The Campaign Workshop Feed

Tackling Your First Political Job Hunt Elena Veatch Tips to Make Your First Political Job Search as Painless As It Can Be If job hunting at any stage in life is a daunting process, searching for your first ever political job as a young person can be soul-crushing. While you may not be able to avoid all the headaches and meltdowns that accompany your transition into the Real World, these tips for your first political job hunt will at least help you breathe more easily (and maybe even sleep at night) as you navigate. 1. Know When to Start Applying When it comes to landing your first political job, the timing can be frustratingly unclear. I spent my entire last semester of college applying for D.C. jobs, only to realize that most of those positions required an immediate start date. If you send out applications too early, you can expect radio silence and/or rejections, not to mention plenty of wasted time and effort. With campaign or Hill jobs, it’s not out of the ordinary to apply for, interview for, and start a job within a time frame as short as a week or two. While the hiring timeline differs with every organization (I interviewed for months on end at some think tanks), know what you’re getting yourself into by asking questions and being honest about your own timeline for starting your first political job. 2. Clean up Your Resume in Advance Before you embark on your political job hunt, make sure your resume is ready to go—updated, clean, and concise. Always keep it to one page by tailoring if necessary. If you have lots of experience to tout, include only what’s most relevant to the position you’re applying for (but keep a longer master copy of your resume to draw from for each application). Be sure always to save and send your resume as a PDF (not a Word document). This way, you can avoid any formatting nightmares that might arise if your prospective employer opens your attachment with a different version of Word. A sea of resume clutter might take even the most qualified candidate out of the running for a job. 3.  Talk to Anyone and Everyone  Networking used to sound like a dirty word when people preached its importance to me—but all it means is talking to people you find interesting. It’s never too early to start, and there are lots of ways to go about it. I used to browse through the LinkedIn profiles of alums from my college and reach out to those whose jobs sounded awesome, asking to pick their brain sometime. If your friend’s parent, uncle, cousin, etc. works in politics or advocacy, chat about it with them over coffee. Go to lectures and roundtables with questions. Don’t be afraid to ask someone how they got to where they are in their career—most people remember all too well what it’s like to be starting out. If you express interest in someone’s work, the worst-case scenario is that they’ll be too busy to chat. More often than not, they’ll be excited to share some insight. Plus, they might keep you in mind if they hear of political job openings in the future. 4. Value Your Gut  In figuring out what to apply for during your first political job hunt, keep an open mind, but use your time and efforts wisely. It never hurts to put some feelers out in unexpected places during your search, but don’t spend hours applying for jobs that you know you’ll never want to do. If you’re not a numbers person and have no interest in changing that, don’t waste your time applying for data-heavy jobs. If you think you could be a data person if given the chance to learn, and the prospect of doing so excites you, take a chance and apply. And finally, if a political job sounds perfect on paper but turns out not to be what you’re looking for, don’t force yourself to want it. If something doesn’t feel like a good fit after an interview, it’s often because it’s not. 5. Don’t Rule Out Short-Term Gigs Don’t be afraid to apply for short-term gigs, like election cycle positions. You’ll learn a ton about the path in politics you’re trying out, and you’ll learn just as much about yourself and what kind of work is satisfying to you. If you don’t love your short-term political job, you won’t be obligated to stick around anyway. If you do love it and you make that clear to senior staff, there’s always a chance the gig could turn into a longer-term run. Either way, don’t avoid applying for a political job or turn down an offer just because the opportunity has an expiration date. Every experience, no matter the duration, will help you grow and put you in a better spot to plot your next move when it’s time to move on. 6. Tackle Every Interview with a Game Plan While you never want to recite robotic talking points from a piece of paper during any interview, have a few things prepared that you want to emphasize about yourself. Figure out which of your strengths will be most relevant to the political job at hand, and have examples of how those traits/skills have helped you excel in previous roles. Mastering the art of articulating exactly why you’ll make a great hire is crucial in any context.   7. Give it Time Don’t expect your first political job hunt to be without bumps along the way. If you learn productively from your mistakes as your search goes on, things will eventually fall into place, and you’ll land that first job—just give it time. Check out these links to find more political job opportunities: Some great job boards for political jobs in DC include: Tom Manatos(link is external) Brad Traverse(link is external) Jobs that are Left(link is external) Democratic Gain(link is external)  Senate Employment Bulletin(link is external) House Vacancy Announcements Thu, 27 Apr 2017 08:00:00 EDT
Digital Advocacy Tactics Advocacy Campaigns Can Learn from Political Campaigns Lizzie Kendrick Tips and Tactics Advocacy Campaigns Can Glean from 2016 Political Campaigns for Successful Digital Advocacy Digital Advocacy is on everyone's mind. Last month, I attended the Nonprofit Technology Conference in Washington, D.C. and one panel caught my eye: New Tools From the 2016 Elections That Nonprofit Techies Need to Know About. Given that our clients are both campaigns and nonprofits, it was a perfect fit.  There were some really valuable takeaways from the session that I wanted to share with you all.  1. Email is not dead, but it’s not the only game in town. Email is still an incredibly effective tool for campaigns (political and advocacy alike) to use for fundraising and getting people to take action. It’s extremely important to test with email – test subject lines, test images, test message, test everything. Email makes testing easy. While email is essential, campaigns in 2016 explored other forms of communication with their supporters. Podcasts, text, social media (even channels like Reddit worked in some instances), proved very effective for campaigns. The key here is making the message match the format and communicating with your audience where they live.  2. Make donating easy for your supporters. It sounds simple, but many organizations are making donating money to their causes a barrier to entry. Having a mobile-friendly donation page, utilizing one-click donations when possible, and tailoring content to a donor based on their history helps make donating frictionless for a user which will turn into more donations for you.  3. Tools to make your job easier. Those who work in both political and advocacy campaigns are often working incredibly hard with limited resources. Tools that can contribute to making your job easier are always useful, and the panelists talked about a few that are worth highlighting for digital advocacy campaigns: • Frackture – this can help with data management especially if your organization uses different platforms for different teams. Frackture can help integrate these.  • Tableau – helpful tool for looking at reporting over a long period of time.  • CRM – there are a ton of different CRM tools to use, but the important things to look for are whether or not they will help you track engagement, segment your list, report on your list, enable testing, use one-click donations.  • Texting tools – Tools like Hustle make it easier than ever to text with your supporters.  • Slack – this is one tool that came up again and again with both political and advocacy staffers. Slack can help streamline communication within your organization and makes setting yourself up for a rapid response much easier.    I always love attending the Nonprofit Technology Conference to learn more about what cutting edge tactics people are using for good, especially any new digital advocacy tactics . For more information about tools that your campaign can use, check out our roundup of 100 Campaign Tools.   Mon, 24 Apr 2017 08:15:20 EDT
