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Issues Awareness – The Key Element to your Government Relations Work

Meg Shannon

Your government relations efforts are incomplete without a communications strategy to accompany it.

Engaging in sustained advocacy efforts can keep an issue top of mind for those with the power to make change.

But how effective are the communications elements of your advocacy plan?

Effective communication has enormous impact on an organization’s government relations activities. Integrating a communications element into your government relations and advocacy work will generate greater awareness of an organization or issue from government representatives, garner public support and, ultimately, lead to success.

Decision-makers read the news and browse Twitter like the rest of us, and not echoing your key advocacy messages in the media or on social platforms is a missed opportunity.

Creating an integrated issues awareness strategy for maximum impact uses messaging, social media, and media relations as tools to better reach and gain the support of government officials and policy makers, reaching them beyond formal meetings and presentation documents.

Shining example – Canadian Men’s Health Foundation

In 2017 Global Public Affairs began working with the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation, a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to building awareness of men’s health issues and to changing attitudes and behaviours to improve men’s overall health.

Global created a series of issue awareness campaigns that aligned with their government relations efforts, including:

  • Media relations plans built around Men’s Health Week, including media material, proactive and reactive media outreach and media training.
  • A two-prong PR campaign which included op-ed pitches and created national and regional story pitches around men’s health initiatives.
  • A press conference including then-Premier Kathleen Wynne, Toronto Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan, past Olympic medalists and other key figures.

Over the last two years, we have helped the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation achieve some great goals:

  • In our first year, the one-week campaign generated 46 unique news articles and broadcast stories that were distributed through 132 individual news outlets, reaching a total audience of 41 million. Additionally, three op-eds were placed across the country and organizational representatives appeared in numerous television and radio broadcasts.
  • In year two, our coverage increased to 52 original unique stories that were reprinted 149 times.
  • Largely because of our ongoing media relations outreach, journalists now see the organization as the leading men’s health advocacy group and consistently reach out proactively to the organization for comment on men’s health initiatives.


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