For PR agencies with a stake in DC policymaking and regulation, navigating any presidential transition is challenging and the Trump transition is no exception.
Beyond the fact that few people know what policies the president will implement, there are new officials joining government agencies, changes in congressional and committee leadership, and right-of-center think tanks moving into a more influential role, not to mention changes in how media outlets are operating.
During Trump’s first week in office, the breakneck pace of news, from executive orders to cancelled heads of state meetings, overwhelmed news rooms, while every new tweet sent editors scrambling to determine where to expend increasingly limited resources.
We’ve been in DC through several transitions, so we’re dispensing advice on how any communications team with a stake in federal government can help position their companies for success in this new administration:
- Reassess Priorities and Strategy: Your company has a vision and business priorities that need to adapt to the current climate in DC. Assess areas where they intersect with the new administration’s priorities by looking at reporting on and statements from the president, administration officials, incoming cabinet secretaries and congressional leaders. Map out the priorities that your company supports – or those they don’t and want to vocally oppose – and make sure the company’s leadership and stakeholders are aware of those positions.
- Monitor in Real-Time: Trump’s daily tweeting practice and the news cycles it continues to drive makes it critical that your team conduct real-time monitoring of both Twitter, the administration’s website, daily press briefings, and speeches so you’re not caught off guard by a story hours after it began to circulate. Follow the stories and social media accounts of key reporters who cover relevant issues to see how they’re approaching the topics. Plan for tweets, announcements, nominations and executive orders that might target your industry and how to respond. Does your company want to have a canned statement ready to go out? Not comment on certain issues? Step up its Twitter presence? This exercise will help you be as prepared as possible.
- Refresh Reporter Relationships: As media outlets determine who and how to cover the new administration, make sure your media lists are up-to-date and reach out to reporters who are new to the beats you care about. Remind journalists you’ve worked with who are still covering your industry what issues you can provide perspective on. Let them know you’re watching the administration closely so you’re top-of-mind when news in your industry breaks and they’re looking for comments.
While the Trump Administration’s actions are unpredictable, one thing is certain – the companies that can adapt their PR programs now to the new realities in DC will be best positioned for success during the next four years, whatever they may bring.
RH Strategic is a Seattle and D.C.-based communications firm providing strategic public relations for innovators in the technology, public sector and healthcare markets.