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Public Affairs Content Marketing

GENERAL
public affairs content marketing

Virtually every brand, politician, trade association and average citizen produces and consumes content across a wide range of digital channels. We're all trying to get our messages to the right people at the right time but fighting the sheer deluge of information online is a serious challenge - especially when you're communicating niche policy issues that don't get a lot of air time.

Stop getting lost in the crowd

How to build a content strategy that gets you noticed, even if you’re talking about policy.

The internet is an incredibly noisy place.

Virtually every brand, politician, trade association and average citizen produces and consumes content across a wide range of digital channels. We’re all trying to get our messages to the right people at the right time but fighting the sheer deluge of information online is a serious challenge – especially when you’re communicating niche policy issues that don’t get a lot of air time.

If you’re struggling with this, you are not alone!

“The World Bank is one of the most well known and highly regarded organisations out there and even they struggle. In 2014, they announced that 31% of their policy reports are never downloaded. Not once. And almost 87% of policy reports were never cited1“.

In this crowded digital landscape, it’s very easy to be ignored.

Recent research by Dr Homero Gil de Zúñiga at the Universidad Europea de Madrid shows that audiences now expect news and opinion to work its way in front of them as they browse the web or use their phones. People no longer feel the need to actively seek out news or public affairs information – known as the ‘News Finds Me’ perception.

And this is a widespread opinion2: 36% of people in US feel it; 40% in New Zealand; 50% in South Korea; 50% in Germany; 59% in Italy; 72% in Ukraine and a massive 85% in Spain.

Audiences today are so bombarded by information from millions of different sources that they expect it to reach them wherever they are, whatever platform they’re using and any time of day.

People are spending an average of 6 hours 42 minutes online everyday3. The information they’re getting can come from anyone. Close family, high-school friends, old co-workers, niche blogs, forums – the list is endless. Not only are those sources potentially crowding you out, they also might be the delivery mechanism for your messaging.

It’s a vital point for public affairs professionals to remember: our audiences probably don’t get public affairs information directly from a brand, journalist or expert.

Four steps to build your public affairs content marketing strategy

public affairs content marketing
All too often, digital campaigns focus on one circle or the other.

This can seem like an overwhelming problem.

I have a lot of conversations with Brussels public affairs teams who are inclined to completely disengage from online channels because being seen and heard seems far too time intensive.

The good news is we have a methodology that speeds things up and ensures your online content is arriving on time and pushes your target audiences back to you.

Public Affairs Content Marketing: It’s a four step process

1.Know your campaign goal.
It’s surprising how often this one gets forgotten. Make sure your campaign is striving to reach something tangible and realistic, all the better if you have a KPI attached to it. The more focused the goal is, the easier it is to design a content strategy that works towards it. One big caveat: make sure you’re solving your problems in the right order. You can’t get 100000 people to sign your petition if you only have 200 followers and 15 web visits a week.

2. Choose your audience.
Who is vital for reaching this goal? Can you reach them directly or do you need to go via their constituents, staff members or colleagues? After running a lot of audience analyses, we’ve found that even the most supposedly niche topics have an audience they can tap into.

3. Understand who they are and what they care about.
Look at what they talk about, which platforms they use, who they follow, which brands they prefer, relevant demographic info – learn your audience inside-out. If you don’t understand them you won’t be able to create content they want to read, watch and share.

4. Match your needs with their needs.
Where is the overlap in interest between your campaign goals and what your audience cares about? That’s where you mine your content.

If you’re like most of our clients, you probably don’t have just one audience for your campaign. You’ll need to repeat the process above several times and produce a range of content, tailored in tone, format and delivery based on what you’ve learned about your target audiences.

If you’re like most of our clients, you probably don’t have just one audience for your campaign. You’ll need to repeat the process above several times and produce a range of content, tailored in tone, format and delivery based on what you’ve learned about your target audiences.

Even if you have just one audience, that doesn’t mean they want the same thing all the time.

public affairs content marketing
Don’t treat your audience like a monolithic block – they’re real people.

This chart showing six different audience needs comes from a very insightful piece of research by the BBC World Service4. Their digital team found that when they focused on one type of content too much, they drove audiences engagement down.

This makes a lot of sense. I know that when I go online I am have different reasons. Sometimes I’m trying to find more information, sometimes I want to connect to family and friends, sometimes I’m just a little bored.

Always remember that there are real people at the other end of your content strategy. If you can get into the head of your reader then you’ll start seeing reach and engagement numbers rising.

