But in order to cut through the clutter of competing stories and messages and communicate a clear message that will make a difference, you need to do a few basic things.
Package Your Message
Make sure that you spend time early on developing your overall message, summarizing it and creating fact sheets and additional information to supplement it. If you don’t know your own message, then you’re not going to be able to communicate it very well – which means you’ll be wasting your time in trying.
Make sure that it’s easily available and digestible. Don’t write a treatise – cover the basic facts. Add some bullet points. Add some quotes that the media can use, either from you or other people supporting the effort. Then add the more in-depth details (or links to them) at the end, or in an additional document. Make it easy to share with others, (such as with a PDF that’s easy to link to, download, email, print, etc.).
The point is to make it easy for anyone – whether a supporter, potential supporter, or the media – to know what you’re doing and why it’s important.
Push Your Message
Be proactive in pushing your message. When a story breaks and the media needs information, you can help make sure that they’re not looking elsewhere if you’re actively working to make yourself available to them. Contact whoever is covering the story, tell them how you’re involved with the issue and ask if they would like a quote. Follow it up with a press release and/or a fact sheet.
The ideal situation is to get “into” the story, not just react to it after it has been run. The result is that you can get a free ride on a story that the media was already going to do anyway.
Focus on Your Message
Once you’re confident with what you want to say, remember to stay ON message. That means STAY FOCUSED. What good does it do for you to prepare a message and then get distracted from delivering it?
No matter what the question is, or whatever the subject, either find a way to relate it back to your issue/message, or answer it quickly and then move back to what you want to talk about. Or just ignore it entirely, (“That’s an interesting question, but it’s not as important as XYZ…”)
The easier that you make it for people (and the media) to get information, the more likely they are to use it. As a result, it increases the odds that your opinions can be shared with others and possibly help shape media coverage…or at least be represented.
Information or opinions that aren’t packaged, pushed and focused on are not likely to be represented – especially for conservatives.
So be sure to make the effort.