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Hey everybody. Welcome back to Shout Your Cause Today I've got Megan Lang here. Megan, how are you doing? I'm good. How are you? Awesome. It's been a beautiful but chilly day today. No joke. At 38 degrees this morning. Wow. I'm not super happy about it, but that's fine. It's fine. Well, we don't get harsh, harsh winters here, so we'll be okay. I wanted to reach out to you because I actually interviewed somebody that you are the campaign manager for. Her name is Allie Phillips, and I met you months ago last year actually, because you came to my event, I don't even remember what I called it, but I think it was Shout your cause, wasn't it? No, I don't think it was. No, it wasn't it. It was something about color. I don't know. We painted and we got creative and we talked about different things and we talked about Shout your cause.
Yeah, that was it. Yes. So I think it's such a coincidence and hilarious that I interviewed Allie and then found out that you were her campaign manager, and then now I was like, Hey, I already know that girl. I already know Megan, but you also do websites for people. You help them with their branding and so on and so forth. But I want to talk a little bit about the political stuff today to find out what it is you do when you are managing somebody's campaign. Well, I'll tell you Allie's campaign is a little bit unique in that she
Is also an influencer. I say a lot, I'm really sorry, but Allie is an influencer, so she has over like 300,000 TikTok followers, and that is shaping the campaign in a way that other candidates I've worked with, they're not having to do the same stuff. I would say with Allie, we are having to figure out how to align her influencing persona with a political persona, and it's different. It's very different. I think we're about to see a new face or a new approach to politics as we see more heavily engaged social media folks run for office. I think that she's one of the first ones to really be an influencer who's running, but I think that this is going to be the start of a significant change in how that works
Because you're getting the word out in such a massive way when you have a following like she does on TikTok, which was because of her miscarriage or abortion or whatever anybody wants to call it. She had fatal fetal anomalies going on with her pregnancy, and she talked so elegantly about it, I would say, and she has a very diplomatic way of answering critiques that she gets for what she did on her traveling out of state. So that is a whole different thing to manage, but what about the rest of it? What about other marketing? I mean, obviously politics is marketing, it's just a different thing.
It's storytelling. So with Allie, one of the biggest things, and honestly this applies to all three of the candidates I'm working with right now. The most important thing for me when working with them is to tell their story in an authentic way. I think that over the last, whatever, we've seen people who craft their own image with the media. So we watch stuff happen and we see how various people are portrayed and then what they communicate. And sometimes I would say people are in encouraged to paint themselves in a different light than what they actually stand for or believe in order to gain votes or in order to win support from people who may not otherwise support them. I don't believe in doing that. I believe that everyone has something in common with everyone else, and so rather than focusing in on like, oh, this group of people is always, and this group of people is pro-abortion always, I believe we just tell the story.
This is Allie had to receive an abortion. Her body would have gone into sepsis, she would have died or could have died. That's a whole thing. So we're trying to tell the stories in a very genuine and authentic way with the candidates so that every time they look back at anything they have said or shared, they stand by it. A lot of times I don't think that candidates are able to do that necessarily, and I'm trying to encourage my candidates to make sure they stand by everything that they say and do and will always do so because even if you disagree with someone, if you know that they're being authentic about something, you tend to have more respect for them than if
They're just walking. Right. You feel like they're straight shooting, they're telling the truth. They're not just making up things to get right.
Appease their listeners. Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
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What about the fundraising side of it? How does that tend to work and not just with Allie? I know she's gotten from all over the country.
She has. Fundraising is hard with politics. Fundraising is hard always. I also work with nonprofits to do fundraising, but specifically with candidates, you start with people. So say you're running for city council, you start with your immediate circle of friends, and they have buy-in already because they know you, so you're able to get some from them. But then as you move out, you then have to sell yourself to people, and so it's this whole concept of marketing, telling your story, selling yourself to the people so that they believe in you enough to give you money. And of course, it's also convincing people that the money is going to be used for something worthwhile, and unless you have a solid understanding of how important your elected officials really are to creating the world that you live in, I don't look at someone and go, I'm just going to give this candidate money.
