Author Blog

7-Steps of Advocacy - 5 Engage - How to engage with your stakeholders

Step 5 – Making the right engagement choices to maximise success

Step 5 of the 7-Step advocacy method concerns Engagement.

The first 4 steps of the 7-Step advocacy method have focused on preparation. When you engage with your stakeholders you translate all the data, analysis and outputs from your prioritization, intelligence gathering, stakeholder mapping, messaging and information management into engagement actions. In this blog we will outline the two main approaches to engage. In doing so we will try to answer: How can you make better engagement choices and build a balanced advocacy strategy that maximizes your chances of success?

7-Steps of Advocacy - 2 Intelligence - How to get the information you need

Step 2: Intelligence Gathering

In our last blog post we shared our views on best practice around priorities, objectives, and KPIs in Public Affairs. Prioritization is the central foundation of your advocacy strategy because it defines the boundaries and sets the point on the horizon for every other aspect of your advocacy, including today’s post on intelligence gathering. Your priorities and objectives define the scope of your intelligence gathering. A scope that resources demand be narrow and focused. The tighter the scope, the fewer resources consumed and the higher quality delivered by your intelligence gathering.

7-Steps of Advocacy - 1 Prioritize - How to identify & define priorities

Prioritization: The Foundation for Successful Public Affairs

Prioritization is the first step of our 7-step method. As an advocacy professional you might ask yourself: how do I identify and define priorities? Most Public Affairs practitioners have had a problem with prioritization. Often, we have too many issues and too many competing priorities, and invariably insufficient time or resources to deal with even half of them. If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. Identifying, analyzing, and selecting priority issues is akin to building your home on solid foundations; the campaigns you build require strong foundations in the form of a limited list of carefully selected priorities. In short, you cannot succeed in advocacy without being able to identify and manage a targeted list of priorities.

An Advocacy Method to Deliver Success

In this post we argue that the cornerstone of advocacy success is the use of an advocacy method to build your advocacy strategy. Our shared belief in the transformative power of an comprehensive advocacy method led to the development of the 7-steps of advocacy method and the creation of advocacystrategy.com. Indeed, both of us had already developed methods of the advocacy process and we are not alone in doing so. For Alan it happened in the context of his book: How to Work with the EU Institutions: A Practical Guide to Successful Public Affairs in the EU within which he, and Aaron McLoughlin, proposed an advocacy process to help empower people to more advocacy success. In parallel, Paul, who teaches public affairs and advocacy to university students and advocacy professionals, developed an 8-step method. The 7-Steps of Advocacy Method is the culmination of these two initiatives.

Looking for a job in Public Affairs? Six questions you’ll want to ask at interview

It feels counter intuitive to write a piece on Public Affairs and job interviews, with Corona still raging across the globe and many holding on to their positions for dear life. Yet, for those that are having job interviews, or are starting out, I have compiled a list of questions you should definitely take with you during the interview. As seasoned veterans will agree, Public Affairs is one of the coolest jobs around (some say only rivalled by rock stardom)! [Truly!] Even so, if you start with the wrong organisation or are trapped in unworkable Public Affairs structures, it can be nothing short of a nightmare. Drawing on my own experience – and those of friends and colleagues –  I have developed a list of questions which should help you find your next great Public Affairs dream job … and dodge a Public Affairs nightmare.

If you don’t know John Harper, you know nothing about EU Affairs

Author Milos Labovic presents a personal account of his journey with John Harper Publishing.

When it comes to EU Affairs, I was blind until I met John Harper. I must admit it took me some years to get to know him – and Lord knows – I wish I had met him sooner! It would have provided me with valuable insights that would have saved me a lot of time and energy. So, who is he? We will get to that in a second. First let me explain how I met him.