Spitfire Strategies

Stay Above the Fray – Communicating During Election Season

It’s election season again – the time when many people stop answering their phones, checking their inboxes or logging in to Facebook to avoid the campaigns continually vying for their attention. While this can help them tune out the campaign messages, it also means that they may be missing your organization’s messages. So what should you be doing over the next week to make sure you’re getting heard above the noise?

If the election will impact the issue you work on, make sure to prepare for changes to come – this could include adjusting your course, reassessing your champions and taking a hard look at your current and potential opposition. Some other ideas include to:

  • Assess your vulnerabilities and opportunities. Check in with your staff and partners to get a full view of the landscape. Identify where you have vulnerabilities and come up with a plan to minimize them. Also, be sure to look for opportunities so you can come out on the other side of the election gate ready to go.
  • Communicate about the impact. Make sure to give your audiences information about how the election will impact your work and share clear instructions on how they can take action.
  • Look for opportunities to leverage current coverage rather than creating your own. Instead of trying to create and pitch a new story in the crowded media landscape, leverage other conversations to gain momentum. Keep an eye out for statements from candidates, endorsements, editorials and events that create opportunities to shine the light on your issue and the work your organization is doing.

For some organizations, next week’s election won’t have a direct impact on the work they’re doing. In this case, your organization should reevaluate your activities to make sure you’re making the most of your valuable time:

  • Think about what stories your audience targets are following. Some of your audiences will be focused on the election and it’s unlikely that your communications will rise to the top. But for those who may not be following the elections– figure out how to connect with them. Tailor your communications with messages that will resonate and plan activities that will reach them.
  • Consider refocusing where you invest your time. Given the amount of media coverage the elections will receive, it may be worth trimming back your time spent on your media outreach activities and reinvest that time elsewhere. Reduce your blog posting and save content for after the election, or cut back on your Facebook posts and tweets. Use this time to prep blog content for November, create a new infographic or update your editorial calendar.
  • Review your analytics to see what’s working well. Keep an eye on your metrics – including email open rates, Facebook insights and website visits – to see where you’re getting the most traction. Consider trying new outreach methods or trimming back activities that aren’t reaching your audiences.

These suggestions will help you keep your organization’s communications front and center over the next week and, most importantly, invest your time in areas, tactics or activities that will have true impact.

Need help evaluating opposition or reassessing the landscape? Check out our latest tool, Planning to Win, for more information.

“This has been a tremendous eye opener. It shows us how to pull the aspects of communications skills, from the message, to the audience. It forced us to identify our strengths and our weaknesses in an effort to become more strategic in how we prepare our messages and communicate them.”

- Training Participant

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