M&M Get Started

Media and Messaging core services. This chapter gives an outline of movement communication info for XR UK groups to draw on. M&M (for short) is a working group in charge of promoting XR's work, actions and events, using social media and traditional media such as newspapers. M&M ensures that the messages and graphics used on various platforms are coherent and in-line with the strategy. It can feel overwhelming for small local groups to start a Media & Messaging working group as it englobes a wide range of skills local Rebels don't necessarily have. Fear not! In the Toolkit you'll find many resources to help you get your team started and people to contact to answer your questions, but also to help you complete some tasks (for example: designing a leaflet).

What is Media & Messaging

Messaging

A message is a clear, easy-to-understand sentence that sums up what you’re trying to achieve with your action. The M&M team makes sure this message is cohesive on all platforms and media used.

Media

Media are communications channels we use to spread news and our messages. In XR, we work with:

📰 Press

Traditional media use various supports to propagate news: printed (newspaper), video (TV), audio (radio)... but also digital supports (website, social media).

Most local and regional media are happy to run our stories, that's why it's important to learn how to write a press release.

💻 Social Media

Many people get their info from social media, especially in the younger generations. They are free to use and easy to access (from your computer and/or smartphone).

That said, they can be time-consuming to use as they require you to post regularly to build your audience on your chosen platform(s), and keep it. Social media are not reliable for propagating your news to all your followers at all times but they offer a nice display window from which new members can find you and contact you.

📱 Messaging apps

Messaging apps are mostly used for internal communication within your local group, working group, community group etc.

Some groups also choose to set up a broadcast on one of these apps, which is a one-way channel where messages can only be posted by the admins to inform their audience. You decide who can access your broadcast by sharing a link to it: members of your group only or anyone.

📧 Emails & Newsletter

This is probably the most reliable way we have to share our news with people who want to hear about us. We use Action Network to send them.

Emails that are short, to the point and include a call to action (for example: "register to join our meeting", "sign our petition") tend to work better than long emails full of information.

Movement Communication - Make your group visible

For XR to be successful it needs good communication; across the movement and to the public. When communication is consistent in language, formatting and platform, it is easier to understand and disseminate. It becomes instantly recognisable as the XR voice and it fits within the wider context of the movement.

M&M Support

M&M can offer communications support with the following (where capacity allows):

Group visibility

Does the movement know your group exists and what you do?

Is your group info up to date on XR UK’s Hub? Support sessions on how to update the Hub are advertised on the Movement Broadcast.

Share what you're doing

Join the Live Action Content chat on Telegram to share with the rest of the movement your latest news (with a selection of your best photos and videos).

Planning your communications

This page is about all the things you should consider whenever you're planning your comms for an event, an action or even to advertise your group to the rest of the world.

1. Roles

Do you have a Communication lead in your team?

This is usually the EC but can also be an additional role. Being a Comms Lead is part of XR’s SOS group role structure and means:

Have you built a Communication plan for your event?

This is a timeline of communications for promotion and engagement.

2. Questions to consider when planning your comms

3. Communication Request Form

Fill in the NEW UK Comms Request Form to get your event on the Movement Calendar and to share it with M&M to request support for UK-wide actions.

Requests for all UK M&M channels (broadcast, social media, email, website) can now be shared through this funnel form, rather than going to separate M&M teams.

4. Live Action Content Telegram

Share your best photos and videos to the Live Action Content Telegram chat. When you join the chat, please familiarise yourself with its rules by reading the pinned message there.

Note that every effort will be made but support cannot always be guaranteed by M&M for all comms requests, due to team capacity and strategic priorities.

How to get your content promoted by XR UK

How to get your content promoted by XR UK

UK Comms Request Form

This is the path to get your content on XR UK channels. Please fill this form with as many details as possible.

For more info about our channels, please read the following pages:

How to get your content promoted by XR UK

Broadcasts

Check out the NEW XRUK Broadcast Guidelines with all the info you need to set up and run broadcasts and public action chats effectively and securely.

Our broadcasts

🔺REBELLION BROADCAST

Key info on UK actions, strategy and Rebellion updates.

🔺MOVEMENT BROADCAST

UK-wide events & training.

🔺XR UK M&M

Press releases, design assets, training sessions and general M&M news.

💡 Note: These channels can be accessed either through Telegram and Mattermost, as they’re synced up!

Consider unmuting the Rebellion Broadcast, both for yourself and for others to stay tuned in and not to miss important announcements.

Get your event broadcasted

Only send your request directly to broadcast if it’s already been agreed by Action Circle/Operations or to share your talk, event or training on the Movement Broadcast.

