By Brian Murnahan
Utilizing public relations strategies as the basis for your communication to key audiences will help build loyalty, awareness and advocacy. As with any communication strategy, first you have to look at the audience makeup before picking the best tactics to reach out with.
Once you have determined how to best tell your story you can begin to reach out. For younger audiences, you may learn that working with their favorite YouTubers, bloggers or social media stars will drive behavior changes the quickest. If you audience is in the business world, you may learn placing a news story with the business publication will get things rolling, but may also require some direct education before they buy or are willing to align themselves with you.
The key is to look at what your ultimate goals are and see what ways are available to reach out to them. Social media, traditional media, direct mail, e-mail newsletters, bill boards, web ads, trade shows or community fairs are just some of the tools that can be used to touch the right segment of an audience, so let’s make sure we pick the right one.
In most cases one tactic is not enough to drive a change in behavior, so what can you do? Talk to a professional that can help determine what research is needed so that when you put your plan together you are actually reaching those who will be most impacted.
For the purpose of this example, let’s say we are targeting young professional women to the purpose of selling boots.
Consider these options:
- Utilize social media posts across multiple platforms (Instagram, Facebook…) to show off the product.
- Gather bloggers and influencers to share the nuances and uniqueness of the boots
- Give the bloggers and influencers the boots to wear
- Buy ads in the key print and online publications and blogs
- Make sure everything you have done is transparent, be authentic and show the boots being used by real people across all the mediums
Being authentic today is at its peak, while we may still want to be seen at our best, many of the audiences out there have recognized the value of being real. If you are a tech based product and your goal is to win over the outdoorsman of the south, show how the product can be used to better their experience and be careful not to be GQ and push them away.
Depending on what you are trying to do more traditional efforts to communicate may be effective, but in many cases today, the use of paid, earned, shared and owned as necessary across platforms and mediums is becoming the norm.
Public relations is often still thought of as the folks who garner media attention, but it is so much more today utilizing social media to speak directly to our publics, PR can be used to bypass media outlets where necessary. It can be used to help share the story with key influencers that will then help push the message as a third party endorsement. PR is a strategic way to solve business problems.