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By Katherine Hornbuckle, Media Consultant

It's fair to say in the media relations world, 90 per cent of all media releases, press conferences, interviews and newspaper articles are intended to promote a client's product, brand, the latest news and events or conversely to defend or minimise negative media attention.

The other 10 per cent can be thought of as a more commando, "under-the-radar" campaign, aimed not specifically at the general public but directed at a specific, narrow target.

Still following me? I'm talking about media with a government relations twist.

Sounds confusing? That's because a lot of time, most people aren't even aware it occurs. We call it publicity with purpose.

You see, a majority of us are so inundated with the 24/7 news cycle, we don't even notice when a certain topic appears in the paper, on the wireless or the 6pm news that seems out of the blue. It often causes a bit of stir, and suddenly your local MP, or even the Premier is commenting on the issue. Before you know it, the story is gone and the cycle continues.

The objective of this type of engagement is to reach the ears of the right people in government. Often the general public are none the wiser, but the issue lingers in the minds of the politicians and the policy makers.

We have many clients who seek to engage with the government on various and diverse issues. Sometimes it could be for more funding, other times to discuss policy issues. What ever the issue, sometimes you need something more than a carefully worded letter to a politician.

Media is a great opportunity to get your foot in the door and begin the conversation. While this may sound like a straight forward solution, it's not recommended to every client or rolled out for every situation.

It takes a lot of planning, much like a political campaign. You have to choose your words and your moments wisely.

Do it right and you can often get the response or reaction you need to start the dialogue, or even better, quickly achieve your ultimate goal.

On the flipside, a poorly timed lash out in the media can be disastrous and you can guarantee the door you wanted open, will most certainly be shut on you forever.

Here at SAS, we know the media cycle and we know the political landscape. So if you choose to go down this path, you can trust us to help you get your message across. Contact us to find out more.

The SAS Group is your trusted partner for government, media and corporate engagement.

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