sink...Rosalind Helderman Are there no secrets anymore?
One of the mysteries of the Virginia gubernatorial campaign thus far has been when
Republican Bob McDonnell will take to the television airwaves, particularly now that a
Democratic political action committee has bought $550,000 in commercial time to slam
We may now have a piece of the answer--thanks to a 23-year old ﬁlm production
assistant in Boston. Yesterday, one Jonathan Paula Twittered the following to his
roughly 1,000 followers: I work 45 hours a week as an assistant editor in Boston editing
political campaign commercials. Right now: Bob McDonnell for VA Gov
Three hours after Paula tweeted, the item had found its way to Ben Tribbett, who runs
the Not Larry Sabato blog, who posted an item suggesting McDonnell will soon be on
air. And now we're off to the races, as the campaigns pop the item back and forth and
speculate how soon the ads Paula was editing will go on air.
What is a hashtag -#?
Hashtags are a way for like minded people to ﬁnd each other or to follow conversations
outside of their group on Twitter. Placing the # sign in front of keywords or targeted
groups, makes it easier to track all conversations in the Twitter timeline via search. As i
write this Twitter informs me that #fpdc is one of the top tweeted words on Twitter. One
click and I ﬁnd out that there is a Free Press convention in DC this weekend, attendees
and fans are having a conversation about the convention, planning to meet up for happy
hour or excited for a certain speaker, yet others are talking about how the whole thing is
a huge waste of time. Candidates and causes often create their own #tags hopefully
yours will catch on like mine, #cwp=theman
Some good sample Tweets to get your off and twrunning and twthinking:
• Who is angry about the proposed tolls on I-99 #rapidcity #TCOT #nonewtolls
• Come sign our petition against new tolls at tinyurl.com/xyzrtn #rapidcity #nonewtolls
• A great picture of us at a rally with @jeffcamp & @stephjones www.twitpic.com/123
• Help us win the magnoliareport online poll: tinyurl.com/vwxyz #tcot #sdgop
• Need new asics from all this door to door, may wear them out this wknd in Pierre
• email email@example.com if you can come canvass with us Saturday in Pierre
• No dog bites today walking doors, a couple close calls here in Mitchell
• Stopped in Puckwana on the way to Mitchell, had lunch and Sallyʼs diner
• Retweet: @sallysally making calls for Phillips 4 GOV! (Thanks Sally)
• Our volunteers are the greatest 2200 calls last night, thank you #jimbojones &
• Are we all Facebook friends? Add me at tinyurl.com/vwxyz
• Yard signs ﬁnally arrived, call or txt 605-605-6050 with your address
• Big rally with Governor Popular tonight in Harrisburg, come down and join us
• Sturgis Scoopers homecoming tonight, hurrying so we donʼt miss kickoff
• RCJ proﬁle on our race this morning tinyurl.com/vwxyz please Retweet if you like it
• Heading to Rex Ross radio show in SF tonight on 97.4 at 5, talking about taxes
• If you missed the Rex Ross interview the audio clip up on our blog tinyurl.com/vwxyz
• @4eyesdoc @cowboybob thank you for donating on our website tinyurl.com/vwxyz
• @jjrobinson of course, i am a pro-life, anti-tax ﬁscal conservative thanks for asking,
help us spread the word here tinyurl.com/vwxyz
• My record is clear on tax cuts, read about it here tinyurl.com/vwxyz #sdgop
• SD Dems sending out distortions today, bring nasty ﬂyer to ofﬁce get a t-shirt #sdgop
• Thank you @redblogger for setting my tax record straight: tinyurl.com/vwxyz #tcot
• Op-ed today in the Argus about my opponents disingenuous tactics tinyurl.com/vwxyz
• We need some more foot soldiers for election day www.phillips4gov.com/signup
• Need to raise another 750 dollars before midnight to reach our goal #sdgop
• Election night party tonight: details here tinyurl.com/vwxyz please join us #phillips4gov
What is a TWEETUP
A real world meeting between two or more people who know each other through the
online Twitter service. Basically the use of your Twitter network to help you drive
attendance at your already planned political events, fundraisers, press conferences,
super Saturday door knocks etc. Tweetups are meetings between Twitterers best to
use the service to drive attendance to your events instead of plan separate events
around Twitter alone.
Possible help services for driving real life attendance at a campaign function,
www.meetup.com and www.eventbrite.com
Other important social networks:
WIKIPEDIA: www.wikipedia.org Do not under any circumstances neglect to update and
monitor your wikipedia page. This is a crucial component of your online identity that can
be manipulated by anyone and returns high on search results.
