The 5 steps to raising awareness


It may go without saying, but we're going to say it anyway: raising awareness of an issue or event takes thoughtful planning, creative execution and ongoing monitoring and measurement to ensure that goals are being met.

In simple terms, there are five main steps to such a campaign. Consider the steps to be part of a loop-back process rather than a linear one as monitoring the campaign's effectiveness means looking back at goals, audiences, strategies, etc. and tweaking where needed.

1.  Set your objectives
Know what you want to achieve so you'll know when you've been successful. Set the objectives against which your efforts will be measured. These can be both qualitative and quantitative. Is there an action you want people to take? Is there a prevailing attitude that you  wish to change? Objectives may be set out in phases to allow you to determine if changes to strategy and tactics are needed. You will also want to identify any benchmarks that exist or whether you need to establish them. 

2.  Determine your primary audience(s)
Knowing who is most likely to be interested in your topic or cause will help you to identify the strategies, tactics and messages to use If you are targeting the "general public," your messages will speak to no one.

3.  Identify your strategies 
Strategies can be identified once you know who your audience(s) is/are. For example: the use of Internet outreach may be wonderful for many audiences, but not for those who have slow Internet speed or who aren't tech savvy.

4. Identify your main message
Be very clear about your message, Keep it simple and targeted to each audience. Be sure that everyone on the team knows the message and will use it when speaking about the issue.

5. Monitor and evaluate
Identify the metrics needed to measure whether your objectives are being met. If, for example, you have a high-level goal to improve earned media (media coverage), objectives could identify how many stories you want to see covered and the tone of the coverage over an established period of time and in which publications. If your campaign is a long one, set out intermediate metrics to ensure you're on the right track.

As you're thinking about your awareness campaign, give some thought to what awareness will achieve for you. Having an audience that's aware of something isn't the same as having an audience take action. What will you do after your audience is aware of your issue?

Something to think about for longer-term planning -- and another blog post!

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