I must start off by reassuring you that I have not left the world of consultancy to pursue a career as a romance blogger and my next book will not make any reference to any shade of any colour. As I’ve mentioned in some of my previous blogs, engaging with your audience is vital. It’s vital across all sectors and industries, and is becoming increasingly important in the public sector.
Deploying a combination of traditional and online methods will maximise your opportunity to engage with as wide an audience as possible. Online engagement will probably entail you becoming more familiar than you currently are with social media. While we all tend to think of the more common forms of social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, there are many other options. Think about blogs, alternative social media platforms in common use (such as Instagram), online surveys (such as SurveyMonkey) and other ‘accelerating transaction’ models that progressively and increasingly engage your audience.
Deliver your pitch
You will also want to consider the benefits of non-written media and the power of short videos about your service, or perhaps just you ex- plaining clearly what your service does – delivering your pitch, in fact. In an earlier blog I outlined the need to make sure you knew your pitch, were comfortable with it, and could deliver it in any situation. Well, why not make the most of the work you have put in by providing an online recording of that pitch using video and podcast? Consider the uptake and usage patterns of YouTube, and you begin to realise just how much the world has gravitated towards online media.
But as we know, not all of your audience use only online media. Many will prefer slower and more traditional forms of engagement, and many may prefer the option to mix formats.
It’s all about finding the right medium through which to identify and approach your audience. It is about undertaking your engagement and making your pitch using your selected medium. And it is about gathering the evidence you already have and using the feedback to improve further.
It’s important not to become worried about engaging with the public or your clients. And do not be put off by methods of engagement you may not understand, particularly the online options. There are many people available whose skills and experience you can draw on to undertake meaningful engagement using modern methods.
By the time you have got to this stage, you will have developed much greater clarity on what your service offers people and how much it costs, and you will have greater insight on how your service com- pares with alternative delivery arrangements. As a result, you will be better placed to explain to people why they should value your service. In fact, you are already very well placed to deliver this stage and achieve a positive result.
While I dearly hope your audience will embrace what you pitch to them, if they do not, you will gain valuable feedback and insight about their thinking and opinions, and you will have an opportunity to re-present your service in the light of their feedback. This is a step you need not fear or delay unnecessarily. I have used the word ‘brave’ a number of times throughout my recent blogs and this stage of the cherish journey definitely requires you to display bravery.