2. How to write and publish your first story
Check out these stories from successful campaigns on Daily Kos:
- (PA-Sen) The true story behind my tattoos (by John Fetterman)
- Help Me Organize Navajo, Hopi, and Apache Voters to Defeat Trump in Arizona (by Jaynie Parrish)
- Two years in a COVID ER. Assaults on our rights. I've had enough- I'm running for office. (by SquireForYou/Kellen Squire)
- “We have been poisoned every day of our lives.” (by Rashida Tlaib)
Writing YOUR first story: Key Factors
- Story Components
- Title/Headline: Get your story off to its best possible start
- Story Image: Show us, don’t only tell us, who you are
- Story text:
- Make it personal
- Make your first Impression count
- Make sure to include campaign basics
- Make an effort
- Story tags: Choose keywords to build awareness of your campaign
- Reader engagement: Maximize your chances for a positive reception
- Audience appeal: Check out other stories to learn what messages work best
- Choose your moment: Post your story when it will get the most eyes.
The title is everything: It must capture people's attention enough to encourage them to open your post. The more specific the headline is to your campaign, the better. Write a title that no campaign except yours could use. Generalities that could describe anyone's campaign will not grab anyone's attention.
It helps when a headline includes the office sought: (NY-Sen) (FL-14) (GA-Gov) (AZ-SD-06) (MN-HD-57B). Others will help you with our standard abbreviations when necessary.
We do not require a story image—that's the image that appears below the headline on the full story page, and as a "thumbnail" on the front page and in shared social media posts—but we strongly recommend including one with every story you post. Your story image should give the impression of a Democratic candidate running an enthusiastic campaign.
Photos with people are most likely to draw in readers. Excellent examples abound. Here is one:
Make it personal
Tell a story that only YOU can tell! It is much more effective to think of your first post as a personal letter of introduction rather than a position paper. Readers here want to know what makes you tick. You will want to explain your stances, but they'll make more of an impact if you interweave your statements about them with your personal experiences and values. Vague "I support all the things Democrats support" language won't hold people's interest for long. How do you stand out among all the other candidates vying for attention? Why should people campaign for/donate to/vote for you?
Make your first impression count
Build in time to stick around to chat with commenters, just like you would with attendees at an event. It impresses people greatly to have candidates responding in (near) real-time, especially during the first hour or so after posting. But asynchronous replies are also fine. Bottom line, participation in your story's comment threads will boost your reputation on the site.
Please take the time to proofread your post. It’s possible to edit post-publication, but you’ll make a stronger first impression if your post is free of typos, misspelled words, and awkward phrasing. Note: Published comments cannot be edited.
Make sure to include campaign basics
At the bottom of your story, or in some other prominent place, make sure you include the following information, clearly marked in an easily findable way:
- Links to your campaign website, ActBlue page, and/or website donor page
- Social media handles on Facebook, Twitter, Spoutible, Post, Mastodon, Instagram, etc.
Make an effort
Daily Kos readers can tell when someone pays enough attention to personalize their campaign message for this venue. Copying and pasting campaign materials, press releases, or any other standard information without tailoring them to our audience will go over poorly.
Every Daily Kos story must have at least one "tag" to be published. This bare minimum can be met with the tag "Candidate," but it's worthwhile to build a standard repertoire. Think of a "tag" as a label or keyword; your consistent use of them will help build awareness of your campaign and your message.
Check out other stories to learn what messages work best. You may also want to view our in-depth guides to effective storytelling, including a webinar we presented in September, 2021.
Choose your moment
Generally, we encourage you to post your story when it will get the most eyes. Mid-morning Eastern time is when a lot of Daily Kos regulars are checking in. Barring breaking news, Monday tends to be our busiest day.
That said, engagement with our community of progressives is critical to building name recognition and support. If some other time of day or day of the week would permit you to interact at greater length with other people in the comment threads, then that's the best time for you to post.