Demand and Content

By in
21 comments

Almost every major name in the running probably already has a blog, a microblog, a social networking account, and a few people in charge of running his or her social media campaign.  I had high hopes for the Internet being a great tool for positive and proactive campaigns for the national elections in 2010, but from what I have observed, social media is used along the same lines of the traditional campaign.

The same things you’ll see in the paper trail are pretty much the same things you would see on the Internet today: negative campaigns, mudslinging, and the occasional snarky campaign manager/public relations specialist using analog methods for a digital medium.

That’s great and all – I’m sure the race to 2010 has lucrative returns written all over it – but it kind of looks ridiculous.  The Internet is supposed to help elevate political awareness and translate that to political action.  Yet if people treat social media like they would pamphlets or comic books distributed at the polling precinct right before voting, it somehow renders the tool sorta-kinda ineffective.  If a digital tool is used in an analog way, the impression fails.

I’m not the be-all-end-all of anything except jologs lyrics translations, and I’m not an expert on the Internet, but here are some of my thoughts on how social media could be used to great effect on the road to 2010.

The Internet is all about presence: it is one of the many tools available to raise awareness and stimulate healty debate and discourse.  Yet the backbone of the World Wide Web still involves machines: machines do not vote, machines do not understand, and machines perceive issues based on algorithms.  A primary objective where much of social media strategy should revolve around on is visibility.  If you use the Internet as a part of your campaign, you better make sure that you’re visible, you’re searchable, you’re out there, and you’re reputable.

I guess the lesson learned from the many “nuisance candidate” posts I’ve been writing so far is that of presence and visibility: delivering where the searches are.  It’s not a matter of tags or keywords or whatnot, but the following:

  1. Knowing what the demand is.
  2. Knowing where the demand is coming from.
  3. Knowing how to “funnel” that demand and turn it into traffic.

Not that I care much for the traffic or the hits, but for me, at least, it’s fun.  So you need a couple of things:

  • Demand: traffic sources.  You need to do your research, like demographics, survey data, public sentiments, and so on and so forth.
  • Content: stuff you make to get more traffic.  You need to bring in people to your space online and make your opinions heard.

In effect, by writing so much material about the opponent of your candidate or the candidate you don’t particularly like, you end up burying your candidate.  For the most part this is why I think Noynoy is so successful, why Chiz is so visible, why Gibo is starting to pick up his vibe, and why Villar and Gordon are having their bits of turbulence.

The prescription is simple: write more about your candidate. Whenever you can, extol the positive virtues of your candidate, and gather as much positive press as you can about him or her.  You need to write, rewrite, and develop your content in such a way that you can rake in the readers, educate them, and convince them to vote for your candidate.  That begins and ends with:

  • Knowing how to write that content. When writing for the Internet, you make sure that the keywords are positioned in the right way, the search terms are populated correctly, that people find it interesting, and that the machines find it in a sea of information.
  • Knowing how to spread that content around. It’s all about integration.  Hyperlinking, sharing, distribution, word-of-mouth, and everything else are used to make your posts and PR easy to find and easy to spread.  You have to network.  That’s the beauty of integrating blogging, microblogging, and social networking.
  • Knowing how to keep that content reputable and visible. Yes, content gets lost along the way, so you need to keep your content up there.  You keep on producing and delivering content, and making sure they do not get lost.  You don’t simply write and hope for the best.  You have to keep things on track.

Then again, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.

Here’s where mudslinging (and mudslinging masquerading as critiques) doesn’t work: the more you talk about the other candidate and less about your candidate, you’re not maximizing visibility.  In the Internet, any publicity is good publicity: search engines and other tools do not discern or judge between positives and negatives as long as the term (in this case the candidate) is there.  Pumping out a lot of negative press against an opposing candidate will only make him or her more searchable, more visible, and more out there than the candidate you’re rooting for.  It won’t work in social media.

More on this when I feel like it, and I really, really feel it.

21 comments on “Demand and Content”

    • GabbyD
    • December 9, 2009
    Reply

    who is doing a negative campaign? links?