Myspace allows you to search, ﬁnd, and make new friends, has a very open and
customizable platform that can be easily manipulated. Although users are declining due
to spamming they still have the 2nd largest community with new users joining everyday.
Myspace also allows you to follow your friends updates, share updates and upload
photos and videos.
Very easy to set up: takes 10 minutes http://www.google.com/proﬁles/caseywphillips
A Google proﬁle is simply how you present yourself on Google products to other Google
users. It allows you to control how you appear on Google and tell others a bit more
about who you are. With a Google proﬁle, you can easily share your web content on
one central location. You can include, for example, links to your blog, online photos, and
other proﬁles such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and more. You have control over what others
see. Your proﬁle won't display any private information unless you've explicitly added it.
You can also allow people to ﬁnd you more easily by enabling your proﬁle to be
searched by your name. Simply set your existing proﬁle to show your full name publicly.
Google Friend Connect: (new and hot)
Anyone can join your site and discover other members by using information from a
variety of services, including Google, Yahoo, Twitter, AOL, orkut, and Plaxo,
strengthening your community as visitors become members. Choose social features
from a catalog of gadgets created by Google and the OpenSocial developer community
to keep your visitors more deeply engaged with your site and with each other.
LinkedIn has over 40 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the
world. A new member joins LinkedIn approximately every second.
Linkedin is a hybrid site, very much dedicated to professional networking, it is a good
way to connect to folks but few users are very active. Works with and inside Microsoft
outlook. Sign up for SEO reasons mostly.
FLICKR: http://www.ﬂickr.com/ almost certainly the best online photo management and
sharing application in the world, ﬂickr helps people make their content available to the
people who matter to them.
Maybe they want to keep a blog of moments captured on their camera phone, or maybe
they want to show off their best pictures or video to the whole world in a bid for web
celebrity. Or maybe they want to securely and privately share photos of their kids with
their family across the country. Flickr makes all these things possible and more.
To do this, we want to get photos and video into and out of the system in as many ways
as we can: from the web, from mobile devices, from the users' home computers and
from whatever software they are using to manage their content. And we want to be able
to push them out in as many ways as possible: on the Flickr website, in RSS feeds, by
email, by posting to outside blogs or ways we haven't thought of yet. What else are we
going to use those smart refrigerators for?
Flickr is the WD-40 that makes it easy to get photos or video from one person to
another in whatever way they want.
YOUTUBE: http://www.YouTube.com/ the worlds largest video sharing site, has won
and lost countless elections in its short history and is the most powerful, easiest to use
gold standard of video sharing, itʼs inﬂuence is almost guaranteed to continue to grow
and grow rapidly. Set up your channel as soon as possible.
http://www.meetup.com/ 6 million monthly visitors: Meetup is the world's largest
network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or
ﬁnd one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 2,000 groups get
together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves
or their communities.
Meetup's mission is to revitalize local community and help people around the world self-
organize. Meetup believes that people can change their personal world, or the whole
world, by organizing themselves into groups that are powerful enough to make a
http://www.eventbrite.com/ Eventbrite is the leading provider of online event
management and ticketing services. Eventbrite makes it easy for anyone to hold a
successful event of any type and size. Eventbrite is free if your event is free. If you sell
tickets to your event, Eventbrite collects a small fee per ticket. So just like you,
Eventbrite wants your event to be a big success.
The Eventbrite service includes many features and tools intended to let you perform
three basic tasks really well: Publish: Everything you need to create and easily
personalize a custom web page for your event. Promote: The tools you need to spread
the word about your event and maximize attendance. Sell: The immediate power to sell
tickets and collect money online. Read more.
Digg is a place for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the web.
From the biggest online destinations to the most obscure blog, Digg surfaces the best
stuff as voted on by our users. You wonʼt ﬁnd editors at Digg — weʼre here to provide a
place where people can collectively determine the value of content and weʼre changing
the way people consume information online.
Everything on Digg — from news to videos to images — is submitted by our community
(that would be you). Once something is submitted, other people see it and Digg what
they like best. If your submission rocks and receives enough Diggs, it is promoted to the
front page for the millions of our visitors to see.
And it doesnʼt stop there. Because Digg is all about sharing and discovery, thereʼs a
conversation that happens around the content. Weʼre here to promote that conversation
and provide tools for our community to discuss the topics that theyʼre passionate about.
By looking at information through the lens of the collective community on Digg, youʼll
always ﬁnd something interesting and unique. Weʼre committed to giving every piece of
content on the web an equal shot at being the next big thing.
