Deep Dive Breakout 3

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

11:30am – 12:30pm

Kathy Ohlhaber (Association of American Railroads), Ashley Lerner (General Motors), Candice Burns (Friendship Public Charter School), and Jim MacGregor (National Association of Realtors)

You wouldn’t go to Linkedin to find a recipe, nor Pinterest for a political thought piece. By understanding how your target audience consumes content, and what works best on each channel, you can maximize the impact of your message.

Have feedback on this session? We’d love to hear it! Submit it here.


What is the most practical/ efficient way to understand how the audience consumes content?

  • Test your membership/consumers/constituents. Ask your audience what they would like! There is no harm in trial and error to identify the best method to reach your audience.
  • Remember in today’s world, everything is mobile (Twitter/Facebook…etc.) This is how people consume information.
  • Work backwards—what works? Listen to what your audience is saying.
  • Use the correct platforms. You want your messages to be consumed.
  • Remember that your audiences see and experience life differently—even images and color. (ie: mental modeling) Understand your audience, including their biases.
  • Stick to what you Know!
  • Often you don’t know all the details on a particular topic—and that is ok! Collaborate with colleagues on messaging, reshaping them to meet your audiences’ needs.
  • KISS Acronym- “keep it simple stupid”
  • Ask yourself, “What do you do best, better than everyone else?” – Leverage this! Speak to this point as clearly and succinctly as possible.

What methods of communication work best? How do you best serve content?

  • All methods! You can ask you audience—how can we best serve you content?
    Audience Question: How do you actually survey your audience on how they consume information?
  • Test, Test, Test! We know people respond to text and email, but if possible, actually give them a card and ask them how they want to be reached.

How do you identify/handle negative feedback on social channels?

  • It differs per industry and per channel; however, it is important to put a response mechanism in place early.
  • If it is small thing, just let it go. If it reaches a critical mass, reactions can be dictated from leadership, like a CEO to address and diffuse the situation.
  • From a trade association perspective, they often need to be neutral on social media given their membership’s differing opinions.

How does everyone handle their content?

  • Takes larger news stories from company’s press releases, and targets proper audiences (like Hill staffers) with more concise content.
  • Spends a lot of time identifying which content should go on which channel – still a work in progress. Infographics and video work very well to share your message in a concise way. Keeping it simple, straight forward, and short.
  • Goes back to how do people want to consume information? Don’t take the substance out of your connect- but think about how to condense your message.

How do you boil content down?

  • Offer options. Think about Netflix- you want to select what you watch, when you want to watch, and for how long you want to watch it. An example would be sharing a summary on social media, but adding a link to a full PDF/fact sheet of a deep dive—so your audience can consume what they need. They can essentially customize their experience.
  • Creating an inventory system is helpful to track what you have in-house, ready to go. While this is painful and takes time, in the long run it works.

What are the panel’s thoughts on using expensive videos?

  • The issue is that today, we need a quicker turn around for such videos. You need to weigh when you will need a fancy video, or a quick iPhone clip to share ASAP—pros and cons to both.
  • Some associations are moving away from the fancy videos, and using tools like Facebook Live (quick and easy! It can be repackaged too.)
  • Data doesn’t lie. If fancy videos are doing well, then keep them!
  • Video is “hot right now” – BUT, does it serve your purpose? Could an infographic work better?

How do you find the balance between what your higher ups want, vs. your audience? – Specifically address PDFs because audiences want them, but it can hurt SEO.

  • At the end of the day, listen to your audience. Give them what they want—it is more important than SEO. You can identify other methods to increase SEO.
  • Planning: Creating a blueprint for managing a channel/platform (people, money, time, other resources)
  • Work backwards—outcomes first!
  • What are you trying to achieve, and which platform would work best? This will determine how you will build charts—like investment plans, goals, timelines…etc.
  • Focus in on which channels your members are on, and hone in there—even if it is just one channel, but make sure to do it well. Again, keep it simple and do it right.
  • Organization is key—put a plan in place to keep yourself honest.

How do you decide how many times you post a day/week/month?

  • Listen to your audience and KNOW your base! Three tweets a day may work for one group, while once a month works for others.
  • Trial and error—know your audience and how they consume information. For example, when are they going to be active on social media—lunch time or over the weekend.
  • Scheduling content in advance is helpful with a system. You can use these tools to track your audiences’ consumption habits, as well as colleagues in other divisions.