Organising Campaign Group

Whilst every campaign group may choose to organise itself differently the main format by which you will coordinate your activists is by holding regular meetings. Regardless of whether these meetings are weekly, fortnightly or monthly the regular meetings of your new campaign group will be the mechanism by which your activists come together and work on the campaign. Your regular meetings may aim:
• To discuss and generate campaign ideas • To agree decision making • To communicate with your members and your committee • To monitor and evaluate the progress of your campaign • To carry out administrative duties • To organise or evaluate a specific event
There are generally four types of meeting which a campaign group will regularly hold, however these are very dependent on the size of your group and the longevity your campaign.
• General meetings General meetings are the staple, regular meeting open to all activists and supporters. This meeting gives the committee or the main organisers an opportunity to communicate and consult with members regarding new developments, news or upcoming events. These are the meetings that may be used for planning large events or for discussing and debating strategy and goals. It is often wise to vary these meetings to keep them interesting for your activists. This may entail inviting guest speakers who are relevant to the topic or by showing films. If your campaign group is small, it is wise only holding these sort of meetings until you have enough activists for specific teams or an elected committee.
• Committee meetings If you have an elected committee or a central core of campaign coordinators, then it is advisable to hold smaller regular meetings where administrative matters can be discussed and strategy can be debated before being presented to the rest of the campaign group at general meetings. It is important to hold these meetings prior to general meetings to give committee members the opportunity to report any developments to the activists. It is also important to increase the frequency of these meetings in the run up to large events such as a debate, a recruitment drive or an action week.
• Team meetings Depending on the structure of your campaign group you may delegate specific roles to a team of activists, such as a media team. If so it is important that this team meet regularly, with their committee member to lead and organise their area of the campaign. The actions of these meetings can then
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be reported to the committee and in turn to the assembled activists at general meetings.
• Annual General meetings
An AGM is a large open meeting scheduled once a year and is an opportunity for the committee to report the campaigns progress from across the year and to discuss and debate strategies for the year ahead. This is also an opportunity to hold annual committee elections that should be organised by the secretary and the chairman.
Conducting a meeting: agendas
An agenda is a simple way to organise your meetings, it gives a clear guide for activists to follow and makes it easier for the secretary to record minutes. An agenda should include the following categories:
• Apologies for absence: Anyone who should be present but could not be. • Minutes from last meeting: Attached so they can be recognised as a fair and accurate record of the previous meeting. • Matters arising: This is where any actions decided in the previous meeting should be noted and reviewed to make sure they have been carried out. • Committee updates: A series of short reports from committee members detailing the progress of their campaign area • Agenda items: Anything that has been agreed to be discussed at this meeting normally set by the secretary after consultation from committee and opportunity for input by activists. • Any other business: Open the meeting to the floor, an opportunity for anyone to raise anything that has not already been discussed. • Date and time of next meeting.
Your first meeting
The first, inaugural meeting of your campaign group is going to have to inspire and motivate your new activists and so requires a significant level of thought and planning. Your main aims for the first meeting should be to bring your activists together, to empower them and inspire them. This sounds like a tall order but to succeed you need only remember a few simple points.
• Create a welcoming environment This is one of the golden rules you should bare in mind throughout your campaign. Running a campaign is not like running a company, people will not simply do what you tell them to do, you’ll have to persuade them and if people are going to be working together with shared aims and values it certainly helps if they are also friends. A large proportion of your first meeting should be spent getting the activists to know each other, this is especially integral if you are starting with a very small group as you are going to have to rely on each other to keep motivated to avoid becoming disillusioned before you
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develop into a larger group. Achieving this can be straightforward, get your activists talking to each other, and get them to share their experiences and their thoughts for the campaign. Perhaps even tie in a small social event on the same day.
• Introduce your campaign ideas It is at this first meeting that you need to introduce yourself, and your campaign ideas. Don’t simply stand in front of your group lecturing them, if possible be creative, or at the very least ensure you have a variety of speakers. This links into the first point as you open this discussion up to the entire group, welcoming and encouraging everyone’s opinion. It is important for activists to feel that their opinion is worth something to the group and that their suggestions are considered. This gives people a sense of empowerment and inclusion, two vital factors you want to maintain to prevent disillusionment.
• Excite your activists Make sure that your activists have something to be excited about rather then angry about. Depending on the nature of your campaign you should consider holding a small scale event, such as an action day or a small demonstration. This allows people to feel that they are actually doing something positive for the cause, which turns their anger into action for change. You want your activists to leave your first meeting feeling that they are already building towards something positive and that they have joined the right group to achieve their aims.
• Don’t let it end there Remember that meetings are not an end to themselves but rather a tool to achieving the eventual goal. It is important that you follow up your meeting with something like an e-mail outlining what has been agreed as well as the date and time of next meeting. You want people to keep on coming to these meetings, so don’t let them disappear after the first one!
A recruitment drive should be your number one priority if you are to build and develop your campaign group from a small core of activists to a large, effective organisation as previously described. Assuming that you have started with a small group with a modest budget you are going to have to start with the simple, small but effective methods of telling people you exist. The trick is to focus your attention on people who have been affected by your cause or who are likely to share the same experiences as you. If your campaign is against the closure of a local school, then target houses in that school’s catchment area. At this state you do not have the resources or manpower to mount a large marketing campaign, so use what you have sparingly and effectively.
• Action Days
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An action day is the cheapest and most effective way of engaging with the public, collecting contact details, advertising your meetings and recruiting new members. All you need is a few motivated activists armed with some leaflets and a petition who are ready to talk to as many strangers as possible! Often an action day will comprise of a few activists setting up a stall in a busy area, such as a high street, or more strategically at an affected area, such as outside a hospital that is soon to close. It is the activist’s job to engage the public, explain the cause, collect contact details and invite them to your next meeting. More information on how to engage people during your action day can be found in the Campaign Communication chapter.
• Poster Campaigns & letter drops
If your budget is small ensure that any posters or letters you print are used in the affected area, where people will actually read it, understand it and care. The most important aspect is to include your contact details and the date, time and location of your next meeting.
• Website/Social networking sites
The Internet can be a cheap and effective way of reaching a vast amount of people in very little time. If any of your activists are savvy with computers then get them to create a website domain name and register it to a popular search engine, this way people will be able to find you which is far easier you searching for them. (taken from Ben Norman book)

