Political blogging is huge. In fact, it may very well be the largest and broadest genre of blogs currently on the web. One of the biggest challenges facing political bloggers today is not being taken seriously as a source of information. Standing out from the crowd is also difficult, especially for someone just starting out. Here are a few tips for a better political blog:
Decide if Your Blog is Impartial or Opinionated and Stick With It
Mainstream media outlets are constantly being judged by their perceived slant. Fox News is considered by many to be a conservative news source while CNN and MSNBC have a reputation for leaning in a more liberal direction. Whether or not this is true is a matter of perspective.
When you decide to start a political blog, you should quickly determine whether or not information found on your site will offer opinions or stick to pointed facts. This makes a big difference in whether your blog is news source or a commentary on current events. If half of your articles are opinionated, and the other half are not, then it will be hard for readers to judge your site’s usefulness to them. If you want to mix it up, make sure the opinionated articles are in a separate section aside from your unbiased news reports.
In order for people to take you seriously, you need to cite sources of information used to form your articles. This doesn’t mean copy and paste content from other sites. It means when you quote a statistic or use specific information related to an event, tell your readers where you found the information. This will help you build your reader’s trust while proving your point.
Write Guest Posts
Connect with other bloggers in your field, especially if they share the majority of your political views. This can be done either socially through an exchange of praise on social networks or through writing guest posts for each other’s sites. By allowing another blogger to have a byline on your blog, you are in a sense creating a mutually beneficial environment where instead of competing against each other for an audience, you can each benefit from the other’s reach.
Opinions change, especially in the world of politics. Consistency doesn’t mean opinions have to stay set in stone. It does mean that your level of quality, depth of research, and stream of content needs to maintain an even or increasing level. Walking away from a blog for a few days can cause you to lose a lot of your audience, especially if they have come to expect a certain amount of content from you over a period of time. If you want to take a vacation, write a few posts in advance and schedule them to come out periodically during your absence. You can also utilize the talents of a guest blogger to fill in for you.
Stay Active in Blogging Communities
Political blogging is a giant community, and one that comes with an immense amount of support in the form of social groups. For example, The PPL is a group based out of Charlotte, NC that intends to offer a place for independent media outlets to set up and cover the 2012 Democratic National Convention. They don’t care if you’re liberal, conservative, independent, libertarian, or a Jedi. Groups like these are an amazing resource that can help a small political blog cover larger events that typically only cater to mainstream media. Find out if there are any communities and/or groups in your area that work with political bloggers and see what they may have to offer.