Communications Training Program

SPN’s Communications Training Program strengthens the capacity of state think tanks’ communications and helps communications professionals develop their skills in communications strategy, leadership and management, and marketing. SPN cultivates a peer network of skilled communications professionals; assists think tank leaders and communications staff with strategic communications planning; and provides skill-building opportunities in branding, storytelling, crisis communications, marketing, and media relations.

Programs include:

Communications Strategic Planning and Audits

SPN’s strategic communications planning gives CEOs and communications directors a roadmap to organize and grow their communications shop, as well as develop a sound crisis communications plan. Building on strategic planning, communications audits offer a valuable risk assessment, which identifies an organization’s strengths, vulnerabilities, and opportunities for improvement across all key communications and marketing platforms.

Communications Peer Network

SPN connects communications professionals across the network to foster peer relationships, as well as the exchange of best practices and innovative solutions. To facilitate these connections throughout the year, SPN hosts an annual Communications Retreat, peer site visits to state think tanks, and a communications listserv.

Marketing and Storytelling Training

SPN equips state think tanks with the storytelling and messaging tools and tactics needed to educate target audiences in their states. Through programs like Spreadsheet to Story and Free Together, communications directors learn to identify target audiences, connect human faces to policy solutions, and plan and execute marketing campaigns.

Workshops and Webinars

SPN offers a variety of communications workshops and webinars to help communications professionals hone specific skills. Topics include media relations and pitching, presentation skill-building, social media, email marketing, and more.

Talent and Staffing Support

SPN staff partner with state think tanks to identify communications staffing needs, assist in talent searches, and onboard new staff into their positions and the network. SPN also actively supports junior-level communications staff, providing them with professional development and peer networking opportunities to advance their communications careers in the network.

Professional Coaching

SPN supports state think tank communications staff at each stage of their careers through management coaching, individualized mentoring, and professional development opportunities, such as scholarships to industry conferences.

All SPN workshops and trainings are by invitations only. Any SPN member organization interested in learning more should contact SPN’s Director of Strategic Communications, Meredith Turney.