Communications Training with Kinsale Communications

By Scout,
Director, Network for LGBT Tobacco Control

Morning all! Hey, I’m in a convening of the Minnesota statewide tobacco disparity networks and this morning we’ve got Steve Kinsella here, a former PR guy for Daschle and others, giving us a training on Communications Strategies. So… instead of taking notes, I thought, why not just blog some of the high points?

So, see him in the pic to the right starting with the key elements of an effective communications plan.

Key Elements of An Effective Communications Plan

  • Goal — what you are trying to accomplish
  • Strategy — how you will accomplish it
  • Audience — who your campaign is directed towards
  • Message — your guiding theme. Must include a value + ask. Examples include: “Keep our children away from 2ndhand smoke.” “Don’t make the workers choose between their job and clean air.”
  • Soundbites — pretty obvious, examples above.

One thing lots of us struggle about is… not understanding what is news. Helping to understand that helps us understand how to make it.

What makes News?

News is an event, occurrence, or action that has an impact on the audience in either a direct or emotional sense.

Direct impact: something that directly affects the reader or his environment, friends, pocketbook, etc. Examples include: tax increases, insurance costs, unhealthy environment, crime, decisions affecting schools, etc.

Emotional impact: something that strikes the emotional chord (anger, fear, sadness, happiness), more emotion, higher news value. Examples include: puppy in well, death of celebrity, airplane landing on Hudson, etc.

Add conflict! Steve says, “Never be afraid of conflict.” Conflict is a short story, it’s tension that draws eyes. Just keep your message focused so it seems like you’re the Luke Skywalker not Darth Vader. Example brought up is the local pride, where the organizers (lots of smokers) feel that they’ve made a large health area, and that’s enough, making all of pride smokefree would hurt it. Steve suggested wade right into that conflict with your messaging. Ask questions, and some might be listened to better if you seed them via community members, not just through your organization. What about having a community member write in public forum, “But what are we teaching our youth if we have a big health section then we’re exposing them to smoke everywhere else in pride?”

Other tips to make your info into news. Make it local. Add graphics. Keep it timely. Put human face on it. Keep it simple!

Uh-oh, he’s talking about New Media now! I’ll post this and start to work on a 2nd post with that info.

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