A big challenge for communicators trying to get an organization's message across is steering clear of "getting into the weeds with their messages," Conway Strategic principal Chrissy Faessen tells Doug Simon.

One key strategy for doing that, she says, is "really coming to a centralized message." Before tackling the "weeds" of policy talk, Faessen says that effective message development relies on starting with the values—"thinking about what is the value, what are the core values and the bigger vision of what you're trying to communicate."

To get control of the media narrative, she stresses the need for laying the groundwork and "getting ahead of it before we're having to be reactive in a responsive mode."

Since Conway Strategic works with a lot of healthcare clients, she also talks about playing "the long game" that is made necessary by the years-long approval process some products can go through. Using all of the moments of that process "as really a moment to educate reporters, to start to bring them along in this journey for ultimately what we want to communicate once that therapy or that medication is available."

The conversation also addresses how to build relationships with the media. Faessen says that "the traditional press release is not something we use a lot anymore. Most of the communications that we have with reporters are really tailored emails. It's really being invested in what that reporter is interested in and what they're looking to communicate and how we can be helpful to them."

For clients that don't necessarily have something newsworthy at the moment, but want to be in the news, Faessen says that communicators need to "continue to educate reporters and raise visibility. There's a lot of research in data out there, and sometimes it just comes down to repackaging that in different ways, whether that's a fact sheet or a research brief, but thinking about how to repackage that in a way to reshare it and garner interest."

Educating audiences and reporters, she tells Simon, can also help communicators effectively handle an increasingly politicized environment. "One of the things that we talk a lot about and we educate reporters about is ensuring that they're able to talk to experts. We really think deeply about the platforms which we put our clients in front of to ensure that they're going to at least be able to be heard."

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D S Simon Media helps clients get their stories on television through satellite media tours and by producing and distributing content to the media. The company also produces live social media events.