Wise Words

Finding the right combination of communication tools, tip #1: Listen


February 23, 2013



speech bubbles2 Finding the right combination of communication tools, tip #1: Listen  One of the toughest things about being in our business is knowing which communication method will work best in getting our client’s message across. Because messages fly at us from every which way, PR and marketing professionals must identify the perfect combination of communication tools to cut through the noise.

Gone are the days when a single news release or ad does the trick. Relying on a single communication tactic can marginalize or fail to reach certain subsets of a client’s audience. For example, not everyone reads the newspaper, so chances are that even a well-placed story won’t reach your entire target audience.

So, how does the PR and marketing professional know which methods to use?

The 3WG team is going to answer this question as a three-part blog series. We will share how we find the perfect combination of tools and achieve an integrated approach to communication, starting with tip number one: LISTEN.

Tip #1: Listen to what the client is saying and who is saying what about the client.

Before we determine how we’re going to communicate a client’s message, we need to know how the client perceives itself and the message it’s trying to convey, and what its publics think about the client. Once we locate where the gaps in communication lie, we can determine which methods will bridge them most effectively.

For example, if a client wants to dispel myths about its business, we need to first identify where these misconceptions are generated. If we determine that rumors are circulating via social media, we’ll identify the key players.

  • Who is saying what?
  • Do they have a vested interest in the client’s company?
  • Did they have a bad experience with the client?
  • What’s their motive?

 Once we locate the source of these misconceptions, we need to know the facts from the client.

  • What are the misconceptions?
  • How are they misconceptions?
  • What are the real facts?

Depending on the findings (every client and situation is different), we would identify a way to dispel these myths. Perhaps we would encourage the client to address its publics on their own turf. We might suggest that the client address the misconceptions where they started by engaging its audience and commenting on behalf of the company. The client could comment on a Facebook post, a simple step that acknowledges its publics’ concerns, opens a dialogue and initiates the re-education process.

From there, we may suggest a frequently asked questions page to feature on the client’s website, addressing the misconceptions in an informative, educational way. We could then complement this effort by driving traffic from the social media platform, where the dialogue between the client and its publics is happening, to the online FAQ.

Done together, social media and an online FAQ could support a client’s goal of dispelling myths about its company, while also building an ongoing exchange of information that could prevent further misconceptions from developing.

 Stay tuned for more tips on finding the right combination of communication tools.




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