9 commandments of Political PR for politicians
Politics is in the air, and as the 2023 elections loom closer, politics is everywhere you go. Radio, TV, print and social media are all talking politics. Political public relations has now become critical.
Connecting with the public and using effective public relations tactics remains the key success factor. Here are some essential political PR “commandments” and tips:
- Message repetition and reinforcement
One of the tactics used frequently in political PR is simple repetition. This is evident in many political campaigns around the world.
Candidates should have five to six major topics and then break each talking point down to a few simple words. Then, they continue to repeat these topics in interviews, rallies, debates and on their social media feeds. Simple repetition is a very successful tactic in the political PR world because it works as people tend to remember those simple messages.
- Symbolic imagery
Word association goes hand in hand with having a campaign logo or symbolic image.
Having an image that can be associated with the candidate makes them more memorable. Candidates will create websites, billboards, social media pages, bumper stickers and all sorts of collateral that have the same logo on them to allow for uniformity.
In the last election, the APC broom was quite a memorable symbol.
- Special events
Hosting specials events is a commonly used PR tactic. Politicians hold special events or rallies in the locations where they need the most votes. These events do not have to be directly campaign related.
This can help more individuals get involved in the political process. Therefore, these special events are an important activation tool in political PR.
- Press releases
News releases are a way to deliver messages through the media without having to pay for sponsored content. Many politicians release statements through several media outlets.
The press releases should be relevant and the core messages should connect with the public.
- Social media
Social media has now become the lifeblood of most political PR campaigns.
In the 2023 build up, Peter Obi seems to be miles ahead of the other Presidential candidates, but as Election Day draws closer, all the contenders will soon be running neck to neck on social media.
Social media have become essential in politics in many ways. Every city and state government has some form of social media presence as a way to reach constituents. Social media make it easy for politicians to stay connected with their target audiences.
Newsjacking is another popular public relations tactic. It’s about monitoring live news and spotting opportunities to put your brand or political candidate at the center of conversations.
This will be done using expert commentary and thought leadership pieces. You see this playing out daily on the major TV stations.
It calls for speed and fast thinking. If you are fast, reactive, and relevant, the political PR rewards are huge.
- Leverage what’s trending in the world
This is self-explanatory and it’s similar to the earlier point. Take anything that’s trending, use your creative skills to blend your political brand’s message into it, and you can get great exposure. And that can be in any format.
- Controversy creation
Creating some controversy around your brand or political candidate is another effective way to grab the public’s attention is to create some controversy around your message.
People love a good debate, so if you can give them that, you’ve basically got a winning PR campaign right there. You can generate lots of coverage from different audience segments analyzing your story and giving their perspective on the subject.
However, this political PR tactic has to be creatively and cleverly done so it doesn’t backfire.
- Calendar PR
Building relationships with the media and journalists is important for creating a positive image and reputation in political public relations.
Having a solid relationship with the media and key media influencers can pay off over time. Although the media terrain is saturated with thousands of media outlets, there’s still an art to media.
Sadly, money talks in media relations and brown envelopes have not gone out of fashion. But excellent relationship management always trumps over cash.
Whatever political agenda you are driving, smart PR tactics are more important than ever to achieve your political PR goals and electoral victory.
Because when you make a choice, you change the future.