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Media Relations


The Relationship Between Political Parties and the Media

Today, most voters know about a party’s politics through media and they get to know politicians primarily through media. Many politicians also use the media since it is an effective way to reach huge numbers of citizens instantly with their messages. The relationship between politicians and the media is important, but can often be strained if they do not respect and understand the roles that each of them plays in politics.

Political parties and the media have different roles in a democratic society. The democratic system is based on the idea that different ideas and proposals should be freely presented, debated, criticized and compared. Politicians role is to formulate, spread and rally support for ideas and policies, arguing for and convincing citizens to support them.

The media’s role is to disseminate and scrutinize information about politics so that citizens can make informed decisions. Journalists’ tasks are to report on political events, actors and decisions and to critically scrutinize those events, actors and decisions. By asking critical questions and insisting on answers, journalists are fulfilling the media’s role of scrutinizing politicians that is necessary for democracy to function effectively.

The relationship between the media and politicians / political parties is often a complicated and carefully balanced relationship. Politicians need to understand how the media works to get the most out of the media. It is in the interest of political parties to build good, long-term relationships so that the media becomes a positive instrument – not a threat to their political work (OPIC 2012: 56).

How the Media Works

What Is Newsworthy?

In order for the media to capture the attention of readers, viewers and listeners, they use several criteria to decide what to publish or broadcast, and what to leave out. These criteria determine whether a story or issue is considered to be ‘newsworthy’. The test of newsworthiness is applied to almost all the types of stories that media will publish or broadcast.

Some of the characteristics that make a story or issue newsworthy include:

• Access: Many important and newsworthy activities and events can go unreported for years because those who know about them do not reach the media, or do not want to. Ideas only become news if the media can reach them or they can reach the media.

• Conflicts: Anything that shows disagreements and conflicts qualifies as news.

• Emotions: News should cause an emotional response – positive or negative – and catch the attention of the reader.

• Exclusive: A news story becomes more valuable if the journalist believes it is exclusive to him or her.

• Human Interest: This is anything that relates to people’s personal experiences – beginnings or endings, triumphs or losses, deaths or births, victories or losses. They often involve strange situations, humour, adventure and conflict.

• Identification: News should affect the reader, so that he feels that this story could be about him personally, or his family or his friends, or familiar places, a familiar organization, company etc.

• Importance: Events that occur on a large scale or have the capacity to affect many people, involve people in authority, or affect famous and extraordinary individuals will make it into the news more easily than those that occur on a small scale or involve people who are not widely known.

• Proximity: Events occurring near the target audience or readership will interest people and the media. This proximity can be physical or emotional. For example, an earthquake in Malaysia is “near” people in Myanmar because they might have friends and relatives living in Malaysia.

• Small versus Big, Weak versus Strong: the small person versus the authority or power.

• Surprise: A news story should contain something unexpected. For example, a dog biting a man is not news, but a man biting a dog is.

• Timeliness: Fresh events and those that are about to occur capture public attention because they tell people something they did not know.

Typically, events that fit any three of these news values will attract media attention. Journalists and editors look for stories that include as many of these criteria as possible, because that will be more interesting for the public.

The table that follows provides some tips on what works for the media and what does not.

Because there is always a large pool of events, occurrences and statements to choose from, competition to get into the news is very high. Not everyone who seeks to get into the media will succeed. One of the most important ways to get the media to cover the activities or views of a party is to “create news.” This means that parties should present the media with stories (about that party) that are so newsworthy that the media want to use it.

Journalists need have to have a constant stream of newsworthy items to report on. If a political party is aware of what kinds of stories are newsworthy, and present those stories to journalists, then those journalists will be more than happy to report it to their viewers and readers. If those stories feature the activities or views of a party, then this is a very valuable way to raise awareness about that party among the public.

It is important that political parties take this into consideration when they are attempting to get media attention to raise awareness about their activities or programme. If a political party has a communications department that thinks critically about how to present information about the party to the media (according to these criteria), this will help them to get more coverage in the media and build relationships with media organisations and journalists.

