The assumption we made is that all participants in this webinar are political leaders (mostly women) who want to build an online presence, whether as online organizers, activists, candidates, staffers or elected officials – and most likely moving between roles.
Wordpress.com recommended for easy website/blog creation.It’s OK to start with a spreadsheet for contact information; the important thing is to have the information accessible.
This applies to all leaders – not just candidates!
Recommended mail systems: Constant Contact, MyEmma, Mail Chimp.
I like to put this up front so people can understand that it’s not expensive to build an online presence.
Note: Be careful of using friends of friends or people with only corporate website and design expertise – it’s different than political background and can cause problems.
Wordpress has its own stats as will most paid or packaged software; also can use SiteMeter and/or Google Analytics
Salsa Libre – free version supposedly coming out this summer.
Study what other campaigns are doing. Not just your competitors. Look to similar races. See how they use e-mail.Make sure to spell-check, grammar check and test your e-mail sends!
You can do this even if you’re not a candidate – I know a lot of local political organizers who send out e-mail newsletters. It’s a great way to keep in touch with people and stay involved.
Reply with care!
I would not have gotten the opportunities I’ve had to meet with Senators and senior WH staff, to go to the White House or DNCC without blogging.
As a candidate or public official, you don’t need to be a great blogger – you just need to be a good blogger.SorayaChemaly is relatively new on the feminist blogging scene but she succeeds because she’s highly skilled and willing to be more edgy than most candidates. Each blogger must determine a style that works for her, especially if there are long term aspirations to serve in public office.And don’t discount the person next to you. Ezra Klein was a scrappy college student just getting started blogging when I met him. Now he writes for the Washington Post.
Here are ways to pay to get yourself out there further online – essentially buying viewers.
Online Engagement Strategies for Candidates, Electeds & Activists
What you’ll learn How to
build your online presence Online engagement strategies including blogging for impact & building a powerful social media network Tools & tips for campaigning online
What you need as a
leaderonline Bare minimum: website and/or blog, e-mail list, Facebook page Online persona & history – will be researched Willingness to engage online One social media savvy friend or volunteer
First steps toward creatingyour online
identity & voice Reserve names: domain, Twitter, Facebook Setup simple website and/or blog Setup Facebook page Aggregate initial contact data in one place (where is your primary list?) Create new e-mail account if campaigning
Show who you are online
Do a detailed search on your name – what do you see? Be clear & concise, tell your story Create a unique image that stands out Your website and social sites must provide the most accurate picture Personalize - updates, friendly “curated version of yourself”
Building initial networks Build initial
e-mail list from contact lists & social networks (FB, LinkedIn, Plaxo) Make sure existing social media accounts are in order Invite inner circle onto social networks Start following local political organizations & media on Twitter, Facebook
Costs/budgeting Basic website and/or blog
– FREE Strategy consultants, web developers & designers – hourly or by project Social media accounts - FREE Content, e-mail & data entry – do yourself, get volunteers or hire hourly temp workers Database &/or fundraising back-end – set-up fee plus monthly rate based on # of records ISP – monthly charge usually based on traffic
Tips for tight budgets Don’t
get fancy with the website (pre- packaged is OK, like Wordpress) Use the same designer for website as logo Excel is fine for a local race database Repurpose, reuse, reinvent copy Focus on e-mail, pushing content out Maximize social media use
Website construction Design consistent with
overall themes Simple, easy to find information Basic site is better than no site at all Take advantage of color Utilize Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Find ways to stand out from the opposition Add social media link buttons to site
Keys to good online content
Segment & mix it up for speedy dissemination Make it “Sticky” - keep people on site Posts (Blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) must be personalized, well written, casual Videos (YouTube, Qik, etc.) – you in action Images (Flickr, Picasa, site photos) – your story through images
Add-on tools for sites Wordpress
for blogs, plug-ins ActBlue – easy Dem donation engine NationBuilder – online organizing tools Salsa –free tool for local races coming out this summer called “Salsa Libre” Addthis.com – buttons and widgets Raiseyourvote.com – DNC reg. tool
Search Engine Optimization Insertkey words
into text, images & site code & blog posts Make sure page titles smartly named, including proper headers Name, city, county, state, neighborhoods, etc. Issues, actions in the area, proper nouns of key locations, topics
Database – for contacts,supporters, network
Basic: spreadsheets like Excel, databases like Highrise Sophisticated online back-end services like NationBuilder, NGP, Convio, Salsa Import existing voter lists, data from social networks, mobile phone, Skype, etc. Data types - visitors, supporters/users, donors, volunteers, data managers Safety & security
E-mail outreach Stillthe best communication
vehicle Use viral themes Engage with urgency & action Utilize endorsers, big name supporters Work off of major events, news & reporting deadlines Think outside the box – too much campaign e-mail looks canned
E-mail message content Stick to
one focus (or ask) per message Don’t ask for money every time Use short sentences, repeat key points Tell stories, incite action Be authentic Thank people often!
