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Creating Your Communications Roadmap and Choosing Mediums and Messengers

Your communications roadmap is your action plan for communications and should contain your goal, your objectives and the communications activities you will take to reach that objective. It will include the audiences you want to reach, how you are going to reach them, what you want each to do, and who will be reaching them. You will probably have more than one objective and will therefore need more than one communications plan.

For example, you may decide that you want a legislator who you know agrees with your position to become a more outspoken champion, to show other legislators that their community supports the initiative, and for school board members to hear from parents and teachers. Each of these objectives will require different communications strategies and you will want to create a plan for each objective. It is also recommended that you use several different means, or mediums, to reach an audience, such as a radio ad, one-to-one contact, and a community meeting. Theories vary on the number of times a person needs to be exposed to an idea before it takes hold, but it should be at least three, if not, more.

As you choose activities to undertake, look back at what you know about the audiences you want to reach. What do they pay attention to? For example, it does not make sense to place a radio ad if they never listen to the radio. Similarly, if they are very busy, you do not want to hand out a 10-page white paper.

Messengers are also important; decide who should be the messengers for each audience and what information they should present. While this is particularly helpful when planning one-on-one meetings, it should also be kept in mind with large scale communications. For some populations, a young adult or youth telling their story of how the initiative benefited them may be more effective than a university faculty member sharing a research study.

Tips on messengers:

  • Among your Action Team are people who know key decision-makers and can secure access to them. Decide who should be responsible for contacting each person or audience you have identified.
  • If a key public official is among your leaders, decide if the best strategy is to have this person speak with other officials and office-holders or if someone else should connect with them. Take into consideration what this person thinks.
  • Putting forward people with good public speaking skills is essential for forums such as legislative hearings, open meetings, and presentations to local or state councils.
  • If you are having a family member or youth serve as a messenger, make sure they are well coached in advance and know their talking points.

See the Tools and Resources section for communications roadmap.

 

Updated March 2018