Blogger outreach needs to be a vital part of any campaign.
I know there are many who still view bloggers as nothing more than internet nerds who sit in their mother’s basement eating Cheetos, and while that is generally true (though I’m more of a Funyons guy), they still represent a vital resource for anyone – especially any Republican – who is looking to run for office.
One of the most difficult aspects of being a Republican, especially in a state like New York, is that the media for the most part shall we say expounds an opposing worldview from us. If a candidate wants to submit and Op/Ed, it’s edited and sanitized by an editorial staff who is voting for the opponent. And that says nothing about how expensive the media market is in the first place.
Blogs and bloggers? We just press the “publish” button and it goes straight to the people.
And while we already have a friendly audience built in waiting to hear from us and to share what a candidate has to say, I’ll let you in on a blogger’s little secret – we’re all on listservs and in groups with other bloggers who have their own friendly audience, and we all look to share each other’s work.
Here’s a real time example that happened recently. Walden Mayor Brian Maher ran for NY Assembly last year (disclaimer: he’s a TCG client, as well as being one of my boys). An issue came up because, what no one was aware of at the time, Mayor Bloomberg’s anti-gun group was using his name to promote his agenda. He wasn’t a member of the group – never mind the fact that he’s not anti-gun and supports the 2nd Amendment – but he had signed a petition from years earlier about wanting to keep the streets safe, and they were using his name for that. It wound up causing an issue in the campaign.
About a month ago, as stories started coming out about how Bloomberg’s anti-gun group operates; Brian wanted an outlet to tell his side of the story. Instead of trying to pitch the story to media outlets, who are as anti-gun as Bloomberg, I suggested a conservative blog with whom I work.
The response from it has been overwhelming. Here’s a quick review of what has happened with it so far:
Misfit Politics published Brian’s post.
Brian posted the link on his Facebook page.
Two local papers saw the link and wrote stories about it.
Those links get posted on the Facebook pages of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association… and the NRA itself.
NRA News decided to spend two days with Brian to do a feature.
All this occurred because of a blog post in which the author was able to say what he wanted to say without the mainstream media filter.
Granted, this example is more of a “perfect storm” where there was an issue that a lot of people were passionate about. If he wrote something about local municipalities and mandate relief, I’m suspicious of the reaction being similar. They key is matching the right issue with the right audience.
Doing that is a lot easier if you take blogger outreach seriously beforehand.