Saturday, March 15, 2008

NOI Summit Session 1 -- Building a State/Issue Blog

blogger's summit

9:28 -- This session is led by Laura Packard, but is meant to be a group discussion.

Laura Packard

9:31 -- How do you find/motivate/keep regular contributors?


Remind people as to why they are doing it in the first place.

Use a Google group to keep in touch.

Create a managerial team that makes important decisions for the group -- this keeps them loyal and interesting.

Turn over leadership every six months.

Comment on people's posts, which is one of the biggest motivators.

Paying someone, even a small amount, can be a strong symbolic motivator, as a measure of respect. Typepad has an easy to install tip jar feature.

Do some offline activity to create personal connections.

9:40: Finding people...

Periodically run a post asking people to participate.

Balance the kind of readers you get.

Look for people who post things on Daily Kos or other national blogs about the state and ask them to cross-post it to your site.

Juan Melli of Blue Jersey

9:44: How do you find more readers?

Find a scandal and cover it well.

Put your blog name and url in your sig line for comments/e-mail/etc.

A daily news round-up that is posted at a regular time.

Using tags helps increase search results.

Feedburner automatically pings Google and Technorati.

Posting videos are likely to attract people.

It helps to post things worth reading.

Frequent content is important.

Link frequently to other similar blogs.

Wiki drives people to the site.

Going to local chapters of party, DFA and other organization.

Doing things that grab attention, such as following around a lame duck politician in a duck costume and a crutch.

Make press contacts and send out press releases.

Make contacts with people who are regularly cited in newspapers or appearing on television/radio.

Write an op-ed for a traditional media outlet.

Media cuts are creating a vacuum in newsrooms and they may find your content interesting.

Be at events and be visible so that others can see you.

Negotiate to provide content with weeklies or alternative press.

Provide original content, not just analysis, but original reporting.

Commenting on other blogs.

Send e-mail to state legislators.

Feedburner allows you to set up a free daily e-mail.

10:03: How do you balance partisanship with providing news?

Feel free to take shots at Democrats if they are out of line.

Multiple blogs working together allows for different voices and different approaches to dealing with various topics.

It can be a liability, particularly if people are also active in the party.

Potentially institute a conflict-of-interest policy.

Offer full disclosure when necessary, particularly if you are working on a campaign that you are commenting on.

Remember what the mission of your blog/organization is.

Include a diversity of opinions and viewpoints -- go out of your way to find other voices and include them.

Include a disclaimer with a particular post.

Be good at perceiving where other people come from.

Ask yourself the question: are you trying to persuade or are you trying to score points?

Steve Medellin of 43rd State Blues

10:25: How do you turn lurkers into posters and commenters?

Ask them!

Find a way to get people into their comfort zone, might not know their voice, find a way to provide them a gateway.

Caption contests. Question of the day. Open thread.

Have fun.

Post on a wide variety of topics and try to find thins that are interesting to those lurkers.

Do liveblogging of events such as primaries and the like.

From time to time, throw out subjects that are non-political as sort of an icebreaker.

Have a poll and have a comment thread with it.

Recurring topics that educate people on the topic so that they begin to know enough about the issue to talk about it.

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