Becoming an advocate is easier than you might think. It can be as simple as using your words or actions to demonstrate support for a particular cause, ideology, or group of people. Advocates often educate and inform, make recommendations, and support, defend, or plead on behalf of others.
At the heart of advocacy is a desire to influence thoughts, behavior, and policy. Skilled advocates are able to motivate others to take a desired action. They can also help to dispel myths and fight stigma, both of which are important for the chronic illness community. To be an advocate, you don’t have to be an expert in public policy or become a motivational speaker. You just need to be willing to speak out.
The most successful advocates become masters of persuasion. They use opinion, fact, and convincing arguments to change behavior and mindsets, influence public policy, educate people, and build support for specific ideas. Writing can be an effective tool for advocacy, but it is important to make sure that your message will grab the reader’s attention.
Who are you writing for?
Identify who you are trying to persuade or inform. Consider their values, needs, and perspective. What questions or objections will they have to your call to action? What is their experience and do they share your perspective and concerns? Once you know your audience, you can tailor your message accordingly.
If you’re advocating for better understanding of the issues related to living with RA and your target audience includes people living with RA, friends or family members, or healthcare professionals, you may not need to include detailed explanations of the disease. But members of the general public, government officials, newspapers or magazines may need more background or supportive information to provide context and significance for your appeal.
After you know who you are writing for, it is important to make sure that they read what you have written. And if they read it, will they understand it? And if they understand it, will they do what you want them to do?
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Advocacy: The Power of Words to Motivate Action