Opportunities for Getting into the Media

There are generally four recognized types of media. They are described below.

1. Public media are funded from the common purse and are expected to report and offer space for issues and ideas that affect a wide spectrum of society. Although public media are expected to be commercially viable, profit is not their over-riding motive.

2. Privately owned media are often set up to generate profits although some may only exist to support the owners’ wider business and political interests. They often place great emphasis on running efficiently and profitably.

3. Community media are owned, managed and run by communities. Although community media also strive to be commercially viable, their main interest is in projecting the interests of the community they serve.

4. Social media encompass all the tools in the networked communication environment, such as the mobile telephone and the Internet. These are owned by many individuals, who also determine what to publish (NDI 2011: 76).

Two Ways of getting in the Media

There are two main ways to get into the media – paying for space for advertisements, and earning space. Paid and earned media should be coordinated to work together towards the party’s communication goals. Although earned media (communicating themes to audiences) does a similar job to paid media, the processes involved achieving them is very different.

Paid Media (bought publicity)

If a party wants to guarantee that its message goes out exactly the way it wants, it can pay the newspaper, radio or TV station to reserve a special position for it. Sometimes, media organizations will issue guidelines about what one can and cannot place in political advertisements. These guidelines are usually concerned with ensuring respectable behaviour in political campaigns by forbidding insulting language, hate messages, and even unfair characterization of opponents. Political parties should ask the media organization they plan to use if it has any rules for advertisers. Advertising is expensive. Political parties need to plan advertisements properly so that they go to the media that reaches the target audience on the day and at the time when it is best to do so, and at the correct price (NDI 2011: 76).

Earned Media (Free publicity)

Media publicity does not always have to cost money. Newsworthy activities can also get the reporters’ attention, and may lead to a newspaper interview or other forms of coverage on radio or TV – at no cost. There are various ways of getting into the media, like putting out a press release, organizing a press conference or granting an interview. To achieve this it is crucial that parties and candidates maintain a good relationship with members of the press. Parties and candidates should keep the press informed and build personal relationships with journalists. It can be beneficial to organize meetings where background information is provided about the party’s programme and activities. Providing the media with newsworthy stories can improve the relationships between the media and the party.

Be aware that the media are always extremely interested in:

• Strategy (coalitions)

• Scandals

• Opinion polls

• Disagreements and internal discord within the party

• Conflicts, fights between parties

• Persons rather than issues

Party leaders, spokespeople and candidates should always prepare in advance how they will answer all potential questions journalists may ask them on issues in these areas. These answers and positions should also be distributed widely in the party. Any sign of internal conflict can be dangerous. Opponents will use it to their advantage or the media might exaggerate it. In their case, this can have a negative effect on the amount of votes received in the next election.

It is important that those who are representing the party should stay silent about party strategy, even though this can be hard sometimes. The way that parties make certain decision, the current state of party strategy and speculations about opponents’ intentions are all things the media will be asking about. However, during an election, it is usually better not discuss these issues, at least not until the elections are over. The voters just want to hear what a party wants to achieve, how they plan to improve their country. Parties should ignore the interest shown by political analysts and the media in the strategic decisions they make during a campaign. Information about a party’s internal affairs should not be released, if it does not serve the party’s interest.

Staying silent about strategy considerations is especially difficult when the following questions are asked:

• The coalition question: which government can we expect? (Usually a good way to avoid answering this is by saying: “First, it is up to the voters now to indicate what they want, and it would be arrogant to speculate about the outcome in advance.”)

• “What if” questions about the election results: “If your party loses the elections, what will the consequences be for the party’s leadership?”

• Questions about individuals, polls, the decision-making process, political opponents

No matter how hard it may be, during a campaign it is very important that those who are representing the party remain calm when faced with such questions, that they avoid the issues that the media raises by getting back to the campaign message.

