First-of-its-Kind Legislative Staff Survey Finds California’s Capitol Can’t Function Without Digital Advocacy
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento’s top public relations and public affairs firm, and digital advocacy pioneers, Randle Communications (Randle), today released its fourth annual Digital Influencer Report, which details how social media is used to advance policy in California’s legislative process. The report includes findings from a first-of-its-kind survey of legislative staff on the effectiveness of digital advocacy and highlights the most powerful digital strategies and tactics in a legislative environment defined by the lasting impacts of COVID-19.
“COVID-19 turbocharged the already rapid shift to digital advocacy in California’s Capitol,” Jeff Randle, President and CEO of Randle Communications said. “Our survey of legislative staff found that digital advocacy is more important than ever before and essential to moving the needle with lawmakers.”
The survey found that more than three-quarters of legislative staff survey respondents (76.9%) say digital advocacy is more important to advancing policy due to COVID-19 impacts. Here’s what legislative staffers are saying:
- “Digital advocacy has been one of the only ways for advocates, organizations, and legislators to spread the word on a bill.”
- “When people advocate for an issue on social media, it is just like them making a phone call to our office or an in-person visit. We read what they are saying, who is saying it, how frequently they are saying it.”
- “Now we pay more attention to digital advocacy but still give proper consideration to other forms of communications.”
Given these insights, our report outlines three important lessons:
- COVID-19 accelerated the new era of digital-first advocacy
- Virtual advocacy is here to stay
- Authentic content – and voices – are essential to digital success
“What we heard from legislative staff is simple: California’s Capitol can’t function without digital advocacy,” Lindsey Goodwin, Vice President of Public Affairs at Randle Communications said. “Those who win in the post-COVID-19 world prioritize an engaging content strategy that elevates authentic voices and recognizes that virtual advocacy is here to stay.”
Randle designs custom public affairs programs with strategic digital elements to help clients achieve their advocacy goals. Randle’s in-house creative and content team, the Randle Content Studio, includes proprietary News-Style Impact Videos, authentic social content development and a comprehensive toolkit of traditional media as well as paid digital strategies.
About Randle Communications:
Jeff Randle created Randle Communications in 2001 with partner Mitch Zak to give clients great service from senior-level professionals. Randle Communications is Sacramento’s top-ranked public relations and public affairs firm, specializing in strategic planning, media relations, coalition building, digital advocacy, ballot initiative campaigns and crisis management. Sacramento Business Journal has named Randle an A+ Employer every year since 2010.
Podcast: LA Times’ John Myers Talks Digital Influencer Report
Randle Communications Vice President Kevin Riggs sat down with Los Angeles Times Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers to discuss our second annual Digital Influencer Report.
Listen to the podcast:
POLITICO’s Carla Marinucci Talks Digital Advocacy
In 2019, you can’t afford to sit on the digital sidelines. Our new podcast explores why.
Earlier this year, we released our second annual Digital Influencer Report analyzing End-of-Session digital advocacy as well as lists of influencer scores among the Capitol press corps and California lawmakers.
Now, we’re thrilled to share our first podcast featuring a conversation with one of 2018’s top Digital Influencers. Our very own Kevin Riggs sat down with POLITICO’s Carla Marinucci – the #1 Digital Influencer among the Capitol press corps – to talk about the report, her ranking and, of course, reminisce about their time in the press corps together.
It’s a must-listen for insight into how Twitter and other digital tools shape not only media coverage but also policymaking.
The Digital Influence of the Capitol Press Corps
Twitter is changing the face of how political news is reported, especially when it comes to California politics.
Capitol press corps reporters are using the platform as a tool for real-time reporting on issues under the dome and provide a unique behind-the-scenes perspective. The collective engagement from reporters can be tremendously helpful for public affairs programs, serving as one of the best ways to measure the pulse of policy and political issues, including housing, health care, environmental justice and more.
The top five Capitol press corps reporters are:
*@CapitolAlert formerly managed by Alexei Koseff; now managed by Bryan Anderson; Reporters with the same rankings reflect tied influencer scores
This year’s top list includes a number of returners, including POLITICO’s Carla Marinucci. As an editor of the California Playbook, she maintains a strong hand on the conversations taking place at California’s Capitol.
You can learn more about the top digital influencers in the Capitol press corps in our 2018 Digital Influencer Report Capitol press corps rankings.
Digital Advocacy is No Longer Optional
Last year, we released our inaugural Digital Influencer Report, which demonstrated the impact of digital tools in running a successful advocacy campaign. In our second annual report, we found that not only is digital advocacy important, it’s mandatory. This is clearly evidenced by examining the impact of digital advocacy during the final two weeks of the 2018 legislative session, also known as “End-of-Session.”
The use of #CaLeg, the most popular hashtag for sharing general policy and political comments, news and discussion about the California Legislature, continues to grow. Use of #CaLeg increased more than 100 percent during the 2018 End-of-Session as compared to the rest of the year. More than 10,100 tweets used this hashtag in that time period, an increase of almost 14 percent compared to the 2017 End-of-Session. It’s used by a number of influencers including legislators, advocacy groups, trade associations and the Capitol press corps.
Despite the increase in the use of digital advocacy and activity around #CaLeg, there are still a number of organizations and campaigns who are not embracing digital advocacy as an essential tool to educate lawmakers on key issues. At the start of a two-year legislative session with a social savvy Governor as well as new lawmakers, those organizations not already engaging in digital advocacy need to start immediately or risk being left behind.
The bottom line is digital engagement is no longer optional and choosing not to participate is a losing strategy. Read more about why in the 2018 Digital Influencer Report. You can download the full report for free here.
Second Annual Digital Influencer Report Demonstrates Digital Engagement is No Longer Optional
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento’s top-ranked public relations and public affairs firm, and digital advocacy pioneers, Randle Communications (Randle), today released the second annual Digital Influencer Report, which details how social media is used to influence California’s legislative process. The report examines three of the Legislature’s most significant 2018 End-of-Session battles and highlights the most effective digital strategies and tactics.
“The key takeaway from this report is that digital engagement is no longer an optional tool to educate and engage lawmakers on key issues,” Jeff Randle, President and CEO of Randle Communications said. “What is most telling from this year’s report is that the game is being played at a much higher level, and what was once considered a supporting tactic must now be at the center of a sophisticated, comprehensive advocacy strategy.”
While the Inaugural Digital Influencer Report 11 Strategies for Digital Advocacy Success are still relevant, these ‘best practices’ are now essential parts of a winning digital advocacy campaign. Major takeaways from this year’s End-of-Session analysis include:
Digital advocacy is no longer a “nice to have.” It’s a “have to have.”
- Consistent presence is essential.
- A multi-channel approach is a must.
- Earned and owned media must go hand-in-hand.
- Organic + paid = the equation to breakthrough.
- One celebrity or influencer tweet can be worth a million words.
- Integration is essential.
“Social channels are a vital part of the advocacy process, in tandem with traditional lobbying, media coverage and public affairs efforts. Choosing not to engage is to silence your voice and put yourself on the losing end of debates at the Capitol,” Lindsey Goodwin, Vice President of Public Affairs at Randle Communications said. “As the digital landscape evolves, the Randle public affairs practice will continue to aggressively pioneer in the digital advocacy space.”
In the coming weeks, Randle will release lists of top digital influencers including members of the Capitol press corps and legislature.
Get the full Digital Influencer Report here.