The Journey from Apathy

Before you consider the logistics of actually setting up a group it is important to consider how someone can go from being apathetic, to being a campaigner. Whilst the notion of apathy is itself a debatable term we should define it here as being “indolent of mind”, someone who is unaware and disinclined to join a campaign group. It is reasonable to assume that we all start this way, but there are four stages a person must go through before becoming an “activist.”
1. Experience The first step is experience, something that occurs or an understanding a person has of an event. For the sake of clarity we’ll use the example of a closing leisure centre. The initial step is the experience someone has of that leisure centre and their understanding of the role it plays in the local community.
2. Injustice The next stage is the sense of injustice related to the experience. In our leisure centre example it would be the sudden announcement that the local council are drawing up plans to close the centre and replace it with new homes. Ideally you’ll wish to recruit people who have reached this second stage, people who share the same experience as you and who feel the same sense of injustice. If your campaign focuses on a leisure centre or a hospital then who else has used these facilities and recognises its importance? Or if your campaign is centred on a new construction site, such as a motorway, who else will be effected by it? At this stage people may be angry, but they lack leadership or any avenue to channel their anger. As your campaign grows and as you start recruiting new activists you will have to instil this sense of injustice by sharing your experience. This will be addressed in more depth in the Campaign Communication chapter.
If you can talk to just six people, Who talk to six people … Who talk to six people … Who talk to six people … Who talk to six people … Who talk to six people … By the end you’ve reached … 279936 people
How To Coordinate A Campaign For Change
3. Organisation The penultimate step provides the infrastructure and leadership people need if they are to transform their sense of injustice and anger into some practical, positive action. When establishing a group this is the stage you will start off at. At this stage an organisation is formed which allows people who have been through the previous stages to work together to coordinate their efforts
4. Action Action is the final outcome of the previous steps. Once people have shared experiences, have a shared sense of injustice and have come together in a group or organisation they can start to do something about it, they can take action. This is the final stage and is when somebody is deemed to be an “activist” or a campaigner.
This progression is often best described as an “apathy staircase”3, as it represents four steps that a person will travel, taking them from being “apathetic”, to being an “activist.” It is highly likely that you will have gone through this process yourself if you are considering joining or actively establishing a campaign group. This progression is important to consider from the outset, as you will have to recognise where your potential activists are on this scale and what you’ll have to do to take them the rest of the way.
Structure of a new group
Whilst every campaign group is slightly different there are a few set roles that have to be filled if it is to be coordinated effectively. These central roles should be run by a small committee who form the administrative hub of the group. When you first establish your group it is likely that you will only have enough activists to form a small committee. However, as your campaign grows and attracts new members the structure of your group should grow accordingly to ensure that the campaign can be effectively managed. A well managed group of activists are better organised, better motivated and therefore more likely to achieve their goals.
• The Committee
Every campaign group should have a central committee who fill the following roles. This is not a definitive list, you should consider adding more committee positions as the campaign grows and the amount of activists grows accordingly.
The chairman is usually the founder of the group but this can also be an elected position. This person is responsible for the overall coordination of the committee. However, it is not wise to place total responsibility into the hands
3 The Apathy Staircase, National Union of Students, 2008
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of one individual, it is more effective to run your group democratically, this will be elaborated later. On a day-to-day basis the chairman chairs meetings of the committee and also acts as the group’s main representative to external bodies such as the media.
The secretary’s main responsibility is to coordinate the committee and wider group meetings. The secretary will take minutes to ensure any decisions made are recorded and may organise an up to date contact list of campaigners and wider contacts. This will involve collecting contact details from activists who join your group. The Secretary plays an integral role in coordinating communication between members, ensuring that all activists are kept informed of developments.
The treasurer has one of the more challenging, but fundamentally important roles of the campaign team, responsibility for the groups’ finances. This may include organising fund raising drives and ensuring that budgets are created and upheld when organising campaign events and activities.
Media Coordinator
The media coordinator plays a vital role and may take the lead in organising a media strategy or managing a marketing team, both of which are described in later chapters. The media coordinator takes responsibility, potentially along with the secretary, for coordinating all communication, not only between the committee and campaigners but also between the group and external bodies such as the media. They may also manage any websites or newsletters run by the campaign group.
You may wish to consider adding an event coordinator, or even a social secretary who may be responsible for keeping team moral high. This can be significant to ensure activists do not become disillusioned over time. If your campaign is multi-faceted then you may wish to delegate specific areas of it to smaller teams who feed up to the central committee. For example, you may wish to add a student element to your campaign team if you’re based in an area with a large University. As your campaign committee grow it may start to look like this:
Media Coordinator
Chairman Secretary Treasurer
How To Coordinate A Campaign For Change
As your campaign grows and your structure grows to accommodate it you may aim for a structure like this:
In this model you have specific teams of activists dedicated to activities within the group, such as a fundraising team and a media team. These teams work with their specified committee member who reports back at campaign meetings. Under these teams you have volunteers, these activists are not assigned to specific areas but are involved in logistically organising various events and actions the campaign group may undertake. Under these you have general activists and supporters who may make up the bulk of your support base but may also only turn up on the day of rallies, marches or action days rather than for the organisational meetings. Ideally this structure will allow the activists to dedicate their efforts according to their strengths. It also provides a sound model for transparent accountability and democracy, which should be two fundamental values of your campaign group as well as being key mechanisms for its management. (taken from Ben Norman book)

