Political Campaigns

Actionable Tips for Campaign Strategy

Political campaign strategy should be 20% strategy and 80% implementation. That said, as you set out on your campaign, now is a great time to do a lot of that strategy.

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The earlier the better, if we are staring your upcoming election, its needed to commence building your team and figuring out your campaign strategy as early as is allowable. Action tip: Set a countdown clock to election day, that reminds you of how long you have left to convince your electorate.
Competitor analysis is essential in any contest. A good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your opponents can give you a huge advantage in building your campaign messaging in head-to-head debates, and in undermining their campaign message when necessary. Action tip: Develop your competitor analysis worksheet to capture where you stand in relation to other candidates in the race.
Before any strategy is put into the paper it has to verify any particular hot-button topic that will dominate the political discourse. Are you an incumbent politician who is tainted by something that has happened during your administration? Will you need to go on the offensive against your competitors for this reason, or will you be fighting a defensive campaign? If you can understand what voters generally think and you understand the way in which media narratives, dictate or undermine what voters think. Action tip: Then you have to develop an intelligent strategy.
There are a variety of digital tools your campaign will benefit from. They are usually based around giving your team a better shape and organization, or they are designed to improve your ability to communicate. We have put together a detailed list of top tools that requires for campaigns. Action tip: Set your monthly budget for digital tools and check what you can afford based on our list or from your own digital wish-list.
For most campaigns, field campaigning is a must. Whether this is done door-to-door or through ‘hot-spot canvassing’ in the community, it is proven to be an effective form of voter persuasion and GOTV strategy. Field organizing strategy needs to be built by someone who has some experience with voter targeting, canvassing techniques and the tools that facilitate this. Action tip: If this feels like something you need to hand over to someone more experienced then you should definitely bring someone into your team who has done this before.
Acquiring voter data is the preliminary step for your election. Your local authority should be able to provide you with updated digital version of the published electoral list in advance and required checking inclusion of missing votes, deleting the duplications, left over etc., You might be able to get a file from the official sources. Action tip: Check out our resource on how to acquire a voter database, electrical officers notifications of voters data time to time and to do the necessary updating.
Quick question, Do you know how many are likely to vote, or who are likely to vote for your competitor? Having answers to these questions will really help you to begin your voter targeting work from the voter databases you have acquired. Ideally, you will analysis those people who are likely to vote in favor and who are either your supporters or could be convinced to vote for you and If that group of people isn’t big enough to get you elected then you should consider pulling out more vote! Action tip: Check your voter file for any indications of propensity to vote and previous voting history or support level for political party.
Everyone running for office has a ‘sense’ of what the electorate think, and they usually try to respond to that understanding of voter issues with campaign messaging in order to represent those views in this digital era, it is possible to be a bit more rigorous about this and to capture voter issues in a way that accurately reflects those concerns and helps the campaign team. There are a number of ways this can be done, like online surveys, face-to-face canvassing, market research and social media interaction. Action tip: Set up your campaign tools with Iscope Campaign that has this functionality inbuilt.
You will need some strategy for getting money in to pay for you campaign, the smartest bit of research you can do is to copy what similar campaigns do in your state. This will help you to avoid breaking any funding rules while using tried and tested methods of generating revenue. Action tip: Set up your core campaign budget based on your lowest projections for donations funding. Anything you raise above this figure you can channel into scalable campaign spend like digital ads, billboards, paid canvassers, etc.
A big question for any candidate or campaign is “Who to hire?”. This will be dictated by your budget, but should also be based on getting the right person for the type of campaign you are running. You might be running a local campaign that needs someone with local knowledge with good contacts, Or you might be running a larger campaign that requires a high level skill-set based around media appearances and voter polling. Action tip: Match your budget with how much you can spend, remember you may be able to fill some of those roles from your own (voluntary) team who can be trained in groups by iscope.