You can do this via one of the following routes:

See the full Broadcast process for further info.

Key reminders:

How to get your content promoted by XR UK

Movement Calendar

🔹 Click here to access the calendar on TeamUp.

🔹 Click here to access all the resources regarding the calendar and event map on the Rebeltoolkit.

Got something to add?

You can submit entries to the Movement Calendar here - or you go via your area’s calendar admin (it could be your regional Gardener or coordinator). Alternatively, you could learn how to use the Calendar and add events to it yourself.

Fill in the New M&M Comms Request Form (as above) OR send details to your area’s Calendar Admin (this varies, could be a local coordinator, ‘Gardener’ or M&M rep)

Please make sure details are accurate to avoid publishing wrong info. It is the responsibility of the group/person submitting the form to make sure that any changes are updated in the calendar directly and quickly communicated to the email team if it relates to a UK action/event where the change of info might impact other teams:

Mattermost Reception | Email: mov.comms@extinctionrebellion.uk

Navigate the calendar

The calendar is divided into sub-calendars. View these by opening the link then click on the left-hand drop-down to reveal colour bars representing:

The calendar also uses emoticons to differentiate each type of event. Some regions have also opted for one.

You can view the whole calendar or any part(s) of it. Open the link and click on the left-hand colour bars to show one or more calendars. There are various filters available to help you find an event, for example, by region or action support role. Check this chapter to learn more about using the calendar.

Please note that secret events are not included in the public view.

How to get your content promoted by XR UK

Social Media

XR UK Social Media Channels

We're @XRebellionUK on all channels

We can promote your event on UK Social Media platforms.

Email xruksocialmedia@protonmail.com at least 1 week in advance.

NB: The social media team decides when to schedule the message and if it’s appropriate to send out/that it meets criteria.

Facebook events

Ensure the facebook design and content follows Movement Comms Style guidelines before posting.

Co-host your events with XRebellionUK, XRUK Talks & Trainings, Nations & Regions and more.

See the events and FB Groups guide

How to get your content promoted by XR UK

Using XR UK Email & Action Network

XR UK Email

Due to the size of the XR UK list it is a powerful way to communicate and engage people with a wide variety of ‘asks’; from donating money, to signing up to a zoom training, or with repeated promotion of a mass (London-based) action.

However, your communication needs to be relevant to the large and very broad audience of the email list. Full list emails are expensive (£150 each) and also come at a cost (unsubscribes and overwhelm) if too many are sent out. With space for only a maximum of 8 a month, including all fundraising needs, we have to be very strategic to coordinate requests and unfortunately this sometimes means saying no to a project.

Sometimes a subset of the email list can be used (for example people who have joined recently) or perhaps a Nation/Region/Local email is more appropriate due to the location of an event.

Fill the UK Comms Request form to make a request.

Using Action Network

Your event registration can be organised using Action Network (XR’s email list system). This has many advantages and is important to do if you are expecting your event to be advertised via the UK Email list.

To create your own events:

If your event is online: Create a non-registration Zoom link with the Waiting Room switched on (if preferred). Add the Zoom link to your Action Network event registration.

It’s helpful for our Action Network database to know who on the email list is engaged in what kinds of activities (training/open calls etc).

You can create a follow-up email to be sent to everyone who registered. This can include links to further events or a recording of the event they may not have had time to attend.

All data on email addresses is kept within Action Network (e.g. not in Zoom).

If charging for your event, use Eventbrite.

For more information contact the Action Network Data Team:

Organise Media & Messaging for your group

Do you want to make your group, event or action more visible and reach more people? Check this chapter out to get started with the Media and Messaging side of the organisation. In this chapter, you'll find a summary of what you need to do and links to relevant resources in the Toolkit and elsewhere.

Organise Media & Messaging for your group

Media & Messaging Check List

Media & Messaging is a very important job when planning an action. If you don't talk about what you're doing and let people know what you're up to, the whole message of your action will be lost.

This check list will lead you through all the tasks you need to consider before, during and after your action. Disclaimer: not all these tasks will be relevant to every action.

How to use the check list?

Click here to access the spreadsheet.

Go to "file" (to left-hand side corner) then click "make a copy" and rename it however you want.

You can know edit your own version of the check list!

Updates

We update it regularly but if you spot something out of date or you have a relevant resource we should link there, please message @lucielc on Mattermost.

Organise Media & Messaging for your group

How to do media for an action

Press

Press responsibilities and dealing directly with the media can seem daunting to many, but once you get your head around the role you’ll find it’s nothing to be feared! We encourage you to be confident and friendly and aim at building relationships with journalists at every opportunity. Here are some useful tips and info to help in your role:

Collect information for press releases

Collecting information for press releases is a really important part of the role and it’s really vital that all the information collected is correct. It’s definitely a part of the role that can create loads of extra unnecessary work if the details aren’t right. When collecting information, please think about the following:

Please see How to write a press release for more and How to design messaging for an action for more.

