Writing a First Draft for Political Campaign Lit & Mail

I’ve mentioned before that it’s a good idea for elected officials to make sure that they don’t just campaign during election years. In order to keep in touch with your constituents and maintain visibility in your district, you should plan on doing at least one door-to-door literature drop in off years.

I won my first city council campaign last year in Amherst, Ohio, and I’m planning to take my own advice by doing a city-wide lit drop in June/July. I thought it might be interesting for readers to see every single step that I take to write, design, print and distribute my campaign flyers this year.

political campaign literature

The thing that I always do when designing campaign literature is settle on a theme, or message, for the piece. It’s okay to focus on more than one message in your literature, but I strongly suggest that you limit yourself to no more than three topics.

For instance, it’s okay to highlight “Experience, Integrity and Values” in your flier, but don’t expand beyond that. Illustrate each individual topic with a few sentences of exposition, but don’t get to long-winded.

Remember: the more you write on political campaign mail and literature, the less the voters will read. I’m always flabbergasted at how many local election candidates cram their campaign literature with as many words as they possibly can. 90 percent of voters are just going to toss these pieces in the trash as soon as they look at them.

So it’s important to state again: Keep the words on your political campaign lit to a bare minimum! You need to practice brief, powerful writing that gets to the point, highlights only a few concepts, and allows the voters to easily digest your message.

For my 2010 off-year door card, I want to focus on three simple things: 1) thanking the voters for electing me last year; 2) making it clear that I’m proud to have the support of people in every political party; and 3) giving my constituents contact information so that they can reach me.

Rather than a “point and exposition” style, this campaign door card is probably going to be in the form of a short, personal letter to the voters.

I wrote those three ideas on a piece of notebook paper, then sat down to type out a rough draft of the message that I want to appear on my door cards. Remember, I’m trying to keep it as short and snappy so that I don’t lose the voter’s attention. Here’s the draft I have now:

Dear Neighbors:

Last year, I walked more than 400 miles and knocked on thousands of doors to introduce myself to the people of Amherst. It was an amazing experience, and it made me appreciate how lucky we are to live in such a wonderful community.

I’m walking the entire city again this year to personally thank the people of Amherst for electing me to City Council. Thanks to the support I received from Democrats, Republicans and Independents, I was honored to be the top vote-getter in the council-at-large race.

As your City Councilman, my #1 priority is keeping Amherst safe and beautiful for our families. Your needs will always be more important to me than politics, and I hope you will call me personally at xxx-xxxx if you have any concerns.

Thanks again for your support! My family is so proud to call Amherst our home . . . and to have you as our neighbors!

As I said, this is is just a rough first draft, and it will likely change as I design the door card and polish the text. It’s a little too long for my tastes right now, and will probably take up an entire side of the flier, so I may end up shortening it considerably.

My next step will be to start designing the door card layout using Adobe Photoshop, and I’ll cover that in the next post in this series.