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Media Advocacy

Raw information alone will not get people to act on your issue(s). Simple information transmission is not enough to create concern that turns into action. On the other hand, getting into the news repeatedly and having high visibility has an agenda-setting function. You can’t tell people what to think, but you can pique their interest and get them talking about the issue.

Political decision-makers, ever sensitive to the public sentiment, can be influenced easily when your issue is in the news and a frequent topic of discussion in your community. 

By addressing and developing the issue content, timing, and presentation, even simple fact transmission through the media can be persuasive.  Pursuing and garnering earned media can be an important component of an advocacy campaign.

Select the Messenger

The person(s) that deliver(s) your message is just as important as the message itself. Your messenger should be an Affiliate leader or someone in the community or state that is well-known and well-respected. Your messenger could also be an arts and culture organization or someone with an equally compelling personal story to share. Match the message, the medium (press conference, letter to the editor, opinion editorial, etc.), and the messenger for maximum impact.

Craft your Message

When conveying information to the press or the public, try to keep it simple and catchy.  Your “sound bite” should be only one or two sentences at most. If you cannot limit your message, you should rethink how much information you are attempting to relay.

Stay on Message

It is very important to stick with the talking points during an event or interview. If you deviate from the message during an event or interview, it will confuse the public, the press, and policymakers.

Repeat the Message—Repetition is the Key 

For an individual to absorb a message, it takes at least seven times hearing or reading it.  They need to see and hear it in many different arenas in order to absorb the message. For example, using a message in a newsletter, on the radio, at a community event, on the local news, in the newspaper, on a billboard, and on a poster gives that message a better chance of being integrated into the minds of the public and policymakers.

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