TCW Advocacy Training: Top 5 Takeaways Andrea Mucino     In early April, The Campaign Workshop hosted it's first Advocacy Training program in Washington, D.C. We designed it to be a resource for progressives advocacy organizations & advocates. We had an amazing group of trainers with extensive backgrounds in advocacy, and our Advocacy Training covered everything from defining your goals to fundraising, to building a digital presence. Two of our esteemed trainers; Lizzie Kendrick and Margo Scott Dunn, talked about the top 5 takeaways from our advocacy packed two-day training.  Top 5 Takeaways from The Campaign Workshop's Advocacy Training 1. Goals, Goals, Goals LK: One thing that was common throughout many sessions were that goals are important. Set them, measure them, repeat them.  MSD: Keep setting goals LK: It's important throughout every aspect of your campaign, whether it's your communications strategy, press strategy, lobbying strategy- everything needs to have a goal, clearly defined and measurable- so that you can make your campaign as successful as possible. 2. Integrate Across All Mediums LK: I love digital, but even I understand that digital can't be the only medium you use during campaigns. You have to make sure traditional mediums are still playing a role in your campaigns as well.  MSD: Diversify 3.  Storytelling is Powerful LK: Storytelling is incredibly powerful and should be utilized in your campaign. Use your supporters as advocates and authenticity matters 4. Relationships are Hard LK: Really this is a life lesson, relationships are hard but worth it MSD: Whether it's with allies, collations, legislators, the press, build those relationships even when it's tough LK: It's not always easy, but in the end, it'll work for you, much like all relationships in life.  5. 100 Campaign Tools LK: There are tools to help you make your advocacy campaign as successful and efficient and as smooth as possible. You should use them. We have an awesome thing on your website called 100 campaign tools that is a roundup of a bunch of different tools you can use from how to organize people to texting tools. It runs the gambit; you should check it out. I'm sure you'll find something that you can use to help you in your campaign.    MSD: Don't forget to join our waiting list to attend our next Advocacy Training in Austin, Texas.  LK: we can't wait. It'll be this fall so check it out, and we hope to see you there! Fri, 21 Apr 2017 08:00:38 EDT
Social Media Platform: Is Quantity or Quality Better? Optimize your posting for maximum engagement on any Social Media Platform It seems like every month there is a new social media platform taking off that those of us who do digital work hear about from our clients (Peach anyone?). While the instinct is to be on every channel to reach the most people, it can work against engagement. I know this goes against many “more is more!” pieces you’ve read about for your multiple social media platform, but allow me to explain. If your social media platform team is furiously trying to keep up with posting and responding across multiple platforms, they’re unlikely to have time to create and search for relevant content. And that’s when groups begin to see a plateau in either engagement rates or supporters—or both.  Thanks to algorithms and paid placements, our social worlds are increasingly curated and not susceptible to sheer bombardment. Without timely, eye-catching, relevant content that your supporters are interested in and willing to engage with you on, you will not see much performance from social media on any KPI. It really is that simple. So, what to do? •    Pick a social media platform (or a few, if you have the capacity) and focus on crushing it there, and there only. So what if your boss’ son says everyone is on Snapchat? If you get better engagement rates on Facebook, stick with Facebook.  •    Follow the 80/20 rule. Post fun, engaging content relevant to your subject interest without the pressure of a blatant call to action. This is to get your supporters liking, sharing, retweeting your content so that the algorithms and their own eyeballs prioritize your content. That way, 20% of the time, when you are making an ask of them, they are more likely to see it and take it seriously.  •    Don’t post for the sake of posting. Content calendars and scheduled posts are important tools, but they also don’t always lend themselves to timely, current content. If you can’t come up with a quick, strategic response to “why am I posting this?” then don’t.  •    Following up that point, you want your supporters to see you as the authority in your subject area—be that candidate for mayor or global reproductive rights. If you post random stuff just to check it off the list, you dilute your brand. •    Focus on the followers that matter—those who engage with you. Be sure to respond to their tweets or comments. That’s what social media is all about! For more social media best practices, be sure to check out our Guide to Snapchat and Guide to LinkedIn ebooks! Thu, 20 Apr 2017 08:00:37 EDT
Advocacy Video Tips for Internet Success Shelley Rees Straightforward Ideas to Get your Advocacy Video Seen and Shared  The viral success of the Ice Bucket Challenge showed us how powerful a great advocacy video can be, but trying to copy the format of that campaign isn’t the best way to make a splash. Instead, make sure your video is unique to your mission and relevant to your audience. Check out the following tips to ensure your video get seen and shared.      Grab Attention Immediately The first three seconds of your advocacy video are the most crucial. If you don’t draw your audience in immediately, they will likely scroll or click away. Using those first few seconds to show something unexpected; a close-up of someone’s face or movement, are great strategies to catch the eye and pique your audience’s interest, so they’ll stay long enough to see the rest of your message. Tell a Relatable Story You want your video to be relatable so your audience can emotionally connect with it. A story format can help draw your audience in, just make sure it feels authentic to you and your mission. The way you shoot the video can also help with that connection. If your message is specific to one geographic location, using footage of places that are immediately identifiable to locals is a good way to let people know that your advocacy video applies to them. If you’re trying to reach a much wider audience, using more generic footage that looks like it could have been shot in any town will prompt your audience to fill in the blanks with their own towns and lived experiences. Use Visual Cues to Generate Action If you want people to make an action, you can use movement in your video to direct your audience where you want them to go. Ideally, you will have your advocacy video set up in an environment where a call-to-action button is physically close to the video player. If you know where that button or link is in relation to the video set up, you can shoot footage of someone pointing in that direction. You could also try a simple animation of an arrow that points towards the button.   Make Your Audience Look Good If you’re hoping to make a viral video, you need it to be shared across social media. When you’re thinking about the advocacy video you want to make, think about what type of video will make your audience want to share it with their friends. People like to share videos that make them look good, so something that’s funny, unexpected, or emotionally moving can make people want to be the first one to post it. One of the reasons the Ice Bucket Challenge video was so popular was the social element that gave people the opportunity to show their friends that they care while adding in some friendly competition.   In short, to make a successful advocacy, you must consider how your audience will watch it. Your message is important so make sure no one skips or scroll.   Check out some of our advocacy video work here Mon, 17 Apr 2017 08:00:07 EDT
