How to Engage the Media to Support Your Advocacy Activities

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Media Relations & Advocacy

How Effective Media Relations Can Support AdvocacyPresented by Laura Greer and Alissa Von Bargen Hill+Knowlton StrategiesMay 7, 20155/6/2015 | #1Agenda Why advocacy?Why media relations?How to engage effectively with the mediaUsing social media in advocacyAdvocacy in the news: a CCSN example

5/6/2015 | #What is Advocacy?Advocacy is acting or speaking in favour of a cause, idea or policyIt is the pursuit of influencing outcomes including public policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic and social systems and institutionsIt is telling your story to someone in government so that they are compelled to do (or not to do) something

5/6/2015 | #Why Advocacy?All governments are faced with competing interests and concerns, as well as policy priorities and fiscal challenges those who engage in this process will be heardIf you choose not to engage, your viewpoint will not be heard and decisions will be made without taking this viewpoint into account

5/6/2015 | #Why Media Relations? Media is a conduit to have your voice heardEveryone listens to the newsMedia coverage gets the attention of decision-makersMay compel them to do (or not to do) somethingBrings issue to the forefrontThe media a powerful tool that, if utilized properly, can result in the ability to affect change

5/6/2015 | #5What Do We Mean by the Media?Print publications, e.g. local, regional or national newspapers, magazinesBroadcast stations, e.g. television, radioOnline news channels, e.g. Yahoo!, MSN

5/6/2015 | #Working Effectively with the MediaUnderstand how the media work, and what compels them to cover a story.5/6/2015 | #7How to Effectively Engage the Media To cut through the clutter, ensure your story is:

Timely and new Interesting and relevantIncorporates a human interest angle

5/6/2015 | #81. Timely and New Timely and new You need a news hook on which to hang your storyThis is something that will the make the story new &/or timelyExamples: new research, an event, a major milestone5/6/2015 | #

5/6/2015 | #2. Interesting and Relevant Your story needs to have some new and interesting informationWhats your news? Why should people care about your news how does it impact others? Media want stories that are relevant for their audience(s)How does your story appeal to the audience of the media you are targeting? For example, a national story appeals to a national newspaper or broadcast stationA local angle appeals to local media, such as a community newspaper, radio or TV station5/6/2015 | #

5/6/2015 | #Human Interest AngleMedia tend to cover stories with a human interest angle (i.e., a patient or caregivers personal perspective) People are drawn to stories of other people In the absence of any other information, a really strong personal story can be the hook the draws media in5/6/2015 | #

5/6/2015 | #Tips to Effectively Advocate Through the MediaEffective messages requires thought aroundWhat you want to sayHow you want to say itWhat you are ultimately asking for from your target audienceIf your key messages and ask are not clearly defined then you will not get your point throughAll activities with the media MUST align with your other advocacy activitiesEven stories that dont directly address your issue, but that are related, can set the stage for new discourse with governmentEnsure the media you are speaking with reach your target audience5/6/2015 | #Some Tactics to Engage the MediaIssue a news releaseDirectly pitch a story to an individual reporter who has an interest in the topicHold a media event (press conference)Consider responding to relevant news items with a Letter-to-the-EditorAuthor an Opinion-Editorial (Op-Ed) pieceMeet with the editorial board of a newspaper5/6/2015 | #Who to ApproachNational or regional newspapersCommunity newspapersTelevision stationsRadio stations

5/6/2015 | #5/6/201517Speaking to the Right PersonBefore reaching out to a media outlet Follow reporters to determine/understand their interestsFind out which reporter (if any) has been affected by the issue personallyWhen reaching out to the media, understand that Assignment editors are responsible for assigning stories to journalistsNews editors are responsible for what gets publishedHealth reporters are responsible for researching and developing stories

5/6/2015 | #Using Social Media in AdvocacySocial media can help to advance your causeTwitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, VineDirect access to many decision-makers, potential supporters and advocatesReal-time engagement

5/6/2015 | #Is it the Right Medium for You?BE PREPARED! Critical to have a specific goal and a strategyYou must understand your social media audience what demographics are you trying to reach? What are their online behaviours?Which channel you want to use depends on the audience and your engagement goalsDo you want to be part of peoples daily lives (Facebook), part of current events (Twitter), or communicate visually (Instagram)?

