Are you running for political office? Are you having trouble getting your message out? Do people have little idea you are in the race at all?
You need a political advertising agency to put you on the map. Professionals experienced in the art of the political campaign can help you come up with a strategy, and also implement that strategy using the latest digital and traditional techniques.
Whether you are running for local city council or the U.S. Senate, you need to understand the many techniques available to distinguish you from your competitors. Then you need to know which techniques will be best for you, and how to use them.
Here are ten ways a political advertising firm can help you get results.
Branding For The Candidate
What do you bring to the table? How have your experiences shaped who you are, your values and your priorities? How do people see you?
A political advertising or marketing agency will start with these basic questions. They will help you develop your brand: what people will come to associate with you, and how you are different from your opponent.
Political advisors can help you glean what makes you special and what will connect with voters. They will help you conduct a “SWOT” analysis to determine your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Knowing your brand will influence all your other communication techniques throughout the campaign. A consistent brand assures voters that you are authentic in your views, and trustworthy in your promises.
Once your agency has helped you hone your brand, they can help with your messaging. They can guide you in communicating your value to voters in memorable and resonant ways.
Your core messages may be lower taxes or more money for teachers. No matter what they are, they need to remain consistent and primary throughout your campaign. They must echo across your web presence, personal appearances, printed materials, and social media.
A great agency will also help you identify your target audiences, and craft messages which will appeal to those audiences. Your messages must be tailored to that group. If you are looking to capture the millennial demographic, your messages will be different than what they might be for the retired population.
Social Media Political Advertising
There’s no escaping it: social media is part of everyday life. It is a huge influence on political campaigns now as well.
If you don’t understand social media, get a political advertising agency to educate you. You need to understand what it can do and how to use it to your advantage.
Obama’s sudden rise to prominence is widely credited to his savvy with social media. Our current president uses Twitter now to get his message out.
An agency will not only help you with the strategy, but they can help you implement it. They can distribute your tweets at predetermined times and carefully calibrate your messages to respond to events, opponents, and issues in real time.
If you are not on social media, you risk letting others tell your story for you.
Political Digital Ads
You will use social media to build your herd of supporters. You can boost those numbers through paid ads.
Political ad agencies are expert in determining what might be the appropriate ad buy for you. They will look at your budget, your goals, and your targets to help you fashion an ad campaign online that focuses directly on the people you need to reach.
You can take out ads on websites frequented by your targets. You can buy ads with Google or Facebook designed to reach people by geographic location, profession, or political party of your choosing. The ability to target a specific segment of the population through digital ads is uncanny.
Geofencing Advertising in Politics
Geofencing is a political marketers’ term for creating hyperlocal targets such as individual homes, buildings, events, trade shows, retailers, convention centers, and competitors.
You may want to reach people in your specific school district or homes affected by a recent new highway bill. Geofencing helps you accomplish that.
You need to work hand in hand with your agency to develop a strategy based on your objective. Who do you want to reach and why will reaching them help you? Many agencies will gladly take your advertising dollars, so look for an agency who can help you use this tactic strategically.
Website Design & Development
Once you get all of this attention from your digital ads, you want to drive viewers to your own website. This is where you can house your messaging and other important information.
Your site can also help you track valuable data: who is clicking on your ads, what messages are working, where are people staying a long time on your site, and what areas are not seizing their attention?
A great agency can help you populate your site with video, links, and commentary. They can guide you in a design that grabs eyeballs and conveys your brand.
You can also raise money via a great website. Platforms like Paypal can be integrated into your site to collect donations. Discuss with your consultants how to raise money for your political campaign while staying within the bounds of any applicable campaign finance laws.
Being online does not mean you will be found. Targeted ads and geofencing can help. So can an SEO strategy.
SEO, or search engine optimization, makes your website easily indexable and readable for sites like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. By optimizing your website for search engines, you increase the likelihood that organic traffic from these search engines will find your site.
By working with a political advertising expert, you can make sure your digital techniques are in line with your messaging. She can help you research keywords to make sure you have a chance at ranking high in Google search results.
You want to rate in the top three, or at least the first page for your chosen keywords and phrases.
A good agency will also help you create content that is appealing to search engines, like video.
Digital PR For Office Seekers
Traditional public relations like pitching media and booking speaking engagements can work hand in hand with digital tactics to create an effective campaign.
Your agency should also assist with approaching reporters to get your story out. Integrate your techniques by posting relevant media stories on your site and pushing out on social media.
Sit for interviews, and use your agency to vet which reporters are more likely to get you good exposure and a fair story. Make sure an agency representative comes with you on in-person interviews and keeps the meeting on point.
You want to get out and meet people as well. You want to show up for association meetings, town hall breakfasts, award ceremonies, and any other events where you will meet people who might vote for you. Your marketing staff should help you create a schedule designed to meet the people you need to persuade to support you.
All of these appearances then create content for your website and social media feeds.
Every campaign will face a challenge at one point or another, and a good communications advisor will guide you through it. Maybe you miss an appearance at a rally due to traffic. Maybe an associate of yours got arrested.
The best preparation is creating a crisis management plan, in case something terrible happens. You want to designate who will create the statement, who will post it online, and who will contact the media.
You want to have the cell phone numbers and contact information for your team handy so that you can reach them at any time. Politics is no 9-5 job!
A great political advisor stays calm in these situations. Many crises blow over with proper management and a strategic plan. Don’t let a minor mistake knock you off track.
Polling In Politics
As your campaign ramps up, your political agency needs to know how to conduct and analyze polling data. The ongoing collection of poll results will help steer your campaign, adjusting when messages go off course and refocusing when necessary.
Luckily, polling has been hugely enhanced by advances in digital media. You can conduct polling through your own social media materials, or you can conduct anonymous polls to gauge voter reactions to news and events.
Many political consultants use digital data in conjunction with more traditional polling methods. Online polling reaches a different audience and has a different track record for truthfulness than phone or mail-in surveys.
Polls should be taken with a grain of salt. The 2016 presidential election produced results far different than those anticipated by the polls. If you are considering the support of a political agency, inquire about their polling experience and success rates.
Political Advertising, Marketing, and PR: Use All the Tools in Your Arsenal
To achieve success in a political campaign, you need all the help you can get. Political advertising can help you get your message out to the people who need to hear it, and digital techniques integrated with traditional PR can help keep your profile high.
Find a political ad consultant who understands your mission and can offer creative ways to help achieve your goals. The more ways you can utilize today’s digital techniques, the more likely you are to reach your audiences and change the world.
For more information on effective digital campaigns, check out our blog.