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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

What The Election Can Teach Us About Copywriting

by James L. Rubart

Don't worry. This post isn't going to be about politics. Yeah, I know ... whew.

But the insane campaign/election season that just ended can teach us a salient point about our own copy writing. What works, what doesn't. 

Trump didn't win the election, Clinton lost it. (A quick review for those who might not know a few pertinent facts.)

  • Trump received less votes than Romney did in '12.
  • Trump received less votes than McCain did in '08.
It wasn't so much that voters turned out for Trump as they didn't show up for Clinton.


A number of factors, yes, but I think her poor copy writing was part of it. 

Question: What was Obama's campaign slogan in '08? Hope.

What was Trump's campaign slogan? 

I'll give you a second ...

A few more ...

Yep, "Make America great again."

Hillary's Turn

What was Clinton's?

Before you scroll, down, do you know? A majority of people would have a tough time nailing it.

Wait, you're saying, "I thought it was something else." You're right.

Wait, you're saying, "I thought it was something else." You're right.

The Lessons For Us

A few quick lessons, then I'll let you get back to praying for our country (no matter who you voted for).
  • If you are one that likes slogans or tag lines, pick one, then stick with it. Realize that if you change it, will take a while for it to sink in. Going from one to another to another will confuse people. 
  • People aren't stupid, but they're not studying your slogan. Make it simple for them. Make it something they can remember easily. People didn't turn out for Clinton because a great many of them couldn't quickly tell you what she stood for. Fighting? I'm with her? Stronger together? Uh ... whatever. When people can't say what your novels are about quickly and understand how it will benefit them, nothing will stir inside, and they'll be much less likely to take action. 
  • Make your slogan about THEM! Do you want America to be GREAT again? I'm guessing 99 percent of you would say, "Why yes, Jim, I do." Who is that slogan about? Us. You. Me. Our country. America being great again would directly benefit you, me, my wife, my kids ... that stirs an emotion inside."I'm With Her."? Not so much. That's all about Hillary. Makes me think of those campy t-shirts you see some couples wear. Not exactly stirring the passion inside me. How 'bout you?
  • Hillary didn't give a specific, tangible benefit. "Fighting For Us!" Uh, yeah, great ... but fighting for what? "Stronger Together!" Stronger for what? 
What are you giving readers? Hope, like Obama gave voters? Making something great again like Trump told voters would happen? Are you giving them freedom? Laughter? Joy? Strength to face the storms of life?

I can't wait to hear your slogan. It's going to rock!


What The Election Can Teach Us About Copywriting by James L. Rubart (Click to Tweet)

What if there was a place where everything wrong in your life could be fixed?
Corporate trainer Jake Palmer coaches people to see deeper into themselves—yet he barely knows himself anymore. Recently divorced and weary of the business life, Jake reluctantly agrees to a lake-house vacation with friends, hoping to escape for ten days.
When he arrives, Jake hears the legend of Willow Lake—about a lost corridor that leads to a place where one’s deepest longings will be fulfilled.
Jake scoffs at the idea, but can’t shake a sliver of hope that the corridor is real. And when he meets a man who mutters cryptic speculations about the corridor, Jake is determined to find the path, find himself, and fix his crumbling life.
But the journey will become more treacherous with each step Jake takes.

James L. Rubart is 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older man's body. He thinks he's still young enough to water ski like a madman and dirt bike with his two grown sons, and loves to send readers on journeys they'll remember months after they finish one of his stories. He's the best-selling, Christy BOOK of the YEAR, INSPY, and RT Book Reviews award winning author of eight novels as well as a professional speaker. During the day he runs his branding and marketing company which helps businesses, authors, and publishers make much more coin of the realm. He lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. More at


  1. Laughter. All my books have humor in them. I wrap it around life's tough issues or decisions. I've always believed people let down their guard when they think they're being entertained. Then when they least expect it, the words can reach out, touch hearts, and change lives.

  2. A good slogan for writers would be 'Stirring and exciting the soul' a reader, that's what I want from a Christian novel.

  3. Jim, great post...and you didn't get into politics (much). I've sometimes wondered about changing mine, which is currently, Medical Suspense With Heart, because no one seems really certain about the differences among suspense and mysteries and thrillers. But the "heart" part is important to me--not because of romance (I like to say there's enough to keep women readers interested but not so much that male readers will throw up), but because every novel features the love God has for us, if we'll accept it.
    Thanks for this post, friend, and for all you've done and will do for Christian fiction.


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