Effective media advocacy campaigns start with an advocacy plan. A roadmap for creating this plan was provided by the Progressive Communicators Network’s Tom Louie to attendees at the Be the Media! mini-conference on November 30, 2011. According to Louie, planning for a campaign is as important as the campaign itself.
What Do You Need To Prepare?
Preparation can be broken down into these vital components:
- Build a media list (Vocus, via Green Media Toolshed, is a good option for nonprofits), and keep it current.
- Use a press-clipping service to monitor coverage in your key outlets.
Pay attention to what kind of coverage your issue or mission receives in key outlets: How do they tend to angle the story? Which writers “get it?” How are they getting their stories? Get to know your local media “neighborhood.”
- What is the actual issue you intend to address with your campaign?
- Is it reflective of your mission and core values?
Make sure that it considers and addresses the role that institutions play in the problem and/or the solution.
Identify an Initiative
- Exactly what are you going to say, and to whom?
- What will the message achieve?
Make sure your initiative addresses the concerns and values of your target audience.
Now that you've asked - and hopefully answered! - these questions, the next step in preparing your media advocacy campaign is to frame your message.