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How to Make It Happen
Communications Strategy And Planning
Step 3 - Building Your own Plan

These steps will help you build your own plan. Follow along and fill in the following sections:

Short introduction - Frame the debate or situation. What's going on that merits the media's attention. How will the media help your cause?

Goals - What is the desired outcome? Do you want to influence legislation? Alert the public to grassroots action? What type of media coverage will satisfy you?

Identify partners - With whom will you work? Who will carry your message? With whom should you coordinate your activities?

Time-line - What are the specific steps and timeframe for this work? When is your first planning meeting? Is everyone who needs to be there available? When do materials have to be complete? (Bear in mind printers' and other vendors' schedules) When do you start talking to reporters? Make sure you know how far in advance reporters at each outlet must plan their stories. Morning shows, such as Good Morning America, for example, should be contacted at least one week in advance of your news release. When is your event or release?

Budget - How much will each component cost? Remember that media is earned, it is not free. Think carefully about how many people you'll need to staff events or make media contacts. You may need to hire freelancers to help with this work. Also don't forget that props, such as blown-up photos or glossy handouts cost money.

Follow-up - What type of follow-up is needed? Will you be tracking down clips? Clipping services can be expensive. Is this only the first step in a broader effort?

...or, continue on to Step 4.

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