Political Organizing & Campaigning in the Time of Coronavirus


Top photo: a good mask will scare the coronavirus away, or so I hear

As America shuts down public events, limits handshakes and learns to practice “social distancing”, how can political campaigns and advocacy organizations adapt to the coronavirus? As we discussed last week, one option is to go online, which I also explored with Fast Company’s Mark Sullivan yesterday:

As a result, campaigns will likely become more reliant on digital channels and television advertising to reach voters, says campaign consultant and epolitics.com editor Colin Delany. “It puts a premium on technologies that can help campaigns reach voters when they can’t reach them in person,” he says, predicting an increasing reliance on digital ads, social media, and text messaging.

Of course, more digital advertising will almost certainly increase prices, since more companies and campaigns will be chasing the same number of ad slots. If people are stuck at home for weeks, though, will they spend more time on social media? If so, they’ll functionally create more ad inventory, but I suspect not nearly enough to offset a rise in demand.

As we also discussed in the Fast Company piece, another route to a sequestered electorate is through a campaign’s own supporters, in the form of digital content they create or campaign content they share. Will more campaigns and organizations start social media share squads mobilized by email, Facebook Group or direct message?

This approach also appears in a new guide to organizing in the time of plague from our friends at the Tuesday Company, which talks about user-generated content as a way for campaigns to reach voters through their friends and family…at a distance. Other ideas in the guide? Virtual meetings and trainings, Facebook Live for “rallies”, Google hangouts for “house parties”, direct messages for local organizing and more. Of course, we’re also in a crisis communications moment, and organizations need to prepare what they’ll tell their members, constituents and supporters as the situation develops, as this article from Grassfed Media explains.

Have you seen other good guides for campaigns, organizations and vendors trying to adapt to a situation unprecedented in modern political life? Please share via email or Twitter and I’ll list them here. Don’t leave them on the doorstep, BTW. I have a flamethrower ready for unexpected packages.

More Guides:

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