by helen on July 11, 2011

All dressed up and nowhere to go?

Think about where the people that matter to you are: newspapers, radio, TV, Google, social networking sites, business events, exhibitions…

Are you raring to go out and connect with the people that matter to you? You’ve got your “house in order”, identified your target audience so now begins the work of building relationships.

So how are you going to get “on their radar”.

A lot of people think PR is all about getting companies mentioned in the local newspaper, or onto TV or radio. After all, that’s how the general public find out about most things isn’t it?

Do you read a newspaper? Watch the TV news? Listen to the radio? How do YOU find out about what’s happening in the world, in theUK, in your city or town, in your community?

Think about it carefully. Then think about the ways your target audience like to find out about things. Because those are the channels you need to concentrate on using to raise awareness of who you are and what you do.

Media relations is a big part of what PRs do – but it’s only the right thing to do if the people that matter to an organisation are viewers, listeners or readers of particular media channels.

Defn: A communication channel is a medium through which a message is transmitted to its intended audience, such as print media or broadcast (electronic) media.

Traditional channels include publications (newspapers, magazines, journals), radio and TV, billboards, telephones, post, and face-to-face.

New electronic channels include websites and blogs, social media (Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, YouTube etc), email, mobile, search (search engines) and videoconferencing.

Here are some ideas about activities you could use to get on your targets’ radar:

  • Advertising in newspapers still works for some businesses, while others get great results from pay-per-click in search engines and banners on websites can be effective depending on the message and audience.
  • A good PR should be able to get you coverage in both traditional and new media channels – finding the right voice, the right story, and the right platform to reach your customers. Although many organisations can d-i-y – with the right support. ;)
  • Events can be held in person, using videoconferencing or over the internet these days – meaning you can reach a global audience on a personal level.
  • Word-of-mouth campaigns – incorporating face-to-face and social media networking – are always beneficial.
  • Direct marketing – postcards, letters, telephone or email – work especially well if organisations take time to build an in-house database of their target audience.

Remember, your communications/marketing efforts need to be concentrated on the channels where there is the most to be gained in terms of raising awareness of your company and its products or services. Whatever anyone says, there’s no point having a Facebook Fan Page if your customers aren’t on Facebook.

Now, create a table – like the one below – and work out which will be the best channels for reaching your target audience. Don’t just think about what will work – think also about what it could cost. You need to get the best return for your investment, so plan carefully.

  Advertising PR Events Word-of-mouth Direct marketing

Here’s an interesting “case study” with suggestions about how you can identify what works best.

P.S. Now might be a good time to have a think about how your competitors are engaging with their target audience. Are there any gaps in their strategy?

Photo courtesy _driftwood (Sean Wakefield), Creative Commons

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