Endorsed: Strategies for Editorial Board Success
September 3, 2014
September 3, 2014
Most Americans have barely put away their shorts and summer clothes, but it’s time to think about election season. Primaries will be held in the coming weeks in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Delaware, and Louisiana. States that have already held their primaries are now watching the candidates from opposing parties duke it out on the airwaves and in debates. Political hopefuls are readying their last-minute plans to get voters’ attention and ultimately their votes on Election Day.
One factor in making a strong close is garnering the all-important newspaper endorsement. Although the newspaper industry is not as strong as it once was, voters see an endorsement from a newspaper as a credible outside opinion of a candidate and his or her campaign.
How can campaigns and candidates make an impression on the editorial board? Here are some tips:
Do your research: You should know who will be in the room, and the issues they write about. Be ready to speak knowledgably about an editor’s favorite topic. You should also know which editors are fans of your ideas and campaign and which are not. Read their clips. You’re not pandering. You’re preparing to answer questions you’ll likely face with well-informed answers.
Know your competition: The editors are meeting with all the candidates in your race. Know the talking points opposing campaigns are using to explain their issues and criticize your campaign. Have a strategy ready to explain why your position and policies are best. You should also prepare to respectfully oppose ideas from other campaigns to set yourself apart.
Get specific: It may work to reference your policies in passing in a television commercial, but the editors want to take a deeper dive into the meat of your proposals. Be ready to highlight what sets you apart from your opponents and how it will benefit your constituents during your conversation.
Get off the stump: It’s easy to revert to language you’re comfortable with when facing a tough room. But the editors want to hear more than your stump speech. It’s critical that you stay on-message without echoing lines that editors have seen reported from the trail or on your campaign materials.