Archives for communications

Go on Offense for More Effective Political Messaging

political messagingWhether you like it or not, in politics, the aggressor usually shapes the debate.

This means that, in terms of political messaging, it’s best to be on offense so that you can advance your agenda on your own terms and on your own schedule.

The reverse scenario is that you get blindsided and are forced to respond to your opposition.  The more unprepared someone is to respond, the less effective their response will be, and the more likely that they’re constantly playing defense.

In American politics, liberals (excuse me, “progressives”) are usually the aggressors.  Generally speaking, it’s liberals who want to change the pre-existing, more conservative norms of society and government, (you know, “hope-n-change”, etc.).

This fact has several ramifications:

First, it allows liberals to set the terms of the public debate and put conservatives on the defensive.

Second, it usually makes us look negative, (as liberals will generally push until the conservative opposition starts to look hysterically negative…which makes the news media happy, as they love to show conservatives in a negative light).

At this point, they may take a step back from their own radical position and offer a compromise in order to appear “reasonable” and “moderate”.  Of course, if the “compromise” is accepted, they have still advanced their agenda. (Remember, a journey of a thousand miles…)  They see liberalism as a ratchet that only turns one way in our society.

The solution is for conservatives to be the aggressors.

We need to spend more time being the proponents of “change” – as in changing things to better align with, protect or reclaim conservative norms.  Things that average people can connect with and relate to on an everyday basis.

Given the current state of our country, there’s no shortage of things to be aggressive about.

Remember, the best defense is a good offense!

How to Frame the Debate

Frame the debateHave you ever noticed in the Bible that, whenever he was accused or interrogated by his opponents, Christ almost always answered them with a question?

When it comes to political debate, there’s a lot to learn from that example. It’s a way of “framing the debate”, which helps you strategically present issues in terms that help shape the debate in your favor.

Politically speaking, it’s a way of controlling the ground that you fight on instead of debating or fighting a campaign on the opposition’s terms. When you do that, you let them frame the debate instead of you – and it usually makes you look defensive.

Go on the Offensive

Framing the debate helps you go on offense. And for conservatives, the best way to do that is to get to the “heart of the matter”, which is usually the liberal’s Achilles’ heel on any issue.

Use terms that help frame your issue in a positive light and put your opposition on its heels.

For example, on abortion, focus on the life of the unborn “child” and its right to life, not the “choice”; on education, focus on providing the “choice” for a better education; on the death penalty, focus on “guilt” and “justice”; on guns, focus on the right to “self-defense”, etc.

Keep the spotlight on the victim, (or the potential victim). Who’s being harmed, or will be? And why is the opposition OK with that? Make them defend it.

If you fail to focus on the heart of the matter, you’re more likely to get sucked into a debate that is centered on the liberal (read: humanistic) world view, which means that you end up fighting on their terms. Sort of like being asked, “When did you stop beating your wife?” There’s no way to respond that doesn’t make you look bad.

Responding to an attack

Keep in mind that framing the debate is easier when you are the one who starts the debate. But if you are responding to an attack, the same principle still applies. Frame the debate by “re”-framing it. In other words, pivot by interrogating the opposition in a way that redirects the conversation back towards the heart of the matter.

Once the debate is re-framed you can discredit their arguments.

Remember, when you control the debate, you control the ground you fight on and keep your opposition in a position of weakness. And you increase your odds of success.

Frame the debate!

Build a Communications Resources List

communications resourcesWhether you’re running for office, helping someone else run, or lobbying an issue with your local government, it’s not enough to have the best ideas, or even good ideas. You have to be able to communicate them in a way that reaches and educates people so that they can potentially take action.

Without that, you’re nowhere.

In order to communicate, you need to have access to the “means” of communication. Whether it’s a direct mail list, an email list or a million dollars to run TV and radio ads, it comes down to what your resources are and how many people they can reach. (Remember, politics is spelled P-E-O-P-L-E).

So, what are they?

Build a Communications Resources List

This is where you need to take a moment and do a “resources inventory” check.

What do you currently have access to? What are you likely to get access to? How many people can those resources reach? Who do you know who sympathizes with you and what resources do THEY have access to? How can you get them to help you promote your effort?

resources listDon’t forget about asking elected officials you may be close to, or who may also be working on your issue to share a link to your content on their Facebook or Twitter pages.

Whether it’s email lists, mailing lists, Facebook, Twitter, etc., it all counts. So identify it all – then add it all up.

A good campaign plan will try to get the greatest benefit out of all available resources. Making a specific inventory increases the odds that you won’t overlook resources you could have used to get your message out and reach people who otherwise aren’t connected to you, your campaign or your issue.

The point is that you’ve probably got access to more resources that you think. So take some time and take inventory.