Scheduling the candidate’s time efficiently is among the most important recurring jobs on the campaign trail. From within and without the campaign, everybody will seem to be pulling the candidate in different directions, so whoever is in charge of their schedule is the guardian, the bad-guy and lynch-pin for the entire effort.
Build the candidate’s schedule around important anchors. These might be big or small events, in terms of people attending, but are vital to the campaign’s strategic interest. This is like filling up a bucket by putting in the big rocks first. Next, figure out the gaps and open time you have and pack things in around them.
Once I schedule that important meeting that acts as my anchor, I’m going to make sure I’ve got a call list for the road, I’m probably going to line up some other local meetings during the parts of the day I don’t want to block walk, possibly schedule some interviews with local interest groups or media. Finally, knocking doors and making phone calls are easy to push in wherever you have dead time.
Zach Whiting is one of those folks who knows he’s on the ballot in November and he’s our guest this week. Zach popped onto my radar because he’s married to a college friend of mine and I followed his campaign through her Facebook posts over the last year or so. In June, he won his Iowa State Senate Primary with 62% of the vote as a 30-year-old. He won every county and 47 out of 49 precincts in the district.
Before we get to the rest of Zach’s resume, I want to recommend a book to y’all. The title is Never Split the Difference, by Chris Voss. It’s all about negotiation and draws from Chris’ decades of experience as a high-level hostage negotiator for the FBI. I interviewed Chris on episode 59 of this podcast and have only become a bigger fan of the book since then. There are a lot of potential applications for the information within this book in the realms of politics and fundraising so check it out on Amazon or Audible!
I bought RazShafer.com when I was about 18 years old and that started a URL buying binge. As the internet was coming of age and I learned more about search engine optimization, it became clear to me that having the right URL is important to someone’s ability to find you online.
That idea is important enough if you’re talking about your personal website or small business, but in politics it’s critical. Hard to remember URLs that are made of slogans or hard to remember aren’t going to get the organic traffic that you want. You want someone to hear your web address and remember it so they can check you out later. Repetition is key (think about the way Ted Cruz would say his website name three times whenever he mentioned it) but the name itself should be easy.
When I started training candidates, buying the URL that corresponded to their name was always one of my first recommendations. We’re talking about online real estate so buying it before someone else sees value is important.
In a world dominated by digital content and online fundraising, traditional mail and physical checks often get forgotten. I was recently putting together a list of candidates for a donor who wanted to know whom to support. This gentleman doesn’t donate online, only through writing checks, so I was collecting the mailing addresses for the campaigns after I built the list of prospects.
What I found shocked me. Among the candidates I wanted to suggest, only about two-thirds listed their mailing address ANYWHERE on their website. Only half published it on the donation page.
Given how surprised I was with the results, I wanted to continue my search and see if this trend held. I expanded my unscientific research to fifty Republican congressional campaigns and the numbers actually went down marginally. Roughly 50% of the campaign websites I reviewed allowed voters to find the mailing address.
Campaign funds are a resource that every campaign complains about and each candidate wants more of…it doesn’t matter how much they have. So why would you NOT make it easy for folks to send you more?