9 Pieces Of Free Advice For 2008 Candidates On How To Play The Blogosphere

There’s a lot of talk about the lavish party Mark Warner put on for bloggers who attended the Yearly Kos convention. How lavish was it? I’ve seen numbers between $50,000-$100,000 tossed around and that’s no surprise given how ritzy Warner’s shindig turned out to be:

“If the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries were held tomorrow, former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner would easily win the contest for the best party planner. To date, no other candidate has rented an Elvis impersonator to perform for supporters in a circular viewing station 1,000 feet above the Vegas strip. And no other candidate has tried to ply voters with the deadly trifecta of a vodka-chilling ice sculpture, a chocolate fondue waterfall, and free roller-coaster rides.

But there was Warner on Friday night, looking, as one blogger commented, like a cross between John Kennedy and Richie Cunningham of “Happy Days” as he danced between two Blues Brothers’ impersonators at the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino. At a reported cost of around $50,000, Warner had rented out the highest bar in Vegas to entertain the nearly 1,000 bloggers and online activists who were in town for YearlyKos, a conference sponsored by the largest online community of Democrats in the country.”

So, is this how candidates should try to woo bloggers? No way! What a waste of money. Here’s a free suggestion for candidates who want to try to work the blogosphere: Buy ads instead of having a party. Why?

#1) Most bloggers would rather have money in their pockets than go to a party. So, if you’re looking to build good will with bloggers, buying ads is a good way to go.

#2) By running an ad, you get to put your message in front of the blogger’s audience, the people whom you really want to reach in the first place.

#3) If you run ads and do it right, you can hopefully bring enough fund raising contributions to make it self-financing. So, in the end, the ads have the potential to be “free” publicity — or at least close.

Here’s some more related free advice for candidates:

— Although there have been some small flaps over candidates advertising at blogs that have said controversial things, as of yet, no candidate on the left or right has been significantly hurt by it. Still, it’s better to avoid really controversial blogs. How can you know what blogs are really controversial? You probably can’t. Ask someone who knows and understands the blogosphere to give you that info.

— Frequently change up the content on your ads. It’ll get you more clicks and help make people more aware of your positions.

— Don’t have your ad link to a page that’s nothing but a donation page. Have some more information on there that explains to people why they should give you money. That seems rather elementary, but in the 2004 election you’d be surprised at how many candidates made this mistake.

— Liberal blogs generally do a much better job of fund raising than conservative blogs. So, if you’ve heard stories about candidates that have raised a mint through blogs, keep that in mind.

— The blogosphere on the right and left does not match up exactly to the general population. The right side of the blogosphere tends to be more libertarian and less socially conservative than Republicans in general. The left side of the blogosphere is very liberal, abrasive, and particularly loves attacks on Republican candidates. Tailor your ads accordingly.

— Last but not least, since the point is to build name recognition for a run in 2008, why wait? Mark Warner has thrown the mega-party and Bill Frist’s VolPac has been running ads for months. What is everyone else waiting for?

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