As a candidate, it’s important to have a strong campaign message to share with voters.

But where does a strong message come from? Further, how do you communicate your message effectively? 

Today we are going to review tips to help candidates like you can create and deliver a strong campaign message to potential supporters. 

What’s Your Why? educate voters get out the vote

Before you craft your campaign message it’s important to clarify your “why” as a candidate

If you’ve already taken our So You Think You Want To Run course then you’re familiar with how important the “why” is for your campaign. 

If you haven’t taken the course, your “why” is relatively simple – why are you running for office? 

To answer this question, it’s important to think about several aspects of who you are and what inspired you to run. Questions to consider include;

  • What inspired you to run? 
  • Which issues do you want to tackle in office? 
  • What makes you the best person for the job? 
  • What qualifications do you bring to the office?

These questions are a lot to think about. Make sure you take your time to think through your answers! Our Finding Your Why worksheet will help you through the process. 

(Also, make sure to check out our try it out our So You Think You Want To Run course if you haven’t already. There’s lots of great info about different offices and the life of a candidate!) Core Message 

campaign messageOnce you have your “why” the next step is to compose your core message. 

Your core message is your promise to voters. Based on your “why,” your message is a few sentences that tells voters what you will do if elected and why you’re the best person for the job. 

The best way to create your message is to refer back to the Finding Your Why Worksheet. With this worksheet, you can combine your unique “why” with the change you want to make in your community. 

Maybe you want to improve infrastructure, or maybe access to school lunches for kids. Whatever it is make sure it’s relevant to you and your campaign. 

Once you have your “why” and your campaign’s focus try drafting a few sentences to figure out the most effective message for voters. 

Remember, your core message is not a laundry list of all the issues you want to tackle or your entire resume. That’s not an effective way to communicate with voters. Rather than list everything, it’s more important to select the issues and qualifications that are relevant to the office you’re running for.   

Overall, your campaign message should differentiate you from other candidates and make it clear to voters you’re the right person for the job! Draft a few, present them to family and friends, and figure out what works best! 

Communicate Your Campaign Message 

Now that you have a strong and concise core message it’s time to communicate that message to voters. But what’s the most effective way to communicate your campaign promise to voters?

We believe the best way to communicate your message is through storytelling. Not long winded tales of all your accomplishments and qualifications, but rather short stories about who you are and the issues you’re passionate about. 

If you’ve taken our course on Using Personal Stories to Connect then you’re well aware of how stories about your life and experiences are a great tool for connecting with voters. 

If you’re new to using personal stories there are four elements to keep in mind. 

  1. Show don’t tell: Your story shouldn’t list all your qualifications and the reasons you’re best for the job. Instead, choose a story that shows how qualified you are 
  2. Use a story as a bridge: The story you tell should relate to the policy you intend to pursue. Be selective about what story you choose!
  3. Leave people with a feeling: Most of the time people don’t remember the facts and figures. It’s more important to convey feelings of strength and drive. 
  4. Make it personal, but not too personal: Voters want to know who you are, but adding too much detail can muddle your message. Make sure to relate to voters, but be careful of adding excessive details. 

Personal storytelling is a great tool but requires a good deal of practice to perfect. Practice your story on friends and family to get their opinion! 

If you’re interested in more information about how personal stories can help your campaign check out our Using Personal Stories to Connect course to learn more! Or check out a couple of other blog posts about personal narratives and storytelling.  

Stay on Message

Over time, your campaign message, as well as the stories you use to communicate with voters, will become so familiar communicating with voters will be second nature. 

However, there is always room for improvement and more to learn! Even veteran candidates constantly work on improving their message and delivery. If you’re interested in learning more about how to create and communicate a strong message then take our Crafting Your Message course. 

Get out there and spread your message and tell your story! 

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Lily Doctoroff

Lily was raised in Medfield, Massachusetts, a small town outside of Boston. She currently lives in Chicago while she attends college at the University of Chicago studying Political Science and Religious Studies with a concentration in American Politics. She is a member of the Communications team at NDTC.