Key messages capture the essence of something that you want to communicate. They’re bits of information that people/organisations want their target audiences to know. They articulate what you do, what you believe in and how your work benefits people’s lives, the planet. . .
Here’s a couple of key messages to chew on:
“The melting Arctic is under threat from oil drilling, industrial fishing and conflict. You can Save The Arctic.” Greenpeace
“Speaking openly about our mental health is an essential element in breaking down the stigma surrounding it.” Rethink
Key messages are normally sprinkled into communications – website pages, newspaper articles, press releases, presentations, media interviews, MP meetings etc.
When creating strong key messages for your public affairs and media work remember the 10 steps:
- Short and simple – no more than a couple of sentences.
- Easy to understand.
- Conversational and is easy to say aloud.
- Jargon and acronym free.
- Has emotional punch.
- Captures the spirit of what you want to achieve.
- Uses a tone that will connect with your audience.
- Expresses your brand.
- Focuses on one broad idea.
- Is easy for people to remember.
So time to get out there. As Amelia Earhart once said: “The most effective way to do it, is to do it.”
If you liked this blog then you might find these helpful too:
Key message development
How to make your key messages interesting
Good luck with your messaging. If you need any help just give us a call on 07966 369579 or contact me @businesses4 good or sofija@ creative public affairs.
Use stories:they’re a great way of connecting with people emotionally. Stories can be used many ways to help you promote your cause, for instance to:
- Fund-raise effectively: Making things personal for potential donors adds the emotional wow factor by showing how you’ve helped someone or how you want to help someone.
- Promote policy positions: Using case studies in consultation responses captures people’s attention.
- Catch media attention: Journalists are in the business of storytelling. So why not give them some fresh success stories.
- Get an MP involved: With a face, a name and a story you can help politicians see how they can help someone in their constituency.
- Engage with your local community: Stories are a great way of ensuring that people know what you’re up to.
- Keep supporters happy: Success stories are a great way of keeping supporters happy.
- Build alliances: Personal stories can help build stronger alliances by showcasing your expertise and promoting your strengths.
- Increase volunteering: Promoting success profiles of current volunteers helps people get a grip on the benefits to them – as well as others – of volunteering.
One of my passions is re-cycling. Recently re-cycled an old Singer sewing machine with treddle; and a pair of 1980s glasses (you know the big, black rimmed ones) through Tools for Self Reliance and Vision Aid Overseas.
These two stories definitely helped me make my decision to donate to them:
Janet (trained to repair sewing machines)
Phillipe (a tailor and father to six)
If you want to get more communication, campaigning and lobbying tips why not follow me on twitter @businesses4good.
1. Be realistic. We’d all like to have a magic wand but only the fairy queen has one.
2. Be clear about your outcomes. An outcome is not the activity itself (serving lunch to a group of older people who currently live at home) but the impact it has on their lives (it might increase their confidence eg ).
3. Be aware outcomes come in three shapes:
Individual: Frank feels much more confident.
Service level: 10 people are able to stay independent at home.
Strategic: More people can live the life they want.
4. Be rigorous about how you’re going to measure success.
5. Be careful to get buy-in from all relevant departments.
6. Be open. You might have to change your mind.
7. Be respectful of evidence. Experiment. Do a pilot.
8. Be clear about who’s meant to be doing what.
9. Be sure to encourage constructive feedback from all staff.
10.Be honest. Will this really make people’s lives better?
If you want to know more about outcomes-based policy development helpful reads are:
NCVO’s Measuring and Commissioning Outcomes and Social Value and The experience of the use of outcomes-based commissioning in Camden.
Hope this has been useful. Why not give me a shout if there’s a policy issue that’s keeping you awake at night. Please follow me on twitter @businesses4good.
Quick answers to someone confused by Autumn statement.
What is it? The autumn statement is an update on the government’s plans based on the latest forecasts from the Office of Budget Responsibility.
How can I get on top of the main points quickly? BBC news
And if I need a bit more detail? Treasury documents and regional map.
Or you could try out politics.co.uk and the Guardian’s autumn statement charts
Hope this helps. If it did why not leave a comment. Oh and please do follow me on twitter @busineses4good.
Painting by Bella Opacic
Be honest. Hand on heart. Would you feel confident getting in contact with a government minister about a local issue? If the answer’s no, and you’d like a bite-size bit of advice, here’s six steps to help you build your confidence.
