TechBytes: Dems Plan to Take Virginia Model Nationwide, Plus Good Reasons to Boost Your Facebook Marketing Budget


While I’ve been working on the next Technology Bytes column for Campaigns and Elections magazine this past week, the previous one went online (the print version of the magazine shipped a couple of weeks ago). This issue, we’re talking about:

  • Now Democrats plan to take the data-driven outreach model that helped them win the Virginia governor’s race in November nationwide, a topic you’re going to hear a lot more about
  • The need to plan for a pay-to-play Facebook marketing environment
  • How the power of social validation argues for building a Facebook following early

Check it out! BTW, when’s the new column coming out? We go to press next week, so subscribers can expect the magazine in their mailboxes in 4-6 weeks.


Add comment March 1st, 2014 Trackback

Catching Up

Hi folks, sorry for the recent content shortage — I’ve been swamped with work and other commitments pre-South by Southwest and had to let the site rest for a bit. One adventure last week? An all-morning training for government relations professionals on Monday, which gave me a couple of chances to talk digital advocacy with people I like. For instance, in the picture below, Henri Makembe (Beekeeper Group) and Julie Germany (DCI Group) and I are discussing the strengths and weaknesses of email for political advocacy:


Good times, and a true pleasure to get to hear what they had to say. BTW, if you missed the article a few days back, check out the key online advocacy trends I’m keeping an eye on, which got its start while I was prepping for that training. And, now that the dam’s broken, look for more articles to follow in the next few days.


Add comment March 1st, 2014 Trackback

Visualize Dark Money: Interactive Map Shows Senate Races that Drew Undisclosed Political Cash in 2012

One of the lovely quirks of our political finance system is the role of “dark money” spent by organizations that DON’T have to disclose their donors. Where does it go? Thanks to a MapLight analysis of Federal Elections Commission data, we can see the Senate races that these “dark” organizations emphasized in 2012. Check out the map embedded below, and be sure to play around with it: clicking on a state, for instance, brings up a list of groups and their expenditures in that state. For 2014, look for “dark money” to flood again into competitive Senate (and House?) seats across the country. If money is speech, these folks have an awfully loud megaphone….

Learn About Tableau


Add comment February 21st, 2014 Trackback

Three Key Online Advocacy Trends to Watch in 2014

What are the big developments to watch in online advocacy? That question is very much on my mind: Monday I’ll have the privilege of leading a digital strategy training for public affairs professionals, and I’ve been pulling slides together and getting ready to handle some smart questions. So here are three key trends that I’m following closely in 2014:

Data-Driven Targeting = Individually Targeted Media

More and more, political advocates are learning the power of TARGETED communications with their supporters, with potential advocacy partners and with the actual targets of their advocacy work. Once-exotic animals like cookie-targeted online ads now get their fair share of attention, but advocates can employ data to direct their outreach in other ways as well.


Add comment February 21st, 2014 Trackback

Did Big Data Win the Virginia Governor’s Race?

The November/December issue of Campaigns & Elections is now fully online, including a new edition of Technology Bytes! The big story this time around: an inside look at the role of Big Data in the 2013 Virginia election, including the all-important “voter data feedback loop.” Canvassing, phonebanking and advertising all played a role, but data was in the driver’s seat when it came to targeting each of these channels — read the article to get plenty of juicy details.

Also in TechBytes: fundraising around the government shutdown (a good example of NOT letting a crisis go to waste, and crowdfunding nets Paul Ryan (another) challenger. Check it out.


Add comment February 20th, 2014 Trackback

Wow! ‘Winning in 2014′ Ebook Testimonial/Success Story

Ebook: How to Use the Internet to Win in 2014

This from an email that dropped in this morning:

This is Tkeyah Lake, I’m a senior at the University of Baltimore, graduating this May with my Bachelor’s of Science in Corporate Communication.

I read your book, How To Use the Internet To Win in 2014, from cover to cover and you inspired me — I’m now the Digital Media Director for a Congressional campaign in VA-8 on behalf of Derek Hyra. I used some of what you suggested and we saw spectacular growth on Facebook and Twitter within less than 24 hours of officially launching.

So awesome to read — it’s great to know that the book is actually making a difference. Thank you Tkeyah, and good luck! Keep us posted on how your race goes.





Add comment February 19th, 2014 Trackback

Listen Up! Netroots Nation Panels Are Due Wednesday

Procrastinators (like me), get off your butts: Netroots Nation panel proposals are due Wednesday, February 19th. Submit your ideas here, and note that the conference organizers will be holding “office hours” via a Google Hangout tomorrow to answer any last-minute questions. Get a move on! I’ll see you in Detroit this summer. And sorry, Republican friends — this one’s Lefties-only.


Add comment February 18th, 2014 Trackback

Simple Search Engine Optimization Techniques for Non-Profits and Political Campaigns

Another guest article from our friend Laura Packard with PowerThru Consulting! This time she’s talking about Search Engine Optimization, but you can also check out her past articles. This piece first appeared on the PowerThru Consulting blog, and you can also learn more about the topic in the Online Politics 101 chapter on SEO.

Simple Search Engine Optimization Techniques for Non-Profits and Political Campaigns

By Laura Packard

improve your search engine resultsSay you’re launching a new political campaign or organization. What’s the first way people will try to find you? They’ll go to their trusty search engine and type in your name. It’s critical that your official website shows up in the first page of results, in the top few choices above the fold if possible. How do you make that magic happen? Here are some search engine optimization tips that will help you land at the top of the heap.

To step back a bit, Moz has a great in-depth guide to how search engines work and how to optimize your results. This post is a much more abbreviated work.

Search engines use several factors to determine the ranking of results, but these are the main ones you can control:

  • Use keywords in your URL(s)
  • Use keywords on your pages
  • Get as many quality links to your site as possible
  • Tell Google about your site, so that it is completely indexed

Also remember that search engine optimization is a process. There is no magic bullet that will capture you the #1 slot in a day. For that, you’re going to need to spend some $ on Google Adwords to get in front of your audience. (This is a good idea anyways for most campaigns and organizations, but especially if your search results are not where you want them to be.)


3 comments February 18th, 2014 Trackback

Top Ten Progressive Advocacy Facebook Posts (2/10 to 2/17/2014)

Check out last week’s top 10 over-performing Facebook posts, from the (roughly) 400 progressive groups followed by our friends at CrowdTangle. Of note this week: lots of new folks on the list.

If you’re reading this article via email, click over to the version, where the individual posts below are embedded on the page for easy reading.

1. UNITE HERE! (517.5x)



1 comment February 17th, 2014 Trackback

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