Public Affairs Strategy of the Obama Campaign: Case Study


Mike Smith (@smittypa), Smith Green PR, talks about his work on the Obama Campaign and the months leading up to US presidential election at PRSA international Conference in San Diego.

01:01 — How citizen journalism and viral communications worked to advance the Obama Campaign. A discussion of the boot camps which were held by the Obama campaign to energize the base, communciate the message and the campaign trail from Iowa to Virginia.

O2:07 — His experience canvassing door-to-door in freezing cold weather in Iowa. The single biggest lesson this 27-year-old public relations person learned from the campaign and the importance of putting the voter first.

02:56 — Sacrificing the niceties of PR and creating bonds with voters based on a working knowledge of each voter’s background.

03:29 — Rather than focus on communicating directly with everyone, the Obama campaign’s strategy, which identified and focused on the influencers within their communities, and leveraged their support to achieve broader outreach.

04:33 — Why the Iowa caucus is so significant in US presidential elections.

06:14 — How the Obama campaign was able to attract and organize so many volunteers, and why the Des Moines Register was more important than The New York Times.

07:24 — Working with field organizers and how the Obama strategy focused on getting college students back from Christmas break in time to vote.

08:24 — Fifty million in one month was an all time record for fund-raising on the Internet, and since it came from mostly $100 donations, the campaigns populist message was drawn from the micro-payments story.

Special video excerpt from this audio podcast interview with Mike Smith. 

09:26 — The role of Blue State Digital and the Web team on the Obama Campaign, and how they mobilized the enthusiasm of their social media followers.

10:16 — Learning to Tweet from Craig Newmark (featured in a previous episode of this podcast) and integrating Twitter into the Obama Campaign.

11:04 — Craig Newmark’s advice on determining who to follow, and a little know fact about Craig’s political allegiance.

13:13 — Self-identification on social networks with respect to political affiliations and whether or not that is or is not a good idea from a professional standpoint for public relations and public affairs practitioner.

14:05 — Determining how and when to disclose one’s political preferences in an online social environment. Where does my life end and the corporate life begin?

15:11 — Wrestling with how much disclosure and transparency is appropriate on the Internet with social networking tools. 

Photo by History in HD on Unsplash

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