As a first-time candidate, there are a few basic things you need to get right to be successful.
A campaign plan
Every campaign needs a campaign plan. A campaign plan lays out what to do, when to do it and tells you how much it'll cost. Check out our post here for a little more information on how to create your campaign plan.
A compelling message
Message matters. Voters need to understand what you're about. If they don't, they have no reason to vote for you. And if you're challenging an incumbent, you must provide voters with a good reason to support you. Check out our step-by-step process for creating your campaign's message.
A good advisor
You need a good political advisor to successfully run your campaign. A political advisor will help you create your campaign plan, and help you work through the bumps in the road throughout the campaign.
Even small city council campaigns should have a political advisor on board. You can ask an elected official, a friend who has managed campaigns in the past, or you can hire me to create your campaign plan!
A little media savvy
Most city council campaigns don't grab headlines. So a little media savvy can go a long way towards telling voters about you. Develop an "earned media strategy" when you put your campaign plan together. A don't be afraid to get creative.
A willingness to raise money
This is the tough one. I've met many promising candidates whose campaigns never got off the ground because they couldn't make themselves dial for dollars. For that reason, I write more about fundraising than any other topic here. Check out a few of our past blogs on fundraising if you need some help getting started.
If you would like to get more campaign tips, you can check out "First-Time Candidates" magazine, subscribe to the blog or connect with me on twitter or LinkedIn. You can also get campaign tips emailed to you once a week by signing up to to the right of this post.