Shifting Your Campaign Tactics During Coronavirus
Apr 03, 2020
The coronavirus has made running for office harder.
Real politics are largely on hold, in-person events, knocking on doors, and lit drops are essentially banned.
Fundraising requires a heightened sensitivity, as the smaller “grassroots” donors are increasingly concerned about the future of the economy and their own finances.
But it has also emphasized the importance of state and local government. As candidates struggle with getting their message out in front of voters, they also have to think carefully about their tone. Because while there is a need to echo the sense of we’re all in this together, candidates still need to draw out the differences to not appear too partisan.
This is a challenging time for every candidate, and you’re not alone in trying to figure all this out.
If you’re an incumbent who has a decent amount of cash already in the bank, a large donor file, or have the support of a super PAC, this new fundraising reality can actually benefit your campaign.
But if you’re a challenger with limited resources, this is not the time to put your head in the sand. This is the time to learn on the fly.
It’s a time of crises, and a perfect time for candidates to demonstrate how they will lead, and how they will take care of the people in their districts and communities.
Voters may not be out and about, but they’re a captive audience.
Sure, they might be busy navigating their own lives through this pandemic, but they’re also hungry for information. There’s nothing like isolation to reveal how deeply connected we are to each other. While your competition struggles with how to pivot, it’s extremely important that you find ways to stay visible.
Staying Visible & Relevant – Digital Campaigns
- Website – Keep it fresh and updated
- add new photos
- add coronavirus resources and links
- add links to videos and podcasts
- social media posts
- Daily social media posts that highlight:
- your short term and long term ideas about the health and vitality of small businesses
- community efforts
- your efforts
- ways people are looking out for one another (sharing resources, supporting businesses, etc.)
- instructions on absentee ballots, giving help on walking through the process
- your opinions
- echoing the sense that we’re all in this together
- your leadership
- keeping people up to date and informed
- addressing their concerns about the health of loved ones and neighbors
- draw out the differences between you and your competitors
- stories that generate hope
- navigating through this difficult time
- your vision for the city/district/state/nation when we move past the coronavirus
- addressing concerns about the long-term implications about the economy / your ideas / your efforts
- what the virus means for the short term, and what it means for the long term
- how to support your campaign
- the importance of making a contribution now, rather than later
- answering questions on voting and navigating through the process
- making requests
- Short videos made on your phone, laptop, go-pro (does not need to be perfect, but it does need to be relevant)
- interview local voices, local doctors, teachers, grocers, business owners, experts, and laid-off works
- post on youtube, facebook, Instagram, tiktok, and your website to win voter attention
- take screen shots of your videos and post them on your social media and website
- Video conferencing and Virtual events
- invite like-minded supporters and donors in lieu of in-person fundraisers
- small online cocktail party
- Emails – with photos, sent out on a regular basis that include links to:
- donation links
- volunteer links
- social media links
- and share buttons
- Podcasts and radio
- reach out to the producers and get on their program (perhaps as a regular speaker)
- share the links on social media and in emails
- Phone calls – Especially now.
- your community is desperate for connection
- one phone call can change a mind
- one conversation can sway a vote
- Quick Facetime calls for larger donors
- Texting engage voters (not to be used for lengthy dialogue)
- Press releases and contacting local news media / reporters
- Connect with minority communities
- delivering information through ethnic, religious, social service, community, or neighborhood organizations
- Embrace direct mail, personal letters and hand-written cards
Lastly, I know this is tough right now. But people are isolated and they’re looking for ways to get involved in something that’s meaningful, now more than ever. Do it right, and your campaign will give people an opportunity to be a part of a movement that emotionally drives them. No doubt, candidates who make their mark by staying visible and staying relevant through these trying times will have not only a more loyal following, but a strong competitive edge in the fall.