by Sam Chambers, Account Executive
Local politics is the purest form of civic engagement that our society has. We elect people who have a say over important issues on everything from trash collection to water quality and our childrens’ education. We (used to) give our Mayors hugs when they helped open a new school or yelled at them so they knew our thoughts about too many potholes. While city leaders usually have their ears to the street, when in public office it is always good to have a second pair of eyes and ears. This is where public relations firms and experts can be positive agents for change.
Public relations help is not just for high-powered individuals and corporations. It can allow the opportunity for a non-profit to inform its users and supporters of necessary information. It can provide an opportunity for organizations like homeless shelters to inform their community regarding the expansion of services for their guests. These firms can do a lot, but they can especially help communities grow and thrive because they work to effectively disseminate vital information to the public that is then used to make important decisions. The result can be a more educated population, and lawmakers will better understand voters’ concerns and thoughts.
Below you will find three ways that public relations can help build a better society.
1 | A good public relations campaign can help give an idea or political candidate traction
Good ideas can be hard to advertise and even harder to implement. With the rise of social media, thousands of ideas are formed and communicated every day in Boston alone. Getting your idea in front of policymakers’ eyes can be a daunting task, but it is worth it once it comes to fruition. A good public relations firm can help amplify your ideas and help connect you with like-minded individuals, giving you power in numbers. It can be especially helpful when trying to run for office or when trying to implement those ideas. Using various techniques, including utilizing traditional and social media, a public relations firm can make sure that your ideas are heard by the right people with maximum effect.
2 | Public relations campaigns can help educate and inform voters
People today are busy creatures. We have work, school, family, extra-curricular activities, meals to make, and everything in between. Most people don’t have time to sit down and read the local neighborhood paper and learn about what decisions are happening and why. Many people don’t understand what is going on in their own backyards because they are sadly too busy to care. Public relations firms can help combat this in a variety of different ways. These avenues can help get the right information out to voters and connect your message to them.
- What we call “earned media” is where information is written about organically. It is an opportunity for voters to read about an issue and allow lawmakers to comment on that issue. It is a simple way for the issue to be explained, which we hope will allow voters to comment on that issue.
- The second type of media is “owned media,” which is content created and owned by an individual or organization. This can take the shape of blogs or social media content.
- Last is “paid media,” which is content that organizations and individuals create and then pay to have marketed. Examples include TV and radio ads or various pnosorships you see on social media.
3 | A well-executed public relation campaign can bring voters and lawmakers together
When the average person thinks of a PR campaign, they picture an expensive commercial for a cool or interesting product. They think of tons of articles written about who is using that product and why the consumer needs it. In reality, a PR campaign can be something as simple as helping educate people on an issue that affects them and organically encourage them to reach out to the elected officials. For example, if the City of Boston is trying to redesign a road, they could engage with a PR firm to help spread the word that they are looking for ideas on what residents want to see in that design. PR campaigns do not necessarily have to be based on controversy (although they usually are) but can be based on the desire to disperse accurate information to the public. Without that experienced PR firm, the word may never get out, and that project could suffer from a lack of representation.
While PR firms may not be the expert in all subjects, we can help make sure accurate information is released and help make certain local politics reach local people.