Impact

10 Tips for Pitching Your Research to Reach Policy Makers

December 6, 2023 14

Getting research in front of a policymaker is a goal for many authors. This can be the difference between writing an article that is read only by a few academics in your field and one that could reach a wider audience and generate change. These 10 tips will help you build your brand and the reach of your scholarship, with the goal of finding your position within the wider context of your research area and leveraging change.

SPREAD THE REACH OF YOUR RESEARCH BEYOND ACADEMIA | In order to attract attention from policymakers, you’ll need to ensure that your research spreads outside of academic circles. Having a plain language summary, sharing content on social media, or creating a press release all help non-experts see your work. This increases the likelihood of getting picked up by more mainstream media, which will improve your chances of reaching policymakers.

DEVELOP YOUR PERSONAL BRAND | Before you pitch your research to policymakers, you should ensure that your digital profiles are updated. Check that your institutional page and LinkedIn have your correct title, specialties, awards, and publications. Create appropriate social media profiles to reach your audience, like Twitter. Don’t only post about yourself and your work, but also engage with your colleagues and peers, and reshare content as appropriate.

This post originally appeared on the Sage Perspectives blog, which focuses on highlighting topical and interesting research published in Sage books and journals

CREATE DISCOVERABLE CONTENT | When writing your article, you need to ensure that it’s discoverable. You need to have a succinct, clear title that fully conveys the main objective of your research article. It should be followed by an abstract that includes keywords that researchers are searching for that you address in your manuscript. We highly encourage the use of plain language summaries to do this, too.

FOSTER ACCESSIBILITY | At Sage, where I work, we will do a lot of this work for you by hosting your content on webpages that provide accessible accommodations to users. As the author, you can help this by including plain language summaries or video abstracts, which provide more opportunities for people to engage with your content. Additionally, include alt text on images published on social media or websites so they can be read by screen readers.

PROMOTE YOUR WORK AND YOURSELF | At Sage we promote content through a number of ways on various channels and in different formats. While we do a lot of the footwork, it’s imperative that authors also promote simultaneously. This will vary based on how much work you can put in. You may retweet or reshare our social media posts. Or you can do more active promotion from speaking at conferences to writing op-eds. Also, share research in different formats across platforms. For example, a conference talk that is shared on social media and with an institutional listserv will have wider reach than just the conference talk itself.

FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE KEY PLAYERS | Do your research. What individuals and groups are involved, and how can you communicate with them? Is there a way to reach them all at once, or will you need to get in touch with them individually?

KNOW HOW YOUR RESEARCH FITS WITHIN THE POLITICAL CONTEXT | How does your research fit with the current thinking on the issue, and what problems do you hope it will resolve? Having these points sorted is essential before you begin talking with policymakers.

COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY AND DIRECTLY | Create an elevator pitch of your idea for those who you can only provide a high-level oversight, and create a more analytical, detailed version for those who have more time.

NETWORK OFTEN AND EFFECTIVELY | Since you’ve been building your personal brand, doing your research on who’s who in the field, and potentially networking, it’s important that you maintain your network. Do this as appropriate, both in person and online.

THINK LONG-TERM | You need to be open-minded and patient because change usually doesn’t happen immediately. Buckle up for the long-term work, but rest assured that you are the expert in the area and have an important contribution to the field.

Sean Scarisbrick is a marketing manager on the Author Marketing team at Sage. He is passionate about helping reviewers, especially those in the early stages of their career, to navigate the peer review process with ease and expertise.

View all posts by Sean Scarisbrick

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