Are you thinking of starting a political blog? This can be quite simple if you have a good strategy. In this post, we’ll look at some reasons why writers choose to start political blogs, as well as some tips for success. Let’s dive in.
Why start a political blog?
If politics really gets you going and you want to make an impact on people for the better, then starting a political site might be your thing. Being passionate about your topic is extremely important for a writer. Make sure to choose a genre you won’t get bored of.
#2 Find a job
Those who always wanted to be political journalists but are struggling to find work can start a political site, build an audience, and get the attention of large media outlets.
Nowadays, people don’t just hire based on a resume; hiring managers look at the ability of a writer to connect with her audience and build a following.
#3 Influence people
If you want to create a channel of communication with like-minded people, then your site can be a channel to express your views and thoughts.
A site can be as popular, sometimes more popular than mainstream media.
Who should start a political blog?
The Internet is amazing in the sense that it provides the freedom for anyone to express their opinion. Anyone from a political science student to a mere enthusiast can start a political site. If the content is good and it resonates with an audience, it can catch attention fairly quickly.
Step-by-step process to starting a political blog
Step 1: Write down the objectives of your political blog
People start political sites for various reasons. What are your reasons for starting a political site? Whatever they might be, write them down on a sheet of paper. When things get difficult, your ‘BIG WHY’ will keep you motivated to keep moving ahead in spite of the obstacles.
Step 2: Pick a name
Does the name even matter? It definitely does. Regardless of whether the name of your site is fictional or real, it should always relate to the mission of your blog.
It should be descriptive of what the site is all about, and the reader should be able to recognize that your blog is political just by the name.
Once you have come up with a name, you can then purchase a domain. I prefer using only a .com extension because people are used to typing .com and even if your site is .net or .org, there is a tendency to type .com.
Step 3: Build a mailing list
Good marketers know that money is in the list. This applies to successful entrepreneurs, influencers, and almost everyone who is trying to make an impact or trying to sell something. Whether you are a rock star, an entrepreneur, or a blogger, it’s important to build a fan base.
Many people use social media to build their fan base, and sometimes completely ignore building a mailing list. If you believe that you can interact with your audience only through social media and completely ignore building a mailing list, then go ahead. But if you have doubts, I strongly recommend building a mailing list. Why? Social media is not always under your control. Your social media content is not seen by most of your audience; however, 90% of email is delivered to your intended recipient.
Social media outlets can change the rules at any time, which means the way you interact with your audience can change. But your email list is yours; it is completely under your control.
Step 4: Set-up your blog
You may hire a WordPress expert to set-up your site, or you may do it yourself. A developer costs money, and if you have the budget, a good developer can save you a lot of time and heartache. However, if you’d like to set it up yourself, check out our blog set-up guide here.
Step 5: Prepare an editorial calendar
Before you prepare an editorial calendar, you may want to make a list of topics to cover on your site. Then, make a list of article headlines. After that, create an outline for each article. You may either write all the articles yourself or hire a freelance writer to write the articles for you.
I generally like to schedule my articles for one month in advance. However, every day is a new day in politics, so you want to be flexible and post hot topics trending on that specific day. Some people also create a theme for each day of the week; some have a monthly theme. Each site is unique, and you want to create a strategy based on what works for you.
Sometimes, thinking too far ahead might be overwhelming, so take one day at a time, and allow things to fall into place.
Step 6. Publish
Once you are ready with your articles, it’s time to publish. Many new writers think that their site will catch fire and become the next new Internet sensation overnight. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. It takes a lot of time and hard work to build a political site.
It starts with one article, one reader, and one mission.
Sticking to your mission, and slowly and steadily building your audience is a strategy that snowballs into a movement.
Remember, a blog is a movement.
Promoting your blog posts
Bloggers always ask how to generate traffic to posts. The cliched advice is “create great content, and the audience will come.” It’s great advice but generally doesn’t work.
Yes, great content is vital, but it is not enough. There has to be some way to get eyeballs to your audience.
If you can put aside a small ad budget, a few paid options are:
Social media – paid ads on Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Quora, LinkedIn, and others.
However, if you want to build organic traffic, then it’s important to develop knowledge about SEO which is about keywords and backlinks.
Another option is to get active on political forums, groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, and answer questions on Quora. The Internet is a massive place of information where there are so many discussions happening by the minute. Share your views and opinions.
