Council toolkit: Planning your local campaign communications

This checklist is designed to help you consider how you can engage with others locally and promote your campaign.

We’d always recommend discussing this with your communications team and speaking to as many council colleagues as possible to tap into multiple networks and individuals you could work, could be invited to attend events, or help you promote your activities and reach new people. Everyone can be a talent spotter!

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

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

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.

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