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WP_Query Object ( [query] => Array ( [name] => building-a-campaign-plan-in-60-minutes-or-less [post_type] => resources [resource-type] => blog ) [query_vars] => Array ( [name] => building-a-campaign-plan-in-60-minutes-or-less [post_type] => resources [resource-type] => blog [error] => [m] => [p] => 0 [post_parent] => [subpost] => [subpost_id] => [attachment] => [attachment_id] => 0 [pagename] => [page_id] => 0 [second] => [minute] => [hour] => [day] => 0 [monthnum] => 0 [year] => 0 [w] => 0 [category_name] => [tag] => [cat] => [tag_id] => [author] => [author_name] => [feed] => [tb] => [paged] => 0 [meta_key] => [meta_value] => [preview] => [s] => [sentence] => [title] => [fields] => [menu_order] => [embed] => [category__in] => Array ( ) [category__not_in] => Array ( ) [category__and] => Array ( ) [post__in] => Array ( ) [post__not_in] => Array ( ) [post_name__in] => Array ( ) [tag__in] => Array ( ) [tag__not_in] => Array ( ) [tag__and] => Array ( ) [tag_slug__in] => Array ( ) [tag_slug__and] => Array ( ) [post_parent__in] => Array ( ) [post_parent__not_in] => Array ( ) [author__in] => Array ( ) [author__not_in] => Array ( ) [ignore_sticky_posts] => [suppress_filters] => [cache_results] => 1 [update_post_term_cache] => 1 [lazy_load_term_meta] => 1 [update_post_meta_cache] => 1 [posts_per_page] => 10 [nopaging] => [comments_per_page] => 50 [no_found_rows] => [order] => DESC ) [tax_query] => [meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object ( [queries] => Array ( ) [relation] => [meta_table] => [meta_id_column] => [primary_table] => [primary_id_column] => [table_aliases:protected] => Array ( ) [clauses:protected] => Array ( ) [has_or_relation:protected] => ) [date_query] => [queried_object] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 7651 [post_author] => 12 [post_date] => 2022-10-11 18:51:58 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-10-11 18:51:58 [post_content] => [embed]https://youtu.be/D0vk33-FX7s[/embed] Okay, well, it's been a couple of minutes, so I'm just gonna go ahead and let's get started with this so we all have plenty of time to go through this presentation together, So welcome everyone. We are here to talk about the tips and tricks to co-create a strategic campaign content map for advocacy, public affairs, and general marketing efforts. We'll work together to isolate key terms and messaging points, organize them into a coherent narrative, and align messages to tactics and target audiences. The end result will help break the spell of any strategic planning rut. Join us as the lead. The session is with Alex Dickinson. Alex Dickinson is Senior Vice President and Chief of staff at Beekeeper Group and an adjunct professor at George Washington University. She's a skilled digital tactician who blends her passion for messaging and content strategy to help organizations advocate for impact. Michelle Fowler (02:43): Before joining beekeeper in 2012, she worked at CSPAN, where she helped produce American history TV and other long-form programming. Prior to that, she worked at grassroots campaigns. Alex received her master's degree from George Washington University School of Median Public Affairs and attended the University of Michigan, for her undergraduate studies. And in addition to her work at Beekeeper Group, she currently teaches digital campaign strategies and digital public affairs at the Graduate school of Political Management, the School of Media and Public Affairs. So, welcome, Alex. Thank you so much for joining us today, and I can go ahead and let you get started. Alex Dickinson (03:15): Great. Thank you so much. I am so excited to get to talk to you all today. Can we share my screen? Michelle Fowler (03:23): Yep. Adding that now. Alex Dickinson (03:25): All right, Excellent. So we have 45 minutes here, and I am going to basically set us on a little bit of a whirlwind. I'm gonna tell you a little bit about what we're gonna do and give you some tips and tricks to help you break that rut. So to start off with, let me orient you to who I am beyond all of this, if you will. So I work at Beekeeper Group. We are a digital public affairs firm. We don't work with real bees, although you would be shocked to know how many phone calls we get about hive removal. What I will say though is we work with organizations that understand that their supporters are like metaphorical bees, and it is our job as a beekeeper to try and build a hive to try and manage the buzz around that. Alex Dickinson (04:10): Cultivate good honey. I can go on and on with the Bee puns, but I'll let it be for now. The key idea here is you are a person who is busy. You are a person who's got a lot going on, and you are buzzing around yourself. And I am here to try and help you give some tools and tactics to break through all of that busyness and try and build an interesting and collaborative strategic plan that can help hopefully help you reorganize your thoughts and set you on the right track. I know this is particularly exciting for a lot of you right now as October is about the time when a lot of people are doing your 2023 planning. So I'm hoping that this can get you in the right mindset to really break through and come up with some awesome things for next year. Alex Dickinson (04:58): So, what we'll cover, what is a campaign plan? How can a campaign plan help you overall? What do you need to create a campaign plan and some easy hacks to help you put it all together? I'm gonna warn you right up front that I'm not gonna make this easy, easy for you because I am gonna ask that we participate, we're gonna be co-creating a campaign plan for what I think is a really fun and wonky topic. So get ready and buckle up. I'll be pretty easy on you, though. Should be fun. All right, So let's define a campaign. I like to talk about campaigns in terms of having a set timeframe. So, in particular, I say a campaign is an integrated approach to communicating with an audience about a topic or event to convince them to do something. Alex Dickinson (05:47): That is a really lofty way of saying a campaign is getting certain people to do certain things by a specific time. Now, the reason that I'm orienting us around the concept of campaigns is because it's a really easy way for you to start to contain some of your broader thoughts and planning ideas. So as you're set, as you're setting goals for 2023, as you're thinking about how to structure everything, going into it with a campaign mindset can be really helpful. Asking yourself, who are the specific people that I need to get to do specific certain actions by that set timeframe? Again, thinking in 2023 planning terms, this could be the whole year, but you're also gonna wanna think about what are those milestones overall. So again, whatever you can do to simplify things and think in terms of this container of a campaign can be really, really helpful. Alex Dickinson (06:42): So, a little bit more about campaigns as you noticed, a campaign focuses on an action, and I think that's a really critical component here. When we are building people and when we're trying to motivate people to do things, they wanna feel like they're participating in something. So the idea of an action gives them something to look forward to. It also gives you the practitioner or the person organizing things behind the scenes. Something to help measure based on something to collect data on. And again, an overall framework to try and move people through what you want them to do. Campaigns have specific audiences. We'll talk a little bit more about this when we start to d dive in on our audiences today. But the biggest thing that you wanna remember is that you can't be targeting the general public. I think most of you if you are a quo user, you're likely someone who has had to parse through audiences. Alex Dickinson (07:40): But really any CRM, any tool, any advocacy or public policy space, you understand that there are specific audiences that you're trying to move to action. This is really important. There can be multiple audiences that you're targeting, but you wanna make sure that you are getting in the mindset of what's in it for that specific audience. And as someone who works most of my time in digital public affairs, it's easy for me to forget about the offline components. But campaigns and the world as it is is an integrated space. There are online and offline, and it's our responsibility to try and think about unique opportunities to blend and merge those, creating those inline opportunities whenever possible. And this framework can help you really think through those gaps too. And the most important thing is that a campaign ends. And as we are looking to build a plan overall, we are looking at a set timeframe. Alex Dickinson (08:40): And this is why I really love the idea of a campaign mindset for any type of planning. Because you remember there is this endpoint and there is a, a stick that you are saying, I am going to stop my activities here. And it gives you a point to reflect on and then build future campaigns from there. So again, it is just an opportunity to force yourself to do that, pause that reflection, and optimize from there for the future. So with our campaign concept well underhand, let's think a little bit about how campaign plan thinking can help you overall. Now I'm gonna show you some tips and tricks to start to pull wisdom from different teams and start to organize all of these things together. But before we do that, I wanna orient us to some real value here. I often will do these plans with clients, or I will do them with my teammates. Alex Dickinson (09:34): And we will take a look ahead at a set period of time and try and think about what's the story we're trying to tell? Who are the audiences we're trying to reach, and what are the things that we can do to get them to do those, to make the progress we need them to make? But I have also found this to be a really, really powerful tool to get buy-in from teammates early on, as any of you who have ever had to present a plan to a boss or a board have ever experienced, you need to have that buy-in. This process is something that you can do in a team setting, so you can get a lot of different people's input. And when people are involved early on, they're more likely to say, Yes, I like this, and feel that deeper approval and alignment are already baked into the activity that you're proposing. Alex Dickinson (10:22): It's also a way to help you delegate your work. So as someone who has been working on delegation for a long time in my life, I can say that once I started to actually do that, it improved things for me. It can be really hard to let go, but a digital campaign plan like this is a great way for you to structure how you cut those off. It's also a way to help you see if you are missing any parts of your campaign. And when we look at the grid which I've been teasing here a little bit already, it'll make it really clear for you to see where those gaps are. So let's talk about what you actually need to build a campaign plan. There are four key components. The first one is direction. You need to have a goal and a strategy. Alex Dickinson (11:07): We'll talk about that and how you structure goals and strategies in more detail. But you also need to make sure that you have that purpose. And I'm defining purpose as both your audience and your narrative. Your narrative is the story that moves people through action. And it's the way that you're able to capture your audiences. And again, keeping in mind your audiences, not just the general public. There are specific segments here. The thing that most people get the most excited about when they're talking about plans is the stuff or the messages and tactics that people love to share different words that they think, Oh, why don't we use this term of phrase? Or, Why don't we get on TikTok? Those are the cr kind of ideas that can be really helpful as long as you know how they fit in. Alex Dickinson (11:53): And this framework can help you fit those things in. And the last important thing to keep in mind is, of course, resources and timeline. So the timeline is both understanding that your campaign ends and whatever plan you're putting together has that endpoint. But also understanding that there are different resources overall that you might need to get approval on. All right. So without further ado, here's your secret tool. It is a grid matrix, if you will or what we like to call a campaign content plan. You are going to orient yourself around a goal. You're going to have your top-level narrative up at the top, and then there are audiences throughout to answer the question, absolutely. I will be sharing these slides with anybody who follows up. And also we're gonna have a little Bitly link here shortly that will have some of these tools built in there too. Alex Dickinson (12:49): So your secret tool here can help you guide and structure everything, and we're going to co-create a plan together here in a moment. Now, again, as I mentioned before, this is a great way to get buy-in. Back in the pre covid days, I used to literally do these exercises on a wall with post-it notes. I probably should have stock in 3M at this point in time. But again, it's a possibility to do this as a group activity as we are all going to do it today together reminding yourself that it helps you find the gaps in your thinking, and encourages that creative and critical thinking across different teams. And honestly, it generates some of the best campaign ideas I've seen. When you get a room of people or even a hybrid room of people collaborating on one campaign idea, you get some really, really fascinating things. Alex Dickinson (13:41): All right, so let's start. We're gonna talk about the idea of direction and goals and strategy by applying it to a specific concept here and a specific campaign that we're going to work to create a plan in 30 minutes. Now, so our direction the goal, what will be different at the end of our campaign. So I'll introduce the scenario in a moment, but I want you to start thinking about when you hear the scenario, what can we do to make things more integrated? What can we do to change? What does that change look like? And again, thinking about that timeframe component. And similarly, the strategic direction is going to be critical here. Strategy is defined in a lot of different ways. I like to think of strategy as specifically the unique value proposition that you offer and how you can actually direct people to achieve your goal. Alex Dickinson (14:38): So the prompt that we're gonna look at in a moment here will help us do that. But record scratch. You might wonder how we're getting here. We're gonna do a campaign plan for something called the Close the Capital Coalition. I'll read this to you really briefly and can answer questions in the chat as we go through it. So Close the Capital Coalition. Ladies and gentlemen, we are working together to collaborate on a plan for them. They are a nonpartisan coalition that has formed to fight the biggest shake-up of America's democratic system. Since Congress first met in New York City in 1789, tired of the Washington-centric political model and craving to break the stranglehold on Congress of DC-based special interest groups, The Close, the Capital Coalition is seeking to return the people's representatives back to their constituents, utilizing collaborative technologies, including online video conferencing. Alex Dickinson (15:30): CTC believes that the work of Congress can be more efficiently conducted in each district or state, rather than in the quagmire of Washington dc. You will be shocked to know that this is a sample that was actually created pre-Covid. But I do think that it has there's been a lot of great proof points. My light turned off, Let me turn it back on for us. That office life, I'm telling you <laugh>. Anyways so the Close the Capital Coalition is who we are creating a plan for today. Let me give you a little bit of background on their mission, and then we're gonna start to work together here. Okay, So, Grand Mission, immediate closure of the capital building immediately immediate closure of all Washington DC-based member offices, transfer of all staff and facilities to district and state offices members to vote directly from their district or state offices using secure online voting tools. Alex Dickinson (16:22): Members are to use in-office video conferencing tools to participate in debates, make speeches, and present resolutions, committee meetings, and hearings to be conducted via public video conference and caucus and party meetings to be conducted by secure and private video conference. The value less travel for members outside the respective states and districts. More time to meet with and work with local constituents reduces access by special interest groups and lobbyists, Significant cost savings to American taxpayers through both the closure of the capital and Washington DC-based member offices, and improves the work-life balance for members who are often forced away from home for long periods. Now, obviously, we are suspending our disbelief for this exercise. So we are going to, again, go back and look at those and try and come up with a goal and a strategy for this. So come collaborate with me in this sheet here. Alex Dickinson (17:17): Let me also put the link in the chat. It is a Google sheet. Again, I aim for simplicity. I think that simplicity is the way to go. And I'm gonna share my screen here so we can start to build a goal. All right, so a reminder, your goal is what is different at the end of your campaign. And your strategy is what's the general direction of your campaign? When I'm building campaign plans, I like to structure goals in this format. So how do I get who? So this is an audience to do what? So I'm thinking about that action by what time? So structuring and formatting things. Your goal in this manner can really force you to actually come up with a solid goal that you can orient yourself to. Does anyone have any ideas for ways to structure that? Please feel free to jump in and write things in the boxes here. Alex Dickinson (18:36): I will also share some ideas here, too. So one of the things that this also forces you to do is think through who's the audience that you're trying to reach and how can you actually do that? So I am going to say, let's see. Oh, I see someone maybe. Yep, perfect Congress. Love it. To do what? Closed down. Yeah. Let's say, oh, 30 days from now. I, you know what? I appreciate how ambitious that is. That is really, really fantastic. Let's think about it, do other people have thoughts on that? What time should we extend that? Or do we wanna, do we want this, this sucker done by 2023? Alex Dickinson (19:39): I'm gonna be honest, I was saying by 2025 in my mind. But okay, one year from now let's, I, I like it when I'm collaborating with people in this hybrid environment, what I will often do is have them write their ideas underneath there, and then we'll start to coalesce in there. See a question here and type so yeah, the who to engage on a more personal level with those. Oh, yeah, great. Perfect. so, love it. See, we're getting some good parking lot notes down here as well. We're getting some other thoughts. So let's say orienting ourselves to this rough concept and idea. We are trying to close the US Capitol building by end of next year, by December, we'll say December 2023. And I will pop that in for us for our goal in a moment here. Alex Dickinson (20:39): And the what, obviously closing down, and there are other elements that we can start to structure in there. If when you are doing this process, you are still stumped and you don't know what that goal is there are some prompts over here that can help guide you. So the first one is, what are your organizational priorities as you're looking ahead to 2023, what are the things that your organization has as part of their mission, as part of what to add, you know, is a strategic direction for the organization? And how can you build those in? And if you think about what those priorities are, what's getting in the way of achieving them you have an opportunity as someone building a plan or doing this kind of planning to think about where those gaps are, and then think about how you can overcome some of those challenges. Alex Dickinson (21:28): And of course, how, what does success —I'll even