Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: I cut the number of words in Primo's fundraising email IN HALF and it just about kills him because he is an engineer and details are his jam

As I tell Primo, when he asks me to review his facebook posts or his emails and then ARGUES WITH ME ABOUT THEM, "If only you knew someone who wrote marketing copy FOR A LIVING."

You know - like me.

That's what I do.

I am a marketing person. I write stuff. For money. I write about topics that most people would find very boring (I don't - I think my job is fascinating and I love my boss and my co-workers) and I do it very well.

Primo, being an engineer, wants to explain every single little detail and wants to substantiate every claim.

His email started like this:

I am running for the State Assembly because xth District residents are hungry for real, honest representation in [the capital]. We need sensible, long-term plans to strengthen our public schools, fix our roads, bring down health care costs, and create family-supporting jobs while protecting our environment.

One issue that is very important to my neighbors -- and to a large percentage of people in the metro area -- is the unfinished Highway X. There is no question that the crumbling and obsolete Highway X needed to be rebuilt, but the project was inadequately funded from the start. Much of the work has been completed, but construction on the north leg (I-XX / US YY between Oak Blvd. and Pine St.) was suspended after the reconstruction of one bridge and is now indefinitely delayed. Two years ago, I talked to a district resident who was waiting for a sound wall to be installed near the rebuilt Main St. bridge. He is still waiting!

Our state's transportation funding crisis has been worsening for years.

[four more paragraphs]

[of detail]

[although also a call to action, but that needs to be a lot sooner in the email]


Me: It's too long.

Primo: I knew you'd say that. But [campaign manager] likes it.

Me: It's. Too. Long.

Primo: No it's not!

Me: Look. You don't have to listen to me. You can do it however you want. But I am telling you that as a new reader, I get to the second paragraph and I am already bored.

Primo: But I need to include that information!

Me: No, you don't. You need to get people to read this and agree with you on this one issue and then go to your facebook page or your website and maybe give you money.

Primo: Fine. Then how?

Me: This:

Are you sick and tired of the never-ending construction on Highway X?

So am I.

That's why I am running for the State Assembly. We need sensible, long-term plans for our roads. We also to strengthen our public schools, bring down health care costs, and create family-supporting jobs while protecting our environment.

Our state's transportation funding crisis has been worsening for years.

[two more short paragraphs]

Primo: But there's no detail!

Me: They can always go to your website for more information.

Primo: And the guy! Who's waiting for a sound wall!

Me: Does not support the main message of "Finish the highway!"

Primo: But all the work that's not done yet!

Me: People know! 

Primo: Grumble grumble grumble.

Me: Do it however you want, sweetie. It's your email. I'm just saying you need to give people a reason to keep reading. You start with an emotional hook and get to the point quickly.

Primo: Grumble.

Two hours later.

Primo: You're right. It's a lot better your way. Thank you.


  1. I only read the first paragraph of Primo's before I skipped down. Huh.

  2. People are narrative-driven, emotional creatures (except maybe for engineers, it seems!), so I agree with you about the short & sweet approach to making your point and asking for $. If only people would listen to us right off the bat!

    College Career Counselor


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