Lessons on Reaching and Engaging with Diverse Audiences
Companies’ intentions around Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) must go beyond statements. As change agents, communicators should push to ensure an organization’s words match their deeds.
Further, we should learn how to partner with channels that give voice to the voiceless and spark dialogue around topics that can be uncomfortable. We must reach diverse audiences exactly where they are and tell stories that reflect their lived experiences.
The following are considerations for organizations when connecting with diverse audiences across media relations, social influencer outreach and owned media channels:
How Do You Engage with Diverse Media?
- Make it Relevant – Why should the audience care?: To be effective, clients must share news or story angles that best resonate with the communities they want to reach. Pitches should be hyperlocal.
- Build Strong Relationships as a Trusted Source on DE&I Issues: Create meaningful relationships with owners/publishers, editors, producers and reporters so they know you are a trusted source for stories. Ensure your team also features members of the community with which you are hoping to engage.
- Focus on People or Human-Interest Stories Rather than Breaking News: This requires creative storytelling to pique interest. Develop angles that incorporate the personal experiences of the executives being showcased. Include data that quantifies the related issue facing the community. Ensure spokespeople and representatives match the audience of the outlet.
- Communicate with Audiences In-Language: Offer robust, in-language content to underscore the company’s commitment, build trust, strengthen reputation, expand reach and enable your brand to stand out among competitors.
- Understand Cultural References and Tone of Audience: Tailor content to reach various demographics based on tone, cultural references and types of content (e.g., automotive, tech, healthcare).
How Do You Authentically Reach Diverse Audiences?
- Engage Year-Long, Not Just During Heritage Months: Especially with the urgency today around racial equity, only reaching out for heritage month related stories will appear superficial and performative – because it likely is. A true commitment is an ongoing commitment.
- Invest Your Paid Content Budget in Diverse Media: Content partnerships, paid/sponsored programming and other engagements around DE&I beyond earned media can further demonstrate a company’s commitment to diverse communities. Investing in the media that represents a community shows a stronger, authentic level of commitment.
- Communications is a Two-Way Street – Be an Ally: Seek to understand and build relationships with communities that you aren’t a member of by becoming an ally to bring attention to the experiences of marginalized groups when their voices are not being heard. It’s an opportunity to listen more than you speak. To research and connect with members of specific communities and recognize what’s important to them.