spell success correctly — look like? So trying to actually get people to consider that. Great. Seeing some excellent points getting plopped in there as well. But again, really simple, just trying to focus us on what, what that could look like. So I, I love the ideas that are coming in here. I'm gonna pop us back over to the presentation, and we're gonna start to think about some of the other components that we have to create here. So we'll come back to our, our shared spreadsheet in a moment here. So we've talked about the direction. Now we need to talk about our purpose. The purpose again is to think about our audience. Who are we trying to get to do something and a narrative? So that narrative is what story will get them to do the thing you want them to do. Alex Dickinson (22:23): We all have heard ad nauseam at this point in time, the power of storytelling. But just because we've heard it over and over again, doesn't mean people are doing it correctly. It is our responsibility as people creating plans and trying to organize ideas to harness that and to really focus on how do we tell the right story that moves the right people to action. So when, again, we wanna think about how we move people and how we select the right audiences, we think about what is the person who we can motivate, the person who we can activate, or the qualities of the person that we can activate moving away from the American public. You can think in some broad buckets, but you wanna try and get as granular as possible. If you are confused as to who you should be reaching start throwing names out there. Alex Dickinson (23:15): Start percolating and coming up with a random list that might not actually be that random. And then vet those against some of these questions. So why might this audience be relevant to your campaign? And again, the campaign mindset here really helps you hone in on who you might be trying to reach. So once you've come up with that list, think about how they could be relevant, how they might influence, and how they might shape it. Then start to think about who is that audience regularly listening to. Do you have the capability to persuade the people they're listening to? Can you get in front of them in those other ways? Critical questions for you to consider? How and where can you engage with them? Are they online? Do you have opportunities where you can get in front of them in person? Do you have their addresses? Alex Dickinson (24:01): Do you have information to contact them in different ways? And that can help you think about how you should deliver those messages to them. So maybe it's a group that is really gonna thrive with a white paper. Maybe it's a group that is gonna really love to open their emails. Getting in in that mindset to think about how they're consuming information can be really, really helpful too. And then, of course, it's that storytelling component. A narrative here in this context is your messaging structured to meet your goal. So it is trying to think about everything that you capture as an organization, telling your story, sharing your mission, your mission in a broken down model. It's a helpful way to think about how you can get people engaged. It can make it easy to understand. And this is getting a little bit wonky here. Alex Dickinson (24:54): But you wanna aim for cognitive ease over cognitive strain. So the simpler the more straightforward, the better. Really embrace that. Keep it simple mindset. The harder is for someone to read what you're saying. The more their walls will go up and they will not process the information that you are sharing with them. If you remember back at the beginning when I defined campaigns in that really wonky way it sounded scarier. As soon as I redefined it in a simpler way, I think we all got on the same page. The last thing that you wanna consider is your framing. For our purposes, framing is the context around everything that we're creating. It's the overall messaging. For a lot of us, there are going to be there's going to be noise in the background that we need to be fighting against. Alex Dickinson (25:42): And it's important for us to try and think through how we organize that noise and how our message can cut through that. So let's collaborate again. We'll jump back over to our friend. Oh, well, you get to see my daughter now. She's very cute though, so it's okay. Let me, oops, hang on, hang on. Let me collaborate with us. And we're gonna go over to this other tab, the campaign plan tab. All right. So the first thing we're gonna do here is identify some audiences. We can start to brainstorm some audiences down here. So audience one, audience two, audience three. And it's important again, to think about your audience because again, we're gonna orient our overall narrative to these groups and these people. So start to put out who we think could, some people we might wanna be reaching could be here. <Affirmative>. If we don't come up with three, it's okay. But we should try and get as specific as we can. Remembering that we are a coalition can be helpful here as well. All right. Love it. One. Oh, voters. Okay. Young people. Interesting. Okay, let's see if we can get some other ideas here. Alex Dickinson (27:26): Environmental groups. Now that's really interesting. I really like this at Environmental Group. That's really specific. Yeah. Members of Congress. Ah, all right. Yep. Likely voters, eligible voters. Great. Local legislators. Interesting. Now, that's an audience that might get a little nipped by this having their members of Congress impeding more on their turf a little bit more than they already do. Or maybe it would open up more opportunities. Yeah, our members for sure. Thank you for embracing the idea person who put our members here. We are the Close the Capital Coalition today. So we, that is who we are at working on behalf of. All right, Fantastic. There's one major audience that I, and a lot of people love to talk about and love to get the attention of, but I haven't seen them mentioned here yet. It's just a good audience to keep in mind. Let's see. I'll give people one more minute and see if we get any other further audiences in here. All right, well, we are seeing a little bit of coalescing around some ideas. I think, I think let's stick with that third audience here, and we'll make it members of Congress and their staff Alex Dickinson (29:24): Cause that's definitely an audience we're gonna have to persuade. Yes, we got it. Media and journalists. The press is a really critical place for us to start to think about how we interact with them and what kind of messages we wanna make sure to persuade there. I think that's always important for us to not lose sight of love. The tech companies. I think that, so I love when I think about who do we need to motivate for this, tech, companies that create platforms for virtual interaction are gonna be a really, really critical one. They might even be some of our members as part of this coalition. Maybe behind the scenes, well we wanna think about how we can persuade them to join us at least. All right, let's so one thing that happens when you start to do this is you get to see these little groupings. Alex Dickinson (30:11): And we'll see this when we start to actually build our messages as well. And these groupings that we're noticing here are sort of special interest groups or people who might have a specific focus. And then there's also this sort of, not the general public, but people who would have a, a real passion around the topic, an overall idea. So it's your responsibility if you're creating this with other people to try and find the patterns and to pull those patterns together. So I'm gonna go ahead and use my authority as our project master here say that the second one is going to be special interest groups and slash potential members as well. And we can have I think note there might be some overlap here, environmental groups, tech companies. All right. And I'm gonna go ahead and wrap my text here. Alex Dickinson (31:13): All right. And then the other audience that I am gonna be really interested in here, of course, are likely voters, engaged folks perhaps as well. All right, So your audience is established now. Let's move on and think about our narrative. The first thing that we wanna think about is the hook, the background, and the action. So the key idea here is you want something that introduces your audiences to the core idea. So as an organization, oh, and let me actually plot our goal up here so that we at least have this. I always find it really critical to make sure that you have your goal visible when you're building your campaign plan so that as you start to build everything else out, you're always referring back up to this. And this also helps you see how your audiences fit under that goal, and then how your narrative can structure next to it as well. Alex Dickinson (32:21): All. So the hook for us I'm gonna go ahead and just sort of predetermining a hook just because I think that I wanna get our, our wisdom of the room in other places. So I'm gonna say that our hook here is oops, I put it in the wrong place. A modernized Congress saves time and money for the American people. A really great simple message. You want something that grabs people as much as you can, and you want to try and motivate them to learn more. Something that gives them the what's in it for them. So saves money for time and money. Everybody wants those things saved. The background, this is gonna often be the more specific numbers or the persuasion points, the things that are going to get people really excited about everything. Alex Dickinson (33:15): So I'm gonna just go ahead and say for our purposes here are the numbers that prove the closing, that prove closing capital will save your constituents' money and taxes. This is a little bit of a Congress angle right now, but I think it's still helpful. And I think the last one is just given the context of where we are today, the action. So you wanna give people something to do. Obviously, some of that's gonna come out as we start to pull through tactics. But for our purposes, I'm gonna say act now on lessons learned from COVID. So this is just giving people that call to action and understanding that the actions below that are going to start to build out further. So I'm gonna take us back to our deck, and then we'll come back to our friend here and start to build in some ideas. So one moment. Alright. Alex Dickinson (34:17): So the next thing that you have to create when you are building this kind of campaign plan is the messages and the tactics. Again, remembering that you're trying to focus as much as possible on your audiences. You've oriented this to your overall goal, You know, how you're structuring this. And just sort of mapping things in there together can start to really pop up with cool ideas. So one thing that you're gonna wanna make sure your message you're adding in are messages. So what messages will persuade people to take action? And you wanna pair those messages with specific tactics. When I'm doing this in person, I have two different colored post-it notes and I have people write their messages on pink post-it notes and their tactics on green post-it notes, or the other way around whichever we define it ahead of time. Alex Dickinson (35:04): And here, I like to just have color coding and have people start to plot by ideas and messages and tactics that align to the audience and where they are in the narrative arc. And the idea here, again, is it forces you to think through how do I talk to that audience and make sure that I'm communicating on those specific elements. The other side of this is, of course, your timeline. By what points in time do you need to show what kind of progress? So one thing that we haven't mentioned throughout this yet is metrics. And I encourage you to think about a timeline, not as the drop dead date for things to get done, but as the moments and milestones that you can measure your key performance indicators that you can see how things are going, that you can get that pulse check and see what the progress looks like. Alex Dickinson (35:49): You don't need to build that into this plan itself, but when you start to extrapolate this and share it with people, it's helpful to have those notes. And of course, as you start to come up with the tactics, in particular, you wanna think about what kind of resource you have on the back end. So do you have the budget to do this? If you don't have the budget to do this, what are some low-budget ways that you can structure this? Or how can you actually build this out as well? This is something where, when I'm doing this with clients, I'm often in problem-solving mode and trying to think about some really interesting ways to take those ideas and build them out in different ways. So all of these things, your messages, your tactics, your resources, your timeline, again, all in service of that core audience. Alex Dickinson (36:32): Just remember to go back to your purpose here. So when you think about the tactics you are trying to drive people to take some sort of action, that action is going to come out in the brainstorming process. People love this. People love the tactics part. Actions are just big tactics. So you're trying to think about what a call to action is, and you wanna think about what are the big things that you can get people to do. Remember that in a campaign, you can have many actions as long as you have the bandwidth to do that. And this is the place where you will get the most inspiration and collaboration from people. The last thing that I love to encourage people to do is to focus on the task at hand. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna pop back to our sheet and spend three minutes just mad dash collaborating on ideas, messages, and tactics that align to audiences and narratives. Alex Dickinson (37:26): You wanna brainstorm as many tactics as possible. You wanna brainstorm as many messages as possible. You wanna figure out where there's overlap, ultimately figure out where there are gaps, and determine if the gaps need to be filled. That's the work of the person who's processing this afterward. And then, of course, focus on your strengths. We'll go back one last time to our, our handy dandy spreadsheet here. All right, so this is where it's gonna get real fun. We may wanna create some more parking lots here over here if you want. But I would love for people to start to just plop in over here what they think a good message and a good tactic could be to persuade likely voters and engaged activists that a modernized Congress saves time and money for the American people. Similarly, you can start the brainstorming in any one of these different verticals here, the hook, the background, the action, or across any audience. Alex Dickinson (38:26): So let's take two minutes and start to plop some, some things in there as you're putting things in. Again, you can put some notes over in different columns if you want to, and then we can start to copy-paste them in. Or you can feel free to go ahead and add in new rows. You all have edit access to this spreadsheet here today. I will go ahead and share a couple of messages that I think are really helpful and valuable. So act now on lessons learned from covid, but, for example, is that action to members of Congress and staffers. So one message that I'm gonna share here, your time is better spent at home with your constituents and families. So just really building in on that, that heartstrings. Again, this is where that storytelling power comes into play. You wanna think about what builds that emotional connection. Alex Dickinson (39:19): What is the kind of authenticity that can get people excited? Maybe similarly I might think about that background here. So if, if, if that's where I'm ending, what are some other big pulse points that I wanna share with people? Maybe something like this, Congress spends $2 billion of taxpayers' dollars on office space. That's a lot of money. So again, thinking about the debt sort of background, how do you structure it there? Love it. Stay at home and outta the swamps. See, we're getting some really good ideas out here. More time at home with your families, more FaceTime with your constituents. Perfect. More time to engage. Now, the one thing that we're missing right now is specific tactics. How do we get some of these things in front of people? So maybe it's a testimonial from a family member of a, well, we'll go with Nancy Pelosi right now who misses, misses their time with grandma. And we wanna make sure that that grandma's getting that FaceTime will still being able to to be the speaker of the house. So thinking in those kinds of terms and what are the actions that can tie to some of those messages? Alex Dickinson (40:42): Would love to see other actions in things here. Love it. Perfect. Reduce carbon congress's carbon footprint. That's fantastic. And that really speaks to that environmental group angle here too. Yeah, a child who misses a parent, definitely pull on those heartstrings, get people to feel in the pain. One thing that you might do for staffers over here, I'm gonna just insert a line here. Distribute sample project plan to move so that they understand how it could actually happen to make it real for people. Now I know we're in a unique situation where we're collaborating without seeing each other. We don't have the opportunity to sort of creatively share. If you were running this exercise with your organization you would wanna make sure that you had breakout sessions so that there could be small group discussions. You do wanna give people the opportunity to brainstorm on their own first and then share those ideas. And it's our responsibility then, as the people organizing all of this, to start to find where the gaps are and think through how to fit those things in together. Alex Dickinson (42:03): Can we add some statistical data that can support our background? Absolutely. I think that's critical actually. As we start to build out what our, what you're trying to do that background section can often become really meaty and just have a lot of, a lot of detail, a lot of information and can help really structure things for people. It can also be a great way to build off if you have stats and facts that makes for great content in the future as well. Yeah, previously conduct surveys are actually a survey is a great tactic to even layer in here as well. So maybe in the hook, a modernized Congress saves time and money we haven't really engaged on with our, our likely voters and engaged activists up here. So maybe surveying to see actually maybe we put that in money over here serving to see if there is an appetite. Alex Dickinson (43:04): All right. So we have done some collaboration. I'm loving a lot of what I'm seeing over here in our our parking lot over there. I think it's really critical. I am going to bring us home here and feel free to keep collaborating. We can pop back into it at the very end if we want to as well. But I am just going to remind us that this is a a way to demystify what is often the pain of planning. And when we think about a campaign structure, it helps us focus our thinking. It helps us give us guide points through which to structure, how we're talking to people who we're talking to, and the messages and tactics that we're using. And it is again, this collaborative, fun way to bring people together. Alex Dickinson (44:03): So one thing that I do is when I'm running these exercises with my clients I will have someone who is sitting there and listening to everything people are saying and just really rigorously note-taking. Oftentimes it's those side conversations where you see the most brilliant ideas. Just like in our parking lot, we started to see some really great ideas come up. That's the kind of stuff you wanna translate and move over documenting your plan as much as possible. So again, having something shared can be really useful. And when you start to evaluate where the gaps are, you wanna think about how do I fit where, what are my strengths? How do I fit this into everything overall? And think back to the available resources in your scope. Of course, you don't wanna forget to measure your success. So as you start to build out that full plan think about what those milestones are and what those key performance indicators could look like. Alex Dickinson (44:59): So that is your initial plan. Of course, it does take typically about an hour to build this out together. But I am really excited to have collaborated with you all on something that's really fun. I'm gonna pop my email in the chat in a moment. You can also reach out to me at Beekeeper Group. You can go to our website and find out more about us. But I am excited to have shared these core concepts and ideas with you all today. Are there any other questions or anything else before we wrap up here? If you send me an email, I will give you this deck. And also a couple of other talking points to sort of backgrounder on how to run this kind of exercise. And some other tips to get people to collaborate on these ideas together. [post_title] => Building a Campaign Plan in 60 Minutes Or Less [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => building-a-campaign-plan-in-60-minutes-or-less [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-10-11 18:51:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-10-11 18:51:58 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.quorum.us/?post_type=resources&p=7651 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => resources [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [queried_object_id] => 7651 [request] => SELECT wp_posts.