What should you watch out for when writing campaign walk cards?
Campaign hiking maps are an important element of any field strategy. They give your advertisers something tangible to discuss at the doors and are a great way to introduce your candidates to voters. Unfortunately, many campaigns incorrectly create hiking maps. Below is some advice on creating great political moving maps.
How do i start
For many voters, your campaign cards are their first interaction with your candidate. As such, you want to make sure that they stand out and represent your message and brand. Many campaigns will want to rush to print hiking maps and then say they’ll reprint something better later. But you really should take the time to create high quality security the first time. Your goal should be to only print one batch of Campaign Walk Cards per election. This means that it is okay to print them for the primary card and create a new batch for the general card later. However, you should not print two versions for the primary card.
Here are some of the key questions your Voter Walk Card should answer:
What is your campaign theme? Who are you and why are you running Why should they vote for you instead of your opponents? What are your core topics / platforms 2–3?
Do a message boxing exercise
Before you start writing a Walk card, make sure that you are creating a message box with your entire team. This exercise will help you identify your campaign topic and focus on the topics you will be talking about. Now that you’ve created your message box, you should be able to easily create your trail map using the messages you created during this exercise.
Cut out the copy
Just like with direct mail, we recommend that you keep your campaign walk cards – which are even smaller than direct mail – short and concise. A 9×8 political walk card doesn’t have nearly the text area of an 8.5×11 direct mail, for example. So if you’re writing campaign walk cards, cut out the copy, and then go back and cut it out again
Get the right size
Obviously, a ticket cannot be too big as it would be unwieldy for a recruiter to carry around and use at the door. To save money, a small, two-sided hiking map is created for many campaigns. However, the best hiking maps have wrinkles. They cost a little more, but they give you twice the space and therefore more opportunities to give the potential voter an appropriate introduction to your candidate.
Stick to the big problems
Your hiking map is not a policy paper. Adding too many expenses to your Walk card will prevent problems from really reaching the voter. Just include your three or four top priorities and save the rest for your political direct mail or the ‘Issues’ section of your website.
Highlight your Walk Card
Make sure you have your candidate’s name clearly visible on each side of the hiking map. Your hiking map should also contain a logo. Your candidate logo is not something to go crazy with, but a strong logo is a great way to brand your political communication and further incorporate your candidate’s name. And having candidate logos is just always better.
We know you want to put a full biography of the candidate on the hiking map. However, given the limited space available, this cannot (or should) not happen. The full candidate bio should only be reserved for your website. In its place, one method that we have successfully used is a simple “Meet ______” section on the back of the Walk Card that contains 4 or 5 short bullet points about the candidate’s background.
Write powerful headlines
Since the number of tickets is particularly limited, your headings and sub-headings are all the more important. Make sure your headlines are pointed and summarize your body copy in a few, catchy words.
As we have written many times before, pictures can speak louder than words. This is especially true for a tiny hiking map. Where a lot of walk cards go wrong there is only one boring headshot of a candidate. People who like to look at pictures and get some great shots of your candidate dealing with normal people will make all the difference.
Use Union Printing
We have written extensively on the importance of union pressure in direct political mail. Even if you are not planning a direct mail program, as a Democratic candidate, you need to ensure that you union print your walking map. By and large, union printers treat their employees fairly. Additionally, there is a potential political problem with not using a union printer for your campaign cards. And wherever possible, use a Union printer that is near you. If you are going for a labor statement, it will be important to them that it was unionized and probably about which union printed the piece. The bottom line here is that for Democratic candidates, union printing your campaign cards is a must.
Do you have any questions about campaign walk cards or do you need a designed one / write us a message.