How they all work together:
(Answer, only some of them do but that is rapidly changing)
(Share buttons) How to drive trafﬁc by user driven sharing:
Allow your users to share everything by adding simple code share buttons to your
campaign generated content websites such as: www.addthis.com or http://
www.addtoany.com/ and http://sharethis.com/ offer these valuable tools for free.
Be sure to add your social media footprint to everything you do. Once you have created
your identity on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Myspace and Linked-In, create a graphic
with links to your pages and add it to your releases, your blast email, your personal and
employees email signature(s) and your media center page so your recipients,
journalists, bloggers and others can easily follow you.
Your Blog RSS feed and your Twitter feed can be easily integrated into your homepage
to drive participation and offer ever changing fresh content. Remember: Google loves
fresh content, the more your home page is changing the higher it will show up on
searches, and that of course is what we call SEO or ORM.
Social Networks Working Together:
• Your Facebook status can be linked to your latest tweet by installing the Twitter for
Facebook application here: http://apps.Facebook.com/Twitter/
• Facebook publisher is a powerful tool to share content from your blog, website,
youtube and local news outlets via Facebook connect.
• Facebook also accepts mobile video and pictures firstname.lastname@example.org
• Linkedin has a Wordpress plugin that shows your blog posts on your proﬁle
• Google proﬁle will link with Flikr, Facebook, Myspace, YouTube, Linkedin, Wordpress,
any other functioning website, Picasa and Flikr are featured
• You can use Tinyurl to make a long URL short enough to include in your tweets
• Digg allows you to share any link or page on Digg, Facebook, Twitter, Share over
email link or Shout to your friends
• Digg, Twitter, and Facebook can also be used to promote and share YouTube videos.
• YouTube offers great tools for users to rate, share and syndicate videos themselves
via Digg, Twitter, Facebook, Email and post directly to blogs.
• Applications like www.peoplebrowsr.com (still in beta version) and
www.friendfeed.com give you a centralized dashboard and help your networks work
Demo: Press This plugin allows you to post any link and comment quickly on your blog,
add the code for WP share button at the bottom, save post, that will automatically show
up on your Linkedin and your website via RSS, then click share, add to Digg, from Digg
you can post directly to Twitter and Twitter will automatically update your Facebook
status. (In just 6 mouse clicks you have spread a news article or blog post over 5 social
networks, 6 if it is a video and your website, in seconds you have shared valuable
content of your choosing with hundreds or thousands of eager readers. Use the Email
link to spread it to even more selected folks who might ﬁnd you interesting.
Step 1: Find a story
Step 2: One Click Submit to Digg:
Step 3: Spread over your networks:
Email the link:
The Internet and your traditional campaign:
Promote your social networks and online presence in traditional media, traditional
mailings, business cards, handouts, and advertising. This will help create buy-in and
also provide anecdotal evidence to the effectiveness and timing of your paid media.
Conversely, you can also use social networks, your website and blogs to promote your
traditional campaign methods. Make sure you let everyone in your networks know
when your new commercial is starting to air. Think about previewing yet to be released
ads to your networks. A good strategy is to release traditional campaign content to
blogs, media and social networks the night before it is to appear. Make your online
community feel like campaign insiders and use their feedback.
Another great side effect of web technology and social networks are that they multiply
the sets of eyes and ears you have on the ground monitoring the traditional campaign
methods. I have always had a habit of visiting the post ofﬁce on fall mornings after I get
my coffee, spending time digging through the trash to locate any pieces of mail that
might have dropped in my particular race. By mid 2007 my excursions were worthless
as the campaign was getting Facebook messages and emailed scans of our opponents
mailers from supporters before I could get to the post ofﬁce for my morning dig.
Ensure that you digitize everything from the media for your site/networks. This is part of
adding good content to your site, and of course content is king. Audio, television
commercials, web ads, recorded endorsements mail-pieces, and high resolution photos
offered as downloadable and sharable content becomes free reach into others networks
and a good resource for your volunteers, bloggers and the media. When your network
starts doing its job it will drive new people to your content. Once new folks have been
driven to your site by user generated and shared content make sure that your site is set
up to offer action items to new visitors. Ask them to call their friends, spread the word
by email, make sure they can get started working on your behalf right away and on their
Real life example: Hosemann Campaign:
The Hosemann campaign had just cut a great TV commercial and we knew it. We had
been working closely with bloggers and traditional media sources with blogs for months
and we saw an opportunity to promote ourselves and extend the life of our ad 5 days
before the ad was set to air on the following Tuesday. The campaign was able to use
new media to light a new media ﬁre that took our opponents totally by surprise and
absolutely obliterated the coverage of our opponents campaigns by being ﬁrst to market
with a good message with strong and available content.
