Aug. 30, 2022

573: Candidate School 101 - What Are the Top Areas Political Candidates Are Lacking?!

How do you find the right consultants? What are the top areas political candidates are lacking? And how can you get your message out there without getting drowned out by your competitors?

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On today's episode I'm joined by Morgan Bonwell from Right Strategies.


We're talking about what it takes to be a political candidate in today's world. We've got a lot of questions to answer: How do you find the right consultants? What are the top areas political candidates are lacking? And how can you get your message out there without getting drowned out by your competitors?


Morgan is here to answer all of these questions and more!


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Brian Nichols  0:01  
focusing on winning arguments. We're teaching the basic fundamentals of sales and marketing and how we can use them to win in the world of politics teaching you how to meet people where they're at on the issues they care about. Welcome to The Brian Nichols Show. Well, hey there, you're on The Brian Nichols Show. And thank you for joining us on a horse funfilled episode I am your host. And today we have a returning guest we're talking about some of the top issues that cat each face and they're trying to talk to normal people like a normal person. But first we're gonna go ahead and give a shout out to today's sponsor and that is the not the X pack. Let's see I'm still stuck on the expat money show. He's been our sponsor for the past like three months no. Today in our sponsor is The Brian Nichols Show shop over at proud libertarian at the Brian Nichols forward slash shop where you can grab your version of the magic money tree shirt, which I personally created. By the way, if you were wondering, you can see every single one of those leafs dollar bill the tree itself, it says the Fed we got our little unicorn and leprechaun folks there because that's where the Fed and its money comes from is in fact nowhere because it is magic. So while get your version of your magic money tree shirt had the Brian Nichols forward slash shop and by the way, make sure you use code TBS at checkout. All right, folks. So with that being said, welcome to the program. And looking forward to it. Today's episode, Morgan Barnwell returns the show we're talking about candidates doing all sorts of unfortunate marketing blunders, because Morgan, when you have folks who come to you and say I need help, they think sometimes they know a lot of stuff, but they really don't know where their blind spots are. So hey, before we get there, thank you for joining us here on today's episode. How are you then?

Morgan Bonwell  1:44  
I'm good. I'm so excited to be back. It was great conversation last time. And I'm sure it'll be again today. So

Brian Nichols  1:50  
absolutely. Well, let's start things off. Because this is what we were talking about beforehand, I reached out to you I said, Morgan, I want to have you back on the show. Because let's be real, a lot of candidates, they'll come to you, they'll come to me, they'll they'll say hey, I you know, I'm so excited about these ideas, or I'll make a difference. But there seems to be some blind spots in terms of where they're lacking. And I think it's important for us not only to address that, but also make sure folks are aware that there are areas that they are lacking. And it's okay to ask for help. So let's start things off there. But before we get there, let's reintroduce you to The Brian Nichols Show audience. Obviously, you're doing great stuff over at write strategy. So talk to us about that.

Morgan Bonwell  2:31  
Yeah, so at REI strategies, we help candidates with social media management, and texting to help elevate and amplify their message. So we are so happy to be talking about this issue today.

Brian Nichols  2:48  
One thing I think is important for folks to understand is that what Morgan's doing is she's actually helping candidates make their message palatable. Like that's, that's one thing that we talked about here on the show is meeting your average person where they're at, on the issues they care about. And with that it's also focusing on fixing the areas where lacking. So let's start things off here. Morgan, I know you've spent some time talking to candidates and your your calendar is full, because you are literally meeting with candidates on the constant and seems like so you had the chance now to speak to so many different folks who are running for office. What are the main areas you're seeing consistently across the board where folks are lacking?

Morgan Bonwell  3:26  
Yeah, so I want to start with areas that they're doing really well, like candidates come with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and desire for change. They have the drive and motivation to make that change. So it's just up to people like me and right strategies to help them channel that into a winning message. And you may think like how do you do that? They're lacking a name ID sticking to a central message. And I think overall finesse, which I think is I think is good. I don't think you want someone to come in and be a great politician that just sounds not very authentic, but it's our job to guide them to meet those stakeholders stay on message help polish talking points that voters actually care about not just what they think voters care about. So that comes with you know, making those introductions, giving them lists of people to contact and then really diving deep on what the issues are in their in their race.