Communicating the message is the main thing. Media appearances and debates should always be prepared very carefully. Leaders, candidates and spokespersons should mention the message a couple of times in the preparatory talks with the journalists, to make sure they know it and will recognize it. The aim should not be to convince the journalist but to try and convince the voters. Discussions should always be steered in the direction of the message and the message should be repeated throughout the campaign. Spokespersons and candidates should not try to find new things to say, but they should just adapt the message to the specific target group that is being addressed. For example, a public debate with students requires a different style than a question hour with old people.

There are some big risks related to free publicity. Once a candidate gets in trouble, things easily get worse. One mistake and everyone (especially reporters) starts repeating that it is not going well in the campaign. One bad story and many journalists will come with questions. Even worse, journalists keep files about politicians which they use for years. Every slip (fraud, corruption or political mistakes) will be available for journalists to use again in the future. The clean image that politicians start with only lasts a very short time (van den Boomen 2009:37-38).

Different Kinds of Earned Media

• News – This is information that is fresh, important, connected to people’s lives and likely to have an effect on them or their environment. If a political party intends to be covered in the news, make sure that the issue or event is important enough because it will be competing with many others. Timing is also important. It would not be wise to launch a campaign on the day everyone is discussing nationwide flooding. Following current affairs provides a window through which a political leader can get into the news by offering a statement or interview. Releasing a reaction statement in response to something in the news is also an effective way to draw attention to those issues that a party wants to focus on.

Major constraints related to news are that: it is highly competitive and therefore occupies limited space; there are very strict deadlines to remain up to date; and a political party’s event may not be newsworthy enough to be included.

• Features – These stories have the same characteristics as news but are longer, offer explanations, descriptions and background information on issues that would not be found ordinarily in news stories and are not very immediate. If a political party member wants to explain how something happens or why, the feature form is better to use. Features bring with them closer criticism – of the person, the situation or the issue. They can expose problems, weaknesses and attitudes that might not have been known otherwise.

• Opinion – This is an article made by an individual on an issue, that expresses that individual’s opinions or views on that issue. A political leader can maintain visibility by writing newspaper commentaries and letters to the editor.

Submitting an opinion piece or letter to the editor relating to something that appeared in the newspaper is one way to raise one’s profile as well as the profile of one’s work. Radio and television also routinely broadcast opinions of people who are knowledgeable about certain subjects in the news. Opinions can build one’s authority with the public but could also cause damage if not reasonable and persuasive.

Debates – These refer to opposing views on the same issue either in the newspaper or on radio and television. The radio and television debate presents candidates or spokespersons with an opportunity to not only argue a case, but also to argue against the arguments that their opponents present. But debates present the risk that if one’s arguments are not well thought out, their inadequacies will be badly exposed by opponents or the media.

Media Strategies for a Campaign

Good media relations are about the relationship parties build with journalists who cover their party and the issues that it is involved with. They yield better results if they are planned, timed and targeted to produce certain clearly defined objectives. Remember, the media is never the final audience. It is only a way to reach the voters.

Yet, political parties and candidates can have good relations with journalists and still not enjoy a lot of media coverage because of lacking a clear and exciting message. During campaigns, leaders must be consistent and speak on themes that attract attention. Every aspect of campaign communication should reflect the message (NDI 2011 77-78).

Engaging the Media

Political parties often underestimate their possibilities to interest media. After all, the media need news to survive and look for new stories all the time. Political parties have large networks and are involved with diverse actors and constituents. They have a wealth of information they can draw on to provide the media with newsworthy stories about their ideas, members or activities.

Communications officers in political parties can increase the likelihood of attracting the media simply by analyzing the media as they read, watch and listen. Those who do understand the needs of reporters, producers and editors stand a better chance of being covered. Persistence, commitment to building a good relationship with the media and competence in communication attract the media. Here is a list of activities to start on engaging the media.

