During this lecture she told the students how you can use digital tools in public affairs strategies and how it affects public affairs. Public affairs is a strategic communication process that influences legislation and decision making. According to Ms. Verhelst, the key activities in public affairs are:
1. Communicating your message to policy makers and influencers.
2. Establishing relationships and building alliances.
3. Intelligence gathering: monitoring to identify engagement opportunities and keeping track of debate.
For these three key activities, the internet is very helpful. Internet and new media have changed the public affairs profession. An increasing part of public affairs has become communication. Discussions are opening up and have become more transparent. There is much more direct contact between organizations and their audiences.
Communicate a message can be done in many different ways on the internet. Important is that the reader can find you on. You need to make your point on the internet. You can do that by hosting a website, talking about the subject on social networks or creating a platform. Make content and make sure you drive traffic to your content.
For establishing relationships, social media are really an outcome. With social media you easily can check which audiences are relevant. You can build your own community, bring people together who have influence and start a discussion about the topic (online engagement).
And also for building alliances the internet can help you. You can keep track of relevant tweets, blogs and websites. Make sure you know what influential people are talking about. Make sure they find your information and that you can find them. Keep in touch with your opponents so you can choose the right strategy.