Been meaning to blog about this for some time. Given Jill’s wonderful prod to find productive things to do with the Chris Redfern blog snub, I figured this a good opportunity. This is how you do blogger outreach:

I recently got an email from Cassie Gaffney, the deputy campaign manager for Joe Sulzer who is running against Ney in the 18th District. She starts with:

I wanted to introduce myself to you. My name is Cassie Gaffney, I’m the deputy campaign manager for Joe Sulzer who is running for Congress in Bob Ney’s district.

Introductions. Always the way to begin conversations, and I view communication from campaign, party, or other media as just that – a conversation.

I won’t share the entire email (thought permission was granted), but will just pick out the best parts. This part is the best:

The blogs in this election cycle are going to be essential, if I learned anything from working for Paul Hackett in the Special it was that. I also want to include that our campaign will strive to send you releases and advisories that include facts and not a ton of spin; there is no denying that spin happens whether intended or not. I want to assure you that we will always send you press releases that are different from those sent to general media (with the exception of today due to incredibly limited time frames). I appreciate that blogs deal with media coverage in a vastly different way than papers and magazines, and personally, I love it. I understand that it is important for you to make up your mind on a race and a candidate on your own and this campaign will not attempt sway you to be in favor of us, our goal is to deliver the facts and let you take it from there.

Emphasis was mine in the above. This is important because bloggers will ignore alot of stuff that is media stuff copied to blogger emails. I know I do. We work better on unique angles, quick bursts of information, and the occassional regular press release if it is something big. The above paragraph shows me they get it. So now I’m listening – and paying attention to stuff with her or Joe’s name in it.

Then probably the most important part, she asks me for permission:

I really just wanted to take the time to introduce myself and find out if you are interested in receiving emails regarding the race. We send out press releases on a pretty regular basis but I don’t want to send you things you are not interested in at all.

How solid is that? I reply yes, please send along and I’m now on the hotlist. Easy…simple…powerful. If I just start getting emails galore from people and campaigns I will usual blow them off. Of course it is still my prerogative to blow off stuff from them anyway – and that is key too – you can’t get all huffy at bloggers who ignore your stuff. They do it for a reason, some of which you’ll never know. You have to just keep plugging and try to make your message meaningful and able to resonate within the blogosphere.

The only things I would have done differently would be to do this first – I got a PR fired off first – but they did follow up quickly with a “sorry for blasting at you” along with the above introduction. I would also have made their website more prominent and have it more developed and blogger ready (buttons, tools, ways to help, etc.).

But this is a pretty strong example of how to do it. Feel free to comment on other ways you think are the right ways to engage the blogs. It is important that we provide this framework moving forward as it will help us all. Maybe it is time to revisit my Rules for Online Campaign Organizers?

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