Sunday, June 24, 2007

What politicians miss about the web, and how I can help

Most campaigns barely scratch the surface of what the web can do for them. They probably have a web site--which means they definitely have a Donate button--but they generally think of their web site as a technology expense instead of a communications investment. Campaigns almost never invest the resources required to use the Internet as an online campaign office: broadening the reach of their messages, inspiring and informing undecided voters, motivating and empowering volunteers or supplementing/highlighting press coverage.

And, as someone who's been immersed in "new media" since the early days at Apple Computer, I'm most perplexed by campaigns that virtually ignore the people who've taken the time to seek them out on the Web. I suppose it's because they can't see the people they're ignoring (or worse, frustrating), but even Web sites with free stat trackers can count them.

Why withhold information from people who actively seek it out?

After hearing a recent segment on the Jim Lehrer news hour, I think I understand why politicians lag behind the business world in embracing Internet technology. Most politicians simply don't have access to people like me who have over a decade of experience using the Web to build relationships and contribute to the bottom line. (Eleven years ago, when most political folks didn't even have email addresses, I was the editor in chief of Apple's webcast of the Atlanta Olympics. Since then I've continued to help businesses expand their reach by building relationships online and off.)

Along with my long history of using the web to communicate, I have a track record of getting voters to cooperate. I was the campaign manager for a state house race in rural Colorado and the counties that followed my plan for voter outreach boasted 97% active voter turnout. I understand technology but, more importantly, I understand "normal" voters and can get them to act.

I can help make your web presence an online campaign office rather than just a billboard. More importantly, I'm offering something new--a way to build relationships with voters instead of just a way to market to them. (I market to voters as well, but the marketing sticks because the relationship exists.) Twenty years from now, my approaches will be commonplace, but now they can level the playing field and make a real difference for the right candidate. (And twenty years from now we'll mock the web laggards in the same way we laugh at the folks who wrote off tv because "no one will want to sit in one place to see something on a screen.")

Interested in hearing how I can help your campaign succeed? I'm available for everything from one-time consultations to complete campaign immersion.

--Louella Pizzuti

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