Though former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has often been mocked this campaign cycle for being a darling of the mainstream media, his campaign has started to go around the regular coverage via the campaign’s blog, which has been distinct in the amount of original and newsworthy content that has been posted on it.
“We want to create a blog that is a resource for supporters, members of the media and other people who are interested in Gov. Huntsman’s campaign,” Huntsman spokesman Tim Miller told HUMAN EVENTS. “In order to do that we are going to offer increasingly timely and candid commentary on issues of the day from senior members of the campaign team, engage [and] respond to other bloggers, break news and provide a forum that allows for back-and-forth discussion.”
As an example of this, Huntsman posted an op-ed yesterday on the “H-Blog,” which more conventional campaigns would have published in a more traditional outlet.
In August, Jeb Bush Jr. took to the H-Blog to confirm that he was going to endorse Huntsman. Again, instead of giving confirmation to a mainstream outlet, the H-Blog served as the official confirmation source.
And it literally paid dividends.
According to the Huntsman campaign, Bush’s blog post led to the largest online donation day of the campaign since the campaign announced (the Huntsman campaign has since had days in which it has received more donations) and many of those donations came directly from people who were linked to Huntsman’s site due to Jeb Jr.’s blog post.
In addition, during the debt-ceiling debate, the H-Blog had original attacks on Romney’s timidness that normally would have been in a press release. Lastly, the Huntsman campaign has also profiled some volunteers in states like New Hampshire to better engage his supporters with the campaign.
Miller said that because a “typical, staid political blog doesn’t really do anything to advance a message or engage supporters,” the Huntsman campaign decided that “the only reason to [have a blog] is if you are going to do it right and create a readership.”
Huntsman’s blog may also be a critical tool for a campaign that did not start off with a known core set of supporters. As a result, Huntsman must cobble or quilt together a community of supporters, and the blog may provide him the best chance of doing so, especially as Huntsman tries to appeal to young voters and independents, particularly in states such as New Hampshire.
“We’re trying to reflect his fresh message throughout our campaign but particularly online where the new generation voters who are responding to Gov. Huntsman don’t want to be limited by a static online presence,” Miller said.
Regardless of whether Huntsman can cobble together a coalition of candidate-specific voters, the H-Blog seems like something that is well ahead of the curve and other campaigns whose websites and blogs, if even present and updated, are more stale and less dynamic in comparison.
“It’s hard for me to compare it to other campaign blogs, because I don’t have any reason to go to any other campaign blogs, and that’s the problem with them,” Miller said. “On the H-Blog, our aim is to create meaningful, unique and exclusive content that encourages people to engage on our site and gives them a reason to come to the back to see fresh content.”
Here are some examples of how the Huntsman campaign has used the H-Blog to differentiate its online presence from those of every other campaign, while circumventing much of the mainstream media in the process.
An Op-Ed by Huntsman
On Tuesday, Huntsman wrote an op-ed on the “H-Blog,” and he criticized Obama’s failed free trade policy:
The President delivers fantastic speeches on free trade in the abstract, saying in last year’s State of the Union address that “we will lose the chance to create jobs on our shores” if Washington fails to act. But the fierce urgency of the President’s free trade pitch must have been lost, because for the last 2.5 years he has refused to submit the deals for legislative approval unless the measures were coupled with expanded funding for a union-backed entitlement program.
This is unacceptable.
“Made in America” once meant something, but it now only serves as a reminder of the shuttered factories that litter our nation’s landscape. The out-of-business and foreclosure signs that stretch from California to Florida are monuments to President Obama’s failed leadership.
Attacks on Romney
During the debt-ceiling negotiations, James Richardson, a member of Huntsman’s communication team, posted original content on the H-Blog titled, “Romney’s Leadership Deferred.”
Of course, Romney offered at no juncture guidance to congressional negotiators as they hashed out the contentious, dueling proposals to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. But he did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night! … The end to Romney’s absenteeism—which aides told the The Huffington Post yesterday was a measure of caution to “avoid commenting before the contours of a deal became clear”—came only after Jon Huntsman, who first backed the Boehner bill and later the new compromise plan, began pressing his fellow former governor to reveal his position. (“If you’re not willing to lead out during the time of this debt-ceiling debate, then that should raise some questions about when you are, in fact, going to take a position and lead out,” Huntsman told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Friday.)
Original Profiles of Huntsman Supporters
The H-Blog also profiles campaign volunteers such as Jeff in New Hampshire. By writing stories and profiles about Huntsman’s supporters and introducing them to a broader community of supporters, Team Huntsman not only engages its supporters even more but compels them to work harder for the campaign.
Confirmation of Endorsements
Bush Jr.’s post on Aug. 10 served as the official confirmation that he was indeed going to be endorsing Huntsman in an event in Florida.
Today at 11:15 a.m. at Scotty’s Landing in Miami, I will join Gov. Huntsman to formally endorse his candidacy, and accept a role as National Chairman of GenH—the campaign’s youth and young professionals outreach program. I will be joined by fellow Floridian Ana Navarro, who will join the campaign as National Hispanic Chairperson. … I am confident that Jon’s vision will appeal to young voters, who are concerned about the trillions of dollars in debt being piled on their backs, and who desperately seek jobs and economic opportunity. …
As more Americans get to know Jon and his record, I’m confident his support will continue to grow. Two years ago, I jumped on board Marco Rubio’s campaign when he was polling at 3%, and we made history. With Jon, I can’t wait to make history again.