12 rules for blogging politicians: 1-4 are a must or don’t blog

by Urs E. Gattiker on 2008/08/20 1 views

in c corporate blogging,e marketing 101 serving a need

As this series of posts will illustrate, how politicians (either elected to or appointed to an office) use the technology differs widely. It starts with, Madeleine Albright. During a conference held in Berlin in 2002, she shared with me and others that she had began publishing a travel diary on the Web during her work as secretary of state. Madeleine Allbright’s diary contained images/pictures showing to her grand-children and interested citizens where she was travelling to and, as well, whom she met during those travels. At that time, most politicians had probably just discovered e-mail and most likely did not even have their own web page.

So here are our 12 rules for blogging politicians – the first installment 1-4 – with appreciation to the Political Weblog Project for rules 1-3. Adhering by these rules will help you use social media (i.e. online applications that aim to facilitate collaboration and sharing between users) more effectively:

Rule #1 – You must own (or be ready to purchase) your own domain name;
Rule #2 – You must use the technology to engage in two-way commmunication;
Rule #3 – You must fund/source the weblog with your own money or resources;
Rule #4 – You must write your own blog content or tweets;

Below I discuss and explain each of the above rules. This weekend I will bring you 5-8 and early next week rules 9-12. This will be followed by a benchmark exercise evaluating how each of the above illustrous people and then some measures up on each rule – pass vs fail grades will be handed out for each rule and each politicians efforts – no kidding 😉

Rule #1 – You must own (or be ready to purchase) your own domain name

You may not always be an MP, Member of Congress/European Parliament and so forth. You may be elected to another position (e.g., state parliament to national one). Moreover, people will to come to know your destination or web address, having to change it because of a different job means loosing many of your following. As well, having your own domain allows you to change your design, format any way you please or move the site to another host another server.

It is like building a brand – your domain. It takes time and, most importantly, why your traffic or high PageRanke should benefit somebody else except yourself is a mystery to me ==> see also Rule 3.

Rule #2 – You must use the technology to engage in two-way communication == participate

Social media offers you to communicate directly with the users and your voters. However, communicating is a two way street. So allow your readers to comment and post these even though they might not agree with your viewpoint. Put simply, do not lecture but instead communicate and learn in the process.

In addition, no, it is not a matter of how many comments you have for each post but very much about how much substance these comments add. As well, communicating also means that you should participate and read what other blogs, newspapers and so forth write and relate to or comment. To be part of a community you have to relate, contribute and share. Just navel gazing and staying with your blog fails the test and your readers will, eventually, realize and leave you behind.

Rule #3 – You must fund/source the weblog with your own money or resources

It seems obvious that you should use your own resources and not taxpayer money to establish and run your blog. If you want to communicate with your constituents, you have to find your own voice, which means writing your own posts. Nevertheless, you may require some technical assistance to launch the blog. With WordPress (open source) this should not be a challenge and if you have problems, give us a shout at 19822003 at CyTRAP dot eu

There are advantages when funding your own way. Design of blog, plug-ins installed (e.g., latest comments) and much more are decisions you can make without interference. Moreover, people can find you and will continue visiting your blog even after you may have left office (see also Rule 1).

Rule #4 – You must write your own blog content or tweets

Without writing your content, you cannot have a conversation with your readers or voters. So unless you write your own content, you are unlikely to find your own voice that your voters may appreciate so much (e.g., being a straight talker).

So find your writing and presentation style you want to use. It will take a few weeks.

Upcoming Weekend and next Week

The above four rules are basic. If you cannot or are unwilling to follow these, don’t start blogging. As well, using such things as Facebook is nice, however, as a politician you should know that it violates at least Rule 1 and possibly two more of those still to be presented  ==> example is Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s Facebook profile, the Danish Prime Minister should know better since he considers himself to be social media savvy.

Stay tuned we bring you the results in one of our next posts. Alternatively, subscribe to get it delivered directly to your mailbox. Save yourself some time.

Incidentally, leave the URL of your favourite politician’s blog in the comments below and we will include him or her in our upcoming ranking.

Our next post this weekend brings you rules 4-8 for blogging politicians.

Please check out:
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first steps on the way to build brand while blogging like a pro marketing 101 – what have high heels, cobblestone pavements & WordPress in common? 4 Critical Steps Toward Better Serving Your Market Niche

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