Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Congressman Jerry McNerney informs, inspires and raises funds online

Jerry McNerney's team exploited the web to pull off an odds-against win in California's 11th CD and they continue to set themselves apart by updating their web presence regularly while the Congressman serves.

What's unusual about this? Well, most campaigns completely ignore their web presence after the election. Many (if not most) don't even change their site to reflect the fact that the election's over. This is a big mistake. If someone seeks you out in person do you ignore them until you need their endorsement, cash or vote? Of course not. Consider applying the same courtesy to the folks who seek you out online.

McNerney's campaign does this elegantly and reliably. They focus their updates on their blog, where a quick glance reveals:

--excerpts from local papers lauding the Congressman
--fundraising pitches
--insight into Congressman McNerney's votes or actions
--invitations to in-district events

Is McNerney's blog devouring lots of staff resources? Highly unlikely. It looks like most of what they're posting is repurposed content: letters, clips and fundraising requests.

Is the lack of comments an indication that no one's reading his blog? Hardly. On May 25th, when they posted McNerney's explanation of his vote against giving President Bush another blank check to wage the war in Iraq, there were a whopping 183 comments. In May.

McNerney himself responded to the comments (at comment 164) and the campaign wisely created a new post to spotlight his comment.

This, I am happy to report, fits solidly in the "best practices" category: An elected official who invests in communicating with voters throughout the session, who leverages work done elsewhere by posting it on the web, and who publicly responds to constituent concerns. Who wouldn't vote for this guy?

Jerry McNerney's making sure that any constituent who wants to know what he's doing on his or her behalf has resources galore at their fingertips; are you?

--Louella Pizzuti

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