Often we talk of “getting the word out.” The bigger question for you to answer is WHY?
WHY am I trying to reach people? To get them to see my point of view. To sell something. To get folks to participate/come to a special event. To stop doing certain things. To persuade and convince. And the list of reasons get more personal.
WHAT was the last thing for which you tried to get the word out? Maybe it was to convince a group of individuals to vote; or maybe it was to get certain folks to come out and hear a special presentation. And maybe you are just trying to get the word out to your children to eat their veggies.
Let’s say, you put it on Facebook, sent tweets to your friends, bought an AD on the radio, distributed flyers at various community events, sent notices to the TV news, used mailing list and did internet blasts, and even town hall meetings or personally engaged in one-on-one conversations. Sounds like you covered all of your bases. But when your big day or the final count was over, you were woefully disappointed in the results. What happened?
Let’s examine what you did.
WHAT: What do you send out? Did you use a flyer, an email asking for help, a press release, an internet message (like a constant-contact), a Facebook invitation? Did you put out posters and signs?
WHEN: Talk about timing — when did you get started? Did you allow enough time to get the word out to your prospective audience? Different methods of distribution, require a different time line. Do the method(s) you chose to “get the word out” work in your best interest? Examples – it is not wise to expect your information to get out when you do your outreach a day too late.
- If you want to get a PSA on the radio (or TV), get started with your ask at least two weeks before air time. This will give you enough time to resend. Follow up to see if your information has reached the station.
- When trying to get an article published in a community newspaper, send the information a week before the publication’s print deadline.
- Send the press release to TV or radio news desk at the station two (or three) days before the event takes place. Follow up with a Media Advisory on the morning of the event to help get news coverage.