10 Elements of Success
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These and other examples of communications strategies have taught us there’s no right or wrong way to do this work. And that even when successful the efforts can be messy—with unexpected detours and road blocks along the road. However, we can begin to make a few observations about some common principles:
The majority of these initiatives contained messages not just about the problem, but about a range of potential solutions.
Identifying policymakers explicitly as a target audience and devoting appropriate resources to outreach is key.
The ability to respond quickly with resources to a changing landscape is critical to overcoming unforeseen challenges and leveraging unexpected opportunities.
The continuity of coverage that comes from a journalistic series on a topic or a paid advertising campaign results in a multiplier effect.
Engaging community voices can be a powerful way to give an issue a human face and engage the constituents of lawmakers and provide testimonials for solutions.
6. Paid Advertising.
Having the ability to control the content and timing of messages through paid advertising can create awareness during key milestones.
7. Foundation Branding.
Putting a foundation’s name and “brand” on media or communications efforts can lend credibility and gravitas to an issue.
8. Media Start-Ups.
Establishing digital outlets where in-depth coverage about an issue can be a cost-effective and efficient way of designating a “space” for the issue to live in.
9. Partner. Partner. Partner.
Whether it is funder partnerships or media partnerships, collaborative and in-kind efforts result in impact that is greater that the sum of its individual parts.
10. Integration From the Outset.
The combination of media, community and policymaker engagement from the beginning of a strategic communications effort is key to success.