What is a campaign?

The words campaign and activist are words that can instantly conjure up images of scruffy students wielding homemade placards clothed in well worn Che Guevara t-shirts. Whilst it would be untrue to suggest these people do not exist they certainly don’t have the monopoly over the phrases. Before this book takes you on to the first step of coordinating an effective campaign it is essential that we put these stereotypes to bed and clearly define what a campaign is and who can be regarded as an activist. Both phrases can be defined in a single word: Change. An activist is simply someone who chooses to become an advocate and an agent of change, somebody who recognises an injustice or a problem in the world or in their local community and resolves themselves to play a part in the solution. Being an activist does not entail political affiliation, nor is it the soul intellectual property of any political persuasion, it isn’t a lifestyle choice or a fashion statement it is the conscious choice to change, to make a difference. Similarly the word campaign can simply be defined as a coordinated effort by a team of campaigners, with a set goal and a set strategy it is the process through which an activist can achieve the aim of real, positive change.
There are of course a wide variety of activists and a plethora of campaigns with a range of goals from affecting political change, to saving a hospital, standing against a political decision, to advocating environmental change, indeed your own goals, and the goal of your campaign can be highly personal, completely dependent upon the circumstances in which you find yourself. There are however some constants, factors which hold true regardless of your
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goals such as the need for a strategy, the need for effective organisation, the need to put your campaign on the map and in the local consciousness. These are the factors which the following chapters will seek to cover, these are the black holes in your knowledge which this book will fill, enabling you to coordinate your campaign to its full potential to ensure your swiftly achieve your goal.
The difference between campaigning and raising awareness?
If you ever ask an activist what is the aim of their campaign they will invariably answer “to raise awareness of …” before talking about their cause. Simply put raising awareness is not a campaign. A campaign is a coordinated effort for a tangible objective: change. If you’re not aiming to change something then you’re not campaigning. This is not to say that raising awareness is not a worthwhile exercise, indeed it can be a vital activity within your campaign but it is not a campaign objective onto itself, merely a means to achieving an end.
Forming a campaign group
The start of everybody’s journey into campaigning is different; some people seek out injustices while others have injustice thrust upon them. Your own journey is going to depend entirely on the person you are, your background, and the goals you set yourself. The first step is choosing your cause; clearly this is a highly personal choice and will also be dependent on your circumstances. The first thing for you to consider is, does your campaign centre around a local issue, such as the closure of a hospital, a proposed motorway or even a local election? Or alternatively does your campaign stretch across a regional, or even national level? If it is a national or international concern then there is a strong chance that there may already be an organisation or large campaigning group for you to join. If so you could consider setting up a local branch or helping to build upon what already exists. If no such group exists, or you are perhaps the first to identify the injustice then the task of founding a group may fall to you.
It is inevitable that any group you establish will start small, perhaps you will have only one or two friends and supporters to begin with, but it will grow as you progress with your campaign. It’s vitally important not to become disillusioned early on if vast throngs of people don’t instantly appear to support your cause. Building an effective campaign group can take time, but remember a small group of people can achieve great things. For proof of this you need look no further then Amnesty International. In 1961 British lawyer Peter Benneson penned an article entitled “The forgotten prisoners” calling for the freedom of political prisoners in Portugal. Within months Benenson had turned his publicity stunt into a movement and founded Amnesty International. Today the organisation has over 1.8 million members in 150 countries across the globe2. Since 1961 the organisation has lobbied governments and the 2 Amnesty international, UK 2005 (
How To Coordinate A Campaign For Change
United Nations to broker international human rights treaties and has secured the release of hundreds of political prisoners. One man started all this, simply by identifying an injustice and choosing to do something about it. Who’s to say your group couldn’t be just as successful? (taken from Ben Norman book)

