Remember the good old days, when audiences were easy to reach? You knew you had 3 reliable communication channels (TV, radio, print) that helped you get the job done. Things have changed considerably in the past decade. Today’s audience is much harder to find, because there are many media options: social media, YouTube, music streaming services, TV channels etc. We call this change fragmenting media landscape.
Fragmented media vs. broadcast media
The most important, and obvious advantage for governments in this new media landscape is that they can reach more specific audiences. Targeting has improved significantly in the past years. It’s the age of the right message at the right time, with measured results. During the broadcast age, you were basically taking a bit of a gamble. Let’s take a TV appearance for example. Based on researches, you knew that at a certain show or hour, you had a specific audience. This method was somewhat accurate, but there were no guarantees. This means that you were putting most of your eggs in the I-hope-the-viewers-pass-it-along basket.
Targeting has become so precise today that you can actually buy behavior rather than context. This means that instead of targeting someone who is likely to take a certain action, through behavioral advertising you can focus your information/advertisement towards someone who has already shown interest and taken action. For instance, instead of showing the “I Want You For U.S. Army” advertisement to age appropriate groups, you can show it to people who have actually shown interest for army related topics (e.g. news, training videos, official army website).
The only possible disadvantage would be that obtaining real success in fragmented media is more challenging. Government teams need to be more precise than ever. In marketing there is a fine line between money well spent and waste of taxpayers’ dollars.
The general belief is that governments should use media only when it’s truly needed, when there’s important public information. This rule has also changed. Generating engagement and receiving feedback have become very important. It’s sort of a help me help you situation.
Improve their audience reach in 3 steps
1. Shift audiences toward your own channels. It’s not unpopular for a Government to have a blog, a Twitter account or a Facebook page. Actually, it’s quite recommended. This way of communicating reduces costs. It’s also a welcomed new source for any news related media out there.
Helpful tip: Always have some fresh info up your sleeve, before your live appearances. This way you can direct the audience into finding out more on your website, blog etc.
2. Improve your targeting. This will not only get the message to the right ears, but will actually save you money in the long run. Whether you choose audience buying or just contextual buying, you will have way better results than relying on the falling print market.
Helpful tip: Add target profiling when planning.
3. Take as much decent appearances as you can get. Most TV, radio or online shows would be thrilled to have a public authority on their time slot. In the absolute worst case scenario, you will be forced to sidestep a few uncomfortable questions.
Helpful tip: Check with the PR team/specialist which shows he recommends before deciding anything. You need to reach the right audience in the appropriate setting.