The Point, Message, Support, Action message grid helps align calls to action to messages and helps spokespeople connect ‘facts’ to messages
This article is part of a series on creating key messages. I recommend reading the article on how to create key messages first.
Cumbersome name aside, the Point, Message, Support, Action grid is a nice way to organize your messages, associate them to a specific call to action and include supporting evidence.
- Point — what are you trying to say?
- Message — how will you say it?
- Support — is there a story or fact to support the message?
- Action — is there a call to action?
The point is what you want to say but not necessarily how you will say it. For example, you might have a technical point that needs to be adapted so the audience will understand it.
This is the message you use publicly. Rather than communicating in precise, scientific language, this is the message that reinforces your narrative and evokes the right frames. The message may draw on information from your ‘Support’ column.
Any information that can be used to support your message. You can write supporting content as it’s intended to be delivered, or write it as a raw fact that needs to be massaged for delivery. If you’re a communications pro creating messages for spokespeople, I recommend writing the supporting information exactly how you want it delivered. It’s too easy for spokespeople to go off message if it’s left open.
Include no more than three supporting pieces of information in your message grid. Encourage your spokespeople to use the most powerful support as often as possible.
You may find that you don’t change your message but you update the Support information as circumstances change or you find new and better information to draw on.
This is the call to action. Should someone do something in response to your message? If so, state it here. Avoid the temptation to add a call to action to every message. Find the message that best supports the call to action. Make the case, then make the ask.
How it looks
Using the startup and overfishing campaign examples, here’s how it looks:
This is a helpful message grid to use when you have a specific call to action or your spokespeople need extra help seeing how the facts support the message.
Avoid the temptation to include a lot of supporting information. Remember messages need to be repeated and repeated and repeated to sink in. If you have too many your spokesperson may use them all. You don’t want this — you want concise messages.
Give it a go.