Traditional Media

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Campaign planning
Under the intense pressure of an election campaign there is rarely enough time to run a campaign, let alone plan one. So it is a very good idea to have as many plans as possible in place before the campaign begins. Ideally, you will have a framework prepared for the most critical last weeks of the campaign, when most people make up their minds about voting and when being visible to the public is most critical. This can be as detailed as you need it to be, but it should be well thought out, and agreed and familiar to the key decision-makers in the political and communications roles.                

The purpose of a campaign plan – or ‘grid’ – is to give everybody on the team an overview, and to facilitate efficient work. It is important to consider spacing out your events to take account of your capacity to organise interesting events, and also of the media’s ability or probability of covering them. This point is particularly important if there is a system of proportional media coverage (stopwach). If in doubt, spend your time organising a smaller number of well-researched, well-run events, rather than lots of lower-standard events; quality rather than quantity.                

During the campaign itself, it is useful to issue a media notice by email containing details of important events taking place the following day. Even if there are no specific media events organised, the schedule could contain details of speeches or meetings in which senior figures are participating. For very important and last-minute events, it could be useful to send an SMS to political correspondents, news editors, photographers, etc.                

If your party does not have a press clippings or media monitoring service, it is a good idea to plan to do an early morning newspaper review, so you have an overview of the big stories and can fine tune your messages and events as needed. This task would likely need to be rotated, as all those early starts will quickly wear out a press officer if she or he has to do it all on their own!                

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