Authors swear by the Snowflake Method, a structured way to design and write novels. Advocacy campaign strategists and communications directors can draw lessons from this creative thought process to develop cohesive language supporting an advocacy campaign. We break down the Snowflake Method and apply each step to issue-advocacy messaging creation:
Picture a snowflake. An individually unique, crystal-like structure with delicately jagged edges. Now, imagine that you are going to draw a snowflake. Where do you begin? The Snowflake Method suggests that you (Step One) begin with a basic shape, and then (Step Two, Three and Four) go through and add detail over the basic shape. Translating this idea to the writing process, the Snowflake Method directs novelists to begin writing by starting small and identifying a one-sentence summary of the book's story, and then adding details around the core message while writing. When it comes to taking this logic and applying it writing advocacy messaging, this is what we recommend:
Step One: Start small, think of this step as laying the basic foundation. Write a one or two sentence core message that captures the core of the advocacy campaign. What is the objective? Who are the core stakeholders? This core message is essentially your mission statement- it succinctly describes the purpose of the advocacy campaign and what the campaign hopes to achieve. For example, if your advocacy campaign revolves around a specific bill or piece of legislation, the outcome of Step One could look something like: "To gain bipartisan support of HB 234 in the sub-committee on Agriculture and pass the bill".
Step Two: After you’ve written your mission statement, identify additional key messages that will be used to support your mission statement, this language further adds context and understanding about your advocacy campaign. Develop details supporting the rest of your advocacy campaign. All language pertaining to your advocacy campaign should be closely linked and related to your mission statement.
Step Three: This step involves taking a high-level look at your campaign and adding language about the environment your issue lives in. Describe the broader policy environment, or the environmental impact or the international persepctive on the issue. Whether you’re writing language for a pamphlet or a new website or for an email marketing campaign, all extra language that you generate should be adding details and interest to the core message you created in Step One.
Step Four: Build out your advocacy campaign and continue to develop your mission through storytelling. Now that you've developed your core message, added important details and placed the issue in a broader perspective, it's time to weave everything together like a story. Framing your advocacy message as an interesting narrative is what motivates constituents to action.
Using the Snowflake Method to guide the writing process in creating messaging for an advocacy campaign will help keep language cohesive and aligned with overall objective with the campaign.