DO: Knowing Your Audience

For any communication to be effective, it’s essential to first learn what you can about your target stakeholder audience(s).

Stakeholder audience identification is covered extensively in Section 4.6 of the Third Edition and is also covered in the PLAN section of this website. This information will help you define your stakeholder audiences and will also guide you through the processes of determining baseline coverage areas, whether you should consider providing materials in languages other than English and developing and maintaining audience contact lists.

Within a public awareness program, a good starting point is to understand the data you already have from prior communication, outreach, or measurement activities.

For example, a prior survey with an adequate survey sample size will generally allow you to apply findings across others who are also members of the same stakeholder audience group. If the survey(s) included questions regarding preferences of how they wish to receive information (e.g., email, text messages, face-to-face contact, etc.), this can be applied to an upcoming communication or outreach activity.

Similarly, as an example, if you’re considering an email campaign to emergency responders, but a prior email campaign had a low open rate or click-through rate (the number of individuals who opened the email and clicked on a link to open a form, website, or another trackable resource), this may indicate that you should consider a different outreach tactic or combination of tactics to achieve greater effectiveness.

Perhaps also consider a conversation with other pipeline operators conducting public awareness programs in the same area. Do you both have learnings you’re willing to share to help the other communicate more effectively?