A Template for Developing Values-Based Communications

A Template for Developing Values-Based Communications
Communications Plenary



A Template for Developing Values-Based Communications

This message development template summarizes a step-by-step procedure for developing communications strategies for public interest campaigns. The highlighted sections – which will be our focus at the 2012 Tarrytown Meeting communications plenary – are shown here in their full context. This template was created by Jane Elder as part of the Biodiversity Project in 1999.

  1. Identify your public campaign goal (Are you attempting to influence policy, shape public will or change behaviors?). Be as specific as possible – describe the threats, problems, who is responsible, and solutions.
  • What is your time frame?
  • When will decisions be made?
  • How much time do you have to pull resources together?
  • What are your benchmarks for evaluating progress?

2.  Who is/are your audience(s) and why are they your targets? Besides the public audiences from the public opinion research, you might also choose decision makers, influentials, the news media, alternative media, and allied leaders.

3.  Why should each of your audiences care about your issue?

• What are their concerns?
• What are their core values?

4.  What is your message? Develop a short paragraph in language that speaks to your audience that answers the following questions:

• What is the threat and who is responsible? [PROBLEM STATEMENT]

• Why is this issue important for your audience? (Refer to the concerns and values)

• What action will address the need and the threat?  [SOLUTION STATEMENT]

• What is it that you want your audience to do? [ACTION “ASK”]

5.  Who is your messenger? Which messengers are compelling, authentic, and credible for your target audience?

For further message development for a campaign:

6.  What are some helpful anecdotes, i.e., real, human stories to illustrate and amplify your message?

7.  What are some helpful images and graphics?

8.  What facts help tell a compelling story?

9.  What is a good slogan or soundbite?

10.  What are the points of access to this particular audience? Are they mass media, community organizations, trade publications, church groups, service groups, special interest magazines, the web, etc.?