Test, iterate, analyze, repeat

public affairs content marketing

That first audience analysis isn’t going to solve all your issues.

The great thing about digital communications platforms is that everything is live and editable. Every time you post something online, you create data that can help you improve the next post.

There is a wide range of factors that have an impact on how your messages will be received. The same message can be delivered in different forms, using different headlines, fonts and letter sizes, colour-schemes or different calls to action – generating different results. Therefore, testing these variations on a smaller segment of your audience (test audience) before settling for the winner, is a good way forward.

The devil is in the detail and rigorous analysis can help you make the most of it.

There are hundreds of tests you can run but they generally fall under one of four categories: topic, messaging, production and promotion.

If you did the four step process above than your topics should be aligned with your audience already, however you might be able to find a way to talk about your topic in relation to another area – for instance, using the World Cup to talk about how the insurance sector estimates economic value5.

Messaging is likely to be most fruitful area of testing. That’s all about finessing your content to suit your audience and figuring out how to make your point land.

Production is where you think about all the myriad of formats available online. Should you blog about the issue? Should you make a tweet thread explaining your point of view? Can you turn the message into an interactive quiz?

Lastly, did you simply promote the content in the wrong way at the wrong time? Use Google Analytics, for example, to figure out when most people are clicking through to your website – that’s the best time to post links to your content on social media. We actually advise spending 20% of your time creating content and 80% promoting it.

If you want your content to work for you, be obsessed with your audience

This, ultimately is the key lesson to learn. Figuring out what your audience wants and delivering that is difficult and time consuming – but worth it.

As public affairs professionals, we can only arrange so many face-to-face meetings in a month. You need to give yourself both alternative ways to reach your target audience and a public platform to build support for your point of view.

The modern political landscape is more chaotic and competitive than ever before. Building a public affairs content marketing strategy will set you apart.


1. That report can be found here – ironically it has been downloaded almost 10,000 times.
2. The figures listed here come from a paper that is as yet unpublished but you can hear Dr de Zúñiga discuss it on the Social Media & Politics Podcast.
3. According to the Digital in 2019 report from We Are Social.
4. This study was presented at the GNI Innovation Forum in 2018.
5. Lloyd’s have actually done this twice, both times predicting the winner correctly.


public affairs digital content strategy

Written by Rowan Emslie

Head of Digital, Edelman Brussels

2019 Edelman Trust Barometer

GENERAL
Edelman Brussels Trust Event 2019

The global trust results are here and ready to be downloaded. Please stay tuned for the Brussels Trust event in March where we will present the EU specific findings ahead of the European Elections.

Ahead of the Edelman Brussels Trust Event 2019 in March, please take a look at the Global Results below.

The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that trust has changed profoundly in the past year—people have shifted their trust to the relationships within their control, most notably their employers. Globally, 75 percent of people trust “my employer” to do what is right, significantly more than NGOs (57 percent), business (56 percent) and media (47 percent).

Divided by trust

There is a 16-point gap between the more trusting informed public and the far-more-skeptical mass population, marking a return to record highs of trust inequality. The phenomenon fueling this divide was a pronounced rise in trust among the informed public. Markets such as the U.S., UK, Canada, South Korea and Hong Kong saw trust gains of 12 points or more among the informed public. In 18 markets, there is now a double-digit trust gap between the informed public and the mass population.

Edelman Brussels Trust event 2019

An urgent desire for change

Despite the divergence in trust between the informed public and mass population the world is united on one front—all share an urgent desire for change. Only one in five feels that the system is working for them, with nearly half of the mass population believing that the system is failing them.

In conjunction with pessimism and worry, there is a growing move toward engagement and action. In 2019, engagement with the news surged by 22 points; 40 percent not only consume news once a week or more, but they also routinely amplify it. But people are encountering roadblocks in their quest for facts, with 73 percent worried about fake news being used as a weapon.

Edelman Brussels Trust event 2019

The New Employer-Employee Contract

Despite a high lack of faith in the system, there is one relationship that remains strong: “my employer.” Fifty-eight percent of general population employees say they look to their employer to be a trustworthy source of information about contentious societal issues.

Employees are ready and willing to trust their employers, but the trust must be earned through more than “business as usual.” Employees’ expectation that prospective employers will join them in taking action on societal issues (67 percent) is nearly as high as their expectations of personal empowerment (74 percent) and job opportunity (80 percent).

