Good candidates give a consistent stump speech. Great candidates always encourage supporters to visit their websites to learn more about their campaigns (where supporters can also sign up for the campaign email list and make contributions). But few candidates have ever thought to do this on their own. A dedicated staffer or volunteer made them practice.
The following are some tips for getting your candidate comfortable with stumping for her or his digital presence:
- Take 15 to 30 minutes with your candidate and teach them how to say the website. Make them practice a script with an ask to visit the website, something like: "I need your help. To get involved with my campaign please visit my website, CharlieSheenForMayor.com."
- You can have fast learning candidates practice with text opt-ins and social media as well. "Please visit my website, CharlieSheenForMayor.com, and if you have your phone with you text WINNING to 55555 to receive text updates from me and my campaign."
- Double check to make sure the website address is included in any talking points, cue cards, teleprompters, or other aids your candidate might use when she or he speaks. You can also have the URL printed in large letters and taped to the podium.
- If other people are staffing the candidate, ask them to remind the candidate about mentioning the website right before speaking. Have them report back on how the candidate did.
- Make sure you candidate knows when this works. If you see an uptick in donations, signups, or opt-ins after an event, report that immediately.
- Have other staff and surrogates practice making this same ask whenever they speak on the candidate's behalf.
- You can also have your candidate practice talking about social media to avoid common mistakes such as asking supporters to follow them on "Tweeter" or "the twitters." It's nitpicky, but it helps your candidate not sound out of touch.
What's the worst flub you've seen when a candidate tried to engage "the webs"? Share your horror stories in the comments!
Melissa Ryan is New Media Director at NOI