Brian Nichols  4:36  
So let's let's kind of rewind a little bit to the first thing I want to start out with and that is the lacking of name ID I think that's important because especially in the world of liberty politics, if you're in the big L libertarian spaces is a big challenge you're gonna be facing but also I mean, if your primary being a lot of establishment candidates, it's also going to be a challenge because you're facing someone who has a treasure trove of have cash behind them. So what's when you're seeing folks who don't have the name ID? What are some instant suggestions that you're giving to them to help get their name out there more than it was before?

Morgan Bonwell  5:13  
Yeah, I think a lot of it comes with starting in advance. So if they're going to run for school board, they should start like a year out. That means going to all of the school board meetings, that means being accessible to the public, starting a social media channel early. So you can build up a following and organic following, so you don't have to pay as much. But then, just going out and meeting as many people as they can. People talk, and it's better for them to hear from a friend who they're supporting, because they trust them more than they trust a stranger. So

Brian Nichols  5:56  
well, and I mean, how important right and how profound gets so common sense, it seems to actually just go out and speak to people is having the most impact building real life relationships, right? I think this is this is the other problem we see too often is that people think they can just set it and forget it when it comes to anything, right? They're like, Oh, well, if I can just go ahead and you know, set and forget my, you know, campaign, social media, I never have to go out and meet people face to face. Now it may have worked for Joe Biden back circa you know, 2020, but it's gonna work, you know, really, for your average person writing for school board or city council, especially when it's those local communities where people are looking to not only elect people that they know, but people they know, like, and trust, and where do you get people to know like, and trust by building those real authentic relationships. So if you're, if you're running for local office, go out, get to know people, talk to people, get involved, Join your local Elks club, whatever it may be, I know, I've got my buddy here, Jeremiah and Newcastle, he's gonna get me going to the Elks club. So like, you see that that is the best way to actually get to know people is to get to know them. I know shocking.

Morgan Bonwell  7:04  
Hi. Yes.

Brian Nichols  7:08  
No, surprise. I love it. So talk to us about next things I want to talk about was polishing talking points. This is an area I think when you're when you're talking about issues you care about, it's important to separate the issue you care about with the issues that other folks actually care about, and what they're looking to hear from candidates that are running out there. So how are you helping address polishing these specific talking points when you're when you're going out and mentoring candidates?

Morgan Bonwell  7:40  
Yeah, so I think a lot of it comes from candidates who decide to put their name in the hat to run. They come from an activist background, and the common citizen or the common voter is not a political activist. So it's making sure that we're using words and verbiage that relates to an everyday person. So it's not using terms that are common in the political space. I know, there's, there's words like GOTV and all of this good stuff that you know, you just as an everyday life, you don't know, you don't know. So it's making sure that you, you it's, it's my job to wordsmith to these folks and say, you know, this isn't gonna work, but like, let's think of Susy down the street. How would you talk to her? And like, that's let's word your stance as if you're telling her why you're running

Brian Nichols  8:47  
it. How would this without using names, right? Because we don't wanna embarrass me candidates. Unless you want to? Doesn't like, no, yeah, okay. Okay. Let's, let's maybe tell a story about like, where you've had a candidate you worked with, and they just had messaging that wasn't too hot, and where you've had to help them read Taylor, maybe their approach and really polish down their message to be more coherent to the voter you're speaking to?

Morgan Bonwell  9:11  
Yeah, I'm trying to think I've got one or actually I've got several candidates that come from a highly educated background. So I've had several lawyers and several doctors, and they obviously have the highest education you could get in America or across the world. So they've got a higher level of communication than, you know, the average voter. So it's just making sure we tone down some of those big words and making sure that you know, it's very accessible for people to understand. Just put it in layperson terms. I know doctors and lawyers are. Head they have got a lot of big words, and most people don't get it.

