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How can I engage my audience?

The secret to successful engagement is the route you choose to reach those you want to involve.

We’ve been long-term advocates of the benefits of both offline and online forums, and happily pick up traditional and new-media methods according to the project and groups we are engaging on behalf of our clients.

Engagement, or public participation, as it was known until about six years ago, is about much more than setting up an exhibition in a community centre and wondering how many people will turn up. It’s also beyond technology. For us at Results Communications, it’s about choosing the right platform or method, to target the group or groups you are reaching out to, to ensure they have the opportunity to engage back.

Engagement is not a single-direction conversation. Nor is it two-way.

True, effective, engagement has to be multi-directional.

It has to be led by strategic objectives, with management processes in place to ensure that not only are your messages clear, concise and consistent, but they are actually being heard. There’s no point talking into a microphone if the faders are turned off is there?

So to answer the question, how do I engage my audience? , we would suggest a number of answers, but at their core are these principles:

1 Identify your audience(s)
2 Understand their concerns and priorities
3 Develop your messages
4 Identify how to reach your audience(s)
5 Establish strategy and the methods you need to use
6 Develop tactics and protocols
7 Listen to your audience(s)
8 Communicate with your audience(s)
9 Don’t wait for your community to come to you; be where they already are

10 Create an opportunity they want to be involved in
To summarise, good practice in engagement leads to good engagement outcomes. Good practice comes from sound thinking, from establishing a methodology, a strategy, tactics and protocols. Most important, it’s about what you do on a day-to-day basis. It’s no good having all of the above in place if you don’t actually practise what you preach.