Make a Media list

Compile a press notebook and gather some knowledge about available TV, radio and print media outlets. For instance, what types of stories are the media organizations interested in covering?

When a party is making a media plan, they need to make a list of all media that they can work with. The normal channels – newspapers, radio stations, TV, etc. – are usually well known. But are there newsletters, magazines, web pages and other media that parties can access.

Have a discussion and let everyone come with suggestions. Today the internet offers many new channels for information and political parties should make sure they are part of this. One option is to set up a Facebook page to stay in touch with voters and supporters. The party should also have a web page where people can get information, party news, find out how to join or donate money.

Personal Contacts

The most efficient way to contact mass media is to get to know the journalists, to approach the same persons regularly and give them tips for news. If they find the information provided by a party to be newsworthy they will appreciate the external communications department of a party as a good source for news, and they may start contacting them not just for news but also for articles. They may even contact them to keep informed about what is going on in the political arena (OPIC 2012: 60).

Visit media offices

Pay courtesy calls on the local newspaper, radio or TV station office. Some media houses hold editorial meetings on a regular basis. If possible, schedule to meet with the editorial departments. It is not easy but it is worth trying.

Invite reporters to travel with a candidate to the field.

This personal access gives the reporters an opportunity to get an inside look at the day-to-day operations of the party. This is a good opportunity to promote the candidate or party’s strengths. This tactic is only useful if the candidate’s schedule is properly organized and can be scrutinized at close range.

Make sure the press knows what the party and its candidates are doing

Parties, campaigns or candidates can release a weekly schedule to every outlet at least 24 hours in advance explaining what is expected to happen.

Tools for Engaging the Media

The following specific tools are also useful in engaging the media.


Once relationships have been established, talk to the best possible contact with an exclusive (only for them) story. Time will be limited. There is usually a maximum of two seconds, or 40 words, to interest a journalist in a story. This means that party spokespersons or candidates should only talk to the media when they have got something to say.

Another option is to call to ask if journalists want a comment on a topical issue or to inquire what they are working on. Usually, when a story breaks, reporters will be trying to get a story quickly. If a party has good relationship with reporters, then the appropriate party members can pick up the telephone and call to make a statement or comment on a story that is just happening at that time.

Press Releases and Statements

This is a statement written by a person or organization following the style that journalists use. Usually, it responds to the questions, What, Where, When, How and Why. This information is arranged starting with the most to the least important facts. A press release has to be accurate, fair, balanced, interesting and relevant. The language should not be emotional (NDI 2011: 80).

The material that political parties sends to the media must be in a format that the journalist can use more or less untouched. This is information about something that is going to happen or a comment on something that has occurred. Send by e-mail, fax or letter. Press releases should be:

• Short: A press release must not be more than one A4 sheet.

• Most important things first: Put the most important facts in the first paragraph – it must say what the issue is and must tempt the reader to read the rest of the statement. It must also include the location where it happened and the date. Party logo and name should also be visible. It can also be a good idea to separately send/include a high-resolution version of the party logo in case the newspaper wants to print it.

• One topic: Focus on one issue and keep the text short and powerful.

• Sender: Make it very clear who the press release is from, when it was sent, and contact details of a person who can respond to questions. This person must be accessible or the party will look like media amateurs (OPIC 2012: 59).

Newsrooms receive hundreds of press releases in a day. The majority end up in the waste bin. Since press releases tend to be impersonal, it is best to introduce it with a telephone call, pitching the story before sending it in.

As a good practice in media relations, always have and distribute ‘press kits’ in a folder with pockets, containing: a short background note, current photographs, staff information sheet with names and phone numbers of key staff and the office, a few important quotes, a description and map of the constituency and other publicity materials such as brochures and bumper stickers.

Sometimes political parties want to present facts and explain the party’s position or views on a problem. To compile a report or a background paper with facts makes the journalists’ work much easier and is often appreciated.

