Until recently, filming and distributing effective political campaign videos was an expensive venture that was limited to candidates who raked in tons of cash in big elections. Thanks to YouTube and other free video-sharing websites, though, even local candidates can create inexpensive videos to share with supporters or embed on their websites.
Armed with nothing more than a cheap digital video camera (there are plenty to choose from under a hundred bucks), local political candidates can easily record short videos and upload them instantly to YouTube. Additionally, YouTube also provides a snippet of code that lets you easily embed your uploaded campaign video on your candidate website, too.
You can check out my personal YouTube channel and see a few videos that I uploaded for my city council campaign. It only took me a few minutes to create the free account, and I also used the YouTube embed code to feature one of the videos on my campaign website.
If you’re a candidate running for office in a city council, school board, mayor or other local race, I highly recommend filming your own short campaign video and uploading it to YouTube. Even if you don’t have your own candidate website, you can use the video to promote your campaign by sending a link to supporters and local news media.
As for what your campaign video should be about, it’s up to you. Simply introducing yourself and highlighting some of the elements of your campaign is fine. Don’t think that you have to make your YouTube video ten minutes long; most viewers won’t stick around long enough to watch if it’s longer than a couple minutes, anyway.
After you’ve created your YouTube account, filmed your political candidate video and uploaded it, you need to promote it in order for it to be an effective campaign tool. Announce your new YouTube channel in a press release to local media and newspapers, email your supporters a link to watch the video and embed it in your website if you happen to have one.
YouTube lets you see exactly how many times your video has been viewed, so you have metrics to measure its effectiveness over the course of your campaign. Don’t think that hundreds of people need to view the video in order for it to be effective! Even if only a few dozen voters tune in, that’s still a good amount of local campaign attention for something that costs nothing to produce.
If you are running in a local election and haven’t created your own YouTube channel yet to upload political campaign videos, you’re really missing out on some valuable free Internet exposure. What are you waiting for?