With increased property rights protection and citizen journalism, pipeline projects are significantly more public and widely covered by news outlets and social media. Today, it is more critical than ever before to develop a public affairs strategy at the outset of a project.
In a Midstream Business article, “Watering The Grass,” I explore how to develop a public affairs strategy that will ensure a smoother road to success for your next pipeline project. Here’s a quick recap of the article.
Local Issues on the Rise
Considering that pipelines pass through various levels of government, it is imperative that the legal and public affairs teams assess all potential issues and regulation prior to the completion of the budget. By addressing this increased involvement of local governments early, you can avoid any unexpected costs or delays in projects.
Leverage PR Proactively
In order to face local challenges that may arise throughout the project, it is best to work with a public affairs team to develop a strong government affairs, public outreach and media campaign. Start by building a database of all local government officials along the route of your project. The team should then develop a communications plan that clearly outlines who is allowed to speak on behalf of the project, key messages and anticipated questions that may arise.
“Stop or I’ll Tweet”
Over the last decade, the channels and speed by which news is spread have significantly changed. When it comes to combating social media, remember this – it takes so little time to be proactive with media and so very much time to be reactive. It’s also important to acknowledge that anyone along the line of production, from construction teams to leadership, may be approached by the media and it is important to prepare everyone involved.
Monitor Media Closely
Before public and media outreach begins, establish a comprehensive monitoring system to stay apprised of what is being said about the project in the news. It’s equally important to utilize advanced social media monitoring tools, such as Radian6 or Nuvi, to actively listen to conversations and comments regarding the project.
Utilizing public relations to develop effective and proactive communications throughout the project is the first step to ensuring that your company can achieve your goals, while remaining a good neighbor in every community along the route for decades to come.
As a Senior Vice President, Nancy Sims leads Pierpont’s public affairs practice. Connect with her on LinkedIn.