One of the best ways to stay current on the latest technology available to help communicators is to take a test drive and kick the tires. It can be pretty time consuming to join demo sessions from individual vendors, so when TogoRun had the chance to attend an Internet Advocacy Roundtable event about “New Tools in Advocacy and Public Affairs” we jumped at the opportunity. The event was hosted by the Internet Advocacy Center and Alan Rosenblatt. Attendees included representatives from non-profits like the United Way Foundation and The 1 in 3 Campaign, technology vendors like Turntech, and other groups working in advocacy and public affairs.
The roundtable began with a panel of vendors discussing and demonstrating their innovative products, followed by a discussion of ways these tools can be useful for communications campaigns across different industries. During the event, we learned more about the following new products:
Shareprogress is a tool that provides analytics on social sharing and clear data on what motivates people to share content. The solution has a testing feature that helps users determine which subject lines and online content may make the most online progress (i.e., generate the most “shares”). For example, the demo showed three different email subject lines used to highlight the same content, and the system’s analytics capabilities provided information on which led to the most action taken by the receivers of the emails. For communicators, having a better understanding of your audience means better, more targeted and more actionable messaging.
Corporate Action Network (CAN) is a tool for individuals and small groups to organize online. Features include setting up petitions, creating and promoting events, fundraising, sending mass emails and other actions for easily creating advocacy campaigns. Based on the demo, it appeared easy to use, as one is able to create a campaign profile and preview what the webpage will look like when public. CAN’s Jason Rosenbaum explained that this user-friendly network allows anyone the ability to get into the program and run with it without any training.
Clarity and Rigour, LLC: This very new product turns data into shape files, which allow visualization of data in a new and innovative way. Geographical information can be turned into shapes and overlaid on a map to discover trends and opportunities. We see potential for this type of technology, particularly within healthcare communications and advocacy. Some examples of the product’s uses included visualizations of areas an ambulance can reach in a specific amount of time, or visuals of which regions lack reproductive health services. The ability to access data—and visual data, to boot—could help communicators frame even more compelling news pitches and stories for readers.
Frakture, dubbed “your engagement platform,” is a new tool that seeks to solve the ever increasing problem of communicating over a vast number of channels that are not connected to each other. The platform allows you to organize and analyze all your campaign channels somewhat like Hootsuite but for grassroots advocacy.
A rich discussion followed the panel presentations and identified ways organizations can bring these tools together and how they can be useful within different fields. These tools seek to solve the latest dilemma for communicators and innovators: with new innovations being pushed out all the time, how does one know who is seeing, sharing, and influencing the space based on a message and channels? In other words, with so many channels pushing a message, how does one sort through all the content and know what is working well? These tools seek to add value to those existing systems by creating an ecosystem where the data is communicating and working to create the best possible results based on organizations’ strategic and tactical needs.