Even with a pandemic, debates and forums are still going on. With fewer opportunities for voters to meet and hear from candidates, these events are more important than ever.
For voters – especially undecideds – getting to know a candidate’s temperament and hear responses to common attacks directly from the individuals’ involved is a key factor in choosing a candidate.
For journalists and influencers, debates are about expectation setting. These are difficult to quantify, but it’s a key factor
Here are some ways you can make the most out of debates and forums.
Promote the Event
Of course debates and forums offer your campaign the ability to reach an existing community or organization, but voters (including your supporters) will appreciate knowing about it.
Event turnout has traditionally been one of the best practice environments for turning out voters on Election Day. With fewer events, these skills must remain sharp
For each event, create a specific plan to capture the attention of the audience attending, watching, or following along on social media. The organizers may give your campaign contact details for registrants or attendees. Use that context to build a tailored outreach plan.
Ensure your candidate includes repeated calls to action, either to the campaign website or an SMS opt-in. For example, if you’re participating in a small business forum, have a landing page on the website that you can reference during the event.
For the conversation happening on social media, follow the event’s hashtag and post Tweets with links for more information and direct calls to action. Simply quoting key lines and adding the hashtag doesn’t produce results.
Assemble a Rapid Response Team
Debates and forums are the rare moments of direct interaction between candidates. If you want to land a hit against an opponent or fight one leveled against your candidate, you need a team of loyal supporters active on Twitter ready to fight it out.
Never assume that these supporters know what you expect of them – ask them directly. Arm them with details, data points, and content. With online campaigning, you can’t afford to let claims go unanswered. This means not only having a response in circulation, but using the conversational quality of social media to directly counter every Tweet with a reply.
Create Content & Reuse It
If a question is asked in a debate or forum, it’s on the minds of voters. Hopefully that’s also the moment your candidate gives his or her best response. Clip, trim, and caption the video and use it on social media. It doesn’t matter if the debate was a few days ago – the content is still valuable.
As Election Day draws near, you can use this content to answer voters’ direct questions about the topic via email or social media.
Remember: the winner of the election isn’t the candidate who won the debates. Effective campaigns make the most of these events by focusing on the goals of winning votes, earning attention, raising money, and upsetting your opponent.