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
- Movement Communication - Make your group visible
- Planning your communications
- How to get your content promoted by XR UK
- Organise Media & Messaging for your group
What is Media & 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 are communications channels we use to spread news and our messages. In XR, we work with:
- traditional media (aka press): newspaper, TV, radio
- social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter/X, Tiktok, Youtube
- messaging apps: Mattermost, Signal, Telegram, Whatsapp
- emails and newsletter (with Action Network)
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 can offer communications support with the following (where capacity allows):
- Guidance on drawing up a communication plan for your action/event
- Checking communications are accessible and inclusive
- Editing, formatting and proofreading of XRUK team documents and messages
- Advice on managing secure channels and chats for your project
- Open Calls - structuring, tech support, BSL sign language
- Sending communications through UK Channels: Broadcasts (Rebellion, Movement and M&M), Mattermost, Email, Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, X (Twitter), Youtube, Tiktok), Website, Press & Spokes (fill the UK Comms Request form)
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.
✅ 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:
- Making the team contactable across and outside of the organism.
- Giving a clear outline of what the team does and who to contact.
- Checking the group’s email and Mattermost.
- Linking into the broadcast comms group and tuning into guidelines.
✅ 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
- Is the name of the event clear and engaging? Does the name already exist (and mean something else?! Google it)
- Are the date, time & location clear and have you consulted the wider XR UK Calendar to select the best time for your action?
- Have you consulted with Action Circle, M&M or other XR UK circles with mandates relevant to this action?
- Check out the Action Circle criteria to see if/how UK actions are offered support.
- Who is the event target audience?
- What’s the event aiming to achieve?
- What’s the call to action?
- Have you checked out the Style Guide for design and formatting guidance?
- Have you got a graphic design identity for the project? (Design contact Mattermostemail@example.com)
- Do you need a Facebook event and image to promote the event?
- What pathways are you offering to bring people into roles, further info/training or involvement?
- What do you plan to broadcast to the movement before, during and after your action?
- What do you need to communicate to the public? If it’s a secret action is it a ‘newsflash’ on the day?
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
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
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:
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.
Key info on UK actions, strategy and Rebellion updates.
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:
- Fill in the M&M Comms Request Form
- Telegram/MM chat (for EC’s or Comms Leads of UK circles only)
- Otherwise, send a message on XR UK M&M Comms requests reception on Mattermost Broadcast Comms
See the full Broadcast process for further info.
Keep messages short and link out to further information.
Leave time for your message to land. It can sometimes take weeks for a message to reach Local Group channels. Last minute messaging can be counterproductive.
Make language accessible and clear. See these inclusivity resources.
Encourage your group to follow and check the broadcast channels. Limit cascading information through chats as it leads to overwhelm.
Another way of sharing a message is by sharing the LINK to a Telegram message, rather than the whole message. Right-click on the post in the broadcast channel and 'Copy Link', then post this link in your chat. This saves time and steers folks to the main broadcast channels.
Don’t share messages before they’ve gone out on the main broadcast. The Telegram broadcasts are synced up with Mattermost, so people can see the messages on either channel.
🔹 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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:
- Actions - UK wide / UK significance (Regional, Local, National actions): The majority of Actions will fall into this category. Coordinated by Local Groups, Communities or temporary Action teams. E.g. March on the Mine, Wales
- Actions - National/Regional/Local (A UK-wide action or campaign): This needs to be agreed with Action Circle and have UK-wide locations and/or media impact. Eg. Dirty Water, The Big One.
- Actions - Non-XRUK (Non-XR action): These are officially supported by XR and take the form of collaborative, allied organisation and/or Sister Movement actions. E.g. Fossil Free London, Housing Rebellion. NB: Make sure the organisation has given consent to publish on XR’s calendar.
- Key Dates - XR (Key XR Internal Dates): E.g. Rebellion dates, Open Calls
- Key Dates - External: Eg. World Cup Final, Local/National Election
- Talks, Trainings & workshops
- Meetings - Local
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.
XR UK Social Media Channels
We're @XRebellionUK on all channels
We can promote your event on UK Social Media platforms.
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
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:
- You need to be an Admin on Action Network.
- Request an Admin login from your Local Group and/or your Region or Nation.
- Contact the Action Network Data Team for training and support using this form.
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:
- Check this book on the Rebel Toolkit
- or message the Reception on Mattermost
- or email: email@example.com
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.
