I really enjoyed Harry Weisbren’s article in the Huffington Post discussing the important of “amplifying” media advocacy beyond traditional media outlets and felt that he grasped the importance of outreach and leveraging one’s message through media channels. Below are two major takeaways from the article:
Get the Media to Speak For you
One of the major traditional methods of message dissemination is through mainstream media. And as much as possible, mainstream media needs to be as objective as possible. However, when a major news outlet — say, The New York Times or Washington Post — write about your issue campaign, they are esssentially advocacting on you behalf. As Weisbren states, “Even if the media outlet is attempting to be an objective source, their passing along news of the advocacy — while highlighting certain issues and promoting specific sources — has a large persuasive power on its own. The key is that media empowers the advocacy when this happens favorably, as it acts as a vehicle for the arguments to persuade a wider audience.” And regardless of avenue for disemmination, whether it be online, print, TV or radio, the message is still out there and has the possibility to persuade others to take action.
Combining “Social” with “Media” = Social Media = Good!
So you’ve begun to attract media outlets to your issue advocacy campaign and they’re beginning to write about it. But how do you take it even farther? DING! Social Media! As Weisbren states, “Outside media outlets do not need to be solely relied upon as favorable vehicles for the advocacy, and the open and interactive nature of social media fosters dialogues where monologues would otherwise reign. This not only enriches the debate, but also simultaneously spreads it to new audiences merely by publishing the arguments within it.” You’ve got the argument set for or against a particular issue, you’ve gotten that arguments covered by a major news organization, now it’s time to get the conversation going. Social media allows for the discussion to go farther than the traditional one-way modes of communication traditional media provides (although comments on stories online have changed this quite a bit). Through the ability to share these news stories via Facebook and Twitter, the conversation can become viral and move about a variety of circles for further discussion.
The two-prong approach above: get major news coverage of your issue advocacy campaign and then begin distributing the stories and persuasive messaging amongst others via social media, is a sure fire way to get the conversation going and push your initiative to the next level of succcess.