Business groups and trade associations often focus much of their energy on public policy and regulatory issues. Laws, rules and regulations can be established on a local, state or national level. Influencing them requires active effort to express a clear and compelling point of view.
One way to do it is to engage with appropriate media outlets. Newsrooms and what they report still carry significant weight. Elected officials as well as the bureaucrats who work for them still pay attention and are influenced by the daily ebb and flow of news and opinion.
And newsroom staffs are hungry for content. Their staffs are stretched thin, so when an organization makes it easier for them to report a story, that organization often has a great shot at making the news.
How can you do that? Here are are few simple ways that can help make sure your business group's voice is heard when it comes to legislation, ordinances and regulations:
- Have a clear message that you can state as simply as possible in 10 seconds or less. Use easy-to-understand language and talk about how the issue affects real people.
- When your organization holds and event such as seminar, invite local reporters. For those who attend, make sure to introduce them to the organization's leader.
- Coach that designated leader to express your message to any reporter they encounter.
- For those media who don't attend, email them a short statement from your group's leader so they can include the quote in their coverage even without attending the event.
- For radio news outlets, send them a short (10 seconds or less) audio clip of your leader making the statement you want them to make.
- You don't have to wait to hold an event to do any of this. Send text and audio clips to your local news organizations anytime your trade group needs to inject its voice into a public policy debate.
Finally, once your material makes it into the news, be sure to share those news items with your organization's members. It will underscore to them that the organization is standing up for its members and their interests.
- Eric Whittington