Step 1: Believe it’s possible. Having a can-do mind-set goes a long way.
Step 2: Do your research. Who’s got responsibility over the issue in government? Who has it as a constituency challenge or a personal interest?
Step 3: Be clear about your issue and your solution. Think it through carefully and collect your evidence (stories and statistics that show you’ve made a difference to people’s lives).
Step 4: Create a perfect pitch. Following the “Six Ps” for pitching will help.
- Position yourself: who are you?
- Identify the problem.
- Project forward into the future (what’s the wider impact?).
- What’s your proposal to solve this problem?
- What proof do you have to back this up?
- What project are you currently working on?
Step 5: Gain access through you local MP, one of the minister’s special advisers or through someone you know who knows them.
Step 6: Persevere . . . Dream the dream . . . But don’t put all your dreams in one basket.
If you have any tips you’d like to share on this topic then please do add a comment or get in contact. I’d love to hear from you. Please follow me on Twitter @businesses4good.
Communicating policy ideas simply to people is part of a public affair professional’s everyday business. Let’s imagine – for instance – that you’ve got a meeting with your local MP next week; and you want to “sell” them one of your ideas.
What kinds of questions would you be asking yourself to help you prepare? Here’s three that have always helped me:
- What practical, innovative project have you got to showcase?
- How do you know it works – impacting positively on people and the public purse?
- What attention-grabbing stories have you got to illustrate your case?
Finally, a public affairs secret: MPs are always keen to hear about new, money-saving ideas that independent research shows works.
Keen to know whether this is helpful to you, so please do leave a comment; or you can follow me on twitter @businesses4good.
The birthday cake: sketch by Bella Opacic
Given their political and parliamentary know-how, public affairs professionals are often called on to help organisations select policy priorities. Here’s three tips to help you take the stress out of prioritising policy.
• Choose your top policy priority first, then move onto two and three. Once you have one agreed, the others tend to follow more easily. Be careful, a simple mistake you can make here is to be secretive about the selection process.
• Be clear about why you chose those policies. Why are they important? Why’s it an issue now? What financial impact could the proposed government policy change – for instance – have on your current services, your members, the people you support.
• Communicate those messages back to everyone who helped you choose them, and thank them. It’s your chance to connect up and keep people engaged in the policy conversation. It’s always helpful to add a call to action, even if it’s as simple as getting them to express an interest in getting more involved; or asking them to send stories (some people call them case studies) that focus on a policy priority.
Why not e-mail a policy question through to firstname.lastname@example.org or add a comment.
Sketch by Bella Opacic
Being able to shape policy is one of the key tools of a public affairs expert.
Put simply policy means what you think or believe around a particular issue, where you stand or position yourself. Do you believe that all older people should pay for their social care? Should volunteers be paid?
Here’s 3 tips to help you shape your policies with confidence.
Be clear about what your organisation’s strategic priorities are and what campaign, marketing and fund-raising is planned for the year ahead.
Listen to the people you support. Have a clear idea about the issues that matter to them and action change that benefits them.
Horizon scan. Ask yourself what the key issues in your sector are likely to be? What launches, consultations, white/green papers, announcements, reviews etc are about to happen? What emerging issues are expected in the medium to long-term? Use your networks and political monitoring services to help you.
If you want to know more about how to shape policy with confidence, then why not give us a call on 07966 369579 for a quick chat.
As a public affairs professional I’m used to shaping policy to influence.
What do you think? Is it possible to develop a new market – what some people call a social impact market – where the pro-profit, non-profit, and government sectors work together to make social innovation (social good/positive social change) happen?
Here’s some pointers to frame thinking:
- Roles: How would roles have to change in each of the sectors?
- Mindsets: How would each sector have to change its thinking?
- Dialogue: How could a dialogue for collaborative cross-sector working at the local, single issue level be promoted?
- Metrics/measures: How could we capture volunteer input/in kind contributions; and continuous improvement?
I’d be glad of any thoughts you may have to start this debate rolling.
Zach Frechette, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of GOOD Magazine, believes that you can. That we can reach a point where people think it’s cool to be good. That good can be a mainstream thing. That we can care about the world and the people in it.
Click here and hear what Zach has to say. I’d love to know what you think: can the idea of good be re-branded?