There are many issues that need highlighting, but what increases the chances of an advocacy reaching the mainstream?
Nowadays, it feels like every other agricultural product is in some sort of crisis. We’ve gone through salt, sugar, and onion shortages, as well as warnings on possible sardine and egg shortages, the latter a worldwide concern.
Many farmer and industry groups have been airing their concerns, some with more positive results than others.
What makes government officials and the public pay attention to one issue over others?
In my very unscientific observation, a big part of it involves being able to air one’s issues effectively. Here are some things that I’ve noticed, not necessarily from the agriculture industry, that contribute to a higher probability of an issue being of concern to the general public, and thus, to government officials.
A clear message that’s easy to comprehend. Life is hard, and all but a blessed few already have their hands full with day to day survival. If you want your message to be heard amid all the other (equally important) issues vying for everyone’s attention, you have to make it clear—tell your audience what it is they should be concerned about and why—using as little words as possible.
A simple, easily understood reason for how the issue will affect your audience. For people to invest their energy in something, they have to care about it. Again, you’re up against the thousands of other equally pressing issues, so you have to make sure yours stands out. Your message should be clear and easy to understand, explaining to them why they should care about the issue.
A desired outcome. Explain what you want to achieve, and how it can enrich the lives of your audience.
A proposed plan of action. Now that you’ve gotten the attention of your audience and explained why they should care about your cause, you can get them more involved in the issue by telling them how they can help. This can be through personal actions, such as lessening one’s use of plastic; communal, such as a cleanup; or both, such as mass posting about an issue on social media.
Optional: the backing of an influencer. This isn’t a requirement, but unfortunately, it helps. It’s easier for people to pay attention to something if there’s someone recognizable behind it. It’s how influencer marketing works, and it can be extremely effective.
Some of these may be hard to hear, especially in a country where so many do not have easy access to resources, influence, or leverage, or whose concerns are so ingrained and systematic, but tolls like social media have made it easy to reach an audience and get one’s message across.