Liasing with press before an action

It’s a great idea to begin building a press list and telling your local press about your upcoming actions. This could also involve pitching stories about specific performances, personal stories etc. The idea is that we want to get these journalists warmed up and interested!

Check out the Media List page to find contacts.

Liaise with media on the ground during actions

If you see journalists and camera crews walking around, go over and say hello!

Spokesperson

A lot of press work involved coaching spokespeople and booking them in for media appearances. Things to be aware of:

Check out our Spokesperson resources for more.

Social media

Always be sure your social media teams are prepped and ready for your action with the following:

If you want your content to be shared on XR UK or global channels, be sure to fill out the content form here and provide as much information as possible.

Make sure you have a livestreamer lined up for the day! You can also seethe Livestreaming section for more tips.

Photographers

Make sure you have at least one dedicated photographer lined up for the day. It is very likely that in your local group, you will have some very talented amateurs, and probably at least a couple of experienced photographers. As well as people who can shoot on DSLR, consider having people to capture high-quality mobile content, that can be instantly shared.

Keeping photographers briefed

Photographers are free to shoot in whatever style they work in. All content is welcome. A few things to consider:

Check out our photographers briefing here.

Organise Media & Messaging for your group

How to design messaging

Public relations isn’t just about “publicising” yourself. It’s about building a relationship with your “publics.” What is a “public”? Basically the people impacted by/involved in the issue you are talking about and who might do something about it.

Clearly in terms of the climate and ecological emergency, that’s everyone. So does that mean we need to message everyone? No. We need to message the people most likely to join the Rebellion. Or those with the power to make decisions that will help deal with the emergency. Follow these steps to create a basic messaging strategy for an action, event or story.

Step 1. Who needs to know what?

Ask yourself what you are trying to achieve overall. More rebels? More people understanding that the climate and ecological emergency is important? What’s your call to action? Be really clear.

Also be really clear who you are seeking this reaction from. There is no such thing as “the general public.” You need to decide, at least in broad terms, which group of people this message is aimed at and why.

Your message is not simply information about the news story or that an action is happening. Your message is what you want your target group to know, and what they should do with that knowledge now they have it. The news angle or action is the vehicle you will use to get the message across.

Step 2. How do they need to get the info?

What do you know about your target group? Is that fact, or assumption? Do some research and check your facts. People regularly waste a lot of time making assumptions about target groups.

Who do they respect/listen to? Do they know about XR? Do they trust XR (if not, target a third party they do trust to deliver the message instead).

What issues do they care about? What makes them happy, angry, sad? What language and imagery do your target group use? You need to be using the same ones.

Notice that we tend to use the term “target group” as opposed to “target audiences.” This is because an audience implies passive receiving/watching. This is all about encouraging people to respond.

Step 3. What’s the best way to reach a target group?

Direct meetings? Events, online content, news media? What does this group of people read, watch, listen to?

Focus on the channel that will reach your target group. Don’t waste time sending press releases to every outlet or doing a video that isn’t done in a style that appeals to your target group.

Remember: they are unlikely to like what you like. So you may need to put out content you personally dislike or don’t connect with. That is important, unless you are only speaking to people like yourself.

Step 4. Check the strategic fit.

Check the messaging fits your strategy and “brand.”

Does your message align with delivering the overall strategic goals of the Movement? You can check the strategy out on our website.

Have you looked to see how it fits with the Messaging group guidance?

Have you considered whether your message could be misinterpreted and cause a problem with another target group? If so, can you re-word it?

Step 5. Did it work?

Think about how you will gauge whether your message had the right impact on your target group?

You need to consider a communications plan as a two way conversation with the target group.

Don’t keep sending the same message without solid evidence that it’s working to achieve what you want. Keep adapting and refining it until you have evidence that it is.

Organise Media & Messaging for your group

Chat Apps

Chats are at the heart of planning your event or organising your group.

Read this page for the detailed information about choosing a chat, otherwise, read a summary below.

Telegram is used by XR UK for broadcasts

It’s an encrypted messaging service similar to Whatsapp but with greater flexibility and features. You can edit and pin messages, see the chat history, locate media and each chat can hold a large number of people. It’s also accessible on nearly any device. A limit on message wordcount can impact broadcast posts.

