It’s January 2015 and it feels (to me at least) that the EU changeover is now really, finally complete. Commission moves have been made, new MEPs are up to speed, intergroups and interest groups are in place.
And to help answer the age-old Brussels Bubble question “how do we reach the EU policymakers important to us?” Brussels public affairs and comms professionals may consider experimenting with a few of the below tools (I certainly will).
The vast majority of the EU policy community spends part of its day here and using it to create advocacy groups and connections with like-minded people (and opponents) is nothing new for Brussels. But beyond these basics, LinkedIn’s publishing platform as well as its improved targeting and analytics have created huge opportunities for reaching micro-audiences and measuring results. Looking to profile yourself or your organisation as a thought leader in a certain policy circle? I can think of no better place to get traction than LinkedIn, if your message is short, powerful and to the point.
Sometimes you have a particular initiative or campaign that doesn’t quite fit on your website – it might not match up with your existing tone of voice or could get lost among your other issues. A microsite can be a great option, but you could also consider creating a page/collection on Medium. Its sleek user-friendly design lends itself to clean, simple storytelling that can save you a bundle in custom web design services and with the right social strategy can be just as effective.
Facebook (for building reputation)
The Bubble knows Facebook well and has used it extensively to raise awareness across member states for policy issues (think European Citizens Initiatives and several successful NGO campaigns). But for the many Brussels-based organisations tasked not only with policy responsibility but also with building and maintaining reputations among the EMEA general public, Facebook’s advanced targeting and analytics capabilities provide real-time feedback on whether or not your initiative is working. With the right content, it may be the best value for money out there.
The next generation of paid media in Brussels
With the entrance of Politico onto the Brussels media scene, we can expect a new suite of paid media options—and if Politico can accomplish a fraction of what it’s done in Washington, you can be sure that what’s written there will be read by the people you want to read it.
To compete, more established media outlets will most likely reinvigorate their sponsored content offerings as well, opening up huge opportunities in a media landscape that has been fairly stagnant in past years.
Rethinking the way you talk to your audience – the content audit
Organisations across the world have realised that to stand out in the constant barrage of information, they need to work harder at being useful and relevant to their audiences or risk being tuned out.
There’s been a shift from stale, corporate broadcast mode: “WE are great because of what WE do” to a more engaging, human tone that conveys an organisation’s purpose and value without shouting it from the rooftops: “The PEOPLE we serve are great and we just play a part, here’s how.”
How do you make the switch? A good place to start is with a content audit: have a good hard look at your website, your tweets, your LinkedIn page (etc) and ask yourself a few questions.
- Are we in one-way corporate bullhorn mode or are we inviting conversation?
- Are we celebrating the people we serve or are we celebrating ourselves?
- Are we making it clear to our audience in a relatable way, why we matter to them?
Smarter content paired with a sound, measurable social strategy can open doors to policymakers with concrete results to show for it.