At local level, it is crucial to present facts with a local angle that focuses on how the local community is affected, in order for it to make news. Journalists can be suspicious and hesitant to use reports from political parties. They often see this as propaganda. To increase the credibility of the report it is important to write in a way that makes a clear difference between political comments on the one hand, and known facts such as statistics on the other. The sources of all facts should be clearly cited in such cases (OPIC 2012: 60).

TV and Radio Interviews

Politicians are interviewed frequently. Journalists use interviews to gather information that enables them to tell stories. A golden rule during interviews is: listen, listen, listen. This seems simple enough, but in practice it turns out to be not only one of the most important things but also one of the hardest things to do well. Really listening to the interviewer prevents one from just talking about the statements and facts that were prepared before the start of the interview. Interviewees who listen, respond better to questions, make an alert impression on the TV or radio audience, and come across as someone who understands people. There are some rules that seem very simple but can be easily forgotten during a live interview (van den Boomen 2009: 42).

1. Never lie: there are enough examples of politicians trying to lie themselves out of situations only to find themselves in trouble because the truth always comes out.

2. Stand up for one’s statements: if an interviewee doesn’t know something, they must say so. They do not have to know everything. It is a strength not a weakness to admit that. Interviewees should be clear about subjects they do not wish to discuss or which are outside their realm of competence. They should always be honest and straightforward in answering questions. If they do not know the answer to a question, then they should say so. If possible, they should offer to find out and get back to the interviewer as soon as possible.

3. Make sure to be understood: interviewees should not be afraid to ask the reporter if their explanation is clear to him or her or whether further clarification is needed. If an interviewee is concerned the message is not being understood, they can ask the reporter to explain it back to them, and then clarify the points that were misunderstood.

4. Admit mistakes: interviewees should bring mistakes up themselves, rather than waiting for the journalist to raise it. They should also step back and try to think what impression their party makes on the average viewer or listener. The party’s mistakes should not be ignored or dismissed. Being open about past mistakes strikes people as honest and responsible.

5. Simple and straight responses, stick to message: interviewees should economize their language by keeping it simple and straight. The best way to prepare for an interview is by identifying the two or three main points that are most important to express. Before the interview, these should be written down on paper, along with facts and examples. Interviewees should give some thought to creating strong ‘quotes’ colourful expressions that forcefully convey the essence of an idea. Of course in an interview, too, the message has to be central. Interviewees should always ask: what is my message, what do I want to convey? What should the listener or viewer take away from the interview? What kind of headline am I aiming for? It is important that during an interview, the audience should be kept in mind: it is better to use clear language and simple examples. Political or academic jargon should be avoided.

6. Be concise: Every complicated issue can always be reduced to a single core. Interviewees should stress their main points clearly and concisely, and support them with facts, figures or examples. If the reporter’s questions fail to touch on the party or candidate’s message, then interviewees should take the initiative and use the reporter’s questions as a bridge to their points.

7. Be aware of the limits of what can be said: interviewees should make sure they know beforehand what they can and what they absolutely cannot say. If they are not at the top of the party hierarchy, an interviewee must have a clear mandate. If the mandate is unclear, it is wiser not to grant an interview. It is important at the start of an interview for the interviewee to clarify whether they are speaking for themself, their party or the campaign.

8. Do not be provoked or tricked: it is pointless to get angry at a journalist. If an interviewee is aggressive the journalist will get all the sympathy.

9. Do not fill in the gaps in the interview: during an interview, one may feel inclined to keep talking to bridge a gap if the interviewer seems stops talking. That should be avoided: it is an interview technique to make an interviewee say more than they had want to.

10. Be aware of ‘loaded’ questions: often a journalist will pose a question containing an assumption to which he or she tries to get an interviewee to agree to by accident. For example: “Your party is not doing well. What do you plan to do about that?” To answer that question would be to admit that the party is not doing well. During an interview it is important to watch out for that interview technique. The journalist’s assumptions should be either ignored or denied.