Critical to your campaign strategy as a whole will be your election day and ‘get out the vote’ strategy. Think about how you are going to mobilize your supporters on polling day and what information you will need to have collected in order to do so. Capturing voting intention from voters can be done during canvassing and used on election day. Understanding where your stronghold areas are can help you to do targeted work in those areas in the run-up to election day. Action tip: Hit our Go To Voter (GOTV) resources. Write out hour-by-hour what you are going to do on election day to get out the votes. You will need to achieve this by subscribing iscope Go To Voter (GOTV),  Now you know what you will need to do during your campaign if you are to have a successful GOTV operation.
Your online properties - website and social media pages will need to work hard for you to maximize your campaign. Setting them up can be time consuming and expensive so be very clear from the beginning what you need. Some basic functionality includes a bio section, campaign messaging, a donation button, volunteer signup, and links to your social media properties. Your social media profiles, Facebook Page, Twitter accounts, Instagram, etc should fill in your campaign updates, responses to what is happening on the campaign trail, as well as providing brand awareness. It will be important to resource your digital campaign with people that have experience influencing voters online. Action tip: Check out our social media resources for campaigns, build a complete campaign structure through iscope campaigns.
Voter outreach is comprised of canvassing, phone-banking, public appearances, email or digital communications. You may have to be pragmatic about how many voter contacts can be achieved  to have a plan for how you will attack each of these areas. In some cases one type of outreach may be more effective than others. Canvassing is the most effective method of getting votes and in other cases voter outreach might be dictated by the resources at your disposal. Action tip: Request a plan of action from each of your outreach managers, such as your campaign manager, field director and digital director. Each plan should be based on your resources.
Public appearances are a staple of political campaigning. Whether it is media interviews, political debates, or just community meetings, you will be required to communicate to groups of people regularly. There are some simple tips that you should get clear in your strategy from day one. Firstly, how much exposure can you get through public appearances. And secondly, do you know what to do when you get them! The way to prepare for media appearances are contained here but can be summarized as speak in common language, have about 3 points that you want to deliver, and to treat your interviewer/audience as your peer. In this way you should be able to communicate effectively with anyone. Action tip: Get media training at the beginning of your campaign.
Like it or not the campaign is personal. As a candidate you embody the values of the campaign and you need to represent that in your public persona. Voters want to see personality and for that personality to be consistent across social media, public appearances and in campaign messaging. It is important to discuss the personal branding of the candidate at the beginning of the campaign so it is strategic and proactive, rather than just responding to what happens on the campaign trail. Action tip: Build your personal branding, creating an awareness by virtue of digital branding, help you to quickly build a relationship with the voters, stand out of the competition and gain more support by establishing yourself in the community.
Your campaign team size will have a significant impact on your ability to campaign successfully. It is an important strategic element to aim for the highest possible number of volunteers and paid members of your campaign. This process can be handled through joining the campaign team. Action tip: Build a team of volunteers through the digital system to anyone who declares an interest in your campaign, build a campaign team with iscope application.
Fake news, misinformation, lies, whatever you want to call it, has been around forever in political campaigns and it will continue always. Being able to respond to it means you will need to have a social media presence and a public presence. Otherwise you will be unable to counteract the false information. If your campaign feels that somebody is spreading fake news about you then it is advisable to challenge that publicly and get out ahead of the story. If you have developed your social media presence you may find you are able to lead the conversation rather than reacting to what is happening. Action tip: Assemble a list of possible areas of misinformation that the campaign might come up against and develop clear responses to these or have clear campaign messages for those areas. Make sure you have a good social media channel that have connections to media outlets and social influencers.
Campaign messaging needs to be developed on each issue area with a background information. The candidate’s track record in this area and development plan for that area in the coming years. Once all of these are effectively filled out, the overall campaign message that incorporates the personal brand of the candidate can influence the voters. Action tip:  Careful audience targeting with real time optimization and the content creations does well in social media that quickly build a relationship with voters.