How to coordinate a campaign

The inspiration for this book has slowly matured during my past four years coordinating campaigns and working alongside campaigning organisations, both during and after my time at University. Many believe that activism and campaigning are the soul preserve of the young and the militant, that to be an activist you have to hold far-fetched notions or buy into political dogma. Nothing could be further from the truth. During the past four years I have worked with a wide variety of campaigners, with a wide variety of aims. From student groups fighting against increasing fees, or for fair trade status to wider groups calling for an end to war, to defend human rights, to protect the environment or to safeguard the weak. All of these people share something, it isn’t their aim, nor is it their political persuasion. It isn’t their lifestyle or their fashion sense, it’s not a desire to be different or to stand apart from society, but rather it is their desire for change, real, positive change. It is the fact that they could identify something wrong in their world and they took the conscious decision to do something about it. Young and old, student and lecturer, college pupil and senior citizen all understand that something can be done and all stand together to achieve that aim.
Many people believe that campaigning is not suitable for everyone and that it is simply something that comes naturally to some activists and that some campaign as a chosen way of life or even as a hobby. Once more nothing could be further from the truth, each campaigner has their own unique story of how they became involved in campaigning and the journey this has taken them on. I myself had little intention of ever getting involved in activism or campaigning. Indeed it was a miserable, cold night outside the Students’ Union building where I first met Ryan Cloke a student who had recently helped establish a student campaigning society, Portsmouth Socialist Students. It was by sheer chance that I took a leaflet from Ryan and then attended his first meeting. It was at this moment I that started my journey into the world of campaigning. Over the next three years we coordinated a broad range of campaigns for change both on a local and regional level, but with a national and international focus. These actions started small, first we attended local debates and won before we then started to build our own campaigns, first with a small group of supporters and later forming coalitions with other small student and non-student groups. We organised boycotts of unethical products from our campus, worked to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis in Palestine, and organised a grass roots student led campaign against increasing tuition fees. We, along with an entire new generation of campaigners, also found ourselves involved in national campaigns such as marching though London calling for an end to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq or in cities such as Barking campaigning against the rise of fascism. These years not only taught us valuable lessons in campaigning skills but also
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provided us with an opportunity to research and understand some of the political, ethical and social justice organisations. We ended our years as students and our journey as student campaigners by finding ourselves in the occupied territories of Palestine attempting to discover what life is truly like for people on both sides of the conflict so we in turn could better understand and therefore better communicate their plight to people back home. After University I have worked at that very same Students’ Union where I have written and delivered campaign training to student campaigners as well as coordinated local and regional campaigns on issues such as Free Education. I certainly did not know on that cold, dark, miserable night outside the Union that I would dedicate the next few years of my life to campaigns and would eventually write a book on the subject but that just perfectly demonstrates the journey you can take if only you’re prepared to seize your opportunities. The fact is that once you realise that you can effect change, and once you realise that change is needed you are in no position to stop campaigning.
As campaigners there is one question that we shall always be asked, either by the media or the apathetic bystander, why bother? Are two or twenty, or two hundred or even two thousand people marching, demonstrating or signing petitions on a drizzly Saturday afternoon really going to stop a war, will they be able to bring troops home? For that matter what about the thousands who marched through London to petition the government to address climate change, do they have a chance? If not what about smaller groups, those concentrating on local issues such as closing hospitals, or proposed motorways, what chance do they have? I must answer that question with a thought of my own. What if we didn’t speak out? What would happen if we all fell silent, if we all decided to look away and busy ourselves with our own lives? Whilst this book is written with a clear aim of guiding you to a campaign victory it is not simply the success of a campaign, but the very act of standing up and speaking out which must be judged.
The most vivid example of this can be found in the work of journalist Robert Fisk. In 2002 Fisk interviewed Amira Hass, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor. Hass wrote that in 1944 her mother found herself on a train heading for the Polish concentration camps, one more victim of the Nazi persecution. However, it was not the camps, nor was it the Nazis that her mother remembered most vividly. As Hass states, “When the train pulled into a station my mother saw these German women looking at the prisoners, just looking.” 1It was the sight of these civilian women and how they silently watched the train go that her mother found the most disturbing. The reason for this is as the Holocaust museum in Washington DC states: “Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander”. If the German people, living in a Nazi state with its secret police and its state controlled propaganda can be accused of guilt for staying silent during one of the worst atrocities in history then what does that say about us if we can stay silent about an injustice in our free society? Of course to claim that the actions of any current government are comparable to the crimes of the Holocaust would be a distortion of historical fact. Yet the point remains, if
1 Robert Fisk, “The Great War For Civilisation” , HarperPerennial, (2 Oct 2006)
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we can choose to become bystanders, if we choose to watch and choose to stay silent then we must also take responsibility for whatever our inaction may bring. If we do this we become the guilty and then we are no better then those who stood on the rail side watching the doomed depart for the gas chambers.
In modern Britain we have the freedom of speech, the freedom to stand up without being shot down, the freedom to shout out without being locked up, yet many people choose to say nothing. They stay silent because they do not know what they can do, because they do not know that the power to be positive agents for change lies in their own hands. This book aims to empower those people, to show them that now is not the time to sit silently, but to stand up for your beliefs, to tackle your injustice, and that this is the time to be counted as someone who refuses to stay silent.
We are of course not short of causes in today’s world. Many seasoned or veteran campaigners may like to recall the golden days of activism and campaigns; they recall the peace marches of the 1960’s and 1970’s, or the anti-poll tax campaigns of the 1980’s. Indeed this country has a proud campaigning history and it is because of our history of holding the powerful to account that we have national institutions and achievements such as the National Health Service. However, just because our history is strong does not mean we are any weaker in comparison. In 2003 between two and three million people ranging from war veterans to school children marched together on the streets of London, they stood together for the sake of their conscience and so that history would know that they stood against a war. Similarly during the G8 summit at Gleneagles in 2007 thousands of people flocked to Scotland to campaign against global injustices, to call for human rights, for world leaders to defend the weak and aid the suffering. The world is clearly not a perfect place, but there are people who are prepared to stand up and call for change.
The challenge faced by many thousands of potential campaigners who stand against these injustices is that they do not know what they are campaigning for. They may know what they are trying to protect, or defend and they can be clear about what they are campaigning against but the idea of an alternative can often allude them and this can clearly be seen by the messages they carry and the way they campaign. The media isn’t short of images of people who are “anti-war”, “anti-capitalist” or “anti-fascist”, but it is only the minority of people who know what they are actually for. This is an important consideration for any campaign group, indeed the need for positive campaigning, the need to show that real alternatives do exist and the importance of showing what you are for as well as what you are against is an important topic that I will be discussing in-depth in later chapters of this book.
The single most important lesson that I have gleaned both from my experiences and through the people I have worked with is the need to think globally but act locally. Campaigning is not only about the global issues; it is about the local concerns. It is about injustices that affect an entire community as well as people’s everyday lives. At the time of writing there are several such campaigns in my hometown of Portsmouth. Local elderly residents have
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formed campaign groups to lobby their MP’s and to whip up local support in order to save a local fire station and a hospital, both of which are vital to the community. Before these closures were proposed none of these people had any campaign experience, they did not see themselves as the sort of people who would brandish placards, write to MP’s or argue their cause on national television, and yet they have done all of those things and much more because they knew it was the right thing to do.
As campaigners and as agents for change it is our responsibility to question, to ask why and to work for real, positive, change. It is my sincerest hope that this book can act as your guide, from the moment you identify an injustice or something you want to change, to the moment you establish and coordinate your campaign, right up until you achieve your goal. This will be achieved by guiding you though six key steps of campaigning theory. This theory has been built up over the past few years both through my work and affiliation to many organisations. I have analysed their ethos and values and noted their best practises in order to bring you a comprehensive yet straightforward and engaging guide to coordinating your campaign, regardless of how big or small your goal may be.
Throughout this book you will hear from experienced campaigners who herald from a board range of organisations and who have a vast array of views and just as varied goals. From the environmentalists who succeeded in achieving fair trade status for their local institution to the student group who brought their local politicians to account. From the man who used his life experiences to establish and lead a network for humanitarian justice to the woman who waged a one person war against plastic bags in her town, and won. Their inspirational testimonies will demonstrate that the theory, draw together from their experiences as well as my own, do not only sound feasible on paper but actually work to achieve real, positive change.
It would be wrong for me to suggest that campaigning is an easy activity. Reaching your campaign goal may require a lot of time, effort and patience, indeed one of the reasons I am now in a position to write this book is due to the lessons I have learnt from my mistakes as well as my successes. However, if you seriously plan your campaign, if you set your mind upon a specific goal and are prepared to work towards it, if you are prepared to refuse to fall to disillusionment and are prepared to motivate and inspire people even when your own confidence is shaking then you will achieve your campaign goal and this book will guide you through it all. As citizens we have great power, we have the power to think, to reason, to understand and to judge. Therefore at times we must also be the conscience of the nation, and the conscience of our community. We must be the people who are prepared to lead others and change our world. Ignorance and silence may go hand in hand, but to know and to be silent is an unacceptable crime. So stand up, be prepared to be counted for what you believe to be right, be prepared to shout out against injustices at the top of your voice, and be prepared to make a real difference. (taken from Ben Norman book)