  1. Reply

    Marocharim, you got that from “The Secret”, didn’t you?

    Hi GabbyD, nice to see you here! 🙂

    – The Dodo

    1. Reply

      *fran drescher voice*

      Oh my god there’s two of them!

  2. Reply

    Oh, you think I’m him? 😉

    – The Dodo

    1. Reply

      *Maxwell Sheffield impersonation*

      MISS FINE!

    • GabbyD
    • December 11, 2009
    Reply

    or could u mean negative “campaigning” by the supporters of candidates on online fora?

    there are lots of those. but official campaigns online that attack other candidates on non-issue related things? where might those be?

    • Res Ipsa
    • December 13, 2009
    Reply

    so who’s the worst cyber mudslinger? i see lots of villar negative ads, does that mean he’s still getting the better of these bad publicity?

    1. Reply

      hi! my view is that if you support a candidate so much, talk about your candidate instead of dragging down another candidate. mudslinging doesn’t really elevate awareness of the candidate you support as much as it does elevate awareness of the candidate you’re against, especially on the web. so if you see a lot of negative ads on villar, for example, he’s still getting the better of bad publicity because he is present and people are aware. contrast that with a lack of ads for, say, ely pamatong.

    • Res Ipsa
    • December 16, 2009
    Reply

    c’mon ely pamatong’s a giveaway. the doesn’t even campaign much less campaign in the internet. what i’m talking about is the rest of the well-funded candidates. you seriously think the mudslinging tactic works in the net? coz i think, most candidates have in their campaign teams a sort of cyber campaigners. they’ve already infiltrated facebook and most of other social networking sites.

    1. Reply

      No, mudslinging doesn’t work. Bad publicity is still publicity. The more you talk about another candidate in a negative light, that’s one less PR task you take away from a publicist. Mudslinging makes the campaign team’s job easier.

    • Pinoy Buzz
    • December 17, 2009
    Reply

    Just curious, do you really have any experience in PR or online marketing to start saying that negative campaigns don’t work?

    Can you point out to any evidence of negative campaigns not working?

    1. Reply

      Hi Paul,

      Yes. Copywriting and social media is my job. While I’m not an expert at it, I think that I do have the experience.

      Anyway, for all intents and purposes of comparison, let’s use Gordon and Aquino.

      At SocialMention.com I ran a diagnostic between the terms “dick gordon” and “noynoy aquino” for blogs. Here are the results:

      Dick Gordon: 1% strength, 13:0 sentiment, 14% passion, 4% reach, sum total of 42 mentions.
      Noynoy Aquino: 1% strength, 5:1 sentiment, 42% passion, 5% reach, sum total of 72 mentions.

      I ran the same diagnostic for microblogs with the same search terms. This is what I found:

      Dick Gordon: 0% strength, 1:3 sentiment, 5% passion, 7% reach, sum total of 18 mentions.
      Noynoy Aquino: 0% strength, 5:1 sentiment, 17% passion, 12% reach, sum total of 34 mentions.

      Here’s a trend chart for the search terms “richard gordon” and “noynoy aquino” for the past 12 months. Notice the difference between Gordon (blue) and Aquino (orange). Please use these links:

      http://imgur.com/rbrFK.png
      http://imgur.com/XyFwb.png
      http://imgur.com/ukgmX.png
      http://imgur.com/kIVg5.png

      One of the probable reasons is that maybe, just maybe, Gordon isn’t as “visible” as Noynoy. Like, say, people talk more about Noynoy in cyberspace or search for him more than Dick Gordon. So the negative campaign here *does* work in the sense that no matter how negative the publicity is against Aquino, he’s still pretty much present even more than Gordon for the past few months. The spike of Gordon’s trends didn’t even reach as high as the lowest point of Aquino’s own trend.

      Basically means: nobody’s talking about Gordon because everybody’s talking about Noynoy. In this case, does that help increase awareness of Gordon and improve presence? I don’t think so.

