Thousands of bills are filed each congressional session, and while each are vying for public attention and consideration, only a few receive the support and momentum to pass out of Congress.
Maximizing publicity around legislation is a critical first step to promoting the bill on the day of introduction. This not only positions your organization as a leader, champion and ally among advocates and stakeholder organizations, but can also help garner broader support for a bill early in the legislative process.
Here are four strategies your organization can execute to maximize publicity for newly introduced legislation:
1. Lay the groundwork early
If your organization has been working hand in hand with bill sponsors to draft the legislation, you should have a general timeframe of when the bill will be introduced. Be proactive by drafting a concise summary outlining what the bill will do, the communities it will impact, and key statistics that highlight why Congress should support the legislation. It is also critical to create an internal key messaging document to share with stakeholders and allies. This document should contain talking points to ensure message alignment as well as responses to difficult questions and counterarguments that are likely to arise. This is also a good time to consider proactive outreach to targeted media who cover similar issues to get this on their radar.
2. Create a bill introduction promotional package
Having content teed up that you can push out on multiple channels will help expand your reach. Sample social media posts and graphics, a press release for your organization’s website, text for an action alert so that advocates can easily send their lawmakers emails encouraging them to cosponsor the legislation, and a sample quote to be included in the bill sponsor’s press release are all critical messaging opportunities that should not be overlooked. Importantly, these can all be drafted ahead of time and shared with aligned stakeholders so everyone is prepared to activate on the day the bill is introduced.
Case in point: The Living Organ Donor Tax Credit Act (H.R. 6171) was recently introduced by Reps. Joe Wilson (R-SC) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY). We were honored to help the Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Foundation create promotional content that included a sample blog outlining key details about the legislation, sample social media posts and graphics suited for LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and a quote authored by PKD Foundation President Susan Bushnell that was featured in the Rep. Wilson’s press release.
3. Leverage stakeholders to amplify and add relevancy
Identify key stakeholders and influencers including community leaders, advocates, academics, researchers and aligning organizations to endorse the bill and share testimonials to underscore the importance of the legislation. Their testimonials can be used in your promotional content and will help create a face, voice and movement behind the bill that can prompt others to take action and Members of Congress to consider supporting the legislation. Importantly, by bringing together a broad group of stakeholders you are able to demonstrate the breadth of support for the legislation and the numerous communities impacted by the policy.
Need help identifying stakeholders and potential partners?
Check out CURA’s Influencer Index which can help your organization prioritize stakeholders and groups to partner with to advance your mission and increase organizational awareness, credibility, trust and audience growth.
4. Kickstart an educational campaign
Consider launching an educational campaign to inform the public or select advocates about the bill’s details and dispel misconceptions or concerns. This can be achieved by hosting webinars, setting up dedicated landing pages, and creating state or district specific materials that advocates can share with their Member of Congress. Letters to the editor and op-eds are great tools that help spread the message locally. Drafting templates for advocates to submit to their local publications will help personalize the issue, drawing greater attention from the public and policymakers.
For more information on how to maximize publicity around a bill introduction, contact us!