Copywriting Ideas

Have you ever got a postcard in your morning’s post and not read it? Me neither. There’s something compelling about that small, stiff piece of card that says “Read me.” So why not consider putting that factor to work for you in your marketing campaigns?
Postcards have a number of advantages over traditional mailpacks. They’re cheaper, there’s no need for an envelope, they have instant visual appeal, they only need one hand to read, they have a “fun factor,” and they look less daunting. As a series, you can also use them to communicate a complex idea in stages, drip-feeding information to your target without overtaxing them.
The idea From a computer services company I once wrote an eight-card series for this client, promoting a new IT maintenance contract. The idea was to stimulate awareness among corporate IT managers and build their database.
We announced on the fi rst card that there would be a quiz on the fi nal one with a prize of a day’s tank driving. The hook was that the questions would relate to the information provided on the fi rst seven cards—a big incentive to look out for them and keep reading. They achieved maximum exposure for minimum outlay and gained lots of new names for their database, too.
Because you don’t need an envelope, you can also throw away the rule book about acceptable sizes. Yes, you can have an A5 or an A6 postcard. But why not try a half-page A4 vertical format? Or a 100mm
square? Or a circle? There are cost considerations, as always, but talking to your printer (or designer) will help you balance creativity against paper wastage.
Whatever you do with it, your postcard—mono, two-color, or full color—adds another component to your marketing campaigns, increases your fl exibility, and gives your customers/prospects a break from the run of mailshots they’re used to.
In practice • Once you’ve printed your postcard, you can use it different ways. As a self-mailer, an insert, a fl yer, an exhibition giveaway, or a component of your press kit. • Why not investigate digital printing for your postcard? You can incorporate your target’s name (and any other variable data you like) into the design. In color. (taken from Andy Maslen book)

