Philadelphia native Amy Bolick started a campaign industry career first as a volunteer on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential and later in Florida, post-grad school, with local Democratic clubs. Later, a state legislative race led to a job as a legislative aid in the Florida state House.
In 2020, Bolick managed a congressional campaign that ended after the primary. And then that August, as a campaign operative without a gig, Bolick landed as a cycle hire at Democratic digital firm Rising Tide Interactive, quickly going from content strategist to associate director of content strategy, writing copy for paid advertising campaigns, fundraising emails and organic social posts.
C&E: Do you feel like words are undervalued in this age of digital video dominance?
Bolick: When you’re in history class, you read about these letters that Thomas Jefferson and the different Founding Fathers sent back and forth. There’s so much of their correspondence recorded in writing because that’s how communication happened. With the internet and social media and texting, we’re once again communicating so much through the written word. It gets written in an instant, but then it’s there forever. So these challenges and opportunities that are presented by the digital communication age are really informing the way that candidates think about the content that they put out online.
C&E: What does the data say about copy versus images and video?
Bolick: When you have a fundraising email and you click on the link in the email and it then sends you to a landing page where you’re asked to put in your information and give a donation, our testing has shown repeatedly that a long landing page performs better than a short landing page. So it’s about having multiple lines of text explaining, one more time, why it is that you want the person to take action as opposed to just one or two lines of generic text. Over and over, we’ve seen that longer form and personalized content is more effective at activating people.
C&E: What types of content are working for your clients online right now?
Bolick: For online content, a lot of what’s resonating is stuff that looks and feels really native. This is true for paid media, persuasion and direct response ads — and fundraising appeals. It’s about things that look and sound native and authentic to the platform.
We’re also seeing, in terms of direct response ads, the things that are performing best are text-only graphics. So things that, on Facebook anyway, look like a Facebook post square with a colored background that just have a whole bunch of text on them. It was like a 250 percent difference in ROI the first time that we tried moving from a graphic post to just an all-text post in direct-to-donate ads.
C&E: What’s the argument for a candidate investing in content from a firm versus having their staff produce it internally on a campaign?
Bolick: I think it really comes down to the volume of content that you need. For example, one of our clients last cycle had an in-house digital person who wrote some of their emails, but then our team wrote a lot of emails, too. And that was, in part, because they were sending an enormous number of emails a day, and that was what they needed to do to raise the amount of money that they needed.
So having multiple people writing for a client, you get different voices and different approaches, which is kind of like a built-in A/B test, right? To see what’s resonating with the audience and what’s not. For a statewide campaign, in the months leading up to an election, in order to get the scale that you want to be able to send two, maybe three times a day, you’re probably going to need more than just one person writing all those emails.