Developing a Communications Product

Three critical steps to developing an effective communications product are detailed here:

Stage 1 – Do your homework

  • Identify your audience. Be as specific as possible. Try to think of an individual who represents this audience to make it personal. What sorts of things does that person value? For example: open space, local produce, opportunities to fish.
  • Determine the desired outcome. What do you want this audience to do differently in response to your communication? For example: donate money, volunteer, protect their land.
  • Based on what you know about your audience’s interests and values, think about what would motivate them to act, and what might present a barrier to action.

Stage 2 – Construct a story

  • Based on your research, develop a set of key messages that reflect the interests and values of your audience, and will motivate them to act in light of known barriers. Try using a Message Box to help figure out exactly what you want to communicate: the plot of your story.
  • Construct a story that brings your messages to life for your reader through a relatable person, place, or problem. Start by identifying the key elements of a good story:
    • Plot
    • Setting
    • Characters
    • Problem resolution
  • If you are communicating about climate change, use the recommendations on this main page to inform how you weave this issue into your story.

Stage 3 – Review, revise, repeat

  • Ask someone else to review the text, preferably someone who will have different point of view than you, ideally someone who represents your target audience.
  • Once you have made revisions, review the text one more time with key questions in mind:
    • Does it represent the needs of your audience?
    • Does it include a call to action?
    • Does it tell a story?
    • If applicable, does it reflect the recommendations for communicating about climate change?
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel. If you are happy with the end product, use your story as a template to help you communicate key messages consistently across different formats moving forward.

You can learn more about communications trends and best practices here.