* FROM wp_posts WHERE 1=1 AND wp_posts.post_name = 'building-a-campaign-plan-in-60-minutes-or-less' AND wp_posts.post_type = 'resources' ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC [posts] => Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 7651 [post_author] => 12 [post_date] => 2022-10-11 18:51:58 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-10-11 18:51:58 [post_content] => [embed]https://youtu.be/D0vk33-FX7s[/embed] Okay, well, it's been a couple of minutes, so I'm just gonna go ahead and let's get started with this so we all have plenty of time to go through this presentation together, So welcome everyone. We are here to talk about the tips and tricks to co-create a strategic campaign content map for advocacy, public affairs, and general marketing efforts. We'll work together to isolate key terms and messaging points, organize them into a coherent narrative, and align messages to tactics and target audiences. The end result will help break the spell of any strategic planning rut. Join us as the lead. The session is with Alex Dickinson. Alex Dickinson is Senior Vice President and Chief of staff at Beekeeper Group and an adjunct professor at George Washington University. She's a skilled digital tactician who blends her passion for messaging and content strategy to help organizations advocate for impact. Michelle Fowler (02:43): Before joining beekeeper in 2012, she worked at CSPAN, where she helped produce American history TV and other long-form programming. Prior to that, she worked at grassroots campaigns. Alex received her master's degree from George Washington University School of Median Public Affairs and attended the University of Michigan, for her undergraduate studies. And in addition to her work at Beekeeper Group, she currently teaches digital campaign strategies and digital public affairs at the Graduate school of Political Management, the School of Media and Public Affairs. So, welcome, Alex. Thank you so much for joining us today, and I can go ahead and let you get started. Alex Dickinson (03:15): Great. Thank you so much. I am so excited to get to talk to you all today. Can we share my screen? Michelle Fowler (03:23): Yep. Adding that now. Alex Dickinson (03:25): All right, Excellent. So we have 45 minutes here, and I am going to basically set us on a little bit of a whirlwind. I'm gonna tell you a little bit about what we're gonna do and give you some tips and tricks to help you break that rut. So to start off with, let me orient you to who I am beyond all of this, if you will. So I work at Beekeeper Group. We are a digital public affairs firm. We don't work with real bees, although you would be shocked to know how many phone calls we get about hive removal. What I will say though is we work with organizations that understand that their supporters are like metaphorical bees, and it is our job as a beekeeper to try and build a hive to try and manage the buzz around that. Alex Dickinson (04:10): Cultivate good honey. I can go on and on with the Bee puns, but I'll let it be for now. The key idea here is you are a person who is busy. You are a person who's got a lot going on, and you are buzzing around yourself. And I am here to try and help you give some tools and tactics to break through all of that busyness and try and build an interesting and collaborative strategic plan that can help hopefully help you reorganize your thoughts and set you on the right track. I know this is particularly exciting for a lot of you right now as October is about the time when a lot of people are doing your 2023 planning. So I'm hoping that this can get you in the right mindset to really break through and come up with some awesome things for next year. Alex Dickinson (04:58): So, what we'll cover, what is a campaign plan? How can a campaign plan help you overall? What do you need to create a campaign plan and some easy hacks to help you put it all together? I'm gonna warn you right up front that I'm not gonna make this easy, easy for you because I am gonna ask that we participate, we're gonna be co-creating a campaign plan for what I think is a really fun and wonky topic. So get ready and buckle up. I'll be pretty easy on you, though. Should be fun. All right, So let's define a campaign. I like to talk about campaigns in terms of having a set timeframe. So, in particular, I say a campaign is an integrated approach to communicating with an audience about a topic or event to convince them to do something. Alex Dickinson (05:47): That is a really lofty way of saying a campaign is getting certain people to do certain things by a specific time. Now, the reason that I'm orienting us around the concept of campaigns is because it's a really easy way for you to start to contain some of your broader thoughts and planning ideas. So as you're set, as you're setting goals for 2023, as you're thinking about how to structure everything, going into it with a campaign mindset can be really helpful. Asking yourself, who are the specific people that I need to get to do specific certain actions by that set timeframe? Again, thinking in 2023 planning terms, this could be the whole year, but you're also gonna wanna think about what are those milestones overall. So again, whatever you can do to simplify things and think in terms of this container of a campaign can be really, really helpful. Alex Dickinson (06:42): So, a little bit more about campaigns as you noticed, a campaign focuses on an action, and I think that's a really critical component here. When we are building people and when we're trying to motivate people to do things, they wanna feel like they're participating in something. So the idea of an action gives them something to look forward to. It also gives you the practitioner or the person organizing things behind the scenes. Something to help measure based on something to collect data on. And again, an overall framework to try and move people through what you want them to do. Campaigns have specific audiences. We'll talk a little bit more about this when we start to d dive in on our audiences today. But the biggest thing that you wanna remember is that you can't be targeting the general public. I think most of you if you are a quo user, you're likely someone who has had to parse through audiences. Alex Dickinson (07:40): But really any CRM, any tool, any advocacy or public policy space, you understand that there are specific audiences that you're trying to move to action. This is really important. There can be multiple audiences that you're targeting, but you wanna make sure that you are getting in the mindset of what's in it for that specific audience. And as someone who works most of my time in digital public affairs, it's easy for me to forget about the offline components. But campaigns and the world as it is is an integrated space. There are online and offline, and it's our responsibility to try and think about unique opportunities to blend and merge those, creating those inline opportunities whenever possible. And this framework can help you really think through those gaps too. And the most important thing is that a campaign ends. And as we are looking to build a plan overall, we are looking at a set timeframe. Alex Dickinson (08:40): And this is why I really love the idea of a campaign mindset for any type of planning. Because you remember there is this endpoint and there is a, a stick that you are saying, I am going to stop my activities here. And it gives you a point to reflect on and then build future campaigns from there. So again, it is just an opportunity to force yourself to do that, pause that reflection, and optimize from there for the future. So with our campaign concept well underhand, let's think a little bit about how campaign plan thinking can help you overall. Now I'm gonna show you some tips and tricks to start to pull wisdom from different teams and start to organize all of these things together. But before we do that, I wanna orient us to some real value here. I often will do these plans with clients, or I will do them with my teammates. Alex Dickinson (09:34): And we will take a look ahead at a set period of time and try and think about what's the story we're trying to tell? Who are the audiences we're trying to reach, and what are the things that we can do to get them to do those, to make the progress we need them to make? But I have also found this to be a really, really powerful tool to get buy-in from teammates early on, as any of you who have ever had to present a plan to a boss or a board have ever experienced, you need to have that buy-in. This process is something that you can do in a team setting, so you can get a lot of different people's input. And when people are involved early on, they're more likely to say, Yes, I like this, and feel that deeper approval and alignment are already baked into the activity that you're proposing. Alex Dickinson (10:22): It's also a way to help you delegate your work. So as someone who has been working on delegation for a long time in my life, I can say that once I started to actually do that, it improved things for me. It can be really hard to let go, but a digital campaign plan like this is a great way for you to structure how you cut those off. It's also a way to help you see if you are missing any parts of your campaign. And when we look at the grid which I've been teasing here a little bit already, it'll make it really clear for you to see where those gaps are. So let's talk about what you actually need to build a campaign plan. There are four key components. The first one is direction. You need to have a goal and a strategy. Alex Dickinson (11:07): We'll talk about that and how you structure goals and strategies in more detail. But you also need to make sure that you have that purpose. And I'm defining purpose as both your audience and your narrative. Your narrative is the story that moves people through action. And it's the way that you're able to capture your audiences. And again, keeping in mind your audiences, not just the general public. There are specific segments here. The thing that most people get the most excited about when they're talking about plans is the stuff or the messages and tactics that people love to share different words that they think, Oh, why don't we use this term of phrase? Or, Why don't we get on TikTok? Those are the cr kind of ideas that can be really helpful as long as you know how they fit in. Alex Dickinson (11:53): And this framework can help you fit those things in. And the last important thing to keep in mind is, of course, resources and timeline. So the timeline is both understanding that your campaign ends and whatever plan you're putting together has that endpoint. But also understanding that there are different resources overall that you might need to get approval on. All right. So without further ado, here's your secret tool. It is a grid matrix, if you will or what we like to call a campaign content plan. You are going to orient yourself around a goal. You're going to have your top-level narrative up at the top, and then there are audiences throughout to answer the question, absolutely. I will be sharing these slides with anybody who follows up. And also we're gonna have a little Bitly link here shortly that will have some of these tools built in there too. Alex Dickinson (12:49): So your secret tool here can help you guide and structure everything, and we're going to co-create a plan together here in a moment. Now, again, as I mentioned before, this is a great way to get buy-in. Back in the pre covid days, I used to literally do these exercises on a wall with post-it notes. I probably should have stock in 3M at this point in time. But again, it's a possibility to do this as a group activity as we are all going to do it today together reminding yourself that it helps you find the gaps in your thinking, and encourages that creative and critical thinking across different teams. And honestly, it generates some of the best campaign ideas I've seen. When you get a room of people or even a hybrid room of people collaborating on one campaign idea, you get some really, really fascinating things. Alex Dickinson (13:41): All right, so let's start. We're gonna talk about the idea of direction and goals and strategy by applying it to a specific concept here and a specific campaign that we're going to work to create a plan in 30 minutes. Now, so our direction the goal, what will be different at the end of our campaign. So I'll introduce the scenario in a moment, but I want you to start thinking about when you hear the scenario, what can we do to make things more integrated? What can we do to change? What does that change look like? And again, thinking about that timeframe component. And similarly, the strategic direction is going to be critical here. Strategy is defined in a lot of different ways. I like to think of strategy as specifically the unique value proposition that you offer and how you can actually direct people to achieve your goal. Alex Dickinson (14:38): So the prompt that we're gonna look at in a moment here will help us do that. But record scratch. You might wonder how we're getting here. We're gonna do a campaign plan for something called the Close the Capital Coalition. I'll read this to you really briefly and can answer questions in the chat as we go through it. So Close the Capital Coalition. Ladies and gentlemen, we are working together to collaborate on a plan for them. They are a nonpartisan coalition that has formed to fight the biggest shake-up of America's democratic system. Since Congress first met in New York City in 1789, tired of the Washington-centric political model and craving to break the stranglehold on Congress of DC-based special interest groups, The Close, the Capital Coalition is seeking to return the people's representatives back to their constituents, utilizing collaborative technologies, including online video conferencing. Alex Dickinson (15:30): CTC believes that the work of Congress can be more efficiently conducted in each district or state, rather than in the quagmire of Washington dc. You will be shocked to know that this is a sample that was actually created pre-Covid. But I do think that it has there's been a lot of great proof points. My light turned off, Let me turn it back on for us. That office life, I'm telling you <laugh>. Anyways so the Close the Capital Coalition is who we are creating a plan for today. Let me give you a little bit of background on their mission, and then we're gonna start to work together here. Okay, So, Grand Mission, immediate closure of the capital building immediately immediate closure of all Washington DC-based member offices, transfer of all staff and facilities to district and state offices members to vote directly from their district or state offices using secure online voting tools. Alex Dickinson (16:22): Members are to use in-office video conferencing tools to participate in debates, make speeches, and present resolutions, committee meetings, and hearings to be conducted via public video conference and caucus and party meetings to be conducted by secure and private video conference. The value less travel for members outside the respective states and districts. More time to meet with and work with local constituents reduces access by special interest groups and lobbyists, Significant cost savings to American taxpayers through both the closure of the capital and Washington DC-based member offices, and improves the work-life balance for members who are often forced away from home for long periods. Now, obviously, we are suspending our disbelief for this exercise. So we are going to, again, go back and look at those and try and come up with a goal and a strategy for this. So come collaborate with me in this sheet here. Alex Dickinson (17:17): Let me also put the link in the chat. It is a Google sheet. Again, I aim for simplicity. I think that simplicity is the way to go. And I'm gonna share my screen here so we can start to build a goal. All right, so a reminder, your goal is what is different at the end of your campaign. And your strategy is what's the general direction of your campaign? When I'm building campaign plans, I like to structure goals in this format. So how do I get who? So this is an audience to do what? So I'm thinking about that action by what time? So structuring and formatting things. Your goal in this manner can really force you to actually come up with a solid goal that you can orient yourself to. Does anyone have any ideas for ways to structure that? Please feel free to jump in and write things in the boxes here. Alex Dickinson (18:36): I will also share some ideas here, too. So one of the things that this also forces you to do is think through who's the audience that you're trying to reach and how can you actually do that? So I am going to say, let's see. Oh, I see someone maybe. Yep, perfect Congress. Love it. To do what? Closed down. Yeah. Let's say, oh, 30 days from now. I, you know what? I appreciate how ambitious that is. That is really, really fantastic. Let's think about it, do other people have thoughts on that? What time should we extend that? Or do we wanna, do we want this, this sucker done by 2023? Alex Dickinson (19:39): I'm gonna be honest, I was saying by 2025 in my mind. But okay, one year from now let's, I, I like it when I'm collaborating with people in this hybrid environment, what I will often do is have them write their ideas underneath there, and then we'll start to coalesce in there. See a question here and type so yeah, the who to engage on a more personal level with those. Oh, yeah, great. Perfect. so, love it. See, we're getting some good parking lot notes down here as well. We're getting some other thoughts. So let's say orienting ourselves to this rough concept and idea. We are trying to close the US Capitol building by end of next year, by December, we'll say December 2023. And I will pop that in for us for our goal in a moment here. Alex Dickinson (20:39): And the what, obviously closing down, and there are other elements that we can start to structure in there. If when you are doing this process, you are still stumped and you don't know what that goal is there are some prompts over here that can help guide you. So the first one is, what are your organizational priorities as you're looking ahead to 2023, what are the things that your organization has as part of their mission, as part of what to add, you know, is a strategic direction for the organization? And how can you build those in? And if you think about what those priorities are, what's getting in the way of achieving them you have an opportunity as someone building a plan or doing this kind of planning to think about where those gaps are, and then think about how you can overcome some of those challenges. Alex Dickinson (21:28): And of course, how, what does success —I'll even spell success correctly — look like? So trying to actually get people to consider that. Great. Seeing some excellent points getting plopped in there as well. But again, really simple, just trying to focus us on what, what that could look like. So I, I love the ideas that are coming in