Director of Priority Communications
By the time they are 20, any social media-aware teenager will have practiced one of the most important aspects of public relations thousands of times.
Every time they post on Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook, they are thinking about their audience. Who’s going to like this post; will they like, love it, share it; and sometimes, is it appropriate for Mum and Dad to see? Perhaps I should unfriend Granny?
If they take a wrong steer and think Granny is going to enjoy a picture of them and their friends semi-naked after a hard night’s drinking, it is unlikely to be career limiting, but may give them enough of a wake-up call, from one upset elderly relative, to think about it next time.
For us of more senior years, and I mean anyone 35 plus, we didn’t get this early training. Unless you work in public relations or marketing, in-depth thought about your audience is probably not ingrained and in this fast paced online world the opportunities to misfire are ever increasing.
If I had only one piece of PR advice to give, it would be to know your audience and keep them top of mind, from the minute you start planning your communications and marketing, to every comment and post you make.
Knowing who you want to engage with and why they might want to engage with you is the key to all great communication, whether you are wanting to attract more customers to your business, involve people in an important community conversation, become a thought leader, or simply get your views across in a time of crisis.
In public relations, it goes well beyond data gathering. It’s often a case of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. How would I feel if I was them and received that news, heard that message, was called at 6pm while I was trying to make dinner for the kids?
For example, when you want people to help with important decisions in your community, you need to think about who your issue is going to affect; where the most central place is for them to meet; should they meet at all or talk online; what meeting time will best suit the age and stage of the people that need to attend? And all of this before you consider how you are going to engage them in your issue.
If you want to do a detailed analysis of your target audience and what communications would work best for them and you, I recommend using a public relations professional. In the meantime, before you post or comment, stop, think and channel your inner teenager.