E-mail response Create standard collection
of replies for common requests, questions Friends – reply personally Donors – thank & engage Volunteers – give tangible tasks Undecided – provide detailed answers (pre-packaged is OK) Negative – be kind, thank for contacting Defamatory – ignore (don’t feed trolls!)
Building your voice online Regular
e-mail outreach Blogging on your website or keeping one primary blog Guest blogging & op-eds on other sites Commenting on other blogs Engaging through social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest)
Blogging – what is it
really? Self-publishing of articles on easy platform Closer to op-ed than traditional journalism Generally not edited by pro editors Personal viewpoints on issues, events, topics – more raw, casual Authentic – keeping it real & useful
Do you really need a
blog? No, but you need a voice online & blogging’s the easiest way: giant megaphone Makes you a better writer for op-eds & more Gives you subject matter credibility Allows you to experiment with your voice Connects you with people you would not otherwise meet Takes time, but you get out 3x what you put in
How blogger influence works High
quality content spread across networks Well written post gets shared, highlighted Reputation develops over time Can be subtle – traffic ≠ influence Even small blogs can get national attention if topic is important enough
What makes a great blogger?
Unique voice & passion for issues Experience writing & editing Available time to write and learn the back end of blogging Comfort with online publishing systems Plays well with others Appropriate timing in political cycle Willingness to stir up controversy
Getting started blogging Block off
time in your schedule List top blogs in your local area & tune in Get to know bloggers & regular commenters List topics you may want to write about Try out your own blog – can set private at first Try writing longer posts on Facebook Offer to guest blog for org. or group blog
Blog lingo Post – article
Page – static content (bio, contact info) Comment – reader remarks, dialogue Category – topic or general area Tag or Keyword – keywords for search Blogroll – related blogs in sidebar Troll – rude or defamatory commenters
Blog content News (esp. if
a candidate) Ideas, thoughts on issues Highlights from events you participate in – speaking engagements, publications Links to resources or articles of interest Personal stories, anecdotes
Building a community withother bloggers
Find blogs – local news, events, other blogs Setup RSS reader to organize & follow blogs Ask bloggers to exchange links List blog, on FB Networked Blogs, BlogHer Join blogger e-mail lists Follow bloggers on Twitter, Facebook Attend blogger events, conferences Engage: comment, retweet, respond!
Using Facebook Curate posts similarly
to blogging, just shorter Keep it short & sweet, casual Take advantage of photos, video, links Share important news Ask questions of your community Keep it clean – don’t post anything you wouldn’t want in The New York Times
LinkedIn value Online resume –
extra way to highlight skills, experience in a neutral way Reaches professional political network Also aggregates some contact information Easy to find other people in your network Can take advantage of groups
Twitter as a tool Bestway
to find media, bloggers, advocacy groups, online influencers Quick & easy for sharing news, articles Engage with the community via @replies Learn about issues using common hashtags (#p2, #fem2) & terms Retweet (re-post) what is relevant to the community and voters
On the move – onlineengagement
while mobile Posting photos to Facebook from live events Live tweeting events, news Qik for posting live video Publishing quick blog posts when major news comes in
Back Channel = secret sauce
Use your networks – esp. trusted friends Send individual e-mail to influencers Post to blogger or activist e-mail lists Mention via Facebook e-mail Suggest mentions via Twitter direct message Exchange online favors with others
Integrated social mediastrategy Build social
media into overall campaign or professional-political persona Put your Facebook & Twitter IDs on cards & fliers along with website URL Auto-post: blog to Facebook & Twitter “Drip irrigation” - Sally Lieber Remember to keep it personal, social, authentic
Reputation control tips Promote a
positive image early & often – ensure YOU control your image online Curate content always keeping image, reputation & message in mind Buy domains relating back to your name Regular “vanity” searches Get endorsers, supporters to link to official website (so people know which is yours)
Transitioning roles online Activist ->
Candidate -> Elected Each role is public & political Each role requires issue expertise & engagement Activists can be most free online Candidates need to be more careful Electeds must be most cautious Authentic voice must hold throughout
Other online organizing tools E-mail
groups & document sharing – Google Groups & Docs, Dropbox Events – Facebook Events, Evite, Eventbrite, Plancast, Foursquare Conference calls – Freeconference.com Large or bulk file transfers – Yousendit.com Video chat – Skype, Google+ Hangouts Polling – SurveyMonkey on web, Polleverywhere for mobile devices
If you have the money
Google web ads Facebook ads High end web designers Personalized videos Mobile & SMS outreach
Remember to SHARE! Social –
networked, engaged Highlighting – short & sweet, positive Authentic – true to your voice Repetitive – consistent, continuous Educational – informative, valuable ! – enthusiastic, passionate