Campaign Essentials 101

Posted on 03/27/2006. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Thinking of running for office? Well here are some tips from someone who has been working on campaigns for years. There are quite a few do’s and don’ts that you would think are obvious but seem to slip the minds of candidates and their staffers.

Start a web site. Make it a good one even if you have to pay someone else to design and host it for you. This should be up and running the first day you start your exploratory campaign. The same rule which applies to speeches applies to web sites. KISS- Keep IT Simple Stupid. No flash, no music, no zigzagging pictures or obnoxious 5000 color graphics to make people with stigmatism throw something through their monitors.

The bio needs to be in 3rd person so that any journalist- bloggers included- can cut and paste if they decide you are news worthy or want to give you an endorsement. I really hate rewriting a bio because a candidate wants everything to be 1st person.

Have an area where people can sign up to volunteer, get your news letter, or donate to your campaign. If you are going to have a blog for the campaign, have a staffer take on that job and write as them not as you. Nothing worse than going to a politician’s blog and realizing it is obviously written by several ghost writers. Be a politician or be a blogger. I know this sounds mean but very few people can carry off both. You can do a live blogging event where you answer questions but the main blogging should be done by people who know what they are doing and enjoy it.

Invest money in some clothes, a hair cut or style that looks good and is easy to fix, a make over and some wrinkle free for traveling. You are now a public figure. Your days of running to the store in ripped jeans and with your hair under a ball cap are over. You have to think what you look like at all times. Casual has just become office casual for you. Ladies this means makeup and hair done at all times and Men this means shaved and showered at all times. If you have a problem with fashion, get someone to help and listen to them.

The main photos for your web site and campaign literature need to be professional photographs. Set an appointment and get some shots done. Hire a photographer or get a friend who is a professional photographer to go to some of your events and take really good candid shots of you. Grainy out of focus photos are fine for the family album but look cheap and shoddy on the campaign trail.

If you are having people sign petitions to get your name on the ballot, have that clearly stated across the top of the petitions or at least on a large disclaimer sheet above the first lines if you are using forms supplied by the state. List your name, district you are running in and what office. Anyone who is gathering signatures for you should also have literature to hand out and be knowledgeable about your campaign and stand on the issues.

Find someone to design campaign gear for you and buy some!!! Have your family and friends wear your campaign gear and have a link where people can go and buy it. Why should a supporter wear your gear if your own family doesn’t? You are your own best advertisement. Your car should have a bumper sticker and your yard should have a campaign sign as soon as they are finished. Your favorite coffee mug has just become the new one designed for your campaign and you need several of them to use for friends and visitors and hope they walk out with them.

For the campaign itself, you need to invest in a handcart, several different sized storage containers that you can use for literature, campaign gear, and anything else you might need to set up a table or booth. Buy some tables that you can carry in your car or van to use if you show up and an event is short on tables. You look gracious and prepared as they scramble to make adjustments when things have gone wrong. The event coordinators will remember you being nice and helpful. A nice politician gets a lot more support than a prima donna. Find a site where you can get pens made with your name, logo and website on them. Use them and give them away. Name recognition is a big part of getting elected. Use any means necessary to get this done. Hand out candy bars that have been wrapped in your logo, give campaign gear as door prizes at every political event you attend, and have bumper stickers, shirt stickers and literature with you at all times. Have a professional name tag done with your name and what office you are running for and wear it every where you go.

I will admit that none of this means you will get elected but it will help and make your supporters and campaign volunteer’s life easier.

cross posted at My Left Wing, Booman Tribune

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