Running for Office? How to Plan and Execute Your Formal Announcement

Running for Office? How to Plan and Execute Your Formal Announcement


The formal announcement is a press event,
a photo op, a chance to drive home a central point about your candidacy…a key point that you want in the lead paragraph of the story and the sound bite on the evening news. There are certain things required to make it successful-press coverage, a crowd, a central message, and
a strategy to keep you in the news during the days that follow. All require a little
advance planning. The Press. I nearly always have my clients
sit down for one-on-one interviews with key reporters before they make a formal announcement. It is a chance to let a reporter know what makes you tick, what your priorities will
be, a chance to share your story, events that have affected your views, and why you think the way you do. One on one conversations increase the likelihood that the reporter will cover
your announcement. As you approach your announcement day, be in touch with the reporters by phone…they will be more likely to show up if you do. The Crowd. If you want 150 people at your
announcement, you need to invite double that number three weeks in advance and badger them on the phone and in emails about showing up. The invitations do not have to be expensive
fancy, but they should be graphically interesting and absolutely clear about the time, date
and place, with your phone number and contact information. The Speech. Don’t try to write it the night
before. Good speeches take time to craft, and a great delivery requires practice. Ideally, you’ll be able to deliver it without a script. It will have applause lines, and be woven
in a way that allows you to repeat your central message several times. Usually I begin working on the announcement speech for my clients three weeks before the event. We often go
through several drafts, and we always schedule at least three practice sessions. The Post-Announcement Roll-out. Have a plan in place to capitalize on coverage of your announcement so that you can turn it into
more than a one-day story. Announce a big endorsement a day or two after your formal announcement. Or advise the press of your travel schedule—speeches you are giving
or groups you are meeting with. Have an 400-600 word op-ed ready to go to newspapers that
lays out your rationale or a policy position you discussed in your speech. Schedule some one-on-one interviews with TV or radio stations a day or two after your announcement and then issue a release about what you said in the interview. Some other things to remember about Announcement Day. 1. Make the reporters job easy. They should have a hard and electronic copy of your speech. Make sure they have a good headshot of you and an accurate biography. 2. Make it easy for any television and radio
outlets to get the shots they want with high quality sound. Often it is helpful to have
a riser so that TV stations can get a good shot. It is always advisable to rent a multbox connected to high quality hard wire microphone at your podium. 3. Treat the people who attend your announcement well. Light food is a nice touch, but far more important is individually thanking the
people who attend. 4. Your announcement day is not one for Q
& A. Do your speech, and be done. Do not offer up a post-announcement press conference or
otherwise the news will be the way you answered a question and not what you said in your speech. 5. Make sure you have your own cameras recording the event so that you can use pieces of it on YouTube or in fundraising emails. Move
the first one to your email list the day of the announcement and follow with emails containing snippets from your speech during the days that follow. And when you do, ask for money and make it easy for people to give by providing a hotlink to the contribution page on your
website. There are just a few of the rules and tactics that I have used to help dozens of candidates plan and execute their formal campaign announcement. Have questions? I’ll be happy to answer
them. Hit the comment button. Call me at 845-458-1210, or email me at [email protected] And be sure to visit jay townsend.com to get your copy of my free book, the 10 worst mistakes candidates make. I’m Jay Townsend.

2 thoughts on “Running for Office? How to Plan and Execute Your Formal Announcement

  1. The formal campaign announcement is a press event, a photo op, a chance to drive home a central point about your candidacy…a key point that you want in the lead paragraph of the story and the sound bite on the evening news. There are certain things required to make it successful-press coverage, a crowd, a central message, and a strategy to keep you in the news during the days that follow. All require a little advance planning.

    In this week's video, how to plan and execute a successful announcement of your candidacy, and key rules to remember.

  2. Love those videos, Jay, even tho' I'm on the other side of the fence.  

    Volunteer engagement and sustaining that interest seems to be a major problem with a lot of election campaigns, particularly when it's a long lead time to the actual election day.  

    Any video tips?

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