I donated for the first time to a campaign in, I think it was 2019, may have been, I think it was 2019. It was the presidential race, and I donated to a candidate because I finally realized how important it was that we have legislators in office who believe similarly to what I believe and who are actually fighting for those things, but I had to be sold on that first fundraise. I would say the most difficult part is just convincing people that you're worth giving money to or that your candidate is worth giving money to, and then talking about the cost for everything. People say, well, why do they need, say for a State House raise? Why do they need $150,000 for this campaign? And I'll tell you, even with a great bulk rate, yard signs cost 7 45 each. You use union printers for direct mail, which we stand the unions in my campaigns, we use union printers, but direct mail, those are the mailers that you get. Those things are expensive. They are the full pagers. If you get a full page, two-sided in the mail, a lot of times that's going to be between 97 and a dollar 17 cents per mailer.
It's so expensive. So expensive. Do you happen to do any social media ads? Do you pay for ads with people? We do, depending on what the race is, and for school board, we will probably map out our own little targeted area there. We use social media ads, so we'll end up doing Facebook and Instagram. And for Allie, we'll also probably do some Twitter, or sorry, TikTok. I know Twitter doesn't exist X, but we also use Google Ads and kind of target people based on those based the things that they search and the various demographic, what words I'm trying to say here. Yes, the very demographic pockets and yeah, we use a lot of that. And I'd say that actually digital media, OTT adds the stuff that comes up when you're watching a YouTube video and there's an ad at the beginning or in the middle of it. We'll be using a lot of those too, because at this point, that is one of the most, I would say, one of the most successful ways to reach out to voting age and soon to be voting age folks. Newspaper doesn't work as well, billboards don't work as well, TV does, but it is quite a bit more expensive until you get right up to the date, and then you can sometimes buy one cheaper, but digital is the way to go at this point.
Make sure you look at Hulu ads because those are actually comparable to Facebook and Instagram as far as the cost per impression.
That's good to know. I'm writing that down right now,
And a lot of candidates do not use it, but I have seen candidates use it in the past, so just take a look to see about Hulu ads.
Because where everybody's watching their TV these days is Hulu, Netflix, other streaming services,
And so many of the streaming services have priced themselves out of ad free, so that's a great, thank you. That's great. I have a candidate who is launching her video tomorrow, and I think we're starting with just Facebook and Instagram ad buys, but then we'll be moving on. There are extra humps or extra hoops to jump through, extra hoops to jump through to run political ads as there should be. You have to be verified and you have to submit paperwork, and honestly, the first time that I ran a political ad for someone, I felt better about it because there is so much more you have to go through to be certified to run a political ad. Your page has to go through, not just your personal profile has to be verified, but each individual page has to be verified. So it made me feel better about the fact that at least your random Joe Schmo couldn't do it without actually having a political action pack or something like that. Political action committee,
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So what do you love about it right now? It's hard. I think the thing that I don't want to say I love it, but it brings me fulfillment. I feel like I'm doing something to make a difference, and this is still relatively new for me. I went from, I've had various jobs, I've worked for a chamber of Commerce, I've worked for libraries, I've done a lot, and I've really enjoyed all of my jobs, but with this, I feel like there is the potential to make such a lasting impact that I don't know. I don't know that I ever want to be a legislator, and by saying, I don't know. I mean, actually, there's no way in hell that I ever want to be an elected representative. I do not want to deal with is too much, but right now, the people that I'm working with, I'm working with three women who are all under the age of 40 and they're running for office, and they will be making legislation and they will be working on our school board and this, that and the other.
It's stuff that I think by offering my help to them, I'm giving an extra push to the impact that they're already making, and I like that. I like feeling like I'm empowering other people, and also I do a lot of voter education at this point, and so that is also something that's helpful because it feels like I was not well educated as a voter. I did not understand why it was necessary to vote, and beyond that, I didn't understand the difference between, in Tennessee, we have, it's an open primary technically, but there was a law passed relatively recently, I believe it was passed last year. That changes what you are technically allowed to do by the law when it comes to pulling your primary ballots, and so if you pull a Republican ballot, you are basically, I'll try and find the thing and I'll just send it to you just so you have it, but it basically says that by pulling a Republican ballot, you are claiming to be a member of the Republican party, and if you pull a Democratic ballot, you're doing the same thing. So it's kind of taken away our ability to vote in an open primary. People will still do it, but you could technically deal with being sued for it. Is it smart? Does that make sense? No, but that's what's happened. The state has made it so that if you are not wanting to be a Republican, you shouldn't pull a Republican ballot. Vice versa. With the Democratic Party, you're swearing your allegiance to them, which is
Well, so how do you be an independent and how do you be a thinking voter as opposed to somebody who just writes one ballot?
Legally, you can't. You can only vote in the general elections. You can't pull primary ballots, which
Is interesting. You can change it on the spot when you walk in to vote, you can say whichever one you want, and then I guess that's there until the next time around.
