Why a Strong Public Affairs Campaign Includes a Grassroots Strategy

Planning a robust public affairs campaign requires the right mix of tactics to ensure victory. This is why every campaign must consider a grassroots component, which for some campaigns, makes the difference between winning and losing.

Just like most people turn to friends, families, colleagues and neighbors for their opinions, grassroots takes these interactions–opinions, stories and anecdotes from specific groups–and magnifies them for policymakers to see. Depending on the issue, a campaign may tap into insights of medical researchers in a particular state or small business owners in a targeted Congressional district.

No matter what influencer group you want to reach, influencer voices are strong, authentic and persuasive and can help sway a campaign one way or the other. The fact is that these important viewpoints often have more weight than Washington, D.C. influencers or lobbyists because local communities are preeminent in our day-to-day lives.

However, finding someone who agrees isn’t enough; it goes beyond finding someone harmed by legislation or impacted by a proposed regulation. The art, and some communications wonks might say the beauty, of grassroots is the amplification. It’s about taking these stories and bringing them to life through events, written collateral, social media channels, private meetings and petitions.

Each grassroots campaign is tailored to its objectives and requires a different set of tools, targets, timeline and other considerations, but the right lineup will knock it out of the park. Of course, not all campaigns call for a grassroots component, but a strong and thoughtful communications practitioner can spot when grassroots is needed and explain why (and how).

Communications in D.C. must extend beyond the “Beltway.” The policymakers living and working around the nation’s capital are here on behalf of constituents back home or for the good of Americans around the country, and employing grassroots can cut through the communications static to refocus attention on policies and troubles affecting the very people that keep this country moving.

The next time you sit down with your communications team or public affairs firm, ask whether a grassroots campaign is right for what you want to accomplish. Overlooking these knowledgeable, influential consumers might cost you a win.


Learn more about The Herald Group’s grassroots work.