Update: This is now a page instead of blog post and is a work in progress with comments on the page enabled. I have made some changes suggested over at Kos already. Thanks for all the input and support of this little wiki-like project! Hopefully it will benefit those looking for ways to run online campaigns better.

This will probably be a work in progress and will evolve to a page instead of a blog post. Your comments are welcome.

1. No BS. Save your slick PR and spin for the masses. Those of us engaged and online typically know a bit more about current events than the average Jane. Not all of us, but most. I suggest you stick to the straight talk and cut the shit early and often.

2. Money – Don’t ask for money. Have a place to do it. Make it prominent. But don’t make it your primary mission in online strategy. It won’t work. The blogosphere especially hates being seen as one big virtual ATM. Give us ideas, give us leadership and vision, inspire us. The money follows this…never before!

3. Ads – we don’t buy ’em. Neither should you. One of the beautiful things about being online is I can get software to block the things, even cool flash ones. The Internet and blogs are not an online version of the nightly news. Unless it is an issue that we care deeply about, we ain’t lookin. Most likely you are wasting money on the ad buy, and quite possibly if you do it wrong it will cause more harm than good. Just enter the space and talk with us. Ads are a form of talking AT us.

4. Ads Part 2 – If you do decide this kind of “visibility” is what you want, make it that. Don’t run ads that try to trick us. One thing you need to learn now is that bloggers are a very critically thinking sort. We’ll figure it out (one of us), then the rest will spread the news faster than Billy Carter can open a six pack.

5. Spam – If you are ever in a meeting and someone says, “Hey, let’s copy and paste the latest press release on as many blogs as we can…in their comment sections”, fire the fucker. On the spot. He’s killin’ you. People who live and breath in the online world like spam about as much as having fingernails removed with chainsaws. Never, EVER, do this.

only five more…

6. Identity – Let us know who you are. Don’t hide it. Use your real name and have your candidate do the same. Don’t have someone blog or comment using a candidate’s name. And whatever you do, do NOT comment or post as multiple people. We’ll figure it out and it will be reported on multiple blogs. Imagine being in a room and farting and having six people with megaphones point this out to the crowd. Unpleasant to say the least. Just don’t do it.

7. Invitations – Invite us in, give us the tools we need to spread your message. If we like it, we’ll do it. If we don’t we may not. But don’t get mad. You don’t own us. We own you. Deal with it. Focus on crafting your message and doing the best job you can. We’ll take care of the rest.

8. Tools – If you have tools for bloggers, make sure you use them. If you have us give you our email addresses and we never get in on any scoop or inside information…or worse yet NEVER hear from you, guess what? Yep, we’ll blog about it.

9. Participate – You and your candidate. Become a genuine part of the discussion. Blogs are about voice and everyone has one. Add yours to it, don’t try to talk over ours. It won’t work. Our megaphones are bigger online. Elsewhere you got us, but online we got you.

10. Be real. If you are not, we’ll again figure it out and blog about it. Speak in your natural voice. The one you use when you talk to your kids. It’s the only one we care about.

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  • This needs to be syndicated on the national blogs. I hope someone out there picks it up. It’s clear, concise and true. A framework for modern blog-using candidiates (which will be everybody in 2006).

  • Eric

    hadn’t thought about cross posting at my kos account, but will do. thanks for the comments! i hope also that other bloggers will seek to add to it, improve it, etc…

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  • Pho

    I really liked this post and am linking to it. Having locked horns with Coleman’s viral bloggers (which turned me into a Strickland guy), I am genuinely concerned about the violence that could be done the blogosphere by these tactics. Therefore I overreact. Campaigns need to know that.

    I think you should also cross-post this on GrOhio and 7 Cent Nickel.

  • Eric

    Thanks Pho. The Coleman folks were precisely who I wrote this in response to…along with some of the initial Sherrod blunders. Glad you like it. Kossacks responded pretty well and added some to it. See the permanent page for it where I will refine it as we go.

    I think there should be training revolved around these concepts for campaign folks as well, maybe as a part of a political blogging conference.

  • will

    “3. Ads – we don?t buy ?em. Neither should you.”

    Yea, lets go back to the days when bloggers didn’t make a dime. This is really stupid advice. Sherrod Brown kicked ass with his ads, because he cut right into the heart of Paul Hackett’s world, that you don’t like that doesn’t mean you get to whine and change the rules.

  • Eric


    You prove my point, really. Why should bloggers make a dime? Since when is it big business? That is the real problem with the whole big box blogger thing anyway.

    Blogging did not grow out of any business model, it started as voices rising up into the dull fog of main stream media. If you are blogging to make money, in my opinion, you are doing it for the wrong reason. Let’s DO go back to the day when bloggers didn’t make money. Especially when that money might taint their views and the degree to which they might otherwise express themselves. I’m all for it!

    Any idea what the polling was on which candidate was supported AFTER the Brown ad buy on Kos? 80/20 for Hackett. That kicks ass huh?

    “Sherrod Brown kicked ass with his ads, because he cut right into the heart of Paul Hackett’s world”?? I have been void of any comedy in my life today, but that sure filled it. I thank you for that.

    It is not about liking it or not. I just don’t think ad buys online are as effective as participating in it. That is all. It is my advice…feel free to take it or leave it. But don’t call it stupid. It violates the rule or erring on the side of kindness – and yeah, that’s my rule too 😉

    …and please read up before you come at me like that again. I suggest a strong dose of Democracy Guy for background on the wonderful Sherrod Brown ad buy.

    Have a good weekend!

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  • This is a great manifest for any candidate today assessing correctly that the blogosphere is not a fad but Zeitgeist.

    What could be more effective than a candidate addressing real time his electorate by visiting blogs and replying to questions to share their beliefs and directions.

    I just listened and read the transcript of Ted Strickland’s Meet the Blogger on BFD and it told me more about Ted Strickland than anything else I read or heard on other media.

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