In a recent article on inc.com, Bill Murphy detailed the the strategy behind Facebook’s Washington lobbying operation. With its IPO on the horizon, the social network has been hedging its bets by making sure Washington will continue to stay off its back on issues like privacy and security.
Facebook has sunk considerable amounts of capital and resources into this political strategy, and while most companies may not have the means to attempt such an expensive endeavor, this approach has some lessons for any company looking to increase the visibility of their brand and content online. The strategy of lobbying for political advantage can easily be applied to the process of seeking out your industry’s influencers and asking for coverage of your brand or content.
So let’s take a look at how Facebook’s Washington shop would handle your content distribution strategy:
Build an Influential Network
Facebook has recruited some heavy hitters for its lobbying operation. Their roster boasts two former Chiefs of Staff and several other presidential staffers. This lends instant credibility to the social network in even the highest political circles.
Lobbying Lesson: When seeking out potential channels for your content, seek out your industry’s top influencers. Creating a relationship with these well-known names and sharing your content on their sites will elevate your credibility and increase the influence you wield in your industry. This will also increase your exposure on other sites and channels that may develop into additional opportunities for coverage.
Don’t Play Favorites
Like almost all lobbying operations, Facebook can’t afford to pick political sides. The organization has made contributions to President Barack Obama, presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney and congressman Ron Paul.
Lobbying Lesson: Just like a political lobbyist, you can’t risk putting all of your eggs into one basket. Don’t focus solely on your industry blogs to drive traffic to your content. Build relationships with influencers in related industries or blogs that focus on general industry trends (ex: Mashable).
Have something to offer
Facebook has the enviable lobbying position of being an indispensable service for a majority of the people it is lobbying. Could you imagine trying to run a political campaign without Facebook? The social network has deepened this dependence by hosting and broadcasting political events from its headquarters around the country. A valuable asset to any politician.
Lobbying Lesson: So your product or service is probably not going to become indispensable to those you are lobbying anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do your best to increase the value you can provide. Create content that other sites will want to share on their site. Don’t be afraid to write a blog post or create a graphic tailored to a specific site and their audience. Writers and influencers know their audience, so the more excited you can get those you are lobbying, the more they will promote, share and praise your content.
The expected quality of content continues to rise and the resources available to you for creating that content are improving each day. However, the quality of your content will never matter unless you have an audience to see it!
So put on your American flag pin, get out there and lobby like a pro!