Looking forward to running Campaign With Impact Workshop next week on behalf of Get Involved Reading. One of the first challenges we’ll probably face together is to accept that campaigning means different things to different people. This may sound simple but 20 years of colourful, campaign experience has taught me that people tend to believe that it’s one of the three things: fighting a war, raising awareness or having a conversation with people.
All three hold some truth:
- When you’re fighting a war it helps if you’re clear about you objective, strategy and tactics.
- When you’re raising awareness you’re looking outwards and focusing on building alliances.
- When you’re having a conversation with people you’re thinking about how you can effectively influence ideas, behaviours and attitudes.
Some things you might like to look at if you’re interested in how to:
Other posts of mine you might like, if you like this one:
Stakeholder mapping: it sounds scary but it ain’t necessarily so
Oh let me in: social media and policy development
Creating a public affairs strategy/3: What does success look like?
If you’ve found this of use it’d be good to hear from you, perhaps add a comment at end. Please do follow me on twitter @businesses4good. You’ll pick up lots of communication and influencing tips.
A local charity asked for help around how they could set up long-term, viable relationships with key journalists. The advice was simple:
Tip 1: Make their lives easier. Media professionals need up-to-date, concise and accurate facts and statistics. They can’t keep up-to-date on every issue, so they tend to depend on a handful of people/organisations that they can turn to and trust. Make sure you’re one of them. Recognise the value of the statistics that you collect; and pin down your expertise (what issues do you know alot about?)
Tip 2: Keep up-to-speed on the day’s news.
Tip 3: Respond to journalist queries quickly.
Tip 4: Journalists need stories. Any alert charity or lobbying group would have people available who’d be willing and eager to tell their story. Don’t under-estimate the importance of an up-to-date case study database.
Tip 5: Make sure you’re not over-reliant on websites and social media to get out your facts, thoughts and opinions on the politics of the moment. A sharp press officer is worth as much if not more.
Tip 6: Don’t waste your efforts on useless press releases and e-mails etc. with no news value. There’s no simple way of saying this: it will harm your organisation’s reputation.
Other blogs that might interest you:
making press release statistics sing
simply stylish: 11 journalism tips
Do you have a media or public affairs problem you’d like solved? Why not leave a comment; or get directly in contact with me on 07966 369579.
Quick answers to someone confused by Autumn statement.
What is it? The autumn statement is an update on the government’s plans based on the latest forecasts from the Office of Budget Responsibility.
How can I get on top of the main points quickly? BBC news
And if I need a bit more detail? Treasury documents and regional map.
Or you could try out politics.co.uk and the Guardian’s autumn statement charts
Hope this helps. If it did why not leave a comment. Oh and please do follow me on twitter @busineses4good.
Someone recently came for advice on how to design an effective communication plan to manage a new project. A good place to start is to draw up a stakeholder map. This is a map of people, groups and organisations who might be interested in your project. For instance, a list of stakeholders for a medium-sized charity might have politicians (local and national), journalists (local, regional and national), think tanks, local community groups, staff, volunteers, donors and funders.
A stakeholder map has an axis for interest – the level of interest someone has in the project because it’ll either impact on them; and another for influence – the level of influence or power an individual has in shaping the project and it’s direction.
Someone’s position on the grid shows you the type of interaction and communication that would be helpful to success.
High Influence, High Interest: These are the people you must fully engage and make the greatest efforts to satisfy. They are “key players”. Regular communications and face-to-face meetings are a must either 121 or as a group.
High Influence, Low Interest: Keep satisfied but not so much that they become bored with your message. You may need their help in the future.
Low Influence, High Interest: Collect feedback from this group to make sure that no new issues are coming up. Tailor your communications to their needs. They’re often essential to the detail and success of the plan. Often in-house.
Low Influence, Low Interest: People who simply need to be kept informed. Don’t bore them with excessive communication.
If you are interested in digging deeper on this subject then it’s worth having a look at:
Please do follow me on twitter @businesses4good. I’d love to hear if you found this of value. Please do leave a comment.
Painting by Bella Opacic
Lively discussion at recent Hansard Society event (11.09.12) around whether social media could be effectively used to develop public policy. General feel was yes – but be careful. A distinguished panel shared some of their thoughts:
- One fit doesn’t fit all: think about both the audience you want to reach and the output you want (Nick Jones).
- Twitter has huge potential as a policy making tool. A simple thing you can do is set up issues and link to information so people have time to think (Deborah Mattinson).
