Pathway to Victory: Before You Start The Race

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You have done so much work preparing for your race and you’re so close to launching your campaign! There are a few more items to cross off your to-do list before launching. During campaign season, it’s critical that you keep your eye on the goal: winning your race. This means spending less time doing those things you’ve been putting off for the last three months and more time doing what will get you elected: talking to voters.

Keep reading for a few of the tips you’ll find in 101 Steps to Victory: A How-To Guide for First-Time Political Candidates. This free e-book outlines the 101 most important things a first-time candidate needs to know to keep their campaign on the path to victory. And check back with the SpeakEasier blog in the days and weeks ahead for more of our 101 Steps to Victory.

Do all the things now that might distract you from your campaign later.

Okay, this isn’t much fun, but it is important. Go see Grandma, break up with your boyfriend (if that’s about to happen anyway), clean out your rain gutters, have that minor procedure you have been putting off, and get your teeth cleaned. Seriously, make a list of all the things you have been putting off and get them done. It will make your campaign more focused if there are fewer distractions — and it is very good practice. Procrastinators don’t usually win their campaigns.

Okay — now some incredibly key points to memorize.

  1. Nobody ever won or lost because of the color of their lawn sign.
  2. Font choice, as long it is not Comic Sans, is not very important.
  3. No, you don’t need hats, refrigerator magnets, or pens to win.
  4. No, there is no secret strategy to win. The secret is talking to voters.

Understand the difference between what is important and what is a distraction.

This problem trips up too many candidates who want to micromanage things like their lawn sign color (or worse, appoint a committee to do it). What the winning candidate needs to do is:

  1. Believe in what you are saying and “own” your message.
  2. Talk to voters.
  3. Raise money.
  4. Stay up to date on relevant issues so you know what you are talking about.
  5. Recruit volunteers and leaders.
  6. Thank everyone who helps you personally.
  7. Talk directly to the press about the campaign.

If you’re spending time on a task that isn’t on this list, it is probably a distraction. Get it off your desk as soon as possible.

So what should you worry about?

Here’s what we worry about as consultants:

  1. Does the candidate know why they are running?
  2. Can the candidate answer the 25 basic issue questions?
  3. How do we get on the ballot?
  4. Do we have the right forms filled out and the correct number of supporter signatures gathered?
  5. Are we following all local laws?
  6. Is the candidate making fundraising calls?
  7. Are they walking and talking to voters (or engaging with voters virtually)?

PRO TIP: Your website does not need to be complicated, and with a little bit of elbow grease,
you can probably create one yourself. A few good options are Wix, Weebly, and SquareSpace. If your campaign is small, you can even consider using a Facebook page as your website – just make sure it is flawless. And if you don’t feel comfortable with this, ask a tech-savvy member of your Kitchen Cabinet to help. You will need to pay for web hosting, but this should not be a major campaign expenditure for a down-ballot race.

Looking for more information about what it takes to run for office? Download our e-book designed to walk candidates through the process of running – and winning – their first political campaign. And be sure to check out more from our Pathway to Victory series!

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