Handling negative comments
There’s an age-old saying: “If you want to be safe, don’t talk about politics or religion.” With a political site, this idea goes straight out of the window. Politics and religion are two topics that create the maximum amount of controversy, passion, and even hate.
Political writers should get used to negative comments, hate tweets, and people who passionately disagree with them. If you are a really sensitive person, then political writing may not be for you. It’s not uncommon to lose your mind and get into Twitter battles with total strangers. So before you start, you might want to create some guidelines on how you want to deal with negative comments.
Here are some options to deal with negative comments.
Option 1: Don’t respond immediately
When someone posts a negative comment, our first instinct is to respond right away. That’s usually the worst time to respond. During this time, our emotions are at their peak. Wait for some time, allow your emotions to cool down. As a wise man once said, “You can always tell a person to piss off tomorrow.”
Option 2: Don’t respond at all
Not all comments deserve a response. People can get extremely malicious and aggressive at times. Sometimes, it’s not worth the fight. Pick your battles and stay calm.
Option 3: Respond immediately and aggressively (the worst response)
Bloggers can sometimes get emotional and aggressive. They pick a Twitter battle and go all out to get their point across. Although people justify their behavior by stating that they wanted to get their point across and defend their opinions, it’s not always the best strategy. Remember, not everyone is going to agree with you. Accepting a certain level of disagreement is important.
What does it take to be successful in political blogging?
Certain common traits make some more successful than others. These apply to political writers as well.
Although being opinionated may not be a great quality in real life, it’s a beneficial trait in the political writing world. People follow your site not because you share commonly available information but because you have an opinion. Most people will follow your site because they agree or disagree with you.
Readers can get facts can from a lot of places. But your opinion about a topic, an event, or circumstances are your own and cannot be borrowed from anywhere, which is something that differentiates your blog from everyone else’s.
#2 Thick skin
Political bloggers can get a lot of verbal attacks and criticisms from people who don’t agree with them. If these criticisms and verbal attacks won’t let you sleep at night, you might want to reconsider your decision to start a political site.
Most people are quite excited when they first start. But soon the excitement fades away, and they become inconsistent with their blogging efforts. Time can be a good friend for a writer but only if her efforts are consistent. It’s better to put aside one hour a day for blogging than putting in 10 hours at a stretch. Focus on doing fewer things but do them consistently.
Mistakes to avoid
Don’t get too personal
Sometimes topics can get emotional, and things can get out of hand. Even the best of people can make unintentional personal attacks. Watch yourself and resist the temptation to make personal or condescending statements.
Know your audience
Who is your audience? Having a target audience is important. It’s easier to connect with your audience if you know who they are. Make a profile of your ideal target audience and write like you are writing to this person.
It can take several years to build an audience and start getting relevant traffic to your blog. At first, if you don’t get much traffic, don’t get disheartened. Stick to it. You must be willing to invest at least two years of your time before you see any substantial traffic to your blog.
Monetizing your blog
Do you eventually want to make money from your blog? If the answer is yes, there are various ways to make money from your political blog.
One way is through donations. If you create a non-profit organization, people and/ or corporations who believe in your mission can make donations, which can cover the cost of running your blog.
Another way is through advertisements. If you get a lot of traffic to your blog, you can sell ad space either directly or through an ad network like Google Adsense.
People have monetized their sites through affiliate marketing as well, where you get a commission for every sale. One of the affiliate programs that come to mind is Amazon where you could recommend books and DVDs. Just because your blog is political does not mean you cannot sell unrelated products. Get to know your audience and think about what kind of products your audience might buy. Organic products, training programs, concert tickets, and even health-related services might work. Remember, you are building a community of like-minded people, so focus on products related to these people rather than the topic.
Washington Post and several other blogs use a membership model where readers need to pay for full access to the articles. It’s a model that could work if you have great content with a loyal audience that is willing to pay.
You may want to experiment with a few revenue models to start before you figure out what works for you.
Starting a political blog can be an important decision, so don’t take things lightly. Take your time, think through it, and make an informed choice. It’s easy starting a blog but much harder to maintain it, build traffic, and keep it going. You may want to start by guest posting for other political blogs and see whether you like it or not before making the decision to start your own blog.
Do you have any doubts/ questions? Let us know in the comments below.