The 2019 "Rewriting the Sentence" Summit at Columbia Law School offered an opportunity to explore rehabilitative alternatives to prison sentencing. The Aleph Institute co-hosted the event and needed a content strategy to attract criminal justice stakeholders.
Our Goal : Implementing a content strategy for digital messaging and web presence
My Role: Content Strategist
The Team: 5 conference organizers and myself
Timeline: 5 months
Our group focused on email invitations, partnership proposals, web presence and press pitches. For each part of our plan we conceptualized an approach, tested different versions of content, and finalized copy based off of data.
We workshopped an event brand voice to reflect the conference's values of collaboration, change and authority. Our voice worked to create credibility and encourage bipartisanship. We kept our tone consistently serious and respectful, while occasionally flexing formality and enthusiasm.
We created three personas for our speaker and attendee invitations. One was for defense attorneys, with whom we spoke about fairness and humanity. The next was for judges, to whom we appealed about the weight of law. The last was for prosecutors, whom we pitched on increasing efficiencies and lowering crime.
We tested invitation copy with our baseline tonality, then found more formalistic and matter-of-fact invitations resonated with higher-ranking speakers.
We reached out to associations across the political spectrum to foster bipartisan support. For conservative organizations we focused on the financial toll of prisons on taxpayers. When engaging liberal organizations, we spoke of the human cost to unfair sentencing rules. When pitching centrist organizations, we combined both approaches.
We found that a more enthusiastic tonality excited organizations about joining our shared cause.
We used our online site to promote the conference to the public. The site explained our goals, differentiated the event from others in the field, and helped attendees sign up. The nonpartisan nature of the content made all feel welcome.
The site's main persona was potential attendees, so our web copy kept baseline tonality.
We wrote news pitches tailored to each outlets' area of coverage. When pitching legal publications, we highlighted the attendance of prominent legal officials. For justice reform media, we focused on our groundbreaking alternative sentencing mission.
We increased enthusiasm across all news pitches to emphasize the newsworthiness of the event.
Our baseline for performance was the earlier 2016 iteration of the conference, and we improved across all metrics. The conference increased in attendees, speakers, partnerships and press articles. Most importantly, we advanced the cause of justice reform and its champions.