November Program Recap
“Tips from a Political PR Pro –
Mastering Legislative Session Without Losing Your Mind”
Thursday, November 16, 2017 / 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Four Points by Sheraton Tallahassee Downtown
Presented by Target Print & Mail
- Politics are always going to drive your PR strategy, so tailor each strategy accordingly.
- Begin preparing for legislative session at least several months in advance. Much of the work surrounding an issue should be completed before session begins.
- There is currently a big void in applicants for political PR positions, so it is an in-demand field.
- Be conscious of what you say in public spaces.
As Florida’s 2018 legislative session approaches, the Capitol has been abuzz with committee meetings – and legislative/political PR professionals are already laying the groundwork for the busy months ahead.
On Thursday, Nov. 16, members of the FPRA Capital Chapter had the opportunity to hear from longtime political PR pro Sarah Bascom, founder and president of Bascom Communications & Consulting, LLC. With more than 17 years of experience, Bascom has advised many of the state’s largest corporations, trade associations and highest-ranking elected officials on crisis management, strategic messaging, media management and public affairs campaigns.
Bascom began the meeting by offering an important piece of advice regarding legislative and political PR strategy: Politics are always going to take over your PR strategy. While some legislative issues will require the PR strategy to be aggressive and loud, other issues may call for a silent or more subdued approach. This, of course, all depends on the issue and the players involved.
According to Bascom, political PR pros should begin prepping for session at least several months in advance. Don’t wait until the hectic months of session to compile materials like media kits and stock op-eds. For those working in political PR, the busiest time of the year is just before session begins.
Finally, Bascom offered tips on media relations with the Florida Capitol Press Corps. Because political reporters have in-depth knowledge of the legislative process, it’s important to have an extensive understanding of the issue you are covering, including the intricacies of the bill language. In addition, political PR pros should proactively provide information to the Capitol Press Corps, since reporters are writing the stories in real time during session. Some reporters know the issue and the legislative process inside and out and others may need more education, so PR professionals should be prepared to discuss the issue with either approach.
For photos of the event, check out our Facebook page.
– Holly Brooks, RB Oppenheim Associates (Member Since 2016)