It’s common to focus on getting news media coverage when you’re looking to communicate with your target audience. But for public relations to be truly effective, companies should explore how to get their messages out in other ways, especially as they create marketing and communications plans.
Direct communication is the best way to communicate with your target audience. Messages aren’t filtered or distorted when you communicate directly with your audience. Plus, you can appeal to your audience’s interests and address its pain points.
Corporate marketing and public relations departments should explore these five channels to directly reach their audiences as they make their communications plans:
Inboxes can be crowded, but an effective email newsletter cuts through the clutter and gets read. The key to success: content that’s clear, concise, helpful and interesting.
Some of our e-mail newsletters with high open rates have included tips from a construction company for getting projects finished during the rainy season, or passing along year-end planning tips from a tax accounting firm. These helpful e-mail newsletters have short articles that link to blog posts for additional information.
Engaged readers will click to read more, while others may choose a different article to read. Helpful newsletters stay in inboxes, instead of prompting a recipient to unsubscribe.
Homeowners associations (HOAs) and neighborhood associations
Companies and organizations who are looking to reach certain geographic areas may benefit from working with HOAs and neighborhood associations. HOAs often have resident portals where information can be posted. And neighborhood associations often have newsletters or Facebook groups where information can be shared.
As an example, B2 used HOA newsletters to help spread the word about the Vinoy referendum in St. Petersburg, which passed overwhelmingly in 2017. Currently, B2 is working with HOAs to raise awareness of the Tampa Bay Water Wise program, which encourages water conservation while saving homeowners money on toilets and outdoor irrigation systems.
Professional associations and trade groups
Communicating through industry associations and trade groups can be highly beneficial for companies that focus on business-to-business (B2B) communications. This involvement can range from a presenting a webinar to participating in trade shows.
As an example, B2 principal Kyle Parks moderates an annual panel discussion for the Tampa Bay chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), talking to architects, planners, construction executives and other industry professionals about the results of its annual “Voice of Architecture” survey.
Industry involvement has also been helpful for our commercial real estate clients, with involvement in groups like the Urban Land Institute where our clients can make new business contacts while keeping up to date on trends and best practices in their industry.
B2 believes in an “all-in” approach to industry associations and trade groups. If you get involved, work towards being a leader in the group by joining a committee or volunteering for special projects.
Chambers of commerce and business organizations
Business groups’ newsletters and social media channels are often well-read. These channels shouldn’t be ignored if your company is a member.
For example, the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council shared information about its Project Phoenix 2.0 in local chambers' newsletters, which grew small business participation in the hurricane simulations and emergency preparedness trainings.
As another example, Edge Central Development Partners announced the name of its planned St. Petersburg mixed-use project, Orange Station, to the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership’s Developers Council.
A quality social media feed can motivate audience members to visit your website, see your news media coverage, or learn interesting tidbits about your organization.
Some keys to effectiveness:
- Don’t waste people’s time with posts that don’t mean anything to them.
- Quality of posts, not quantity, is important.
- Know the differences between social media platforms – you shouldn’t use LinkedIn the same way as you use Instagram, for example.
Use these five channels to help your company's messages directly reach your target audiences. Plus, these tactics can help your communications plans be more effective, creating a bigger return on investment for your company.