It is. I think the concern is that at some point there may be some targeting done where they go in and they say, oh, well, this person switches back and forth every time, and they're clearly not a Republican, or they're clearly not a Democrat. It's fun. It's really fun. It's very convoluted. So that's like voter education.
I'd love to know who are the three candidates that you're working with now? Do you want to give each of them a shout out? Of course,
Yes. So I am working with Allie Phillips, of course, she is in Clarksville, Tennessee, Montgomery County District 75 for our state house. Then I'm working with another young woman, Alison Beal, and she is running in Sumner County for house District 45, and she is also, they're amazing women. She is a gun reform activist and serves on the Akila De Silva Foundation board, which was launched after the Waffle House shooting. Akila was one of those victims, and so his mom started this organization. That's Alison Beal, and then I'm also working with a woman for school board in Center County School, board District nine, Holly Cruz is her name, and I mean, they're all wonderful. They're all friends of mine, and I am excited to walk next to them as they run their campaigns and get to do some of it for them. I really like designing the logos and their websites and talking stump speeches and press releases and all of that for them, so it's fun. Good. Kind of,
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Yeah. Well, some days it's not fun, but you have the purpose behind it, and people who work with purpose in mind will go through a lot more than people who don't have a purpose behind it.
Absolutely. Absolutely. Excellent. Yeah,
So when you're not campaigning with these ladies, what else are you doing?
Well, job or dog
Job or dog, I don't care. We love dogs around here.
I know, I know. I love your dog. I mean, dog wise, I just hang out with my dog fish and I have three cats and seven chickens and a husband, and we just kind of bop around in terms of work. I have a podcast
That you're going
To be on at some point. We just, I've
Haven't connected yet on that
Level. Yes, I know we've talked about it like a million times now, so we'll get that. But I mean, we've talked about this before. I'm a story gardener, so I like to tell stories for people, so it's brand development and websites, and I have think a unique way that I go about collecting the stuff, and it's all kind of based around the same ideas as my podcast, which is that everyone has three stories that make them uniquely them, and so when I'm developing a brand, we sit down and I ask for stories, and we look at pictures and we try to discover what is inspiring and what colors make someone feel a certain way and this, that, and the other, until we've got this nice meshy blob of good vibes for the brand, and I love, oh, I love doing that. I love bringing things to life, and then again, this is the same as empowering. I build the website, I develop the brand, I hand it to people and I say, okay, good job. You're trained now. Run off and celebrate what you're doing. Excellent. It's the best, man. I'm so lucky.
We get to really know people that way. Yes, you get to really understand who they are, and that's a lot more fun than just doing,
It's so fun, and typically the people I work with are, I would say they're entrepreneurs or very, very small startups, so they've put their whole heart into this business, and so then I'm getting to take the heart that they've poured in and just kind of develop it into something that everyone else can see without having to spend 10 hours getting the story, which I love because I get to collect their stories for my own little self, and B, I mean, we're able to share that with people in a visual way that they may not have been able to earlier, and I just love doing, I love what I do so much. I love telling stories for people.
Well, I love the fact that you love what you're doing because that makes all the difference.
Is there anything else that you'd like to share before we go? Any hopes or dreams or,
Yeah, I mean, it's hopes or dreams. My hope is that everyone who listens, I would take time to dig into why. If they don't vote, hopefully they all vote, but if you don't vote, I hope that you'll dig in and think about why you don't, and then maybe start trying to learn about it and make the decision to vote later on.
Yeah. I think that in other countries, people are like, everyone votes. They didn't understand half the people here don't.
No. In Sumner County voter turnout last year was 14.2% of registered voters.
But I don't want to encourage people to just vote for the sake of voting. I think that it's important for us to take that time to learn and to make our own decisions and to study up on people, and so I hope that people find the time to dig in and learn and then go and vote next November. But also primaries are in March, and then there's primaries in August, so in Tennessee you'll have at least three chances to vote next year, and I hope that you will.
Well, that's a great message to send people on as we move into ending this episode, so it's been great talking with you today, Megan and I am excited about your three candidates and I hope that people pay attention to this podcast that also are able to vote in those districts for these people. We'll see. Thank you so much. I appreciate you. Thank you.
Thank you for listening today. My name is Sally Hendrick. Be sure to visit our website for show notes and more information on how you can inspire others. If you would like to contribute content to our magazine, please apply on our website at shoutyourcause.com.