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The Strategy Room

Election Day or Election Week? Three PR Lessons We Can Learn From the 2020 Election

By: Ezraya Drumgo

Election day (or week) is swiftly approaching and with the presidential debates underway we’ve seen how these hopefuls have transitioned their campaign strategies to use both traditional and new methods of campaigning, like small rallies and virtual interviews, during a pandemic. Here are three things PR professionals can learn from this year’s election cycle.  

Exposure, Exposure, Exposure 

Running any campaign requires a high level of exposure. One great way to get exposure and expand your audience is through paid social media advertising. You can place ads on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.  

According to the New York Times, Facebook recently announced that they will “prohibit all political and issue-based advertising after the polls close on Nov. 3 for an undetermined length of time. This leaves presidential hopefuls looking for alternative ways to advertise their campaign like using emails and TV/radio spots. 

By using email sign ups, candidates can share updates from the campaign trail and most importantly, recruit volunteers to engage with people around the country to help get out the vote for their campaign. All of these tools are helpful in getting your message out there and connecting with your audience.  

Video Interviews  

2020 has become synonymous with living a virtual reality. Many of things political candidates are accustomed to doing in person like interviews, conferences, and political rallies have now become virtual for health concerns. For PR professionals. this virtual world has allowed us to be more flexible and accessible in our interactions with media. 

Booking interviews for clients no longer requires the hassle of trying to coordinate an in-person meeting which may require travel and hotel accommodations. Now, all we need is a computer with a video camera, a quiet room, and good internet connection to conduct an interview.  

We’ve seen shows like The Real, Wendy Williams Show, and news networks like CNN and MSNBC transition to doing video interview or live TV segments with guests. This allows for greater flexibility for all parties involved including the producer, the host, the guest and you, the coordinator.  

Learning from Each Candidate’s Messaging 

Earlier in this post we talked about the usefulness of ads and some of their benefits. Both Biden and Trump use their messaging to promote their presidential agenda through words, images and merchandise (you can now buy a Biden fly swatter less than 24 hours after the VP debate). One thing we can learn from this is how to incorporate strong messaging and images into pitches in order to grab the attention of the reporter. 

To create a strong message in your media pitch, it’s helpful to be concise and to the point. State what you want the reporter to cover and how it relates to their previous work. If you are pitching a product, sharing an image can be helpful as well so the reporter can visualize what you are selling. For any presidential campaign, the message is always how what they’re offering can help you and you want the reporter you’re pitching to feel the same way. 

Stay Tuned 

Even with the election less than a month away there’s still plenty of time to pick up some good tips and tricks from campaign efforts that can help in your PR endeavors. So, stay tuned and don’t forget to go out and vote! 




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