Engage

Phase 1 is for making introductions; phase 2 is about building relationships through education and engagement. This is when your issue training, initial media outreach (both traditional and social), and event planning take place.

This is the perfect time to start building relationships. Stay in regular communication with your activists so that they remain engaged, informed, and ready to take action when you need. Start building relationships with the media, who tend to respond best to people who are organized, clear, polite, and have newsworthy things for them to write about. When preparing your media outreach efforts, use the following to determine if your story has one or more of these newsworthy hooks:

  • Timely: It’s an issue happening now, being talked about now, or being covered now in the media.
  • Relevant : The pitch applies to the state/region the outlet covers and to its audience.
  • Surprising: The pitch is an unusual way to tell a story previously told, contains an unusual voice, or there is a real story that tells the story in a surprising way.
  • Provocative: The pitch makes the reporter/editor think, analyze, etc., and they believe it will do the same for their audience.
  • Controversial: There is another side to the story, and it makes for good debate.

Media engagement should include both minority-serving and mainstream press. Be sure to check out the toolkit sections that provide sample introductory language for your social media and e-communication efforts directed at advocates and media.

Additionally, this is the time to start working with a diverse group of spokespeople relevant to your community by beginning to train others to serve as the voices of your campaign. Remember to think about your whole community, and make sure all groups within the community have authentic engagement. Use the media and key messaging tips in this toolkit as a place to start. Make sure your spokespeople are familiar with your talking points so they are confident when speaking in public or with media. Lastly, be sure to schedule your press conferences and events so that you give reporters and community members ample notice to ensure optimal coverage.