Nonprofit Content Marketing Beyond Blogging Ben Holse Strategies to Get the Most From Nonprofit Content Marketing While blogging is undoubtedly an important element of any nonprofit content marketing plan, there are a number of other ways to use your team’s knowledge to promote your organization. These methods will increase traffic to your site and boost brand awareness. Here are a few: Develop Paywalls It’s likely that your nonprofit organization offers a number of resources for visitors to download. These may include maps, white papers, research, or studies. The vast majority of nonprofits will just include a link to download these resources. But why not use them to develop an email list? You can put assets behind a wall that requires the user to give their name and email in order to download the materials. This will allow you to track the people who are interested in your information and create an email list to engage these users. Quizzes and Games Quizzes and games are all the rage on the Internet (thanks Buzzfeed). Using tools like Qzzr, quizzes are inexpensive to create and can drive traffic to your site. They provide a fun way to share information and can include calls to action that collect email address or direct users to complete other actions on your site. Social Media Promoting your blog or your organization on social media is a great way to market your business. Create a content marketing calendar and have everyone in your organization post one relevant article each day in order to drive traffic and create engagement. For your most popular posts, consider adding a small budget for page boosting to increase your reach. Tools/Resource Guides In addition to resources like white papers and research reports, you can also create tools and resources that will also drive traffic. For some, this may be a custom built calculator, checklists, or templates that allow your supporters to engage with your issue. Make sure to put these tools behind a paywall in order to obtain email address and other pertinent information to help develop your email address list. Have other suggestions for nonprofit content marketing? Share them below. Fri, 14 Apr 2017 08:00:43 EDT
Content Marketing That Can Pay off in Your Company’s Future Joe Fuld Content Marketing Through Blogging; an Investment That Can Pay off in your Company’s Future Content Marketing is a valuable investment in your company. One of our favorite ways to use content marketing for TCW is (obviously) through blogging . Blogging is very much like an online version of a 401k, the more you blog and the earlier you start, the more links you get to other sites. The more connections to your site, the more traffic you drive.  The more traffic you drive, the more you show up in search results. The more you show up in search results, the higher you ranking. Phew! That is a lot of steps but the bottom line is blogging helps people find you and the earlier you do it and the more you blog, the more people will find you. Content Marketing and me About one year ago my friend Kirk Drake introduced me to the sales lion and the idea of proactively answering clients questions. Since then we have been blogging two to three time a week with solid results. When we started, we had ten keywords in which we ranked in the top ten. After blogging for a year, we ranked in the top ten for over 300 keywords and the top three for over 200 keywords. My team and I carefully selected the terms for which we were ranked. Blogging is a Long-term Commitment. To be clear, blogging is not for everyone. It is a major commitment of time, money and resources that you really should not start unless you intend on doing it for a long time. In short, blogging is not a sprint it is a marathon. Don’t Blog Alone Blogging is a team sport, using incentives, group blogging, building a blog calendar, encouraging guest posting and hiring outside writers and editors are all ways to stay on a steady diet of blogging, but unless you get your team ready and some outside help you won't be able to capitalize on your investment. Blog Bank Prior to publishing our blog we wrote for three months and had enough posts to keep us three months ahead. If you are going to blog three times per week, you will need 36 posts for three months worth of blogging. If you have all of your employees blogging, you can do that pretty quickly; however, proofing and loading blogs takes a lot of time to so make sure you think about how that will happen. Get Professional Help. If writing is not your business (or even if it is), having the discipline to write and edit posts is not easy. Hiring editors or writers is definitely an option, but make sure you work with them to identify topics based on keywords and to teach them about your work. Be a Guest. Guest posting is a great way to get traffic to your site. It is also a great way to get folks to write posts for you. Even if you decide that a blog is too labor intensive, working with a staffer or a freelance writer to draft guest posts is a great way to drive traffic to your site. But remember, to get folks to stay on your site you need new and interesting content, and a blog can do that for you. Use Tools. There are some amazing tools out there to work with your blog. Yoast SEO is a great word press optimization tool. Hubspot is a tool that allows you to know what pages folks are looking at on your site, where your competitors rank and many other functions. It is an expensive tool, but it is well worth the price. I also like Long Tail Pro to research potential keywords. Bottom Line... Having a blog can be an investment that pays off in the long run, but it only works if you put the time and effort into it. The original article was posted in My Staff Now blog, check it out here! Thu, 13 Apr 2017 08:00:21 EDT
Best Practices for Your Next Content Launch Joe Fuld 3,2,1 Liftoff! How to Plan for an Awesome Content Launch Before a content launch, it is useful to have a system or checklist to make sure people know your new product exists and engages with it. This is a critical part of tour content's early success. This system is more than a tweet or a release—it is a holistic approach to all of it. Here is my system for a successful content launch… Know your message.  Whether you are launching a business or a product you need to know what you are trying to say. Write a release.  Yes, press releases are old school, but they are easy to write and will help define your message early on. This can also help get you press if done right. The key here is to focus on some quotes from you and opinion leaders about why this content launch is important. You can always refine this as you define your audience, but it is good exercise. Create personas to define your audiences.  Who are the folks you are trying to reach? What makes them tick? How will you get to them? If you can answer these questions, you are on the right track to an awesome content launch! Reach out to your audience.  Once you have defined the audience, start outreach. What would your audience like to see at your launch? What will get them there? What have other people done in the past that have been successful? Find media that fits your audience.   Specialty media is a big deal. From bloggers and podcasters to old-line print publications, they all have a role. Find out who covers the space you are interested in. Build an engagement list. Who will you talk to about the event? What is the timing? Engage the media.  Having a press release around your event is a fine start, but it is not enough. Once you define your product, reach out to your media contacts. Have a pitch down about why they should cover you. Know what makes your event special and let them know. Just because they don't cover your release does not mean you fan get coverage from them. Maybe they will interview you or let you submit a piece of content. Engage your super fans.  Tell your super fans about your event to get them talking and excited. Also, figure out what role your super fans will play. Will they come to the event? Endorse the project on LinkedIn? Write a forward to your ebook? List out who will do what. Engage influentials. Influentials have a significant impact on a launch. There are a small number of people in your network who hold significant influence on the rest of your network. Use social listening tools to identify them and reach out to them early. Get social. Social media is great. It can help you build an audience and create lasting reach by connecting you with new folks, but a panacea it is not. Write content.  For one of our most successful content launches, especially for ebooks, four people from my team and I each wrote a guest blog post about a topic related to the ebook. In addition to supporting the book with related content, each book also had a link to the ebook. By planning ahead, we were able to get it done without a big lift. We got five solid back links and some nice contacts and long-term traffic from the posts. Create other media content.  Don't just blog. Hey, we love the written word but now that you have written it turn that content into video or an infographic. All of these materials can be used in the event the infographic could be a cool flyer you hand out the video could be played at the event. Both could be used long after. Get your website ready.  