Think tanks, research institutions and other policy organizations don’t always think about setting the governing agenda as a campaign that can be marketed to amplify their brand, raise money or position themselves as the go-to thought leaders on an issue. But the campaign mindset is exactly what they need to make the most out of their policy agenda. Here’s a few ways to get started.
Create a landing page for your policy platform.
Just like candidates running for office, policy organizations need to distill what they’re trying to do to their different target audiences. A landing page is an easy way to create a hub of the most important information people need to report on your agenda, take into their meetings with lawmakers, or advance their advocacy of the issue. The Transgender Law Center, for example, teamed up with the National Center for Transgender Equality to put together a landing page that gave folks just enough information about the attacks on trans rights to get them to submit comments. They were able to collect more than 20,000 comments to use to advance their policy agenda.
Design a report that goes beyond statistics.
As a researcher or policy analyst, statistics and citations might exhilarate you. But for many people, analytica jargon and numbers will cause their eyes to glaze over. One way to help amplify your findings is to pair them with storytelling and design a compelling report that highlights the people behind the policy. For example, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) developed key findings on the structural barriers that cause economic marginalization of young women of color. But the report we helped produce highlighted the lived experiences of the real women they spoke to for this project, to bring life to the findings and expand the audience consuming this information.
Break your policy agenda into bite-sized pieces.
Determine the tl/dr version of your platform and turn it into an easily-digestible fact sheet. You should be able to talk about any policy platform in a bite-sized talking point that could end up as a sound byte. This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice nuance. But fact sheets are designed to bring more folks in so that they’ll be open to hearing that nuance in the first place. For example, we helped the National Partnership for Women and Families develop ten policy bulletins addressing racism and socioeconomic influencers of Moms and Babies. The best part is, you can repurpose these factoids for other platforms -- like press releases, landing pages, newsletters, funding emails, and social media. Which brings us to our final point.
Your policy agenda needs a social media strategy.
I’m not just talking about one tweet. If you want to make sure your platform gets the attention it deserves, you need to think about all of the places your target audiences consume information. And then you need to translate that information into Facebook-speak, Tik-Toker-language, or Clubhouse-slang. Don’t stop there, think about putting a budget behind your posts. Even a small investment in a boosted post can go a long way to making sure your work reaches the right people.
In short, if you want your policy agenda to make a big impact, you should treat it like you would a campaign. Want help getting started on one of these steps? Contact us to set up a consultation.