We started pushing on Thursday morning 5 full days before the ad and our opponents
ad were set to run. Beginning with a Facebook status update (new commercial
available today on the proﬁle at 2 PM. And followed by a posting of the ad to YouTube
the campaign manager emails link to the new ad to bloggers as a “bloggers only”
preview. This absolutely guaranteed written posts.
Friday afternoon we posted the video to the website, watched our Technorati alerts and
began to collect positive responses. The shell of the press release was crafted in
advance with interactive content, video link and information about the commercial,
producer and actors, we were able to collect positive blog post feedback and roll their
quotes into our afternoon press release lending credibility to our release and claims that
the ad was game changing.
Saturday and Sunday the news stories rolled in. The nightly news anchors did a parody
of our ad and we were set up and ready to capture and use it. Political columnists
labeled the ad “best of the year” and political cartoons were drawn. All of this user and
media generated content gave us exactly what we needed to blast our email list with
successful fundraising appeals.
Subject Line: Critics agree Hosemann campaign ad “the best of 2007” watch it now.
Subject Line: 10,000 views and counting, Hosemann ad breaks all records, most
watched political ad in MS history.
Subject Line: Meridian Star says that a political star is born in Mississippi, see why
Subject Line: Help us prove that campaigns can still be positive, sign the petition.
Subject Line: Will you forward “Gilbert” to just 3 friends.
Within 48 hours the video went about as viral as a down ballot state campaign ad can
go. It was prominently featured on political and non political blogs, linked on news sites,
spread around message boards, shared on supporters Facebooks and Myspaces and
ﬁnding its own way into email chains of church groups, civic organizations and normal
groups of friends.
The video had almost 10,000 views by Tuesday when it actually aired for the ﬁrst time.
We sent a follow up email appeal for funds to keep it on the air that was our most
successful fundraising email of the campaign. Our social media presence drove a lot of
supporters to see our video and share it with their personal networks. It also drove
visitors to our contribute page but the most successful fundraising still came from the
email blasts using the generated dynamic content.
We worked very hard to control the candidates image and drive links, to help our
campaign leapfrog past the many 1998 articles about the candidates unsuccessful bid
for congress. By taking advantage of our network of blogs and social activists we were
able to leave 98 behind in a big way as well as activate statewide volunteers, lock up
key activists and raise quite a bit of money.
TAKE IT MOBILE:
MOBILE CAMPAIGN RULE #1 DO NOT BE JOE BLACKBERRY, put your Blackberry
down or hand it to a staffer when you are in front of living breathing people. Donʼt stop
being a candidate. It is easy to become obsessed with Facebook, Twitter and blogs.
Be careful. Hand your Blackberry off to a friend. Donʼt Twitter as you walk. Nobody
should witness your e-campaign in public, there will be plenty of time in the car to tweet.
Web 3.0 is handheld and mobile, Twitter and Facebook lead the charge. Your content
delivered directly to your users handheld in real time, audio, video, action alerts, news.
Quik (www.quik.com) can stream live video from your phone to your friends and post to
More than 30 million active are users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile
devices. Mobile users are almost 50% more active on Facebook than non-mobile.
Example: Imagine that you could knock on a voters door, talk them into supporting you.
Facebook friend request them from your phone, record a 20 second endorsement video
and publish it directly to your Facebook, and home website on your way to the next
door. You can.
“Friends in common” is a very useful tool Facebook offers. Proﬁles are not public but if
you search out someone that you have an upcoming meeting with, possibly a donor,
when you ﬁnd their proﬁle Facebook will inform you if you have any “mutual friends”.
Possibly the ultimate source for establishing a connection with a donor or possible
supporter. Reach out to your mutual friend, download their information on the target
donor then use the mutual connection to either get you in the door or to break the ice.
This can all be accomplished from your Blackberry.
Do not be afraid to ask people for their Facebook email, people will usually give that
very readily, because people really do want friends.
24-7 access to the web. Twitter (Twitterberry) Facebook Mobile (Blackberrry, iPhone
and other smartphones) Myspace Mobile are all optimized to be carried with you all of
the time. This is the real ﬁrst emergence of truly mobile web. Folks who are this
plugged in and constantly receiving and replying to messages on the go are much more
likely to be active members of the community. This is the future, take your social
networks mobile and you will understand the beneﬁts.
Live streaming video from your smartphone to your friends only has a 2 second delay
right now. Remember ust know that it is out there and the kid standing in the front row
of your press conference holding his cell phone could be instantly broadcasting your
event to his network of friends and the entire world should they take an interest in
ﬁnding his feed.
