Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

Biden campaign digital debate strategy to boost clips beyond Thursday

By 37ci3 Jun27,2024



WASHINGTON — The Biden campaign is counting on voters who aren’t paying attention yet presidential race It will watch at least part of Thursday’s debate, but it’s taking no chances.

Campaign officials created a digital strategy to ensure voters — whether they tuned in that night or not — saw the best version. President Joe Biden.

From the campaign headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, and the debate site in Atlanta, Biden officials will work with social media content creators with large followings to help capture key moments in the debate, the campaign spokeswoman said. The hope is that the posts are quickly amplified by the Biden campaign’s accounts and, perhaps more critically, by the creators’ large following, the spokesperson said.

It’s a big test for the campaign’s broader efforts to distribute digital content and shape the debate for engaged voters. Campaign officials said they see the debate as one of the big opportunities to get those voters to the polls over the next few months.

“It’s a great moment for reactivation,” a senior campaign official said.

The Biden campaign headquarters is hosting 18 creatives with a combined social media following of 8 million people for its digital war room, where they will hold pre-debate briefings with the campaign’s rapid response team and have access to the campaign’s own studio. Record content for channels.

In Atlanta, the campaign is putting other content creators in the spin room after the debate to both share their thoughts on key exchanges and talk to Biden officials. Separately, the campaign is hosting a content creator watch party in Atlanta, where the campaign team will also work to amplify key talking points and messages.

Deputy campaign manager Rob Flaherty, who oversees the digital team, has spent the past week in Camp David, Maryland, where Biden and his aides have been strategizing for the debate. It’s designed to show what content his team can prepare ahead of the debate and put him in a position to quickly publish if Biden makes key arguments against former President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, campaign veterans on Biden’s team note that it’s often the unscripted, unexpected moments that go viral.

“You can go in with a really big plan of what the big moments are going to be, and then a fly lands on Mike Pence’s face,” said a senior campaign official. A highlight of the 2020 vice presidential debate had nothing to do with the issues under discussion. “So you have to be nimble and figure out what those things are, and then what the campaign can do to throw kerosene on those things and make them stronger.”

The Biden campaign’s approach to the 2024 race has long been shaped by its assessment that the voters most likely to decide the election are those who voted in the past but are now disengaged from politics and unwilling to engage in campaigns. A key part of the campaign’s strategy has been to find ways to communicate with those voters through non-traditional information sources and social networks, both online and in real life.

The digital strategy around the debate is in addition to the campaign’s traditional footprint in Atlanta, with top officials and surrogates giving media interviews before and after the event. The campaign is also hosting observation parties across the country, including battlegrounds, where its most loyal supporters will connect with local campaign leadership.

When Biden and Trump take the stage Thursday, it will be the first presidential debate in decades hosted by a news organization rather than by the Commission on Presidential Debates. While most news organizations still plan to broadcast it live, it’s unclear whether the audience will match the estimated 73 million who watched the first 2020 debate between Biden and Trump.

According to data compiled by the Pew Research Center, the first debate between Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016 had the highest viewership of any televised debate at 84 million. Biden’s 2008 vice presidential debate against Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin drew more viewers — about 70 million — than any of the three debates between presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain that year.

Again, the Biden campaign is bracing for a large audience among those who consume the debate, both in real time and through coverage or clips that emerge in the hours and days that follow. It adapts different approaches for each type of audience.

“There’s still a huge audience of people who are going to vote but don’t care or can just watch the clips or watch the clips for a few minutes. Or who can watch it and participate on the second screen,” said a senior campaign official. “So we have to think about how we’re going to deal with all those experiences.”

The BidenHQ accounts on X and TikTok will be primary vehicles for the campaign’s own content during and after the debate. But she will also develop materials to be shared through the campaign’s outreach tool, known as Reach, or through the “Texts with Julie” program, where supporters sign up for messages from campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez.

The campaign is already working to attract voters in Atlanta, a key constituency it is targeting in November. The campaign will feature 50 billboards across the city and will feature the “Dark Brandon” Biden meme on some major downtown buildings. He also released a series of “man-on-the-street” style videos on his digital platforms asking local supporters about their memories of the debate or Trump.

In addition, the campaign will be watching how the Trump camp and the Republican National Committee are doing, and it will be ready to respond to points that could highlight the fire.

“They will be aggressive. We have to come back aggressively,” said a senior Biden campaign official.



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