Council toolkit: Planning your communications

This checklist is built from good practice at councils, covering a range of steps, options and ideas to help you run your own local Be a Councillor campaign

Please also see our Planning your local campaign toolkit for councils

We’d always recommend discussing this with your communications team and speaking to colleagues across the council to tap into multiple networks and individuals you could work with to help promote your activities and help reach new people. Everyone can be a talent spotter!

Remember it can take time to build awareness and encourage people. Be a Councillor is a message that can be regularly repeated through multiple avenues.

Think holistically about linking your Be a Councillor campaign to your wider diversity, equality, engagement and inclusion work.

Consider opportunities to work with all tiers of local government in your area as well as other partners.

Please also see our Planning your local campaign toolkit for councils

Who to reach
  • Facebook, LinkedIn
  • Twitter and ‘# hours’
  • Local forums
  • Local bloggers
  • User groups - e.g. experience of care system
  • Local newspapers / news sites
  • Resident’s Associations
  • School Governors Universities Council magazine / e-newsletters
  • Current councillors can help promote / talent spot
  • Local political groups
  • Let your local MP know
  • Business groups / forums / networks
  • Sports / walking / running groups
  • Local activists / influencers
  • Youth council / parliament
  • Girlguides / Scout groups
  • Local hubs – transport, supermarkets, cafés
  • Volunteering groups / networks
  • Under-represented groups and networks – people with disabilities, BAME, LGBTQ+, Women, Young People
  • Faith groups
  • Local radio stations
  • Council officers can help promote
  • Town & parish clerks
  • Neighbourhood Watch groups
  • Parent groups
  • Notice boards - libraries, health centres, cafes, pubs, supermarkets, parks, leisure centres, schools, religious buildings, council buildings
  • Unions 
How to reach people

Some good practice comms ideas from other councils:

  • Contact any of those listed above by email, Twitter, Facebook, in person (as appropriate).
  • Consider your wider comms approach. For example, if you have any corporate engagement, inclusion, relationship-building programmes, you can contact organisations, groups and individuals to explain this wider commitment; and that part of this work is a Be a Councillor campaign; invite them to Be a Councillor events or ask them to help promote to their networks; highlight independent politics and the support available; include a varied programme of engagement and events such as tours of the council chamber or networking opportunities with other community-minded local people etc.
  • Your comms team may have direct links with some of the above contacts already. For some, colleagues across the council (often frontline) can be approached for help in reaching these contacts in an appropriate way. For others, some online searching may be needed to find contact details. Also consider which Twitter followers could be relevant for you to make direct contact with.
  • Consider partnering with organisations which have similar aims and can help you reach new and different people. For example, Be a Councillor has worked with national young people’s networks such as Shout Out UK, My Life My Say and Young Citizens.
  • Link with other organisations/groups/individuals by tagging into tweets (if appropriate).
  • LinkedIn often proves effective in engaging people looking for opportunities to use existing skills, develop new skills and do something rewarding / give back.
  • Use ‘Twitter hours’ such as business / skills hours to promote the councillor role as a way to share existing skills and learn new skills; volunteering hours to highlight the councillor role as a way to give back to the community; and hours related to under-represented groups such as women’s hours to raise curiosity and inspire. 
  • Posters in council buildings – in areas with multiple tiers of local government, consider how to join up or signpost each other’s activities.
  • Be a Councillor stalls at community events.
  • Place info on council website in democracy and elections pages as well as community and news pages.
  • Standing entry for ‘Councillor’ on local government job vacancy pages, with person specification and contact details for more information about putting yourself forward for election.

 Stagger announcements/updates e.g:

  • Council is teaming up with Be a Councillor – stay tuned
  • Event details
  • Detailed agenda
  • Microsite launch
  • Still time to register for event
  • Updates from the event and/or live updates
  • Post-event comms
  • Other linked opportunities/events
  • Repeating key messages and signposting to materials / support
  • Standing for election deadlines and actions

Remember it can take time to build awareness and encourage people. Be a Councillor is a message that can be regularly repeated through multiple avenues.