Tips for running a successful campaign (4/19) [Discussed during the ‘Don’t Just Stand There…Run!’ meeting]
By Greg Reibman
Five tips for appearing on NewTV
- Don’t take NewTV for granted, they will give voters the best unfiltered view of you. Practice being comfortable on camera. Have someone video you standing as you will for the videos.
- Don’t wear white on TV. Don’t wear busy patterned clothing. Don’t grip the podium. Listen or at least pretend to be interested in what your opponent has to say.
- This is not torture. Look relaxed. Tell yourself you belong here. Don’t ramble. Don’t feel you need to speak for the full time you’ve been allotted.
- If your NewTV segments go well you will have a good clip that’s not just seen on NewTV but that you can embed on your website, Facebook, etc.
- If it goes bad, you will have a clip that your opponents will happily share.
Five tips for talking to the Newton TAB, Globe Local, Newton Patch
- Local news coverage has diminished greatly over the years. Respect how hard and overworked reporters are. Call them back right away. Respect and know their deadlines.
- Before talking to any reporter, know what you’re going to say ahead of time and what you want your message to be. Stay on message. Follow interviews with a quick email to clarify anything that may not have come across well. (an overworked reporter will often cut and paste a quote). Provide images (with captions)
- You are always on the record, unless the reporter agrees in advance. Reporters are under no obligation to honor a request to have something be “off the record” after you’ve already said it.
- Be sure and review the deadlines and restrictions
- Globe and elsehwhere: You’ll need to do something unique to be noticed.
Five tips for participating on blogs, listserves and social media
- The most important thing to know about blogs and listservs is that they have many more readers than participants. When you are writing, always keep in mind the larger audience, even if you are responding to just one person.
- Blog and village list serve readers are not possible voters, they will vote. That’s why they’re worth paying attention to.
- Don’t be the kind of person who only comments when someone writes about you. Let folks get to know you. Join non-controversial blog/listserv discussions to get your feet wet so if you ever have to comment on something more controversial, you’re not a blogging/listserve virgin.
- When the discussion is about you or your contest, weigh in thoughtfully. Don’t feel you always need to respond. And when you do comment, don’t get defensive. Just as you should ask friends and supporters to write letters to the TAB, organize a few folks to say something nice about you on the blog/listservs — and to defend you when needed.
- Monitor Instagram, Twitter and Facebook on a daily basis. Have a presence on each that isn’t just a mouthpiece but shows your personality and be part of the community. When meeting with people make sure that they know your various social media names so they can tag you.
10 General campaign tips
- At some point local elections get nasty. It’s unfortunate but they always do. Don’t take things people say about you personally.
- If you do take things personally, don’t show it.
- Be visible. Smile. Wear cheerful, energetic colors. Spell check your campaign literature.
- Act like you like your opponent even if you don’t. Otherwise you will come off looking petty. Plus you’ll never know when you might need that person or their supporters to help support or something you’d like to accomplish in the future.
- Consider endorsements carefully. Sometimes it’s better to have no endorsements, rather than being aligned with a controversial person or group.
- Don’t allow it to ruin your day if your lawn signs disappear. It happens. Just move on.
- Avoid spending all your time talking to decided voters. Candidate debates and forums are important but most voters at those events have already know who they will vote for. Get out and meet voters at other places.
- Have a web site. But only have a campaign Facebook page or Twitter feed if you’re committed to using it. Know how tagging, re-Tweeting, etc. works.
- Have a good headshot. Spend money on this if necessary.
- And have fun. Running for office – and holding office for that matter — can sometimes feel like a thankless task. Remind yourself that you are doing this because you want to contribute to making our community a better place.
Greg Reibman is president of the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber and a blogger at Village 14. He was formerly publisher and editor at the Newton TAB and Vice President of Content and Partnerships at GateHouse Media and was editorial director for a series of programs on the 2012 presidential election for the PBS World Channel. He lives in Newton Highlands.