GrassScoops: An Interview Series — Jamie Carracher

Jamie Carracher, Executive Director of Digital Engagement at America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), dropped by our office in Rosslyn to discuss all things advocacy for the latest in our series of interviews with changemakers in grassroots, GrassScoops.

Jamie works with a team of five to execute digital strategy for AHIP—the largest trade association that represents health insurers in the U.S. Their day-to-day includes running grassroots advocacy campaigns, marketing their conferences, and educating stakeholders (both policymakers and consumers). Here are some insights from our discussion about association digital strategy and advocacy with Jamie.

Research gets the best results

Before he managed digital strategy at trade associations, Jamie spent several years working at marketing and communications firms. With his background in both areas, we asked Jamie to discuss the intersection of advocacy and digital communications. He said that it comes down to finding your audience and figuring out what kinds of messages and storylines resonate with them the best. “When you’re coming up with messages and stories, you have to start from a place of research. Who is your audience, who are you trying to reach, where are they spending their time online, what do they react to? Going from there, trying different things, different combinations,” Jamie said. He uses tools like BuzzSumo to see what types of content are being shared the most on social platforms to gain insight into what his audience cares about.

Don’t be afraid to be selective about your social platforms

“I think there’s less of a gold rush towards new social platforms. Especially if you’re talking about an older audeince—they’re not leaping toward Snapchat. They’re staying on Facebook. It’s about making use of the tools that you know and love already and maximizing those.” Jamie said that AHIP has found a lot of success with Youtube and Facebook, so they put their energy into making their presence on those platforms strong, instead of trying to be on every platform that exists. Most consumers aren’t using every platform—so you need to find the niche where your audience spends their time.

Competition for attention will continue to grow

When it comes to the future of the advocacy space, attention will continue to come at a premium. “There are so many places people can go for information and entertainment. Your messaging and your story has to cut through all that. You have to play on the same level as something from HBO. You have to improve the way you tell your stories. You can’t just write copy. You have to write copy like a reporter, or like you’re writing a script for a TV show. It has to be excellent.”

Hear more about what Jamie sees coming up in the future for advocacy and what trends he’s keeping his eye on in the video of the interview below.

Want more GrassScoops?

Read the GrassScoops interview with Eric Ebenstein, Head of North America Public Policy at DJI or Adam Nielsen, Director of National Legislation & Policy Development at Illinois Farm Bureau.

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