You Say It's Your Birthday?

I’ve long advised local political candidates to use the calendar as a guide to plan your campaign and fundraising events. For example, on April 15, you are likely to be able to latch on to some easy-to-get press coverage if you talk about, um, you guessed it…taxes!

In PR, that’s called "riding the wave." Instead of swimming upstream, you figure out what the media is going to talk about anyway — and you just find a way to ride along with it.

When it comes to fundraising, the calendar can also be your friend. Birthdays and wedding anniversaries can be a good excuse to hold a fundraising event to "help the candidate celebrate…"

…Of course, the only caveat is that it’s bad form to simply copy what your competitors have done in the past (particularly when they just did it).

According to Roll Call, Susan Allen (wife of Senator George Allen, R-Va.) sent out a fundraising e-mail message on Monday that was "strikingly, if not embarrassingly, similar to the one Karyn Frist sent out last month asking supporters to sign a surprise online ‘birthday album’ for the Majority Leader."

I know, I know, there are no "original" ideas left in politics. But couldn’t they have come up with a slightly new angle?