Looking back over a painful electoral season, it’s clear to many now that Mitt Romney’s campaign made many errors along the way. I am not a supporter, as you know, but I actually felt badly at many of the mistakes he and his team made. Along the last few months, I’ve had on my mind how many of Team Romney’s campaign mistakes would make a good lesson in “What Not to Do” for any social media campaign, or any blogger looking to grow their blog.
Below, I list the most conspicuous errors, and what we can take away as bloggers…and hopefully, future political candidates of every stripe will do the same.
- Don’t flip flop opinions on the fly.
What really bothered me during the campaign was the many conflicting opinions I heard from Mitt Romney. My biggest question was, what would he do as president? I still have no clear answer on that, and I do believe that lost him support. Now, I’m not saying as a blogger you can’t have a change of heart. If you do, it’s a great opportunity to explore both sides of an issue and write a story-driven piece on what changed your mind. You should not, however, change your opinions to suit your audience, or every other day. Keep your beliefs and opinions as they are and stand up for them, and either change your readers’ minds, or change your audience. Trying to be everything to everyone will make you appear hollow and insubstantial.
- Be original, fresh, and new.
Another thing I think that really hurt Romney was that he offered nothing exciting, interesting, or different to the public. Actually, this was a disappointment to me as well. I’d like to see new, fresh ideas come to the table to drive the economy but I can’t think of a single offering that I’d not heard before. You need to offer your readers something interesting, new, and unexpected – at least from time to time – to keep them coming. Perhaps you have a fresh perspective. Maybe a cooking accident changed the way you prepare meals. Maybe your children responded to something unique that you’d never tried before. Offer us tips and ideas from your unique perspective and I’ll bet you can create original, fresh, and new content all the time.
- Think before you speak.
I doubly cringed when Romney made that remark about how airplane windows should open, because his wife was on a plane that had a mishap. I’m sure he just wasn’t thinking, but being in the public eye means your every word is scrutinized – and your every blunder. Before you commit something to your blog, respond to a comment, or put it out on social media, carefully make sure that what you are saying is accurate – or, at least, debatable. You’ll save considerable egg on your face, plus retain audience. (I’ve stopped following many a blog for articles belied by facts.)
- Don’t alienate your potential audience.
One of the most devastating aspects of the campaign was the secret video that captured Romney belittling 47% of the electorate. Now, I know he said he never expected to get those votes, but he sure would be governing those people, so shouldn’t he have tried? Seeing opposing perspectives as legitimate and respecting not only your tightly niched target audience but your prospective audience should be top of mind to you. What if your blog gets turned into a book, or a reality TV show? It could happen, and you wouldn’t want to damage your reputation by badmouthing the people who could one day be customers.
- Don’t make assumptions that you’re doing well.
It was actually sad to hear how crushed conservatives felt after the election. Many banked on wins that didn’t come to pass, and were terribly dejected afterward. Don’t let this happen to you. Get outside opinions about your blog, your content, and your pictures. Is your blog legible? Are your posts clear? Are your photos pinnable? Ask your blogger and social media support groups for feedback, or hire a blog consultant and get things done right.
Missteps and irretractable errors may have cost Romney much-needed votes. What about you and your blog? Are you bringing solutions for your readers’ problems? Are you engaging them in healthy discourse about the things that matter to them – whether those include beauty & fashion, parenting, special needs, running a great blog, or anything else? Are you consistent and considerate? Are you checking yourself and opening up to new readers? Are you offering content that’s fresh and interesting and, most importantly, authentic that will attract new visitors? While you are not running for president, you are running a blog in world packed with millions of other blogs to choose from.
With such fierce competition, you can learn a lot by avoiding Romney’s campaign mistakes.