The Idea

The idea From an international research consultancy One of the best offers I ever ran for a client was a pocket calculator that we bought in for £3 as an incentive on a £550 reference book. We had librarians falling over themselves to place their orders and saw a big uplift in response. For a cheap calculator. These people must have owned at least two calculators each already. But it was free. (And let’s remember that “free” is one of the best words any copywriter has at his or her fi ngertips.) If you’re not already using offers to lift response on your mailings, now would be an excellent time to start testing. Here are a few things to remember:
Always limit your offer. Either by time, which is probably the most common way, or by quantity. To limit by time, you could say, “Reply by October 31st and you’ll save 10%.” Or “Remember, you must reply
by October 31st to claim your free pen.” To limit by quantity, you could try “The fi rst 100 people to reply will each get a free clock.” Or “Reply today. If you’re one of the lucky 50, you’ll be spending a day at a luxury health spa.”
Always repeat your offer. In a mailpack you’ve got the outer, the letter, and the brochure and you may also have a reply envelope. These are all opportunities to reinforce the message that they could get FREE STUFF for replying. But couch the offer in varying language so you don’t simply repeat yourself.
Consider putting your offer in your main headline. Lots of very successful promotions lead on the offer; for example, a headline might say “Get £10 of dry cleaning vouchers when you send us your fi rst suit.” Test your offers. Do people respond better to the offer of free stuff when they order at full price, or do they like the idea of a discount?
Whatever you decide to do, bear in mind that everyone likes getting a good deal and everyone wants something for nothing.
In practice • Make the offer fi t the action required. Offering a gift worth £100 for a buying decision valued at £50 looks odd. Your respondent is likely to think “What’s the catch?” • If you’re offering a saving on the full price, try to express it as both a percentage saving and a cash amount: different things appeal to different people.

(taken from Andy Maslen book)

The Call to Action

Take a random group of 1,000 sales executives and ask them to arrange themselves in a very long line, according to how much commission they made last year, big hitters on the right, Willy Lomans on the left. After a bit of a wait (OK, you could fi nish reading this book), they’re done.
I guarantee that among the skills shared by the big hitters is this one. They are all great closers. And that means they know how to ask for the order. Which we, as copywriters, need to be great at too. It’s called “the call to action.”
The idea From City Equities Limited, a licensed equities dealer The call to action (CTA) is usually the line or paragraph at the end of an email, brochure, or letter inviting the reader to respond. Most often, the desired response is an order of some kind. But it might be signing up to an email newsletter, reserving a place on a free seminar, or even just confi rming receipt.
Logically, the CTA goes at the end. That’s where the selling fi nishes and the closing starts. Or does it? You could have a CTA in the headline. Or you could pepper your copy with CTAs after each new benefi t or section. After all, you never know how soon your reader will have been convinced by your crystalline prose.
City Equities say, “When you reply to my letter, one of our dealers will telephone you to learn more about your investment requirements.”
I’d call this an assumptive close. We’re telling the reader what will happen when they respond. Not if.
Just as the CTA seems to go last, it often gets written last. But maybe that’s not such a good idea. After all, you’re tired . . . and elated . . . the letter is almost fi nished. You can go home. Just as soon as that pesky call to action is done. So you dash off an “order now,” save and close, and you’re clear.
But this is the whole point of the letter (or ad, fl yer, or web page). This is where it all comes down to a “yes” or “no” from your reader. So it needs the most effort, creativity, and precision to get it right.
In practice • Write your CTA fi rst. Apart from anything else, it will help you focus on your goal, whether that’s new orders, sales leads, or sign-ups to an e-zine. • You can use a CTA to get people to do anything, even turn the page on a two-page letter. (taken from Andy Maslen book)

What does selling mean?

Perhaps because a lot of people who write copy do it because they love words, they can sometimes forget why they’re writing in the fi rst place. Here are a few things we’re not doing. Impressing our reader with the depth of our vocabulary. Making them laugh. Producing literary fi ction (or any other kind for that matter). Writing prose poems. Now here’s the thing we are doing. Ready?
Remember, we’re only writing copy because visiting each of our prospects personally is beyond our resources. And if we were able to do that, we’d spend our time selling, not passing the time with beautiful but pointless conversation.
What does selling mean? OK, without writing another book, how about this: selling means identifying who’s in the market for your products and services, identifying why they might want it, why they might be holding back, persuading them of the value, then closing the deal.
The idea From Waitrose Wine Direct, a supermarket’s mail-order wine offering When you’re writing copy about something fun, or entertaining or enjoyable—such as wine—there’s a real temptation to go off on an extended bit of color copy. You know, you just let your mind go, pour a glass of the product (for research purposes, naturally) and before you know it you’ve written three or four hundred words of fancy
copy, painting a picture of Tuscan picnics, Ancien Régime Châteaux in the Loire Valley, or wine tours around the Napa Valley. Trouble is, you’ve left your reader cold and forgotten to sell them anything. Waitrose Wine Direct do it differently. In a mailer I received at home, the letter begins with some juicy lines to get me in the mood . . .
As I am writing this the sun is fi nally shining, the temperature is rising and all I want to do is to be outside and enjoy a crisp white on the hammock or perhaps a lightly chilled red as the barbecue heats up.
So far, so good. Though I worry about drinking wine in a hammock. But before it all gets a bit too “Year in Tuscany,” we get smacked between the eyes with the fi rst of many offers . . .
With its crisp and fresh style, Sauvignon Blanc is a great summer white and the Summer Sauvignon Blanc mixed case on page four is not only great value with £29 off but also a fantastic crowd pleaser.
Ah. Good old-fashioned selling. Get the product in front of the prospect. Describe it. Make the offer sound unmissable. And show them how they can get kudos from their friends for serving it.
In practice • Imagine you are face to face with your customer. Now write a script for what you’d say. You can start off softly, but you’re going to want to come to the point fairly quickly before they start checking their watch. • It’s fi ne to write copy that creates a receptive mood for buying. Just make sure it doesn’t become an end in itself.

