Engaging with MPs is a vital part of any public affairs strategy, but it’s also one of the biggest challenges that public affairs professionals will face. Identifying who to approach is one thing, but getting your voice heard is another. How do you stand out, given the huge number of emails landing in MPs’ inboxes every day?
- Be clever with contact. Once you’ve identified the parliamentarians you want to engage with, it may be tempting to jump straight in and email the MP directly. However it’s rare that they will be the first to read their emails, and the high volume of correspondence that is sent to their main address may limit the impact that yours has. A far more effective way of getting to MPs is through contacting their staff – an event invitation sent directly to a parliamentary assistant will have far greater chance of being seen by the right person.
- Do your research. A successful public affairs strategy will have a foundation of engaged MPs who you can work with to inform the political debate. To build this base, you need to identify the right MPs to engage with based on which select committees they sit on, which APPGs they’re part of, and which issues they speak out on during debates. Social media is also a great way to keep track of interests which MPs may not necessarily list officially, but which could be a key part of your engagement strategy. This could be which sports team they support, their favourite charity or recent events they’ve attended.
- Never lose track of your interactions. This is crucial, as the last thing you want to do is duplicate efforts across your team or engage with a new staff member when your organisation already has strong relationships with another. By tracking and saving all communications taking place across your team, you can rest assured that no one is left out of the loop.