This year, the Virginia General Assembly was in full swing with a long session – eight weeks instead of six. And a multitude of important bills were being debated throughout the House and Senate, including a few that would directly impact our clients.
Working with and securing quality news coverage is already a challenge at times, but during the General Assembly, it is even more difficult due to the media being bombarded with pitches about each piece of legislation. Breaking through the noise and getting your legislation and voice heard might seem daunting, but here at Commonwealth PR, we have a few tips and tricks to help ensure our outreach on behalf of your organization/business is successful.
- Plan, plan plan!
Things move quickly when the General Assembly is in session. Within minutes of a bill being passed or rejected, an article can come out, announcing the result. As an extension of your team, we will work closely with you to ensure your organization or business is prepared for a variety of outcomes so that we can move quickly as soon as your legislation is read and debated.One way we do this is by drafting press releases and pitches for different outcomes, allowing us to quickly disseminate your standpoint as soon as a bill is heard.
- Have spokespeople ready and/or quotes pre-approved.
It is also important to have your spokespeople lined up and ready should a reporter need a quick comment following a bill’s reading. If no one will be available, be sure to have pre-approved quotes that can be used in your outreach to ensure your voice isn’t left out!
- Watch session in real-time if possible.
If you are unable to be at session in-person, utilize the General Assembly’s live streams to ensure you are able to stay up-to-date on legislation that may impact your organization or business. You don’t want to be caught off guard by a call from a reporter asking for a comment on a bill’s verdict that you had not heard yet.
- Ensure pitches, client’s opinions, etc. offer a unique perspective.
Legislative reporters are under immense pressure during session, more than you or I can imagine. And while your legislation may be interesting to you, it is important to approach reporters with either a unique perspective or a clear reason as to why the general public will (or won’t) benefit from it. Sending out general facts about the bill that a reporter already knows or can easily look up won’t help secure the story.
Although the 2022 session has passed, it is not too early to start planning for the 2023 session. Give us a call today to discuss how Commonwealth PR can support your legislative goals.