Set your site up to engage and convert if folks come to find out about your content launch. Make sure you have a specific place and info to connect with. Don’t forget email.  Email is boring but incredibly effective. An email strategy done right can be your most effective tool for engagement and conversions around your content launch. One email is not enough—you will need at least three. An intro email, a follow-up email after your launch and a welcome email if folks sign up. Have a content launch calendar.  A calendar around the launch is critical to making sure everything gets done on time. Have a checklist.  Take all your steps and write it out in order and define who owns the task. Paid ads are an option.  With social and targeted digital, a paid ad to a custom audience on Facebook or an ad in a specialty digital publication could get you further engagement look at the cost but a digital ad strategy you do yourself can be done cheaply. Hire help if you need it. Decide if you need PR help or advertising help, but do it early. The closer you hire to your launch the less time the pros will have to help you.   Have an event. Everyone likes a good party, but sometimes throwing a party overshadow the other steps. A content launch party is a must for many but make sure you have built-in follow-up and engagement into the party.  Have a theme for the party beyond the product. What are they thinking about what connects them? Make the theme about them, not you. Invite the right people and call/text the ones you want to come. Follow-up is key. Have a social media strategy around the party. There is a lot you can do with social around an event. Have a hashtag, use different channels, put the video on Instagram, live stream from Facebook, create a Snapchat filter. Make sure you use channels that work for your audience. If your average guest over 60, a Snapchat filter may not be needed. Make sure you get folks to sign up for a demo at the party. This is your collection point when people walk in the door ask if they want a demo. Make sure it is written down I have seen folks get an email at the event that lets them pick their time for their demo right there. Get it done as quickly as you can, and then on to the party! Collect content from the party. If folks love your product and want to sing its praises make sure you have a system to collect the comments. Be careful: this can come off as heavy-handed if done wrong, but if done right it can give you content for years. Create a giveaway. Give away something fun at the party. What will get people there and keep them there? You are already spending money, so make sure you have a draw. Make sure you say something. Have you been to an event where a founder spends thousands of dollars on an event and then seems surprised when they have to say something? It is your mic—you own it. Use it. (Then take what you said and put it in a blog post and post the video on YouTube.) Plan your Follow up. In the words of Yogi Berra, it’s not over till it’s over. You can keep pushing out info, setting up demos doing interviews on your launch for weeks after the event. Content guest posts, thank you notes, demos all need to happen after the launch. The more you plan this, the more successful your launch will be. And then? Repeat it all for your next launch.   Check out Joe's original post on INC.com's blog here Mon, 10 Apr 2017 08:00:33 EDT
Geofencing for Advocacy: The 4 Parts You Need to Balance Shelley Rees Running a Mobile Geofencing Campaign Successfully Geofencing is a method of targeting mobile ads to people within a tight geographic area. Instead of targeting a congressional, or even state house district, geofencing ads are typically set as a radius around a particular address. For a political campaign, you might target a state capitol, voting locations, political conventions, or any other geographic location that a large percentage of your intended audience will be in. Geofencing can be done in a few different ways. Once you have given the address to your vendor, they will create a circular radius or custom polygon around that location to create the fence. To receive ads, people in your audience must be in that fenced location and using an app with on their smartphone with location data enabled. Once an audience member is captured within your geofence, most vendors can register their device ID to serve them ads when they are outside of the fence.  It’s not uncommon to try to keep your targeting as tight as possible to try and make sure you’re only reaching your highest value targets but to run any digital campaign you still need to have a wide enough net to run your ads.  To keep your targeting as tight as possible while still running a successful campaign, you’ll need to balance the size of the fence itself, any demographic targeting you layer over the geofence, and how long you run your geofencing campaign. Tips for Running a Successful Geofencing Advocacy Campaign 1. Target a Densely Populated Area Geofencing campaigns typically work best in cities and places with a large, concentrated population. Rural areas are harder to run geofencing campaigns in because it’s hard to get enough audience scale. The size of your population will affect how much other targeting you can layer on top of the geofence, how long you’ll need to run the campaign to get results, and even how tight you can make the fence itself. For example, you could use a smaller radius for your fence in a place like New York City than you could in upstate New York. 2. Keep the Rest of Your Targeting Broad For any digital campaign to work you need to have a large enough audience to serve ads to. In a geofencing campaign, your audience is limited by the location and specific behaviors you need them to perform in order to be found within the fence. It’s best to keep the rest of your targeting, like demographics and voting history, pretty broad or your audience may be too small to reach. If your fence is in a densely populated area, you’re more likely to be able to layer on more demographic targeting and still have a large enough audience to run ads. You’ll also want to be aware of the likelihood of your target audience to be on smartphone apps. While most Americans have smartphones now, certain populations will be easier or harder to contact this way. For example, younger audiences with higher incomes are more likely to be reached this way. 3. Run Your Geofencing Campaign for Several Weeks Your audience size will improve the longer your campaign runs. This is because your audience is more likely to have used a location-enabled app on their phones if you give them more time to do so. Again, if your campaign is running in a more densely populated area, you may not have to run it as long to get results, especially if that area has a high rate of smartphone usage. Talk to your vendor about projections on how long the campaign will need to run to capture a healthy percentage of your audience. 4. Customize Your Ads for Your Location Since you’re targeting a small geographic location, you can add a sense of community and specialization to your creative. You might want to name the city or even neighborhood that your ads are serving within, to make it clear to your audience that your ad applies specifically to them. Running a good geofencing campaign is always a balancing act between your geographic area, audience, and timing. But if you work with your vendor and take each aspect into consideration, you can see great results with your campaign.    Check out our Advocacy Training Program here! Fri, 07 Apr 2017 08:20:07 EDT
