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Use Digital Storytelling to Influence The New Congress

January 06, 2015 // Jonah Seiger


Republicans have taken control of both chambers of Congress. President Obama talks of leaving behind a legacy of accomplishment. Will Washington finally become unstuck? 

Not even the sagest political prognosticators know that answer.

But the shift in power certainly creates new opportunities for trade associations, coalitions, corporations, and advocacy groups to engage in strategic storytelling about their issues.  It’s a new Congress, with new committee chairs, new members, and new staff, and your organization’s narrative and content need to change too.

Although legislative outcomes are unpredictable, the advantage goes to those who can tell the best story. Now is the time to set out a fresh, compelling narrative for lawmakers and their staff that will persuade them to your cause.   Your organization must be equipped to leverage your owned channels -- including your website, social media, and email newsletters -- through custom content and strategic storytelling.  Take the time now to review the overall narrative approach, and to make your organization’s content vivid, and honed for the audiences you’ll need for the legislative and executive branch debates to come.

For any organization seeking to influence the national conversation to advance business or policy objectives, it’s no longer enough to commission a study, publish it on glossy paper, schedule a press conference, and hand-deliver it to selected Hill staff. Nor is it sufficient to put a report into a PDF on your website. In the digital and social-media era, effective communicators are bringing a narrative-centered approach to advocacy, telling their policy story with compelling visuals, interactivity, and data-driven social media strategies to maximize engagement.

Connections Media is pioneering the use of custom content and strategic storytelling to achieve our clients’ communications and public affairs goals. Our award-winning team routinely turns dense, substantive studies into visually beautiful and interactive experiences. These enriched and informative digital stories then drive awareness and engage target audiences.

Here are some recent examples of Custom Content projects we have produced for our public affairs clients:

Issue explainers
To set the stage for policy discussions in Washington, companies and associations often need to explain an issue in simple and direct terms. The Connections Media video and animation teams create a 90-second video to explain the basics of an issue. Our experienced team crafts scripts and visuals and produces video in-house. These videos can take center stage on a website or a YouTube channel and provide compelling, engaging content for social media promotion. Here are examples of short explainer videos that Connections Media created for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturer’s Association.

Economic Impact data
Your industry or company is a big contributor to the U.S. economy. Show your website visitors exactly how much impact you have through interactive graphics that illustrate by state, region, or congressional district the dollar impact precisely. Members of Congress and their staffs can dive into their district or state and access instantly relevant, actionable data. Here’s an example that Connections Media produced for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

White Papers
Organizations put a lot of energy into producing “white papers” on issues important to them. These reports convey significant information to stakeholders. But they don’t have to be a text-heavy, document that few people read. Connections Media takes reports and turns them into engaging slide shows with a narrative story line to make the information more accessible and interesting to all readers. Here’s an example that Connections Media created for PhRMA.

Multimedia presentations/Case Studies
To get a deeper, more long-lasting message out, an organization needs to use storytelling that combines interviews, text, photography, and video to tell the human side of an issue. With our team of writers, photographers, designers and videographers, Connections Media can create multimedia presentations like the Webby Award-winning Case Studies our team developed for NBC News Education Nation

Blog Posts and LinkedIn Posts
Well-written posts for an organization’s blog, or for LinkedIn, are a great platform for engaging the business and policy communities in Washington. Connections Media drafts blog posts that speak directly to your issues. They are written in the appropriate voice that you designate whether it is of a CEO, staff, or other policy experts. Here’s an example we recently produced for Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Social Media Content and Promotion
All of these examples of Custom Content are specifically designed to be leveraged through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media channels. Shareable graphics can be created out of reports, videos, and statistical charts. Connections Media can create this kind of strategic, accessible content that drives traffic and engagement.

Now is the time for your organization to leverage digital media to tell compelling, engaging, and strategically advantageous stories. Connections Media can make the most of your owned channels to advance your legislative, regulatory, or image efforts. To learn more about our strategic storytelling and custom content services, please call Jonah Seiger, CEO & founder, 202.742.4030 or Patrick Pexton, Managing Director, Custom Content, 202.540.9794, or drop us a note.


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