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Greenpeace’s Quit Coal Campaign E-mail

June 1, 2011

I got an e-mail titled “I need your help” yesterday from Greenpeace and it’s about their ongoing Quit Coal campaign.

The e-mail addressed my name and it’s from Greenpeace’s Executive Director Philip Radfordtor. Radfordtor started with his mother’s cancer and corporations proposed building waste incinerators in his neighborhood when he was 16. Then he said with Greenpeace’s help they finally made the proposal fail. Right after his personal story it’s a hyperlink which says “Today there is a bigger threat to our communities’ health — pollution from coal plants. Now more than ever, communities need our help. They need your help, today.” The link sends people to the campaign’s donation page. The page is very simple and has a clear goal- ask  people to donate. On this page, they state Coal-fired power plants kill as many as 34,000 Americans a year — that’s one life every 15 minutes. It has to stop. It’s a brief introduction but it’s also very strong because it uses data to demonstrate the harm coal has brought to us. And it’s short enough to allow people to read the whole piece. Following comes with donation information and suggests specific amount of money people can donate.

Throughout the e-mail, people can clearly find four hyperlinks which are all highlighted and leading to the same donation page mentioned above. People can also see a big blue button says “Please Donate” which also leads to the donation page on the right top of the e-mail.

I think it’s an effective e-mail because it has an appealing personal start to get people’s attention and keep them continue to read the following donation information.  More importantly, the e-mail clearly states their needs and is very actionable.

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Readings 4

June 1, 2011

Katie Harbath’s article “Trend to Watch in 2012 – The Rise of Mobile” talks about how to and why should people actively use mobile in campaigns. Harbath points out people should quit thinking mobile is only about text messaging and it doesn’t raise money in campaigns. Even though FEC recently decided that campaigns can’t do fundraising via text massages, Harbath still thinks if there’s a one-click pay method, which also should meet FEC’s requirements, mobile could be very useful for political donations just like last year Amazon already had $1 billion purchases via mobile phones.

Undeniably, text massaging is very important in campaigns, but it can’t be only about that. Harbath suggests people need to expand their views on mobile using in campaigns because now it’s more about mobile browsing and all kinds of apps. She uses one of Morgan Stanley’s estimates to point out smartphone is a trend and then uses data from their National Republican Senatorial Committee Web site to demonstrate the site traffic from mobile is obviously on the rise since the launch of an iPhone app in May 2010.

In the article, Harbath mentions her experience at NRSC using pushes to their iPhone app subscribers is very effective especially towards the end of election. She suggests people should take advantage of how useful pushes are nowadays. For instance, pushes could be silent so they won’t annoy the receiver. Also, pushes are able to provide links to allow people to take action within the app.

Another piece of advice Harbath offers in the article is to customize your campaign Web site for varies mobile devices and test different versions of mobile pages to figure out what works best for visitors.

Michael Stein and Katrin Verclas’ strategy guide “Using Mobile Phones in Advocacy Campaigns” also talks about using mobile to promote campaigns. Case studies around the world in this guide suggest that we can adopt varies practices such as SMS, ringtones, short codes, fundraising and forward-to-a-friend to make the most of mobile promoting.

Here are some useful tips offered by experienced campaigners in the article:

  1. Send out follow-up text massages at the end of each campaign;
  2. Remind people to forward the massage to their friends;
  3. Text massaging copy must be brief;
  4. Only send out massage when you have a specific, actionable item to communicate.

The guide also offers a list of lessons learned about best using mobile campaign at the end. Here are the lessons and some takeaways:

  1. Understand your audience. People need to custom the campaign content for mobile audience and do some research to find out if the targeted audience are ready for it.
  2. Work with a mobile vendor. A mobile vendor can help with all the technology problems to ensure the promoting goes well.
  3. Plan your mobile strategy early.
  4. Have a clear call to action. This is the most effective way to get people involved in the campaign.
  5. Identify your needs.
  6. Get creative. Be open to experimentation and also be honest to the audience that you’re still in the trial phase with this campaign tool.
  7. Gather as much data as possible. Gathering data can help to understand what work and see the progress over time.
  8. Share your date.

Readings 3

May 25, 2011

Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody is really well written and fun to read. The book has a wealth of interesting case studies and examples engagingly illustrating how the Internet has affected people’s social interactions.

Shirky begins the book with an interesting example that how people collaborate online to trace back a lost phone in New York City to illustrate how social communities form and actually work and why they can be so powerful if used effectively. Then he covers Flickr, Wikipedia, Meetup and the like to discuss the natures of these sites and tools and the key factors that lead to their success.

One of the key takeaways from the book is the bulk of work can be done by a small fraction of highly-active participants in an online community. Shirky uses Wikipedia’s example that the majority of effort comes from a relatively small and more active group to argue his point. The power of social media is they can connect like-minded people to communicate in an effective way and make a difference that’s not even possible or too hard to achieve before the Internet age.

All in all, Here comes everybody is a great read for anyone who wants to know more about today’s dynamic Web technologies in a non-technical way. Shirky addresses all the key points that how and why the current Internet tools work and the way they affect our life.

An ongoing campaign to save a killer’s life in China

May 23, 2011

There’s an interesting but also sad online and offline campaign happening in China right now.