Here’s Exactly What Happened When We Checked Out the Hemingway Editor Is It Possible to Write Better Political Mail with an App? We tried Hemingway Editor. We all love life hacks. I’ll read any article that promises to show me “10 ways to be more productive at the office” or “15 secrets to make your morning better” or “5 ways to pack a healthier lunch.” Even if I just glean a single tip from the list, the sparkling promise of ease and order will hook me every time. That was why I was excited to try out the Hemingway Editor, a website that’s designed to show you simple ways to make your writing “bold and clear.” Call me a geek, but who doesn’t want to convey their thoughts in a more concise way (perhaps ending email confusion for good)? Whether your writing will appear in a press release, political mailer or on your campaign’s website, you want every who sees your message to be able to understand quickly and easily. Here’s what I learned when I tested out the Hemingway Editor… Stick with short sentences. Papa Hemingway was known for his concise prose (the article “Hemingway or My Mother’s Email” is a funny must-read on the subject), and this namesake app will ding you if your sentences drag on. (For example, the previous sentence wouldn’t fly in the Hemingway Editor.) Basically, the program has two modes: write and edit. In “write” mode, you’ll just type away, as you would in a Word doc. In “edit” mode, it highlights different passages or words that are too long, in the passive voice, etc. Use simple, non-jargony words. In politics and advocacy, just like in any other business, we often get bogged down in our own internal vocabularies. These words might not mean the same thing to voters, so it’s important to look for them before you send your communications out to the world. The Hemingway Editor highlights some of these words and phrases, and suggests other options. Their site gives a great example: “utilize” is flagged and “use” is replaced as a suggestion. Keeping everything simple will make your political or advocacy message more accessible. And isn’t that the point? Work in small chunks. I found the Hemingway Editor to be most helpful when I dropped a paragraph or two onto the site at a time. That way, I could rework what was marked and apply that advice to the rest of a piece. Working in small chunks also helped me get into a groove of what works, before I got too deep into a project. I wouldn’t suggest pasting an entire blog post or white paper into the app or risk a mess of frustration. Remember: you aren’t always going to be perfect. If you’re a type-A overachiever, I could see how you might get frustrated with the Hemingway Editor. It sometimes feels impossible to both convey your message and make the app happy. (For example, it really didn’t like the sentence above that contained all the fake lifehack articles.) Luckily, the machines don’t have to win. I decided to use the offending sentence, even though it was “dense and complicated.” Bottom line: Take Hemingway Edtior’s suggestions for how to improve your writing, but sometimes allow your own pen to prevail. Check out our 100 favorite Political and Advocacy campaign tools here! Thu, 06 Apr 2017 08:00:09 EDT
Confessions of a Dyslexic Entrepreneur Joe Fuld Confessions of a Dyslexic Entrepreneur I was diagnosed as dyslexic over forty years ago, at the age of five, when every learning disability was called dyslexia. I grew up with multiple issues. Reading, math, and writing were hard for a long time. I had some motor issues, I could not catch a ball till I was twelve, but I am thankful every day for who I am because of my dyslexia. For a long period, I was told I could not do things but somewhere along the way, all of the “no’s” turned into motivation and creativity. I focused on what I thought I was good at. Folks also told me I wasn't creative, but when people criticized me or told me no time after time, I accepted that as normal. At least my normal became immune to a lot of the fear. When I started my first business, it was not successful. Never the less I did not let it stop me; I took it as an obstacle to learn from and to give me energy. I didn't know it at the time, nor did I think about it, but my instinct took over and allowed me to be somewhat immune to the negativity. When I started my next business, it was during the worst economy in history. I thought about the fact that I was ready for a new start. I had a hunch that my relationships were strong and that my clients knew I would give them great work for a fair price.  I have a great partner in my wife Amy who gave me the freedom to do what I loved and believed that it would all work out. At times her confidence in me was greater than my faith in myself, but I was able to learn from her and from others to turn perceived lemons into lemonade. For the past 18 years, I have been the lead candidate trainer for the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, a group that helps openly gay, lesbian and transgender individuals run and win elected office. I learned a lot from the struggles that I saw my clients go through. They deal with discrimination every day, they take every step in stride and just kept going. I realized that their struggles were why I wanted to do my job to help people fight for social justice. I worked on political campaigns for a long time, as well as in the high-pressure business of politics. I think a thick skin is necessary to survive in this business. I was told time and time again that I was bad at things or behind; this only fueled me to move forward. Dyslexia has taught me that being good at something is subjective and that just because someone says you are bad at something doesn't make them right. An obstacle can propel you forward as much as throw you back. Dyslexia also taught me that my problems were still small and that what mattered more was my approach to the problem than the problem itself. My lack of coordination and difficulty reading and thinking is as much of an asset to me today as it was a hindrance growing up.  It has allowed me to think differently than most people. I don't get bogged down in details. I don't let them deter me. I learned that you need to fight for what you care about, whether that is the right to take a test untimed or for your seat at the table in your community. I have heard many times that nothing in life comes easily. I have also learned that easy is all relative. If someone read this and has a learning disability of any kind, I want them to know that your dyslexia, ADHD, or any other learning disability is a gift: My approach to life is to be positive in the face of a crisis, a perceived disability or an obstacle. It took me a long time to get there, but it has served me well. Check out more of Joe Fuld's blogs by signing up to receive bi-weekly blogs from The Campaign Workshop here! Mon, 03 Apr 2017 08:00:09 EDT
Creating a Winning Political Campaign Budget A Campaign Budget To Win I love a good campaign budget. To me, a campaign budget can go in an endless series of directions that all lead to a win. Thinking strategically about when and why your campaign will spend money is key to a winning campaign budget. There are lots of variables that determine my theory. Here are some guiding principles I use when building a winning campaign budget: Start with a Vote Goal: Start with the numbers and work backward if you know the number of votes you need to win. You can decide what the best medium is, how many doors you need to knock, etc.  Think About Collection Points You Should be Spending Money On: Absentee voting, early voting, and election day are all specific times and voter universes you should be communicating with. Spend 70% of Your Money on Communicating with Voters: Many competitive campaigns are at parity when it comes to fundraising, but good budgeting can give a campaign real advantage beyond fundraising. Bottom line- what you spend is as important as what you raise. Don't Just Use the Campaign Budget from the Last Race: Define what your strategic spending goals are for this current race, not the past race. Keep in Mind the Primary/ Dominant Medium: How you communicate to voters matters. Understand the best way to reach you voter and dominate one medium at a minimum. Spreading your money across many mediums can be a strategic flaw Figure out your Secondary Medium Your secondary medium is a medium that compliments your dominant medium, what is the next medium that best reaches your targeted audience? Understand your Advantages as a Candidate: Candidates have built in advantages over independent expenditures. If you are in a market where you need to be on broadcast television, your cost per point will be much cheaper than the independent expenditure. That is why dominating a single medium first can be so important. Use the Campaign Budget to make a case for Fundraising: You need to be able to show folks why they should give to your campaign proactively. A good budget can help to define how you will spend your resources effectively to win. If you are building political campaign budgets, check out our budget worksheet in our Ready to Run campaign toolkit.   Fri, 31 Mar 2017 08:00:08 EDT