here. I'm gonna pop us back over to the presentation, and we're gonna start to think about some of the other components that we have to create here. So we'll come back to our, our shared spreadsheet in a moment here. So we've talked about the direction. Now we need to talk about our purpose. The purpose again is to think about our audience. Who are we trying to get to do something and a narrative? So that narrative is what story will get them to do the thing you want them to do. Alex Dickinson (22:23): We all have heard ad nauseam at this point in time, the power of storytelling. But just because we've heard it over and over again, doesn't mean people are doing it correctly. It is our responsibility as people creating plans and trying to organize ideas to harness that and to really focus on how do we tell the right story that moves the right people to action. So when, again, we wanna think about how we move people and how we select the right audiences, we think about what is the person who we can motivate, the person who we can activate, or the qualities of the person that we can activate moving away from the American public. You can think in some broad buckets, but you wanna try and get as granular as possible. If you are confused as to who you should be reaching start throwing names out there. Alex Dickinson (23:15): Start percolating and coming up with a random list that might not actually be that random. And then vet those against some of these questions. So why might this audience be relevant to your campaign? And again, the campaign mindset here really helps you hone in on who you might be trying to reach. So once you've come up with that list, think about how they could be relevant, how they might influence, and how they might shape it. Then start to think about who is that audience regularly listening to. Do you have the capability to persuade the people they're listening to? Can you get in front of them in those other ways? Critical questions for you to consider? How and where can you engage with them? Are they online? Do you have opportunities where you can get in front of them in person? Do you have their addresses? Alex Dickinson (24:01): Do you have information to contact them in different ways? And that can help you think about how you should deliver those messages to them. So maybe it's a group that is really gonna thrive with a white paper. Maybe it's a group that is gonna really love to open their emails. Getting in in that mindset to think about how they're consuming information can be really, really helpful too. And then, of course, it's that storytelling component. A narrative here in this context is your messaging structured to meet your goal. So it is trying to think about everything that you capture as an organization, telling your story, sharing your mission, your mission in a broken down model. It's a helpful way to think about how you can get people engaged. It can make it easy to understand. And this is getting a little bit wonky here. Alex Dickinson (24:54): But you wanna aim for cognitive ease over cognitive strain. So the simpler the more straightforward, the better. Really embrace that. Keep it simple mindset. The harder is for someone to read what you're saying. The more their walls will go up and they will not process the information that you are sharing with them. If you remember back at the beginning when I defined campaigns in that really wonky way it sounded scarier. As soon as I redefined it in a simpler way, I think we all got on the same page. The last thing that you wanna consider is your framing. For our purposes, framing is the context around everything that we're creating. It's the overall messaging. For a lot of us, there are going to be there's going to be noise in the background that we need to be fighting against. Alex Dickinson (25:42): And it's important for us to try and think through how we organize that noise and how our message can cut through that. So let's collaborate again. We'll jump back over to our friend. Oh, well, you get to see my daughter now. She's very cute though, so it's okay. Let me, oops, hang on, hang on. Let me collaborate with us. And we're gonna go over to this other tab, the campaign plan tab. All right. So the first thing we're gonna do here is identify some audiences. We can start to brainstorm some audiences down here. So audience one, audience two, audience three. And it's important again, to think about your audience because again, we're gonna orient our overall narrative to these groups and these people. So start to put out who we think could, some people we might wanna be reaching could be here. <Affirmative>. If we don't come up with three, it's okay. But we should try and get as specific as we can. Remembering that we are a coalition can be helpful here as well. All right. Love it. One. Oh, voters. Okay. Young people. Interesting. Okay, let's see if we can get some other ideas here. Alex Dickinson (27:26): Environmental groups. Now that's really interesting. I really like this at Environmental Group. That's really specific. Yeah. Members of Congress. Ah, all right. Yep. Likely voters, eligible voters. Great. Local legislators. Interesting. Now, that's an audience that might get a little nipped by this having their members of Congress impeding more on their turf a little bit more than they already do. Or maybe it would open up more opportunities. Yeah, our members for sure. Thank you for embracing the idea person who put our members here. We are the Close the Capital Coalition today. So we, that is who we are at working on behalf of. All right, Fantastic. There's one major audience that I, and a lot of people love to talk about and love to get the attention of, but I haven't seen them mentioned here yet. It's just a good audience to keep in mind. Let's see. I'll give people one more minute and see if we get any other further audiences in here. All right, well, we are seeing a little bit of coalescing around some ideas. I think, I think let's stick with that third audience here, and we'll make it members of Congress and their staff Alex Dickinson (29:24): Cause that's definitely an audience we're gonna have to persuade. Yes, we got it. Media and journalists. The press is a really critical place for us to start to think about how we interact with them and what kind of messages we wanna make sure to persuade there. I think that's always important for us to not lose sight of love. The tech companies. I think that, so I love when I think about who do we need to motivate for this, tech, companies that create platforms for virtual interaction are gonna be a really, really critical one. They might even be some of our members as part of this coalition. Maybe behind the scenes, well we wanna think about how we can persuade them to join us at least. All right, let's so one thing that happens when you start to do this is you get to see these little groupings. Alex Dickinson (30:11): And we'll see this when we start to actually build our messages as well. And these groupings that we're noticing here are sort of special interest groups or people who might have a specific focus. And then there's also this sort of, not the general public, but people who would have a, a real passion around the topic, an overall idea. So it's your responsibility if you're creating this with other people to try and find the patterns and to pull those patterns together. So I'm gonna go ahead and use my authority as our project master here say that the second one is going to be special interest groups and slash potential members as well. And we can have I think note there might be some overlap here, environmental groups, tech companies. All right. And I'm gonna go ahead and wrap my text here. Alex Dickinson (31:13): All right. And then the other audience that I am gonna be really interested in here, of course, are likely voters, engaged folks perhaps as well. All right, So your audience is established now. Let's move on and think about our narrative. The first thing that we wanna think about is the hook, the background, and the action. So the key idea here is you want something that introduces your audiences to the core idea. So as an organization, oh, and let me actually plot our goal up here so that we at least have this. I always find it really critical to make sure that you have your goal visible when you're building your campaign plan so that as you start to build everything else out, you're always referring back up to this. And this also helps you see how your audiences fit under that goal, and then how your narrative can structure next to it as well. Alex Dickinson (32:21): All. So the hook for us I'm gonna go ahead and just sort of predetermining a hook just because I think that I wanna get our, our wisdom of the room in other places. So I'm gonna say that our hook here is oops, I put it in the wrong place. A modernized Congress saves time and money for the American people. A really great simple message. You want something that grabs people as much as you can, and you want to try and motivate them to learn more. Something that gives them the what's in it for them. So saves money for time and money. Everybody wants those things saved. The background, this is gonna often be the more specific numbers or the persuasion points, the things that are going to get people really excited about everything. Alex Dickinson (33:15): So I'm gonna just go ahead and say for our purposes here are the numbers that prove the closing, that prove closing capital will save your constituents' money and taxes. This is a little bit of a Congress angle right now, but I think it's still helpful. And I think the last one is just given the context of where we are today, the action. So you wanna give people something to do. Obviously, some of that's gonna come out as we start to pull through tactics. But for our purposes, I'm gonna say act now on lessons learned from COVID. So this is just giving people that call to action and understanding that the actions below that are going to start to build out further. So I'm gonna take us back to our deck, and then we'll come back to our friend here and start to build in some ideas. So one moment. Alright. Alex Dickinson (34:17): So the next thing that you have to create when you are building this kind of campaign plan is the messages and the tactics. Again, remembering that you're trying to focus as much as possible on your audiences. You've oriented this to your overall goal, You know, how you're structuring this. And just sort of mapping things in there together can start to really pop up with cool ideas. So one thing that you're gonna wanna make sure your message you're adding in are messages. So what messages will persuade people to take action? And you wanna pair those messages with specific tactics. When I'm doing this in person, I have two different colored post-it notes and I have people write their messages on pink post-it notes and their tactics on green post-it notes, or the other way around whichever we define it ahead of time. Alex Dickinson (35:04): And here, I like to just have color coding and have people start to plot by ideas and messages and tactics that align to the audience and where they are in the narrative arc. And the idea here, again, is it forces you to think through how do I talk to that audience and make sure that I'm communicating on those specific elements. The other side of this is, of course, your timeline. By what points in time do you need to show what kind of progress? So one thing that we haven't mentioned throughout this yet is metrics. And I encourage you to think about a timeline, not as the drop dead date for things to get done, but as the moments and milestones that you can measure your key performance indicators that you can see how things are going, that you can get that pulse check and see what the progress looks like. Alex Dickinson (35:49): You don't need to build that into this plan itself, but when you start to extrapolate this and share it with people, it's helpful to have those notes. And of course, as you start to come up with the tactics, in particular, you wanna think about what kind of resource you have on the back end. So do you have the budget to do this? If you don't have the budget to do this, what are some low-budget ways that you can structure this? Or how can you actually build this out as well? This is something where, when I'm doing this with clients, I'm often in problem-solving mode and trying to think about some really interesting ways to take those ideas and build them out in different ways. So all of these things, your messages, your tactics, your resources, your timeline, again, all in service of that core audience. Alex Dickinson (36:32): Just remember to go back to your purpose here. So when you think about the tactics you are trying to drive people to take some sort of action, that action is going to come out in the brainstorming process. People love this. People love the tactics part. Actions are just big tactics. So you're trying to think about what a call to action is, and you wanna think about what are the big things that you can get people to do. Remember that in a campaign, you can have many actions as long as you have the bandwidth to do that. And this is the place where you will get the most inspiration and collaboration from people. The last thing that I love to encourage people to do is to focus on the task at hand. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna pop back to our sheet and spend three minutes just mad dash collaborating on ideas, messages, and tactics that align to audiences and narratives. Alex Dickinson (37:26): You wanna brainstorm as many tactics as possible. You wanna brainstorm as many messages as possible. You wanna figure out where there's overlap, ultimately figure out where there are gaps, and determine if the gaps need to be filled. That's the work of the person who's processing this afterward. And then, of course, focus on your strengths. We'll go back one last time to our, our handy dandy spreadsheet here. All right, so this is where it's gonna get real fun. We may wanna create some more parking lots here over here if you want. But I would love for people to start to just plop in over here what they think a good message and a good tactic could be to persuade likely voters and engaged activists that a modernized Congress saves time and money for the American people. Similarly, you can start the brainstorming in any one of these different verticals here, the hook, the background, the action, or across any audience. Alex Dickinson (38:26): So let's take two minutes and start to plop some, some things in there as you're putting things in. Again, you can put some notes over in different columns if you want to, and then we can start to copy-paste them in. Or you can feel free to go ahead and add in new rows. You all have edit access to this spreadsheet here today. I will go ahead and share a couple of messages that I think are really helpful and valuable. So act now on lessons learned from covid, but, for example, is that action to members of Congress and staffers. So one message that I'm gonna share here, your time is better spent at home with your constituents and families. So just really building in on that, that heartstrings. Again, this is where that storytelling power comes into play. You wanna think about what builds that emotional connection. Alex Dickinson (39:19): What is the kind of authenticity that can get people excited? Maybe similarly I might think about that background here. So if, if, if that's where I'm ending, what are some other big pulse points that I wanna share with people? Maybe something like this, Congress spends $2 billion of taxpayers' dollars on office space. That's a lot of money. So again, thinking about the debt sort of background, how do you structure it there? Love it. Stay at home and outta the swamps. See, we're getting some really good ideas out here. More time at home with your families, more FaceTime with your constituents. Perfect. More time to engage. Now, the one thing that we're missing right now is specific tactics. How do we get some of these things in front of people? So maybe it's a testimonial from a family member of a, well, we'll go with Nancy Pelosi right now who misses, misses their time with grandma. And we wanna make sure that that grandma's getting that FaceTime will still being able to to be the speaker of the house. So thinking in those kinds of terms and what are the actions that can tie to some of those messages? Alex Dickinson (40:42): Would love to see other actions in things here. Love it. Perfect. Reduce carbon congress's carbon footprint. That's fantastic. And that really speaks to that environmental group angle here too. Yeah, a child who misses a parent, definitely pull on those heartstrings, get people to feel in the pain. One thing that you might do for staffers over here, I'm gonna just insert a line here. Distribute sample project plan to move so that they understand how it could actually happen to make it real for people. Now I know we're in a unique situation where we're collaborating without seeing each other. We don't have the opportunity to sort of creatively share. If you were running this exercise with your organization you would wanna make sure that you had breakout sessions so that there could be small group discussions. You do wanna give people the opportunity to brainstorm on their own first and then share those ideas. And it's our responsibility then, as the people organizing all of this, to start to find where the gaps are and think through how to fit those things in together. Alex Dickinson (42:03): Can we add some statistical data that can support our background? Absolutely. I think that's critical actually. As we start to build out what our, what you're trying to do that background section can often become really meaty and just have a lot of, a lot of detail, a lot of information and can help really structure things for people. It can also be a great way to build off if you have stats and facts that makes for great content in the future as well. Yeah, previously conduct surveys are actually a survey is a great tactic to even layer in here as well. So maybe in the hook, a modernized Congress saves time and money we haven't really engaged on with our, our likely voters and engaged activists up here. So maybe surveying to see actually maybe we put that in money over here serving to see if there is an appetite. Alex Dickinson (43:04): All right. So we have done some collaboration. I'm loving a lot of what I'm seeing over here in our our parking lot over there. I think it's really critical. I am going to bring us home here and feel free to keep collaborating. We can pop back into it at the very end if we want to as well. But I am just going to remind us that this is a a way to demystify what is often the pain of planning. And when we think about a campaign structure, it helps us focus our thinking. It helps us give us guide points through which to structure, how we're talking to people who we're talking to, and the messages and tactics that we're using. And it is again, this collaborative, fun way to bring people together. Alex Dickinson (44:03): So one thing that I do is when I'm running these exercises with my clients I will have someone who is sitting there and listening to everything people are saying and just really rigorously note-taking. Oftentimes it's those side conversations where you see the most brilliant ideas. Just like in our parking lot, we started to see some really great ideas come up. That's the kind of stuff you wanna translate and move over documenting your plan as much as possible. So again, having something shared can be really useful. And when you start to evaluate where the gaps are, you wanna think about how do I fit where, what are my strengths? How do I fit this into everything overall? And think back to the available resources in your scope. Of course, you don't wanna forget to measure your success. So as you start to build out that full plan think about what those milestones are and what those key performance indicators could look like. Alex Dickinson (44:59): So that is your initial plan. Of course, it does take typically about an hour to build this out together. But I am really excited to have collaborated with you all on something that's really fun. I'm gonna pop my email in the chat in a moment. You can also reach out to me at Beekeeper