Writing good leaflets
David Semple and Cath Arakelian are both critical of the quality of Labour's leaflets in the Norwich North by-election. There is a link to some of the leaflets here.
Writing good leaflets is actually quite difficult, and I have seen many horrendous ones produced by the central party and local activists alike. So to kick off a discussion, here are some thoughts about what makes for a good leaflet:
1. The most important thing is to get some kind of leaflet delivered to people regularly, all year round. A leaflet which people get 1 year before an election, or better yet once every 2-3 months, is more effective than one which they get one day before an election. Even if you don't have the design skills to make a really good leaflet, just a side of A4 with some local information about what Labour is trying to do and how to get in touch is much, much better than nothing.
2. Leaflets don't have to be expensive to produce. I am always astonished at the amount of time and money which political parties spend on making leaflets look to the casual observer like they are advertising pizza for delivery or collection. Some of the very best leaflets are in black and white, and look authentically like they were produced on a home computer by a local resident who cares about the area - because they were. There is a time and place for glossy leaflets, but you don't need them to win elections.
3. Write about what your readers are interested in, not what you are interested in. There was a bit in one of the Norwich leaflets about how Labour cares about jobs because Yvette Cooper came to visit - this is a daft thing to write because no one except for total political obsessives knows or cares about who Yvette Cooper is. There was another bit about the 'Australian-style points based immigration system'. Using jargon like that is a sure sign that the author knows a lot more about what people in Westminster are preoccupied by than by what local people in Norwich care about.
4. 'Localise' the leaflets as far as possible, with different versions and different stories for different areas, and make them an interesting source of news about the local area. People will read a story about their local park, but won't be so interested in a story about improvements to a park on the other side of town. To do this, you have to know about the local area, which is why we need to make better use of the local knowledge which our members and supporters have.
I'm sure there's much more, but I think those are some of the key points and where we often go wrong.