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Midterm Elections: Writing for political action

Regardless on where you stand on any of the pressing political issues of the day -- and there are many! -- it's important to share your ideas and opinions with others in a constructive way.

I've been working in advocacy and politics most of my life. In fact, locals say I teethed on a ballot box. That lifetime of experience has taught me a few things about being an effective advocate and campaign volunteer, especially when that comes to writing. I compiled a set of strategies to make it faster and easier to put your opinions and ideas in writing, and to make the resulting prose more effective.

Political Action/Get Out the Vote Writing Toolkit

Use this tiny toolkit to get the word out on behalf of candidates and causes you care about. There's enough trash talking going on that I hope you use these tools to be FOR something or someone, rather than against something or someone else.

How to Capture the Power of Your Ideas

The first tool is the Content-Purpose-Audience Strategy™, which captures your thoughts at the top level:

  • Content: The most important idea and crucial details to support it
  • Purpose: The things you want people to think, feel or do after reading/hearing your case
  • Audience: A solid description of the people you're trying to reach and their questions, objections and concerns; and the personality the audience is most likely to trust

A nifty picture of the Content-Purpose-Audience Strategy

Download my Writing for Advocacy slide deck for a quick overview of the strategy and how it helps gather, organize and solidify your thoughts. Download the mini workbook for capturing the power of your ideas, which includes step-by-step instructions for using the Content-Purpose-Audience strategy and examples of successful opinion writing for various media.

How to Write a Candidate Endorsement

Help others understand why they should vote for a particular candidate with an endorsement posted to your blog or social media accounts, published in the paper or aired on radio, TV or podcast. Recommendations are important tools for political action, yet many people feel awkward making them. The What-Why-How™ Strategy makes it easy to outline and explain the key reasons you support a candidate, using a logical framework that meets your audience's need:

  • What you think: your main idea
  • Why you think it: an explanation of your rationale
  • How you know it's true: examples and evidence that prove your point

Template for the What Why How Strategy

Check out this blog post for a quick walk through using WWH to write a candidate endorsement and to see a recommendation published in our local paper. (Hint: If you do the CPA first, make the Main Idea the What and use the Key Details as a Why or How).

How to Advocate for an Issue with Public Service Announcements

If you're working with a nonprofit organization, you can also share your ideas on ballot initiatives, constitutional amendments and other issues being considered by the public. TV and radio stations are required by law to provide free air time to nonprofits meeting specific criteria (so check with your local station before adding a PSA to your advocacy plan).

Idea-Details Strategy copyright 1995-2018 Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. Used with permission.

Read this blog post for more insights on why and how to use PSAs. Then check out this slide deck for a quick overview of how to write a PSA or download the worksheet to get started.

Sharing your perspective with others is always valuable, especially at election time -- and even more so in off-cycle and midterm elections like the one coming up next month. Voice your opinions and make sure to vote!

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