The rewards of meeting these expectations and building trust are great. Employees who have trust in their employer are far more likely to engage in beneficial actions on their behalf—they will advocate for the organization (a 39-point trust advantage), are more engaged (33 points), and remain far more loyal (38 points) and committed (31 points) than their more skeptical counterparts.

In addition, 71 percent of employees believe it’s critically important for “my CEO” to respond to challenging times. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of the general population concur—they say they want CEOs to take the lead on change instead of waiting for government to impose it.

Introducing Edelman Trust Management

Over the last 19 years, the Edelman Trust Barometer has detected and documented some of the largest opinion shifts shaping the world. We have observed that the state and dynamic of trust in institutions was in many ways predictive of larger societal, economic and political changes to come.

This year we broke new ground. A collaboration with leading academics in the field of trust and reputation, including Professor Daniel Diermeier of the University of Chicago, resulted in considerable progress in our understanding of what makes trust such a powerful asset for organizations, how to measure it accurately and how to demonstrate the true value it brings.

Edelman Trust Management is a suite of powerful, flexible analytical tools and consulting services that help a business or organization best manage its trust capital among its audiences, stakeholders and shareholders.

Edelman Brussels Trust event 2019

2019 Edelman Brussels Trust Event

Contact us for more information about the Edelman Trust Barometer and Edelman Trust Management.

Reactions to US Steel and Aluminium Tariffs from the European Union, Canada and Mexico

GENERAL
Reactions to US Steel and Aluminium Tariffs

Edelman has gathered reactions to the new US steel and aluminium tariffs from all the key players. This briefing note contains relevant market data and regulatory updates as well as initial analysis on changes likely...

Edelman has gathered reactions to the new US steel and aluminium tariffs from all the key players. This briefing note contains relevant market data and regulatory updates as well as initial analysis on changes likely to come in the following days and weeks.

On March 7, 2018, president Donald Trump moved to place a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent on aluminum imports from all nations, with temporary exemptions for Canada and Mexico. This measure was grounded on a seldom-used law from the 1960s that was designed to protect key domestic industries deemed vital to national defense. It should be noted that Canada is the largest steel and aluminum exporter to the US, while Mexico holds the fourth place in steel exports.

This move triggered negative reactions within the Republican Party, with Paul Ryan, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Gary Cohn, former director of the National Economic Council, and Ben Sasse, Republican Senator for the state of Nebraska, utterly opposing the tax reform law3. Meanwhile, companies like U.S. Steel and Century Aluminum applauded this decision by announcing investment plans and projects to reactivate idled smelters.

Furthermore, this measure has aggravated tensions on NAFTA negotiations. While the US sees this measure as a factor to push forward negotiations, Mexico and Canada have declared that they will not yield to US pressure.

On Thursday, May 31 commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, announced the imposition of a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent on aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada, and Mexico.

Read all the reactions here

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Interested in tracking the European debate and gaining insight how it may impact you and your business?

Contact Edelman Brussels to learn more.

Reactions to US Steel and Aluminium Tariffs

Gurpreet Brar, General Manager, Brussels

Between The Numbers

GENERAL
2021-2027 EU budget

The EU has so far managed to avoid answering some of the fundamental questions that have been troubling the block for years: How will Brexit affect the remaining countries? Whose responsibility is the migration crisis...

The EU has so far managed to avoid answering some of the fundamental questions that have been troubling the block for years: How will Brexit affect the remaining countries? Whose responsibility is the migration crisis and how can Member States better tackle terrorism? Can Member States refuse to abide to European values (e.g. the principle of solidarity in the refugee crisis) and still benefit from the EU funds? … But the discussion on the new EU budget is bringing all the chickens home to roost and will force the EU and its Member States to find a middle ground on many of these thorny issues.

On 2 May, the EU published the proposal for the next seven-year budget, which covers the amount of money the organisation will be able to spend, invest and award to players and projects in the EU for the period 2021-2027. Though it may seem boring and uneventful on the surface, the adoption of the EU budget will be the one thing that will force Member States to discuss and hopefully agree on a shared vision for the future of the EU.

To start, this will be the first budget to be agreed without the UK, and Member States will have to increase contributions to the EU in order to cover at least part of the estimated annual €12 billion gap created by the UK’s departure. It remains to be seen whether the proposed €1,279 billion budget, an increase of 15% over the previous period, will be agreed, as detractors complain that a Union of 27 shouldn’t be more expensive than one including 28 Member States.

