Campaign Walk Cards - How to create Great Campaign Lit

by Ben Holse (He/Him)

Volunteer at a door with a clipboard and a campaign walk card

Campaign Walk Cards: What to Consider When You Write Walk Lit 

Campaign walk cards are an important element to any field strategy. They give your canvassers something tangible to discuss at the doors and are a great way to introduce your candidate to voters. Unfortunately, a lot of campaigns create walk cards the wrong way. Below is advice on producing great political walk cards.

How Do I Get Started? 
For many voters, your campaign walk cards will be their first interaction with your candidate. As such, you want to make sure they stand out and represent your message and brand. A lot of campaigns will want to rush to get walk cards printed and then say they’ll reprint something better later. But you should really take the time to produce a high-quality collateral the first time around. Your goal should be to only print one batch of campaign walk cards per election, meaning it’s fine to print them for the primary and later create a new batch for the general but you shouldn’t print two versions for the primary.

Below are some of the core questions your walk card should answer for voters:

  • What’s your campaign theme?
  • Who are you and why are you running?
  • Why should they vote for you instead of your opponent(s)? 
  • What are your core 2–3 issues/platforms?

Do a Message Box Exercise
Before you write any walk card, you’ll want to make sure you do a message box with your full team. This exercise will help you to identify your campaign theme and home in on the issues you’ll be talking about. After you’ve done your message box, you should be able to easily draft your walk card using the messaging you came up with during that exercise. 

Cut the Copy
Just like a piece of direct mail, we recommend that you keep your campaign walk cards—which are even smaller than direct mail—short and concise. A 9 x 8 one-fold political walk card does not have nearly the text space of, say, an 8.5 x 11 piece of direct mail. So, when you’re writing campaign walk cards cut the copy, and then go back and cut it again

Get the Sizing Right
Obviously, you can’t have a walk card be too big, as it would be unwieldy for a canvasser to carry around and use at the door. To save money, many campaigns will produce a small, two-sided walk card. However, the best walk cards have folds. They will cost a bit more but will provide you with double the amount of surface area and, therefore more opportunities to give the prospective voter a proper introduction to your candidate.

Stick to the Big Issues
Your walk card is not a policy paper. Including too many issues in your walk card will prevent any issue from really reaching the voter. Feature only your core three or four contrastive priorities and save the rest for your political direct mail or the “Issues” section of your website.

Brand Your Walk Card
Be sure that you are featuring your candidate’s name prominently on every side of the walk card. Similarly, your walk card should include a logo. Your candidate logo isn’t something you should go nuts with, but having a strong logo is a nice way to brand your political communications and further allow your candidate’s name to sink in. And with candidate logos, simple is always better.

Use Bullet Points
We know you want to include a full bio of the candidate on the walk card.  However, with the limited space available, that can’t (or rather, shouldn’t) happen. The full candidate bio should be reserved only for your website. In its place, one method we’ve used with success is a simple “Meet ______” section on the back of the walk card that includes 4 or 5 short bullet points about the candidate’s background.

Write Powerful Headlines
Since walk cards are particularly limited on space, it makes your headlines and subheads all that much more important. Be sure that your headlines are pointed and concisely summarize your body copy in a few, eye-catching words.

As we’ve written many times, images can speak louder than words. This is particularly true on a tiny walk card. Where many walk cards go wrong is featuring only a boring candidate headshot. People like to look at pictures and having a few great shots of your candidate engaging with regular people will make all the difference.

Use Union Printing 
We’ve written extensively about the importance of union printing for political direct mail. Even if you don’t plan on having a direct mail program, if you’re running as a Democratic candidate you do need to make sure you are union printing your walk card. Broadly speaking, union printers treat their employees fairly. Beyond that, there’s also a potential political problem with not using a union printer for your campaign walk cards. And wherever possible, you should use a union printer that’s located within your area. If you’re pursuing a labor endorsement, they’re going to care that it was union printed and likely about which union printed the piece. The bottom line here is that for Democratic candidates, union printing your campaign walk cards is a must. 

Have questions about campaign walk cards or need one designed/drop us a note.