Share4Rare toolkit for patient advocacy

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Designing your message

Decide your angle

Are you a victim, a rebel, a hero, a monster or an expert? Which do you think is more appropriate or more appealing to your audience? The tone of the message will be different accordingly.

As an advocate, you constantly want to connect with your audience and make your advocacy a part of their life. Connections and relationships play a vital role in this since they have to be interested in you to connect with you. The way you bring your message determines your personality and how your audience connects with you, making the decision whether or not they want to work with you.

There are multiple angles on so-called brand roles that you can adapt to deliver your message. Before this, you need to understand the differences in perceptions and how this will influence your relationship with stakeholders.

Photo by Anika Huizinga on Unsplash

Eeva Hurmalainen, Communications Officer for UNA Finland, explains there are five roles that serve as the basis for building a message that you can share: a victim, rebel, hero, monster or expert. After you have selected the angle of in which way you want to deliver your message, you can start creating and spreading them.


Start with the receiver interest

First, tell people why they should be interested in what you have to tell them, why they need to pay attention to your message. This will capture their attention. Often, we are tempted to talk first about who we are and what we do, so by the time we get to the core message, we lose their interest. Start with what is important for them.


Talk to the mind, heart and impulse

People are different and react to different arguments, so try to use each of the following categories of arguments in your messages:

  • Rational arguments - statistics, clinical trials results, experts’ statements etc.
  • Emotional - personal or patients stories, for instance.
  • Conative - a call to action; here, you should clearly explain what you want them to do and why.

Make it concise

People attention span is shorter every day. So try to be concise. Use few words and be visual. Insert images and graphics, even short videos, which express your message. At first, your message might seem too complex to express it concisely, but in the end you only want that one thing from your core message. Everything else can wait.

Make it clear

Be sure that your language is simple enough so everyone understands it, but elevated enough, correct and complete, so specialists feel comfortable with your message, too. Do not avoid, but explain medical, legal, statistical and others tough terms and ideas.

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Make it simple

Avoid sending too many messages mingled in one. The receiver will not understand what you want him to do first. Dizzy from all the ideas, he/she will probably lose the site of what is important.

If you really have to send a complex message, use bullets, when appropriate, and emphasize the important words. This way, the message will be easy to read and understand.

Make it different

What makes you unique? How are you different from others that do the same thing as you? What makes your current message unique? Insert your answer in your message and people will notice it. People are assaulted by hundreds of messages from different organizations every day, so they tend to block them. They pass by the message without actually seeing it. So, be different to capture their interest. What makes you different is called competitive advantage and in this context, you compete for people attention.

Free photo on Pixabay

Make it yours

Use the same tone and language each time you send a message. Use your logo, your name and contacts, every time. People trust what they know and they know what they see repetitively. The message is changing each time, but the logo, your organization name, and sometimes the template appear repetitively, so people get to know you through them.

A template for Crafting your own personal story can be found in the Resources.

Last modified
23 August 2019