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!
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.
How to do media for an action
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:
- What is the action? (be as specific as possible)
- Why are you doing this action? What is it highlighting? Key messaging? (Please link to any useful information and research that is relevant)
- Where and when is the action?
- Who will be doing the action and how many people?
- Is it arrestable?
- If you’re using banners, wearing printed tshirts etc, what do they say? (specifics!)
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!
Call the media! Call/email media in advance of an action - ideally even before sending the press release to pitch an exclusive.
Contact your main local newspaper, your local TV stations (ITN/ITV/BBC) and radio stations (BBC usually best as this works perfect as part of a call in show).
Prepare a list of News desks in advance and save in your phone.
Get in touch with journalists you have personal contacts with and ‘tip them off’ to actions - amount of detail according to trust level, just enough to get them excited enough to come.
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!
- Introduce yourself, tell them who you are, ask if they need help with anything.
- Take their card and ask for their contact details to add to a journalist WhatsApp chat (if you have one). Or save them to your phone.
- It’s really important that we help media get to our trained spokespeople at every opportunity. Obviously, this isn’t always possible, but we should aim to have well prepared people in front of camera as much as we can. Keep an eye out!
A lot of press work involved coaching spokespeople and booking them in for media appearances. Things to be aware of:
- Being aware of your spokespeople available on action days and what
- Identifying people in your local/regional teams who would begood spokes
- Training people using talking points for action specific messaging
- Holding sessions for trainee and experienced spokespeople to practise answering commonly asked questions from the heart
- Communicating urgent talking points with spokes (for example if something controversial just happened and you need to know what “line” XR will take on it)
Check out our Spokesperson resources for more.
Always be sure your social media teams are prepped and ready for your action with the following:
- Timings - when is the action taking place? If it’s a public action, being sure teams are posting before and during the action. If it’s secret, be sure they know this and when exactly to start posting.
- Relevant messaging - what’s the topline message? Are any slogans being used? What’s the Call To Action (CTA)?
- Tags and Hashtags - Do you need to tag any important people or organisations? Are any specific hashtags being used on theday? Always be sure to use one or two of the well known XR hashtags ie. #ExtinctionRebellion #RebelForTruth
- Any useful content - are there any videos, images, news stories or infographics you want posted that day? Be sure your teams have them ready to go! Be sure to also have a quick and simple way of getting video and images from the action to your social media teams for posting.
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.
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:
- If the media attend your actions they won't rely on you to get images. In case they don't, make sure to provide then with a few great shots.
- Consider also what content we can produce that the media would not have access to. The behind the scenes of the action is as interesting at the action itself.
- Think about how the content will be useful on your platforms and on the national Social Media channels. Again, how can we think beyond just showing what happened? Is there a deeper, richer story to be told through our images?
- We are trying to put storytelling front and centre. To platform other voices. Photographers might be interested in capturing both images and words - a quote from a subject as to why they are there.
Check out our photographers briefing here.
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.
- What feedback have you received?
- Who has engaged with you?
- How will you respond?
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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:
- Create one Zoom registration link for multiple events,
- Edit the events (time/date),
- add more events to the same link,
- add a description for your event and brand it with an image and logo.
- Create a short link for your Zoom registration link to add to your publicity.
- Publicise your events across XRUK and XRGlobal.
To create a Zoom link which requires registration:
- Sign in to your Zoom account using a web browser: https://zoom.us
- In the navigation menu, click Meetings.
- Click Schedule a Meeting or edit an existing meeting.
- In the Registration section, select the Required checkbox.
- 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:
- Sign in to the Zoom desktop client or via a browser: https://zoom.us
- On the Home tab, click Schedule. This will open a new window.
- Below the Time Zone option, select the check box next to Recurring Meeting.
- Edit the following recurrence options:
- Recurrence: Choose to have this repeat Daily, Weekly, or Monthly.
- Note: Scheduling a No Fixed Time recurring meeting must be done through a web browser.
- Repeat every: Choose how often the meeting should repeat, such as every 2 days, every 3 weeks, every 6 months. The Weekly recurrence option will also provide the ability to select which days of the week to repeat on.
- End date: Choose when to end the recurring meeting series. Choose By to select the date for the recurring series to end, or After X occurrences to choose how many recurrences in the series to create.
- Edit other meeting options as needed.
- 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