Brian Nichols  10:08  
Yeah, well, and I don't mean to make fun of I'm not making fun of I'm hoping this will be more of a teaching moment for some of my libertarian friends out there is that we too often see that we want to good idea people to death. So we do is we try to, you know, toss out all these amazing things that we've learned in all the books we read. And we just we lay it, you talked about like GOTV right and get out the vote for folks who play on in the home game. But like, if we start dropping terms like the nap, right non Aggression Principle, that doesn't mean anything to your average person, even though it means so much to us. And that right, there is something I think you're hitting on is that if you're not addressing the issues that your voter cares about, guess what, there's somebody out there who's going to and we talked about this in business, if you're not meeting your your customer, where they're at, and the issues they care about, and you're actually helping solve those problems? Well, there's going to be somebody else out there who's going to address those problems. Now, it doesn't matter how great your solution is, if you can't effectively communicate what that solution not only will do for the customer, but the meaning that that that solution in solving that problem has for the customer. That's the part we have to tie. I was listening to a video, Elon Musk, I forget who he was speaking to. But he was talking about the best way to remember things, and is to attach meaning to them. And that is so profound. When you think about how the best politicians out there have had success, Obama was able to tie so much meaning to an empty raise of hope and change. And yet he was able to help the Hope and Change rhetoric means something to a lot of voters out there that propelled him to the presidency, Donald Trump took the idea of making America great again, and in the exact same manner was able to attach meaning to that, and to that propelled him to the presidency. So this is something you see time and again, the the necessity not only to, to focus on those specific issues that matter, but to make it have real value and make sure you're talking in a way that the value is is it translates from your enthusiasm to understanding that this is more than just a good idea. This is something that will make my life tangibly better.

Morgan Bonwell  12:15  
Absolutely. That's I, I want to go listen to Elon now. I think that's a great concept. It's, it's something that it's why social media management and texting is so important. So what you do is you tell them what the problem is, tell them how you're gonna fix it. And then you tell them again, and again and again. And again. If people don't hear it and see it, and you know, live that problem, they're not going to be apt to solve it or care.

Brian Nichols  12:51  
Well, 100%, and let's, let's talk about not seeing things I talked about my way, I've gone to way too many candidates websites, and I have found nothing but bare bones, I've gone to social media sites that are bare bones. And it frustrates me because it's so simple to get a social media following in 2022, or to build a website. And I just don't understand in many cases, why that's not the case for a lot of candidates or I go to websites that look like they were built from someone who last wasn't a website in 1997. So Morgan helped me out and talk to some candidates. What are some common issues you see, when you're going out from a social media or website perspective?

Morgan Bonwell  13:33  
Yeah, I think, from social media, it's important not to get too far in the weeds. I wrote this blog post about to comment or not comment, which I'm sure maybe a lot of candidates could read and just general activists. But basically, not everything needs a comment unless it's moving the campaign forward. This is just a side note. But yes, don't get in Facebook fights because it just doesn't work. No one has ever changed their vote because of the Facebook comment. Besides that, the actual question on some tips, I think it's important to show that you're taking things seriously. So having a partner like right strategies come in and develop this professional looking content for you. It shows that you're serious, you're consistent, you're showing up, you're doing the work. But then it's also important to have that organic content on the side. So school board candidate I, it's a picture of you with a principal or a teacher or something that shows that you're active in the community. So mixing these two different modes and then making sure that you have your friends invite their friends to like your page. You know, they say that posting every day grows your page like four times fast Sure. And so Brian, you're absolutely right. Like, it's not hard to build a social media page nowadays or a following. It's just that consistency isn't always there. And candidates don't always have the time. So that's where people like me come in. And I am dedicated my time to doing that for them.

Brian Nichols  15:21  
Yeah, well, and that you touched on something, the time element, right this. So my day job, I am a sales executive for the telecommunications cybersecurity industry. And that's one of the things that when I'm meeting with C level executives in the technology space, is that they frankly, just don't have the time to sit through and vet out the hundreds, if not 1000s of vendors in these different spaces. Because they are focused on specific areas that are important to their core functionality of their business, they don't have that bandwidth. So what they do is they rely on folks like me to sit down and bring my expertise, I do this every single day, I see every situation in every possible way. And I've been able to bring the right vendors to the table. So they take that that trust that guidance. And then they can use that to help them not only make the right decision internally, but then defer a little bit of that decision making process to somebody else. And right there. Maybe that's one of the hardest things for folks who are running for campaign or for elected office for their campaigns is that they have this kind of entrepreneurial spirit where they want to do everything, but they just can't, and being able to almost give a little bit of the control away to folks like you who know what you're doing, who've had success and not only success, but you also have the expertise in having that success in bringing real value to the table. You're not used to that. So it's a different way of doing things. Frankly, it's an necessary change when it comes to actually finding success from my electoral standpoint.

