If you’re running for office in a larger media market, it will be much more difficult to get your name in the news. The competition for news stories is competitive and if you don’t have a strong editorial angle, the producers and reporters will tune you out.
Likewise, advertising in these larger markets will cost your campaign more money – both on TV and in print. So how do you brand your campaign on day 1 if you don’t have the funds of an incumbent?
Here are three strategies you can take on day one that will help voters understand what you stand for – and who you are at the root.
Press Release Strategy
Press releases are not a media strategy. One of the misnomers with press releases is that they will generate news coverage. News rooms are bombarded with press releases, so unless you have an event that is truly news worthy, don’t bet your campaign’s reputation on a press release.
However, press releases can be very strategic when you consistently punch them out and post them on your campaign website. Over time, it will help your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and it will give voters a bigger picture of what you stand for. Voters who go to your website and read up on the issues are also most likely to vote, so your branding will be targeted.
One more thing, you should continually share these press releases with local news. Even if the news outlet doesn’t cover a story on your press release, a continual cycle of press releases will begin to put you on the media’s radar.
Social Media Strategy
Research shows Millennials get their news from social media. This generation is not turning on the local TV newscast, or even picking up a newspaper. Yes, historically younger people are less likely to vote, but Millennials are approaching the age when they do vote. This isn’t a group you should overlook.
Make sure you devote resources to social media, and update these channels daily with new content, viewpoints, quotes, photos, videos or even “live” feeds. If you reliably create content on your different channels, it will pay off. Potential voters will learn about your platform via their news feed; your campaign website will rank higher with the search engines, like Google and Yahoo; you can communicate directly with your potential followers.
And just in case you don’t know it, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram are the major social media channels that should be a part of your branding strategy.
Now that you are reaching younger voters via your social media page, it’s time to reach older voters. The opinion pages in local newspapers can be an effective branding tool to reach senior voters.
The opinion pages are frequently overlooked as a branding strategy for politicians. That’s a calculated mistake, even if it’s an accidental move, because editorial editors look specifically for policy opinions. If you have a strong opinion about a policy you will change or create, make sure you target these editors.
And once your story is published, make sure your campaign is leveraging the editorial on social media. When all three of these strategies are tied together, you will best positioned to tell potential voters why you are the best candidate for the job.
About the Author
Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with NBC, Senior Producer with CBS in New York, and author of the book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. He’s also a current contributor with CNBC and the Daily Caller. Macias runs his own PR agency – Macias PR - that focuses on messaging, branding and media in the political realm.