Group. You can go to our website and find out more about us. But I am excited to have shared these core concepts and ideas with you all today. Are there any other questions or anything else before we wrap up here? If you send me an email, I will give you this deck. And also a couple of other talking points to sort of backgrounder on how to run this kind of exercise. And some other tips to get people to collaborate on these ideas together. [post_title] => Building a Campaign Plan in 60 Minutes Or Less [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => building-a-campaign-plan-in-60-minutes-or-less [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-10-11 18:51:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-10-11 18:51:58 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.quorum.us/?post_type=resources&p=7651 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => resources [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 1 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 7651 [post_author] => 12 [post_date] => 2022-10-11 18:51:58 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-10-11 18:51:58 [post_content] => [embed]https://youtu.be/D0vk33-FX7s[/embed] Okay, well, it's been a couple of minutes, so I'm just gonna go ahead and let's get started with this so we all have plenty of time to go through this presentation together, So welcome everyone. We are here to talk about the tips and tricks to co-create a strategic campaign content map for advocacy, public affairs, and general marketing efforts. We'll work together to isolate key terms and messaging points, organize them into a coherent narrative, and align messages to tactics and target audiences. The end result will help break the spell of any strategic planning rut. Join us as the lead. The session is with Alex Dickinson. Alex Dickinson is Senior Vice President and Chief of staff at Beekeeper Group and an adjunct professor at George Washington University. She's a skilled digital tactician who blends her passion for messaging and content strategy to help organizations advocate for impact. Michelle Fowler (02:43): Before joining beekeeper in 2012, she worked at CSPAN, where she helped produce American history TV and other long-form programming. Prior to that, she worked at grassroots campaigns. Alex received her master's degree from George Washington University School of Median Public Affairs and attended the University of Michigan, for her undergraduate studies. And in addition to her work at Beekeeper Group, she currently teaches digital campaign strategies and digital public affairs at the Graduate school of Political Management, the School of Media and Public Affairs. So, welcome, Alex. Thank you so much for joining us today, and I can go ahead and let you get started. Alex Dickinson (03:15): Great. Thank you so much. I am so excited to get to talk to you all today. Can we share my screen? Michelle Fowler (03:23): Yep. Adding that now. Alex Dickinson (03:25): All right, Excellent. So we have 45 minutes here, and I am going to basically set us on a little bit of a whirlwind. I'm gonna tell you a little bit about what we're gonna do and give you some tips and tricks to help you break that rut. So to start off with, let me orient you to who I am beyond all of this, if you will. So I work at Beekeeper Group. We are a digital public affairs firm. We don't work with real bees, although you would be shocked to know how many phone calls we get about hive removal. What I will say though is we work with organizations that understand that their supporters are like metaphorical bees, and it is our job as a beekeeper to try and build a hive to try and manage the buzz around that. Alex Dickinson (04:10): Cultivate good honey. I can go on and on with the Bee puns, but I'll let it be for now. The key idea here is you are a person who is busy. You are a person who's got a lot going on, and you are buzzing around yourself. And I am here to try and help you give some tools and tactics to break through all of that busyness and try and build an interesting and collaborative strategic plan that can help hopefully help you reorganize your thoughts and set you on the right track. I know this is particularly exciting for a lot of you right now as October is about the time when a lot of people are doing your 2023 planning. So I'm hoping that this can get you in the right mindset to really break through and come up with some awesome things for next year. Alex Dickinson (04:58): So, what we'll cover, what is a campaign plan? How can a campaign plan help you overall? What do you need to create a campaign plan and some easy hacks to help you put it all together? I'm gonna warn you right up front that I'm not gonna make this easy, easy for you because I am gonna ask that we participate, we're gonna be co-creating a campaign plan for what I think is a really fun and wonky topic. So get ready and buckle up. I'll be pretty easy on you, though. Should be fun. All right, So let's define a campaign. I like to talk about campaigns in terms of having a set timeframe. So, in particular, I say a campaign is an integrated approach to communicating with an audience about a topic or event to convince them to do something. Alex Dickinson (05:47): That is a really lofty way of saying a campaign is getting certain people to do certain things by a specific time. Now, the reason that I'm orienting us around the concept of campaigns is because it's a really easy way for you to start to contain some of your broader thoughts and planning ideas. So as you're set, as you're setting goals for 2023, as you're thinking about how to structure everything, going into it with a campaign mindset can be really helpful. Asking yourself, who are the specific people that I need to get to do specific certain actions by that set timeframe? Again, thinking in 2023 planning terms, this could be the whole year, but you're also gonna wanna think about what are those milestones overall. So again, whatever you can do to simplify things and think in terms of this container of a campaign can be really, really helpful. Alex Dickinson (06:42): So, a little bit more about campaigns as you noticed, a campaign focuses on an action, and I think that's a really critical component here. When we are building people and when we're trying to motivate people to do things, they wanna feel like they're participating in something. So the idea of an action gives them something to look forward to. It also gives you the practitioner or the person organizing things behind the scenes. Something to help measure based on something to collect data on. And again, an overall framework to try and move people through what you want them to do. Campaigns have specific audiences. We'll talk a little bit more about this when we start to d dive in on our audiences today. But the biggest thing that you wanna remember is that you can't be targeting the general public. I think most of you if you are a quo user, you're likely someone who has had to parse through audiences. Alex Dickinson (07:40): But really any CRM, any tool, any advocacy or public policy space, you understand that there are specific audiences that you're trying to move to action. This is really important. There can be multiple audiences that you're targeting, but you wanna make sure that you are getting in the mindset of what's in it for that specific audience. And as someone who works most of my time in digital public affairs, it's easy for me to forget about the offline components. But campaigns and the world as it is is an integrated space. There are online and offline, and it's our responsibility to try and think about unique opportunities to blend and merge those, creating those inline opportunities whenever possible. And this framework can help you really think through those gaps too. And the most important thing is that a campaign ends. And as we are looking to build a plan overall, we are looking at a set timeframe. Alex Dickinson (08:40): And this is why I really love the idea of a campaign mindset for any type of planning. Because you remember there is this endpoint and there is a, a stick that you are saying, I am going to stop my activities here. And it gives you a point to reflect on and then build future campaigns from there. So again, it is just an opportunity to force yourself to do that, pause that reflection, and optimize from there for the future. So with our campaign concept well underhand, let's think a little bit about how campaign plan thinking can help you overall. Now I'm gonna show you some tips and tricks to start to pull wisdom from different teams and start to organize all of these things together. But before we do that, I wanna orient us to some real value here. I often will do these plans with clients, or I will do them with my teammates. Alex Dickinson (09:34): And we will take a look ahead at a set period of time and try and think about what's the story we're trying to tell? Who are the audiences we're trying to reach, and what are the things that we can do to get them to do those, to make the progress we need them to make? But I have also found this to be a really, really powerful tool to get buy-in from teammates early on, as any of you who have ever had to present a plan to a boss or a board have ever experienced, you need to have that buy-in. This process is something that you can do in a team setting, so you can get a lot of different people's input. And when people are involved early on, they're more likely to say, Yes, I like this, and feel that deeper approval and alignment are already baked into the activity that you're proposing. Alex Dickinson (10:22): It's also a way to help you delegate your work. So as someone who has been working on delegation for a long time in my life, I can say that once I started to actually do that, it improved things for me. It can be really hard to let go, but a digital campaign plan like this is a great way for you to structure how you cut those off. It's also a way to help you see if you are missing any parts of your campaign. And when we look at the grid which I've been teasing here a little bit already, it'll make it really clear for you to see where those gaps are. So let's talk about what you actually need to build a campaign plan. There are four key components. The first one is direction. You need to have a goal and a strategy. Alex Dickinson (11:07): We'll talk about that and how you structure goals and strategies in more detail. But you also need to make sure that you have that purpose. And I'm defining purpose as both your audience and your narrative. Your narrative is the story that moves people through action. And it's the way that you're able to capture your audiences. And again, keeping in mind your audiences, not just the general public. There are specific segments here. The thing that most people get the most excited about when they're talking about plans is the stuff or the messages and tactics that people love to share different words that they think, Oh, why don't we use this term of phrase? Or, Why don't we get on TikTok? Those are the cr kind of ideas that can be really helpful as long as you know how they fit in. Alex Dickinson (11:53): And this framework can help you fit those things in. And the last important thing to keep in mind is, of course, resources and timeline. So the timeline is both understanding that your campaign ends and whatever plan you're putting together has that endpoint. But also understanding that there are different resources overall that you might need to get approval on. All right. So without further ado, here's your secret tool. It is a grid matrix, if you will or what we like to call a campaign content plan. You are going to orient yourself around a goal. You're going to have your top-level narrative up at the top, and then there are audiences throughout to answer the question, absolutely. I will be sharing these slides with anybody who follows up. And also we're gonna have a little Bitly link here shortly that will have some of these tools built in there too. Alex Dickinson (12:49): So your secret tool here can help you guide and structure everything, and we're going to co-create a plan together here in a moment. Now, again, as I mentioned before, this is a great way to get buy-in. Back in the pre covid days, I used to literally do these exercises on a wall with post-it notes. I probably should have stock in 3M at this point in time. But again, it's a possibility to do this as a group activity as we are all going to do it today together reminding yourself that it helps you find the gaps in your thinking, and encourages that creative and critical thinking across different teams. And honestly, it generates some of the best campaign ideas I've seen. When you get a room of people or even a hybrid room of people collaborating on one campaign idea, you get some really, really fascinating things. Alex Dickinson (13:41): All right, so let's start. We're gonna talk about the idea of direction and goals and strategy by applying it to a specific concept here and a specific campaign that we're going to work to create a plan in 30 minutes. Now, so our direction the goal, what will be different at the end of our campaign. So I'll introduce the scenario in a moment, but I want you to start thinking about when you hear the scenario, what can we do to make things more integrated? What can we do to change? What does that change look like? And again, thinking about that timeframe component. And similarly, the strategic direction is going to be critical here. Strategy is defined in a lot of different ways. I like to think of strategy as specifically the unique value proposition that you offer and how you can actually direct people to achieve your goal. Alex Dickinson (14:38): So the prompt that we're gonna look at in a moment here will help us do that. But record scratch. You might wonder how we're getting here. We're gonna do a campaign plan for something called the Close the Capital Coalition. I'll read this to you really briefly and can answer questions in the chat as we go through it. So Close the Capital Coalition. Ladies and gentlemen, we are working together to collaborate on a plan for them. They are a nonpartisan coalition that has formed to fight the biggest shake-up of America's democratic system. Since Congress first met in New York City in 1789, tired of the Washington-centric political model and craving to break the stranglehold on Congress of DC-based special interest groups, The Close, the Capital Coalition is seeking to return the people's representatives back to their constituents, utilizing collaborative technologies, including online video conferencing. Alex Dickinson (15:30): CTC believes that the work of Congress can be more efficiently conducted in each district or state, rather than in the quagmire of Washington dc. You will be shocked to know that this is a sample that was actually created pre-Covid. But I do think that it has there's been a lot of great proof points. My light turned off, Let me turn it back on for us. That office life, I'm telling you <laugh>. Anyways so the Close the Capital Coalition is who we are creating a plan for today. Let me give you a little bit of background on their mission, and then we're gonna start to work together here. Okay, So, Grand Mission, immediate closure of the capital building immediately immediate closure of all Washington DC-based member offices, transfer of all staff and facilities to district and state offices members to vote directly from their district or state offices using secure online voting tools. Alex Dickinson (16:22): Members are to use in-office video conferencing tools to participate in debates, make speeches, and present resolutions, committee meetings, and hearings to be conducted via public video conference and caucus and party meetings to be conducted by secure and private video conference. The value less travel for members outside the respective states and districts. More time to meet with and work with local constituents reduces access by special interest groups and lobbyists, Significant cost savings to American taxpayers through both the closure of the capital and Washington DC-based member offices, and improves the work-life balance for members who are often forced away from home for long periods. Now, obviously, we are suspending our disbelief for this exercise. So we are going to, again, go back and look at those and try and come up with a goal and a strategy for this. So come collaborate with me in this sheet here. Alex Dickinson (17:17): Let me also put the link in the chat. It is a Google sheet. Again, I aim for simplicity. I think that simplicity is the way to go. And I'm gonna share my screen here so we can start to build a goal. All right, so a reminder, your goal is what is different at the end of your campaign. And your strategy is what's the general direction of your campaign? When I'm building campaign plans, I like to structure goals in this format. So how do I get who? So this is an audience to do what? So I'm thinking about that action by what time? So structuring and formatting things. Your goal in this manner can really force you to actually come up with a solid goal that you can orient yourself to. Does anyone have any ideas for ways to structure that? Please feel free to jump in and write things in the boxes here. Alex Dickinson (18:36): I will also share some ideas here, too. So one of the things that this also forces you to do is think through who's the audience that you're trying to reach and how can you actually do that? So I am going to say, let's see. Oh, I see someone maybe. Yep, perfect Congress. Love it. To do what? Closed down. Yeah. Let's say, oh, 30 days from now. I, you know what? I appreciate how ambitious that is. That is really, really fantastic. Let's think about it, do other people have thoughts on that? What time should we extend that? Or do we wanna, do we want this, this sucker done by 2023? Alex Dickinson (19:39): I'm gonna be honest, I was saying by 2025 in my mind. But okay, one year from now let's, I, I like it when I'm collaborating with people in this hybrid environment, what I will often do is have them write their ideas underneath there, and then we'll start to coalesce in there. See a question here and type so yeah, the who to engage on a more personal level with those. Oh, yeah, great. Perfect. so, love it. See, we're getting some good parking lot notes down here as well. We're getting some other thoughts. So let's say orienting ourselves to this rough concept and idea. We are trying to close the US Capitol building by end of next year, by December, we'll say December 2023. And I will pop that in for us for our goal in a moment here. Alex Dickinson (20:39): And the what, obviously closing down, and there are other elements that we can start to structure in there. If when you are doing this process, you are still stumped and you don't know what that goal is there are some prompts over here that can help guide you. So the first one is, what are your organizational priorities as you're looking ahead to 2023, what are the things that your organization has as part of their mission, as part of what to add, you know, is a strategic direction for the organization? And how can you build those in? And if you think about what those priorities are, what's getting in the way of achieving them you have an opportunity as someone building a plan or doing this kind of planning to think about where those gaps are, and then think about how you can overcome some of those challenges. Alex Dickinson (21:28): And of course, how, what does success —I'll even spell success correctly — look like? So trying to actually get people to consider that. Great. Seeing some excellent points getting plopped in there as well. But again, really simple, just trying to focus us on what, what that could look like. So I, I love the ideas that are coming in here. I'm gonna pop us back over to the presentation, and we're gonna start to think about some of the other components that we have to create here. So we'll come back to our, our shared spreadsheet in a moment here. So we've talked about the direction. Now we need to talk about our purpose. The purpose again is to think about our audience. Who are we trying to get to do something and a narrative? So that narrative is what story will get them to do the thing you want them to do. Alex Dickinson (22:23): We all have heard ad nauseam at