By Alison Arnot FCIPR,
Long before you decide what you are going to ‘do’ for your PR campaign, you must be laser focused on what you’re going to say and on how your conversations might evolve.
Your messaging strategy helps you to connect with your audience in a meaningful way and sets the stage for everything else to flop or fly.
So where to start?
Here are my top tips:
Be curious: Get to know who you’re talking to. Find out about their interests and ideologies, about the language they use and respond and about their experience of your product, service or organisation before deciding what you’ll say.
Knowing what’s important to people as well as how they feel about you at any given moment will help you capture attention and make a meaningful connection.
Be clear: If there’s something you want people to know, feel or do, you must be clear what this is as well as how and when they can act. Know what you stand for and what makes you different.
Spell this out and be specific when you outline the risks and benefits of anything you are asking people to do, explaining in their language what this means to them, to their family and to the people, places and things they care about.
Be credible: The best messages reflect real life, so be sure to personalise your content and recognise reality if you want to achieve credibility, trust and advocacy. If you commit to something, make sure you do it – and always check that what you are saying can be backed up with evidence including facts, figures, case studies and stories.
Check, check and check again: Regular monitoring and evaluation can help you check the impact of your campaign and understand how people are responding to it in real time. If something is working well – stick with it. But if your messages are failing to excite, or worse, frustrating people and causing anger, look again at how you might tweak them for a more positive response.
Alison Arnot FCIPR is a CIPR Trainer and Director at Catalyst Communications. She is leading CIPR’s Introduction to PR Strategy & Planning Campaigns on 16 July in London, and 24 July in Leeds.