It’s easy for businesses to lose sight of their “essential audiences” and focus on the messages they want. But as Denise Bentele and her team of experts from Common Ground PR explained at our latest TXCHANGE event, company messaging must appeal to the needs of the intended audience to truly make an impact.

Common Ground Public Relations Team Presents

The Common Ground PR team discusses their non-traditional pitch to TIME.

Know Your Audience

The first step is to prioritize your organization’s objectives and the key groups that need to hear your message.  The Common Ground team referred to these groups as the “essential audiences”. It can be difficult to take a step back from the daily grind and view your communication initiatives from the outside, but this practice generates the best insights into your audience’s mind. Make sure you can tell your audience why your business does what it does in a relevant matter. Most likely they don’t care that you make 37 cents profit per widget.

View Presentation Slides and Storify Tweet Recap on the Event Page

Shape Your Message to Your Audience

Once you gain an understanding of your key audiences, this information needs to shape company messaging. Target your communications to the channels your audiences inhabit. Social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest all have different user-bases with different needs. Communications on these channels should be targeted appropriately.

Pursue Third-Party Endorsements

Endorsements of outside entities, like newspapers or online publications, provide legitimacy and support to your communication objectives. A credible endorsement from a third-party trusted by your essential audiences can have a major impact on your business. Particularly in the digital space, referring links from well-known publications can greatly enhance your site’s search engine optimization.

St Louis Food Truck Chesterfield Pi Pizza

Attendees enjoyed pizza from Pi On the Spot (@PiTruckSTL on Twitter)

Build Traction and Identify Opportunity

As the team from Common Ground put it, “Obscurity to Oprah is a myth”. An unknown business should not put 100% of its energy into gaining a third-party endorsement from the New York Times. Most often, strong publicity is built by targeting more focused publications that appeal directly to your essential audiences. The key is to slowly build traction, ultimately leading to larger and larger endorsements. Common Ground’s advice on identifying these opportunities to build traction? “Monitor like crazy”.

Feed the Growing Local Appetite

Lastly, Denise and her team presented an interesting fact: 72% of users follow local online news outlets such as Clearly, the local appetite is growing. Businesses need to identify their audiences not just by demographics and preferences, but also by location.

The Pi On the Spot pizza food truck was brought up by the panel as a great example of a company that understands their audience and communicates with them effectively. This example was particularly effective as the Pi Truck had just finished feeding the attendees! Find more information about the Common Ground PR team at, a website designed and developed by The Net Impact.

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