Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A basic online campaigning guide - Part 5a - Local campaigns

Once you know what to say, what are easy ways to tell your audiences if you are running a local campaign?

1. Email newsletters
Local newspapers are slowly dying, and their quality has been falling for years, while council freesheets tend to be full of uniformly positive propaganda.

This leaves a large gap in the market for local news - both political and non-political. Here's an example of a basic newsletter for residents of the Crofton Park area of Lewisham.

A newsletter once or twice a month will strike the right balance of being fresh, but not too often.

2. Breaking news
Local news is rarely local enough for most people. So if you email people with breaking news, then they are usually very grateful.

Here's a good example that Tom Brake, MP for Carshalton & Wallington, did during the early 2010 snows.

3. Post it to your website
Email newsletters usually translate to good news items on websites, where they will continue to get a trickle of traffic for years afterwards.

4. Tweet the headlines
Tweet the headlines in your email out to your followers over a few days, linking to the email text on your website.

5. Publicise through your Facebook page
As with the Tweets simply split out each story from the email into a series of stories that you release over a few days (or weeks).

Hootsuite is a useful tool that allows you to schedule Tweets and Facebook updates simultaneously, so you can set up several weeks of tweeting and Facebook in one go.

6. Email supporters of a specific campaign
Quite a lot of people will only want updates on specific local campaigns you are running, but will happily receive an email newsletter than contains these updates. This can be a good way to encourage them to convert from being a supporter on a specific local issue to receiving your general email newsletters.

7. Publicise your news in offline materials
Reference and cross-promote your email newsletter in your leaflets, local visits and meetings. At worst you'll get credit for being hardworking, at best you'll get extra subscribers.

Tom Brake Snow email