June 19, 2015
Summer is here and we can take a break from our government and public affairs efforts, right?
The simple answer: no. While we would all like to take a break from the day in and day out focus that is the Iowa legislative session, effective public affairs strategies are a year-long process. And, as we can slow down a bit, we do need to keep looking toward the fall when the Legislature starts thinking about the issues of the next session, as well working to keep our issues close visible and moving forward.
So how do we do this?
- Planning. Consider what worked or didn’t work during the session. If your initiative failed to move forward, do you need to rethink messaging? Do you need to reach additional legislators?
- Thank you's. A hand written thank you note to key legislators, regardless of whether your initiative passed or not, goes a long way to showing your appreciation for their help – as well as keeping the issue in front of them.
- Earned media. Is there an opportunity to write a letter to the editor (LTE) or opinion piece and submit to your local newspaper? Understanding how your issue impacts your industry and/or Iowa and presenting an opinion piece keeps the matter alive in the public domain. A printed opinion piece gives you additional options of pushing the issue out through social media channels, your website or targeted emails to key legislators.
- Paid media. While this is not a viable option for everyone or every issue, advertising is a great way to broadly distribute your issue. Considering key times to advertise is important to making sure you get maximum coverage. In other words, does your issue make sense during the State Fair, college football season, a one-time conference, etc.
- Strategic communications within your own publications and communications channels. Don’t forget your blogs, newsletters and social media accounts are read during the “off season.” The more information you generate about your issue now makes it easier to provide during the session.
All issues are not created equal, but in general, if you keep the above in mind, you’ll have a head start on next year’s legislative session.