5/6/2015 | #Dont just be on Twitter for Twitters sake.

Having an ineffective social media presence can actually do more harm than good. Thats why you should evaluate why you want to be on social media, and who you are trying to reach to achieve your goal. Are you trying to raise awareness of an issue? Are you trying to persuade a decision-maker? Are you trying to secure media coverage?

Is your audience on social media?

For example, if youre in a rural community and trying to influence a town alderperson, it might be easier and more effective to corner her at the Tim Hortons than to spend your resources trying to buttonhole her on Twitter or Facebook. If youre trying to wage a provincial campaign to get the Premier to fund an initiative, social media will be much more useful and effective.

Which channels work for you?

You may want to be on any number of social media channels, but think about your goals first. Do you want to get people to come to a local charity fundraiser? It may be easiest to get buy-in on Facebook, where there are closer personal connections and leverage for actionDo you want media coverage of your issue? You can target individual reporters through their Twitter accountsDo you want to get a petition signed? You could use both, especially if its an issue with broad appeal. 20Twitter vs FacebookTwitter Engaging with thought leaders/media, keeping up with current events, starting debates, conversations with people you may/may not knowTypical user: Female, early 30s, university-educatedBest practices: Using #hashtags, including @addresses, tweeting photos

Facebook Engaging with friends/family, sharing personal information, connecting with interestsTypical user: Average age increasing (38), checks daily, 229 friendsBest practices: Post photos and infographics, calls for action5/6/2015 | #For example, how do you decide if you want to be on one of the big two social media channels, Facebook or Twitter?

21Key Considerations for Social MediaIf youve decided you want to be on social media, consider the following: Resources do you have the capacity to monitor social media channels?Authenticity are you speaking to your audience in a real voice? Responsiveness are you responding to your audience in a meaningful way?Timeliness are you on top of the issues, and are you engaging as events unfold?5/6/2015 | #Resources You need to be able to staff your social media channels, and ensure that you have a plan to achieve your goals. You should be engaging daily ideally at least once in the morning and once in the afternoon. You should use tools such as a social media calendar to help you to plan out your messages, and think ahead about the issues you want to engage in. For example, you know the health minister is making an announcement this week on your issue. You should think ahead

Authenticity Are you providing canned messaging, or are you speaking to your audience with genuine emotion and thoughts? (Does your audience feel like theres a real person talking to them?)Sometimes, individual accounts can be more effective than corporate ones to convey that your message isnt canned, or they can complement each other.

Responsiveness If someone messages you with a question, or query, are you responding to that person? You need to be able to engage, or that person may tune out, or spread a negative impression of you/your issues.

TimelinessDo you have something to say when it matters? If a news story related to your issue breaks that morning, you need to be talking about it that day ideally, within that hour. This helps build your credibility, and shows that youre paying attention to what matters to you (and hopefully, your followers/friends)

22Advocacy in the mediaAn Example from the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network 5/6/2015 | #Creating an Advocacy Platform

5/6/2015 | #Why some stories work

5/6/2015 | #SummaryMedia can be a powerful conduit to have your messages heard by your target audiencesTo capture their attention, ensure your story is timely and new, interesting and relevant and incorporates a human interest angle Align media and other advocacy activities Be clear with your messages and askEngage media that will reach your key audience(s)

5/6/2015 | #questions5/6/2015 | #FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:LAURA GREERVICE-PRESIDENTDirect Line + 1 416 413 4765Laura.Greer@hkstrategies.caALISSA VON BARGENSENIOR CONSULTANTDirect Line + 1 416 413

HILL+KNOWLTON STRATEGIES CANADA160 Bloor Street East, Suite 800Toronto, ON CanadaT + 1 416 413 1218hkstrategies.ca5/6/2015 | #