Sharing my blogging experience with others

Late last year, I had the opportunity to present before the local chapter of Zeta Phi Beta sorority on social media. I talked about SEO and Facebook and Twitter. I gave stats on who’s using social networks. However, the part that generated the most interest and discussion centered around blogging.

As I talked about starting and maintaining Association Advocacy Chick, many in the audience wanted to know the pros and cons of blogging. On the downside, it requires time that I may not always have. A lack of comments can be discouraging. Sometimes you wonder if anyone’s reading your blog.  However, the pros greatly outweigh the cons. Blogging has made me a better writer, a better thinker and overall, a better person. I’ve made great friends and contacts. I have an outlet to express ideas and opinions not always found in the blogosphere.

I ended the presentation with a story about one of my blog posts. As you may recall, my former boss and mentor Reed Franklin passed away last Fall. Upon hearing the news, I wrote Having a lasting impact  about the mark he’s left on my life. The post made its way to my former association garnering comments from the Executive Director and other senior staff.  When I attended his memorial service, his sister mentioned all the kind words she read about her brother including a blog post.  I thought nothing of that comment until the reception when his mother came to me and said, “Your blog post was one of the nicest things the family has ever read about Reed.” I was later asked by his local homeowners association if I would allow the post to be published in their newsletter.

I told that story not as a pat on the back for writing something that moved people, but to show the attendees that the act of blogging can be powerful and worth sharing.

SGK and SOPA: Lessons for association lobbyists

My last post, Social Lobbying? Sounds Familiar, touched on SOPA/PIPA as a successful model for social (grassroots) lobbying. Within the last week, we witnessed a similar effort as The Susan G. Komen For the Cure Foundation reversed course and decided to restore funding to Planned Parenthood.  Here are some lessons we as association lobbyists can learn from these experiences.

1. Educate early, educate often. Bloggers talked about SOPA in the months leading up to congressional consideration. By the week of the SOPA blackout, even the most casual internet user had a basic understanding of the issue.

2. Issue management cannot be ignored. When news of SGK’s funding cuts to Planned Parenthood became public, the response was swift and overwhelming.  What was announced as cuts due to changes in funding policy soon turned into a perceived politically motivated attack on the health and wellbeing of low-income women.  The foundation lost control of their issue and appeared unprepared to handle the negative feedback.

3. Members of Congress and their staffs are paying CLOSE attention to social media. Continue to ignore this fact at your own peril.  If you don’t have advocates online, you may have already lost the message race.

4. Buzz still counts for something.  Kim Kardashian tweeted about SOPA.  Kim Kardashian has 13 million Twitter followers.  Even if she had no clue what SOPA meant, Kim felt that the issue was important enough to tweet about it.  I’m not advocating that we get her tweeting about budget cuts, but we all have members with enough clout to make noise and be heard.