Mattermost is XR’s main messaging app for working groups

It functions on its own server making it particularly secure. It is accessible on any device, and has tons of flexible features and ways of storing and searching for information. The drawback is that it can be overwhelming in layout and content and requires time to master. It’s more similar to Slack or Discord.

Signal is used by action planning groups

It’s the most secure encrypted chat, with a disappearing message function. It’s also visually clean and crisp. However, it’s not possible to edit, pin or thread messages, making it less useful for mass communications.

Whatsapp

Whatsapp is widely used by people outside of XR, but it is not secure and is limited in its functionalities so M&M does not advise using it for organising. It also doesn’t sync up with Mattermost or other XR broadcasts.

Chat management

Where possible please use existing chats, rather than creating more new ones. Let’s work together to prevent information overwhelm.

Consider one closed group chat for organising actions (usually a temporary group on signal or private Mattermost channel) and one open chat for participation (usually on Telegram/public Mattermost)

XR chats Guidelines

🎯 Be clear about the purpose of the chat and how people join (private invite only or by public link). Add this info to the chat description. Be aware of where the invite links are posted, e.g. don't add private invite links to the Rebel Toolkit - spammers will find these and join your group chats.

📌 If using Telegram, pin key messages and keep them updated. Or for other platforms put an info link in the header.

👥 Make sure you have several admins and moderators; preferably a small group who can support each other and make sure the chat is held.

👋🏿 Welcome newcomers. Answer questions and make sure people feel heard

❌ Avoid posting sensitive action info, naming organisers or any info which can later be used as evidence. Also be aware that infiltration is common on open chats, so don’t share anything that can be used against people as evidence.

📩Keep messages short and link out for more info (unless it’s a discussion thread). Take forward any issues via direct message or temporary small group chats

🙅🏼‍♂️ Block and report spammers

🥱 If a member of the group keeps posting off-topic messages or dominating the space respectfully ask them to stay on track, or switch to a more suitable channel. Create another space for them to be heard. If they continue, follow up with a direct message, or ultimately consider blocking them from the chat with an explanation. Mattermost Off-Topic channels are ideal.

♻️ Remind each other of chat etiquette, especially newcomers

Organise Media & Messaging for your group

Documents Management

Add Document Specs (aim, date and origin of the doc) at the top of your documents. It makes clear to the movement what the doc seeks to achieve and prevents docs being circulated that spread misinformation.

Please use the Style Guide for guidance on formatting, sizing of graphic design visuals etc. Please note that Karla is the preferred sans serif font for XR UK documents.

Working on Googledocs enables you to share information in a fluid and integrated way with others by taking comments and suggestions. However, it is not secure for sharing sensitive information. Remember to make final versions switched to View Only so they can’t be changed.

For docs with sensitive info or spicy actions work in Cryptpad with password protection in place and/or The UK Cloud (although it is slow to load).

Final version can be added to the Rebel Toolkit where they can be viewed by the movement and public. See How to use the Rebel Toolkit for full details.

Organise Media & Messaging for your group

Zoom Registration Links

If you’re planning to hold and advertise a meeting on Zoom please ensure that the meeting is set up securely to avoid unexpected guests.

See guidelines below on how to set up a recurring registration Zoom link or watch the support video for advice on how to:

To create a Zoom link which requires registration:

  1. Sign in to your Zoom account using a web browser: https://zoom.us
  2. In the navigation menu, click Meetings.
  3. Click Schedule a Meeting or edit an existing meeting.
  4. In the Registration section, select the Required checkbox.
  5. Click Save.

After scheduling the meeting, the Registration, Email Settings, and Branding tabs will appear.

To create a recurring Zoom link so you can use one Zoom link for multiple events:

  1. Sign in to the Zoom desktop client or via a browser: https://zoom.us
  2. On the Home tab, click Schedule. This will open a new window.
  3. Below the Time Zone option, select the check box next to Recurring Meeting.
  4. Edit the following recurrence options:
  1. Edit other meeting options as needed.
  2. Click Save

Extra info: click here

Note about Open Calls

The term ‘Open Call’ is reserved for XRUK open calls, covering movement-wide strategy and actions. XR UK Open Calls are hosted by the M&M and any other relevant teams and facilitated in line with the UK strategy. There’s a limit on how many can be scheduled.

M&M encourages using other terms for open Zoom sessions rather then ‘Open Call’ as it can get confusing with the calls advertised on the Rebellion Broadcast.

Consider alternatives such as ‘XX Zoom call, XX Drop-In, XX Clinic’ etc. If still using ‘Open Call’ please specify which region is holding the call.

M&M can offer technical and organisational guidance on how to hold an effective open call, with updates also being made to the Rebel Toolkit for info. Contact Mov.Comms@extinctionrebellion.uk