Hitting the Relevance Bull€™s-eye

Recently I came across a post on Social Media Explorer  that showcased a bull’s-eye graphic to discuss exactly what it takes to provide relevant marketing communication.

“Optimal communication takes place when a marketer can deliver a relevant message to a relevant audience in a relevant location at a relevant time,” wrote post author Mark Smiciklas.

This concept meshes with a social media quote I’ve lived by for several years. Steve Rubel of Edelman PR once spelled out his recipe for social media success: “Create high-quality content in high-interest areas again and again.” None of these ingredients can stand alone from the other. What you create will depend on who you’re trying to reach and where they turn for information, not to mention when they will be looking.

I’ll pose the same question Smiciklas asked: How can you become more relevant? Here are some thoughts on each of the categories needed to hit the relevance bull’s-eye with successful communication:

  • Relevant Message – What is it that you’re trying to convey? Try to boil your unique selling proposition down to an elevator pitch, a 60-second explanation of why your product or service matters. From there, try to hone in on a story that can express the message in a way that will connect with your audience. Is there a case study or success story that you can relate? Focus on the pain points your customers face. How do you offer a solution to this pressing problem? Why is your solution superior to others out there?
  • Relevant Audience – How defined is the audience you’re trying to reach? Targeting a specific group of people – or even multiple groups – will make all the difference in making your messaging effective. Speak to their unique needs and wants. If you have a product or service that benefits a general audience, then you may need to find a way to tell your story multiple times to multiple consumer profiles. Also think of how to tell the story – which medium is best. Will your audience watch a YouTube video, or are they more likely to benefit from a podcast or blogpost? One size does not fit all where effective marketing is concerned.
  • Relevant Location – Where does your target audience turn for information? As Rubel said, it matters to place your message in high-interest areas. Think about the model used in traditional television advertising or film trailers. Would you want to advertise chainsaws during children’s programming? Conversely, would it be effective to show a trailer of the latest My Little Ponies film right before a testosterone-fueled slasher flick? You want to connect with your audience where they look for information, whether that be mommy blogs, traditional news vehicles, corporate websites, or social media outlets.
  • Relevant Time – When will your target audience need the information you can provide? One of the top “news values” by which journalists judge a story’s importance is timeliness.  Even the best message will fall on deaf ears if it doesn’t matter to the audience at the time. Pay attention to current events. Is there a way to tie your story into a larger news item or story that has the public buzzing? Can you use the activities and emotions tied to the various seasons of the year to make your message hit home better? Tell stories that will resonate with what’s on people’s minds right now.

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