Many trade associations engage in public policy advocacy (aka lobbying), and it is an important benefit for their members. However, there is often a lost opportunity because content marketing is typically overlooked as part of advocacy strategy.
The good news is that volumes of content are already produced for advocacy campaigns. With some content strategy and marketing behind it, that content can be much more effective.
Let’s look at a fictional example: The U.S. Green Eggs Association.
USGEA unites the green egg industry to promote the nutritional benefits of green eggs. However, there are some critics who are not convinced of the nutritional value of green eggs, especially when combined with ham. In fact, these critics actively work to discourage the consumption of green eggs and currently, much to USGEA’s displeasure, have the ear of policy makers. So much so, the USDA has removed green eggs from school lunches nationwide and doesn’t allow their purchase in school cafeterias.
The critics are also active on the Internet – engaging news reporters and mommy bloggers, creating a snowball affect of content shared bashing green eggs and ham. Now, when people are curious about the nutritional value of green eggs, the Internet tells them they are bad for their kids. Policy makers hear this anti-green egg chatter and start thinking they should take action.
USGEA isn’t sitting on its laurels. Scientists have published papers affirming the value of green eggs, the CEO has testified in Congress, farmers have visited their Congressmen, and they have submitted comments on regulations.
However, USGEA is losing the public perception battle to its critics. Scientific papers are hard to understand and the general public has no idea what Congressional actions are occurring. USGEA needs to find a way to reach the public the same way its critics have and feed the public information that explains (in layman’s terms) the scientific proof that green eggs are in fact nutritious.
What can the USGEA do about it?
The USGEA should use a content strategy roadmap to develop and execute a content strategy that leverages all of the content they are creating to amplify their message. This involves:
- Releasing plain-language, concise versions of technical publications with accompanying multi-media (i.e. infographics, interactive websites, videos, etc.) to encourage sharing online
- Summarizing Congressional testimony and posting online, and sending to relevant policy makers, media and bloggers
- Ensuring all content is consistent in messaging and geared toward target audiences.
In future posts we will look are more specific strategies and tools. But, I hope you walk away from this understanding that if your association effectively implements content strategy for your advocacy, you will be leaps and bounds ahead of others. Content strategy might be the difference between winning and losing.