Developing your campaign message is one of the first things you should do as a candidate, once you make the decision to run and prepare to announce your candidacy. They key word is “Your.” Your campaign message must genuinely be yours. Fortunately, the process of developing your own message will not only help you focus on why you are running, but it will also provide the foundational text that will be used for your campaign literature, website, speeches, interviews, meetings with consultants, and more.
Your goal is a one page document that is 5 to 10 minutes long.
First Step – Get Introspective
The first thing you need to do is set aside time, distraction free, to think introspectively about why you are running. Perhaps these are some reasons why you are running:
- You believe all children should receive a high-quality education
- You have children, or relatives, in the school district
- You want to share your time and talents with the community
- You want to represent the different groups in the community to ensure their voice is included when making decisions that will affect them
- You can help create stronger ties between the local government and community stakeholders
- You are upset with a decision or many decisions made by the current elected officials
- There is a seat up for election that seems to be perfect for you
Your goal is to fill one page with your narrative as to why you are running for this seat right now. Included in the narrative should be your story (who you are and why you are the most qualified person for the job), two or three reasons you are running (be specific and try and put a political lens on it), and how you are going to win.
Stump Speech Architecture
1. Your Name, Office, and Origin Story: What drives you and shapes your views? What makes you different? Why did you decide to run for this office?
2. The Problem: What is the problem that needs to be solved and why do you care? This is how you motivate them to care about the election and get behind you. If you are running for an open seat with the support of the sitting incumbents, the problem statement could be that you want to continue to legacy of those who came before you.
3. Your Solutions: How are you going to fix the problem? You need to give them hope that you can solve the problem (or continue the legacy). At a maximum, you should pick 3 solutions and stick to them every time you answer a question about why you are running. These three solutions – or campaign promises – become the basis of the substance of your campaign and people will begin to remember them – and hold you accountable to them when you win.
4. The Ask: Every time you give a speech, make sure you close with asking for their vote, endorsement, donations, or volunteer time.
Taken together, you have the foundation for your Campaign Stump Speech. This is different from you 30-second elevator speech we’ll be discussing later. Please go here to ensure you receive future posts directly emailed to your inbox!