Know Your Audience

If you have a product or service to sell, one of the most important parts of your PR plan should be identifying your audience, understanding them on a professional level, and designing a message that will speak directly to them.

Unfortunately, although virtually all businesses are good at identifying their audience, they may be less skilled at doing the research necessary to understand them.  The company message suffers as a result.

A case in point:  A few years ago, several company executives came into our office to talk about our firm handling their public relations.  The company had a great software product aimed at a specific commercial market, but it was having trouble getting customers.  We identified one of their problems as their company tagline, which was way too edgy for their business audience to take them seriously.  They had come up with it themselves and, needless to say, thought it was very clever.  It was; it just wasn’t audience friendly.

I’ve seen the same sort of thing happen with other types of communication tools.  Most common are logos that are attractive but never relate visually to the company message and company handouts or websites with long dissertations about a product or service with little space devoted to the problems it will solve or the need it will fill.

Keep in mind that if you aren’t attracting the “right kind of clients,” it may be because your company message isn’t reaching them.

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How will your company use social media?

Company social mediaI’m in charge of new business development for our firm, and my son, who does social media for a website design firm, says our company needs to be active on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  I’m not so sure.  What do you think?

Social media marketing is a relatively new and exciting development in the world of public relations.  It offers a dynamic set of social networking tools – blogs, microblogs, social bookmarketing, media and content sharing sites – that can be used to promote your business.  What, if any, of these tools you will want to use depends on the kind of company you represent and your overall communication goals.

In a recent survey of its members, PR Boutiques International, an international network of boutique public relations firms, 44 percent of respondents cited the power of social media as the major trend impacting communications in 2012.  However, rather than predicting that social media will be the PR “magic bullet” for all clients, respondents viewed it as a tool that must be strategically integrated into the enterprise’s communication program.  (Full disclosure:  DoubleDimond is a member of PR Boutiques International.)

There are endless creative ways these resources can be used.  Just make sure you use them strategically and assign someone with the responsibility for managing the function.

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Why did they use that quote?

Does this sound familiar?  You’ve created a new product, and you finally get a media interview to promote it.  This is your big opportunity to let the world know what you have to offer.  Finally, you think, your business will get recognized.

Except it doesn’t work out quite the way you thought it would.  The news person shows up for the interview, and you talk in great detail about your product.  You may even provide a tour of your company headquarters.  In fact, the reporter is there for over an hour, and you can’t wait to see the story.

But when you do, you are disappointed.  The story contains only two quotes from you – comments you don’t even remember saying.  But worse than that, the reporter didn’t seem to understand the importance of your breakthrough product.

Maybe that’s because you never told him.  Sometimes it’s not good to know too much; it can keep you from explaining things clearly and concisely.

Remember:  The reporter is not your audience; the reporter’s audience is your audience. Tell them what your product (or service or invention) could mean to them – either now or in the future – in terms they can understand and relate to.

Do that, and you’ll be happier with the results.

 

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Dear Reader,

Welcome to Ask a PR Expert, published by DoubleDimond Public Relations!

The purpose of this blog is to cover a wide range of public relations topics and to answer questions from business owners, nonprofit executives and anyone else who has an interest in PR, marketing and social media.

We hope you find the information posted here both interesting and beneficial to your long-term PR/marketing efforts.

 

 

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