this point in time, the power of storytelling. But just because we've heard it over and over again, doesn't mean people are doing it correctly. It is our responsibility as people creating plans and trying to organize ideas to harness that and to really focus on how do we tell the right story that moves the right people to action. So when, again, we wanna think about how we move people and how we select the right audiences, we think about what is the person who we can motivate, the person who we can activate, or the qualities of the person that we can activate moving away from the American public. You can think in some broad buckets, but you wanna try and get as granular as possible. If you are confused as to who you should be reaching start throwing names out there. Alex Dickinson (23:15): Start percolating and coming up with a random list that might not actually be that random. And then vet those against some of these questions. So why might this audience be relevant to your campaign? And again, the campaign mindset here really helps you hone in on who you might be trying to reach. So once you've come up with that list, think about how they could be relevant, how they might influence, and how they might shape it. Then start to think about who is that audience regularly listening to. Do you have the capability to persuade the people they're listening to? Can you get in front of them in those other ways? Critical questions for you to consider? How and where can you engage with them? Are they online? Do you have opportunities where you can get in front of them in person? Do you have their addresses? Alex Dickinson (24:01): Do you have information to contact them in different ways? And that can help you think about how you should deliver those messages to them. So maybe it's a group that is really gonna thrive with a white paper. Maybe it's a group that is gonna really love to open their emails. Getting in in that mindset to think about how they're consuming information can be really, really helpful too. And then, of course, it's that storytelling component. A narrative here in this context is your messaging structured to meet your goal. So it is trying to think about everything that you capture as an organization, telling your story, sharing your mission, your mission in a broken down model. It's a helpful way to think about how you can get people engaged. It can make it easy to understand. And this is getting a little bit wonky here. Alex Dickinson (24:54): But you wanna aim for cognitive ease over cognitive strain. So the simpler the more straightforward, the better. Really embrace that. Keep it simple mindset. The harder is for someone to read what you're saying. The more their walls will go up and they will not process the information that you are sharing with them. If you remember back at the beginning when I defined campaigns in that really wonky way it sounded scarier. As soon as I redefined it in a simpler way, I think we all got on the same page. The last thing that you wanna consider is your framing. For our purposes, framing is the context around everything that we're creating. It's the overall messaging. For a lot of us, there are going to be there's going to be noise in the background that we need to be fighting against. Alex Dickinson (25:42): And it's important for us to try and think through how we organize that noise and how our message can cut through that. So let's collaborate again. We'll jump back over to our friend. Oh, well, you get to see my daughter now. She's very cute though, so it's okay. Let me, oops, hang on, hang on. Let me collaborate with us. And we're gonna go over to this other tab, the campaign plan tab. All right. So the first thing we're gonna do here is identify some audiences. We can start to brainstorm some audiences down here. So audience one, audience two, audience three. And it's important again, to think about your audience because again, we're gonna orient our overall narrative to these groups and these people. So start to put out who we think could, some people we might wanna be reaching could be here. <Affirmative>. If we don't come up with three, it's okay. But we should try and get as specific as we can. Remembering that we are a coalition can be helpful here as well. All right. Love it. One. Oh, voters. Okay. Young people. Interesting. Okay, let's see if we can get some other ideas here. Alex Dickinson (27:26): Environmental groups. Now that's really interesting. I really like this at Environmental Group. That's really specific. Yeah. Members of Congress. Ah, all right. Yep. Likely voters, eligible voters. Great. Local legislators. Interesting. Now, that's an audience that might get a little nipped by this having their members of Congress impeding more on their turf a little bit more than they already do. Or maybe it would open up more opportunities. Yeah, our members for sure. Thank you for embracing the idea person who put our members here. We are the Close the Capital Coalition today. So we, that is who we are at working on behalf of. All right, Fantastic. There's one major audience that I, and a lot of people love to talk about and love to get the attention of, but I haven't seen them mentioned here yet. It's just a good audience to keep in mind. Let's see. I'll give people one more minute and see if we get any other further audiences in here. All right, well, we are seeing a little bit of coalescing around some ideas. I think, I think let's stick with that third audience here, and we'll make it members of Congress and their staff Alex Dickinson (29:24): Cause that's definitely an audience we're gonna have to persuade. Yes, we got it. Media and journalists. The press is a really critical place for us to start to think about how we interact with them and what kind of messages we wanna make sure to persuade there. I think that's always important for us to not lose sight of love. The tech companies. I think that, so I love when I think about who do we need to motivate for this, tech, companies that create platforms for virtual interaction are gonna be a really, really critical one. They might even be some of our members as part of this coalition. Maybe behind the scenes, well we wanna think about how we can persuade them to join us at least. All right, let's so one thing that happens when you start to do this is you get to see these little groupings. Alex Dickinson (30:11): And we'll see this when we start to actually build our messages as well. And these groupings that we're noticing here are sort of special interest groups or people who might have a specific focus. And then there's also this sort of, not the general public, but people who would have a, a real passion around the topic, an overall idea. So it's your responsibility if you're creating this with other people to try and find the patterns and to pull those patterns together. So I'm gonna go ahead and use my authority as our project master here say that the second one is going to be special interest groups and slash potential members as well. And we can have I think note there might be some overlap here, environmental groups, tech companies. All right. And I'm gonna go ahead and wrap my text here. Alex Dickinson (31:13): All right. And then the other audience that I am gonna be really interested in here, of course, are likely voters, engaged folks perhaps as well. All right, So your audience is established now. Let's move on and think about our narrative. The first thing that we wanna think about is the hook, the background, and the action. So the key idea here is you want something that introduces your audiences to the core idea. So as an organization, oh, and let me actually plot our goal up here so that we at least have this. I always find it really critical to make sure that you have your goal visible when you're building your campaign plan so that as you start to build everything else out, you're always referring back up to this. And this also helps you see how your audiences fit under that goal, and then how your narrative can structure next to it as well. Alex Dickinson (32:21): All. So the hook for us I'm gonna go ahead and just sort of predetermining a hook just because I think that I wanna get our, our wisdom of the room in other places. So I'm gonna say that our hook here is oops, I put it in the wrong place. A modernized Congress saves time and money for the American people. A really great simple message. You want something that grabs people as much as you can, and you want to try and motivate them to learn more. Something that gives them the what's in it for them. So saves money for time and money. Everybody wants those things saved. The background, this is gonna often be the more specific numbers or the persuasion points, the things that are going to get people really excited about everything. Alex Dickinson (33:15): So I'm gonna just go ahead and say for our purposes here are the numbers that prove the closing, that prove closing capital will save your constituents' money and taxes. This is a little bit of a Congress angle right now, but I think it's still helpful. And I think the last one is just given the context of where we are today, the action. So you wanna give people something to do. Obviously, some of that's gonna come out as we start to pull through tactics. But for our purposes, I'm gonna say act now on lessons learned from COVID. So this is just giving people that call to action and understanding that the actions below that are going to start to build out further. So I'm gonna take us back to our deck, and then we'll come back to our friend here and start to build in some ideas. So one moment. Alright. Alex Dickinson (34:17): So the next thing that you have to create when you are building this kind of campaign plan is the messages and the tactics. Again, remembering that you're trying to focus as much as possible on your audiences. You've oriented this to your overall goal, You know, how you're structuring this. And just sort of mapping things in there together can start to really pop up with cool ideas. So one thing that you're gonna wanna make sure your message you're adding in are messages. So what messages will persuade people to take action? And you wanna pair those messages with specific tactics. When I'm doing this in person, I have two different colored post-it notes and I have people write their messages on pink post-it notes and their tactics on green post-it notes, or the other way around whichever we define it ahead of time. Alex Dickinson (35:04): And here, I like to just have color coding and have people start to plot by ideas and messages and tactics that align to the audience and where they are in the narrative arc. And the idea here, again, is it forces you to think through how do I talk to that audience and make sure that I'm communicating on those specific elements. The other side of this is, of course, your timeline. By what points in time do you need to show what kind of progress? So one thing that we haven't mentioned throughout this yet is metrics. And I encourage you to think about a timeline, not as the drop dead date for things to get done, but as the moments and milestones that you can measure your key performance indicators that you can see how things are going, that you can get that pulse check and see what the progress looks like. Alex Dickinson (35:49): You don't need to build that into this plan itself, but when you start to extrapolate this and share it with people, it's helpful to have those notes. And of course, as you start to come up with the tactics, in particular, you wanna think about what kind of resource you have on the back end. So do you have the budget to do this? If you don't have the budget to do this, what are some low-budget ways that you can structure this? Or how can you actually build this out as well? This is something where, when I'm doing this with clients, I'm often in problem-solving mode and trying to think about some really interesting ways to take those ideas and build them out in different ways. So all of these things, your messages, your tactics, your resources, your timeline, again, all in service of that core audience. Alex Dickinson (36:32): Just remember to go back to your purpose here. So when you think about the tactics you are trying to drive people to take some sort of action, that action is going to come out in the brainstorming process. People love this. People love the tactics part. Actions are just big tactics. So you're trying to think about what a call to action is, and you wanna think about what are the big things that you can get people to do. Remember that in a campaign, you can have many actions as long as you have the bandwidth to do that. And this is the place where you will get the most inspiration and collaboration from people. The last thing that I love to encourage people to do is to focus on the task at hand. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna pop back to our sheet and spend three minutes just mad dash collaborating on ideas, messages, and tactics that align to audiences and narratives. Alex Dickinson (37:26): You wanna brainstorm as many tactics as possible. You wanna brainstorm as many messages as possible. You wanna figure out where there's overlap, ultimately figure out where there are gaps, and determine if the gaps need to be filled. That's the work of the person who's processing this afterward. And then, of course, focus on your strengths. We'll go back one last time to our, our handy dandy spreadsheet here. All right, so this is where it's gonna get real fun. We may wanna create some more parking lots here over here if you want. But I would love for people to start to just plop in over here what they think a good message and a good tactic could be to persuade likely voters and engaged activists that a modernized Congress saves time and money for the American people. Similarly, you can start the brainstorming in any one of these different verticals here, the hook, the background, the action, or across any audience. Alex Dickinson (38:26): So let's take two minutes and start to plop some, some things in there as you're putting things in. Again, you can put some notes over in different columns if you want to, and then we can start to copy-paste them in. Or you can feel free to go ahead and add in new rows. You all have edit access to this spreadsheet here today. I will go ahead and share a couple of messages that I think are really helpful and valuable. So act now on lessons learned from covid, but, for example, is that action to members of Congress and staffers. So one message that I'm gonna share here, your time is better spent at home with your constituents and families. So just really building in on that, that heartstrings. Again, this is where that storytelling power comes into play. You wanna think about what builds that emotional connection. Alex Dickinson (39:19): What is the kind of authenticity that can get people excited? Maybe similarly I might think about that background here. So if, if, if that's where I'm ending, what are some other big pulse points that I wanna share with people? Maybe something like this, Congress spends $2 billion of taxpayers' dollars on office space. That's a lot of money. So again, thinking about the debt sort of background, how do you structure it there? Love it. Stay at home and outta the swamps. See, we're getting some really good ideas out here. More time at home with your families, more FaceTime with your constituents. Perfect. More time to engage. Now, the one thing that we're missing right now is specific tactics. How do we get some of these things in front of people? So maybe it's a testimonial from a family member of a, well, we'll go with Nancy Pelosi right now who misses, misses their time with grandma. And we wanna make sure that that grandma's getting that FaceTime will still being able to to be the speaker of the house. So thinking in those kinds of terms and what are the actions that can tie to some of those messages? Alex Dickinson (40:42): Would love to see other actions in things here. Love it. Perfect. Reduce carbon congress's carbon footprint. That's fantastic. And that really speaks to that environmental group angle here too. Yeah, a child who misses a parent, definitely pull on those heartstrings, get people to feel in the pain. One thing that you might do for staffers over here, I'm gonna just insert a line here. Distribute sample project plan to move so that they understand how it could actually happen to make it real for people. Now I know we're in a unique situation where we're collaborating without seeing each other. We don't have the opportunity to sort of creatively share. If you were running this exercise with your organization you would wanna make sure that you had breakout sessions so that there could be small group discussions. You do wanna give people the opportunity to brainstorm on their own first and then share those ideas. And it's our responsibility then, as the people organizing all of this, to start to find where the gaps are and think through how to fit those things in together. Alex Dickinson (42:03): Can we add some statistical data that can support our background? Absolutely. I think that's critical actually. As we start to build out what our, what you're trying to do that background section can often become really meaty and just have a lot of, a lot of detail, a lot of information and can help really structure things for people. It can also be a great way to build off if you have stats and facts that makes for great content in the future as well. Yeah, previously conduct surveys are actually a survey is a great tactic to even layer in here as well. So maybe in the hook, a modernized Congress saves time and money we haven't really engaged on with our, our likely voters and engaged activists up here. So maybe surveying to see actually maybe we put that in money over here serving to see if there is an appetite. Alex Dickinson (43:04): All right. So we have done some collaboration. I'm loving a lot of what I'm seeing over here in our our parking lot over there. I think it's really critical. I am going to bring us home here and feel free to keep collaborating. We can pop back into it at the very end if we want to as well. But I am just going to remind us that this is a a way to demystify what is often the pain of planning. And when we think about a campaign structure, it helps us focus our thinking. It helps us give us guide points through which to structure, how we're talking to people who we're talking to, and the messages and tactics that we're using. And it is again, this collaborative, fun way to bring people together. Alex Dickinson (44:03): So one thing that I do is when I'm running these exercises with my clients I will have someone who is sitting there and listening to everything people are saying and just really rigorously note-taking. Oftentimes it's those side conversations where you see the most brilliant ideas. Just like in our parking lot, we started to see some really great ideas come up. That's the kind of stuff you wanna translate and move over documenting your plan as much as possible. So again, having something shared can be really useful. And when you start to evaluate where the gaps are, you wanna think about how do I fit where, what are my strengths? How do I fit this into everything overall? And think back to the available resources in your scope. Of course, you don't wanna forget to measure your success. So as you start to build out that full plan think about what those milestones are and what those key performance indicators could look like. Alex Dickinson (44:59): So that is your initial plan. Of course, it does take typically about an hour to build this out together. But I am really excited to have collaborated with you all on something that's really fun. I'm gonna pop my email in the chat in a moment. You can also reach out to me at Beekeeper Group. You can go to our website and find out more about us. But I am excited to have shared these core concepts and ideas with you all today. Are there any other questions or anything else before we wrap up here? If you send me an email, I will give you this deck. And also a couple of other talking points to sort of backgrounder on how to run this kind of exercise. And some other tips to get people to collaborate on these ideas together. 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Building a Campaign Plan in 60 Minutes Or Less

