Releasing information at a point in time when it’s most relevant to the target audience is marketing 101. So leveraging appropriate campaigns around holidays has been a tried and tested advertising and marketing tool used successfully for decades. But it can be just effective for government relations pros trying to get the message on their issue out. Here’s how:
… and Get Your Supporters to Act
Despite multiple channels to reach your advocates these days, email still remains king when it comes to telling your story and motivating supporters to act. But there are multiple pitfalls, from the subject line all the way through to the call to action, that can cause your emails to go unread.
As Donald Trump’s administration takes shape, one group is already mobilizing to take action against a key selection and the presumed resulting legislation.
With recreational marijuana legal in eight states, and medicinal marijuana lawful in 28 states, the burgeoning $6.7 billion marijuana industry is experiencing rapid growth in revenues and job creation. And the future looks bright: Nationwide polls affirm widespread support for ending federal marijuana prohibition, and as many as five states will ponder legalization in coming legislative sessions. Arcview Market Research recently projected the industry could generate an estimated $21.8 billion in retail revenues by 2020.
But when President-Elect Donald Trump named Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as his Attorney General nominee, it sent shivers through the industry. Sessions has called legalization a “tragic mistake,” criticized the 2013 Cole memo directing the Department of Justice not to enforce federal law in states where medical and recreational use is legal and said, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana” just last April.
Now’s the time of year you should be getting your 2017 policy agenda in place, deciding what you’re going to prioritize, and what you’ll leave on the back burner. But many government relations departments decide what they’ll fight or support every year, with little or no input from the people that matter most – their supporters.
Putting a good annual policy agenda in place should include a healthy contribution from your advocates, clients, donors or members, and sometimes it’s as easy as just asking them.
Connectivity is offering you a free copy of CQ Roll Call’s exclusive 71-page Guide to the New Congress. It profiles every new lawmaker, every committee roster, as well as committee outlooks and House battlegrounds for 2018.
With the election over and a one-party majority in both houses and the White House, the work begins for many government relations folks tasked with analyzing the power shift and determining what it means to their organizations.
There are more than 60 new lawmakers to meet, several House committees with new leaders and a new chair, meaning how you approach advocacy will be different in the 115th Congress.
Here’s a sneak peek of what you get:
- Profiles of every new member
- Departures of every House and Senate committee.
- The demographics of Congress by race, gender, age, occupation and religion.
- Comprehensive lists of who is in and who is out.
- Dates to watch in the 115th Congress.
Three days after Donald Trump’s unexpected election victory upended all projections, Rich Gold was still reeling. The tide-turning shocker had left him, admittedly, feeling adrift.
“I’m Brody in the closing scene of ‘Jaws,’ clinging to the wreckage, and Hooper comes to the surface and asks, ‘Quint?’ and Brody just says, ‘No.’
“My Quint just got eaten, and I’m clinging to the wreckage,” Gold said.
But finding opportunity in upheaval is “what I do for a living,” he adds. “We’re already policy-gaming – we had a different outcome, so we’ve got a different set of strategies,” says the leader of 90-person Holland & Knight’s Public Policy & Regulation Group in Washington, D.C.
One of the best ways of doing it is through sustained, authentic and authoritative content that gets dispersed through multiple channels. But to do it you need to switch your government relations hat for your marketing one, and put yourself in your readers’, viewers’ and ultimately advocates’ shoes.
And you need a strategic plan – otherwise known as the content calendar.
It’s that time in the election cycle when staffers and campaigners are taking up new jobs. For those moving to grassroots advocacy, here’s some tips from a seasoned pro for your first 30 days on the job.
You left the Hill and landed your first government relations job in grassroots advocacy, or maybe you’ve seized the opportunity to work at the intersection of lobbying and communications. Irrespective of how you got a job in grassroots advocacy, the first 30 days can be intimidating and overwhelming with the volume of information you have to consume.
Every organization has different expectations, responsibilities, technology assets, processes, layers of approval, strengths, and challenges, and a step-by-step guide on how to approach a grassroots job doesn’t exist.
Grassroots is a fluid profession where you need to develop and maintain relationships to compel people to action. One of the most valuable resources for navigating the profession is the experience of other grassroots pros that have tried different techniques that have succeeded and failed.
While the below isn’t a guaranteed recipe for success for the first 30 days of running a grassroots program, there are a few time-tested tips and tricks that could get you started as you delve into your role in grassroots advocacy:
Telling your story well is the essence of advocacy, according winners of the American Society of Association Executives’ (ASAE) annual ‘Power of A’ awards.
This year’s winners were honored for their success in enriching lives; creating a competitive workforce; preparing for the future; innovating; and making a better world. And all of it done through advocacy. We tapped their collective wisdom for tips.
The very first implement of choice in that work bag has to be the state legislative calendar with the 2017 adjourn and convene dates.
You can download the calendar with all 50 states and Washington, D.C. here.
Print it out and put it somewhere handy on your desk.