press are a wonderful channel for you to use to improve the profile
of your candidate. They like local politics as it is a useful and continuous
source of conflict stories. There are always at least two sides of the
story to report. They are also, usually, short of copy so you have a
very good chance of having your story included in the paper if it is
well presented. Press releases saying what your campaign is doing should
be issued regularly but bear in mind the publication dates of your press
and release your stories in time to make the paper, especially if your
local paper publishes weekly. If they come out on a Friday and you’ve
organised a public meeting for a Wednesday make sure the press no about
in time to print your story the Friday before the meeting and not the
Friday after, if you want people to attend. If you don’t know
when your local journalists’ deadlines fall, ask them. They will
be glad you care.
should be prepared to write letters to the local press for publication
in their letters page and be prepared to respond to similar letters
from other candidates. Don’t let these exchanges become a slanging
match as no one benefits from that, make sure it is clear that s/he
is respectfully disagreeing not calling someone a liar. Negative Campaigning
makes campaigners feel good as they think they've hurt their opponents
but the public are not stupid and know exactly what's going on most
of the time.
There are of course times when it is best to say nothing. For example
if your opponent has probems in his/her personal life, going through
a messy divorce for instance, and you are asked to comment the best
thing to say is that it's a private matter that has nothing to do with
the campaign and you do not wish to comment. Your opponent is much more
likely to remember this and return the favour in the future and the
public will see that you are not conducting a personal campaign. Whether
this actully delivers more votes or not is uncertain but at least you
will have retained your dignity.
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