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Rural Community Education Toolkit

Create the Right Message

What we say—and how we say it—matters.

The Ad Council and COVID Collaborative are excited to offer audience insights and messaging guidance for rural audiences to help you build vaccine confidence in your community.

How to use our messaging strategy resources

If you are creating your own campaign messaging, you can use our message guidelines, message briefs, and list of answers to common questions you may receive from your community. If you are looking to understand audience mindset, we also have topline and in-depth audience insights available.

Acknowledge Concerns. Acknowledge people’s hesitancy rather than challenging it. It’s normal to have questions.

Negativity and fear. Avoid reminders of how difficult the pandemic has been, as it can invoke a sense of hopelessness – most people don’t need to be reminded.

Appeal with facts. Give people transparent, substantiated answers that address safety concerns and elevate benefits of vaccination.

The right thing to do. References to “step up” or “do your part” can come off as pushy or accusatory – we are focused on getting information out.

Protection. Emphasis on protecting myself, loved ones and those most vulnerable.

Overpromising. Most understand that fully defeating COVID-19 is a long-term process. Avoid messages that imply vaccine availability will “flip the switch.”

Personal Decision. Acknowledge that the decision is theirs to make. For many people, talking to their doctor or healthcare team can help in the decision-making process.

"Back to normal." For many people, post-pandemic life will never be “the way it was.” For others, life is very much back to normal so for most, this message doesn’t feel relevant.

We have conducted extensive qualitative and quantitative research - including with rural communities - to develop the most impactful messaging frameworks.

This document provides messaging principles and talking points to help you give others the information they need to make an informed decision.

Answers to key Covid-19 Questions

Not sure how to best answer your community members questions? Prepare yourself with talking points from our Frequently Asked Question resources, vetted by the CDC.

Our research found that most questions center around safety, side effects, lack of information, and the speed of the clinical trials.

More answers to the most pressing COVID-19 vaccine questions can be found at