Here are two main reasons…
- Inexperienced candidates who run DIY (“do it yourself”) campaigns with no formal campaign training or bad campaign training
- Inexperienced candidates who hire campaign consultants who themselves have received no formal campaign training or bad campaign training
Indeed, be it in politics, business or life in general, the worst, most expensive advice you can get is…bad advice.
And boy, oh boy, is there ever a ton of bad campaign advice out there – especially from well-meaning but politically ignorant friends, relatives and supporters who dispense free advice such as…
“Whatever you do, don’t go negative. Just tell people positive things about yourself.”
“Don’t respond to your opponent’s attack. It’ll blow over in a couple of days.”
“You need to spend a ton on television commercials.”
Dumb, dumb, dumb. But hey…you get what you pay for.
But actually, it’s often worse than that. It’s not that you get nothing of value from bad advice. It’s that it actually COSTS you. In many cases…your election.
But if you think that’s bad – and it is – imagine paying a “professional” political consultant – which can easily cost you $5,000 to $10,000 a month or more – only to get the same bad advice an amateur “armchair” consultant would have given you for free!
The big problem here is that many candidates with no training on how to properly run a campaign often hire people who have never been properly trained on how to run a campaign. It’s the blind leading the blind.
What could go wrong, right?
Indeed, it breaks my heart when I see a good conservative candidate who would make a great conservative elected official run a crappy campaign because (a) they didn’t know any better, (b) their amateur friends and supporters didn’t know any better, or (c) their paid campaign manager or consultants didn’t know any better.
- Their campaign website looks like…crap.
- Their candidate bio reads like…crap.
- Their “Why I’m Running” statement reads like…crap.
- Their campaign flyers and mailers are…crap.
- Their campaign signs are…crap.
- Their campaign photos are…crap.
- Their social media posts are…crap.
- Their radio ads sound like…crap.
- Their campaign videos and TV commercials look like…crap.
- Their fundraising letters are…crap.
- Their public speeches are…crap.
Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap. And no matter how much ketchup (or catsup if you prefer) you put on a crap sandwich…it’s still a crap sandwich.
But it does NOT have to be that way. And it won’t cost you five big ones a month to fix it. For example…
- I could explain exactly what’s wrong with most campaign bios AND tell you how to quickly and easily fix them in seven minutes (or less).
- I can show you how to change ONE small thing in your social media posts that’ll take them from crap to gold in an instant.
- I can explain the TWO simple changes you should make in your fundraising letters that will (a) get them opened and (b) result in a check going in the mail rather than your letter going in the trash.
- I can tell you how to change just ONE thing in your stump speech that will convert it from “boring as paint drying” to something your audience will remember all the way into the voting booth.
Why do I know these things and you and/or your campaign advisors don’t?
Because back in 1995 when I was a young pup just breaking into the political biz I took every opportunity I could to not only learn how to run a campaign or grassroots organization, but how to do it right.
I enrolled in Newt Gingrich’s weeklong campaign management school, conducted by his chief strategist, Joe Gaylord, in Washington, DC. I attended the Republican National Committee’s weekend campaign fundraising school in Denver. I went to the Leadership Institute’s two-day grassroots organization school in Virginia.
I listened to the GOPAC training cassette tapes (remember those?) every month. Watched the RNC’s training workshops on its satellite station. Read every campaign training manual I could get my hands on. Attended the annual convention for political consultants hosted by Campaigns & Elections magazine.
Twenty-plus years later…I’m still reading, listening to, watching and attending workshops and seminars on campaigns and communications. Because you’ll never know it all. And there will always be something new to learn.
Now here’s the thing…
Even candidates with enough money to hire a professional campaign consultant or manager should read campaign training books. Should listen to campaign training podcasts. Should watch campaign training videos. And should attend campaign training workshops and seminars.
Because that’s the only way you’re going to know if the consultant you’ve hired actually knows what he or she is doing or if they’re just blowing smoke up your skirt.
You, as the candidate, don’t need to be the expert in every single aspect of running a campaign. But you DO need to know enough to know whether or not your paid consultant or manager is an expert in their field. Otherwise you’re going to end up paying for the most expensive advice on the planet (even if it’s “free”)…
For the last 20 years or so I’ve been a professional campaign instructor. But for the last three years I’ve backed off from campaign training in order to work directly on a handful of races, including Dennis Hof’s “shocking” upset win in Nevada’s Assembly District 36 race.
Shocking because he was a challenger running against a deep-pocketed incumbent backed by the political establishment. Oh, and because he was a self-described “pimp” who owned a half-dozen legal brothels in Nevada. Oh, and because he died three weeks before the general election.
And after witnessing the political slaughter of all those other Republican candidates at the ballot box in 2018 I’ve decided to get back into campaign training in a big way – both online and in-person.
Losses like those suffered last year are bad for the good candidates who came up short, bad for the conservative movement, bad for the Republican Party, bad for our state and local communities, and bad for the nation.
So over the Christmas holidays I created a brand-new campaign training website to provide solid, reliable and usable online training materials and programs that can be accessed from anywhere with a wi-fi signal.
It should be ready for release before the end of the month.
In addition, I’m restarting a monthly training program in Las Vegas: The Campaign Boot Camp.
It’ll be a hands-on, in-person group training program for candidates, campaign managers and consultants, party leaders and grassroots activists who are SERIOUS about winning campaigns.
The first one will be conducted on Thursday, January 24, 2019 from 4:00 – 7:00 pm. It’s FREE…but seating is extremely limited.
So if you’re SERIOUS about winning campaigns in the future, don’t wait. RSVP NOW before the workshop fills up. Just click here.
And if you remember just one thing from this entire seven-part series, remember this: It’s not the best candidate who necessarily wins an election; it’s the best campaign.
(Mr. Muth is president of CitizenOutreach.org and publisher of NevadaNewsandViews.com. He blogs at MuthsTruths.com. His views are his own.)