As most of you know, The Bivings Group was a part of the team that built Fred Thompson’s Presidential campaign website. Our main client contact on the project, Michael Turk, has a good post up rounding up the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of the online program we all put together. It is worth a read.
In the piece, Turk points out that one of the most successful aspects of the program was the campaign blog, the Fred File. He writes:
As an example of the strength of Thompson’s online effort, look at the Thompson campaign blog and you’ll see something remarkable for GOP candidates – comments. And not just a few comments, but hundreds and even thousands of comments.
Rudy’s blog doesn’t allow comments. Romney’s gets a few per post. Ron Paul just recently launched a blog (despite the fact that blog software is largely free). He currently gets between a handful and a few dozen comments.
I don’t think this indicates a lack of supporter enthusiasm as much as it indicates that the campaigns have created a blog with nothing to say on sites that are so scrubbed of interesting content they’re almost sterile. Most of the posts are rehashed press releases, rehashed campaign e-mails, or occasionally a video so overscripted it becomes almost completely unwatchable.
I think Turk is right on here. With any successful blog, 90% of the battle is producing readable content and engaging with readers. Many, many campaigns want a blog in theory but don’t have the stomach to do the heavy lifting that will make it actually work. The Thompson campaign, lead by staffers Sean Hackbarth and Austin Walne, deserve the lion’s share of the credit for the success of the Fred File. But I also think there were some small, more technical decisions that were made that helped give the blog a greater chance to succeed. (more…)