The increased budget, however, is justified by many by the increased number of priorities of the EU, including security and migration. While the proposal foresees significant cuts to major programs dedicated to the agricultural sector (-5%) and regional development (-7%) – two areas that have been the cornerstone of EU spending since the early days – it introduces new priorities such as defence (€13 billion) and digital transformation (up to €9.5 billion). Winners of this proposal are, without doubt, the research and innovation fund, which received a 30% increase compared to the previous budget, and border control, migration and asylum policies which saw their allocation more than doubled in this proposal…

Read the rest of the briefing here

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Interested in tracking the European debate and gaining insight how it may impact you and your business?

Contact Edelman Brussels to learn more.

2021-2027 EU budget

Gurpreet Brar, General Manager, Brussels

2021-2027 EU budget

Federica Boledi, PA Practices, Brussels

Australian Citizenship Status Undermining Turnball Government

GENERAL, GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS

The Turnbull government is facing minority status and a difficult by-election after Australia’s High Court found the entire leadership of the National Party — Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce and Nationals deputy leader Fiona Nash —...

The Turnbull government is facing minority status and a difficult by-election after Australia’s High Court found the entire leadership of the National Party — Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce and Nationals deputy leader Fiona Nash — ineligible to stand at the 2016 election, due to their citizenship status under section 44 of the Australian constitution.

Mr Joyce will now face a by-election in the seat of New England, likely to be called on the 2 December, with a writ issued by the Speaker of the House today. Joyce is one of five federal MPs to be unanimously knocked out by the Court. It also found former Greens senators Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters were not validly elected, along with One Nation’s controversial Senator Malcolm Roberts and the National Party’s Fiona Nash.  Nick Xenophon and Matt Canavan have been ruled eligible, though Nick Xenophon will leave Federal politics to pursue a career in State politics in his home state of South Australia.

In terms of the immediate fall out, Matt Canavan will return to Northern Australia and Resources Minister; Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will take on Agriculture and Water Resources, and Mitch Fifield will take on Regional Communications from Fiona Nash – Darren Chester will take on her other portfolios.

The issue of citizenship was raised in July this year following the resignation of Greens Senator Scott Ludlam who resigned from the Senate after it was brought to his attention he held dual Australian and New Zealand citizenship, rendering him ineligible to hold elected office in the Federal Parliament under section 44 of the Australian Constitution.

He became the first casualty of the 2017 Australian constitutional crisis. Ludlam’s resignation led to a number of MPs and Senators publicly clarifying their citizenship status, and also led to fellow Greens Senator and Deputy Leader Larissa Waters’s resignation four days later, after discovering she held Canadian citizenship.  A swathe of allegations regarding eligibility followed, which resulted in the establishment of the Citizenship Seven – referred to the High Court for assessment.

These rulings have plunged the government into disarray.  As a minority government, Turnbull’s slim grip on power will be tested in the result of the forthcoming New England by-election.   If the seat is not won by a Liberal or National candidate, the current government will cease to maintain its one seat majority, forcing a Federal election early next year.

Joyce’s dismissal also leaves open to challenge every ministerial decision he has made, as well as those made by Ms Nash, since October 20 last year.

Legal advice obtained by the ALP confirms that under section 64 of the constitution a person can only act as a minister for three months without being a member of Parliament. Mr Joyce is now invalid as an MP from the time of last year’s election on July 2, and the only decisions which are valid are those which he made in the first three months as minister after he was sworn in on July 19.

Ultimately, the impression that the Turnbull government is notable only for its chaos and instability has been reinforced.  If a Federal election is triggered by the result of the New England by-election, we could be facing yet another leadership change and an inevitable impact on business and consumer confidence.

European Trust Summit 2017: Edelman partners with Public Affairs Council

GENERAL, NEWS
European Trust Summit 2017

Edelman will partner with the Public Affairs Council for the European Trust Summit 2017 – Corporate Governance and Public Affairs in a Low-Trust World on 31 May 2017. The one-day program will explore business governance, ethics,...

Edelman will partner with the Public Affairs Council for the European Trust Summit 2017 – Corporate Governance and Public Affairs in a Low-Trust World on 31 May 2017.

The one-day program will explore business governance, ethics, transparency policies, and communications and engagement strategies designed to restore faith in major institutions. Topics will include:

  • Corporate governance and ethics
  • Politics, media and public affairs
  • Transparency and trust
  • (Dis)trusting evidence
  • Improving trust internally and externally

For more information and to register: http://pac.org/trust-summit

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