Most readers turn to the Letters to the Editor page before any another page in the newspaper. If you really want your voice to be heard by thousands, one of the best ways is by writing a letter to the editor. Writing a letter is also one of the easiest and most effective ways to educate readers and raise awareness about reproductive rights and health issues in your community.
Be original! Include your own personal sentiments regarding the issue at hand.
Be concise and clear. Most papers have limited space.
Use humor when appropriate. Letters that are humorous are often published. Do not use humor, however, if it detracts from your point.
Give it a community feel. Bring the issue back home.
If you’ve been affected by the issue, share that story.
Use Facebook as an Advocacy Tool
Facebook has 2 billion monthly users and offers excellent opportunities to motivate your own network to take action on public health issues. Here are some general tips for crafting effective Facebook posts and sample posts.
General Facebook Tips:
Use photos and links in your posts as much as possible – this will capture people’s attention more than plain bodies of text.
If you plan to write your own post, remember that the content of the post is more important than achieving a certain post length. Some Facebook posts are one sentence long, while others are 3-4 sentences. Think about your Facebook network and what will work best for your unique set of followers.
When crafting a post, you want to be sure to have an “ask” of those reading your post. Providing information is helpful, but try to leave people with something they can act on immediately. One of the best ways to do this is through an action alert to Congress. The sample posts below include action alerts as their “ask.”
When posting a link such as a link to an action alert, you can take some easy steps to format your post in an attention-grabbing way that will encourage people to read it and take action: o Paste your link into your Facebook status box – hit space to see the preview. o Once the link has loaded, you can delete it and add the text you would like to include to direct your network to click the link you have provided.
When mentioning another agency, organization or group in your post, you can “tag” them in your post so that your network can learn more about the organization you tagged. Doing this is easy: Type “@” followed by the complete name of the organization you wish to tag. Once you type “@” followed by the first few letters of the organization, a drop-down list will appear according to the Facebook pages that exist for the letters you have typed. For example: “@Centers for Disease Control (CDC)”. If the organization is highlighted in blue, you have been successful in tagging!
Use Twitter as an Advocacy Tool
Some legislators will have multiple Twitter accounts — such as one for campaigning and another for use while they are in office. If multiple accounts exist, use the one linked from his or her “.gov” website.
Your account: Before posting anything, make sure to review your own account. Ensure that your Twitter account includes a profile picture, a bio and location. Including any credentials you have earned, a job title and your employer can boost your credibility and show that you live or work in a particular state or district.
WAWH's @healthywomenwi Twitter feed provides frequent updates on women's health issues that you can retweet to your followers.
Write your post The basic formula for writing a post to your legislators is the following: location + member of Congress name or handle + the issue. When possible, use pictures in your tweets. Pictures help your tweet stand out in a stream of tweets. Here are a few examples that use different formats to expand upon this basic formula:
Basic: Wisconsin women are winning with ACA protections. @SenRonJohnson please don't repeal the ACA!
Using district numbers and mention specific legislation: I’m a women's health advocate & resident of WI-02. I’m asking @MarkPocan to protect health & vote against ACA repeal.
Naming well-known local points of interest to help you identify as a constituent: @SenatorBaldwin, please fund immunization programs to ensure our kids are safe from mumps in the Madison.
Mentioning local or influential groups to increase reach and notoriety of an issue: @SpeakerRyan protect our kids. @PublicHealth & @healthywomenwi support CDC Lead Poisoning Prevention funded by Prevention & Public Health Fund.
Accounts to consider including in your tweets:
Other Wisconsin patient advocacy groups
Local leaders such as school administrators, fire/police chiefs, local elected officials, nonprofit leaders etc.
Local businesses such as chamber of commerce, CEO’s or small business owners
Any non-traditional partner that can show this is a community-wide issue
Timing your post Make sure to look for chances to respond to posts from the member of Congress’s account. Likes and retweets are tallied by the member’s office to gauge support. You can also voice displeasure or support by replying or commenting on posts. The more timely your reply, the more likely you are to get a response.