(taken from the book of Andy Maslen)

100 Great Copywriting Ideas (Taken from Andy Maslen Book)

Where face-to-face selling isn’t an option—because your total pool of prospects is too big or geographically dispersed, or you don’t have the budget for a salesforce, or it just doesn’t fi t with your business model—the answer is copywriting.
I wrote my fi rst sales copy in May 1986. It was for a market research report. I had to write a direct mail pack consisting of a two-sided A4 sales letter and a four-page A4 brochure. There was also a press release, I seem to remember. Oh, and a catalog entry. No web copy—that wasn’t invented then. Nor, in any real sense, were PCs. So I wrote my copy longhand on lined paper with a rather beautiful Waterman fountain pen. For younger readers, a fountain pen is a sort of metal tube fi lled with liquid ink (not toner) and tipped with a little piece of gold-plated steel that squirts the ink onto a piece of paper. Once I had fi nished my fi rst draft, I handed it to the Marketing Department secretary—Pauline—and she went off to type it up on . . . the computer. You could tell when Pauline switched the computer on because all the lights dimmed and an unearthly humming permeated the building.
Some time later Pauline would turn up again with the copy, now printed in Courier 12 point on crisp sheets of white paper. I’d read it over, make a few edits, and hand it back to P—who’d repeat the whole process until I was happy.
Nowadays I write my copy on a PC or, occasionally, a laptop, as I suppose you do. But although the technology I use to write copy has changed, the techniques I use are the same as they were in May 1986. I still write plans before writing copy. I still try to fi gure out what my reader wants to hear, rather than what I want to write. I still make a list of all the ways the product I’m selling benefi ts the
reader. And I still use the old standby AIDCA (see Idea 39). What has changed, for the better, is my skill in using the techniques.
I reckon I’ve written somewhere north of 3,000 individual pieces of copy in the last 23 years. They include lots of sales letters and brochures, plus press releases, press ads and presentations, websites, emails, and banner ads. And the odd menu, speech, and poster. My fi rst efforts weren’t bad (well, OK, some of them were): the stuff I’m writing now earns my clients enough profi ts for them to keep coming back for more. I want to share with you some of the tricks of the trade that I’ve used over that period to keep my clients happy; I hope they’ll work their magic for you, whether you’re a freelance, agency, or in-house copywriter. Most are my own, some are borrowed, or adapted, from other copywriters.
A couple of paragraphs ago I used the word “selling.” In many people’s houses, though not ours, selling is a dirty word. It conjures up associations of foot-in-the-door brush salesmen, high-pressure selling, boiler rooms, and other equally unsavory activities and individuals. But the truth is, without selling, there’d be no markets. Without markets, there’d be no capitalism. Without capitalism, there’d be no democracy. And without democracy, there’d be no freedom. So as you can see, without selling, we’d all be in chains!
And let’s scotch another myth about copywriting. We are not paid liars. I was once cornered at a party by a guy who actually was a salesman, for a confectionery manufacturer. When I told him what I did for a living, he said, “Oh right. A paid bullshitter.” That, regrettably, is how many people think about advertising. I prefer David Ogilvy’s take on truth in advertising: “Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t want your family to read. You wouldn’t tell lies to your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine.”
Leaving aside this little bit of special pleading, even when I’m training marketeers and copywriters, many still don’t see the
connection between what they’re doing and selling. Or don’t want to see it. But it’s worth reminding ourselves that we are salespeople. It sounds good to tell your friends you’re a copywriter. You imagine they see you as some kind of über-wordsmith, composing witty and creative advertising copy on a laptop while swinging to and fro in your Scandinavian-designed offi ce chair listening to cool music on your iPod. Yeah, right. When I tell other parents I meet in my boys’ school playground that I’m a copywriter the usual reaction is either, “OK, what’s that?” or “That’s interesting because I’ve got an idea I want to copyright.” Hmm. Now I say, “I help companies sell more by writing about their products. You know, for mailshots and websites.” Then everybody gets it. So, you’re in sales. I am too. The question is, are you any good?
Well, you buy books on copywriting. That means you are very good already or you intend to become very good. It’s only the ignorant, the uninterested, and the unambitious who don’t read books that could help them get on professionally. So what about this one? I’m guessing it’s not the fi rst book on copywriting you’ve read or even bought. And it’s a very different kind of book to the majority out there on Amazon and the shelves of your local bookstore.
For a start, you don’t need to read it all the way through. The 100 ideas presented here all stand alone. You could read one printed on a trackside poster at a rail station and it would do its job. Nor do you have to read the ideas in sequence. This book, and the series of which it forms a part, is expressly designed for you to dip in and out. Some of the ideas have explicit titles you could fl ick to to solve a particular problem; Idea 5, for example, shows you how to handle objections in your headline. Others are more elliptically titled, such as Idea 76, Act like a magpie.
What it won’t do is teach you about the theory of copywriting. Or how to write specifi c kinds of copy, emails for example, or press
ads. Nor will it teach you how to become a freelance copywriter. What it will do, I hope, is prime your imagination with a set of ideas you could try out in your own copy to improve it and help you sell more stuff.
A fi nal note: throughout the book I use the words “reader” and “prospect” more or less interchangeably. “Reader” because this is about writing, and “prospect” because it’s also about selling

