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[10 on Tuesday] Craft an Effective Communications Strategy for Your Preservation Project


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Although all campaigns have different objectives, the overarching goal of any media campaign should be to successfully change the behavior of a targeted group. To achieve this, issues must be properly presented to the target audience.

But where do you start? And where should you end up? Here are 10 steps to building an effective communications strategy that can help take your preservation project over the finish line.

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[10 on Tuesday] Craft an Effective Communications Strategy for Your Preservation Project

  1. 1. Craft a Communications Strategy10 Steps to Taking Your Preservation ProjectPublic Photo courtesy UQTR, flickr
  2. 2. 1. Ask preliminaryquestions.Before launching your campaign, decide if theissue will benefit from receiving media attention.After all, not all issues need mediaexposure, and not every organization isprepared for it. Take a minute to consider whatbest fits your project’s and/or organization’sgoals.Photo courtesy Siebuhr, flickr
  3. 3. Photo courtesy National Trust for Historic Preservation2. Identify your target audience.Who is the campaign trying to reach? What kinds ofapproaches will help you effectively connect with this group?The better you understand your target audience, the higheryour chances for reaching and influencing them.
  4. 4. 3. Set an action-orientedgoal.First, decide what you want toachieve with your project.Then, consider what you wantpeople to do with the informationyou’re giving them. Once you setthese parameters, you can selectappropriate, concrete actions foryour audience, such as signing apetition or contacting the mayor. Photo courtesy National Trust for Historic Preservation
  5. 5. 4. Develop a message.The message should be as clear as possible and contain no morethan three or four key points. Above all, the message must resonatewith your target audience. What will compel them to take action andsupport your cause? Photo courtesy National Trust for Historic Preservation
  6. 6. 5. Take into account thecampaign objectives.Keeping your objectives in mind will help ensureyour messagingstays in sync with the campaign.For example, if you are working to save ahistoric site threatened with demolition, focus onthe benefits of protecting the site, explain thesite’s value to the community, and sharepotential reuse plans.Photo courtesy National Trust for Historic Preservation
  7. 7. Photo courtesy The Reboot, flickr6. Determine which types ofcommunication will be most effective.Tactics should depend on the campaigns goals and audience,and can include: press releases, social media, mediaadvisory, op-ed, editorial, letter to the editor, pressconference, blog post, and more.
  8. 8. 7. Appoint a spokesperson.It is important to choose one personto serve as the primary mediacontact. Having a single individualfor reporters to turn to simplifies thereporter’s job and helps theorganization stay on message. Photo courtesy Novartis AG, Flickr
  9. 9. 8. Pitch stories to reporters.When pitching a story to a reporter, begin by establishing arelationship. Call the reporter, introduce yourself, and ask for theirpreferred method of communication. Remember to always ask ifthey are on a deadline or have time to talk. Photo courtesy John Strader
  10. 10. 9. Be savvy in yourconversations withreporters.When speaking to reporters, err onthe side of caution and alwaysassume that everything is “on therecord.” Convey your message andtalking points clearly anddirectly, and avoid sounding overlyscripted. Make sure all yourinformation is accurate andinformative. Photo courtesy National Trust for Historic Preservation
  11. 11. 10. Measure results.Did the message reach its intended audience? Were they inspired totake action? Did the money invested provide the return on investmentthe organization expected? Conduct a thorough “post mortem”(discussion following the event) to ensure your next campaign is evenmore successful. Photo courtesy Hal Hagy/Lucky Dog Gallery
  12. 12. Ten on Tuesday features ten preservationtips each week. For more tips,