For many grassroots organizations today, getting communication out via the media can be one of the most effective ways to reach the people who truly need to hear your messaging.
To be effective while engaging with newspapers, TV/radio, blogs and social media, it’s important to consider how your activities can help drive news coverage and awareness.
When getting started, there are numerous components of a communications strategy to consider. For example, how will media coverage help you achieve your ultimate goal? Who are you trying to reach? And what messages will move people to take the action you want?
Know Your Audience
First, it’s important to understand that the media is not actually your target; rather, it acts as the middleman between your organization and the various audiences you are attempting to reach. Be sure to identify whom these audiences actually are, as well as the best way to reach them. For example, if you are building support for legislative action, the audience you need to reach might include specific elected officials, their constituents, staff, volunteers or donors.
Develop Your Message
As you may be aware, messaging is the heart of any communications plan. A grassroots advocacy campaign not only has to create awareness and educate people, but also motivate them to take action; your group’s messages should accomplish both. Always keep messaging short, simple inspiring and motivating. Once you have created your key messages, it’s time to have everyone involved in your campaign go out and use them. Remember: Always encourage repetition and consistency when spreading the word.
Use Personal Stories to ‘Hit Home’
Develop ways to illustrate your main messaging with stories that enhance, and give them a human connection. After all, personal stories can be much more effective than policy language in helping people understand what’s at stake and how your grassroots campaign can make a difference in peoples’ lives. Finally, always be sure to feature a clear link between your story and your organization’s message.
No matter how well you craft media plan, or how well you execute it, it’s important to always remain flexible. Along the way, you may have to adjust your strategy if there’s a shift in the political climate you’re working in. Or, you may decide one area of your strategy simply isn’t working.
In other words, make adjustments as needed, but always keep your eye on your goal, and hold yourself and your grassroots campaign team members accountable to the commitments you have made to each other.
Navigating the complicated world of today’s print and online media can be a challenge for some grassroots organizations. Lincoln Strategy Group can help.