15 Ways to Harness the Power of Storytelling for Advocacy Joe Fuld Original article was written as a guest post for NTEN's blog here Everyone in advocacy needs to be able to tell a compelling story about why your issue matters and how it relates to people. Storytelling allows potential supporters to connect with your organization in an immediate and meaningful way. That said, storytelling for advocacy can be a tricky proposition involving the intersections of organizational dynamics, organizational structure, and grassroots organizing. Here, The Campaign Workshop’s Joe Fuld shares 15 easy ways your organization can to tap into the power of storytelling.   1.Imagine your target audience. Knowing who you are trying to reach and persuade matters for advocacy. Although I believe everyone has a good story to tell, understanding who you’re speaking to will truly connect with your audience. 2.Storytelling makes your issue come to life.  Putting personality behind your issue can take lifeless statistics and connect it with real emotion. A good story told by the right person can connect with elected officials and constituents in a way that a monotone PowerPoint cannot. Think people, not Prezis.   3.Build a culture of storytelling. Have everyone from your president to your interns on the look out for compelling stories. Your entire team should be keeping an ear out for good stories. It’s not always an easy process, but encouraging everyone to get involved will make it easier. 4.Create a process for storytelling. What happens when a great story is identified? Who in your advocacy organization will collect the story? How should interviews take place? Who will train and work with the storytellers? Having a process for storytelling for advocacy will ensure that it becomes part of your organization’s culture and isn’t just a one-off event. 5.Invent storytelling personas. A storyteller persona is an ideal person to tell their story about your issue it has all of the components to help you recruit the right person to be a story teller for your group or organization.  To better understand your organization’s ideal storytelling personas, ask yourself the following questions: What stories do want to tell? Who is the ideal storyteller?  What is the ideal demographic? What is the ideal location?    6.Identify your ideal persona. Once you’ve created an outline of your persona, start to define the details of the ideal persona for your issue. If you could pick anyone to tell their story, who would it be and why? Dig deep and explain the ideal characteristics of your persona. What is their… Location? Age? Gender? Race? Other characteristics? Who else is affected by this issue? 7.Begin recruiting storytellers. Now that you’ve imagined your ideal persona begin searching for real people who reflect your imagined storyteller. Remember: Recruitment does not happen overnight, so don’t expect to go live with your video tomorrow or even next week. Storytelling for advocacy can be a ton of work. Identifying the stories you want and finding the people who own that story is not an easy process, but it will help show your organization’s human side. Keep in mind that your personas should be a guide, but your storytellers in real life might look different than your ideal personas. And that’s okay. 8.Quantity vs. quality? Think about how many stories you need. By mapping out your personas, you can answer the quantity question. But quality is always important. Finding members and advocates who have a real story to tell takes time and effort. It’s important to dedicate time to find the right people.  9.Consider how you’ll tell the story. There are so many ways to tell stories. Your organization could write blog posts with Q&A’s with your storytellers. You could create a video featuring your storyteller. You could interview your storyteller and create a testimonial based on their responses. Whichever avenue you decide to take, having someone on your team pre-interview your storyteller will help clarify which approach will work best. For example, you might have identified someone with a wonderful story, but perhaps the person shy or is unwilling to go on camera. Instead of losing their story, find another way to share their words, like an oral interview that’s transcribed into written Q&A. 10. Keep in mind who owns the story. Organizations may say they want to tell a story, but it does not mean they will embrace it. Buy-in from the leaders of your organization is critical to sharing your organization’s most authentic stories. But, telling a story is not a top-down affair. They more you constrain the story, the more manufactured it will sound and the less real it will feel. Trusting your storyteller will empower him or her, which will come across in their words and create a more emotional connection with the audience. 11. Applicability of the story. Just because the story seems compelling does not mean it is applicable to your organization’s needs. The more you know your advocacy personas, the easier it is to focus in on the type of advocates you need. Don’t get me wrong—keeping an open mind is great and having a diversity of voices when it comes to advocates is critical. But focusing on the stories that are most applicable to your organization will be more beneficial in the long run.   12. Plan your interview right. When you’re pre-interviewing a potential storyteller, asking broad questions first will help them get comfortable. Then, work toward the more specific questions, which will be closer to the heart of your issue. It will likely take time to get to the core of the story, but giving your storyteller time to relax and get to know you is worth it. 13. Make them comfortable. Let your storyteller know their story has value and that their words matter. Assure them that their effort can make a real difference. Remind your storyteller they have taken on an important task that your organization is committed to sharing in a respectful way. Consider lots of different factors when planning your interviews and pre-interviews. Having water and snacks handy is always a good thing, but that’s enough. Should a translator be present? Is your storyteller sharing something emotional? Create a welcoming environment and make sure they have everything they need to feel valued and welcome, including space. It there are pauses and silences during the interview, don’t break them or put words in the storyteller’s mouth. Give your storytellers room to think and compose themselves.  14. Keep in mind: you will come across hurdles. Recruitment is usually the biggest hurdle to getting a story about an issue told in a compelling way, but other issues come up as well. You might get a great story from a storyteller, but they might tell you they’re no longer comfortable going public with the story. You might conduct an entire interview, only to find out later, your recorder app ate the story—making it seemingly vanish forever. You might have to keep rescheduling with storytellers. Plan to work with more storytellers than you think you need—things will come up. 15. Create a simple call to action. No matter how you share your storyteller’s words—on a blog post or a video on Facebook or a combination of many different mediums—you should always end with a clear call to action. What do you want views to do next? How can they get involved? Remember: it’s better to have a straightforward call to action than a complex list of ways they can help. You can always test out different calls to action on different stories or change the call to action later, but keeping it simple is always best.  Thu, 30 Mar 2017 08:00:22 EDT
How to Find a Political Campaign Job Joe Fuld         Please! Get out on the Road and Find a Political Campaign Job! When I started on the campaign trail, I was lucky enough to go through the Campaign Management Institute, where I became focused on  political campaigns and encountered great mentors like Peter Fenn, Richard Smolka, Bill Sweeney and Peter Lindstrom through college programs and internships. Meeting folks who had made careers out of politics encouraged me to set aside my mom’s vision of me becoming  a professional chef and instead, pursue a career in politics and find a political campaign job. During my senior year of college, I conducted an independent study from which my research evolved into an official FEC complaint. It was through that project that I met the incredible journeyman researcher, Peter Lindstrom. Despite pleadings from relatives on "getting a real job," I knew all I wanted was to work in politics for a living. Peter Lindstrom connected me to Jim Jontz, who in turn, hired me on as a Field Representative. I found my first political campaign job, I survived on $1,100 dollars a month and free food brought by campaign volunteers. It didn’t matter; I was hooked on campaigning and determined to stick with it. Every year, most campaigns are desperate for cheap, young campaign staff willing to work long hours for low wages.  