Junfeng Xia, a street vendor in a city in northeastern China, last June was sentenced to death for killing two City Administration and Law Enforcement officials as he was being violently beaten by them. Violence by officials from City Administration and Law Enforcement has existed for a long time and becomes increasing frequent and intensive in Chinese cities.  People who believe Xia’s conviction was unjust called on a campaign through Sina microblog, a Chinese version of Twitter, to overturn the intentional homicide ruling and spare him from execution.

The campaign is pretty simple, which only asks people sending postcards to the judge who is reviewing Xia’s case and posting a picture of the postcard through their microblog. Tufu, a human rights activist in China, first started the campaign on his blog, microblog and Twitter on May 15th.  The goal of this campaign is to get 10,000 postcards with people signing their real name on the card. Hopefully the postcards will  put pressure on the court’s final decision and may eventually save Xia’s life.

Readings 2

May 23, 2011

“The trick is to be everywhere, with tightly targeted messages. “

Josh Koster’s “Long Tail Nanotargeting” introduces specific methods to conduct targeted online advertising effectively. The idea stemmed from the popular “Long Tail” theory, which basically says the property of online audience is that they’re “extremely fractured.” That’s why general broadcasting ads won’t be as effective as targeted advertising in today’s fast-changing digital world.

In the article, Koster concludes that “long-tail nanotargeting takes those little gems—be it an endorsement, video, news story, or ask—and shows it to the people who would care.” Therefore, the key to long tail nanotargeting is to broadcast the persuasive message to the right niches instead of chasing a wide audience blindly.

So how to identify the right niches is the most significant step for this type of advertising. geographic targeting, demographic targeting and keyword targeting. Koster emphasizes people need to carefully distinguish between persuasion and acquisition niches. The former one “must first identify the most persuasive content available, then figure out who is most likely to be persuaded” and the second one needs to identify who you want to reach and then find a way to acquire them.

An interesting and a little scary fact from the article is the psychological phenomenon called source amnesia, which means people would remember the so called facts but failed to remember the source of this piece of information.

Additionally, a psychological phenomenon called source amnesia is an interesting but also scary fact from the article, which means people would remember the so called facts but failed to remember the source of this piece of information.

Lastly, Koster emphasizes long tail nanotargeting is “a very slow burn.” It takes time to collect data and be more accurate. Considering their respective characteristics, he also thinks Google and Facebook are more built for this type of advertising compared to local newspapers.

The Google article used a campaign on embryo donation as example to argue that online advertising is a useful tool to raise awareness and raise money comparing to traditional media campaign. The article illustrates that this type of advertising is effective, especially when the campaign is on a budget.

Josh Koster and Tyler Davis’ “Nanotargeted Pressure” article talks about the campaign targeting the CNN staff and the staff of other news outlet. It’s also another great example of the long tail nanotargeting theory. It’s quite impressive what the ads have achieved during such a short period of time and on a relatively small budget.

Readings 1

May 18, 2011

I have very limited knowledge of politics campaign in the States so the readings for this Wednesday seem very interesting to me.

Online Politics 101” introduces various online advocacy methods using cutting-edge tools such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and online advertising and how each method works best in a given setting. It gives hands-on advice on how to promote political candidates and policies, raise public awareness on particular issues and fundraising. Colin Delany, the author of the book, emphasizes that people should bear “integration” in mind all the time when using all different online tools and tactics. He advises that not only online advocacy methods should be treated as an integrated subject but they also should be integrated with offline advocacy organizing.

A useful tip Delany gives in “Online Politics 101” is to build a findable Web site. A good URL is preferably memorable instead of only being short. It’s a very simple trick but people constantly forget or still don’t know. Also, the design and structure of Web site is significant. Label the buttons on the site clearly is another simple but useful tip Delany offers in the book, “if you’re working on forestry issues, it can seem clever to call your resources section The Woodshed, but your readers don’t want clever — the want to find what they’re looking for.”

Delany recommends using splash screen to encourage email signups, donations or volunteer, which I personally don’t like that much when I’m browsing the Internet. I see these pop-ups annoying and redundant, and also am not sure how these sites are going to use my e-mail address.

The advice on bloggers is interesting to me. ”Online Politics 101” recommends “treat bloggers as journalists because they ARE journalists.” I remember we had a discussion on the same topic in one of my journalism classes one year ago. Now it seems even wiser to treat bloggers are the ones “just happen to have a particularly cheap printing press.”

Dr. Alan Rosenblatt’s 3-Dementional campaign article introduces online politics in three dimensions.

1-D Strategies: “Increasingly, the challenge is to rise above the noise to deliver campaign messages to voters is not just about delivering the right message packaged the right way, but to deliver the message in a respectful way, a way that will be received positively. “

The audience has a preferable platform to receive the campaign message, so the key for campaigners is to find this respectful to deliver the news.

2-D Strategies: “So the key to the second dimension of online advocacy and political campaign strategy is to make sure all campaign messages and content are in some way actionable and that the action is one click away.”

The key takeaway for me from this dimension is people actually expect campaigners giving them chances to make contributions to the activities, so they should seize the opportunity and ask for what they are expecting.

3-D Strategies: “In a world where the power of the people is enabled as it is by digital and mobile networks, campaigns have to adjust how they view their supporters. Rather than viewing them as message receptacles and followers to organize, campaigns have to treat supporters as strategic partners.”

Online campaign is about engagement and communicating with the voters is the way to engage people get involved in the campaigns.

All in all, these three dimensional characteristics should be seen as a whole and be integrated with each other in each campaign.