Morgan Bonwell  16:50  
Yeah, I think I think the people who run for office like us that are successful, there's a lot of entrepreneurs expecially since 2016. Outsiders, these people are active, they want to keep their family life sane and intact. They want to do it all. And it's just a matter of if you're going to do it, do it right, and be consistent and show up on every level you possibly can in order to win on election day.

Brian Nichols  17:20  
All right, Morgan, well, we're already getting close to the 20 minute mark, which means we're already getting hard pressed for time, which means I want to make sure as we go through and do our final thoughts for the episode, I'll give you a chance to give yours as well, I'll start things off. And then this kind of goes back to some conversations we've been having here over the past few weeks. And it is the importance of not only meeting people where they're at on the issues they care about. But specifically knowing who that target market is. It's one thing to have an idea of who you want your target market to be. It's another thing to actually know who that target market is. So that's my final thoughts and words of advice. Maybe a little marketing tip here for from The Brian Nichols Show today, Oregon, what are some final thoughts you want to leave the audience with today?

Morgan Bonwell  18:05  
Yeah, if you are thinking of running for office, start early, don't announced right away, you know, do your preparation, make an account, do some opposition research. And then when you are, you know, join with people like write strategies, or there's so many people out there willing to help you spread your message. But do that build relationships through texting voters, you know, build those relationships with stakeholders, and with your community through social media. But definitely start early put in 110%. And you're going to come out with a win on election day.

Brian Nichols  18:48  
All right. Well, there's there's some very sound advice. And folks, if you're getting some value from not just the conversation today, but specifically, what you've heard from Morgan Well, I'm going to ask you to do me a favor number one, go ahead and give today's episode of share, obviously, but number two, I want you to go ahead and check out right strategies. It's an amazing organization that Morgan is the point person for and it's going to help you if you're running for office have success electorally I can, I can't guarantee it, but I can almost guarantee it. So please do me a favor. We'll include all those links in the show notes. And of course, for folks who want to continue the conversation with you. We're gonna we're gonna go ahead and do so.

Morgan Bonwell  19:26  
Yeah, absolutely. You can text or call me anytime I give that out. 641-257-8771 or you can email me at the longest email ever. Morgan Barnwell at REITs hyphen

Brian Nichols  19:41  
Awesome. Well, folks, if if you enjoyed today's episode, we'll do us a favor beyond sharing the episode and obviously going in supporting Morgan in it by the way sharing her information with candidates who are in need, please go ahead and do so but number two, we need to be able to continue to have conversations like this to help support Folks like Morgan so also do me a favor if you enjoyed today's episode number one, beyond going ahead and giving us a five star rating review over the Brian Nichols forward slash reviews. If you really enjoyed this show you're getting a lot of value. Go ahead and give us either a one time donation or if you want join our amazing superfans over at Patreon $5 a month, you can go ahead and do so and get our monthly Q and A's and sit downs with yours truly, it's over there. Patreon, the Brian Nichols forward slash support. Other than that, folks, we have 570 plus episodes there over the Brian Nichols for you to go ahead and check out including the past appearance we had here with Morgan back a couple of months ago, which it feels a lot longer ago by not just COVID time even though it's not COVID Time technically anymore. Still feels kind of like COVID time. Yeah, always fun. Morgan, thanks for joining us. And with that being said, Folks, by the way, did you check out our awesome conversation yesterday? If not, no worries, I'll make sure I include that right here for you. Check that out. But with that being said, it's Brian Nichols signing off. We're Morgan Barnwell. We'll see you tomorrow for listening to The Brian Nichols Show. Find more episodes at the Brian Nichols

Transcribed by

Morgan BonwellProfile Photo

Morgan Bonwell


Morgan Bonwell is a wife, mother, and business owner. She founded Right Strategies in January 2022 after years of working on campaigns and at a leading conservative vendor firm. She is focused on empowering conservative candidates with the tools and resources they need to WIN on Election Day!