How to Communicate Better for PR
Communication is not a one-way street. Sharing information isn’t like scattering bread crumbs to pigeons. Real communication involves active participation by the recipient. Ideally, an idea is received, understood and accepted by the audience, but this is rarely the case. In the real world, there are so many obstacles in the way.
If something strikes people as controversial, it can be hard to win them over. Without trust, people can’t help but be skeptical. They’re bombarded with too many ads and false promises. How do they know something is genuine and not merely a sales pitch? Even when you’re upfront and straightforward, it’s so easy to be misunderstood.
It really doesn’t matter how much exposure you get if nobody wants to listen to you or believe in what you say. Of course, you’re going to say nice things about yourself. What people want is third party credibility. This means communicating your message through someone they already know and trust.
It’s one thing to see an ad of your product. It’s another thing to see your brand in the news by a well-known journalist.
1. Cut out the jargon.
Never tell yourself, “Everybody knows what it means. The audience is going to figure it out.” Never assume that they know what you’re talking about. Picture your message like a house. Nobody is really interested in the pipes, the screws, the roof tiles or any of the exact details. But they do want to know how safe, comfortable and beautiful the home is. Cluttering your message with technical language only makes them want to tune out.
Here’s the thing. There’s no way for readers to ask you questions. They’re not going to write a comment saying they don’t understand. They’re not going to publicly humiliate themselves like that. If they don’t understand what you’re talking about, they’re just going to turn the other way and leave.
If the readers don’t understand you the first time around, then you’ve lost them.
2. Tailor your message to your audience.
Someone who reads Time Magazine is going to seek different things from someone who reads Cosmopolitan. That’s not to say people can’t subscribe to both, but they’re clearly different outlets.
So before you pitch to media, always ask yourself how you make the story relevant to the journalists and their readership.
If you don’t, the journalist is going to hit delete on your email. In the highly unlikely event that they do write your piece, guess what? You’re not going to convert that coverage into cash flow because the readers aren’t interested.
3. Learn how to listen to your audience.
“But how?” you wonder. After all, you don’t even know who’s going to read the article. People may not reveal what they want in words, but the numbers don’t lie. What’s trending right now? What are people consuming on the news? Read the comments. How are they responding to those articles?
If you learn how to listen to their feedback, then you can deliver the kind of content they’re buzzing about. Even if they never leave a comment, you still get a sense of what people are interested in by what they’re sharing.