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A “Political Media Strategist” is also referred to as a “consultant,” They can sometimes be referred to as a campaign manager, but typically affect one part of a larger campaign. They may also be part of an elected official’s team after they are elected.

Job Description

Political Media Strategists lead the planning of how best for a campaign to use television, radio, social media, and other forms of media to help influence voters. They are especially influential as social media has come to dominate the landscape. Job responsibilities are specific to the type of election.

If they are working for a current elected official, they will focus on the official’s current perception by the public.

Some campaigns will hire political media strategists from an outside public relations firm, or they may be independent contractors working directly for the campaign.

Rewarding Aspects of Career
  • Able to influence the thoughts and decisions of hundreds to millions of people.
  • Building connections in the media industry.
  • Able to be creative and find solutions.
The Inside Scoop
Job Responsibilities

A Political Media Strategist will have very different day-to-day responsibilities. They are often very important in a campaign, with responsibilities being merged with a campaign director for smaller campaigns.

  • Most of their work will be in the public relations area. They will use polling and demographic data to determine the best area for campaign ads to air, how the candidate can best respond to trends, and staying in contact with local media companies. During the course of their time, they can expect to:
  • Create press releases and other media information for news stations or direct delivery.
  • Communicate directly with media outlets about interviews, candidate stances, and any other questions the news or similar outlets might have.
  • Use polling data to determine the most effective use of campaign ads on TV, Radio, or Social Media.
  • Work with the rest of the campaign to determine best use of polling data, as well as how best to administer polls.

Especially during election season, a Political Media Strategist can expect long, flexible hours. The closer to an election, the higher the workload.

Skills Needed

Soft Skills

  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Interpersonal and relationship building skills.
  • Active Listening
  • Very good at public speaking
  • Detail Oriented and well organized.

Technical Skills

  • Sales and Marketing knowledge, especially how to promote.
  • Administration, Leadership, and Management skills.
  • Understanding of graphics and photo imaging software, such as Adobe Photoshop
  • Database knowledge as well as data analytics.
  • Able to use website creation software and facilitate development of web platforms.
Different Types of Organizations
  • Political Campaign
  • Political Office
  • Educational Services
  • Advertising
  • Newspapers or other publications
Expectations and Sacrifices

Political Media Strategists can expect to work long, challenging hours for a campaign. They can be the main leader in overcoming a candidate’s wrong words. 

Spending time volunteering for campaign’s, or working in an official’s office, can provide experience and connections to later be hired in this role. Gaining experience in a public relations firm is also helpful. 

This position involves many different disciplines, so experience, networking, and knowledge are very important. You will need to develop skills in data collection and analysis, graphic design, political campaigning, and public relations. 

Current Trends

There is an increased emphasis on data mining and social media. 

What kinds of things did people in this career enjoy doing when they were young...
  • Math and Logic puzzles
  • Student government
  • Sharing homemade Youtube videos.
Education and Training Needed
  • Bachelor’s Degree
    • Public Relations, communications
    • Study political science as well.
    • Include Internship in Public Relations and/or Political Office
  • Master’s Degree (Optional)
    • Political Science or Marketing
    • Often after career is started.
What kinds of things did people in this career enjoy doing when they were young...
  • Participate in Student Government
  • Study Public Relations
  • Take basic data analysis courses
  • Graphic Design
  • Marketing Courses
Typical Roadmap
Political Media Strategist Roadmap
How to land your 1st job

If you are interested in any political career, start volunteering for campaigns as soon as possible. Local and state campaigns will teach you quite a bit about how to effectively campaign. Continue to stay connected with campaigns through school, as well as the people you meet along the way.

Make sure you have a quality internship during college. It is most helpful to have one in a political field as well as in public relations. Continue to build your network and communicate with people you can help. It may take quite a few years of volunteering before you are able to be hired onto a campaign.

You can also be hired into a larger public relations firm, or into the public relations department of a corporation. These careers will provide you with an excellent setting to develop the skills needed to be a political media strategist. During this time, stay connected with local politics and you will be able to build the network necessary to find a position.

Recommended Resources

Websites

  • American Association of Political Consultants
  • Public Relations Society of America
  • International Public Relations Association
Plan B
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Nonprofit Fundraising Manager
  • Copywriting
  • Advertising/Promotions Manager
  • Meeting and Event Planners
Words of Advice

Becoming a political media strategist is a challenge. Some campaigns and elected officials will not have this position available – it will be part of the larger duties of a campaign manager. However, if it is a career you would like to pursue, you can work towards it.

In most educational tracks, work toward a career in public relations. During this time, stay active in political campaigns. Building a strong network is your best tool in finding this position later in your career.

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