Ignore your tech consultant. At the end of the day, not all campaigns will need a blog to help them win.
Creating a blog just to have one and then neglecting it could wind up hurting your campaign if readers see the blog as outdated, underwhelming or misinformed. You have to nurture a campaign blog if you want to reap the benefits.
If you decide to launch one and pledge to maintain it, here are a few guidelines all campaigns should follow:
Frequency of postings. If you’re going to have a campaign blog on your website, don’t be a stranger to it. Nothing screams “unorganized” more than a blog page where the last post is so old it qualifies for AARP. An ideal blog will be updated several times a week, at least, depending on your campaign and the news cycle. By frequently updating your blog with content you are reinforcing the concept that your campaign has something to say.
Content is king. The most important element of your campaign blog will be the content you post to it. Did your candidate receive a notable endorsement? Did a supportive op-ed appear in a regional newspaper? Scour for noteworthy items that might be useful for a campaign blog.
Also, try to avoid cheesy posts — event recaps or photos of supporters with the candidate. Quite simply, it’s boring. Nor should you copy and paste press releases. Instead, aim for a more personal voice. Your blog should make readers feel like they’re right in the thick of the campaign with you.
Make it look nice. There’s no easier way to say it: if you’re going to have a campaign blog, don’t create a format that looks like HTML got sick all over the page. Readers should be able to easily access the campaign blog from the homepage, easily see current and past posts in chronological order, and easily identify the title and date.
Prominently display a link to your blog. Put in some effort to give the blog a sophisticated appearance, with colors, tabs and fonts. Nice graphics and edgy design are a bonus, if you can pull it off. Just don’t miss the forest for the trees: at the end of the day, a blog is to be read, not looked at.
Andrew Clark is an account director for Hynes Communications, where he works with political campaigns, corporations and advocacy groups on new media messaging. He previously worked on the McCain 2008 presidential campaign.