Public relations and advocacy

Nine months away from my favorite student org made me forget all of the potential we as students have. The exec board is doing amazing things with our chapter, and even implemented a points system to encourage active membership! The board is full of veterans and newbies, and each one is enthusiastic and dedicated to bettering our chapter and helping our members. It really is a beautiful thing to see – students helping students.

I was very excited to find out that the theme of our annual conference this year is (drumroll please) BRANDING! Pretty sure branding tips come up on my Twitter feed every few seconds, so it will be awesome to get to discuss this topic du jour in person with other students and professionals. I’m going to be re-joining the planning committee, so if you know of anyone who has experience with the topic and will be in Wisconsin in April, let me know!

And the coolest part of our meeting, besides all of the exciting updates, was my friend Lindsay speaking to us on the topics of advocacy and PR. Lindsay has a wealth of experience in the political science and government relations fields; she is one of those people you know is going places because she’s had a life plan (and been following through with it!) way before that was the thing for Gen Y’ers to do.

Lindsay talked about how advocacy and public relations are related: You need to know your market, where they stand on your issue, and how to persuade them. She also offered some great tips on what to do once you’ve made an initial connection: Keep building that relationship by continuously making an effort – invite them to speak at events, keep making an effort to connect – anything to not let that hard-earned connection die out.

My favorite part of her speech was what the people she works with deemed a message box. She said that if everyone in your organization cannot fill out the message box in the same way, then there’s a problem with communication within the group. And if there are problems within the group, that’s just a sign you’re probably not communicating well outside the group (to your clients and market) either.

The message box, according to Lindsay’s example, looks someting like this:

So if I can advocate for one thing, it’s to keep your lines of communication open! And thanks to PRSSA UW-Madison and Lindsay for inspring this post.

Any communication tips? Organizations or just people who really inspire you?

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