Knowing the latest search and SEO best practices, the types of content with highest engagement on social media, how to launch an effective advocacy campaign, and the importance of an attention grabbing press release are really important.
 
But before you do any more of that you need to rethink the answers to these strategic marcom questions:
  • Do you really know what your product is or how to communicate it effectively? Could you answer a sophisticated donor if he/she asked that?
  • Do you know how to begin analyzing your audience or competitors? Are you aware of what your friendly and non-friendly competitors are doing in the same arena?
  • Do you know how to create a sophisticated content strategy? And do you know how to manage that strategy and keep it on track?
Too many in our industry are so caught up in the day-to-day tactics that they’ve neglected to answer these strategic questions. This leads to short-term solutions instead of a lasting strategy that will better your chances at sustained success.
 
Throughout the four-module interactive course you will have the chance to apply each module’s lessons directly to a current project at your organization. The course is taught by Daniel Anthony, vice president of marketing & communications at Atlas Network.

New lessons will be provided each week, that participants can view whenever best fits their schedule. Participants should anticipate spending roughly 1-3 hours per week on this course. The course is made up of video lectures, interactive quizzes, practical application assignments and group discussions. 
 
What you’ll learn:
  • Lesson one: Features, Benefits, Meaning. This lesson addresses a fatal flaw of our industry: over-reliance on communicating only the wonky features of our policy proposals. This typically alienates a general audience and media, and only appeals to a small group of individuals who are typically already true believers. In this lesson you will learn the difference and importance of features-, benefits-, and meaning-based communications.
  • Lesson two: Audience and Competitor Analysis. This is a wake-up call for many in our industry who have a great free-market policy reform idea but have rarely, if ever, actually thought about their audience — what's important to them, what their needs and desires are, and what will get them to take action. Also, it will address another shortfall of our industry: that too many organizations neglect to think about all the competitive forces out there preventing them from being successful in messaging, advocacy, and fundraising.
  • Lesson three: Content Strategy. This lesson will help you turn your product into a sophisticated content strategy that will help keep you on track on details around when, how much, and what type of content to produce and via which specific channels of communication. You’ll get to know the Four T’s Planning Guide — the Topics within your content strategy, the Types of content, the Timing of your content, and the Tone of your content. Additionally, you’ll learn about the importance of “guiderails”, or the topics intentionally outside of your content strategy.
  • Lesson four: Application and Synthesis — Op-ed Assignment. This will help you synthesize and apply all of the first lessons as you write a 600-650-word op-ed article. The best of these articles will get published on AtlasNetwork.org and promoted to Atlas Network’s global audience.
 Who will benefit from this course:
  • Policy research coordinators, managers, directors, and vice presidents
  • Fundraising associates, managers, directors, and vice presidents
  • Marketing and communications managers, directors, and vice presidents
  • Chief operating officers and executive vice presidents
  • Senior leadership at small to medium sized think tanks
What you’ll leave this training with:
  • Specific features, benefits, and meaning for your organization’s product
  • An audience and competitive marketplace analysis
  • A sophisticated content strategy for your organization
  • A 600-650 op-ed article
Daniel Anthony is Atlas Network’s vice president of marketing & communications. He received his MBA in International Business from The Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School and his BA in Foreign Languages from Illinois State University. Prior to joining Atlas Network, Daniel worked with one of the U.S.’s leading state-based, free-market think tanks, the Illinois Policy Institute. During his time there he oversaw all marketing and communications. Prior to that, Daniel worked as manager of client strategy and brand activation for Saatchi & Saatchi S, the sustainability division of the global ideas firm Saatchi & Saatchi. While with Saatchi, he worked with Walmart, General Mills, Procter & Gamble and NBCUniversal. Daniel has appeared on various media outlets, including Univision, FOX Chicago News, NBC Chicago and WGN Radio, focusing on topics such as government transparency and marketing and communications analysis. Daniel grew up living in Mexico and Singapore. He currently resides in Washington, D.C., with his wife and baby boy.