Archives for communications

Build a Communications Resources List

communications resourcesWhether you’re running for office, helping someone else run, or lobbying an issue with your local government, it’s not enough to have the best ideas, or even good ideas. You have to be able to communicate them in a way that reaches and educates people so that they can potentially take action.

Without that, you’re nowhere.

In order to communicate, you need to have access to the “means” of communication. Whether it’s a direct mail list, an email list or a million dollars to run TV and radio ads, it comes down to what your resources are and how many people they can reach. (Remember, politics is spelled P-E-O-P-L-E).

So, what are they?

Build a Communications Resources List

This is where you need to take a moment and do a “resources inventory” check.

What do you currently have access to? What are you likely to get access to? How many people can those resources reach? Who do you know who sympathizes with you and what resources do THEY have access to? How can you get them to help you promote your effort?

resources listDon’t forget about asking elected officials you may be close to, or who may also be working on your issue to share a link to your content on their Facebook or Twitter pages.

Whether it’s email lists, mailing lists, Facebook, Twitter, etc., it all counts. So identify it all – then add it all up.

A good campaign plan will try to get the greatest benefit out of all available resources. Making a specific inventory increases the odds that you won’t overlook resources you could have used to get your message out and reach people who otherwise aren’t connected to you, your campaign or your issue.

The point is that you’ve probably got access to more resources that you think. So take some time and take inventory.

Issues Win Campaigns

Whether you’re running a grassroots organization, a lobbying campaign or an election campaign, issues matter.

As legendary South Carolina political consultant Lee Atwater used to say “Issues win campaigns”, and he was exactly right. Issues win campaigns because campaigns are about people…and people are moved by issues.

Issues can be used to unite voters behind a cause or candidate, or divide them away from a cause or candidate that they may currently support. They can also be used to compliment a candidate or group’s image, if they’re consistent with the image that you want to portray.

Choose the Right Issues

Most people hate politics. They don’t typically get involved because they’ve got too much spare time on their hands. Something motivates them. They care about something. Find out what that is.

Find issues that are relevant to the people whose support you need and that are important enough to move them to take action. The kind that not only motivate people, but that sometimes may even divide your supporters from your opponents – passionately.

In many cases it can even work to your advantage to make an election, a vote you’re lobbying, or even a PR campaign, into a “referendum” on a specific issue or group of issues. In other words, you can piggy-back on public support for an issue that people care about by equating support for your cause or campaign with support for that issue.

Highlight Your Issues

Don’t try to talk about every issue under the sun. It’s one thing to have a lot of issue positions as part of a platform, but that doesn’t mean that you spend all of your time and resources talking about all of them. Focus on YOUR issues.

Remember that in order for issues to have an impact, people must be aware of the differences between you and the opposition. They have to be highlighted aggressively and repeatedly.

Zoom in on the few issues that will do your cause or campaign the most good…and then wear them out like a rented mule.

How to Create a Simple Communications Plan

0 MTEtMTUwLmpwZw==A huge part of having an impact in politics is being able to communicate a message that resonates with people. That means that you need to have “something to say” about things that people care about. But it also means that you need to have a plan for being be able to “say it” as often – and in as many “places” – as it takes to penetrate people’s minds, impact the way that they think and cause them to take action.

If you can’t do that then you’re wasting your time.

There are several simple steps to a good communications plan, but one of the first things to remember is that you need to WRITE IT DOWN. It doesn’t help you to spend time figuring out what, where, how and when to say something and then not have it written down so that you can refer to it later and make sure that you’re staying on track.

Think of it as a road-map. Without it, it’s easy to get lost and waste a lot of time and resources.

Key Elements of a Simple Communications Plan:

Think about and determine each of these separately, then put them together and you’ve got a simple but effective communications plan for any campaign, organization or lobbying effort. If you need to adapt and change it later as you go along, fine. Just be sure to keep it written down and easy to understand.

Follow the links above to get some simple tips on how to use many of the most common tools for communicating your message.

Remember: fail to plan, plan to fail!