The Intersection Of Public Relations And Public Policy: A Strategic Approach

Note: This is a reposted blog by our Public Relations Global Network Partner, . For the original blog, please visit here.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

 

At the intersection of public relations and public policy is an opportunity for communication professionals to exert considerable influence. Public policy decisions can impact our client businesses and organizations, making it imperative for PR and communications experts to understand how to navigate this terrain effectively. Although the legislative process can be arcane, skillful use of public relations strategies can help clients craft messages and develop relationships that will be beneficial.

Often seen as the domain of legislators and professional lobbyists or advocates, public relations professionals play a crucial role in shaping conversation and informing decision-making. A key element to success is the establishment of credible and trustworthy relationships with policymakers. Unlike those involved in federal politics, local and state officials are more regularly out and about in their communities, presenting frequent opportunities for direct, ongoing engagement.

The key to this grassroots effort is taking the time to develop and nurture these relationships. Individual stories and personal experiences help make those connections; they are real and often more persuasive than abstract arguments.

Helping clients understand the power of storytelling and giving them guidance on interacting with elected officials amplifies their influence and engagement.

Your clients’ involvement can often be more effective than professional advocates because they are the real voices with real concerns. As PR pros, we can guide them to be the authentic and persuasive voices of experience.

Strategic communication is at the heart of influencing policy. The other major opportunity for PR pros in the public policy world is to contribute to thoughtful, coordinated messaging. It is not merely to make our clients known in their community but also to contribute to constructive dialogue and policy change. Ensuring that the messaging resonates and strikes a chord in the community and consequently with policymakers requires strategic thinking and the capability to adapt messaging to various mediums, whether that is through social media, direct interaction, or the press.

One such approach is incorporating well-crafted op-eds, thought leadership articles, and direct advocacy to elevate an organization’s viewpoint in the public forum, garnering attention from policymakers. Deploying targeted campaigns across social media platforms can galvanize public opinion and prepare the groundwork for more formal discussions on policy matters. The strength of these campaigns often hinges on the ability to take a complex idea and turn it into a compelling narrative.

As I explain in this week’s episode of the PRGN Presents podcast series, it is crucial for PR professionals to recognize that their efforts in the realm of public policy encompass both the power to help clients frame and share an effective message using traditional and contemporary communications channels and to create the environment for it to be received by helping clients recognize the opportunities to develop durable and meaningful relationships with policymakers.

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