11. Remain aware at the end of the interview: an interview is never over until either the interviewee or the journalist have walked out the door. Journalists often like to get newsworthy statements after the end of the interview. For example, after the journalist has switched off the sound recorder and put on his or her jacket. At the door he or she stops and says: “what do you really think of the party leader?”

12. Include the interviewer’s questions in answers: another technique to come across better in interviews and increase the likelihood your story is included (especially for TV) is to include the question of the interview in the answer you give. For example, if asked why is the environment important, It is better to answer: ‘the environment is important to me because we all dependent on it’ rather than ’because we all depend on it’ (van den Boomen 2009:42)

Make it Interesting

Also remember that vivid stories are more appealing than a dry list of facts: “facts tell, stories sell”. Wherever possible, interviewees should try to illustrate their views with concrete examples. Always talk about the people the party cares for, not about statistics. So they shouldn’t say: “50% of the retired population struggles with feelings of loneliness.” But instead: “Today I talked to a number of elderly people in the Sunrise Care Home, where Mr Smith from Hay-on-Wye told me he never receives any visits at all. And Mr Smith is not the only one. 50% of our retired population struggles with feelings of loneliness.”

In many countries free publicity is extremely important for political parties, because the campaign budgets allow limited funds for paid advertising. That is why politicians try to make appearances in the media. Parties conduct research to see which TV programmes and magazines offer the best platform for their leader, and which ones he or she should avoid, depending on their electoral appeal.

Body Language

In TV interviews, it is said, the impression made on the audience is based 70% on how one looks, 20% on how one speaks and only 10% on what one actually says. So it is important that interviewees make a good impression on camera. They should not wave their hands, look down, or frown (something politicians often do). It is also important that any unappealing or impolite habits (e.g. nose picking) are suppressed and that interviewees should never look straight at the camera (van den Boomen 2009:44).

Press Conference

Press conferences are meetings that an individual or group holds with several journalists from various media organizations in order to make an important statement and answer questions.

As a rule, political parties should only organize a press conference if it wants to release very important news. In organizing a press conference, attention to detail is critical, from sending out invitations to ensuring a good turnout of reporters and favourable coverage. (NDI 2011: 81). The following checklist may be helpful

A press conference should only be arranged for a very newsworthy issue, or when a party wants to present a new or more comprehensive program. Make sure the press conference is well prepared by doing the following:

• Message: be clear about what the spokesperson is going to say, have it written down. It is also wise to have a list of questions that might be asked, as well as the answers.

• Invitations: Send out the invitations the day before.

• Timing: Set a time that is convenient for the local journalists’ working hours, deadlines etc.

• Venue: Choose a venue that also offers possibilities to take interesting pictures and do not always use the party office. Think creatively.

• Implementation: The presentation must not take more than 15 minutes.

• After that give the journalists time for questions and pictures: Give them prepared materials and written comments, to make their job easier.

• After: Call the media that could not make it to the press conference and send them the documents (OPIC 2012: 60).

Maintaining Good Media Relations

Following are some tricks for effectively communication with reporters:

• Being professional and courteous with reporters, will encourage them to act the same way.

• Keep an open mind about reporters. If one has a negative attitude towards the media, it will respond in the same way.

• Make clever, insightful and humorous statements. But keep it brief. If a speaker talks for 10 minutes, the reporter picks the quote. If they talk for 30 seconds, the speaker picks the quote.

• Do not oversell. Convincing a reporter to attend an event, which will not produce a newsworthy story, hurts the party’s credibility, angers the reporter and makes it harder to get coverage next time.

Handling Negative Coverage

Effectiveness in dealing with reporters is measured by the ability to gain the media’s respect, as well as to project the qualities of honesty and fairness. Accomplishing those goals can lead to good coverage. If it appears that a particular reporter really is biased against a party or its candidate, do not rush to call him or her the first time. Compile the evidence and request a chance to discuss the matter with the reporter in person. Only after trying this should someone from the party go over to the supervisor of the reporter and editor.

