How Much is Too Much?

Nicole Schlinger Campaigns

At the end of the year, Campaigns & Elections took a look how “consultants across the campaign industry are grappling with questions of volume and timing after a cycle that saw record spending and more calendar-shifted voting.”

I’m so appreciative that they reached out to get my thoughts – here are a few:

Still, volume can become an issue if the quality of the communication isn’t there. In fact, several Republican consultants stressed that campaigns still need to be targeted and specific in how and why they’re reaching out.

“The rate of response was very dependent on the quality of the interaction,” said Nicole Schlinger, who heads Iowa-based phones firm Campaign HQ. “That kind of message’ [This is so and so, I’ve texted 15 times and you haven’t given to me yet] does not engage people.

“The percentage of responses that we would get on messages like that really would drop. On the other hand, if you had a candidate who sat with his iPhone or her iPhone and recorded a 30-second message at their dinning room table, put it up on Facebook and then texted it out to people, then we could even do a robocall of the sound file to landlines. That was the kind of thing that was really, really effective because people would engage with it. There’s no point in doing something that’s not worth engaging with.”

Read the full article here and subscribe to the weekly C&E Newsletter by clicking here.

What Political Firm Owners Learned in 2020


Nicole Schlinger campaigns

The folks at Campaigns & Elections asked several firm owners to weigh in on lessons learned in 2020. Here’s mine:

Nicole Schlinger, founder and president, CampaignHQ: 

“Business fundamentals matter and they do apply to political firms and consultants! There was a stark divide between firms in a strong financial position and those betting on a big windfall in the fall of 2020. Firms with cash reserves and lower overhead could put financial worries aside and focus on the immediate needs of their clients and staff. During the election surge, firms that either panicked or were forced to lay off workers in the spring had a harder time picking up where they left off.”


Be sure to check out the others, they’re very insightful.

Flashback Friday – Campaigns & Elections

I thought it would be fun this Friday to revisit a couple old Campaigns & Elections articles I shared over the past year or so.

I’ve always been a huge fan of Campaigns & Elections and it’s been fun getting the opportunity to share insights for their great publication.


Back to Basics with Campaigns & Elections:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

AI Gets Top Billing in New GOP Incubator Investments

Happy reading!

Martha Waffles and Nicole Schlinger at another event.

Nicole Schlinger

3 Steps to Hosting a Successful Tele-Townhall During a Pandemic

In this unprecedented time, my personal mission is to make sure you can stay in contact with your audience, whether that’s constituents, members, or voters. I wrote this article for Campaigns & Elections magazine to share the best practices we’ve learned and implement for our clients.

Nicole Schlinger COVID - 19 Campaigns and Elections

As social distancing and self-quarantining become the new normal, Americans want to hear from elected leaders more than ever.  Battling the COVID-19 virus has ground community events, campaign rallies, small meetings, and door-to-door canvassing to a halt. But that doesn’t mean you should halt your communications with constituents, voters or members of your advocacy group. You can still safely communicate with a large audience using a telephone town hall. With sports, school, and church events cancelled, people are at home, available, and ready to take your call.

Step One: Spread the Word (Not Your Germs!)
Lawmakers using a telephone town hall for official business may dial out to a large audience of both landlines and cell phones. Campaigns and issues organizations may only dial out to landline phones or those with cellphones who have opt-ed in.

But the most active and involved participants in any telephone town hall are those who proactively dial in to your event so; focus on getting the word to people who will be interested.

  • Send peer-to-peer text messages, including your toll-free phone number that participants can click to join. Consider an MMS, using an image or GIF to draw focus and attention.
  • Email your list 48 hours in advance, and again the morning of your event.
  • Post on social media several times in advance and 10 minutes before the event begins. Ask your followers to post and share.
  • Send an automated call to the people who will be receiving your outbound dial to join your event. Let them know all they need to do is simply wait by the phone and answer when you call.

Step Two: Have an interesting, worthwhile conversation 
Successful lawmakers and elected leaders approach their telephone townhall with the same level of preparation as they would any in-person event.

