How to Build Buzz After You've Decided to Run for Office

Step 1: Make news.

Axios’ Evan Ryan, a former staffer for Vice President Joe Biden, and Ashley O’Connor, of Strategic Partners & Media, an adviser on both of President George W. Bush’s campaigns, offer a play-by-play on how to catch the public’s eye.

Step 1: Make News

“First and foremost, know why you are running because voters (and reporters) can figure out really quickly if you are just reciting a canned message from a consultant," says Ryan. "Once you’ve announced, sit down with a reporter and explain your message and what has motivated you to run.”

Step 2: Log On

“Have a search campaign (buying key-words through Google) to direct people to your website,” O’Connor explains. “From there, you get them engaged. Get their e-mail address, ask them to like your Facebook page, to follow you on Twitter. The more you can build a relationship directly, the less money you spend later to reach that person.”


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Step 3: Call Pals

“Ask your friends and neighbors to host gatherings in their living room, and sit down with people in your community,” Ryan suggests.

Step 4: Do You

“Authenticity is key to campaign ads,” O’Connor says. “If you’re not comfortable in a suit giving a speech, don’t make an ad that’s you giving a speech in a suit. Voters are pretty sophisticated, and you will not get out of the gate if they think you are not sincere.”

Step 5: Give Good Vibes

“People aren’t gravitating toward negativity,” Ryan notes. “Have answers, solutions, and new ideas. That said, politics can be a rough sport. Be able to defend your position and show strength!”

This article is part of our "Women Running for Office" series, which originally appeared in Marie Claire's November 2017 issue, on newsstands October 17. To view the full package, click here.

Kayla Webley Adler

Kayla Webley Adler is the Deputy Editor of ELLE magazine. She edits cover stories, profiles, and narrative features on politics, culture, crime, and social trends. Previously, she worked as the Features Director at Marie Claire magazine and as a Staff Writer at TIME magazine.