Public Relations – what should be vs. what is

Have you ever heard someone say “I shouldn’t have to tell them that…they should already know?”

Nothing defines Public Relations better than the need to bridge the gap between what people should know and what they do know (or remember).

Case in point: I recently conducted a survey here in District 22 about what folks would like to learn in the coming summer Toastmasters Leadership Institutes (TLIs). I also solicited comments on why members attend or don’t attend. Take a look at these comments:

“We need MORE NOTICE – A month at least! If it’s dropped on me at the last-minute (only one week prior) it’s highly unlikely I will be able to attend”
“Another problem has been short notice of upcoming event. Can’t inform 1-2 weeks ahead and get good response, especially when it involves a weekend morning”

Now…here’s what we do (and have done for at least the last four years):

We publish a calendar on our District website usually before the June TLIs that have all of next year’s (July 1st – June 30th) events listed, and changes are updated as needed.
We publish information in The Gavel, our monthly newsletter. Our April edition had the dates in it.
We have more direct methods, including Area Governor visits, e-mails to club officers, and announcements at events as well.

What does that mean? It means two things:
– We think we are doing enough
– We are not doing enough

What can we do (and have we done) for this year?
– The TLI survey I mentioned included the date for the next TLI
– This D22 Marketing Blog is another way to advertise
– I sent an e-mail to all club officers asking them to mention the TLI at each meeting in April and May, so no one misses the “one meeting” where it’s discussed

PR is more than an event and more than advertising, it’s both a mentality and a process. The moment you think that you’ve done enough, you probably failed to reach a segment of your target audience.

1. Analyze your audience
2. Detemine how to reach that target group
3. Create a plan and execute that plan

That’s how the TLI survey came about. I thought about a way to reach the audience that we hadn’t tried before, and an online survey seemed like a good idea.  176 (out of 183 so far) responded that they were officers, out of a maximum of 700 club officers in D22 yeilds a 25% response rate…not bad. But enough?

I would love your input. What works for you and what doesn’t. Advertising, PR, getting the word out…whatever you want to call it. How do you get the word out, and what would you be most likely to see and respond to?

Facebook fan page?
LinkedIn discussion group?
A better publicized blog?

Bring it!


About Rob Christeson

Talk to the Human
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