Warning: continue to think critically and do not let Twitterberry get between you and a
real life voter.
MMS (Multi-Media-Messaging) messaging services allow users and visitors or
attendees or people sitting at home to sign up for text message alerts from your
campaign by texting a 5 digit code to a certain number. The technology is inexpensive
but certainly takes some know how to set up and properly use. MMS can be used to
drive trafﬁc and participation in real-time as well as used through your traditional
advertising to capture people who are not online when they see your ad.
SMS or text messaging was used extensively by the Obama campaign to great effect,
unless you are running for a very high proﬁle position you probably donʼt need it but it
has been used effectively in TV ads for smaller campaigns, getting instant feedback and
enrolling supporters. My advice is to hire a competent vendor.
Howard Dean was the ﬁrst candidate to harness the power of the internet for community
building, his 2004 presidential race was headed up by political consultant Joe Trippi who
outlined the ﬁrst law for community building in the age of the internet, known as “Trippiʼs
Law”: If you pay attention to the community youʼre building, then the community will step
up and do the work.
“Inside the campaign, we were always looking for ways to show our faith in the people
out there, to involve them in what we were doing, to take our cues from them, to model
the campaign on their passionate involvement. At one of these meetings with … our
young ﬁnance director, we tossed out the idea of posting our fund-raising—not just the
results, like other campaigns, but the goal. Invite the people in and open up the books.
Give them the knowledge and information—how much money we wanted to raise—and
theyʼd take the responsibility for doing it.” -Joe Trippi (The Revolution Will Not Be
'Money bomb': Ron Paul raises $6 million in 24-hour period
You must have someone to manage your efforts, if you build the Internet into your
campaign plan and you run a competitive campaign some people will seek you out and
ﬁnd you. If you fail to deliver and or show up, they will become bored and abandon you
as a cause. Show up and build your army. Barack Obama did this. His campaign was
everywhere and he employed a huge team of competent professionals to guide his
efforts, you donʼt need a huge team but you will need some help.
For pure comparison and notes let us take a quick look at how mybarackobama.com
utilized the best of the webs organizational and activism tools to promote his candidacy.
MYBarackObama.com (incorporated the best of the Internet into one action center)
Peaked at 8.5 million monthly visitors, 2 million proﬁles, 35,000 volunteer groups,
allowed activists to send Emails to friends, and make phone calls from home. 400,000
blog posts allowed users to join the conversation and 200,000 ofﬂine events with real
people were hatched, organized and realized
Components of Obamaʼs success.
1. The team wrote a comprehensive strategic plan, very early in the campaign.
2. Barack Obama is a charismatic leader, with something to say.
3. The campaign had a clear “cause” or “enemy” that galvanized supporters.
4. The team focused on highly personal communications with individuals.
5. They offered unique, relevant, consistent, and dynamic content that was easily
6. They were everywhere, no social network or group was too small
7. Invited supporter input and participation and empowered super supporters to action
8. Made it very easy to donate any amount, everywhere and attracted ﬁrst time donors
9. Built to scale, and performance driven, build your plan to scale and monitor your
10. They let no attack on the Internet go unanswered or unchallenged
I hope this is starting to sound familiar...
Am I doing what I need to be doing?
How is my online identity/reputation holding up (google frontpage)
Am I everywhere?
Are people getting involved or annoyed?
Am I posting and sharing Value?
Am I posting and sharing Action Items?
Are my people ﬁghting back for me?
Am I providing an acceptable level of access?
Am I still controlling my overall campaign message?
Am I raising money?
Is my campaign morale high?
Be everywhere, go where the voters are spending their time, integrate yourself your
image and your cause into their daily lives, become a familiar visitor and friend that
engages in constructive dialogue, is accessible and transparent. Always remember to
monitor and manage your online image as if your entire image depends on it, because it
Be proactive and reactive seamlessly in order to become engaging and win. Always
remember that content is king. You must offer value to elicit responses and activate
Be careful, always use the hometown newspaper standard and demand the same from
your employees, volunteers, vendors and anyone associated with your campaign. Donʼt
ever say or do anything you would be embarrassed to read about in the local paper. If
you write it, chances are it will ﬁnd itʼs way into the public eye.
Candidates need platforms, personalities, ﬁnancing, timing, and luck to pull off a
successful run. In the end, a campaign is a campaign, and new media tools are just
that, tools. They can in principle helpful for executing a campaign against a candidateʼs
core strengths and beliefs. But they more than likely cannot be used successfully in