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may turn off the spigot if they get the feeling that all a campaign cares about is their money. Unlike bank machines, online donors give cash because they truly care about the candidate or the issues. Taking them for granted can be a quick way to convince them to take their donations elsewhere. Taking a page again from Obama’s online play-

book, try to mix your fundraising messages with other appeals or even with e-mails that are primar- ily informative. You might ask supporters to view a particular video and post it to their own blogs or Facebook pages, something that will help the campaign but that won’t cost your friends a dime. When you do ask for money directly, have a clear “value proposition” that explains how you’ll be us- ing the funds and why it matters. Don’t forget to follow up with the results! People are a lot more likely to donate again if they feel that their past gifts have made a difference.

For instance, do your online videos or your guest posts on political blogs refer back to your main website? Does your site clearly steer people toward opportunities to sign up and get involved? Once people are on your list, are you asking them to help spread the word through the online (and offline) channels they use most? Done correctly, the various parts of your online outreach will re- inforce each other and the rest of your old-world communications work. More broadly, online and offline campaigns should work together. For instance, many cam- paigns build their online activist lists at real-world events, taking advantage of every opportunity to sign up a new supporter. Don’t forget yard signs! Plaster your website address on every piece of ma- terial that leaves your office, even as you think of creative ways to put your list of online supporters to work in the real world.

Make sure the various pieces of your Internet presence work together.

8. Twitter! Twitter! Twitter!

Not to pick on Twitter in particular, because it can be a great way to reach journalists, bloggers and individual activists, but it’s just one tool. Despite the hype, a relatively small percentage of people have embraced microblogging so far. Serious Twit- ter outreach can be ridiculously time consuming, potentially taking resources away from other vital functions, and needs to be balanced with all of a campaign’s communications needs. Though useful for outreach, for instance, Twit-

ter isn’t going to take the place of a website, an e-mail-based communications program or online video—though it can be a great way to bring some attention to them all. Put in the proper context, Twitter can be an online promoter’s close (but not exclusive) friend.

9. Here, There, Everywhere— But Not Integrated

Twitter’s over-hyped role in online outreach brings us to the real nut of the matter: If you want to fail, go scattershot all the way. But for online political success, try a different tack: Make sure the various pieces of your Internet presence work together.

58 Politics | Canadian Edition

10. Who Needs a Strategy? I Already Have a Website!

Repeat after me: A website is not a strategy. For that matter, nor is any other tool. Unless you know why you’re using a piece of technology and what results you want to get, it’s not likely to do you much good. Differences in levels of success be- tween one campaign and another usually come down to how they use the tools, not which ones they choose to emphasize. For instance, Barack Obama didn’t do much online that was entirely new, mainly employing technologies that have been around for a couple of election cycles, but his campaign almost always used new media with a clear plan, constant test- ing and ruthless efficiency. A little “strategery” can go a long, long way in online politics. In Obama’s case, it went a long way toward putting him in the White House.

Colin Delany is founder and editor of, which focuses on the tools and tactics of Internet-based political advocacy, and a communications consultant. His recent publications, “Learning from Obama” and “How Candidates Can Use the Internet to Win in 2010,” can be downloaded free at Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69
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