Campaign tips for COVID times

To get elected, competitive campaigners need to keep going, even when the going gets tough.

Campaigning for public office is challenging at the best of times. Now, with COVID implications, it’s just got a lot harder.

The requirement for physical distancing and the ongoing uncertainty about when this pandemic might end, has turned traditional campaigning on its head.  

When you can’t shake hands with unsuspecting voters, or face the hecklers at large public meetings, or even kiss babies, what’s a would-be politician meant to do to be heard?

Turns out you can still do quite a lot!

In 2019, when I published Get Elected the first national guidebook on how to run a successful political campaign, my goal was to assist women and candidates from diverse backgrounds to Get Elected. At the time, few were predicting a pandemic!

This year in Australia, COVID is posing a challenge for many candidates seeking office. No more so than in Melbourne, Victoria where Stage-4 restrictions are impacting the approach taken by many candidates contesting the upcoming local government elections in October.   There, Local Government Victoria has issued Safe Campaign Guidelines to help candidates understand how to comply with the directions of the Victorian Chief Health Officer to stay safe.  

In response to requests for advice on how to cut through with a campaign in a pandemic, and garner the attention of voters, I have developed a 2-page guide on Campaign Tips In COVID times.

Tips to cut through

My advice for candidates seeking the competitive edge for their campaign at the moment covers the following strategies

  • No 1 – Stay compliant. Keep updated on what you must do in a pandemic by following the advice of your Chief Health Officer, Electoral Commission, and various government departments.
  • Go online – With physical distancing requirements, online is the main platform to promote you and your message to voters.
  • Cut Through – With so much news, you need to work hard to be heard above the plethora of pandemic news
  • Tell The Story  – Explain your personal story. People want to hear from candidates. And tell the story of the election where you are standing. Most people don’t know about it.
  • Write Letters – In these digital times, letters still make an impact.
  • Advertise – In election campaigns, the Candidate is the product. Go out and sell yourself, online and in traditional media.
  • Promote your image – In times like these, you will need to work even harder to put your face in front of voters and raise awareness about your campaign.
  • Fundraise – Fundraising is tough at the moment, yet it is worth asking for support to boost your reach.
  • Be Inclusive – When more than 21% of Australians speak languages other than English at home, make an effort to communicate with diverse voters.
  • Stay Connected – there are several resources out there that can help with tips and advice on campaigning in challenging times.

To download a copy of Ruth’s Campaign Tips in COVID times; and get help to cut through with your campaign visit and subscribe to Ruth’s newsletter.