So if you want to enter the field, and you're smart and driven, you should be able to find yourself a position. To be clear, however, it will likely take some time, and your first political campaign job might not be the exact position that you originally wanted.  You will probably be required to travel, eat bad food, sleep in a house with way too many people, and more than likely, work in an office that should have been condemned long before you arrived, and which will be condemned only after you leave. Sound like fun? Then get on the road! Here are some tips to begin your search for a campaign job: Sign up for Listserves: These can be great resources for finding a political campaign job. Here are a few that we love: Jobs That Are Left Simply Hired Brad Traverse Political Job Hunt Progressive Exchange Work for Progress Contact existing organizations: Below is a list of organizations that are consistently looking for campaign staff during the election cycle: Emily’s List DSCC Democratic Gain NOI America Votes Explore campaign placement programs: Back in the day, Campaign Corps and Participation 200 paid folks to go into the field. Hopefully these types of programs will come back in fashion. Check this one out: Wellstone Corps Attend a training program: We have already written a lot about this, but there really are a lot of campaign training programs out there that can train you well for little to no money before placing you on a campaign. Intern prior to graduating: For many of my colleagues and myself included, participating in paid and unpaid intern programs prior to graduation were great sources of leads for jobs on campaigns. Use your existing network: Friends, Facebook or otherwise, can be a great resource for you when looking for a job.  There will likely be someone in your network who has either worked on, or even volunteered for a campaign, and who may be able to offer you advice and direction. Follow up: If you really want to work in politics, you need to show some moxie. There are plenty of people and resources out there that can help get you started, but ultimately you have to stick with it and not be deterred when you don’t encounter instant results. Email consulting firms: Part of our mission, here at The Campaign Workshop, is to train and place progressive college grads looking to go out on the campaign trail. There are never any guarantees in the political world, but you can begin your political campaign job search here by sending us your resume! Have other questions about finding a political campaign job? Ask us! Mon, 27 Mar 2017 08:00:00 EDT
What is an API and do I need one? Joe Fuld Can I get by without an API for my nonprofit campaign? Sometimes jargon prevents us from learning about useful tools. Recently I had a conversation with a client who asked me what is an API?  An API, or application program interface, is a portal to allow connection between databases, apps, or programs. If you are trying to share data across platforms, an application program interface can make a lot of sense. But all API’s are not created equally. Just because someone has one for their system does not mean it is an open API. An open application program interface is a portal that is built with protocol to allow for a wide range of data to be easily transmitted between sites. Many folks throttle or control the amount of data that comes from an API, and some folks have an application program interface that will not give you the main data that comes from that application. So if you think you may need one, work with someone on the tech end to determine what you need and then negotiate with the company you want the API from and the company you want data to go to. But remember, you need to do some research on what your needs are and if the data will connect the way you want. As our worlds become more linked, more folks are trying to more easily solve these problems. Many companies like Zapier allow you to link data for a limited purpose. It is a great tool and worth looking at if you have a simple function you want, such as to get your database to talk to your newsletter service. Need more tips for nonprofits? Do you have more questions about if you need an API- application program interface for your nonprofit or organization? Ask them here.   Fri, 24 Mar 2017 08:00:00 EDT
Why We Use Union Printers and you should too. The Campaign Workshop Five Reasons We Use Union Printers and Why You Should Too. Democratic Direct Mail is one of our specialties here at The Campaign Workshop. As an award-winning firm, something that has always been important to us is to use Union Printers. There are a lot of obvious reasons why Democratic direct mail consultants almost exclusively use union printers. There is a long and important relationship between Democrats and unions based on shared values and interests. There are lots of wonderful printers out there, but union printers have the experience and expertise to get the jobs done right every time. So here is our top five list of reasons why Democratic direct mail consultants rely on union printing: 1. Capacity: Most union print shops have been around and have seen the changes in the printing industry. They have the equipment and staff to get the work done. 2. Quality: Union printers take great pride in the work they produce, their name is literally on each piece, in the form of their union bug or logo that identifies their union affiliation. 3. Turn around: Union printers are experienced at doing direct political mail, and they know the time sensitive nature of election-related direct mail. Not all printers have experience with political mail, but that’s never a concern with union printers. 4. Integrated capability: Union printers have had the longevity and foresight to keep up with the changes in the printing industry over the past twenty years. They’ve embraced new technologies and can seamlessly move from print to mail to digital. 5. Worker treatment and pay: The cornerstone of union shops is that the employees are highly skilled and experienced as well as being paid a fair salary and benefits for their work. With union vendors, we are assured that the work is produced right here in America, by skilled American workers and we believe that’s good for everybody.  To check out our award-winning democratic direct mail, click here! Thu, 23 Mar 2017 08:00:29 EDT
5 Books You'll Find in the TCW Library What do Political Consultants Read During Their Time Off? As political consultants, it's no secret that here at The Campaign Workshop we love words. We thrive on combining short, powerful phrases with impactful images to make eye-catching online ads. We dig into topics like GOTV, advocacy, and storytelling in our ebooks and guest blog posts. And in our office, we happen to have a tiny library (OK, so it’s really just a shelf in our conference room) where the staff can turn for inspiration, history or other political or consulting books once the crush of the presidential election is over. Here are a few of the titles that sit next to our Pantone catalogs and our political advertising awards (sorry, we had to brag for a minute there). Lyndon Johnson and The American Dream by Doris Kearns Kearns famously met LBJ when she was at Harvard and they both attended a White House dance. While their meet-cute might seem quaint now, Kearns’ has a journalist’s eye and was given full-time access to Johnson after his presidency ended. The Times said, “No other President has had a biographer who had such access to his private thoughts” and, indeed, those thoughts come across on the page. What’s the Matter with Kansas? by Thomas Frank Voting against your economic interests is one of the great paradoxes of modern American politics. Frank explores this serious question with depth and humor, making it a valuable read for the new political consultants on your staff. All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren The movie version of this Pulitzer Prize winning novel will take political consultants back to Poli Sci 101. While the Old South that Warren paints might feel dated, the themes of power, ambition, and struggle make it one those classics that has a certain vitality each time you pick it up. Youtility by Jay Baer Want to rise up in the ranks of Google results? Inbound marketing and a savvy SEO strategy can help. Youtility explains the world of content, and why giving away some of your secrets can actually be a good thing. Our staff read it together last year before our annual retreat, and we went on to write an ebook about harnessing the power of content marketing for nonprofit list-building. Although we wish we had more time to read, we also love to write and create content for you. Check out our ebooks here, and be sure to sign up for our blog to receive bi-weekly blog updates from yours truly! Mon, 20 Mar 2017 08:10:14 EDT
