Public Relations: Effective Government Relations

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  • 0:04 Government Communications
  • 0:41 Government Relations
  • 1:53 Importance
  • 2:38 Goals
  • 4:39 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

An effective government relations plan can help build relationships and foster advocacy opportunities. In this lesson, learn more about how communications organizations can set goals for effective government relations.

Government Communications

For many people, the halls of government are imposing, confusing, or even intimidating to understand and navigate. For that reason, many people worry about laws and legislation only after they've been passed or implemented.

For public relations firms, an effective government relations strategy is an important piece of doing right by their clients. Such strategies can help build relationships between businesses and legislators, secure funding, and provide laws and legislation that can positively impact an organization.

Let's take a closer look at a government relations portion of a communications agency.

Government Relations

By the very nature of its name, public relations involves interactions and communications between various organizations and the public. This includes:

  • Anticipating and interpreting public opinion
  • Researching programs of action to educate the public
  • Setting objectives and plans to convey a particular message

A logical part of communicating with the public also involves communicating with the public about legislative policy decisions; conveying an organization's responsibilities as it relates to those policy decisions; and having an opportunity to influence and change public policy. As such, a strong government relations practice is essential to the public relations umbrella of any communications organization.

Government relations specifically focuses on how an organization interacts with the government and its various branches and officials. This is the area of public relations that helps build relationships and positive interactions between an organization and government officials.

Government relations relies heavily on communicating about regulatory issues, one-on-one conversations with government representatives, and lobbying efforts on behalf of a group or organization.


Communications organizations have a responsibility to their clients to be well-versed in all areas of communication, including positive interaction with government agencies and officials. For businesses of any size, navigating government circles can be a tedious and confusing process. Communications agencies can help circumvent some of those struggles for clients.

A good government relations practice should be able to:

  • Represent a client and their interests from a wide variety of industries
  • Provide knowledge in legislative developments
  • Offer targeted messaging to reach government agencies and officials
  • Conduct direct lobbying on behalf of a customer's concerns
  • Build relationships with key government officials


To be effective in government relations there must be a roadmap set to maximize a plan for success. Let's take a look at a fictional example of a communications firm working with a healthcare organization.

ABC Communications has been retained by Acme Healthcare for government relations communications. On Acme's behalf, ABC will:

1. Regularly visit with lawmakers, elected officials and their staff members, or even make phone calls or write letters to stay in touch and build relationships.

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