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Personal communications in the digital economy – is it possible?


25 May 2021 at 7:00 am
Jo Scard
We know that personalised communications help you stand out from the crowd in a cluttered, digital environment. But how do you do it? Fifty Acres’ Jo Scard shares some tips and tricks to ensure you’re pulling on the right heart strings. 


Jo Scard | 25 May 2021 at 7:00 am


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Personal communications in the digital economy – is it possible?
25 May 2021 at 7:00 am

We know that personalised communications help you stand out from the crowd in a cluttered, digital environment. But how do you do it? Fifty Acres’ Jo Scard shares some tips and tricks to ensure you’re pulling on the right heart strings. 

As we bounce back from the global devastations of COVID-19, it is unquestionable that the entire public relations and government engagement industry has changed. As businesses reap the benefits of remote working and recognise the undeniable convenience of Zoom calls, we’ve found a new way of doing things. 

Shifting our lives online has meant that we have had to find a new way of communicating. How we speak to our audiences, to MPs, to philanthropists and to journalists has dramatically changed. In many ways, we’ve found a better, more efficient and more innovative way to reach people.

We’ve had to be creative. More than that, we’ve had to be relentless in manoeuvring our way to the top of inboxes. 

So, now that we are living in the digital age – how do we keep our human touch? 

Personalise your pitches 

When reaching out to stakeholders – whether it’s a journalist or your local MP – you need to tailor your message each time. It’s not good enough to send out a broad mail merge and hope it lands in the right spot. Why does your message matter to the person on the other end? What do you want to come out of collaborating with them? 

The truth is: the media, the government and the social impact sector are all drowning in emails at the moment. When yours looks like a copy and paste job, it’s an easy dismissal. Master the artform of personal communications by actually paying them the attention that’s needed for them to have impact. 

But don’t sway from your vision – speak your truth

As important as it is to keep it personal and to tailor your communications to the recipient, it’s also absolutely essential that you don’t start to twist your key messages as a means to get on somebody’s agenda. 

The very crux of public relations and strategic communications is to work alongside people that match up to your own values. When pitching to anybody, consider whether they’re the right person to partner with, and ask yourself whether you’ve had to adjust your key messages in order to make it happen. 

Establish solid relationships and keep them 

When you are successful in collaborating with somebody, it’s vital that you maintain this relationship. Whether you’ve secured a good feature article, or you’ve had a great chat with a member of your council, don’t let these relationships dwindle. 

Touch base often and engage them frequently. By strengthening such relationships, you’ll be able to grow a network of collaborators and pitches won’t feel like you are trying to sell a car to a disinterested buyer. 

Think outside the box 

In a new world, you need to restructure the way you do things. Writing a letter to your local MP, calling your local council or hassling a journalist until they’re enthusiastic about your project isn’t the way to handle outreach anymore. Plus, all of your competitors are already doing that. 

Brainstorm ways that could set you apart from the other countless emails that your stakeholders are receiving on the daily. Could you send them something? Could you leverage an existing piece of media? Could you establish a unique partnership with somebody trying to achieve the same thing? 

 

Fifty Acres presents free fortnightly webinars for not for profits. To register visit fiftyacres.com.au/academy/ 

If you need help with government engagement, assistance with a strategic communications strategy or PR outreach, get in touch with Jo Scard at Fifty Acres on 02 6281 7350 or visit fiftyacres.com.au/ 


Jo Scard  |  @ProBonoNews

Jo Scard is the founder and managing director of Fifty Acres.

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