The internet and social media has changed the way that political candidates, politicians, and political advocacy groups interact with their constituents. According to the Pew Research Center, 86 percent of Americans report that they regularly get their news online. On the one hand, modern connectivity offers tremendous advantages. It is easier to connect with people than ever before. On the other hand, there is now so much competition for attention that you can get lost in the mix.
A blog can be a great way to connect with and engage constituents. It provides information and helps to build a real relationship. Of course, to actually work to achieve your goals, a blog has to be done the right way. As effective as a well-done blog can be, a poorly-constructed blog is unlikely to produce any tangible results. It may simply be ignored. Here are ten blogging tips that political campaigns and political advocacy groups can use to engage their constituents.
9 Actionable Tips to Better Engage Your Constituents Through Your Blog
1. Know Your Purpose
Effective political and public policy blogging starts with knowing your purpose. Why are you trying to engage with your constituents? While this is simply like a relatively straightforward question, it can actually be somewhat complicated to answer. To craft a truly impactful blog, a candidate or public policy advocacy group needs to have a clear purpose. Make sure that you have a good understanding of what you are trying to do and try to accomplish with the blog. A blog with a real purpose is generally a lot more compelling for the audience.
2. Provide Useful, Interesting Information
One of the biggest mistakes in political and public advocacy blogging is trying to fill up the page with as much information as possible. Even good, accurate information might not serve a purpose on your blog. Imagine this, you are managing a campaign for a candidate for the House of Representatives. You start a blog and the first post is a 2,000 word explanation of what obscure part of the tax code needs reform. No matter how good your argument is, that specific framing is probably not going to engage very many people.
3. Regularly Update the Blog (Keep Content Fresh)
In today’s hyper-competitive political media landscape, a blog that is out-of-date is not going to get very much attention at all. To start, search engines typically start downranking sites that do not frequently produce fresh content. Beyond that, potential readers tend to click away rather quickly when they see that content is outdated. You can go a long way towards improving your blog by keeping the content fresh.
4. Make it Personal for Your Constituents
To engage your constituents, you will want to keep things as personal as possible. The reality is that there are a lot of blogs out there. There is a lot of information available. Why are people coming to and engaging with your blog? There should be some sort of hook point that makes things more personal for the readers. The better a person is able to connect with the content and information on the blog, the more likely that they are to stay engaged with the campaign more generally.
5. Keep things Reasonably Short and Concise
An effective blog is a regularly updated blog. There should be new, interesting content. At the same time, blog posts should not be too long or too dense. The simple reality is this: Most people who visit a campaign blog or public policy blog are doing so in their precious free time. A blog should be an enjoyable, straightforward read. If it feels like “homework”, people are probably going to click away. That is not to say that things cannot be educational or informative—but it should always be engaging.
6. Remember that Visual Appeal Matters
How does the blog look on a computer screen? How about on a smartphone? Effective blogs should be visually appealing and easy-to-navigate for the reader. How the blog looks on the page is an important consideration for campaigns and political advocacy groups.
7. Do Not Give Up After a Slow Start
Successful blogging campaigns are built on a foundation of returning readers. It can take some time to build up a blog that gets significant readership. One of the most common mistakes that political campaigns and public policy organizations make is giving up after a slow start. Be willing to give it some time to let your blog catch the attention of readers.
8. Share Material & Content for Others
A blog is about building relationships and making connections—both digitally and out in the physical world. A great tip to start building up an engaging blog is to share content from other like-minded people or organizations. Of course, it is important to be careful about what you share. Anything shared on your blog could come across as a direct endorsement. Make sure the content that you share is consistent with your overall strategy.
9. Make Sure Content Is Reflective of Message and Values
Finally, it is imperative that you ensure that all of the content on your blog—whether it comes from you directly or has been shared by a third party—is reflective of your message, values, and the goal that you are trying to pursue. An effective blog is a coherent blog. It has a purpose, is engaging for readers, is easy to read and use, and provides a clear view of your values.
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