Inside a Democratic campaign—writing your campaign at Daily Kos

Before you even start writing …

There is a simple guide to the mechanics of how to write at Daily Kos.  If you follow this guide, your content will be properly formatted. These guides get you started on how to write, but they don’t tell you what you should write about. 

Most campaign diaries fall into a specific category: They are about their opponent, they explain why they are running, or they tell stories about things they learn while campaigning. Some of these diaries are incredibly successful. Some are less successful.

What makes the difference? In watching over the years, I’ve found that our community responds best to diaries that include some element of positive storytelling. Sure, you can bash your opponent nonstop and get some recommends. If your campaign tells a story about why you are running and the people you have met, those are the diaries that rise up the rec list and speak to what the readership wants to know.

Before you start writing, think about your message and ask yourself one question: Is there anything in my diary to make a reader feel emotionally involved? If the answer is yes, you’ve got a good idea. People like a story, and a good one helps motivate them.

Avoid these things

There are a few things you simply cannot do. We do not allow flacking or sockpuppets to promote your account. Setting up multiple accounts to rec your own stuff? That’s a no-no. Are you posting about a campaign but not acknowledging that you are being paid by that campaign? That’s also a no.

If you are just cutting and pasting a press release or content from your website, while it doesn’t break the rules necessarily, it certainly won’t attract readers. It is boring, and many Daily Kos users will see it as a waste of their time. They could find your press releases anywhere else.

Write an actual diary. If what you have to say takes fewer than 5 sentences, or if it could be contained in a tweet, it might not have enough content to make up a diary that people will respond to and are willing to help you promote. Give people something to latch onto.

Use Pictures

People live by the visual. Make sure you use a good photo to lead your story, and consider embedding images or video into your diary. It helps keep the audience involved and can attract them to what you are writing.

When your story is shared on Facebook, it will share with a photo if you have one. If you don’t have one, shares on Facebook won’t have an image attached by default either. Make it easier to promote your content. Add a photo.

Most important: Care about what you are writing about

Daily Kos users are pretty smart. They can tell if you are writing about something in a way that is simply paint-by-numbers. Oh, you are responding to an issue with all the right phrases and data, but they can tell that this isn’t an issue that puts fire into your campaign.

If you write about what you care about, it shows. People can relate to the energy that they see in diaries that are about the issues you care about. They can read between the lines and say, I know this person really cares about this issue. From a school board to the U.S. Senate, if you write about something you care about, readers will catch your enthusiasm.

Just write

Don’t worry: There will be more answers in the comments—but if you want to advocate for your campaign, this is a great place to find people who will support you and help you. That is what helps our cause: fighting for more Democratic electeds everywhere.

Next week: DATA

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