Whitney Danhauer

#PRStudChat: PR for Advocacy or Issues Management

By: Whitney Danhauer | February 28, 2019 | 
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#PRStudChat PR for Issues Management and AdvocacyAs communications professionals, we tend to spend our days advocating for our organizations or clients.

We’re great at explaining why a particular offering could make someone’s life easier.

We love to talk and usually when you get us started, it’s kind of hard to make us stop.

The great thing is, we don’t just love to talk just for the sake of it. We want to help people or make their lives easier.

Whether it’s sharing news, or explaining a process, there isn’t a whole lot that thrills us more than when we’re able to help.

But what about the world outside of products and services? How do you provide communications counsel for advocacy or issues management? 

If you’ve ever had this question, you’re in luck.

This month’s #PRStudChat covers that…and more.

#PRStudChat Guest Rebecca Primis

Rebecca Primis is director of marketing at the State Policy Network, and was great at explaining some of the challenges and rewards of working in this area of communications.

Before we get any further, take a look at some of the questions we hit Rebecca with over the course of the chat.

  1. Let’s start big: how is comms for issues management different than, say, soap?
  2. Your current job is much more about building relationships than PR. Were you able to bring a lot of PR skills to that job?
  3. How has the communications landscape changed during your career so far? How has pitching media changed?
  4. What are some skills you’ve had to learn that weren’t addressed in school?
  5. A challenge in issues management is that there’s usually another side out there saying you’re wrong. How does that change your approach?
  6. Related: Opponents can create a permanent body of wrong or bad information about your org online. How do you combat that?
  7. What percentage of your organization’s PR work is executing against a plan vs. reacting to something in the current news cycle? How do you find the right balance?
  8. What makes for a great intern? And, in your business, do they need to be 100 percent on board with the mission?
  9. What’s your favorite PR success story?
  10. Let’s assume your job isn’t like Scandal or House of Cards… which TV show best fits your day-to-day work life?

Practicality in Advocacy and Issues Management is Key

We started off with the big question right off the bat.

Rebecca did well summing up the differences between PR for issues management versus products, services, and basically everything else.

While Amber Roessler mentioned that a lot of the differences revolve around communications goals.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Cue David Bowie.

The communications landscape might be one of the fastest moving industries in around. And while there were many points of view, there was one subject where everyone agreed.

All our participants knew social media wasn’t a fad when it first made its way into our lives.

Rebecca pointed out how we now have easier access to important decision makers.

Tying into that question, we touched on skills learned outside the typical confines of school. Everyone agreed that with such a quickly shifting industry, your education in PR never stops.

Plus, as so many of us own our own agency or consulting business, we often don’t have “traditional bosses” to whom we report.

The pace of communications isn’t slowing anytime soon, and, for the majority of us, that’s something to be excited about.

Wrapping Up the #PRStudChat

We’re so grateful to be able to sponsor PR Student Chat and, we wouldn’t have this opportunity if it weren’t for co-founders Deirdre Breakenridge and Valerie Simon.

Their connections with industry leaders and PR-savvy ways make all of this possible.

No matter where you are in your communications career, you can always take something valuable away from these chats.

We’ll have the next #PRStudChat in March, and we’ll be sure to update everyone with the details. Stay tuned for that info!

If you didn’t get enough of this edition of the chat, you can always read it in its entirety using this link.

As always, if you have more questions, leave them in the comments.

We’re talkers and… well, we love having something to talk about.

About Whitney Danhauer


Whitney is living in Central Kentucky with her husband, Michael and her daughter, Evie Rose. She's an avid reader, an even more avid movie watcher, and loves nothing more than a well-placed pop culture reference. By day she writes about all things communications for Spin Sucks, by night she writes about whatever she wants. Her first novel, Good Riddance, was released in October of 2015.