The lawn was eerie. Long strands of spider web draped over its length, a bat hovering over the withering shrubs, and a gravestone poking up from the dried grass.
The scariest thing was, it was a full month before Halloween!
As you can guess, I’m not a big fan of Halloween in September, or Christmas in October, or back-to-school in July. But you should be-when you’re filling in your communications calendar.
Creating a good message takes time.
It pays to know what you will be saying ahead of time. For that article you want to write or that video you want to record, you may need to find facts, or set up a photo shoot.
You may need to interview someone. How long will it take to schedule that meeting? From experience, I would say: estimate the longest time you can imagine it will take–then double it.
And once you have the facts, the photos, the interviews, the quoteable quotes in hand, you still have to write or edit. You don’t want to do any of that at the last minute.
Schedule that message weeks or even months in advance. Then schedule the steps it will take to create that message. Put them on your calendar.
Your audience needs time to respond, too.
Have you ever received an invitation to attend an event the day after you were supposed to RSVP?
If your message is inviting people to attend an event, to “Call your member of Congress TODAY!,” or to do anything else with a deadline, you need to send it to them well in advance. And you probably have to send it more than once.
That means you have to start creating the message even earlier, and send it out more often. Put time for creating it AND a date for sending it on your communications calendar.
Yes, you can wait until the last minute to create your message and hope inspiration strikes. Yes, you can gamble that your supporters will drop everything to respond to your call to action.
But that’s like Halloween in September. It’s just…scary.