7 WikiLeaks’ Lessons for Bloggers
WikiLeaks has learned from celebrities that any publicity is good publicity. Even bad publicity typically generates interest in your business, just as it does for a celebrity. So when your business needs a boost, just do something bad. Do something very bad, because the worse it is, the bigger the interest, the more the publicity, the higher your traffic rates.
The public loves a circus, a spectacle, a debacle even. As Martin Luther, the Protestant Christian reformer of the Church, said, “When you sin, sin big.” Of course he ended it with, “so that you may more easily be forgiven.” However, we could rephrase his statement as a creed for the blogger: When you screw things up, really mess them up big time, so that you may gain the undivided attention of the public.
You cannot beat the blog promotion that comes from the likes of publicity that WikiLeaks has received over the past months. They are being pursued by the most powerful law enforcement system in the world, the United States, for
publishing secret diplomatic communiquÃ©s they received through a third
party. You cannot get much bigger than that.
Now I am not suggesting you either hack a computer or pick a fight with the United States government, but just take it as an example to learn something useful from. Find a way to make the news, in a good way. If that fails, do something very terrible, but not illegal, unless you are willing to pay the consequences of getting caught.
If you consider doing something that might get you arrested, even if it is morally upright and necessary as it was with Martin Luther, make sure you have a backup plan for your blog. What use is it to your readership if your blog stops as soon as you are taken into custody?
Pick a friend or colleague, but someone you trust and who has balls to follow through on your behalf, updating the blog with reports on your thoughts and activities, as well as what is being done to you. What use is the traffic generated from the publicity if you cannot provide additional materials? Your readership will dry up, and your suffering will have been in vain if there is not a steady stream of hot articles while the publicity is in full steam.
WikiLeaks has been very careful in their civil disobedience / media
campaign to point the finger at a third-party source, which they can do as a news reporting agency. Their claim of Freedom of the Press protects them against legal action in general. However, they are never immune to the covert actions of the CIA. They might end up in some hidden camp in the woods of southern Poland, without legal counsel.
If you dare to take such bold leaps for high press coverage, make sure you are not open to legal action. If you are, then be sure to have your backup plan in place and functioning before they arrest you, or you have to flee into exile in the Afghanistan mountains and don a goat shirt.