Pat yourself on the back, because you’re done with the majority of the research and preparation for your project! In this section, you’ll be using all your hard work to finish developing your message! Let’s get to it…

Get out Your Project Map!

You’ll be referring to your Project Map a lot in the coming questions, so please make sure to have it open in another tab in your browser or in another window. Your Advisor has sent you a link to it. If you have trouble finding it, please reach out to your Advisor.

What is a Key Message?

A key message is a concise statement written for a target audience that summarizes your argument. You will use your key messages to develop the materials for each Advocacy Strategy you’ll be using.

Your key messages will be made up of three parts:

  1. A description of the problem in an attention-getting way
    • This is a great place to use your Big Picture Fact or Project Specific Fact
  2. A description of why this problem is important to your target audience
    • Relate the fact to your target audience
  3. Include your call to action as it relates to the target audience
    • It’s okay to have a different call to action that’s specific to your target audience

A great way to understand key messages is to see some examples. Feel free to use some pieces if they match your project!

Example 1: Food Waste

Target Audience: Household Food Purchasers
Did you know that Americans waste 25% of the food they buy? Think of all the money you could save on groceries by not wasting food! It’s time to do something about it. Plan your week’s meals before going to the grocery store!

  1. Describe the problem in an attention-getting way:
    • Did you know that Americans waste 25% of the food they buy?
      This is the project’s Big Picture Fact
  2. Describe why this problem is important to your target audience:
    • Think of all the money you could save on groceries by not wasting food! It’s time to do something about it.
      The target audience is the “household food purchaser,” so we wanted to focus on the grocery store and saving money
  3. Share your call to action as it relates to the target audience
    • Plan your week’s meals before going to the grocery store!
      This is a great way to cut down food waste and household food purchasers know how helpful it is to go to the grocery store with a good list. Asking them to plan their meals in advance is actionable and directly related to the thing that defines the target audience.

Example 2: Tree Planting

Target Audience: High School Administrators
Did you know that trees on school campuses significantly improve air quality and can reduce temperatures in warm climates by up to 10°F? They are a small environmental investment that will pay in the improved health and well-being of students and school communities for decades to come. Invest in a tree planting initiative today for a cleaner future tomorrow!

  1. Describe the problem in an attention-getting way:
    • Did you know that trees on school campuses significantly improve air quality and can reduce temperatures in warm climates by up to 10°F?
      This is the project’s Big Picture Fact
  2. Describe why this problem is important to your target audience:
    • They are a small environmental investment that will pay in the improved health and well-being of students and school communities for decades to come.
      The target audience is “high school administrators,” so we wanted to focus on the health of students and school campus.
  3. Share your call to action as it relates to the target audience
    • Invest in a school tree planting initiative today for a cleaner future tomorrow!
      This is a clear request that administrators have the authority to execute and allocate funding for. Support from students and teachers for the initiative will help strengthen your call to action and increase likelihood of it happening.

Your Turn! Start Writing Your Key Messages

Now it’s your turn. Below you can find the steps to building your key messages. Use this worksheet to work through each step and organize your thoughts. Make sure you have your Project Map in front of you while doing this activity!

You’ll be writing a key message for every target audience you have. If you need more than one key message for a single target audience, that’s okay!

  1. Start by keeping your target audience in mind. Each section below should be written with that audience in mind.
  2. Write down the fact you want to use for this audience. You can use your Big Picture Fact or your Project Specific Fact. This should be an attention grabber!
  3. Write out your call to action. This can be tailored to your target audience as well.
  4. Now connect the fact or problem to the call to action. Make sure to write this connection so that it’s related to your target audience.
  5. Take all the pieces and put them together in this order:
    1. Attention-grabbing fact
    2. Connection between the target audience and the fact and call to action
    3. Finish with the call to action

If you’re struggling and need some help, please reach out to your Advisor for help!

Tell us Your Key Messages

Now that you’ve written your key messages, it’s time to tell us! Fill out the following form with your team.

NEXT STEP: Campaign Strategies and Advocacy Goals

Click Here: Move on to the next step: Phase 3.5 – Campaign Strategies and Advocacy Goals

Looking for Another Page? Head over to the Campaign’s Table of Contents.