We can help you to ensure you hold your audience with a conversation WORTH having:

  • A line-by-line, including notes for your opening remarks, will help guide the conversation and cover important topics.  It helps to have a moderator open the call, who can instruct people on how to participate, and call on members of the audience for you.
  • Keep the conversation fast and lively. Have responses ready for questions you think are likely to come up. Your responses to each question or comment should be no longer than 2-3 minutes.
  • Give your audience several ways to participate. You can ask your audience their opinion with a poll question and gather email addresses.

Step Three: After the event, keep sharing! 
After your successful event, where you spoke with thousands of constituents, shared valuable information, and answered questions, we can help you take it to the next level.

Now is the time to take the most valuable segments of your interactive conversation and share them with an even larger audience.  Here’s how:

  • Use the recording of your event and a static image to create 60 second MP4 videos that you can post to your YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter pages. Encourage your followers to post, share, and ReTweet.
  • Send peer-to-peer text messages of your video, along with a link to listen to the entire event. Ask people to reply to your text to let you know what they think.
  • Email your supporters a synopsis along with a link to listen to the entire event or pertinent clips.

Remember, this is a unique moment in history. You’re speaking to folks who aren’t used to being sequestered at home, who may be irritated, bored, confused or scared.

This is your chance to build a meaningful connection that will last much, much longer than any virus.

Call me if we can help 1- (888) 722-4704. 

Nicole Schlinger

Reed Awards – Before the Big Show

Nicole Schlinger Reed Awards

Award season is upon us.

Ken and I recently attended the Reed Awards in Atlanta. The Reed Awards is hosted by Campaigns & Elections magazines as a way to recognize companies in the political world that are delivering exceptional content and products.

nicole schlinger swag 2

We had some fun before the big event. Shane D’Aprile from Campaigns and Elections called our gift “major league swag!”

At my presentation, we may have slipped in some swag for the attendees. Oh, and I also talked about how your campaign can benefit from a great phone program.

We had a great time. More from the 2020 Reed Awards soon.

Thanks for checking in,


Nicole Schlinger Reed Awards 1

Nicole Schlinger

Authentic Conversation

Here’s the final installment of a discussion I had with Campaigns & Elections Magazine last fall. I had a great time discussing how the use of phones is changing.

Essentially, where we communicate with you may have changed, but the way in which we have an authentic conversation, we’re keeping that the same.

Nicole Schlinger, president of CampaignHQ, discusses scripting with Campaigns & Elections


Nicole Schlinger, President of CampaignHQ, discusses how the uses of phones are changing in the political industry with Campaigns & Elections

Down Ballot + Non-Obvious Party Cues Chat

Last fall, I did some interviews with my favorite, Campaigns & Elections Magazine. We had a great discussion on a variety of topics. Here are a few clips:

Nicole Schlinger, president of CampaignHQ, discusses down ballot benefits of using phones for Campaigns & Elections Magazine

Nicole Schlinger, President of CampaignHQ, discusses non-obvious party cues for Campaigns & Elections.

Campaigns & Elections Lookback

In the fall of 2019, Campaigns & Elections magazine allowed me to write some articles discussing a variety of topics. Campaigns & Elections is a publication every campaign operative should be tracking. They constantly have insightful information and features from the very best in the business.

Nicole Schlinger I Voted
Photo courtesy of Campaigns & Elections

Right around Thanksgiving, they published another one of my pieces, Will Relational Organizing Prove a Breakthrough Tactic for the GOP in 2020? 

Here’s a small clip:

Every cycle seems to bring about a fresh innovation that reaches voters differently or a new tech that helps a campaign run more efficiently. But one campaign principle that hasn’t seen much change over the years is how we utilize volunteers. I predict this is the next big thing for the GOP.

You can read the full article here

And don’t forget to subscribe to Campaigns & Elections to keep up on the biggest trends in politics.


Thanks for reading,

Nicole Schlinger and Chief Canine Officer Martha Waffles

Nicole Schlinger