Academic Letters for PR: How They Can Help Trade Associations Create a Dialogue Around an Issue or Topic

In today’s ever changing media landscape and consumer perceptions, trade associations are continuously having to pivot and advance their marketing strategies to not only be recognized as a reputable and trusted source, but to distribute messaging creatively and effectively to their audiences. For public relations, these strategies might include traditional press releases and pitching, engaging and endorsing message experts, responding to reporter queries on applicable topics, or an academic letter. An academic letter, also known as an open letter, is a letter intended to be read by a wide audience and widely distributed intentionally to the public through print and digital media.

While trade associations work diligently to be subject matter experts to provide research-driven messaging, educational resources, and leadership networking opportunities, the work to be considered a reputable source is often challenging amongst the media and its readers. When industry funds research and summarizes key results and messages, their position can sometimes be considered bias. To overcome this bias, associations partner with a team of industry experts to reinforce the research, support its results, and become messaging spokespeople.

Thinking beyond the team of experts you’ve engaged, there are instances when you need employ strength in numbers when building awareness around a particular issue or topic. One approach to achieve greater awareness is to engage the academic community to further support your messaging through an academic letter.

There are a number of reasons why an association would choose an academic letter, including a means to state the association’s position on a particular issue or topic or as an effort to start or end a wider dialogue around an issue or topic.

An academic letter should meet two objectives:

  1. To grab the attention of the academic community of whom you are wanting to mobilize to gain support and their signature
  2. Has the power and influence to yield results of public perception

The process of preparing and finalizing an academic letter, researching and screening members of the academic community, outreach to gain support signatures, and public distribution may seem overwhelming. If you would like help in strategizing and deploying an academic letter, feel free to contact us.

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