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5 habits of highly effective advocates

Whether seeking funding or policy change, there are certain things all successful advocates and lobbyists do when executing a campaign.

Whether seeking funding or policy change, there are certain things all successful advocates and lobbyists do when executing a campaign.

1. They do a lot of research

The Cancer Council's position statement that underpinned its successful Get Behind Bowel Screening campaign referenced 101 expert studies that proved bowel cancer was the second biggest cancer killer, and free testing kits were the best way to reduce associated health costs. This not only made their request - to reinstate government funding for testing kits '“ irrefutable, but also armed the Council with evidence-based content for other parts of the campaign.

2. They methodologically analyse stakeholders

Successful advocates don't use guesswork or intuition when it comes to mapping their allies and adversaries. This approach is risky and unreliable. Instead, they dedicate time up front to comprehensively identify stakeholders across government, industry, media and community, and use a matrix to rank them in order of priority to direct resources accordingly (see below).


3. They know when to let others do the talking

Whether it's Hugh Jackman or Joe Citizen, a good advocate will know when to bring a third party to the table. Public figures have an unrivalled ability to generate public awareness and interest in an issue, while the personal experience of Joe Citizen and his small business can strongly resonate with politicians and the media.

4. They don't neglect traditional media channels

Although digital is a critical part of most interactions and campaigns, it shouldn't come at the expense of mainstream traditional and industry channels. The acclaimed Our Plea for Life campaign around aHUS blood disease engaged 15 traditional news media announcements, generating over 40 million impressions alone. Substantiating media content with research that supports campaign messages is also an effective way of creating compelling news around your issue.

5. They maintain steady relationships with government

Scheduling regular contact with government representatives is the hallmark of a successful advocate. Successful advocates are there in sickness and in health, in good times and bad. They don't rely on gut-feel, but build regular and bipartisan contact into their strategies using technology and data.

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