Building a Campaign Plan in 60 Minutes Or Less

Okay, well, it’s been a couple of minutes, so I’m just gonna go ahead and let’s get started with this so we all have plenty of time to go through this presentation together, So welcome everyone. We are here to talk about the tips and tricks to co-create a strategic campaign content map for advocacy, public affairs, and general marketing efforts. We’ll work together to isolate key terms and messaging points, organize them into a coherent narrative, and align messages to tactics and target audiences. The end result will help break the spell of any strategic planning rut. Join us as the lead. The session is with Alex Dickinson. Alex Dickinson is Senior Vice President and Chief of staff at Beekeeper Group and an adjunct professor at George Washington University. She’s a skilled digital tactician who blends her passion for messaging and content strategy to help organizations advocate for impact.

Michelle Fowler (02:43):

Before joining beekeeper in 2012, she worked at CSPAN, where she helped produce American history TV and other long-form programming. Prior to that, she worked at grassroots campaigns. Alex received her master’s degree from George Washington University School of Median Public Affairs and attended the University of Michigan, for her undergraduate studies. And in addition to her work at Beekeeper Group, she currently teaches digital campaign strategies and digital public affairs at the Graduate school of Political Management, the School of Media and Public Affairs. So, welcome, Alex. Thank you so much for joining us today, and I can go ahead and let you get started.

Alex Dickinson (03:15):

Great. Thank you so much. I am so excited to get to talk to you all today. Can we share my screen?

Michelle Fowler (03:23):

Yep. Adding that now.

Alex Dickinson (03:25):

All right, Excellent. So we have 45 minutes here, and I am going to basically set us on a little bit of a whirlwind. I’m gonna tell you a little bit about what we’re gonna do and give you some tips and tricks to help you break that rut. So to start off with, let me orient you to who I am beyond all of this, if you will. So I work at Beekeeper Group. We are a digital public affairs firm. We don’t work with real bees, although you would be shocked to know how many phone calls we get about hive removal. What I will say though is we work with organizations that understand that their supporters are like metaphorical bees, and it is our job as a beekeeper to try and build a hive to try and manage the buzz around that.

Alex Dickinson (04:10):

Cultivate good honey. I can go on and on with the Bee puns, but I’ll let it be for now. The key idea here is you are a person who is busy. You are a person who’s got a lot going on, and you are buzzing around yourself. And I am here to try and help you give some tools and tactics to break through all of that busyness and try and build an interesting and collaborative strategic plan that can help hopefully help you reorganize your thoughts and set you on the right track. I know this is particularly exciting for a lot of you right now as October is about the time when a lot of people are doing your 2023 planning. So I’m hoping that this can get you in the right mindset to really break through and come up with some awesome things for next year.

Alex Dickinson (04:58):

So, what we’ll cover, what is a campaign plan? How can a campaign plan help you overall? What do you need to create a campaign plan and some easy hacks to help you put it all together? I’m gonna warn you right up front that I’m not gonna make this easy, easy for you because I am gonna ask that we participate, we’re gonna be co-creating a campaign plan for what I think is a really fun and wonky topic. So get ready and buckle up. I’ll be pretty easy on you, though. Should be fun. All right, So let’s define a campaign. I like to talk about campaigns in terms of having a set timeframe. So, in particular, I say a campaign is an integrated approach to communicating with an audience about a topic or event to convince them to do something.

Alex Dickinson (05:47):

That is a really lofty way of saying a campaign is getting certain people to do certain things by a specific time. Now, the reason that I’m orienting us around the concept of campaigns is because it’s a really easy way for you to start to contain some of your broader thoughts and planning ideas. So as you’re set, as you’re setting goals for 2023, as you’re thinking about how to structure everything, going into it with a campaign mindset can be really helpful. Asking yourself, who are the specific people that I need to get to do specific certain actions by that set timeframe? Again, thinking in 2023 planning terms, this could be the whole year, but you’re also gonna wanna think about what are those milestones overall. So again, whatever you can do to simplify things and think in terms of this container of a campaign can be really, really helpful.

Alex Dickinson (06:42):

So, a little bit more about campaigns as you noticed, a campaign focuses on an action, and I think that’s a really critical component here. When we are building people and when we’re trying to motivate people to do things, they wanna feel like they’re participating in something. So the idea of an action gives them something to look forward to. It also gives you the practitioner or the person organizing things behind the scenes. Something to help measure based on something to collect data on. And again, an overall framework to try and move people through what you want them to do. Campaigns have specific audiences. We’ll talk a little bit more about this when we start to d dive in on our audiences today. But the biggest thing that you wanna remember is that you can’t be targeting the general public. I think most of you if you are a quo user, you’re likely someone who has had to parse through audiences.

Alex Dickinson (07:40):

But really any CRM, any tool, any advocacy or public policy space, you understand that there are specific audiences that you’re trying to move to action. This is really important. There can be multiple audiences that you’re targeting, but you wanna make sure that you are getting in the mindset of what’s in it for that specific audience. And as someone who works most of my time in digital public affairs, it’s easy for me to forget about the offline components. But campaigns and the world as it is is an integrated space. There are online and offline, and it’s our responsibility to try and think about unique opportunities to blend and merge those, creating those inline opportunities whenever possible. And this framework can help you really think through those gaps too. And the most important thing is that a campaign ends. And as we are looking to build a plan overall, we are looking at a set timeframe.

Alex Dickinson (08:40):

And this is why I really love the idea of a campaign mindset for any type of planning. Because you remember there is this endpoint and there is a, a stick that you are saying, I am going to stop my activities here. And it gives you a point to reflect on and then build future campaigns from there. So again, it is just an opportunity to force yourself to do that, pause that reflection, and optimize from there for the future. So with our campaign concept well underhand, let’s think a little bit about how campaign plan thinking can help you overall. Now I’m gonna show you some tips and tricks to start to pull wisdom from different teams and start to organize all of these things together. But before we do that, I wanna orient us to some real value here. I often will do these plans with clients, or I will do them with my teammates.

Alex Dickinson (09:34):

And we will take a look ahead at a set period of time and try and think about what’s the story we’re trying to tell? Who are the audiences we’re trying to reach, and what are the things that we can do to get them to do those, to make the progress we need them to make? But I have also found this to be a really, really powerful tool to get buy-in from teammates early on, as any of you who have ever had to present a plan to a boss or a board have ever experienced, you need to have that buy-in. This process is something that you can do in a team setting, so you can get a lot of different people’s input. And when people are involved early on, they’re more likely to say, Yes, I like this, and feel that deeper approval and alignment are already baked into the activity that you’re proposing.

Alex Dickinson (10:22):

It’s also a way to help you delegate your work. So as someone who has been working on delegation for a long time in my life, I can say that once I started to actually do that, it improved things for me. It can be really hard to let go, but a digital campaign plan like this is a great way for you to structure how you cut those off. It’s also a way to help you see if you are missing any parts of your campaign. And when we look at the grid which I’ve been teasing here a little bit already, it’ll make it really clear for you to see where those gaps are. So let’s talk about what you actually need to build a campaign plan. There are four key components. The first one is direction. You need to have a goal and a strategy.

Alex Dickinson (11:07):

We’ll talk about that and how you structure goals and strategies in more detail. But you also need to make sure that you have that purpose. And I’m defining purpose as both your audience and your narrative. Your narrative is the story that moves people through action. And it’s the way that you’re able to capture your audiences. And again, keeping in mind your audiences, not just the general public. There are specific segments here. The thing that most people get the most excited about when they’re talking about plans is the stuff or the messages and tactics that people love to share different words that they think, Oh, why don’t we use this term of phrase? Or, Why don’t we get on TikTok? Those are the cr kind of ideas that can be really helpful as long as you know how they fit in.

Alex Dickinson (11:53):

And this framework can help you fit those things in. And the last important thing to keep in mind is, of course, resources and timeline. So the timeline is both understanding that your campaign ends and whatever plan you’re putting together has that endpoint. But also understanding that there are different resources overall that you might need to get approval on. All right. So without further ado, here’s your secret tool. It is a grid matrix, if you will or what we like to call a campaign content plan. You are going to orient yourself around a goal. You’re going to have your top-level narrative up at the top, and then there are audiences throughout to answer the question, absolutely. I will be sharing these slides with anybody who follows up. And also we’re gonna have a little Bitly link here shortly that will have some of these tools built in there too.

Alex Dickinson (12:49):

So your secret tool here can help you guide and structure everything, and we’re going to co-create a plan together here in a moment. Now, again, as I mentioned before, this is a great way to get buy-in. Back in the pre covid days, I used to literally do these exercises on a wall with post-it notes. I probably should have stock in 3M at this point in time. But again, it’s a possibility to do this as a group activity as we are all going to do it today together reminding yourself that it helps you find the gaps in your thinking, and encourages that creative and critical thinking across different teams. And honestly, it generates some of the best campaign ideas I’ve seen. When you get a room of people or even a hybrid room of people collaborating on one campaign idea, you get some really, really fascinating things.

Alex Dickinson (13:41):

All right, so let’s start. We’re gonna talk about the idea of direction and goals and strategy by applying it to a specific concept here and a specific campaign that we’re going to work to create a plan in 30 minutes. Now, so our direction the goal, what will be different at the end of our campaign. So I’ll introduce the scenario in a moment, but I want you to start thinking about when you hear the scenario, what can we do to make things more integrated? What can we do to change? What does that change look like? And again, thinking about that timeframe component. And similarly, the strategic direction is going to be critical here. Strategy is defined in a lot of different ways. I like to think of strategy as specifically the unique value proposition that you offer and how you can actually direct people to achieve your goal.

Alex Dickinson (14:38):

So the prompt that we’re gonna look at in a moment here will help us do that. But record scratch. You might wonder how we’re getting here. We’re gonna do a campaign plan for something called the Close the Capital Coalition. I’ll read this to you really briefly and can answer questions in the chat as we go through it. So Close the Capital Coalition. Ladies and gentlemen, we are working together to collaborate on a plan for them. They are a nonpartisan coalition that has formed to fight the biggest shake-up of America’s democratic system. Since Congress first met in New York City in 1789, tired of the Washington-centric political model and craving to break the stranglehold on Congress of DC-based special interest groups, The Close, the Capital Coalition is seeking to return the people’s representatives back to their constituents, utilizing collaborative technologies, including online video conferencing.

Alex Dickinson (15:30):

CTC believes that the work of Congress can be more efficiently conducted in each district or state, rather than in the quagmire of Washington dc. You will be shocked to know that this is a sample that was actually created pre-Covid. But I do think that it has there’s been a lot of great proof points. My light turned off, Let me turn it back on for us. That office life, I’m telling you <laugh>. Anyways so the Close the Capital Coalition is who we are creating a plan for today. Let me give you a little bit of background on their mission, and then we’re gonna start to work together here. Okay, So, Grand Mission, immediate closure of the capital building immediately immediate closure of all Washington DC-based member offices, transfer of all staff and facilities to district and state offices members to vote directly from their district or state offices using secure online voting tools.

Alex Dickinson (16:22):

Members are to use in-office video conferencing tools to participate in debates, make speeches, and present resolutions, committee meetings, and hearings to be conducted via public video conference and caucus and party meetings to be conducted by secure and private video conference. The value less travel for members outside the respective states and districts. More time to meet with and work with local constituents reduces access by special interest groups and lobbyists, Significant cost savings to American taxpayers through both the closure of the capital and Washington DC-based member offices, and improves the work-life balance for members who are often forced away from home for long periods. Now, obviously, we are suspending our disbelief for this exercise. So we are going to, again, go back and look at those and try and come up with a goal and a strategy for this. So come collaborate with me in this sheet here.

Alex Dickinson (17:17):

Let me also put the link in the chat. It is a Google sheet. Again, I aim for simplicity. I think that simplicity is the way to go. And I’m gonna share my screen here so we can start to build a goal. All right, so a reminder, your goal is what is different at the end of your campaign. And your strategy is what’s the general direction of your campaign? When I’m building campaign plans, I like to structure goals in this format. So how do I get who? So this is an audience to do what? So I’m thinking about that action by what time? So structuring and formatting things. Your goal in this manner can really force you to actually come up with a solid goal that you can orient yourself to. Does anyone have any ideas for ways to structure that? Please feel free to jump in and write things in the boxes here.

Alex Dickinson (18:36):

I will also share some ideas here, too. So one of the things that this also forces you to do is think through who’s the audience that you’re trying to reach and how can you actually do that? So I am going to say, let’s see. Oh, I see someone maybe. Yep, perfect Congress. Love it. To do what? Closed down. Yeah. Let’s say, oh, 30 days from now. I, you know what? I appreciate how ambitious that is. That is really, really fantastic. Let’s think about it, do other people have thoughts on that? What time should we extend that? Or do we wanna, do we want this, this sucker done by 2023?

Alex Dickinson (19:39):

I’m gonna be honest, I was saying by 2025 in my mind. But okay, one year from now let’s, I, I like it when I’m collaborating with people in this hybrid environment, what I will often do is have them write their ideas underneath there, and then we’ll start to coalesce in there. See a question here and type so yeah, the who to engage on a more personal level with those. Oh, yeah, great. Perfect. so, love it. See, we’re getting some good parking lot notes down here as well. We’re getting some other thoughts. So let’s say orienting ourselves to this rough concept and idea. We are trying to close the US Capitol building by end of next year, by December, we’ll say December 2023. And I will pop that in for us for our goal in a moment here.

Alex Dickinson (20:39):

And the what, obviously closing down, and there are other elements that we can start to structure in there. If when you are doing this process, you are still stumped and you don’t know what that goal is there are some prompts over here that can help guide you. So the first one is, what are your organizational priorities as you’re looking ahead to 2023, what are the things that your organization has as part of their mission, as part of what to add, you know, is a strategic direction for the organization? And how can you build those in? And if you think about what those priorities are, what’s getting in the way of achieving them you have an opportunity as someone building a plan or doing this kind of planning to think about where those gaps are, and then think about how you can overcome some of those challenges.

Alex Dickinson (21:28):

And of course, how, what does success —I’ll even spell success correctly — look like? So trying to actually get people to consider that. Great. Seeing some excellent points getting plopped in there as well. But again, really simple, just trying to focus us on what, what that could look like. So I, I love the ideas that are coming in here. I’m gonna pop us back over to the presentation, and we’re gonna start to think about some of the other components that we have to create here. So we’ll come back to our, our shared spreadsheet in a moment here. So we’ve talked about the direction. Now we need to talk about our purpose. The purpose again is to think about our audience. Who are we trying to get to do something and a narrative? So that narrative is what story will get them to do the thing you want them to do.