To correct the misconceptions, write a clear, concise letter to the Managing Editor or News Editor, outlining the inaccuracy of the story, followed by a brief account of the correct facts.

Generally, it is not good to ignore a reporter, editor, or media outlet that consistently covers one’s party negatively. It is important to keep trying to talk to them. In time this can lead to a better understanding.

Using Social Networking Tools

Social media refers to web-based and mobile technologies/applications to turn communication into interactive dialogue.

The social networking services that are chosen for a campaign must be able to connect with one another so that updates from one ‘platform’ (a kind of social networking system such as facebook, email etc.) and can be automatically published on all the others. Parties should choose social media tools that help them to achieve the goals in established during campaign planning. Determine how these goals can be achieved through social networking tools considering the opportunities and limitations of the platforms available.

An effective campaign will require a combination of tools since different social networking services play different roles. It is important to choose a social networking platform that will work efficiently for people with low internet connectivity.

Below are descriptions of specific tools.


Through e-mail, parties can send messages to individuals or large numbers of recipients instantaneously. Using email to contact an audience requires knowledge of the email address of every individual and allows for messages to be customized.

Mobile Phone

The mobile phone is a formidable tool that has changed the way people relate, work and organize themselves. Through the use of short text messages, it is possible to reach a wide range of people in running a campaign (NDI 2011: 87).

Text messaging

If a party compiles lists of supporters’ mobile phone numbers, it can use text messaging to invite them to meetings or remind them to go vote.


Party websites usually include the basic information about the party. This includes the party’s constitution, its programme or manifesto and an overview of its activities and goals. Websites can also be used for specific campaigns. These are usually based on content that gives more information on the issue that the party or candidate is working on and the change that they are trying to create (e.g. research papers, articles, and blogs).

Parties or candidates can also use blogging services such as Wordpress and Blogspot. A blog is a type of website or part of a website usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Most blogs allow visitors to leave comments. Initially, blogs had been used by individuals to publish their online journals. They are increasingly becoming important spaces for holding discussions on different issues.


Blogs can be the main website for a campaign. Blogs can be used to bring together all of the campaign content. They can be the space where supporters get all of the information about the campaign. Before setting up the campaign blog, it is important to determine the following:

• Name of the blog: This should be based on the campaign’s name. It should be short as it will determine the blog’s web address.

• The look and feel: If the party already has a logo, the blog colors should reflect that.

• Content: This could include blog entries, photos, videos and audio materials.


• Who will be allowed to publish on the blog? This could be either the campaign team or all supporters.

• What key words will be used for the blog? These are words that will define the campaign.

• Different kinds of content are needed to support campaign messages. These include photos, audio, graphics (posters, logos, etc) and videos. Social networking services that handle specific types of content like Youtube for video and Flickr or Picasa for photos should be chosen.

Allies and targeted supporters need to be drawn into the main campaign website to understand the issues. This can be done by sending them smaller messages that attract them to find out more about the campaign. Services like Facebook are useful for this. Through these services, party members can send links to the website or specific parts of the main website that will encourage them to seek more. The message becomes easy to spread to other networks.


Facebook is one of the most popular social networking tools today. Statistics show that it has 1.5 billion active users. In the last few years non-profit organizations have used Facebook as a way of raising awareness on different issues. Facebook can be sued to:

• Gather supporters from the Facebook community.

• Keep supporters updated on their campaign activities and issues.

• Draw Facebook users to the main website.

When first setting up a Facebook group, page or cause, the content for the page should already be prepared. Post the party logo, the party name, goals, activities and contact details. Target invitations to the party’s allies. It is important to send a clear message to the people who have joined the Facebook group, page or cause to invite their friends. Send clear messages about the campaign so that the people who are invited will know what it is about.

Facebook group, page or cause should be regularly updated. Questions about the issues or new information should be regularly posted to keep members interested in the campaign (NDI 2011: 88).