PR Practice Fields: Government Relations and Public Affairs
Most people think of public relations as managing a business’s reputation within the public eye, and while that is a crucial aspect of the trade, another significant sector of PR focuses on government relations.
Government relations is the practice in which a dedicated team of communications professionals works to establish relations with government agencies and officials for purposes such as influencing legislation, spurring governmental action, educating lawmakers or obtaining aid. This can also be referred to as lobbying.
Due to the often complicated and bureaucratic nature of local, state and federal governments – businesses and organizations can have a hard time locating the right departments, agencies and contacts necessary to garner help from representatives. Then, they may have an even more difficult time grabbing the attention of key contacts, arranging a meeting, and spreading the word throughout the appropriate institutions.
This is one area where an experienced team of PR specialists can become an invaluable asset. PR agencies who specialize in government relations employ team members with an understanding of the various levels of government and have an intimate knowledge of the various players in Washington.
These specialists work with businesses and organizations to formulate a strategic plan for approaching government officials and communicating their interests in a way that showcases a clear need for government involvement. This may require actions such as coordinating educational campaigns to staffers on Capitol Hill, to organizing meetings with officials directly.
A PR agency specializing in government relations will have a honed ability to prepare critical documents, factsheets, media kits, and other materials that fully encapsulate complex issues in concise and easily sharable ways. They will work to frame issues as matters of importance and help urge officials to take action in the best interest of the client, and for the general public.
Going further, a PR team can incorporate media outreach into its government relations strategy by generating authentic coverage of an issue that then puts emphasis on its importance in the eyes of representatives. Government officials are more likely to act when they understand that a particular issue is on the minds of their constituents.
Areas of government relations and public affairs include:
- Organizing and conducting press conferences with officials and media
- Providing coaching and feedback for clients to better relate issues to government officials
- Identifying strengths and weaknesses in messaging, and streamlining messaging for consistency
- Facilitating meetings with government officials and their offices
- Networking and conducting strategic outreach to influence public policy
These are just a few of the ways that a skilled PR agency can be an effective force when dealing with bodies of government. Any business, organization, or individual that may require the help or influence of their government would be wise to tap into this resource.
If you’d like to learn about other practice fields of PR and areas in which Red Banyan specializes, check out more at our blog.