Highly Effective Campaigns: A how-to
It's evident 2020 will be a big year in politics at every level. After 2018's Blue Wave and all the...shall we call it discourse?...since then, November will be a monumental month.
At Apparatus, we've worked on a variety of campaigns at various levels of local and national government. From communications to fundraising to field work and organizing, there's a lot to think about.
Wherever you are in planning, announcing, and running your campaign, here are some tips to keep top of mind:
Your website is often your first introduction to voters.Your website is not a perfunctory item on the campaign to-do checklist; it's a launchpad and a focal point for your entire run. From attracting voters and volunteers to sharing your views to making it easy for supporters to donate, having a website that's navigable (including on mobile devices!), beautiful, thorough, and informative is essential.
Keeping up is a full-time job. Whether you're responding to something relevant that's happened in the news or proactively putting out a statement with your view on an issue that concerns your constituents, preparing a message is only a piece of the puzzle. Considerations of timing, input, "fit" with your issues and campaign tenants, etc. all have to be evaluated and weighed. Having a competent, tested comms team by your side will help you with more than beautiful Instagram shots.
Know the players and the game. Take an honest accounting of your opposition, the history of the seat you're running for, and your own strengths and weaknesses as a candidate. Don't put your head in the sand, especially when it comes to tackling the big obstacles like a formidable opponent, an uphill fundraising battle, or a sticky political issue.
Don't forget to tell people who you are -- over and over again. Voters are inundated with messages. Creating a public relations and media strategy creates momentum and amplifies your campaign messages. The earlier you can start this effort, the more your campaign will benefit from cached Google searches and links back to your website, not to mention you'll have ample opportunities to generate earned media.
Authenticity is key. No surprise here, but being true to yourself is the most important thing you can do to run an effective campaign. Voters are highly attuned to how you represent yourself and will notice if your messaging seems wishy washy, unintelligible, or inconsistent. Start strong by capturing your overall narrative (what drives you, why this role now, who you are and how it applies to this campaign in this moment) and referring back to it often.
There's a lot to consider when you're running a campaign. In future installments we'll talk more about considerations for your field and fundraising teams.