Alex Dickinson (22:23):

We all have heard ad nauseam at this point in time, the power of storytelling. But just because we’ve heard it over and over again, doesn’t mean people are doing it correctly. It is our responsibility as people creating plans and trying to organize ideas to harness that and to really focus on how do we tell the right story that moves the right people to action. So when, again, we wanna think about how we move people and how we select the right audiences, we think about what is the person who we can motivate, the person who we can activate, or the qualities of the person that we can activate moving away from the American public. You can think in some broad buckets, but you wanna try and get as granular as possible. If you are confused as to who you should be reaching start throwing names out there.

Alex Dickinson (23:15):

Start percolating and coming up with a random list that might not actually be that random. And then vet those against some of these questions. So why might this audience be relevant to your campaign? And again, the campaign mindset here really helps you hone in on who you might be trying to reach. So once you’ve come up with that list, think about how they could be relevant, how they might influence, and how they might shape it. Then start to think about who is that audience regularly listening to. Do you have the capability to persuade the people they’re listening to? Can you get in front of them in those other ways? Critical questions for you to consider? How and where can you engage with them? Are they online? Do you have opportunities where you can get in front of them in person? Do you have their addresses?

Alex Dickinson (24:01):

Do you have information to contact them in different ways? And that can help you think about how you should deliver those messages to them. So maybe it’s a group that is really gonna thrive with a white paper. Maybe it’s a group that is gonna really love to open their emails. Getting in in that mindset to think about how they’re consuming information can be really, really helpful too. And then, of course, it’s that storytelling component. A narrative here in this context is your messaging structured to meet your goal. So it is trying to think about everything that you capture as an organization, telling your story, sharing your mission, your mission in a broken down model. It’s a helpful way to think about how you can get people engaged. It can make it easy to understand. And this is getting a little bit wonky here.

Alex Dickinson (24:54):

But you wanna aim for cognitive ease over cognitive strain. So the simpler the more straightforward, the better. Really embrace that. Keep it simple mindset. The harder is for someone to read what you’re saying. The more their walls will go up and they will not process the information that you are sharing with them. If you remember back at the beginning when I defined campaigns in that really wonky way it sounded scarier. As soon as I redefined it in a simpler way, I think we all got on the same page. The last thing that you wanna consider is your framing. For our purposes, framing is the context around everything that we’re creating. It’s the overall messaging. For a lot of us, there are going to be there’s going to be noise in the background that we need to be fighting against.

Alex Dickinson (25:42):

And it’s important for us to try and think through how we organize that noise and how our message can cut through that. So let’s collaborate again. We’ll jump back over to our friend. Oh, well, you get to see my daughter now. She’s very cute though, so it’s okay. Let me, oops, hang on, hang on. Let me collaborate with us. And we’re gonna go over to this other tab, the campaign plan tab. All right. So the first thing we’re gonna do here is identify some audiences. We can start to brainstorm some audiences down here. So audience one, audience two, audience three. And it’s important again, to think about your audience because again, we’re gonna orient our overall narrative to these groups and these people. So start to put out who we think could, some people we might wanna be reaching could be here. <Affirmative>. If we don’t come up with three, it’s okay. But we should try and get as specific as we can. Remembering that we are a coalition can be helpful here as well. All right. Love it. One. Oh, voters. Okay. Young people. Interesting. Okay, let’s see if we can get some other ideas here.

Alex Dickinson (27:26):

Environmental groups. Now that’s really interesting. I really like this at Environmental Group. That’s really specific. Yeah. Members of Congress. Ah, all right. Yep. Likely voters, eligible voters. Great. Local legislators. Interesting. Now, that’s an audience that might get a little nipped by this having their members of Congress impeding more on their turf a little bit more than they already do. Or maybe it would open up more opportunities. Yeah, our members for sure. Thank you for embracing the idea person who put our members here. We are the Close the Capital Coalition today. So we, that is who we are at working on behalf of. All right, Fantastic. There’s one major audience that I, and a lot of people love to talk about and love to get the attention of, but I haven’t seen them mentioned here yet. It’s just a good audience to keep in mind. Let’s see. I’ll give people one more minute and see if we get any other further audiences in here. All right, well, we are seeing a little bit of coalescing around some ideas. I think, I think let’s stick with that third audience here, and we’ll make it members of Congress and their staff

Alex Dickinson (29:24):

Cause that’s definitely an audience we’re gonna have to persuade. Yes, we got it. Media and journalists. The press is a really critical place for us to start to think about how we interact with them and what kind of messages we wanna make sure to persuade there. I think that’s always important for us to not lose sight of love. The tech companies. I think that, so I love when I think about who do we need to motivate for this, tech, companies that create platforms for virtual interaction are gonna be a really, really critical one. They might even be some of our members as part of this coalition. Maybe behind the scenes, well we wanna think about how we can persuade them to join us at least. All right, let’s so one thing that happens when you start to do this is you get to see these little groupings.

Alex Dickinson (30:11):

And we’ll see this when we start to actually build our messages as well. And these groupings that we’re noticing here are sort of special interest groups or people who might have a specific focus. And then there’s also this sort of, not the general public, but people who would have a, a real passion around the topic, an overall idea. So it’s your responsibility if you’re creating this with other people to try and find the patterns and to pull those patterns together. So I’m gonna go ahead and use my authority as our project master here say that the second one is going to be special interest groups and slash potential members as well. And we can have I think note there might be some overlap here, environmental groups, tech companies. All right. And I’m gonna go ahead and wrap my text here.

Alex Dickinson (31:13):

All right. And then the other audience that I am gonna be really interested in here, of course, are likely voters, engaged folks perhaps as well. All right, So your audience is established now. Let’s move on and think about our narrative. The first thing that we wanna think about is the hook, the background, and the action. So the key idea here is you want something that introduces your audiences to the core idea. So as an organization, oh, and let me actually plot our goal up here so that we at least have this. I always find it really critical to make sure that you have your goal visible when you’re building your campaign plan so that as you start to build everything else out, you’re always referring back up to this. And this also helps you see how your audiences fit under that goal, and then how your narrative can structure next to it as well.

Alex Dickinson (32:21):

All. So the hook for us I’m gonna go ahead and just sort of predetermining a hook just because I think that I wanna get our, our wisdom of the room in other places. So I’m gonna say that our hook here is oops, I put it in the wrong place. A modernized Congress saves time and money for the American people. A really great simple message. You want something that grabs people as much as you can, and you want to try and motivate them to learn more. Something that gives them the what’s in it for them. So saves money for time and money. Everybody wants those things saved. The background, this is gonna often be the more specific numbers or the persuasion points, the things that are going to get people really excited about everything.

Alex Dickinson (33:15):

So I’m gonna just go ahead and say for our purposes here are the numbers that prove the closing, that prove closing capital will save your constituents’ money and taxes. This is a little bit of a Congress angle right now, but I think it’s still helpful. And I think the last one is just given the context of where we are today, the action. So you wanna give people something to do. Obviously, some of that’s gonna come out as we start to pull through tactics. But for our purposes, I’m gonna say act now on lessons learned from COVID. So this is just giving people that call to action and understanding that the actions below that are going to start to build out further. So I’m gonna take us back to our deck, and then we’ll come back to our friend here and start to build in some ideas. So one moment. Alright.

Alex Dickinson (34:17):

So the next thing that you have to create when you are building this kind of campaign plan is the messages and the tactics. Again, remembering that you’re trying to focus as much as possible on your audiences. You’ve oriented this to your overall goal, You know, how you’re structuring this. And just sort of mapping things in there together can start to really pop up with cool ideas. So one thing that you’re gonna wanna make sure your message you’re adding in are messages. So what messages will persuade people to take action? And you wanna pair those messages with specific tactics. When I’m doing this in person, I have two different colored post-it notes and I have people write their messages on pink post-it notes and their tactics on green post-it notes, or the other way around whichever we define it ahead of time.

Alex Dickinson (35:04):

And here, I like to just have color coding and have people start to plot by ideas and messages and tactics that align to the audience and where they are in the narrative arc. And the idea here, again, is it forces you to think through how do I talk to that audience and make sure that I’m communicating on those specific elements. The other side of this is, of course, your timeline. By what points in time do you need to show what kind of progress? So one thing that we haven’t mentioned throughout this yet is metrics. And I encourage you to think about a timeline, not as the drop dead date for things to get done, but as the moments and milestones that you can measure your key performance indicators that you can see how things are going, that you can get that pulse check and see what the progress looks like.

Alex Dickinson (35:49):

You don’t need to build that into this plan itself, but when you start to extrapolate this and share it with people, it’s helpful to have those notes. And of course, as you start to come up with the tactics, in particular, you wanna think about what kind of resource you have on the back end. So do you have the budget to do this? If you don’t have the budget to do this, what are some low-budget ways that you can structure this? Or how can you actually build this out as well? This is something where, when I’m doing this with clients, I’m often in problem-solving mode and trying to think about some really interesting ways to take those ideas and build them out in different ways. So all of these things, your messages, your tactics, your resources, your timeline, again, all in service of that core audience.

Alex Dickinson (36:32):

Just remember to go back to your purpose here. So when you think about the tactics you are trying to drive people to take some sort of action, that action is going to come out in the brainstorming process. People love this. People love the tactics part. Actions are just big tactics. So you’re trying to think about what a call to action is, and you wanna think about what are the big things that you can get people to do. Remember that in a campaign, you can have many actions as long as you have the bandwidth to do that. And this is the place where you will get the most inspiration and collaboration from people. The last thing that I love to encourage people to do is to focus on the task at hand. So what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna pop back to our sheet and spend three minutes just mad dash collaborating on ideas, messages, and tactics that align to audiences and narratives.

Alex Dickinson (37:26):

You wanna brainstorm as many tactics as possible. You wanna brainstorm as many messages as possible. You wanna figure out where there’s overlap, ultimately figure out where there are gaps, and determine if the gaps need to be filled. That’s the work of the person who’s processing this afterward. And then, of course, focus on your strengths. We’ll go back one last time to our, our handy dandy spreadsheet here. All right, so this is where it’s gonna get real fun. We may wanna create some more parking lots here over here if you want. But I would love for people to start to just plop in over here what they think a good message and a good tactic could be to persuade likely voters and engaged activists that a modernized Congress saves time and money for the American people. Similarly, you can start the brainstorming in any one of these different verticals here, the hook, the background, the action, or across any audience.

Alex Dickinson (38:26):

So let’s take two minutes and start to plop some, some things in there as you’re putting things in. Again, you can put some notes over in different columns if you want to, and then we can start to copy-paste them in. Or you can feel free to go ahead and add in new rows. You all have edit access to this spreadsheet here today. I will go ahead and share a couple of messages that I think are really helpful and valuable. So act now on lessons learned from covid, but, for example, is that action to members of Congress and staffers. So one message that I’m gonna share here, your time is better spent at home with your constituents and families. So just really building in on that, that heartstrings. Again, this is where that storytelling power comes into play. You wanna think about what builds that emotional connection.

Alex Dickinson (39:19):

What is the kind of authenticity that can get people excited? Maybe similarly I might think about that background here. So if, if, if that’s where I’m ending, what are some other big pulse points that I wanna share with people? Maybe something like this, Congress spends $2 billion of taxpayers’ dollars on office space. That’s a lot of money. So again, thinking about the debt sort of background, how do you structure it there? Love it. Stay at home and outta the swamps. See, we’re getting some really good ideas out here. More time at home with your families, more FaceTime with your constituents. Perfect. More time to engage. Now, the one thing that we’re missing right now is specific tactics. How do we get some of these things in front of people? So maybe it’s a testimonial from a family member of a, well, we’ll go with Nancy Pelosi right now who misses, misses their time with grandma. And we wanna make sure that that grandma’s getting that FaceTime will still being able to to be the speaker of the house. So thinking in those kinds of terms and what are the actions that can tie to some of those messages?

Alex Dickinson (40:42):

Would love to see other actions in things here. Love it. Perfect. Reduce carbon congress’s carbon footprint. That’s fantastic. And that really speaks to that environmental group angle here too. Yeah, a child who misses a parent, definitely pull on those heartstrings, get people to feel in the pain. One thing that you might do for staffers over here, I’m gonna just insert a line here. Distribute sample project plan to move so that they understand how it could actually happen to make it real for people. Now I know we’re in a unique situation where we’re collaborating without seeing each other. We don’t have the opportunity to sort of creatively share. If you were running this exercise with your organization you would wanna make sure that you had breakout sessions so that there could be small group discussions. You do wanna give people the opportunity to brainstorm on their own first and then share those ideas. And it’s our responsibility then, as the people organizing all of this, to start to find where the gaps are and think through how to fit those things in together.

Alex Dickinson (42:03):

Can we add some statistical data that can support our background? Absolutely. I think that’s critical actually. As we start to build out what our, what you’re trying to do that background section can often become really meaty and just have a lot of, a lot of detail, a lot of information and can help really structure things for people. It can also be a great way to build off if you have stats and facts that makes for great content in the future as well. Yeah, previously conduct surveys are actually a survey is a great tactic to even layer in here as well. So maybe in the hook, a modernized Congress saves time and money we haven’t really engaged on with our, our likely voters and engaged activists up here. So maybe surveying to see actually maybe we put that in money over here serving to see if there is an appetite.

Alex Dickinson (43:04):

All right. So we have done some collaboration. I’m loving a lot of what I’m seeing over here in our our parking lot over there. I think it’s really critical. I am going to bring us home here and feel free to keep collaborating. We can pop back into it at the very end if we want to as well. But I am just going to remind us that this is a a way to demystify what is often the pain of planning. And when we think about a campaign structure, it helps us focus our thinking. It helps us give us guide points through which to structure, how we’re talking to people who we’re talking to, and the messages and tactics that we’re using. And it is again, this collaborative, fun way to bring people together.

Alex Dickinson (44:03):

So one thing that I do is when I’m running these exercises with my clients I will have someone who is sitting there and listening to everything people are saying and just really rigorously note-taking. Oftentimes it’s those side conversations where you see the most brilliant ideas. Just like in our parking lot, we started to see some really great ideas come up. That’s the kind of stuff you wanna translate and move over documenting your plan as much as possible. So again, having something shared can be really useful. And when you start to evaluate where the gaps are, you wanna think about how do I fit where, what are my strengths? How do I fit this into everything overall? And think back to the available resources in your scope. Of course, you don’t wanna forget to measure your success. So as you start to build out that full plan think about what those milestones are and what those key performance indicators could look like.

Alex Dickinson (44:59):

So that is your initial plan. Of course, it does take typically about an hour to build this out together. But I am really excited to have collaborated with you all on something that’s really fun. I’m gonna pop my email in the chat in a moment. You can also reach out to me at Beekeeper Group. You can go to our website and find out more about us. But I am excited to have shared these core concepts and ideas with you all today. Are there any other questions or anything else before we wrap up here? If you send me an email, I will give you this deck. And also a couple of other talking points to sort of backgrounder on how to run this kind of exercise. And some other tips to get people to collaborate on these ideas together.