You don’t need to be a politician to be heard this election season
You probably find Canadian federal elections boring. Most of our country does. And can you blame us? The majority of election season features long speeches delivered mostly by white men.
But here’s a little secret: you can be the key to making this an interesting election season.
The media, the public and politicians want to hear different perspectives on the Big Issues. The current Big Issues are climate change, healthcare and the rising cost of living. I know that you have a valuable perspective, experience or expertise to share with the public on at least one of these issues.
I’m sure you already know what you want to say this election season. But you may not have figured out how to get the media, politicians and the public to hear what you have to say.
Know your “why.” Why are you speaking out about this issue? To raise awareness around a specific perspective? To address your industry’s needs? To advocate for human rights?
You don’t want to put all this effort into amplifying your voice if it doesn’t align with your personal or professional goals. If it turns out that speaking out isn’t something you want to do, that’s okay! There are many ways to get involved in political action, such as working with an organization you believe in or sharing other people’s opinions on issues that matter to you.
Research your issue in Canadian media outlets and on social media. Ask yourself: how unique is your perspective or expertise? Has it been reported on already? Or are you seeing a gap in the reporting around this issue? Who is talking about? Are they representing all voices on this issue?
The best way for your voice to be heard is if it uniquely stands out among the crowd of other conversations and Big Issue discussions.
Once you’ve solidified that you do in fact have a new perspective on the issue, write a succinct explanation of your perspective and why you’re qualified to speak on this issue (perhaps you study or work in this area, or have a lived experience). Send your position to reporters who write about this issue to let them know that you’re a potential resource for their next story.
Keep in mind: nobody wants to read a rant from a person who has no credentials or experience on the topic. News outlets will ignore your emails if they aren’t relevant. Be intentional and explain why you’re the right person to speak to about this. Again, you don’t need to be a professor to comment on something that matters, but you do need to have some sort of legitimate experience.
Don’t be afraid to follow up. If you aren’t hearing back from a reporter, feel free to ping them again one week after your initial email. But be respectful! This reporter has a lot on their plate and can’t respond to every email that floods her inbox. So if you never hear back, don’t be hurt.
Use the internet to your advantage. If you have things to say and don’t want to publish with a news outlet (or aren’t hearing back from them), do it yourself! You can use Medium and LinkedIn to write articles and then share your insight on those platforms instead.
Don’t forget about sharing your views on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The public, media and politicians follow conversations on social media, so don’t be afraid to put your two cents out there to have your voice heard.
I’d love to hear about what your passionate about this election season. Comment below!