Conference Return on Investment: How to Get ROI Attending Conferences with One Simple Tip Joe Fuld One Easy Tip to Get A Return on Investment Attending Conferences Conference ROI is important to understand whether or not certain conferences are worth the investment and time. Every year my employees and I go many conferences for both learning and marketing. I believe every trip I go on I learn something. Prior to focusing on return on investment (ROI), we never a had a formal process for retaining knowledge from a conference. So a few months ago we implemented a simple plan to document conference ROI. Write down ten things you learned. I ask my employees and myself to write down ten things we learned at the conference. When I send multiple employees to the same conference, I still make them do it. It is a simple trick, but it works for a few reasons. Being intentional. Just by the simple act of asking folks to gather info makes them be more aware of their goal for going to the conference in the first place. Competition. A little competition is a good thing. By having employees, all have to do presentations it makes sure nobody's phoning it in. What is good for employees is good for the boss, too. Even when I go, I still take notice of things in a more deliberate way. I make myself create a presentation on ten things I learned, too. It has forced me to define goals and be able to share my new knowledge with my employees and clients too. Other tips for conference ROI: - Ask for contacts your team made—and make sure you follow through on meeting with new contacts. - Meet with your team before and after, and make sure it is clear that you care about a return on the cost of sending them to a conference. - Be prepared to implement new ideas. If folks come back with the idea that is good, don't just let it sit in a PowerPoint.  Make sure you work with your team to implement the ideas. - If there is no conference return on investment, act on that too. Sometimes it is a bad conference that is a waste of your time and money. Empower your employees to help make that judgement too. Have more questions on getting conference return on investment ROI from attending a conference? Ask it here: Joe Fuld is the President of The Campaign Workshop, a political uand advocacy advertising agency in Washington D.C. that provides strategy, digital advertising, content and direct mail services to non-profit and political clients. Fri, 17 Mar 2017 08:00:31 EDT
5 Tricks to Ensure Your Political Mail is Typo-Free Easy Ways to Get Rid of Embarrassing Typos in Political Mail Everyone hates typos. Yet everyone makes mistakes. So what’s the secret to producing error-free political mail? At The Campaign Workshop, we have a series of systems in place to check ourselves before going to press or hitting publish. Here are just a few of the ways we ensure our political mail (and our client's messages) are error-free. 1. Have proofing systems in place. There’s nothing worse than needing a spare set of eyes on a document and having no one around to look at it. At TCW, proofreading is built into our processes for political mail, blog posts, and other communications. That means a piece won’t be sent off to the printer unless a certain number of staffers and a professional proofer have laid eyes on it. By building the process into the system, we ensure there’s enough time to thoroughly check for errors in every piece of political mail we produce.  2. Get a fresh set of eyes on a piece. You’ve been toiling away on a proposal or a piece of political mail for days…and now it’s time for final proofing. When possible, we have folks on different teams, who’ve never seen the piece, look over the work. That way, the mistakes will jump out to the new eyes, not go unnoticed by someone who’s seen the work 65 times already. 3. Proof early, proof often. Literally. When possible, we try to get proofing done early in the day…or by 5 p.m. at the latest. If someone’s burning the midnight oil, they are simply less likely to see those hard-to-spot errors. After 8 hours at the laptop, everything starts to blend together, making mistakes harder to find. 4. Flag potential issues early. Creating a style guide for your organization is always a great idea. On top of that, consider creating 1-pages to let your staff know about unconventional spellings of names or addresses, and to remind them of essential dates, phone numbers or other critical information. 5. Get professional help. Our team has some real eagle eyes. But we still work with a proofreading company for every mail piece. Why? For a small fee, we have an extra backstop, and the staff can breathe a little easier. Politics is filled with pressure and while our team does obsess over commas, having pros back us up gives us an extra sense of security.     Check out our political mail work here Thu, 16 Mar 2017 08:00:58 EDT
5 Things to Look for in Political Photography Sophie Thurber Make Sure Custom Political Photography Matches Your Campaign Strategy A picture is worth a thousand words, especially in the world of political communications, where space is limited, and readers’ attention spans are minimal. This means that the images you choose for your campaign literature are critical and will likely require some level of investment. In any campaign, resources are finite, so it’s important that you’re able to maximize quality while keeping a close eye on your bottom line. Here are five tips to make sure you get the most out of your political photography. 1. Invest in a professional photographer. Your friend may have a great camera, but that doesn’t make them a professional. I’m sure we’ve all seen political campaign materials with photos that catch your eye for all the wrong reasons. Take the time to review portfolios and choose a photographer who has taken photos that look natural and well-composed. If you need more convincing, you’ll find a longer discussion of professional photography here. If you need to start your search for someone to take care of your political photography, check out the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) via our 100 Campaign Tools article. 2. Make sure your plan for your photo shoot reflects your overall campaign strategy. Your political photography should feature the people you’re trying to reach in a setting that makes sense within the context of your race. Are you trying to reach middle-aged residents in your district? Young families? Find supporters who reflect your audience and the diversity of your potential constituency. What’s more, choose locations for your shoot that are within the geographic boundaries of the seat you’re running for and choose identifiable landmarks where appropriate. 3. Get shots that will work for your political ads. This means thinking about content and framing. Framing is important, and it’s something you should discuss with your professional photographer in advance of your shoot. If all of the shots you get are tight on the subjects, you’re likely going to bump into trouble flowing text over photos. You’ll also run into difficulties regarding layout – you want to get shots that provide you with the flexibility to use them in multiple contexts. Content-wise, this means thinking about the structure of your communications program. If you’re sending out a mail piece that tackles a serious issue, you want facial expressions that fit with what you’re talking about. Make sure you get the kind of variety you’re going to need to visually highlight a variety of campaign issues. 4. Never underestimate the power of natural light. If you can swing it, shooting outside is the best thing you can do for your political photography. Find a great park and get your volunteers there early in the day. Cloudy days provide great light, so unless it’s raining, don’t be deterred.  5. Use Photoshop sparingly. It’s certainly tempting to fix everything you don’t like about yourself in Photoshop, but please don’t. People are already distrustful when it comes to politicians, so don’t lead with an image that is clearly altered to make you look like the embodiment of human perfection. Invest in quality political photography, and trust the people closest to you to help you pick out great photos – they’ll probably be more objective than you are.   Quality political photography is just one step along the road of any political campaign. Have more questions about running for office? Check out our ebook, Ready, Set, Go! Jump-start Your Political Campaign.   Mon, 13 Mar 2017 08:19:29 EDT

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