Public Relations Writing: Lesson #14 - p. 3

PR Campaigns (continued)

Here are the steps to developing a clear, powerful, passionate message -- questions to consider as you do your "pre-writing", based on work you have already done on your message planner. You can use the PR Campaign Message Worksheet as a kind of message planner.

  • What is your current concern about the issue -- Why are you concerned? Why right now? You need to have a personal connection to the issue, even if it's somewhat abstract. Your support for natural gas alternatives may be influenced by the fact that you spent over 10 percent of your income in gas for commuting, or the fact that you have children who are threatened by diesel and gasoline pollution. You may feel that non-profit cultural groups like the "Evita" players are essential to your quality of life in Turtle Bay. When I say, "Why are you concerned?" that question can be read two ways -- once with the emphasis on the word "you." What's your personal involvement? Why does it matter to you?

  • What personal values are related to the issue? What do you believe? What ideals or principles are implicated? This time the question is a little more abstract -- not only why does it matter to you, but also why is it important for everyone else? Can you come up with ideals or principles relevant to the natural gas issue? How about the Hale Hall Theater Center?

  • A clear call to action -- what do you want people to do about it? This relates to the Objective in your message planner work. It's important to a PR campaign that you're clear on what action or behavior you want to inspire.

  • And now... the Message: what do you want the "buzz" to be about? By now you're very familiar with the concept of a message. This exercise, however, is a little more pointed. It does not ask what the message of any single story should be, but rather what the overall message of the PR campaign should be. It's like a step-down transformer: you will develop an overall message for the campaign... then you will develop a series of themes to embody that message. Then each theme will be the basis of a message of an individual story that you develop in the news media.

  • Finally: Can you come up with an 8-10 second slogan or tagline? Maybe it's Natural Gas -- a cleaner, cheaper, American alternative!...or
    "Evita!" -- Broadway quality, rock concert energy...
    I'll bet you can do better than that. A slogan isn't essential, but it does help focus the campaign efforts, and can also serve as a headline for one of your press releases, for fliers, brochures, even billboards and bumper stickers.

Now, use this Message Worksheet to develop a message for any issue of civic engagement you choose. Note: this exercise is not obligatory for spring 2017 semester students. I've included it here for those who want to pursue political campaign planning.

Go on to the next page.

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