- You can easily source, promote and communicate with twitter. But you need to learn to talk in that space. There’s lots of social media fora that can help (Rory Cellan-Jones).
- Trust is key. People will disconnect as soon as trust is abused (Nick Pickles).
- Twitter gives us an emotional connection as human beings (Kevin Brennan MP).
What’s your hunch? Is social media going to help us develop public policy in the future or is it puff? Please do leave a comment and follow me on twitter @businesses4good.
Painting by Bella Opacic
Be honest. Hand on heart. Would you feel confident getting in contact with a government minister about a local issue? If the answer’s no, and you’d like a bite-size bit of advice, here’s six steps to help you build your confidence.
Step 1: Believe it’s possible. Having a can-do mind-set goes a long way.
Step 2: Do your research. Who’s got responsibility over the issue in government? Who has it as a constituency challenge or a personal interest?
Step 3: Be clear about your issue and your solution. Think it through carefully and collect your evidence (stories and statistics that show you’ve made a difference to people’s lives).
Step 4: Create a perfect pitch. Following the “Six Ps” for pitching will help.
- Position yourself: who are you?
- Identify the problem.
- Project forward into the future (what’s the wider impact?).
- What’s your proposal to solve this problem?
- What proof do you have to back this up?
- What project are you currently working on?
Step 5: Gain access through you local MP, one of the minister’s special advisers or through someone you know who knows them.
Step 6: Persevere . . . Dream the dream . . . But don’t put all your dreams in one basket.
If you have any tips you’d like to share on this topic then please do add a comment or get in contact. I’d love to hear from you. Please follow me on Twitter @businesses4good.
Producing press releases is part of the public affairs professional’s job. Here’s four tips on how to make the stats in your press releases sing.
1. Paint a picture with your numbers and statistics. If those 7000 people were holding hands how far would that stretch? How many caravans would they fill?
2. Help people put the figure in some kind of perspective. So you’re spending that amount of money, but what’s so and so spending on what – compare and contrast.
3. Try human angles with a twist. You have a new CEO who’s done this, this and this and has a talent for . . . singing David Bowie . . .
4. Put your key statistics at the end of the press release in an easily accessible, readable form.
Please do share. I’d be glad to hear any of your ideas on this. Why not follow me on twitter @businesses4good. Always here if you need a bit of help on 07966 369579.
Painting by Bella Opacic
Getting to grips with how parliament works can be a bit bewildering even to the most hardened UK public affairs professional. But there’s free help at hand with the House of Commons Information Office guides. These cover:
• what parliament does
• how it makes laws
• how it debates its business and much more.
Knowing how parliament works puts you in a better position to engage and influence and make change happen.
Quick tip: If you have a parliamentary query you can get free advice from the House of Commons Information Office on 020 7219 4272.
If you’d like some help on a specific public affairs issue – whether it’s policy, campaigning or lobbying – then why not contact me on 07966 369579. Please do leave a comment if you found this public affairs blog of interest.
Communicating policy ideas simply to people is part of a public affair professional’s everyday business. Let’s imagine – for instance – that you’ve got a meeting with your local MP next week; and you want to “sell” them one of your ideas.
What kinds of questions would you be asking yourself to help you prepare? Here’s three that have always helped me:
- What practical, innovative project have you got to showcase?
- How do you know it works – impacting positively on people and the public purse?
- What attention-grabbing stories have you got to illustrate your case?
Finally, a public affairs secret: MPs are always keen to hear about new, money-saving ideas that independent research shows works.
Keen to know whether this is helpful to you, so please do leave a comment; or you can follow me on twitter @businesses4good.
The birthday cake: sketch by Bella Opacic
Given their political and parliamentary know-how, public affairs professionals are often called on to help organisations select policy priorities. Here’s three tips to help you take the stress out of prioritising policy.
• Choose your top policy priority first, then move onto two and three. Once you have one agreed, the others tend to follow more easily. Be careful, a simple mistake you can make here is to be secretive about the selection process.
• Be clear about why you chose those policies. Why are they important? Why’s it an issue now? What financial impact could the proposed government policy change – for instance – have on your current services, your members, the people you support.
• Communicate those messages back to everyone who helped you choose them, and thank them. It’s your chance to connect up and keep people engaged in the policy conversation. It’s always helpful to add a call to action, even if it’s as simple as getting them to express an interest in getting more involved; or asking them to send stories (some people call them case studies) that focus on a policy priority.
Why not e-mail a policy question through to firstname.lastname@example.org or add a comment.