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Archive for January 7th, 2008

What A Blogger Can Learn From Hillary Clinton

Monday, January 7th, 2008

About a month ago, I remember reading someone's opinion that Hillary Clinton was a sure bet for the next Presidency. Right now she's slipping behind in the polls. I've seen and read in a few different places that she's becoming emotional, even tearful, and vowing to struggle on.

There's a theory that nothing the Clintons do is unplanned. Everything is supposedly mapped out in incredible detail. If you take Mrs. Clinton's emotion at face value, it seems very normal. She wants so badly to win that even the thought of not being able to take America in a new direction is enough to bring tears to her eyes. But maybe there's more to this.

Yesterday I saw a clip on a news program about what Hillary said when confronted with a statement along the lines of, "What do you think about voters siding with this other guy?" Her response was, "That hurts my feelings." It was at that moment that I realized she was probably advised to play up her differences as a woman, when compared to a man. The old stereotypes say men are stoic, and women are emotional. So Hillary was probably coached into making it as obvious as possible that she's a leader of a different caliber, and since most people are looking for change, that's a big selling point.

But here's where things get interesting. Hillary has fallen behind (or it seems that way, or it is being made to seem that way), so she gets emotional. That garners her more attention, and the more attention you've got, the more likely you are to gain public favor. If you're unknown, nobody cares. If people are aware of you, they'll make up their minds one way or another. So to win an election, it's best to get as much attention as possible.

I once read about a memory test done with average folks who sat down and looked at some names of people they'd never heard of. Then they took a break of an hour or two. After the break, they were asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding celebrities. The form had a bunch of names, and boxes that were to be checked off if a name belonged to a famous person. Most people ended up checking off names that weren't famous at all, but did in fact appear on the original list of random names. The conclusion was that the people looked at the questionnaire, recognized a name, assumed they knew it for a reason, and marked it as famous. This could work in politics, as well as with marketing your blog.

They say no press is bad press. A blog was once involved in a lawsuit. The "negative" press sent major traffic to the site, and it ended up earning record revenue. My theory for how this applies to politics is this: When you're falling behind, you need to get back in the public eye through any means necessary. The more people who are aware of you and what you're about, the more votes you'll get. That's a potential reason for why Hillary is hitting the media with a display of emotion. She wants more attention, which could lead to a reversal in her recent slippage trend.

How does this help us bloggers? The idea is pretty simple. Get as much attention you can, for reasons that appear on the surface to be entirely natural. If you come across as wanting attention, or obviously trying to pull some media stunt, it won't work. Hillary's getting attention because her emotional behavior is interesting, but not unbelievable. To put your blog on the map, you've got to be just like a Presidential candidate, and get enough attention and publicity to win over your fair share of voters and visitors.