      It is then safe to assume that when you combine all publicity for Noynoy – positive or negative – it did him a lot of good. He’s easier to find, he’s more obvious, he’s more visible. The intention of the negative comment thrown at the candidate is therefore negated because more negative comments do produce more buzz for the candidate, which accomplishes at least one goal for the candidate’s publicist: increase presence. More publicity – regardless of value-judgment – is generated for Noynoy which then contributes to his rise (perhaps may contribute to his fall) eventually, at least as far as the Internet is concerned. It’s still publicity. One prescription, at least, is to stop talking about a candidate if you don’t want him or her to be so present, just as you would products, consumer goods, or showbiz. Somehow, at this point, it can’t work: if the end is presence and visibility, and if the goal is to increase awareness of the candidate, such a recommendation is not feasible.

      Apologies for the lengthy comment, Sir.

    • silang
    • December 18, 2009
    Reply

    I haven’t seen any negative campaigning from the Aquino side, at least from their official entities. And anything “negative” against another candidate is usually written in a well-mannered tone, whereas most other mudslingers resort to theatrics, hysterics, etc. right now the best example is carlos celdran. i’m enjoying watching him self-destruct.

    • bagong
    • December 18, 2009
    Reply

    then you are not reading enough, silang. Visit buencamino and quezon’s site, you’ll get what i’m saying.

    • carlos celdran
    • December 19, 2009
    Reply

    Silang.

    Um. Self destruct? What do I have to lose ba?

    Guys. I’m a supporter of Gibo here. I’m not the one running for president.

    Focus please.

    Anyway. How cute naman to think I matter.

    • Clar
    • December 19, 2009
    Reply

    to bagong,

    with all due respect sir, I’ve never seen any negative response from the Aquino side, I’m from the Aquino side, never end my day without browsing official page/s of Sen Aquino, haven’t seen anyone who place such trash comments from the Aquino Side.

    Personally, I have encountered trolls from official fanpage of Sen Aquino, account created for the purpose of getting information? something like that, some supporters from other presidential candidates would even tweet me “biased articles” (without factual basis) about the Aquino. however I never send them any “biased articles” about their preferred candidate, instead I respect them for being a supporter of other candidate, but if there’s something I need to correct like for example the article about the connection between the Ampatuan and President Cory, I send him the letter that was send to Sen Aquino and asking for apology for the article that was publish.

    I’m also a regular reader of Sir Manolo Quezon’s blog, haven’t encounter any “biased article”.

    • Ninja
    • December 19, 2009
    Reply

    Those are great insights, Marocharim. I hope only the campaign managers of the right candidate get to see this. 🙂

    The only presidentiable that has verbally promised to use positive campaigning is Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro (who I am naming in full for points in search results. :)). I think that is very brave of him when historically, mudslinging, smear campaigning, black propaganda has been employed by almost all candidates, even victorious ones. I heard that the white paper on Defensor-Santiago’s mental illness was a strategy of an opposing candidate during that presidential election.

    Brave because even if the discussion is issue-based, or reasonable, he has asked his followers not to do it. Brave because even if others, who have not promised to do the same, will throw punches at him, and he will not retaliate. He will get back only by positive campaigning. This is noteworthy.

    1. Reply

      Hi guys,

      You may wanna check this out: http://diagnostics2010.wordpress.com/2009/12/18/social-media-diagnostics-december-19-2009/

      It does beg the question: can you improve the standing of your campaign – at least in terms of search (coz I’m looking at this campaign in terms of search muna) – by talking about your candidate and not the other (basically shunning him or her) and marketing that online effort the best you can?

    • Ninja
    • December 20, 2009
    Reply

    Clar, with all due respect, it was easy finding an article swayed to one candidate on MLQIII’s blog. Here is the first one I found:

    http://www.quezon.ph/2009/10/15/the-long-view-calabasa%E2%80%99s-cocker-derby/

    • Pinoy Buzz
    • December 21, 2009
    Reply

    Thanks Maro,

    Tres cool.

    • Bagong
    • December 22, 2009
    Reply

    Ninja, thank you for the proof. I would have referred the very respectful Char to Manuel Beuncamino’s site, but Manolo’s will do.

    Char, please read closely.

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