Interesting story on the front of today’s PR Week about rival Labour and Tory plans to dominate the blogosphere. More on the Labour/Draper story at a later date but the Tory plan caught my eye. Apparently they’ve been working with Screen West Midlands to gather together a group of local bloggers and give them ‘VIP access’.
There will be access to politicians although I think Rishi Saha, Tory head of new media, is struggling to guarantee specific shadow ministers. This is a small but positive move and reflects the approach in the US, where for example the McCain campaign has daily conference calls with bloggers, including UK Tory bloggers! Loic le Meur also used this on the Sarkozy campaign.
What’s fascinating here is that they have chosen non-political blogs to take part in this. The guests are blogging in the arts, culture and entertainment spheres. The aim is to build a groundswell of support amongst general opinion formers who may be persuaded to engage and debate Tory policies as opposed to rabidly backing or attacking.
It’s a laudable aim but if it’s going to work the Tories need to show genuine long term commitment to this and make senior people regularly available in person, phone, email between now and the election. The danger is that the bemused bloggers are hurded into a backroom in Birmingham for tea and buscuits, have an awkward Q&A with a bemused shadow cabinet member and then having ticked a box forget all about it.
Its also interesting that the Tories have used Screen West Midlands to get these bloggers together. I guess they must be local leaders in new media as opposed to Tory supporters. It’s important to find a local group such as this you need to convene a group of the local blogerati.