Candidate 101: The Do's and Do Not's of Blogger Relations

Tonight is the eve of the beginning of the filing period for the 2010 elections, which means that many rumored candidates who have been biding their time will need to step out of the outhouse and into the game. For all of the Democratic primary candidates out there, I thought I'd offer ten general rules on how to approach and appeal to bloggers (or at least, this blogger) during the primary season. Gentlemen, please shelve your egos.

1. Don't buy any blogger anything. There's a line between bribery and good blogger relations. The line isn't that thin. Chances are, if you can't see it you'll make a great politician and a terrible elected official. We aren't as cheap as we look (or act).

2. Don't ask for our support repeatedly. We're not soccer moms who got distracted by the Bobby Bones Show while listening to a KUT story on your excellent platform. We know who you are and whether we are likely to support you. We don't need hounding. It's okay to ask once -- phone calls are nice, personal emails are better, tweets are hot. But leave it at that. If and when we want to support you, you'll know where to find out (hint: at the end of our URL).

3. Don't send a fundraiser who has more money than God after me to ask for money. If I wanted to give money to someone who doesn't understand what $500 means to the average citizen, I'd be supporting Republicans.

4. Don't compare yourself to famous people. This is just generally a bad idea. No one cares if you look like Reese Witherspoon or if your mom thinks you're the next Obama. Until proven otherwise, you just have a small head or big ears.

5. Have an event somewhere other than Scholz. I'm all for legacy, but have you heard? We live in Austin. There are hundreds of locally-owned bars worthy of patronizing that don't leave me smelling like smoked pickles for a week and sell vodka. I suggest you utilize them. Oh and bar owners tend to have money and care about the world around them. You might try reaching out to them every so often.

6. Respect bloggers' time. Most of us have real jobs that require us to put on pants and leave the house every once in a while. We aren't sitting around waiting for your call. Be brief and to the point. Don't call during the work day when I'm trying do my job to ask for advice about or support for yours. But you have other things to do in the evenings? Guess what. So do I.

7. Tell me more about your compelling life story and your vision for your time in office than your opponent's stance and story. Otherwise I'll assume you don't have your own.

8. You have a Facebook page/group/account/event and you want me to join. I get it. I am aware of how it works. Stop sending me requests. If I say "No" to an event or group, do not keep asking. You can segment out "No" people on events on Facebook so they don't receive updates about an event they don't plan on attending. Learn how to do so immediately. And don't get your feelings hurt. Sometimes I just want to sit at home.

9. DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT! EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER! say "Now write something nice about me" after you've gained a blogger's support. That's what consultants are for. Hire one of them if you want a soapbox to stroke your ego. Better yet, find one with a blog. Everyone else has.

10. Admit when you're wrong or when you've made a mistake. It happens. But what shouldn't happen is covering it up. If you do something stupid or get something wrong, just come out with it. Cringe if you must but I recommend doing so in an open forum or in a social way that allows your supporters to do what they're meant to do publicly: support you. Hiding mistakes is just throwing chum to the sharks.

A warning: it's primary season. They're circling. And they're hungry.




Want to keep up with Democratic filing news? Check out the Texas Democratic Party website where they will be posting the latest filing information at the end of each business day. Or you could read any other one of the Texas blogs or newspapers or live Twitter streams, which will likely also be doing the same.
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