Designed and priced for state and local candidates, community associations and activist organizations with limited budgets.
What, exactly, are we talking about?
For the purposes of this flier, a “campaign” is any meaningful initiative on the part of an elected official, candidate or non-profit organization – including community associations.
“Whew.” That sounded so… so legal. It’s okay to breathe now.
That was a mouthful, but then we had to get that basic definition out of the way to be sure you get it. Long story short, we’re talking about politics, broadly defined. We’re talking about influence and change through more effective initiatives. In the commercial sector, they call it “marketing.” When government and public opinion are involved, it’s “politics” – marketing with a political objective.
Politics isn’t something that happens for a few months every two or four years. It’s year-round, non-stop. The candidates who win – whether they’re incumbents or challengers, experienced or first-time candidates – start running on the morning after the last Election Day for their target office. Sometimes sooner. And important family and community issues that government needs to address are coming and going all the time.
Particularly if this is your first election, it’s going to take you time to build name recognition and to perfect and communicate the messages of your campaign. It’s not enough that people know who you are. They need to start thinking about you, even before you announce, as someone they can trust to represent their interests or run their local government. There’s a lot that you and the people need to talk about. The earlier you start, the more time you have, the more effective that communication and, surprisingly, the less it’s going to cost you to win.
That’s all well and good if you’re running for Congress, the Senate or, heaven forbid, President, but what if you’re running for state legislature, for Mayor of a smaller city or for City or County Council? If that’s your objective, you should talk to us.
We focus on state and local campaigns for which we provide affordable services to help you get elected. And we do public awareness campaigns too, to help you or your group build community support and lobby your council or legislature.
So, what is it, exactly, that we do?
- First of all, we provide writing and editing services – including research if necessary to make sure that you know what you’re talking about. The more you know, the more effectively you can communicate and the more likely that your message will be compelling. We’ll work with you to write position papers, speeches, mailings, radio and TV commercials, op/ed pieces and website content that you or your group need to get people’s attention, in a good way.
“Communication is everything.” (That’s our corporate slogan.) You’d be surprised how just the right word or phrase here and there in a well-crafted piece can make all the difference in the world – to get your message across, to bond with your constituents or other like-minded residents in your community, to get free media exposure. Communicating is what we help you do. More than anything, it’s how you win.
- We write, produce and air radio, cable and broadcast television commercials.
“What?!” You thought a smaller campaign couldn’t afford radio and certainly not television, didn’t you? Well, sometimes that is the case depending upon your market, but we’re really good at keeping the costs of production and airtime down to reasonable levels.
The point is, your campaign may be able to do more than canvassing and mailers. If they make sense for your campaign, radio and television are not necessarily tools you can’t afford.
- And we provide detailed analysis of your campaign strategy and materials. It’s something we do either sporadically and/or on an ongoing basis, whenever and however frequently you need the experienced advice of an independent outsider.
What is it that we don’t do?
- Well, we don’t provide day-to-day campaign management services.
- We don’t manage or provide canvassing – although we consider going door-to-door to be an essential element of any and every successful campaign.
- We’ll work with a local printer to write and produce mailings for you, but we don’t actually design and print them ourselves.
- We’ll help you write the content for your campaign website, but won’t program that website for you. Most campaigns can produce their own websites using any of the many free and inexpensive website themes that are out there in widespread use.
Keep in mind that, while having a website is essential for your campaign, just having one doesn’t deliver an audience. The website is something people visit when they want to know more about you. Our job, in part, is to help you get people’s attention, in a good way of course, so that they’re interested in your candidacy. Getting their attention is the trick, isn’t it? And that’s where we come in.
- We don’t do social media. Your campaign can produce its own Facebook page and tweets. …By the way, having a Facebook page is no substitute for having an honest-to-goodness, well-designed and well-written website.
- We don’t do digital (online) campaigns because we have serious questions about their effectiveness – particularly for smaller scale campaigns.
Oh, and there is one other thing we can do for you. We can help you raise money.
- If you don’t already have them, we can help you prepare lists – including names, addresses and telephone numbers – of people who have contributed to candidates running in your city, county or legislative district, for other offices as well as for the same office you’re pursuing. These lists can then be used by your campaign to solicit funds by calling, mailing and/or inviting these contributors to fundraisers.
The more professional your campaign, the more comfortable people will be contributing to it. Money flows to confidence and momentum.
Every winning campaign, regardless of size, needs to be more than just some qualified man or woman running for office. To garner support, issues need to be compelling. Just making sense won’t cut it. More than just being a candidate, your campaign needs to be a movement. Voting for you can’t be just a matter of choosing the least undesirable candidate. You need to give voters a sense that by electing you, they’re joining other members of their community to accomplish change from which they will all benefit. Developing support for an issue is the same thing. However logical your point of view, people need to be passionate about your cause. Participation, even if it’s only about signing a petition or attending a town meeting, derives from a sense of excitement and commitment that you need to encourage in your community.
- Do we care if you’re a Democrat or Republican? No.
- A liberal or conservative? No.
- Right or wrong according to our standards, whatever those are? Of course not.
- Does it matter to us what you believe in? Honestly, we don’t care where you stand on the serious issues of our time, whether you’re liberal or conservative, whatever, as long as you’re civil, have integrity and that you’re serious about public service or your commitment to your community.
- Will we work for you and one or more of your opponents? Of course not, so be sure to engage us early before we’re already committed to working for “the other guy.”
- Do we care if we get paid? Absolutely.
And now the money question: How much do we cost?
Depending upon the mix of services you need, we can charge by the hour or by the task, plus travel expenses if you need to work with us in person at considerable distance from our base of operations in Maryland. Unfortunately, we can’t be more specific until we talk to you, until you tell us how we can help and we do some background research on your contest. The good news is that talking to you and doing our research is an investment we make at our expense.
So if you’re interested, just give us a call or email. We’ll talk, think about what you need, maybe call you back once or twice for additional information, figure out how we can help and give you a simple, straightforward proposal.
By the way, we’re based in Columbia, Maryland between Baltimore and Washington. Our primary market is Maryland and other mid-Atlantic states within an easy daytrip by car from our offices – but we’ll work for campaigns anywhere in the country.
No matter what, thank you for your interest in Writeaway. Feel free to call or email us anytime, evenings and weekends included. If you get voice mail, just leave a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Needless to say, all conversations we have and materials that you share with us are confidential even if we do not end up working with you.
And it all starts with a simple email or call to talk about what you need.
We’re looking forward to hearing from you.
Les Cohen, Principal Writer
Writing, research, editing and campaign consulting, priced to support state and local candidates and to encourage community activism.
P.S. Click here for a list of other articles you might want to read.