6 Tips for Running for Office

As more and more people get politically active, it’s becoming more and more common to see everyday citizens running for office. They’re proving with each election that you don’t need to have riches and connections to make a difference in your community.

Are you interested in running for office? Do you think that you have what it takes to be a leader? If you’re thinking of getting into the political game, here are just a few tips for success.

1. Put Yourself Out There

The first step of running for office is making sure that people know your name. You don’t want voters to say “who?” when they see your name on the ballot. Get active on social media; run political ads on local channels; put your face on benches and billboards. Sell yourself like you’d sell a product, and before long, people will start responding to your presence.

2. Pick Your Cause

There are probably lots of things that you’d like to do as the new mayor or city council chairman, but voters aren’t interested in hearing a laundry list of ideas. They’re more responsive to politicians who have one or two “pet issues” that they can understand and form opinions about. Figure out which causes matter to you and start talking about them in the media.

3. Create a Hashtag

Politicians have long realized the value of short, pithy campaign slogans, but in the age of social media, a slogan is simply a hashtag. You can get ahead of the game by creating your own hashtag and advertising it along with your name, face and message. Think about Obama’s #YesWeCan or Trump’s #MakeAmericaGreatAgain. Strive for something that’s equally succinct. Make it send a message with every tweet.

4. Double-Check Your Credentials

You don’t want to get disqualified from the race because you didn’t meet some obscure requirement for running. Before you start designing yard signs, contact your local government office and ask about any prerequisites that you’ll need to launch your own political campaign. It might be as simple as filling out a form; it might require more effort like gathering signatures or raising a certain amount of money.

5. Improve Your Interview Skills

You’ve probably heard of the famous presidential debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. Nixon was recovering from the flu and visibly sweating, and that made viewers think that he wasn’t able to handle the job, so he wound up losing the whole election. Don’t be like Richard Nixon! Teach yourself how to remain calm, poised and articulate even when there’s a camera in your face.

6. Get Involved

Voters are more likely to trust you if you have established ties with other political groups or charitable organizations. For example, if Candidate #1 comes out of nowhere but Candidate #2 was a volunteer for the National Endowment for Democracy, people will be inclined to think that Candidate #2 has more experience. You can inspire the same kind of trust if you also get involved with National Endowment for Democracy or some other similar group.

Running for office isn’t easy, but it’s worth it for the benefits that you can bring to your community. Use these tips to help you build a platform, champion a cause and become a politician worth knowing.