23 experts reveal their best PR tips to improve audience relationships
At its core, public relations (PR) is about developing positive relationships with your key audiences, whoever you define them to be. So we wanted to provide business owners and communications practitioners with PR tips that address just that.
We reached out to some of the industry’s leading public relations experts to learn their thoughts on relationship development. Below are 23 PR tips in response to our question:
We spoke with corporate communications executives, CEOs, and industry thought leaders in a variety of fields.
Here’s what they had to say (sorted alphabetically by first name)
“Educate and inform instead of interrupt and sell.”
“Start with some important questions: How can my business help my audience? What are their pain points? What can my business do to make their lives, work or world a better place? If a business wants to build a relationship, then it needs to listen closely to find these answers, long before it starts to share messages.
When you listen to your audience, it’s a chance to learn from then, and to get closer to what they care about and what they need from you. With all of the talking, and the idea and opinion sharing, it should be easy for a business to tune into its customers. When businesses listen and act on information, they begin to build relationships based on value, meaning and the kind of interactions that make a difference to the people they serve.”
“1) Listen to/study their needs
2) Liaise with community
3) Recruit if possible
4) Consider sponsoring an event/organization”
“Business can improve its relationship with a key audience with one simple action: listening. Customers and prospective customers will telegraph their wants and needs and the smart business collects that, analyzes it, productizes it and communicates.”
“Human beings simply want to be recognized. If they are brand ambassadors, they want to know you know they’re helping you spread the message. If they’re unhappy, they just want someone to respond to them. Inaction or lack of attention is what fuels the fire of the disgruntled.So it’s really simple: Pay attention. Talk to your customers and prospects. Talk to your brand ambassadors. Talk to your detractors. And find ways to bring those in the middle out to have conversation. Always remember you’re dealing with human beings and you’re in communications. Communicate with the humans.”
So it’s really simple: Pay attention. Talk to your customers and prospects. Talk to your brand ambassadors. Talk to your detractors. And find ways to bring those in the middle out to have conversation. Always remember you’re dealing with human beings and you’re in communications. Communicate with the humans.”
“It is old advice, but engaging them in social media is the way to go. Be aware as well of what sites they use.”
“Give before you ask! In the 24-7, crowded message universe, business needs to learn how to give before they ask an audience for something such as a sale, a subscription or a special favor. There are many ways to give: sharing a free report (without demanding an email), offering a checklist of solutions (not just your product) or providing a visual (again, ideas first).”
“Be laser-focused on the area that you know best and be an expert for that specific aspect of business. With that, put yourself in the shoes of your audience. Truly understand their situation and make an effort to know how they can benefit from your knowledge and how you can help them. It’s your job to offer your business partners what they need – not what you have.”
“It depends on the business. Sampling is always good and works”
“Find out the key challenges of that audience and use your resources to help solve it. Then continue to communicate.”
“Engage them directly, without bugging them, to listen and to get their feedback.”
[Paraphrased] You’ll need to first understand if there is an existing relationship with your audience or if you are starting a brand new one. Also, be sure content is engaging and that you have a conversation instead of a monologue. No one likes a “bullhorn one-way promotional hype.
“It’s a bit easier for us than some brands because we have a tangible product we can experience together with our media. In other words, driving!”
“Best way to improve your relationship with a key audience is to speak with them continually through email over a period of months. Capturing emails via an auto responder system is critical in today’s busy business environment. Crafting a series of authentic and educational emails is what will connect with their hearts and heads of the target audience. You have to get people to know, like and trust you. Have a PR professional craft your messages, set them up and watch it work.”
“Be authentic and true to your philosophy whether your business is making only $3,000 a month or $30,000,000 a month. You can’t be everything to everyone but you can be the best thing to a loyal audience who’s a true believer.”
“Just listen. Ask how your audience likes to get their information, and give it to them.”
“Let the data tell you what to act upon. Dig deep into what the data shows you and then customize from there.”
“Figure out where your customers live online, and engage in a helpful way that is reflective of how you treat them in real life.”
“Listen. The first step in developing a relationship is to listen. There are many different ways to listen and social is a great opportunity. When you begin by listening you are more likely to take an educated path.”
“The best way to improve audience relationships is to be authentic and honest. Provide your audience with quality information they want and need on social media and your blog. Don’t fill it with self-promotion and product reviews. Build a connection with your audience so they are confident working with you.”
“My best tip for improving relationships with a key audience is to be SOCIAL! Get out and meet people face to face. Events are a great way to show off your personality and enthusiasm! People want to work with people who excite and inspire them. If you are truly passionate about something, let it show. It will get other people excited too!
Also, be receptive. Whenever possible, ANSWER THE PHONE! We live in a world of text messages and voicemails. Nothing assures someone that they are being heard and understood more than verbal confirmation. The phone is a lost art, but clients, contacts and associates appreciate someone willing to stop everything for a moment and communicate.”
What can your business learn from these PR tips?
Remember, PR is about improving the relationships we have with our various audiences – and our experts provided PR tips that can help us achieve exactly that.
Here are a few key messages based on our experts’ advice:
Listen carefully to what your audience has to say
It’s a common mistake that businesses think they know what their audience is interested in. The key learning here is to know what your customer wants by listenening carefully to what they’re actually saying, and respond accordingly.
Always put your audience’s interests before your own
Yes, businesses are about making money. But the money you earn should be an outcome of the value created for your audience – don’t forget this. Always make sure your audience’s best interests are your priority. Financial success will follow.
Know what you’re good at and own that space
Identify your niche and pursue it relentlessly. It’s often more effective to have a narrower focus than to “be everything to everyone.” This means addressing a specific pain point.
26 methods, tips and tools for audience feedback
What advice would you give?
Leave a comment and let us know what you think of these PR tips, and offer some advice of your own.
What steps does your business take to build audience relationships? As a consumer, what do you appreciate when engaging with your favorite brands?