So you’ve decided to run for office. Good for you! Municipal units of government manage the things we use on a daily basis like streets, water, sewer, utilities, and public safety services. Most local campaigns–and a good many state races–are decided on the nature and effectiveness of advertising done by the candidate. If you decide to run for one of these offices, forget the dirty tricks and media blitzes. Plan your advertising campaign based on what will get the best response and the most votes from your community.
- Plan your strategy based on your budget. Research what’s worked in past local elections. You have a choice of a number of traditional forms of advertising. Buttons, pens and other trinkets can be passed from person to person. Yard signs are a good public display. Newspaper ads, brochures and print advertising can be very effective, especially immediately before the election. Websites have emerged as an economical way to reach those who are computer literate.
- Distribute personal promotional items like buttons, pins, pens, and pencils. Concentrate on items that people use in front of other people. Any premium house or web-based sales service (check the ones who cater to schools and teachers) can arrange for personalized promotional items. Keep any copy (the message written on the item) simple and large enough to see from a few feet away. Use a simple color scheme–variations of red, white and blue prepare observers for a political message.
- Print and distribute yard signs as early as possible. Design simple signs with bright, “patriotic” colors. Don’t bother with little flags or pictures. Save any policy discussions for your brochure.
- Design and print brochures. These are best distributed person-to-person. Your county clerk may have listings of registered voters available for you to purchase. Use these as your basic contact list or as a mailing list. If you do buy a voter list, be sure to add any contacts you make along the way.
- Save print ads for your finale. Plan their date of publication well along in the campaign. The ads should act as a reminder or reinforcement rather than an introduction.
- Create a website. Like newspapers, they reach a specific audience. People who use the computer to get news and political information will check out your website. Local campaigns are using web pages to present basic ideas, biographical information and pictures of the candidates–and to solicit money, volunteers and votes.