The New Rules of Marketing and PR

Gerard Vroomen will tell you that he is an engineer, not a marketer. He will tell you that the company he co-founded, Cervelo Cycles,1 does not have any marketing experts. But Vroomen is wrong. Why? Because he is obsessed with the buyers of his competition bikes and with the engineeringdriven product he offers them. He’s focused his company to help his customers win races—and they do. In the 2005 Tour de France, David Zabriskie rode the fastest time trial in the race’s history on a Cervelo P3C at an average speed of 54.676 kph (33.954 mph). As I write this, the Cervelo Pro Cycling TestTeam is ranked the top team in the world. Vroomen also excels at using the Web to tell cycling enthusiasts compelling stories, to educate them, to engage them in conversation, and to entertain them. Because he uses Web content in interesting ways and sells a bunch of bikes in the process, Vroomen is a terrific marketer. The Cervelo site works extremely well because it includes perfect content for visitors who are ready to buy a bike and also for people who are just browsing. The content is valuable and authentic compared to the marketing messages that appear on so many other sites. On the Cervelo site, enthusiasts find detailed information about each model, bikes that can cost $3,000– $5,000 or more. An online museum showcases production models dating from the early days of the company and some interesting past prototypes. Competitive cycling enthusiasts can sign up for an email newsletter, download audio such as interviews with professional riders from the Cervelo ProCycling TestTeam, or check out the company blog. Cervelo Pro Cycling TestTeam wins races, and you can follow the action on Cervelo’s Team pages, which include news and bike race photos. Most recently, Cervelo launched, an online channel with product features, race reports, and cycling celebrity interviews. ‘‘Our goal is education,’’ Vroomen says. ‘‘We have a technical product, and we’re the most engineering-driven company in the industry. Most bike companies don’t employ a single engineer, and we have eight. So we want to have that engineering focus stand out with the content on the site. We don’t sell on the newest paint job. So on the site, we’re not spending our time creating fluff. Instead, we have a good set of content.’’ Ryan Patch is the sort of customer Cervelo wants to reach. An amateur triathlon competitor on the Vortex Racing team, Patch says, ‘‘On the Cervelo site I learned that Bobby Julich rides the same bike that is available to me. And it’s not just that they are riding, but they are doing really well. I can see how someone won the Giro de Italia on a Cervelo. That’s mind-blowing, that I can get the same bike that the pros are riding. I can ride the same gear. Cervelo has as much street cred as you can have with shaved legs.’’ Patch says that if you’re looking to buy a new bike, if you are a hard-core consumer, then there is a great deal of detailed information on the Cervelo site about the bikes’ technology, construction, and specs. ‘‘What I really like about this web site is how it gives off the aura of legitimacy, being based in fact, not fluff,’’ he says. Vroomen writes all of the content for the Cervelo site himself, and the design work has been done by a moonlighting chiropractor. There’s a content management tool built in, so Vroomen can update the site himself. You wouldn’t call it a fancy site, but it works. ‘‘We get negative feedback from Web designers about our site,’’ Vroomen says. ‘‘But we have great comments from customers.’’ Search Engine Marketing is important for Cervelo. Because of the keyword-rich cycling content available on the site, Vroomen says, Cervelo gets the same amount of search engine traffic as many sites for bike companies that are 10 times larger. Cervelo is growing very rapidly, but Vroomen is quick to note that growth is not the result of any one thing. ‘‘We take as gospel that people have to see the product five different ways [for us] to really get the credibility.’’ Vroomen makes certain that his bikes are in front of people many different ways, starting with search engines, so that they get those five exposures. ‘‘For example, they may see the bike on the site, on TV in a pro race, at the dealer, and on a blog,’’ He says. Vroomen says building out the Web marketing at Cervelo takes a lot of time, but it is simple and cost effective. ‘‘This is the future for companies like us,’’ he says. ‘‘You can be very small and occupy a niche and still sell your products all over the world. It’s amazing when we go into a new country the amount of name recognition we have. The Internet gives you opportunities you never had before. And its not rocket science. It’s pretty easy to figure out.’’ (Taken form the Book of David Meerman Scott)