12 rules for blogging politicians thou shalt not … rules 9-12

by Urs E. Gattiker on 2008/09/06 1 views

in c corporate blogging,e marketing 101 KISS,e marketing 101 serving a need

    Blogging is becoming ever more popular for politicians. All are using social media for reaching out to the public more effectively than might be possible otherwise.

I began with studying some blogs written by elected officials from around the globe and decided to write some general rules. Here are the first four – with appreciation to the Political Weblog Project for rules 1-3 – that will help you use social media 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;

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

Then in a follow-up post I outlined Rule 5 – Rules 8 here:

Rule #5 – You must keep it short and simple, stupid – KISS;
Rule #6 – You must not get up on your soap box;
Rule #7 – You must make sure your content adds value;
Rule #8 – You must keep your blog free of advertising;

12 rules for blogging politicians – thou shalt not … rules 5 – 8

Today we focus on rules 9- 12

Rule #9 – You must not spread yourself too thin
Rule #10 – You must prepare a post or two for your summer vacation
Rule #11
You must provide beef and quality with your content
Rule #12 – You must sleep over it before putting the content online

Below I discuss and explain each of the above rules. Next week, see how each of the above illustrious people measures up on each rule – pass vs. fail grades will be handed out for each rule and each politician’s efforts – no kidding 😉

Social media can matter by having an impact on voters’ awareness and understanding of the issues the commenting consensus seems to agree, with its impact in awareness, consideration, and preference.

Rule #9 – You must not spread yourself too thin

You can interact, relate, communicate, listen and so forth but there are limits. Having more than 1 Mio unique visitors every 1 or 2 months is likely. In turn, this will assure that you get more than 1,000 written comments from your readers each month. Whilst you may be able to answer some, you cannot acknowledge each one of them. At least, this is true if you want to get some other work done and, as importantly, spend some time with your partner and your kids.

To illustrate, John Culberson – U.S. Congressman has several thousand followers on Twitter. To manage the flood of tweets from his followers, he asked his constituents to tag each of their tweets to him with #tx7. He was hoping this would enable him to answer direct messages from his constituents. Unfortunately, he is getting overwhelmed with the number of tweets he is receiving from his constituents. Hence, he is unable to answer each one of them with a thoughtful reply.

This illustrates that you have to focus on quality. Moreover, whilst you should respond to comments (Rule 2), you cannot answer each one of them if you want to do it yourself (Rule 4). Running a quality blog with your personal voice (Rule 5) requires time and, as well, your commitment and stamina in order to achieve AND maintain success (e.g., readership and influence).

Answer some comments. Nevertheless, if you do, do it thoughtfully.

Rule #10- You must prepare a post or two for your summer vacation

This relates to Rule 9 above that suggests that you should not spread yourself too thin. It is not necessary to post every day. Nonetheless, posting once a week would be great. Nevertheless, some manage a high quality post once every two weeks only. Better a good post every too weeks than short and sloppy stuff every day. Remember, what you stand for… quality (see also Rule 11).

While communication with the help of social media is not instantaneous as when you talk to friends, your readers might wonder if most of July and August no postings will appear. Therefore, it would be good to have Saturday morning or Wednesday morning ever two weeks a new post. You can write these in advance and have them posted at a chosen date whilst being on vacation.

Not posting for several weeks also affects your benchmarks:

In fact, not posting during summer months will make sure that your hard-earned rankings drop as we show with graphics on My.ComMetrics.com

Rule #11 – You must find the right number of words for your targeted audience

Therefore, while you want quality, the question is will your readership stay with you when they must read 1,000 words for each post. Sometimes, it might be better to provide a short 150 words story with some links to white papers, government reports and documents submitted to parliament instead (see Rule 7).

You have to find the right mixture that allows you to have a longer post to explain your position on a complex issue versus just releasing a post with some quality links to other material that will provide more in-depth analysis. Yes, it will take time until you find what suits your personal voice best (see Rules 2 and 4)

Rule #12 – You must sleep over it before putting the content online

This rule is a simple one but quite helpful because it gives you time to reflect on your thoughts before releasing them to the public. Accordingly, read it again in the morning and make your final changes. You will be surprised how often things that made sense yesterday fail to get your message across next morning. It might trigger you to re-write your post somewhat and, thereby improving it.

Bottom Line

As an elected or appointed public official, I would recommend you look at your blog with a critical eye. Does it follow at least eight of the above twelve rules. Actually, if you want a bigger ban for your buck, you have to follow all nine of these. Most importantly, we may not have included the most important one here.

Why not share it with us what you think is most important and leaving a comment below? Thanks and within 10 days, I will bring you some social media analytics or how these politicians’s blogs measure up using the rules above and more. Stay tuned.

Next Week

So do you want to know how Gordon Brown (Prime Minister – UK), David Cameron (leader of the Conservative Party – UK), John Culberson (U.S. Congressman), Moritz Leuenberger (Federal Councillor – Switzerland) and David Miliband (UK Foreign Secretary) and other stack up? 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.

List of blogging MPs in the UK

Please check out:
Social media – defining a concept good practice or best practice – what shall it be? c – top corporate blogs – how to arrive at such list – asking for feedback from bloggers
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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